Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Healing through Stitching: Connecting with my Dad

Many of you know that I teach a 2-day workshop called, Patching, Stitching, Weaving: Creating Healing Cloth. In this workshop, we explore using basic hand stitching, applique, needle weaving and bead embroidery techniques to create a piece to offer healing for a loved one or for ourselves. This class has produced some inspiring and deep pieces. I've witnessed how working on a piece...having a tactile connection through stitching..can heal or reconcile relationships...even those with loved ones that are no longer alive. I have seen how working on a piece can bring peace and clarity of mind. I've seen pieces stitched with love as offerings to loved ones who are ill. This is powerful stuff!

I've been facilitating this process for a couple of years but have put my own healing, pertaining to my Dad's death, on hold. His last couple of years of life were very difficult for the whole family, but especially for my Mom. His cheery personality was wiped away by Parkinson's. I've found it hard to approach the topic.

At first, I thought I'd face it head on. I'd work on some pieces having to do with Parkinson's and my Dad. I could never get was too difficult.

Then I remembered that I had a letter that my Dad wrote when he was very young. I poured over this letter and found that it could be a way to connect to my Dad in a different way. So I decided that I would stitch his letter as a form of self healing.

Dad's letter.

You can see that my Dad's letter is rather faded, so I enlarged it and wrote over the letters so that I could read them better. In the process, I connected to my Dad as a young boy just learning to write. I noticed the capital "B"s that were really lower case "b"s with an added curve. I fell in love with the little erasures and decided to add them into the final piece.

I decided to include the endearing erasures in Running Stitch.

I brought the project with me to Cape Cod. The whole family got to read the photocopy and watch me transfer it onto fabric (a handkerchief like the ones my Dad always used). It generated questions and discussion. No one really knew who "Grandma Basseches" was. We guessed at Dad's age. I developed a whole little story about the letter. Here was a tiny little slice of my Dad's life...when a cold was taken seriously and FDR was president (notice that the letterhead has Scottie dogs on it...which is ironic since my folks have owned Scotties for many years).

On the return trip home, my Mom and I stayed overnight with my Dad's cousin, Rissy. I showed her the letter and asked her if she remembered Grandma Basseches. Her 5-year-old memory of her grandmother was "a large woman with a small black dog" (it turns out that the dog's name was Fallah!..So it seems undeniable that Grandma Basseches gave the personalized stationery to my Dad!). Rissy even had a picture of her.

My Great Grandmother Basseches.

Stitching this little slice of family Dad's history...has been so satisfying...and healing.
I'll be teaching the next Patching, Stitching, Weaving: Creating Healing Cloth workshop on September 5 & 6 at The Art League School in Alexandria, VA.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Local Color at the Cape

My nephew's beach stone collection...which he artfully arranged.

I'm just home from my 2 week vacation at Cape Cod. I thought I'd share some of the "local" color.

I've been going to Cape Cod since I was a "wee one" according to my Mom. The first time I visited, I was 1 1/2 years old!

Trips to the Cape mean time with my extended family (though unfortunately my immediate family couldn't make it :( ). I got to spend time with my Mom, my bros, my sister-in-law, my brother's S.O., nieces and nephew and even one of my cousins!

Some of "the gang"

No TV, limited access to the Internet, no A.C....time to take it a bit more slowly and get into a rhythm with the natural surroundings.

My days included many long walks, riding waves, beach combing, trips to local art galleries and "the fleas", good food and good talks.

Blue lobster claw.
Colorful signs posted to a tree.
There was even some time for stitching...

Detail of a stitched piece I'm working on to honor my Dad. A letter he wrote to his grandmother when he was very young.

And for the annual art project...

This year we made animals!

Hope that you're enjoying your summer too!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Searching for Roy G Biv 4: Violet Update #5

It's the third Thursday of the month...time for some Roy G Biv! This month's color is VIOLET.
Since I'm up at Cape Cod, I thought I'd share a bit of the local color.

We stay in Wellfleet, a town known for it's art galleries, great food and beautiful little gardens.

Many gardens in Wellfleet mix sculpture with flowers.

A fun hummingbird garden detail.
Lavender lace detail from a local dress shop.

A trip to Provincetown today adds a little bit of quirkiness to the mix!

Yes, I know it's yellow but I couldn't help myself! Besides there are some almost violet flowers in the background!

And finally...this amazing photo...wish I could say that I took it, but my friend, Robbin S. is the one with the great eye and timing to catch these two crabs mating!

Now it's your turn. Post up to five VIOLET photos on your blog or Facebook page and leave a comment here or on Jennifer Coyne Qudeen's blog. You will have through Saturday to post and comment. I'll continue to update as new entries come in. Have fun!

Jennifer has some Philadelphia VIOLETS.

Fiona at Paper Ponderings reflects on how books change how we look at the world...and offers some VIOLET in a piece by Charles Rennie MacKintosh.

Elizabeth and Susan at PGFiber2Art have a wonderful selection of VIOLET! Love the fabrics and that sunset!

Roxanne Lasky at Ideas in Cloth finds VIOLET to be a very "social" color.

Fran at At the End of the Day has adventurous VIOLETS.

Mary Ann at Blue Sky Dreaming has some subtle VIOLETS.

Margaret at Charleton Stitcher has some marvelous French VIOLETS and shares parts of her "twinning" adventure.

Maya at Take Diversion has some magical VIOLET!

Linda Stokes has some inspiring VIOLETS!

Since VIOLET is the end of the "official" rainbow...we decided to continue through the rest of the year. Hope you'll join us!

August 20: Brown
September 17: Metallic Gold
October 15: Gray
November 19: Pink
December17: Blogger's Choice

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Roy Reminder (A Bit Late): This Thursday It's Violet!

Hi folks- Sorry this is a bit late this month. I'm enjoying my summer vacation with extended family up in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. This is my "spirit home". I spent almost every summer of my life up here in the Wellfleet area, so I'm happy to be back after a 5 year absence. is your reminder that it's time for you to get going with your Search for Roy (the colors of the rainbow)...this month we're featuring VIOLET ! Post up to 5 VIOLET photos on your blog on this Thursday, July 16th and leave a comment here or on Jennifer Coyne Qudeen's blog. We'll post a link to your photos for a colorful blog hop! Can't wait to see your VIOLET!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Furry Friends from Fiber Camp

Purple Turtle

Today, I taught at The Art League School's Fiber Camp. And of course...we made animal sculptures! I do this project each summer and am always delighted by the results. Here is what students created in today's camp...

Orange Rabbit
Yellow Vole
Yellow Rabbit
Blue Dolphin
Rainbow Rabbit
Blue Arctic Fox
Green Narwhal
Purple Vole
Orange and Green Elk by the class intern, Eleanor.
Thanks, was fun!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

The Printed Fabric Bee Vintage Giveaway

Detail of Vintage fabric.
It's time, once again, for another Printed Fabric Bee Giveaway! This month, Lynn Krawczyk was the Queen Bee and her theme was Vintage. I scratched my head a bit about that theme...then went through a number of possible ideas until I realized that the answer was in my grandmother's sewing basket!

I inherited Nanny Schein's sewing basket, and folks who have taken either my Story Cloth or Healing Cloth class know that I am in the process of completing a book about Nanny through the objects in the sewing basket. It occurred to me that the wonderful scissors in that basket would make a great subject for a Vintage fabric.

Here are the three pairs of scissors from the basket.

I photocopied them and then traced them.

Photocopy and tracing.

Then I transferred the designs to Speedball Speedy Carve blocks and carved them.

I chose some fabric from my stash that I'd created by printing a resist onto the fabric before painting it. I randomly printed with the carved blocks with black and Sienna brown Setacolor fabric paints.

Here is the final fabric.

And the six inch square that you can win as part of the giveaway.

Here are some of the other fabrics you can win from the other Bee members.

In order to be eligible to win this collection of Vintage fabrics, leave a comment on either Lynn's blog or The Printed Fabric Bee Facebook page (under the photo of the collection). Lynn will announce the winner on July 11. Good luck!

Be sure to stop by the blogs of the other Bee members to find out how they created their fabrics.
Judy Gula
Jane Davila
Lynda Heines
Deborah Boschert
Lisa Chin
Gerrie Congdon
Susan Purney Mark
Carol R. Eaton
Jackie Lams
Leslie TuckerJenison

Virginia Beach and the Eastern Shore

Relaxing on the dock at Bay View.

It's hard for me to believe that a week ago I was walking on beaches, swimming in the ocean and just having an all-around fabulous time with my friend, Laura B.!

Here are some highlights before too much time passes...

This year we decided to take a trip to the Eastern Shore of Virginia...which requires a journey over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel. This curious crossing consists of 20 miles of alternating spans of bridge and tunnels that dive under the Bay. If you want to "experience" crossing over the is a YouTube video.

We drove up to Onancock for the late afternoon and had an early dinner (seafood, of course!) there at Mallards.

After a "long and winding" detour through the back roads we finally arrived at our destination for the night, Bay View Waterfront Bed and Breakfast in Belle Haven. We made it just in time for sunset. I loved the narrow dock that went out into the water and had a bench to sit on at the end. Great views of the water and sky!

Bay View Waterfront B & B.

The dock at sunset

Beautiful cloud formations...little did we know that a big storm would arrive a couple of hours later.

In the evening, Laura and I worked on our "story/healing" cloths that we'd started in the morning. Here's mine. Laura took the various pieces of hers apart before I had a chance to photograph. So...hoping that she will send me a photo when it's further along.

My cloth of the sunset.

Next morning we had a delicious breakfast of fresh fruit with yogurt and Eggs Benedict. Since we were the only guests, we spent a pleasant time chatting with the owner, Mary Will Browning. The inside of the B & B is filled with family treasures, portraits and stitched samplers. Very homey!

Laura went kayaking. I'd hoped to do the same but my tendonitis flared up so instead I spent the morning walking the grounds and taking photos. Also enjoyed some meditative moments on that bench on the end of the pier.

The afternoon we spent in Cape Charles visiting shops and galleries and walking on the soft white sands of their local beach.

Thanks, Laura for this sweet gift. A mermaid dish by a local artist.

We arrived back in Virginia Beach for some delicious veggies from Brian's garden. Laura is certainly a magician with those fresh veggies!!

Thanks, dear friend, for another wonderful getaway!