Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Fabric of Peace

In the midst of all the Christmas craziness I had one last deadline to meet. I finished a quilt square for the Regional Center for Women in the Arts , Fabric of Peace project.

It's a painting on fabric with dyed silk organza sewn over it. I titled it Peaceful Water.

The finished quilt will be displayed across the country and abroad to communicate women's shared interest in world peace. With my nephew being deployed to Iraq 3 days after Christmas this is a project I can get behind. I can't wait to see the finished quilt and hear where it will travel.

Sweet Basil Thai Cuisine restaurant in Chadds Ford is hosting an artist's reception for my work on Sunday, January 3rd, 1-3:30 pm. Appetizers and soft drinks will be served, but you're welcome to bring a bottle. Please rsvp to if you're planning to attend. If you've never been to Sweet Basil you're in for a treat and will want to stay for dinner, trust me. Wishing everyone a wonderful holiday.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Painting Exhibition at Sweet Basil

I survived the Craft Show at the DCCA, even with bronchitis and major sleep deprivation. The big hit of the evening was my felted rocks
felt rocks turq 1.jpg
and collage kits. It was a fun night and I made a lot of new connections. Thank you to everyone who stopped by my table to chat. Also, I just want to say that I'm very grateful for my studio artist friends that support me weekly in my artistic endeavors.

I have bracelets and wristlet purses available for gift giving, just drop me an email. I haven't had time to get more in my etsy shop yet. Check back soon.

I hung my paintings this week at Sweet Basil Thai Cuisine in Chadds Ford, PA on 202. Thank you Griselda and Paul, especially Griselda for putting up with me putting so many holes in her walls. The paintings look great there, Griselda thinks I must have painted them for the space. I think we've decided on Sunday, January 3rd for an artist reception. I'll post an update when I have a time. Here's a sneak peek of how it looks. Oh, by the way the restaurant is BYOB and the food is really good!



In the studio I worked a little bit on 2 fiber pieces for a juried show submission.
"Cerulean Water" 91 x 45 inches


"Red and Gold" 15 x 9 inches

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Craft Show at DCCA

I think that sale I made 2 weeks ago went to my head. Last week I signed up to do the Craft Show at the Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts on the evening of Dec. 4th. That gave me 10 days to make product which is now 5 days, yikes. Yes I'm counting Friday, I might even be hand finishing things at my table that night. Nothing like a deadline to get yourself moving. On Wed. I took one of my purse panels cut it in half and made my first wristlet.

Here's my second one, 4 to go.


Putting in zippers isn't exactly fun but I'm crossing my fingers they'll go smoothly because I don't have a lot of time for mistakes. I'm also hoping to whip up a few more bracelets.

In the midst of this craft explosion(and I do mean explosion, you should see my house) we took a family trip to check out Eastern State Petitionary in Philadelphia. This prison was built in 1829 based on the idea that solitary confinement and labor would lead criminals to become pentinent. Each prisoner had a private cell with plumbing and heat and a private exercise yard. After 147 years of consecutive use it was abandoned and left to decay in 1971.

The minute I walked in the door I was snapping pictures. If you live close by you really should go. If you do, make sure you take your allergy meds and be ready for the funkalicious smells. The property has been left to deteriorate naturally and that's what makes it so cool. The history of how and why it was built is fascinating but I was in love with the textures and the crumbling layers of days gone by. How is it that disgusting, disintegrating plaster walls, wooden doors and metal structures can be so beautiful, or at least to me. On top of all that they have invited artists to create installations to compliment the wonder of this place. The installations fit in beautifully and are shown in some of my photos.








Matthew and Jonathan Stemlar : Juxtaposition


Judith Taylor : My Glass House



Linda Brenner : Ghost Cats


Saturday, November 21, 2009

Nuno Felted Bracelets


Ya gotta love the internet! Last week I sold 6 wool and silk organza bracelets because of this blog. Just when I was sure no one was reading this. The email came late at night from someone in Atlanta, Georgia saying she saw my wool bracelets somewhere, maybe on my website, their not on my website but are in this blog and that she would love to buy some! She used lots of exclamation points so I thought maybe it was a scam. I answered and told her I'd send her some photos of what I had. I photographed just about everything I had and sent it off in an email. She responded with the 6 that she would like to purchase. Sceptic that I am, I still thought maybe it was a scam. She paid my paypal account right after I sent the request so, yeah for me. I created some beautiful packaging and sent them with love to Atlanta, Georgia. Wow! Needless to say since then I've been working on my etsy site.
It's almost impossible to photograph your own wrist but I do it anyway and then sweetly ask my daughter to help me out. Our patience for each other usually lasts just long enough to get one bracelet photographed.
Here's one I just listed.


In the studio I was stretching canvases and other boring work this week. I was glum about it and my friend Dennis reminded me that's why they call it artwork. So yesterday I rebelled and sewed some of this green silk I dyed last week onto circles made of boning. I said I was going to play around with the fiber installation so I did just that. This isn't finished and I don't even know if it will ever be anything. It's is a sketch, a study done in silk organza, boning and fishing line.


Another shot of fabric draped over a painting.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Encaustic Painting, Fiber Installation


I worked again on encaustic paintings this week. This is one that I finished, it's 6 x 6 inches. I worked on another one forever, laying on color and then scraping it down only to not like what I scraped down to, and then painting it over again, ugh. I just don't know if I should throw in the towel altogether or just give it more time. With my students I never let them be hard on themselves. I tell them you didn't learn to walk overnight, you fell down a lot but you didn't give up. I don't know what to do. My very wise daughter of 11 years, said to go on to something else and then come back to it. She says whenever she does that she learns something from the new thing that she can use in the old thing she was frustrated with. So I think I'll take her advice. I did work on 2 others I kind of like that I'll post next week, then I think I'll give it a rest and come back to it. Hopefully my daughter's advice will play itself out.
All the fabric from my window display was in a huge box in the middle of my studio last week. Since I was opening the studio I had to deal with it in one way or another so I hung it and then I played around with it. Now that it's hung I'm forced to deal with it. This is a close up shot of part of it.
I'm going to continue to work on it and figure out what it wants to be and how it can evolve into sculpture. Sculpture? I did some soft sculpture in college but it was stuffed and heavy, I want to make this light and airy. I'm going to be adding some greens to the turquoises and creating forms with wool felting and sewing.

Remember this?
I had my friends Drew and Steve look at it and found out with their help that it actually works much better when they're hung closer together. I had them about 6 inches apart now they're 3 inches apart, or it might be even closer than that.

I just had no idea that the measurement between a two pieces of a diptych could vary so much and what a huge difference it makes. Wow, thanks guys, now I think it's done.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Open Studio

Here's what I worked on last week.

This is 2 canvases that are 36 x 26 inches each.
I just don't know if it's finished, Im probably going to do one more subtle pour this week. It's almost there.
My studio will be open along with other studios and openings in the galleries this Friday evening 5:30 to 9:00 at the Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts, 200 S. Madison St. Check the website for details

Monday, October 26, 2009

Working in the Studio


This is an ink painting I worked on this summer. For me it sums up our summer trip and I think it's title should be "Looking for the Waterfall". It looks like the global positioning unit we used in my car whenever we set out on one of our sightseeing trips. So does that keep this piece from being abstract because it so closely resembles a map?

I seem to be struggling with this concept of abstract versus abstraction in my work. Labels, genres, categories and such seem to be for art historians so I shouldn't concern myself with this while I'm working. That said, it's always good to ask questions, and know where you are heading like looking at a map once in a while. I feel the work should have something to say, whether everyone gets it is another question entirely. I always say that images were used to communicate before written language and have the potential to communicate more directly than words. My work comes from my heart and usually communicates what I'm going through so maybe that's exactly why the work is a struggle right now. It's caught between representation and non representation as I struggle with whether to paint for an audience or paint purely for myself with no regard as to whether it will make it into a prestigious gallery or sell for a nice price. Is validation from an outside source as important as I perceive it to be?
Then on top of that I add working with a new medium just for kicks.
Here are some encaustic paintings I worked on this week.



These were 2 that I kind of liked. Another one I fought with for days wasn't even worth photographing. I was ready to just throw in the towel even though I'm not a quitter. I was thinking to myself maybe I should just be concentrating on oil painting and give up on the encaustic while I'm ahead and then I eek out one or two little things that keep me intrigued. This week it was gouging out lines, then filling them with a color and then scraping the whole surface smooth so that the fill color only shows in the gouged areas. That is called learning and then comes applying that knowledge appropriately and with finesse. Stay tuned.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Picking Up Where I Left Off

September was a crazy month of painting fabric and nuno felting for my window display. When it was done I was exhausted and so anxious to get back to painting. Last week I cleaned and tried to return my studio to some kind of working state. I had these two canvases 26 x 36 inches that I decided to make a diptych and primed them a midnight blue. Boy, they looked dark. Today I took the plunge and did my first pour of oil paint on canvas since last May. There's some glare because the paint is wet.


It's a start and feels more successful than the messes I made in encaustic. I haven't worked in encaustic in a long while and I'm still struggling to get what I want. I feel like a foreigner or a child, or both. I feel like a child in a foreign land. When I first started working with it, that is what I liked about it. It was exciting, like traveling to a new place where you don't know the language and you don't know what you'll encounter. Now I'm finding I can work for hours without bringing a piece to completion. I layer, melt, scrape, and still no satisfaction. Frustrating. I guess it's like learning a foreign language. So I was thinking about how a child communicates. They have limited vocabulary but usually find a way to communicate their needs. Sometimes it's with a cry that communicates loud and clear. So I tell myself I need to simplify, resort to a limited vocabulary. I guess that can be scary sometimes, to drop the pretenses and just say what you mean. Another advantage children have, they don't mince words they just say what they mean without the superfluous adjectives. I'm trying too hard, I guess. I keep hoping the results will be worth all the struggle. Here's a few pieces I'm still working on.





Then I grabbed a small panel that had some colors smeared on it from when I needed to clean my brushes from time to time. I painted some dark brown circles, when in doubt paint circles, right? Then I layered and carved, drew with oil pastel, ran out of time and called it a day. I kind of like it, I mean I really think I like it. It's simple and to the point. What do you think?


Monday, October 5, 2009

Windows Throughout Old City

I completed my window display and installation at J. Karma Boutique at 62 N. 3rd St. in Old City Philadelphia! I worked myself to exhaustion and beyond. I'm happy with most of it, but there were I few things I wish I could have worked on but there just wasn't any time left. I installed on Thursday for 8 hours, up and down a ladder, every change I made I had to go outside to see how it looked from the street. Despite my inexperience in these things it went pretty well. I finished my sketch and a few small changes in the window on Friday. Now it's done and all I can do is take away the knowledge of what I'll do different the next time I do an installation.You can check photos of the other windows and vote for your favorite at (you know what I mean, vote for me.)Studio shots..

You are invited to join me at the opening in Old City.
Dane Decor is hosting an opening reception for the DesignPhiladelphia Old City Window Reception on Friday, October 9th, 5:30-9:00:
Hors D'oeuvres by Tastebuds Market
Wine Service by Pinot: They will serve Pinotini's! Pinotini's are Pinot's Specialty Drink of Raspberry Vodka blended with Pinot's own Cabernet Chocolate Sauce.
Everyone is invited to attend: Window Designers, Old City businesses, residents and their friends. Dane Decor will also have digital photos of windows around Old City in their showroom so everyone can see what is going on in the
Don't forget to vote for your favorite window at

Monday, September 21, 2009

Windows Throughout Old City

When I got back from vacation I'd been away from my studio for 10 weeks. It might seem like a long time but when I'm away from the studio that doesn't mean I'm not working. Coming up with all those projects for the kids keeps my creative mind running full speed and then finding ways to display it all is a creative endeavor also. When I'm with my sisters we're into one creative project after another. We bead together and scour every shop in Skaneatles, some of our best finds were in the church thrift store. Even if we're not buying we're discussing how something is made and what colors we would make it in. I saw some really nice nuno felted scarves and garments in the Artisan Gallery. The silk was really soft and hand dyed in beautiful colors.
Sue and I felted some rocks. I've seen them on Etsy and couldn't wait to try it. These are some we made.

I also made Sue a couple nuno felted bracelets to match some of her outfits for work.

When I got home I posted a few bracelets and purses to my Etsy shop before I got too busy in the studio. I want to post more soon but I have a very tight deadline on this project I jumped in on. I'm participating in Windows Throughout Old City, a window design exhibition and competition as part of Design Philadelphia! Well I've been talking about making one of my paintings into a 3 dimensional experience like an installation for some time now. I bought white organza to paint on and even did a small painting with fabric dyes before I left the studio. As soon as I signed up for this competition I started painting fabric, yards of it that will be felted. I made lots more felted rocks and constructed a small mock up and photographed it. Every night when I close my eyes I try to imagine how these painted fabrics and rocks will become an installation that surpasses mere window dressing. Well, I'm still working on many ideas and trying to bring them together into one brilliant idea. The waterfalls I visited this summer and white water rafting on the Moose River in the Adirondacks are my inspiration. I met with my business owner Jeanne of J. Karma Boutique on 3rd St, last Friday. I brought sketches, photos of my paintings, painted silk organza, felted rocks, papier mache rocks and hoped and prayed that she would love my idea. She did! Now here's the catch, I was preparing to design one window and she has 3 windows. So instead of doing one installation I'm doing 3 and the deadline is Oct. 2nd. That's 2 weeks away and includes photographs and a sketch of the final work. So much to do, so little time.