Archive for June, 2015

Someone asked me how I get ideas for my art?

Occasionally the animus will be a gob-smack, awestruck moment.  An example was our visit to the Angel Oak in South Carolina this summer.  It is the oldest living thing east of the Mississippi, and experiencing it by walking around its immense, twisted limbs made me feel the weight of history and the wonder of nature. It was almost as if I could see tableaus of history in the deeply grooved bark. The truck was scarred. Some long limbs were propped up on posts to support their immense weight. I breathed in the fragrance. Yes, I was awestruck.

I’ll include the sketch I made on the spot and my first study for “Angel Oak.” The final piece, which will be very large, is not complete yet.  When it is done I’ll post that too.

One such moment can lead to other, related pieces. I’m paying more attention to old trees, and also dead and rotting wood. I’ll include a sketch of our wood pile.  Let’s see where this takes me next.

More commonly, my inspiration is not so momentous.  A glint of sunlight on the road was the inspiration for Country Road, a smaller piece. I’ll include my sketch and the final piece. Sometimes it is a trick of sun and shadow, a worn surface, or the shapes in a landscape. I try to pay attention to my gut response to a visual stimulus and take it from there.



Angel Oak Study country road 12 x 12





I use different kinds of fusible web for different purposes.  But for working with layers of bits of fabrics, papers, ribbons and other yarns, Misty Fuse ( is just the ticket.  It is so lightweight that you can build up several layers and still see them.

Here I am using bits of fabrics, maps, an old Farmers Almanac (I’m always looking out for interesting old paper items), some ribbon, lace and tissue paper.

I start with a generous piece of parchment paper (buy it in the baking aisle at the supermarket). Lay it down on your working surface.

On top goes a layer of Misty Fuse. Over that I arrange my first layer of paper, fabric, etc.

Then another layer of Misty Fuse, and more “stuff.”

After it looks the way you want it to, top with another piece of parchment paper, and press with a hot iron. Al of the layers will adhere together.

For this project, I cut up my layered work, added a few more touches, like wording, for my cards.

I also add some stitching.  The adhesive bond with paper is not very strong, and I like the look of the stitching anyway.

Misty Fuse packaging and  my first layer: parchment paper, Misty Fuse and some fabric, ribbon etc.

Misty Fuse packaging and my first layer: parchment paper, Misty Fuse and some fabric, ribbon etc.

cards 2

This is after three layers of papers, fabrics, ribbon, etc. It has also been pressed with a hot iron. Don’t forget to use another piece of parchment paper, or your iron will get all gunked up.

Cards 3

Here are a couple of my finished cards, with words added, and some stitching.

A quilting friend called me out recently for, essentially, being guilty of unimaginative quilting on my Studio Art Quilts.

Quilting is the stitching that holds the layers of a quilt together.  That is true whether speaking of traditional quilts, or Art Quilts, which is what I make.  They are quilts for the wall, not the bed.

She was right. For my free motion stitching I was basically using only either stippling or straight rows of stitches.

II started studying free motion quilting patterns, and I decided to be more imaginative with quilting my areas. I still wanted to make sure the quilting was appropriate for my composition and design. For example, I wouldn’t want to use a flowery quilting pattern on a brick wall. Probably not, that is!

I found to be very useful. Leah Day is a good teacher, and her little videos of each design she comes up with were all the instruction I needed to get started. I also follow her on Pinterest.

Here are a few details of my pieces since I’ve been working harder on this aspect of my work.

quilting detail tree branchQuilting detail black and whitequilting detail, black and white 2