Planet Textile Threads

August 31, 2015

Margaret Cooter

Arting about in Bermondsey

"The glassblowing place" always has yummy things to look at - this time among them was this "Dragon Boy" by David Reekie -
 which has much to do with Norwich Snap Dragons -
 At White Cube, the cause celebre was Marc Quinn, with painted, taped, and printed canvases mounted on aluminium sheets and then crumpled and tossed about (but look at the reflections in the smoooooth cement floor) -
and cast metal, beautifully polished ... one piece was an enormous wave and the straight lines on the floor reflected in interestingly wiggly ways ... but could I be bothered to get out my camera? (oh dear...)
 Walking briskly, we dropped in to the Bankside Gallery, which has a biographical exhibition about Agatha Christie (till 6 Sept) ... including her typewriter ... on the way to tea on the Dazzle Ship, where a stiff breeze kept almost all the wasps away -
And on the way to Fleet Street to find a No.4 bus, came across a good display of the history of that famous centre of printing and publishing -

Sad to hear that St Brides Library is about to shut down - what will happen to the books? Ah, it says here that there are no plans to sell or give them away...

by Margaret Cooter ( at August 31, 2015 09:12 AM

Neki Rivera

of happy accident and good vats

simple itajime, wanted lots of white.

but then this happened. a fortuitous pin created a line of rusted dots.

 pleased with the outcome of this. slow tying but well worth it.


experiments with adapted kitano technique.

this vat is really amazing ; good color,good smell, it even takes a bit of accidental dripping without acting up.

neki desu
Creative Commons License

by (neki desu) at August 31, 2015 08:05 AM

August 30, 2015

Margaret Cooter

Blast from the past - a table runner

Sometimes the samples made in workshops turn into "something". This strip was printed in a masterclass with Els van Baarle in 2007 at Festival of Quilts. The flowers are shapes made of wire and dipped into wax; the squares were once a foam brush, cut into "teeth" - one dipping gives a lot of wax prints -
 Pink, red, and purple were added, with more waxing between each -
When as much wax as possible was ironed out, I liked the stiffness and didn't bother getting it drycleaned to get the rest of the wax out, but added wadding and backing, then put it under the machine and finished with a few french knots.

by Margaret Cooter ( at August 30, 2015 09:01 AM

August 29, 2015

Virginia A. Spiegel

Tomorrow (Sunday) – Last day to see Land Lines


Thanks to all of you who have already visited Karen Stiehl Osborn’s and my Land Lines exhibit.  We so appreciate all your positive and affirming comments about the art.  A huge thank-you also to the Jewish Community Center Art Gallery in Omaha, NE for so generously providing the gorgeous gallery and lighting our artwork so beautifully.


Tomorrow (Sunday, August 30) is the last day to see more than 40 pieces of artwork that highlight Karen’s and my love affair with the natural world.

Karen and I are seriously thinking about creating a catalog of this exhibit as it really is one of our personal favs.  Stay tuned for more news on that front!


The Jewish Community Center Art Gallery is located at 333 South 132nd Streetin Omaha.  Gallery hours are 11 am-5 pm Sunday. Contact Gallery Manager, Lynn Batten, (402-334-6564)for more information.

by Virginia at August 29, 2015 07:59 PM

Natalya Aikens

saturday snapshot

I created a little artwork for a friends birthday. The detail below is an in progress shot. What I really wanted to do was post a slide show of its evolution that I had shared on Instagram.... but alas for some reason I cannot get it to post here... But you can watch it here!

by Natalya Aikens ( at August 29, 2015 02:21 PM

Margaret Cooter

Friday Late at the V&A

We were at the V&A for "Shoes: Pleasure and Pain", late in the day, and on emerging from the exhibition found that the bar was open!
So we sat a while and took in the scene - the museum transformed by lighting, music, and people (many people!) doing non-museum things -

Having seen the exhibition, we found the shoes of considerable interest -
"... and pain"

As well as the characters -
"Free Hugs", he offers
 Red, or rather vermillion, seemed to be omnipresent -
... flashing past

...on the special programme cover

... and in this group of posers with their photographer

by Margaret Cooter ( at August 29, 2015 12:40 PM

August 28, 2015

Sarah Ann Smith

Foto Friday: Found Alphabet

This week’s assignment was to find a letter in the alphabet–specifically one of your initials–for your assignment.  Since I teach this exercise in my quilting design class, I didn’t want to go with the expected like a creek or shoreline or the neck of the pink plastic flamingo.   So I opted to take a photo of the top of the dining room chair, duplicate, flip, and tweak in Photoshop.  Fun!

Egads what a production!  Such a simple idea:  merge the tops of my dining room chair into an “S.”  Took eons with deleting, blending, re-doing, etc.  Finally used liquify when I couldn’t manage to blend the variations in the blue wall!  But I didn’t want to go find a stream or hose, so here we are!

Egads what a production! Such a simple idea: merge the tops of my dining room chair into an “S.” Took eons with deleting, blending, re-doing, etc. Finally used liquify when I couldn’t manage to blend the variations in the blue wall! But I didn’t want to go find a stream or hose, so here we are!

Been busy dyeing fabric and puttering about the house this week.  Hope to have a few more posts soon!


by Sarah Ann Smith at August 28, 2015 11:33 PM

Olga Norris

This wet-ish weather

This year has been an odd one for me because I have grown very little.  Only dwarf french beans and borlotti beans - no tomatoes, courgettes, peppers, or anything else.  So not only has the weather not been right for Summer, but also there is no great freezing going on in the kitchen now as Autumn is almost here.
The damp weather has helped me stick to my stitching - but it, and the stitching have not helped my mildly arthritic fingers.  So, today diversion tactics have been employed both in the kitchen and the workroom.
This year I have dusted off a gadget my husband gave me many years ago: the ice cream maker.  I love ice cream, but find that commercial brands are getting too sweet to taste good.  This year I have taken to making much less sweetened ice cream, frozen yoghurt, and sorbet.  This morning I made raspberry sorbet - a cool substitute for ratatouille!
In the workroom I have been building up more stitching for the future by developing some image ideas.
Now that my fingers are rested I can spend the rest of the day stitching.

by Olga Norris ( at August 28, 2015 04:31 PM

Margaret Cooter


Back and front,  Escomb Saxon Church -
"Here lieth the body of Ralph Simpson, who departed this life September the 19 Anno Domini 1729"

These two are near each other at Dryburgh Abbey -

by Margaret Cooter ( at August 28, 2015 09:59 AM

Neki Rivera

to be enjoyed

because you deserve it.
have a great weekend.

neki desu
Creative Commons License

by (neki desu) at August 28, 2015 08:00 AM

August 27, 2015

Margaret Cooter

"Folly" - art at Fountains Abbey

Overlooking the Georgian water garden, at tree-top level, in a "grecian temple", the Temple of Fame, is theatrical designer Gary McCann's "Lost Property" - collected from visitors, the lost items provide sustenance to fantastical creatures which have taken up residence in spaces previously controlled by man (or so the "Folly" leaflet says!)
Further along is the Octagon Tower -
Inside, Irene Brown (curator of the Gallery of Wonder) has installed a Hall of Mirrors - infinite views and the illusion of endless perspective - it feels like you're in a kaleidoscope -
We didn't have time to see Simon Costin's "Curious Tale of the Professor & the Temple", but it's intriguing to see that he's launched the Museum of British Folklore.

A short video giving a taste of the Follies is here, and the exhibition continues till 29 November.

(Poetry Thursday is having a brief holiday!)

by Margaret Cooter ( at August 27, 2015 11:58 AM

August 26, 2015

Virginia A. Spiegel

Only 4 days left to see Land Lines


Where did the month go???

There are just four days left (through Sunday, August 30) to see Karen Stiehl Osborn’s and my Land Lines exhibit. We have filled the Jewish Community Center Art Gallery with color and light.


Karen (artwork on the left) and I both work with abstract imagery drawn from the natural world.  Our artworks are lyrical tributes to specific places incorporating memory and emotion.

The Jewish Community Center Art Gallery is located at 333 South 132nd Streetin Omaha.  Gallery hours are 8 am-9 pm Monday – Thursday, 8 am-5 pm Friday,and 11 am-5 pm Sunday. Contact Gallery Manager, Lynn Batten, (402-334-6564)for more information.

by Virginia at August 26, 2015 05:30 PM

Neki Rivera

of ramblings

once i finished drafting the dress block i am now immersed in high manipulation in order to get this.
the instructions seem clear, but i don't know with my present knowledge, or lack of it i'll succeed. but hey, she who doesn't risk...  we shall see.

moving on. why is it that drop clothes 
-nerdy term for the cloth in which you cover your table- 
or papers are serendipitously more successful than any purposely painted surface? can't believe the richness of this paper; it begs to be turned into  a piece

 maybe adding a small piece on the side?
some stitching?

moving on further.who says blogs are dead ?now facebook and instagram, not to say twitter: try to better all this rambling. HA!ಠ ಠ

neki desu
Creative Commons License

by (neki desu) at August 26, 2015 09:28 AM

August 25, 2015

Terry Grant

Watching the volcano


In 1999 my, then, 22 year-old daughter Emily was teaching English in Ecuador and she and some friends decided to climb, with a guide, to the peak of Cotopaxi, the tallest active volcano in the world. That's her on the right, at the summit. I knew nothing about this caper until I got a phone call from her, excitedly proclaiming, "Mom, Dad, guess what I did this weekend!" Cotopaxi is just outside the Ecuadorean Capitol of Quito and is a spectacular sight on clear days. Emily and her family were in Ecuador earlier this month and she posted this photo from the Air B'nb in Quito where they were staying.

That's Cotopaxi poking up near the center of the photo. As you can imagine, she has a special feeling and fondness for the mountain.

When Ray and I visited Emily in Quito in 2004, she arranged for us to visit her mountain. We took a van up as far as the road goes and parked in a big, windswept parking lot. The plan was to hike, with our guides, up to the base camp, which was visible from the parking lot. The summit towers above the base camp. When I stepped out of the van I was hit with with a wave of dizziness and my heart began to pound as I struggled to get enough air in my lungs. One look and the guide said, " No. You can't go. You must wait in the van." I seem to be more sensitive to the altitude than the others. It took no convincing for me to wait in the van. I read. I drew in my sketchbook. I slept. I moved as little as possible. Here is the sketch I made, sitting on the van's back bumper. When I look at this sketch I can feel the cold and the fog and the buzzy light-headedness that overtook me.

Now Cotopaxi is erupting after nearly 140 years. So far it is sending plumes of ash into the air. No one knows quite what to expect. One of the fears is, of course, more violent and damaging eruption. Another is that it will become hot enough to melt the glacier that covers its peak, sending massive flooding into the valleys below.


I think of all the times I have heard on the news of a volcano erupting in some far off part of the world. It passes through one ear and out the other, without making an impact. Ho hum. But now it's a little more personal. I have been there. I have stood, very shakily, on that volcano. I will be watching. Want to watch along with me?





by Terry Grant ( at August 25, 2015 11:14 PM

Olga Norris

Another dreich day

Stitching summer colours on a dreich late summer's day.  Lush greens abound in the garden as the leaves drip. 

by Olga Norris ( at August 25, 2015 01:24 PM

Margaret Cooter

Drawing Tuesday - Wallace Collection

Before starting to draw A45 I had a long close look, and read the description in the catalogue of armour -

The vocabulary! - helmet, yes, but what's a buffe, or for that matter a cuisse and greave, pauldron, gorget ... the poleyn wings and couter wings of the visor? This is a specialised world, another sort of universe...

Here's the outcome of a morning's work. He's looking a bit grumpy because not only is he more asymmetrical than he should be (especially that withered right leg!), but his feet have been cut off and he's lost a hand. I did love adding in the little rivet heads -
When it got too daunting, I noted down some shapes from across the room, especially the chain-mail sleeve and the sallet with its interesting buffe (A189)
or else tried to decipher the swirls of the rapier handle from a distance -
All distraction... but eventually A45 was complete, if asymmetrical, and it was time for coffee and seeing what the others had found.

Jo focussed on some non-armour and then "in the spirit of the thing" delineated this fellow in mere moments -
whereas among Mags' studies of rapiers - including a page of their blades - was this exploration of various drawing materials -
Cathy caught the gleam of metal and the interesting armour for a horse -
 and Janet worked on a companion piece to the back-end-of-a-horse done at a previous session here -
At home, curious about the names of the various bits, I found a relevant book -
part of the British Museum's "Medieval Craftsmen" series, published in 1992, at which time it was selling for £6.95 - now it can be had for £23 or more online, whew!

I added a couple of sets of armour from the book to my page of diversionary sketches, including one that didn't have arms because of being shielded during jousting.

Sorry about the dull photo - between them, the camera and the computer are on all sorts of last legs, desperately needing replacement.

by Margaret Cooter ( at August 25, 2015 09:59 AM

Neki Rivera

not much to show

slow weaving-2 shuttles and the wool tends to stick somewhat. the repeat is 868  picks and i'm halfway. 30 some centimeters. there's a threading error- see if you can spot it, but i'm going to go along because there's no easy fix for it. except cut and rethread and no señor. the fabric is quite forgiving from a distance and i'll try if possible to minimize it with the pattern placement.
tomorrow i'll do some sewing related stuff so that i don't get obsessed with the error.

neki desu
Creative Commons License

by (neki desu) at August 25, 2015 08:00 AM

August 24, 2015

Terry Grant

I thought I was done...

I really did, so I hung it up to look at for awhile and something kept nagging at me. Something else. It just needed something else, and I kept thinking I wish I had put just a spot of something red in there. It really seemed to be crying for just a little red—a roof, or??

And there was something else that just wasn't quite right. It didn't take long to make just some small changes and now I think it is done.

Camas Prairie finished and now I'm on to something new.

What a busy summer it has been. Beth and I haven't gotten a lot of walking in, but had a good walk this morning. Our favorite walk has thrived in our absence.

The Beavers and ducks have well and truly taken over a section of our paved walking path, which has been under water long enough now that wetland foliage has begun to grow up along the new shoreline and the dog walkers have worn a new path uphill from where the old one disappears into the water.

We've yet to see a beaver, but there is plenty of evidence that they are there, busily designing thir new habitat.


Beaverton. I guess there's a reason they named the town that.


by Terry Grant ( at August 24, 2015 11:47 PM

Margaret Cooter

Middlesex Filter Beds

Last Monday's cycling discovery, turning off the familiar path, was Middlesex Filter Beds (river water filtering slowly through sand). It's also a nature reserve, and where the path ends is a large sculpture, a sort of Stonehenge, by Paula Haughney, Nature Throne (1990), of which these are detail views -
Elsewhere, giant hogweed along the river, a swerving path -
Ah, the river....

On the walk to the station, the corner of Hollyhock Heaven is now dense with verbena -
 the hollyhocks gone to seed (and what wonderful seed) -
 Other seeds have flown -

by Margaret Cooter ( at August 24, 2015 09:28 AM

Neki Rivera

how many layers is too many?

more puff paint,but this is somewhat less of a sample more of a sketch.the gold texture is stenciled puff paint on lutradur,painted and zapped with the heat gun.then some stitching and more heat gun. added two layers of  black tulle one with larger holes behind and a very fine whisper of a tulle in front. both were stitched some puff paint added.
this time i used the hairdryer as i wanted to preserve the integrity of the tulle.

this one although still a sketch had to be more thought.
there are 4 layers of lutradur painted,stamped and  machine stitched together .
the last layer is very fine lutradur stamped with puff paint,
then painted and finally zapped to reveal parts of the bottom layers. the puff paint didn't puff so much, but the texture is nice and has definition.

these are in between loom rest sketches actually r&r and by that i don't mean music  。^‿^。

 you can feel even in the city that there's a change; the light,the heat and humidity are almost not bothersome, the plants. in a few weeks a new season will be here.

neki desu
Creative Commons License

by (neki desu) at August 24, 2015 08:00 AM

Rayna Gillman

Day two of class - moving right along

Yesterday, everybody tried to get their right brains working and we mostly succeeded, despite some whining about "I can't work without a pattern."  Today, some of those left-brained people  had learned to trust themselves, rely on their instincts, and to stop censoring their work/trying to control it before they had even made enough STUFF to play with.

One person, who started working with a piece of this god-awful log cabin block, was well on her way to incorporating it into a very cool piece.  She's still working on it - so we'll see what develops.
One of the women, who was a new quilter and had only ever worked with patterns, had this piece done by the time she left today.  She has promise.

Everybody was busy working with some color limits, and Debbie (front right) was working in black/white/chartreuse and making great progess on it.

(shows up navy blue on my screen, but is really black).

Tonight, Debra Jo Hardman hosted a FAB pot luck at her house. Everything was beyond delicious and it was probably the best salmon (chinook?) I have ever had.  The company was great, too - and it was good to meet the husbands and - uh - talk about other things besides quilting.

 Alaskans are hearty souls, I must say.  I had my share of pitching tents and dealing with camping in the first decade of my first marriage.  Today, my idea of roughing it is staying at the Hilton. LOL.  No, I haven't seen a moose but at home I have deer waltzing up to my front door and standing in my driveway.  And haven't seen a bear, but we have those in NJ, too. Happily, I have not encountered any mosquitos.  But the people I have encountered are simply wonderful.  I am so happy to be here.

by (Rayna) at August 24, 2015 05:24 AM

August 23, 2015

Dijanne Cevaal

Mountains to Move

I arrived back from India on Friday night and taught a workshop yesterday at the Camberwell Sewing Centre so I finally have some time to blog properly. My apologies for not posting more frequently but my laptop conspired against me- it decided the top two rows of keys would only partly work.

India was a fabulous experience ,but apart from some time in Delhi and Bhuj and Mandvi I spent most of my time at the workshop of the Stitching Project near Pushkar. There is a reason for spending time in one place, actually more than one reason. It was great to spend time with Fiona Wright, we seem to be able to nudge each other along a little and for my part I can see things more clearly with a little nudging, and it is wonderful bouncing around ideas and exploring whether we are daydreaming or whether things can become a reality.We intend to keep the nudging going into the future and we hope we can nudge you along too! But more of this later.

 I also  came away very inspired after the Creative Camp in February earlier this year and there was some finishing I needed to do. I  kind of focused on my banksia journey whilst I did  the camp and its kept going so it was really great to finish a project I started in the workshop with Sanju in Sujani embroidery. To say a lot of stitching happened is an understatement.But without that little workshop my Babbling Banksia piece would not have happened in the way it did.

I love being in one place for a certain amount of time- learning to understand the minutae of the rhythm of a place. So I enjoyed watching Fiona and Praveen's Stitching Project unfold day by day. This is such a wonderful inspired project- yes it's a business and as a business they employ people ( many women who would otherwise not have work and men too) but it is structured on the philosophy of working ethically, paying fair wages and creating high quality product, and if these principles are adhered to it creates more opportunity for everyone involved.I sat and watched and stitched and sometimes was able to  help in a small way, but hats off Fiona and Praveen- its a wonderful project and business you have created from scratch...I think you have set the bones for a good ethical business that  can only be a win win for everyone involved and adds to your community and world.

So one of the things that really inspired me from the February camp was the woodblocks. I do lots of linocuts and love the effect, but woodblocks are subtly different and equally as mesmerising.I knew  i was going back to India so I sent some designs for the woodblock carver the Stitching Project uses to make me some more woodblocks.And as I seem to be on a banksia bent of course I sent a banksia drawing. So these were duly printed on hand painted and hand loomed fabric . Each panel measures 45 cm x 38 cm and they are for sale at $25 per panel inclusive of postage. There are four colour ways which you can see below.

Email me if you would like one of these hand painted and printed pieces to create your own Banksia world! Colours are as you see, as well as a grey/limey green which you can see Mahindra printing in one of the photos below.

No trip is complete without a visit to a museum- well for me anyway. So  before leaving India we went to the Indian Museum in Delhi. Absolutely wonderful things in there pertaining to the incredibly diverse and ancient Indian heritage. This is not a diaspora though no doubt there is influences of that- but it is a long and vitally interesting heritage. The images below were from an exhibition entitled Cosmology to Cartography  with this pilgrims map showing the pilgrim how to travel on their pilgrimage. And of course a tree from the Miniature art section- just love trees and this one was particularly beautiful.

My finished Babbling Banksia piece with a thousandfold of stitches and a Nudge project in the form of a hand bag. Using indigo scraps from the Stitching Project workshop and not wasting a thing - made into a travel bag with lots of zippers and just great for travel.

Printing with woodblocks on to hand painted handloom fabric and a little shrine in the backyard of a friend of Fiona and Praveen's who has started a bakery, making  bread inspired by his exposure to german breadmaking. The bread is delicious

Ladies inspecting my stitching on my Babbling Banksia piece and Fiona and Praveen instructing women on the stitching that is needed on some of the work  that has been created. The focus is on quality and making sure everyone understands the right way to do things. However there is still room for the individuality of the stitch to shine through the hands that make it.

by Dijanne Cevaal ( at August 23, 2015 11:15 PM

Margaret Cooter

How's that again?

"Intelligent electricity? Do they think they have smarter ohms?"

aww, sweeeet.....

by Margaret Cooter ( at August 23, 2015 09:02 AM

Rayna Gillman

pictures tomorrow

I was too busy teaching to take usable photos today.  Mostly, I was turning them into black and white so people who couldn't figure out why their quilts were just not interesting, could see their UFOs were all the same value.  More about this tomorrow.

Meantime, tonight I had dinner with Nancy Blick Dobson and Diane Melms.  They are both wonderful, accomplished artists and I urge you to go visit their websites.  For some reason, blogging on my iPad won't let me insert links, but please Google both of them.

I have "known" Nancy for a number of years. She lives in Grand Junction, CO and in Anchorage. The twice I had taught in Grand Junction, she had already left for summer in Anchorage, but her work is in both my book and in my lecture on working in a series.  We were both glad to finally meet in person.
Diane is generously putting me up at her home while I am teaching in Anchorage, and to me, it is like living in an art gallery.  I am just the luckiest person to do what I do and go where I go!

My class is Cincdrella Quilts: Reinventing the UFO, and I'll have some before and after pix later today.

by (Rayna) at August 23, 2015 06:05 AM

August 22, 2015

Margaret Cooter

Gone wrong, gone very wrong

Elsewhere on this blog is my tried-and-true recipe for "easy-peasy brownies", which I made today in a bit of a hurry. I've made it in a hurry many times before, but this time something went wrong. The dough is mixed in a saucepan - you start by melting a big block of butter and then add the cocoa, sugar, eggs, flour, walnuts, and vanilla, in that order.
Yes, it looks like brownies ... but that dish of golden liquid is butter. The butter separated out, and the baked brownies (if they can still be graced by that name) feel rather rigid when tested with a fingertip. I suspect they will be ... chewy, at best.

Are there any food scientists or home ec teachers reading this? What did I do wrong? Is it a matter of too much stirring?

by Margaret Cooter ( at August 22, 2015 05:43 PM

Rayna Gillman

more inspiration

As I write this, it is 10:30 and dark.  But at 9:00, when I got back to the hotel after a lovely dinner chez one of my students for the upcoming 3 day class, it was still light.  How cool is that?  I have finally acclimated to the 4 hour time change; the first few nights I went to sleep when the sky still looked like this.  
Spent today at the Anchorge Art  Museum and the Alaska Native Heritage Center, both of which were eye-opening experiences.   Nan and I arrived at the Native Heritage Center shortly after the beginning of a wonderful program of native dancing and songs.  I didn't take pictures because I felt it would be disruptive, but it was beautiful and instructional.

Earlier, we had been at the Anchorage Museum and I loved learning about the various (the largest) tribes and looking at their art.  More inspiration for me!  Just a few of the items that caught my eye.
Class tomorrow: I had better sign off.  

by (Rayna) at August 22, 2015 06:43 AM

August 21, 2015

Sarah Ann Smith

Dinner@8 Artist interviews–my turn!

Today is my day on the Dinner@8 blog.  Each year, Jamie and Leslie interview the accepted artists and feature the answers on their blog.  I love reading these interviews, even when they are people I know in real life (as in, in person).   I invite you to visit here for my interview and here for the general blog address.  Tune in every week day now through October 7th!

And just as a reminder and so we have a nice picture, here’s my entry for this year’s Affinity exhibit:

(c)Sarah Ann Smith 2015; quote (c) Mirza Khan, used with permission

(c)Sarah Ann Smith 2015; quote (c) Mirza Khan, used with permission

by Sarah Ann Smith at August 21, 2015 04:23 PM

Olga Norris

A quick design

Another in the queue for vinyl (lino) cutting - always time for a coffee break!

by Olga Norris ( at August 21, 2015 05:14 PM

Sarah Ann Smith

Foto Friday: Old Paint and a Tenth Blog-o-versary

Hi everyone!  Happy Friday!  It is, according to my calendar, my TENTH anniversary of blogging?  How the heck did that happen, ten YEARS?   So I’m celebrating with TWO posts today.  The first is my Foto Friday from my 52-Week Photography Challenge class with Ricky Tims, and later today I’ll post about my Dinner@8 interview.

So this week’s challenge was Old Paint.  Here are my top three choices:

This is the photo I submitted as my class assignment. A picturesque (means falling apart) buidling on our property. LOVED this shot but it needed some work. Deepend the leaf shadows, then dodged the shadows on the left part of the hinge so it was more visible. Reduced highlights a tiny bit. Selected the cracked windowpane and lightened as it was too dark—overpowered the rest of the door. Summer in Maine!

This is the photo I submitted as my class assignment. A picturesque (means falling apart) buidling on our property. LOVED this shot but it needed some work. Deepend the leaf shadows, then dodged the shadows on the left part of the hinge so it was more visible. Reduced highlights a tiny bit. Selected the cracked windowpane and lightened as it was too dark—overpowered the rest of the door. Summer in Maine!

Here are a couple more:

This might have been my choice but once I was home (and didn't want to drive 22 miles back into town round trip). Had high hopes for this one, but disappointed in the depth of field…f/13 not enough. Would have been better with flowers and siding crisp. May try to head into town and try again.

This might have been my choice but once I was home (and didn’t want to drive 22 miles back into town round trip) I saw on my laptop that it wasn’t crisp. Had high hopes for this one, but disappointed in the depth of field…f/13 not enough. Would have been better with flowers and siding crisp. May try again the next time I’m in town with my camera.

Another shot of the picturesque (aka decrepit) building on our property. Why no door on the right? Because it LITERALLY came apart into a crumpled heap. And the plywood that has covered up the opening blew down late last winter. Need to fix. Soon. Autumn is trying really hard to begin! Decreased shadows a tiny bit, knocked back highlights a bit more. Punched up contrast.

Another shot of the picturesque (aka decrepit) building on our property. Why no door on the right? Because it LITERALLY came apart into a crumpled heap. And the plywood that has covered up the opening blew down late last winter. Need to fix. Soon. Autumn is trying really hard to begin!
Decreased shadows a tiny bit, knocked back highlights a bit more. Punched up contrast.

Other photos from this week are on my Flickr site, here. Happy Blogoversary everyone!


by Sarah Ann Smith at August 21, 2015 12:13 PM

Margaret Cooter

Journal quilts, second batch

These seem to be going from separately gathered sections to one big piece. It's stowing away all the thread ends that takes the time, so doing it all-in-one makes sense.

Method: Gathered synthetic organza, with applied snippets of fabric, and the gathering threads left in. The pieces are steamed and then spread out to measure 6"x12", and fixed to a backing. They are palpably springy, as well as a little bit glittering ... something to tempt the hand as well as the eye.

The first batch of these purportedly monthly creations are here on this blog, finished just before the due date. The next batch are due to be posted on the CQ yahoogroup at the end of the year. I wonder how many other people leave making their JQs to the last minute, rather than actually doing it month by month?

by Margaret Cooter ( at August 21, 2015 09:51 AM

Neki Rivera

master of masters

arai junichi textiles.
have a good weekend!

neki desu
Creative Commons License

by (neki desu) at August 21, 2015 08:16 AM

August 20, 2015

Rayna Gillman

Glacier day

I got a real education yesterday -- one that all the Flat Earth People should have.  Yes, the glaciers are melting and dying at an astonishing rate.

Nan took me for a drive in the morning to Kenai National Park and we walked through the woods to where a glacier used to be.  Along the way were signs showing where the glacier was in 18-something, then 1929 and 1957, etc. as we got closer to the glacier. We were walking where there had been ice and was now forest.

See all this gravel?  This was ice not very long ago.  See that glacier?  That is how far it has receded.

Nan told me that 20 years ago, the glaciers came much further down.  Now, most of the ones I saw looked like snowcaps, they were so far up the mountains. (see the one on the left of this photo)
You see blue in the ice because blue light waves are the only ones that don't get absorbed, so they reflect back.  
This is glacier ice which has broken off from the big one.  This is continually happening.
Here is Nan, holding a piece.  It is as clear as -- uh --- ice.
In the afternoon, I took a six-hour cruise (more about this further down) and of course, the drinks on the boat were made with glacier ice.  

Here is the harbor in Seward.  The  tree line stops at a certain point, and the rest of the mountain is bare.
The cruise's destination was the Holgate Glacier, which has not yet receded -- and I was very sad to think that someday, it will also be gone.  Scary.  Right now, it comes down to the water, as they all did once upon a time.  Nan tells me that there in the last 20 years, she has seen the glaciers shrink like crazy.   Here is the Holgate Glacier, which comes right down to the sea.  Gorgeous!!
President Obama will be in Alsaka in September.  He ought to bring a posse of those senators on the other side who don't believe in climate change and refuse to do anything about it.

Today, Nan and I are going back to Anchorage and I'll be there for the rest of the week.  I give a lecture to the Anchorage guild tonight and then we have a couple of more free days to go to the museums in Anchorage.  Class starts on Saturday.

by (Rayna) at August 20, 2015 04:59 PM

Olga Norris

Late Summer wayside

Today I drove along country roads, and enjoyed the last of the summer flowers.  It all felt very English in the way that costume dramas portraying the post war years tickle the nostalgia nerve endings.  What leapt to my mind was Cicely Mary Barker's Flower Fairies - reminding me of my years working for Blackie, her original publisher. 

by Olga Norris ( at August 20, 2015 10:28 AM

Natalya Aikens

a "what I have been up to" blog post...

yes... What have I been up to? Well.... aside from shuttling my kids to and from sleepovers, playdates, pools, beaches and other summer pastimes, I have prepared for and spent the day showing my art at the Chappaqua farmers market Art Under the Bridge with Northern Westchester Artists Guild. That was a fun if hot day, I met tons of new people and even sold some art!

I have been doing a bit of hand stitching on an artwork that has really been lounging around unfinished for way to long. And will probably lounge around a bit longer.

I've been organizing my studio and office. That's hard to really get into as first I need to make a bigger mess and that's a bit of a problem with guests in and out of the house.

And I have been working on a rather large artwork. It's going in fits and starts, but it's going.
I started with a sketch, let's call it Crosswalk for now
I added sky. These are strips of various plastic shopping bags from the blue color family.
Then I started making buildings in pinks and oranges.
And this is where it has been for a week now, waiting me to start on the church and the sign.
Maybe next week I'll have an update where all the blanks will be filled in. A girl can dream...

by Natalya Aikens ( at August 20, 2015 09:41 AM

Neki Rivera

experiencing texture

i've always shunned textures. working with textures was,for me, an easy,obvious solution or effect.
like using red in a composition-instant miracle! .maybe it's a peeve developed in the 70's with all that lumpy clumpy look. visual texture is another thing, takes much thought as it is a more sophisticated resource.but again this is just me.

the time has come to experiment with  puff paint in surface design and actually playing around.
the above is a sandwich of florist mesh, lutradur, poly organza and puff paint stitched together and zapped with a heat gun to see what happened.  high drama.i think it could take a bit more heat to expose the bottom layers, but heat guns are treacherous animals.

stamped on lutradur, good definition, but lacks dimensionality 

 nice lace effect on lutradur good puffiness, controlled heat gun.
lutradur laciness can be exploited to an advantage.

thick application, some puffiness. could work once painted.

 parchment paper with photo transfer, slick surface. good puffiness which leads me to infer that the less porous the surface the better the result and the more controllable the heat.

it's been fun and liberating, no pressure to create a finished work. like sampling at the loom!

neki desu
Creative Commons License

by (neki desu) at August 20, 2015 08:00 AM

Gerrie Congdon

Modern Art Kimono


We had a very interesting talk and showing of kimonos at our local SAQA meeting today. Lorenz Hermsen collects kimono and haori from the early 1900s, concentrating on kimono that was inspired by modern artists. Here is what he says on his website:

The first quarter of the twentieth century, especially the Taisho Era (1912-1926), saw Japan’s interest in Western art and culture increase dramatically. Japan was entering the modern age, and with that came greater ease of travel, a flow of information, women entering the work force, and, for some, a departure from traditional Japanese values.

During this time, kimono remained the mainstay of clothing for women. While their structure did not change, their surface design began to reflect increased contact with the West, as some designers looked to Western art and design for inspiration. These ‘modern’ kimono represent a melding of traditional Japanese sensibilities with new, Western–influenced ideas. They are also valuable as objects of art, as these kimono designers were not mere copiers, but creators of original art synthesizing East and West.

Movements such as Arts and Crafts, Impressionism, the Vienna Secession, Art Nouveau, Cubism, Expressionism, Futurism, Art Deco and Constructivism are recognizable. Many of the major modern artists are represented, such as Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, Paul Klee, Raoul Dufy, Marc Chagall, and Joan Miró, as well as important textile designers of the era—William Morris, Sonia Delaunay, Ruth Reeves, and others.

I just loved seeing these kimono and the fabrics. I was totally unaware of these textiles and I was mesmerized.

The haori up above was probably inspired by the work of Chagall. Here is a detail:


What blew my mind was how this was done. It is a form of ikat weaving called meisen. Here is what I found on the web regarding meisen:

Meisen was patterned using chemical dyes that were mixed with rice paste and applied through stencils on to warp (vertical) threads woven with temporary weft (horizontal) threads. After application of the dyes, the latter were unravelled and discarded and the true wefts woven in. This was a speeding up of the traditional kasuri (ikat) technique, by which sections of yarn were hand-tied or compressed in certain areas to prevent the colour penetrating when the skein was dipped in the dye bath. The new method produced the characteristic blurred outline of kasuri, but also allowed for the creation of more complex designs, particularly when a system for stencil-printing wefts as well as warps was developed.

This was a lovely indigo kimono:


And a detail of the very modern print.


And another:


And detail:


I loved the colors in this one, that looked art deco to me:



Here are some details of kimono and haori:

This piece was inspired by impressionist trees.



I just loved the wacky orange and black graphic lining in this one.


This was a very modern design done in the old shibori method. The colors were wonderful.


He also brought lots of kimono fabrics to sell.


And even though I fell in love with this one, I did not buy anything. Those who have been around a long time must know how hard that was for me as I used to use a lot of vintage Japanese fabrics in my work.


I am slightly immobile again since by other knee is in lots of pain. It is a week of meetings, High Fiber Diet last night, SAQA today and STASH tomorrow. I delivered my tree quilt to SAQA today. It will probably be traveling for a couple of years.


by Gerrie at August 20, 2015 05:08 AM

August 19, 2015

Sabrina Zarco

Sunflower Summer Love

Summer on the ridge has been a wonderful experience. This is a photo of the sunflowers that showed up last summer. I was excited to have them pop up on one of the paths alongside the house. There were three large plants that bloomed all summer.

This year the same spot is overflowing! Must be the monsoon rains that started early and have been visiting our spot on the ridge quite often this summer. So many plants and blooms I can't count. I transplanted some near the front of the house and still they are popping up all over this path. 

I first thought the hundreds of tiny green plants coming up might be weeds or something with icky thorns. I was concerned about how covered this path among the rock outcroppings would be and the hassle of having to create a new safe path on level ground to pass this side of the house. I thought maybe I would just clear them before they grew taller than I am, yes all 4 ft 11 inches of me, but something in the wild breeze said be still and wait. 

Often in life I am in a rush to get on with things and when something appears to be a potential obstacle I want to solve it as soon as possible. This lesson from ridge life has taught me to be still and trust the process. I am learning to slow down and to appreciate each stage of the process vs. rushing to the end. 

Quincy loves running this path and a few hundred sunflowers only made it more fun.

After a lots of running through the flowers it was time to head up to the deck for a cool drink and enjoy the flowers from the deck view.

May the rest of your summer be filled with bright moments of sunshine. Take a moment to stop and run through the flowers when the opportunity arises. And remember to be thankful for the small things that show up in life and no matter how challenging…trust the process.

by Sabrina ( at August 19, 2015 01:55 PM

Margaret Cooter

Stitched marks

Continuing with mark-making in different materials - this time cloth and stitch, using the twist of the thread to vary the marks it can make. Above, adding thin strips of fabric adds another element; below, thick silk thread and thin cotton, both using two stitches in almost the same place, most of the time.

by Margaret Cooter ( at August 19, 2015 09:09 AM

Neki Rivera



temperature it means i'm weaving again!  and a two shuttle weave nonetheless. the numerous heatwaves took their toll on equipment too, the loom cords stretched out so everything had to be readjusted again.
yahoo news insists on saying that a car in italy melted due to the heat.unless it was made of: ice, cheap chinese plastic or putty i don't see how. adding that italy,even during a heat wave, is no hotter than mauritania or the arabic peninsula on a regular day. 


a close up of the fabric.i think my camera wants to say good bye and exit.having a hard time getting well focused photos.

while on the focus topic-rant alert.
what's with google now?are they forcing people to sign up to google circles or google plus?
there are some blogs that get changed and you can only comment through those services.not only does everyone want your mobile as a security backup just in case. tsk, snigger,snigger; yes sure because they are concerned about us. end of rant.

neki desu
Creative Commons License

by (neki desu) at August 19, 2015 08:00 AM

Rayna Gillman

being a tourist

Although I am lecturing and teaching a 3 day class in Anchorage, I am in Seward, sightseeing with Nan Thompson, who brought me here.  Seward is a 2 hour drive from Anchorage and along the way, we stopped periodically so I could take pictures and walk around a bit.  I have been getting an education about Salmon, the glaciers, and other things.  Fascinating!  

Somebody needs to send all those climate change non-believers up to Alaska.  The white and blue section in the middle of those two mountains is a glacier.  Nan tells me that 20 years ago, the glacier came all the way down to the water and you could see the ice breaking off and floating away.  Now, the glaciers have receded all over the place and they are getting smaller because they are melting.
This is another glacier, also farther away than it was originally - but clearer, anyway.  By this time, the clouds had begun to lift.

We stopped to take a walk and Nan thought I should get off the path and experience walking on the tundra.  There is ice under the tundra, way down.  But the earth is very spongy and it is a strange feeling to walk on the tundra.  I don't know whether you can see my foot sinking down a little bit, but here is the photo I took. 
It is very beautiful here. and the mountains make me think of when I lived in Boulder.  Interesting about the plants that grow here: there are far fewer species here than it the lower 48 because of the light and the cold.  Plants that survive here need to be able to grow in low light and survive the winters. so they are somewhat limited by those two things.  I already forget what these are called, but they are all over the place, and such a stunning color.

Our last stop en route to Seward was to see the salmon spawning.  They lay their eggs and then they die.  These salmon have come home and are going to spawn.  There were lots of them in the water.

Today's tour is over.  I'm taking a day cruise tomorrow and promise more pictures.   Meantime, I have some catching-up to do with my sleep. My body thinks it is 1:am, although it is 9:pm (and still daylight).

by (Rayna) at August 19, 2015 05:00 AM

August 18, 2015

Sarah Ann Smith

MQU: The Fourth Quilt Layer

The opening spread of my article on stabilizing the quilt sandwich in the July/August issue of Machine Quilting Unlimited

The opening spread of my article on stabilizing the quilt sandwich in the July/August issue of Machine Quilting Unlimited

Over the past six years, I have been fortunate to have been invited to submit a quilt and to have works accepted in the Dinner@8 Artists exhibits and in Living Colour Textiles.   For those shows, work had to be a specific size.  The problem is that when you quilt, especially when you quilt a LOT, as I do, the quilt shrinks.  And you need to have a good composition and framing once it is done–not chopped off, not too much leftover because the piece shrank less or more than you expected.

It is hard to predict how MUCH it will shrink.  So I decided I needed to tackle the problem and acquire some knowledge.   It was a lot of work to test nearly a dozen stabilizers, so I was thrilled when I proposed an article on my explorations to Machine Quilting Unlimited and they agreed it would be a useful article.

This is the cover of the current issue with my article:

The cover of the issue with my article.

The cover of the issue with my article.

and a bit more:

This page shows some of my testing in  progress--yes, there are ELEVEN samples.  All quilted the same.  Can you say TEDIOUS?

This page shows some of my testing in progress–yes, there are ELEVEN samples. All quilted the same. Can you say TEDIOUS?

The issue is still on stands, and is available for order on the MQU website here.  The article also has a link to an on-line Web Extra with all the extensive details of the testing on various stabilizers, interfacings, and canvas/cotton duck which you can print out for your own reference.

Even happier, at the end of the article I mentioned that I would be trying cotton duck, dyed by me, as the backing instead of a fourth layer.  That quilt is made and has been juried into this year’s Dinner@8 exhibit, Affinity.  And in the January 2016 issue MQU will publish my article in their “Challenge Quilts” series about Descended From the Stars.  WOOT!

by Sarah Ann Smith at August 18, 2015 05:44 PM