Planet Textile Threads

May 30, 2015

Margaret Cooter

Blast from the past - sofa cushions

The moth-fight has its upside - such as rediscovering things stashed at the back of the cupboard.
These cushions have seen better days and in fact the covers are now in the bin, and the pads (feather filled; £3.85 at John Lewis, back in the day) are offered on Freecycle.

The centres were printed (in a press) from some copper plates found at a flea market, ages ago. More of those prints are ... somewhere; so are the plates. The cushions date back to my early years in this flat, mid-90s, and have been in storage for ... no idea how long. They've cleared some room.

And weren't particularly well thought out, in the first place - one of those ideas that you have to act on instantly, for the joy of getting it done.

It may be that they were chair cushions rather than sofa cushions. I used to have some rather uncomfortable folding chairs with slatted seats.

It's good to move on! I also found a box with some printed cotton dresses from the 70s or perhaps even 60s, found at jumble sales and intended for patchwork. Colour theme: lilac. Now they are "vintage" and I'm wondering what to do with them. The yardage that was in the same box is leaving the building as soon as possible - it's of no interest to me now.

In case you think this is suddenly being too ruthless  ... we had a bit of a shock in that the young man who works with Tom found himself out on the street in the middle of the night, without shoes even, watching his home go up in flames. He and the other residents were lucky to escape with their lives - minutes after they were roused from sleep and hurried out, their rooms were blazing. Everyone lost everything - computers, clothes, bikes, cash - but "it's only stuff".

by Margaret Cooter ( at May 30, 2015 10:01 AM

Fighting moths

The beige wool carpet in my (adult) son's room has been thoroughly chewed by moths, working in the quiet darkness of a place where furniture isn't regularly moved to let the hoover in. Moths thrive in dark, undisturbed places ... and there are a number of those in the room. It's his responsibility, really, but after seeing a grand flutter of wings when I had to go in there one day, I decided that action couldn't wait.
He moved the furniture into the small amount of clear space, and then kept moving it at appropriate intervals; throughout the day I used his workshop hoover, and the smallest nozzle, to go over every inch of the carpet, edge to edge. "You can do anything for 15 minutes" - again and again - do an area, spray it with a magic elixir, then go do something pleasant while it dries. Repeat throughout the day, as fresh areas of carpet become available.

And, as mothers do, I did a bit of dusting in the room ... though while I was shaking the duster out the window, the morning's fresh breeze whipped the yellow cloth out of my hand and sent it blowing down the street. It's probably caught in some tree round the corner. Replacement dusters come in packs of four, but I find that one lasts for many years, with considerate usage.

On top of the beige wool carpet lay a persian rug, a present to myself when I moved into the flat 20 years ago. It now has some areas of moth damage -
Hoovering from the back showed up the bald patches, and I've applied Fray-Check in hopes of holding the tufts in place, but they may well disappear up the nozzle the next time this rug is hoovered from the front. It's been sprayed too. Everything is getting sprayed - in hopes that this elixir really does do what it says on the tin - but also among the small print is an instruction to repeat the treatment within a month if possible.

That's up to the room's usual inhabitant. He's now aware that it takes only moments to move the furniture, so a bit of carpet spraying shouldn't take much longer.

And perhaps he'll undertake rotation of woolen items through the freezer - which is the best (the only?) way of keeping a check on the moths in clothes ... they certainly do love cashmere, don't you find?

by Margaret Cooter ( at May 30, 2015 09:42 AM

May 29, 2015

Olga Norris

Early morning sunshine

I have learned by living here that the aspect of a house and its views is critical to enjoying ones surroundings.  One of the joys I derive is the way the sunlight falls in the morning and evening.  The biggest windows face northish, and so we catch the early morning sun from the right, enhancing the lighter elements of greenery, while also, from the opposite direction in the evening we are treated to the warmer glows on the plants.
This morning as I came in to work in the sewing room I was delighted once more by its peninsular aspect.  I have windows on three sides, with a glass door in the fourth wall.  I am extremely fortunate, and had a sudden impulse to take some snaps to share.  The technical quality is distinctly absent, but it is the spirit I wanted to convey.
Although I describe it as the sewing room, it is also where I do all my computer work, and indeed everything that I do not want to get messy - that takes place in the print kitchen.  The snap immediately above shows my view out while working at the computer, and in the foreground can be seen the bookmarks I'm preparing for the Bookmarks XIII Project.  (For those wanting to know what the book under the latest SDA magazine is - it's Printmaking off the beaten track by Richard Noyce.  It and the mag are there for when I need a 'now for something completely different' moment possibly also leading to some internet research.

Now to get down to some work!

by Olga Norris ( at May 29, 2015 04:51 PM

Musical (?) diversion

I decided that the tuba had to be the next instrument to add to my musical series - to draw rather than play.  I'm not completely happy yet, but it served its purpose in helping me to concentrate while listening to an online information-laden lecture.  The joys of technology!

by Olga Norris ( at May 29, 2015 04:49 PM

Neki Rivera

a new hero in my book

something for everyone.
have a wonderful weekend

neki desu
Creative Commons License

by (neki desu) at May 29, 2015 09:32 AM

Margaret Cooter

Slow but steady etc.

Of a morning, it's best, I find, to get straight into the studio after making a pot of tea - leaving the computer till later. (Or else you somehow never get to the studio. Why is that?)

So for the past wee while I've been taking the tea over to the workbench and letting it cool while I get stuck in to continuing with the Elements quilt. The time available to finish it is rapidly disappearing - I need to submit before leaving on 3 June.

A few days ago it looked like this, being built up row by row of overlapping squares - not very promising, I felt ... and rather lost heart ... but "I've started so I'll finish" and one must Simply Carry On -
Today it is starting to come together, row upon row (attached with backstitch) - although the blue doesn't really sing out. Hey ho. It does look more vivid in real life - a little more vivid, anyway, and those glimmery circles (floaters??) add a je ne sais quoi - 
At the current - escalating - rate of progress, there's a good chance it will actually get finished. I'm unsure how to finish the edges and rather regret not cutting the background to size at the outset, and machining along the edges before attaching anything. But at that point I was planning to use machine stitch for attaching the squares, which might have shrunk the quilt further.

It's always been part of the plan that any fraying of the squares - at the sides of the quilt, or elsewhere - is part of the "natural ageing" of the piece - analogous to the natural ageing of the eyes [title: Elements of Visual Perception].

by Margaret Cooter ( at May 29, 2015 09:53 AM

Gerrie Congdon



This mess is what I have been working on this week. I am trying to create the redwoods photo in fabric. I am doing the confetti collage method where you use bits of fabric and then cover it with tulle, pin it down and quilt the heck out of it. I am using a lot of my hand-dyed fabrics to get the special effects of sunlight through the giant trees. Here is the original photo.


I have set it up on my sewing table which is not quite the full size I need. I so miss my old work space at the big house, but I am adapting. I am using the ironing board for my cutting surface.

Last night was my last art quilt class. I didn’t get a lot of photos, but my students did such a super job. Last night. I gave them the opportunity to make a fiber art postcard. Here is my sample, not finished.


Here is a student postcard. I took my sewing machine in so that I could zigzag stitch the edges.


And here is am art quilt done by one of my teenagers. I love how she did the curvy landscape.


The stove in The Congdo is falling apart. It has cheap plastic parts that are cracking and breaking. To replace the parts. it will cost quite a bit so we decided to get a new slide in GE range. Can’t wait for it to get here.

So now you know why I have been a slacker blogger.


by Gerrie at May 29, 2015 05:22 AM

Rayna Gillman

a day full of sunshine

Literally and figuratively--a joyful day in NY.  No rain!! I met my friend Carolyn at City Quilter; Carolyn and her husband Bruce are here from England, spending  a few weeks in and around Manhattan, visiting friends.  Luckily for me, the friends had other plans today, so Carolyn and I had a chance to browse around the shop and then go for lunch till Bruce met up with us. 

Ahem. After declaring that I never buy fabric, I managed to make a liar of myself with these two fabrics I couldn't resist.  (Especially since they were on sale).  They don't look like me, do they? 

 Love those cocktail glasses with the striped stems (the fabric designer seemed to think they were posies - but what does she know?) and the color combination makes me smile.  Ditto those big circles.  They are so whimsical that they are inspiring me (to do what?). Washed and ironed, they are smiling at me while I finish making those string blocks.  Four more to go and then the real work begins.

I just made a small pot of coffee so I could stay up and sew. There is something lovely
about being able to make coffee at 10:pm and stay up as late as I want to because I don't have to be anywhere else tomorrow. I love my little French Press that theoretically makes 3 cups, but it really makes only one.

On the counter is a strainer with yogurt that will be labneh (Lebanese yogurt cheese) by morning. I have been reading cookbooks for recreation, which is not such a great idea when I am trying to lose weight.  But I walked 4.5 mi. today so I figure it evens out.  Before leaving the city, I stopped at the International Foods shop on 9th Ave and 40th St. to stock up on feta, spanikopita, kalamata olives, halvah, taziki, and taramasalata (their taziki and tarama are the best anywhere, hands down). Oh, and Lebanese pita which is thinner than Greek pita.  Tomorrow, I will have a Lebanese breakfast.  But tonight, back to the sewing room for a little while, at least.

by (Rayna) at May 29, 2015 04:12 AM

May 28, 2015

Margaret Cooter

Poetry Thursday - Modern Love by Douglas Dunn

(Bit late with this today - been fighting moths - but I hope you enjoy the poem!)
Matisse, Acanthus 1912 (via)

"Modern Love" - Douglas Dunn

It is summer, and we are in a house
That is not ours, sitting at a table
Enjoying minutes of a rented silence,
The upstairs people gone. The pigeons lull
To sleep the under-tens and invalids,
The tree shakes out its shadows to the grass,
The roses rove through the wilds of my neglect.
Our lives flap, and we have no hope of better
Happiness than this, not much to show for love
Than how we are, or how this evening is,
Unpeopled, silent, and where we are alive
In a domestic love, seemingly alone,
All other lives worn down to trees and sunlight,
Looking forward to a visit from the cat.

Douglas Dunn (b.1942) is a major Scottish poet. After attending the Scottish School of Librarianship, he worked for 14 months as a librarian in Akron, Ohio, leaving after being involved in a serious car accident and receiving call-up papers for the war in Vietnam. In 1969, studying English at Hull University, he graduated with a first-class degree, by which time he was working in the university library under Philip Larkin. It was Larkin's refusal, after publication of Dunn's first collection of poems, to allow time off for reading engagements, to led to the decision to become a full-time writer in 1971.

You can read what happened next here.

by Margaret Cooter ( at May 28, 2015 11:06 PM

Neki Rivera

about finishing

right off the loom and it sprung, but waiting for the wet finish to see the outcome. i've learned a lot here; about tension, about crepe yarns, about weaving a long warp on a table loom. who would have told me it was possible to develop rhythm weaving on a table loom!
still need to think about the overdyeing whether to use logwood or a red dye,whether to overdye it straight up or do the funks.

neki desu
Creative Commons License

by (neki desu) at May 28, 2015 08:07 AM

Rayna Gillman

rain, rain, go away...

I shouldn't complain, based on what is going on in the rest of the country.  Hope all of you in Texas and Oklahoma are safe.  But I'm going into the City tomorrow and would prefer not to use my umbrella. 

Today, I did not put one toe out of the house  aifter I retrieved the newspapers from the driveway.  I sewed.  

String squares: the original paper piecing.
A friend of my mother's showed me how to sew strings to newspaper squares a full decade before I made my first quilt. She was not a quilter - just had a lot of sraps and was making summer coverlets. I thought it was fun, but I was newly married and forgot about string quilts  for about 40 years.  Then I discovered that they made fun baby quilts -- and made some for gifts. Then, forgot about them again when my kids' friends took a break from having babies.

 A week or two ago, too tired to think, but needing to sew, I cut a bunch of squares from a junk mail prospectus (phone books or newspapers are good, too), threw a pile of strips into a trash basket, and went to work. These were single strips of all lengths and widths.
But I also have a ton of already-sewn-together leftover free-form therapy strips.
I set my machine stitch at 1.5 because it's easier to rip the paper off when you have small stitches.  I assume that every quilter on the planet has made a string quilt at some point because they are so basic.  But just in case you haven't, here's my process.

1.  Lay two strips down and sew them to the paper.

 2. Flip the top one so it's face-up.  Then flip down the rest of the triangle so it is out of the way.
 3.  This is what it looks like on the back with the corner flipped out of the way.  Now just ignore it and keep adding strips to the strips.

4. Add a few more and flipped the triangle back up for a minute, just to see what length the next strip needs to be. They get shorter as you go along -- no need to waste long ones as you get closer to the top of the triangle!
 5. Almost there - then do the same on the other side. The center strip is anchored, so you can flip back the paper and just add strips.  Saves a lot of grief when its time to take the paper off.
6.  This is what it looks like when the whole square is covered.
 7.Now turn it over and trim off the overhanging pieces, using the paper as your template.
 See? This has only one or two seam lines going through the paper, so it's easy to remove.
 Because the stitches are so small, it rips away easily.
Done!  Now, on to the next one.
I have four more string squares to make and then I can cut them all to the same (more or less) size, put 'em together and go from there.  But I'm done for tonight, so these four will have to wait till I get back from the city tomorrow.

by (Rayna) at May 28, 2015 03:21 AM

May 27, 2015

Margaret Cooter

Drowning in fabric

The past few days have seen a flurry of curtain making - not my favourite sewing activity. Even though my sewing space is fairly large, there has somehow never been enough room for laying out the fabric and being able to pin things easily.

Most were "medium-sized" curtains, or rather, curtains for medium-sized windows, but one curtain was a door curtain -
The fabric for that, and its matching window curtains, came from an end-of-roll sale at a local upholsterer, total cost £10 - the curtains used every inch, and have false hems. Cost of lining, ruffling tape, hooks - £38. Time taken - 10 hours (includes conversion of Ikea loop-top pair). Job satisfaction - 5/10.

My tips for curtain making -
- clear as much space as you can, and sweep the floor
- pick up threads as you go ... or the curtains will ...
- set up the ironing board next to your machine, and use it to support the fabric
- measure twice before cutting (ie, measure both edges)
- measure the windows yourself if at all possible
- pin up hems and put curtains on the rail to check the length before machining them
- check that lining hems don't droop below the curtain hem
- preferably use a steam iron that doesn't leak

and - if in doubt, buy an extra metre of ruffling tape. I'm half a metre short, and must go back for more. 

by Margaret Cooter ( at May 27, 2015 09:06 AM

Superscript overkill

The silly-seriousness of the "little sentence" (description, mission statement, catch-phrase - what's it called??) that follows the company name didn't sink in till the lights changed and the truck moved off, so it's hard to see the words, never mind the superscripts. Here's a closer view -
Note the superscript R in a circle after "nila" (= registered trade mark, presumably) and the TM superscript after "name" - or is it "final name" that's trademarked? [and why?]

An overkill of punctiliousness? But the rules of what we used to call "display matter" indicate that less is more in titles - superscripts (eg reference numbers in titles of journal articles) are a no-no. Equally, they're out of place here ... or perhaps they abound in such situations, and this happens to be the first time I've noticed them - seen any good superscripts lately?

by Margaret Cooter ( at May 27, 2015 09:03 AM

May 26, 2015

Terry Grant

Southern History and Hospitality

Lexington, Virginia is a lovely old town, steeped in history. A really beautiful place for a long walk.

This is Stonewall Jackson's house.


And this is Robert E. Lee's church.

Washington and Lee University.

Lee's Chapel. He was a president of the university.

Right next to Washington and Lee University, is Virginia Military Institute. The lawns actually flow from one campus into the next.

That's Stonewall Jackson.


From Lexington we drove to Charlotte, North Carolina where we picked up Ray's brother, Roy, who flew in from Montana to continue the trip with us. It was so great to see him! Reminded us of meeting up with Roy more than 40 years ago in Rome and traveling together. In Charlotte we had the good fortune to stay with Roy's brother-in-law, John, who just moved to Charlotte. We had also been contacted by my brother's wife's sister, who lives near Charlotte, who invited us to go with her and her husband and another couple, to a winery for the day, yesterday. OK, have you followed all this? The cast here includes: me; Ray; Ray's brother Roy; Roy's brother-in-law John; my sister-in-law's sister, Linda; Linda's husband Brian; and Linda and Brian's friends Carol and Rob. Whew! (Pay attention— this will be on the test!) Anyway, a big group, mostly strangers to one another. But it turned out to be a wonderfully fun and compatible group. We had the greatest day together at the beautiful Raffaldini Winery. We tasted wine, drank wine, listened to music, drank in the views, laughed, told stories and by evening we were all best friends and shirttail relatives!

Ray recently installed drip lines in our garden and his greenhouse. He had to check out how the experts do it.

Sometimes the best days just kind of magically happen. Good wine, beautiful setting and, most important, good people.



















by Terry Grant ( at May 26, 2015 05:55 PM

Margaret Cooter

Drawing on Tuesday - Imperial War Museum

 The intimidating guns outside the museum (which until 1930 was the Bethlem Royal Hospital) are 15-inch naval guns developed in 1912 and used on 22 ships - like the model below, which sits at the entrance to the WWI galleries.
After a bit of drawing amid the cacophany of sound and low lighting of the galleries (fine for walking through, less good for staying in), we ended up in the more spacious central area, which held planes and jeeps and other larger military equipment. The engine of the V-2 rocket called to me - was it skeleton-like, or more like guts? - but despite my fondness for drawing bones and tubes, it all but defeated me.
 I was not bold and decisive with it, perhaps from some idea that you have to know what things are called in order to draw them [wrong!]. Or perhaps I didn't spend enough time Just Looking before leaping in; in any case, as time went on, my drawing was getting nowhere; written analysis didn't help, nor did trying to start with the darkest bits or focus on negative spaces -
 Eventually a tiny corner took shape -
Being some distance away didn't help. The closer view was fascinating ... I'd like to know what the "dangling" the pipes are for -
Here is the rocket being installed piecemeal at the museum; at the very end, showing the other side of the engine, now covered by the carapace.

The museum cafe was convenient, if crowded (and rather pricey, but aren't they all?). We were lucky to get a table, and Cathy got the prize (had there been one, and there wasn't) for Sketchbook Cover. Neither camera nor photo editing caught how the stitch colours interact, around the printed shapes -
 She had been drawing the doodlebug, suspended overhead, and included a bit of the V-2 to give it some context - and the impression of forward motion -
Janet B turned from drawing soldiers' uniforms to these three toby jugs (the museum has at least 10 in its collection) -
Janet K was interested in soldiers' kit too - 
Sue was drawn to the shapes within a large rusty object - obviously a car of some sort - and later learned it had been donated by Jeremy Deller. Called 5 March 2007, it was rescued after being mangled in the al-Mutanabbi Street bombing in Baghdad, an explosion that killed 38 people in the "street of the booksellers", a centre of literary and cultural life in the city.
" It is more than wrecked. It appears to have been flung in the air, crushed, then burned in an inferno. It suggests a human body in a deeply perturbing way," said a review of its installation in 2010. It toured America - representing the effect of war on civilians - before coming to the museum.

For completeness' sake, my other drawings - , and some grappling with that rocket engine
warm-up blind drawing, funny helmet, uniform (I quite liked
drawing the uniform, with its floating cap
grappling with that rocket engine
some sort of result
Interesting facts about Britain on the eve of WW1 -
-life expectancy was 54 for women and 50 for men, and whereas the median age of death in the prosperous West End was 50, in the poor East End it was 30
-school leaving age was 12, and by age 16 only 6% of children were in education
-only half of men (and no women) had the vote
-a pint of beer cost 2 (old) pence
-there were 300,000 horses in London - and 3000 motor buses, but most people used (horse-drawn) trams
-half the world's ships were built in Britain
-1 in 20 of the British population emigrated

And also -
In 1914 the average wage for a basic 58 hours working week was 16 shillings and 9 pence. By 1918 the working week was 52 hours and the average weekly wage was 1 pound 10 shillings and 6 pence.

by Margaret Cooter ( at May 26, 2015 09:09 AM

Neki Rivera

the cools

some cool on line apps to have some photofun. seems that the world has definitely moved to the cloud. much like photoshop. no wonder it's from autodesk.

neki desu
Creative Commons License

by (neki desu) at May 26, 2015 08:00 AM

Dijanne Cevaal

Week 3 Florence Dreaming and a Linocut

That week certainly flew by like lightening. I had a friend, Margo Bimler come and stay for a week or so at the little apartment I have rented, and as she had never been to Florence we also visited some of the bigger museums like the Uffizi ( my goodness what treasure , too much to take in really) and the Bargello Museum. One of the exhibits I had earmarked as must see for me ,the Museum of Santa Maria de Fiore is shut for restoration so alas I could not see the ecclesiastical embroideries I had so hoped to see- designed by Antonio Pollaiolo and dating from the early renaissance. I did write to the Museum but it is shut until the end of October and they are taking the opportunity to restore the embroideries at the same time.

Colombina is coming along- I have nearly finished all the stitching just as I am about to leave and she did hang out with some  iconic Florentine paintings and sculptures.

The beautiful portrait by Bronzino of Eleanora de Toledo and her infant son- there was a heater shelf just underneath the painting and no one paid Colombina any regard. The image below was of a statue at the Bargello Musuem,  I have no idea who the sculptor was as I did not record the information as it was too high up to see, but she did have a tambourine, and Colombina being of a theatrical bent  decided to make her acquaintance.

We also visited the charming city of Siena ( my middle daughter is named after this lovely city) and we spent a good while at the Pinocoteca which has an incredible number of  Madonnas form the Siena school  dating from the late 14 th century onwards. Some of these are gorgeous, but the gold leaf is so intense and reflective it was hard to get good photos especially with the glaring lighting reflecting on the gold leaf. The Duomo is spectacular with  white green and pink marble on the outside and banded white and black marble inside. The floor  which is inlaid marble is simply stunning, it was also packed with visitors whilst the Pinocoteca had but few visitors, making the visit most enjoyable.

The detail  on the Incoronazione della Madonna by Bartolo di Fredi (1353-1410) is just gorgeous and a lot of the detail work on the gold leaf was created with a punch of sorts. You can see tha punches used better on the following image which is a detail of a painting by Niccolo di Segna (1331-1345) entitled I Santi Benedetto e Michele Arcangelo

ThisMadonna by Matteo di Giovanni (1433-1495) had a sweet face and the baby was sort of passable as a baby- but I particularly liked the angels- they were quite beautiful.

The Santa Maria chapel dome and details of the marble floor ( the taking of Jerusalem) and Siena sky-line.

And I am trying to produce a little work, though after walking around all day and Florence certainly is a walking city, sometimes the energy is a bit lacking! We did revisit the Palazzo Davanzati because I love the frescoes in this museum and I loved the trees in the frescoes- it has inspired me to make a design for a linocut. course the linocut is much more graphic than the fresco, but I liked the shape of the tree.

Also it is possible to order  my Musing in Textile: France book directly from me, Just email me and I shall send you details of  cost and postage. In Australia they will be posted by my daughter and in Europe ( for the US/Europe) they will be posted  from Europe where the postage is much cheaper than Australia.I have had such lovely responses from people regarding the book and also the instructional dvd. I can also be paid via Paypal and again email me for details.

by Dijanne Cevaal ( at May 26, 2015 03:17 AM

May 25, 2015

Margaret Cooter


Every year one is faced with "oh no, I'm how old?" when another birthday rolls around. A certain feeling of dread. With practice, years of practice, it becomes easier to ignore the dread and embrace the moment.

This year I had an utter surfeit of Good Birthday Moments, starting several days ahead with several bouts of coffee, exhibitions, shopping, lunch with friends, and even a shopping afternoon with my son (despite his intention to splurge, the major purchase was curtain lining) which segued into dinner in Soho at a chinese restaurant with this "legendary dish" on the menu -
"Pock-marked Old Woman's beancurd" - appealing??
which we didn't have - we had "the big bowl", like so many of the other tables. What's in the bowl, we asked - "Fish". Fish? What are all those red things? Turns out the fish is cooked with chilis in oil. Fortunately the chilis are scooped out and whisked away when the dish is served -
The dry-fried green beans are delicious
After which, a walk past the beautifully lit facades of Oxford Street -
The Big Treat was a trip to Manchester to see the Cornelia Parker exhibition at the Whitworth Gallery (till 31 May), more of which later perhaps. And lunch with friends along the Curry Mile. Home to a simple supper and a set of intriguing packages, carefully and beautifully tied in knots in the expectation that, as is my habit, I would carefully (and excruciatingly) untie each one -
 Perhaps it was the wine, but patience had fled -
I'm thrilled with all of it, and especially the book, Tania Kovat's "Drawing Water", which I had dropped a heavy hint about, months ago, and then (alas?) forgotten. Haven't had much time yet to read it, as the next day involved hiring a bike and riding round Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park, and then a marathon of gardening, and today saw more gardening and some curtain-making ... and a continuation of cake-eating (one of Tony's specialties is New York cheesecake) -
Cake for breakfast!
A life-enhancing surprise from the resident carpenter - beautifully finished wood dividers for the cutlery drawer, which has needed reorganisation for quite some time -
To conclude, thanks to Jo for these joyous pompons - "channeling Frida Kahlo" -

by Margaret Cooter ( at May 25, 2015 11:51 PM

Moan on Monday - How to prove you're not a robot

The "captchas" are getting ridiculous, don't you think? You write a comment on someone's blog, and up comes "Please prove you're not a robot" - you tick the box and up comes this - 

by Margaret Cooter ( at May 25, 2015 09:58 AM

Neki Rivera

but without ray davies

those of you who came of age in the sixties will immediately recognize the pun.if younger you came across a venerable old man singing waterloo sunset during the closing ceremony of the london olympics.
pushing the boundaries of my comfort zone working with new to me materials. crepe wool presents challenges in warp and weft as well.

the crepe wool beamed relatively well with lots of patience. the fine wool had a different tension and was weaving loose, so i re-beamed( the ancients recommend 2 warp beams-but this was a no-go on this loom) and weighted the sections separately.

elections are over and life goes on.

and of life matters here. fancy a blue wooden floor?

neki desu
Creative Commons License 

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

Cynthia St. Charles

One Last Post about the Charlie Russell Chew Choo

 This grain elevator is all that's left of the former town of Ware, Montana.  There was once a village of 300 here. 
Another view of a trestle passing over the Judith River with the Judith Mountains off in the distance (above).  
Our rambling singer (below).  There was a lot of dancing and singing after the prime rib dinner was cleared away.

by Cynthia St Charles ( at May 25, 2015 07:04 AM

May 24, 2015

Margaret Cooter

Seen on Savile Row

"Grand Cru - Special Reserve" ... cloth?!
"Made by one of Huddersfield's finest weavers" from merino golden bale

That's 24 carat gold in the pinstripe
"The fabric provides individuality as well as being a talking point" says the manufacturer's website.

by Margaret Cooter ( at May 24, 2015 09:26 AM

Cynthia St. Charles

Charlie Russell Chew Choo Showdown Skit

After robbing the train, all the characters disembarked and then there was a little shoot out in the town for all to see. 

by Cynthia St Charles ( at May 24, 2015 06:58 AM

May 23, 2015

Terry Grant

The Atlantic Ocean, Monticello and headed south - Day 17

Wednesday we arrived in Delaware at the home of our friends Carla and Bill. How sweet to spend a couple days with them. Carla has been my friend since college and we have stayed in touch, crossing paths over the years and unlike some friends from years ago we somehow seem to always have things to talk about and laugh about and find mutually entertaining—easy and comfortable friends. And as Carla said, we wonder what happened to the years inbetween.

Delaware is the point at which we have come to the edge of the continent and we make a right turn. A trip to the beach was needed to complete the cross-continent piece, though it was cold, windy and rainy.

Yesterday we started on the southern leg of the trip and spent the night in Charlottesville, VA at the home of Kristin and Art LaFlamme. They are preparing for their move to Portland and as we were traveling east these past couple of weeks, Art was driving west, and as he was asleep last night in Portland, we were asleep in his home in Charlottesville.

The other home we visited in Charlottesville was Thomas Jefferson's Monticello. I have long wanted to go there. I knew I would love it and I did, but it was not what I expected. I knew it was an architectural marvel. I knew it was filled with Jefferson's innovative ideas. I knew it had a farm and a garden. I didn't know it was breathtakingly beautiful.

No photography is allowed inside the house, except in the dome room at the top, but our tour of the house was fascinating from top to bottom and we left knowing so much more about Jefferson and the family. Our guide in the house was quite wonderful. She had great stories and shared bits from letters written by members of the family that added so much to imagining a very human family occupying this splendid house.

Monticello means "little mountain" and the views all the way around are what you see below—trees and misty blue hills in the distance. No words to describe it... No wonder Jefferson preferred his home to anyplace on earth.

We took a tour of the gardens as well. Unlike the exceptional house tour guide, the garden guide was so obnoxious that we finally ditched the guided tour and enjoyed the gardens on our own. Perhaps if we had stuck it out we would have learned why there were terra cotta domes in the rows of kale. Perhaps the saddest thing I learned was that after Jefferson died, the house and land were sold to pay off his debts and his surviving family, who had lived all their lives in this house, had to leave. A portion of a letter written by one of the granddaughters about the loss of both the man and then the home was heartbreaking. Monticello now belongs to a foundation that has restored it and has recovered a good many of the original contents of the house. A piece of our history that was nearly lost forever.

We spent most of today at Monticello, then drove down the beautiful Blueridge Parkway.

Tonight we are in Lexington, VA. Tomorrow Ray's brother, Roy, joins us in Charlotte, NC for the second half of our trip. We can't wait to see him!


by Terry Grant ( at May 23, 2015 08:45 PM

Margaret Cooter

On yer bike!

Bikeworks, "the not for profit bike shop" in Bethnal Green, offers cycle training at Olympic Park, so off I went earlier this week, on a rainy, windy, 'orrible day, to somewhere I'd never been to do something I hadn't done for years. It didn't start well - off the Overground at Hackney Wick and heading in the wrong direction. Going in the right direction involved going past places like this - all part of the vibrant East London art scene -
 Nearer the park, a completely different landscape ... of nothingness ...
Along the road verges, some beautiful meadow-scapes  -
and what delight to see the plantings in the park, currently crowded with those big daisies, lots of tall purple alliums - well there was no time to stop and list them all, pink flowers and yellow ones, and in some places, huge scarlet poppies being whipped about by the wind, holding on to their petals. And hillsides of orange poppies, tumbling down to the canal/river.

The park was understandably empty, given the wet and windyness. Never mind, it was great. Along miles of paths we rode, and eventually the rain stopped. There wasn't much time to take photos, but during a short pause I caught some typical scenery (or lack of it) -
and one of the others was kind enough to take a photo of me -
Bikeworks provided bikes (and three wheelers, including a recumbent) and helmets. Thank you, Bikeworks!

by Margaret Cooter ( at May 23, 2015 09:04 AM

Cynthia St. Charles

Charlie Russell Chew Choo Train Robbery

 The outlaw gunmen followed the girls onto the train and they all did their best to pick up what was left of the "money" on our tables.

by Cynthia St Charles ( at May 23, 2015 06:57 AM

May 22, 2015

Gerrie Congdon

Back Home and Busy


We arrived home on Wednesday, mid-day, just in time to get my self organized to teach another art quilt class at Trinity. I am so proud of my students, who range in age from 8 to 70. Wednesday night, I introduced them to the serenity of slow cloth. We sat and did hand stitching on our little art quilts. Here are some examples of what they are doing. The piece above is done by my oldest student. We had to do some engineering to get the elements off the space to be sturdy.


Adea is a budding abstract artist. Love the colors that she is using.

student work 6

This piece is the four seasons.


Her Mom is doing a wonderful still life.


This is my youngest student. She has a lot of stitching to do; I hope she can stick with it and finish.


This piece was started by  the Dad of the family and is getting finished by Mom. It is an homage to their camping experiences.


This is a bit blurry, but the daughter in this family is doing a beautiful multi-colored leaf tree.


A fun landscape by her Mom.

Here are some photos from Jayme’s graduation. It was a very exciting evening. She graduated with an MD with distinction.




This is a very blurry photo of Mark and Paige hooding Jayme.


It was a great few days in the bay area with Mark, Jayme, Paige and Jayme’s family.

by Gerrie at May 22, 2015 05:13 PM

Neki Rivera

of looms

thinking over

have a great weekend

neki desu
Creative Commons License

by (neki desu) at May 22, 2015 08:55 AM

Natalya Aikens


If you are a subscriber to my newsletter, then you have already seen my latest artwork. I am delighted to share it here now.

In my previous blog post I shared the progress of this piece. Now I will share the details of the finished artwork. I thread-sketched the lower portion with the buildings and the street, and hand-stitched the sky. I was inspired by own photograph of a street scene in St. Petersburg, Russia. It was just after sunset and the sky was still glowing orange, threatening clouds just started floating across the sky, the street lights went on....and everything glowed.
irregular hand stitches in the clouds
thread snippets in the lights
city meets sky
Afterglow © Natalya Aikens 2015
Most textile art is hard to photograph and this piece presented an extra challenge due to the shiny plastic and the sheer chiffon. So really, you'll just have to come see it in person!

Afterglow will be a part of a group exhibit with my circle of art friends (Kristin LaFlamme, Vivien Zepf, Deborah Boschert and Robin Ferrier) at the Etui Fiber Arts Gallery in Larchmont, NY from June 2nd to June 30th. Hope you will be able to join us for an artist reception on Sunday, June 14th from 2 to 4PM.

by Natalya Aikens ( at May 22, 2015 08:58 AM

Cynthia St. Charles

Charlie Russell Chew Choo Train Stop

 The girls made their way through the train first, stopping to visit at each table, picking up what they could of the "fake money" that had been provided at our tables.  Lots of flirting going on with this group!

Pretty much every male passenger was left with a big lipstick kiss on them someplace.  Young and old were especially treated with kisses.  We saw a lot of young boys and men with lipstick kiss marks on their cheeks!

by Cynthia St Charles ( at May 22, 2015 06:53 AM

Pam RuBert

“Threads of Thought” at 21st European Patchwork Meeting


Rhintex-biglogoThis coming September, I’ve been invited to have a exhibition of my work titled “Threads of Thought” at the 21st Carrefour Européen du Patchwork / European Patchwork Meeting, a quilt festival that spans 4 villages of the Val d’Argent and draws 22,000 visitors from France and around the world. The festival will display 1200 to 1500 textile artworks, both traditional and contemporary.

Rhinetex, one of the largest wholesale supplier of patchwork and quilting suppliers in Europe, has generously offered to sponsor my exhibition!

by PaMdora at May 22, 2015 04:14 AM

May 21, 2015

Margaret Cooter

Some exhibitions

Two Chairs with People, photographic drawing, 2014
Experiments with perspective
Card Players #1, 2014
David Hockney, Painting and Photography, at Annely Juda (till 27 June).

Hockney's comment: "“Painters have always known there is something wrong with perspective.
The problem is the foreground and the vanishing point. The reason we have perspective with a vanishing point, is that it came from optics. I am sure that that’s what Brunelleschi did. He used a five inch diameter concave mirror to project the Baptistry onto his panel. This gives automatically a perspective picture, just like a camera would. This is why there is always a void between you and the photograph. I am taking this void away, to put you in the picture.
I made the paintings of the card players first. That helped me work out how to photograph them. Everything in the photographs is taken very close. The heads the jackets and shirt and shoes are all photographed up close. Each photograph has a vanishing point, so instead of just one I get many vanishing points. It is this that I think gives them an almost 3D effect without the glasses. I think this opens up photography into something new.
If you really think about it, I know the single photograph cannot be seen as the ultimate realist picture. Well not now. Digital photography can free us from a chemically imposed perspective that has lasted for 180 years.”"

Idris Khan, Conflicting Lines, at Victoria Miro (till 6 June).

Gallery says: "Khan is well known for his large-scale works, which use techniques of layering to arrive at what might be considered the essence of an image, and to create something entirely new through repetition and superimposition. For his exhibition at Victoria Miro Mayfair, Khan has produced large-scale composite photographs made from a series of oil stick paintings. These have gone through an intensive process of overlaying lines of writing repeatedly painted onto a minimal ground, until the language becomes obscured."

A corner of the gallery
Colour woodcuts using 21 and 22 colours
Gillian Ayres, New Paintings and Prints, at Alan Cristea (till 30 May)

From a review: " As Titian and Turner devotees often stress, an old artist can actually reach sublime peaks, the combination of experience and looming death yielding new-found profundity. Where, then, does Gillian Ayres stand, as a show of new paintings and prints opens to mark her 85th birthday?
On a practical level, she’s not as mobile or as forceful with her paint as she once was. She used to lay it on thick, building up the impasto into rich, often encrusted, textures. Now her surfaces are smoother, her forms simpler and cleaner."

Definitely a feel-good show - the colours, the colours....

One of Rovner's multi-screen LCD video installations
The figures keep moving....
Michal Rovner, Panorama, at Pace (till 16 June)

Gallery says: "These large-scale, multi-screen works combine her signature human figures with the landscape elements which she has been exploring for the last two years. The brooding soulful expression of the human and natural worlds is intertwined through the use of increasingly bold abstraction. Panorama evokes Rovner’s themes of human interaction, dislocation and the persistence of history, while creating a new level of immediacy by further removing the narrative to its barest and most urgent elements.

Adding painting qualities and gestural “brushstrokes” to video recordings of real-life situations, the new work respond to Rovner’s sense of disjointed reality."

Also seen: Isa Genzken, Geldbilder, at Hauser & Wirth; Diane Thater, Life is a Time-Based Medium, at Hauser & Wirth. And talks by Rebecca Salter on Japanese wood block prints (a skill that is being lost as its practitioners die off); Jack Zipes on his new translation of the first edition of Grimm's Kinder- und Hausmaerchen. It's been a busy week. 

by Margaret Cooter ( at May 21, 2015 11:46 PM

Rayna Gillman

a lazy week

I just haven't felt like myself or been in the mood to do anything but work on the string baby quilt I'm making.  Yesterday, I finally went to my studio and puttered around -- but after a couple of hours, came home. I have been reading.

Finally, today, I was forced into doing something creative.  I've been working on this little piece all afternoon, and amazingly, it has come together.  All done but the edges.  Hooray!  I have had these units sitting around for four or five years and have had them on-and-off the wall a dozen times.  I was trying to make a bigger piece that did not want to be bigger than 8-½" x 11". Ha!  Done.  The orientation will be up to the future owner.

Has this encouraged me or motivated me to do more small pieces? Hmmm...maybe.  It's a start, anyway.

The NJ weather has been depressing. If this were February, it would be a heat wave; if it were October, it would be lovely and mild.  But it's damn near June and it has been windy, in the low 60's, and cloudy/drizzly. BLEH!  Memorial day is forecast to be more of same, which is a bummer because our condo's pool opens this weekend. (Not that I EVER go in the water, but it would be nice to sit in the nice weather and read or schmooze). Sigh...I won't even begin to tell you about the pollen "tsunami" that the papers are writing about.  I have not stopped sneezing and I wish I could blame it on fabric dust.

So now you know my whole story. Now, I have to go clean up the mess I made while I worked on the above piece. Aren't you glad you tuned in?

by (Rayna) at May 21, 2015 08:53 PM

Margaret Cooter

Poetry Thursday - Lucifer in Starlight by George Meredith

George Meredith caricatured by Max Beerbohn, 1896 (via)

Lucifer in Starlight (by George Meredith)
On a starred night Prince Lucifer uprose.
Tired of his dark dominion swung the fiend
Above the rolling ball in cloud part screened,
Where sinners hugged their spectre of repose.
Poor prey to his hot fit of pride were those.
And now upon his western wing he leaned,
Now his huge bulk o’er Afric’s sands careened,
Now the black planet shadow’d Arctic snows.
Soaring through wider zones that pricked his scars
With memory of the old revolt from Awe,
He reach’d a middle height, and at the stars,
Which are the brain of heaven, he look’d, and sank.
Around the ancient track marched, rank on rank,
The army of unalterable law.

Written in 1883, when arguments were reaching a fever pitch between advocates of the church and advocates of rationalism, with a mechanistic view of the universe. Despite debates, the rationalists never divorced themselves entirely from the church or religious thought. The poem embodies the importance of the language, terms, and ideas of Christianity, in dramatic form, and has remained popular with readers. The fallen angel, who nursed hopes for ascension to the highest places, rises to "a middle height" and sees not heaven but natural law.

Hear it read here.

George Meredith (1828-1909) lost his mother at age 5, read law but abandoned it for poetry, and married an older woman at quite a young age. In 1856 he posed as the model for Death of Chatterton (an immensely popular Victorian painting), and his wife ran off with the painter; she died three years later. A collection of "sonnets" called Modern Love came of this experience.

Remarried in 1864, he took a job as a publisher's reader, which made him influential in the world of letters. Of his style, Oscar Wilde said "it is chaos illumined by flashes of lightning."

Meredith outlived both of his wives and one of his three children.

by Margaret Cooter ( at May 21, 2015 09:05 AM

Neki Rivera

dying to dye

but the weather is foul.have to revive the vat from last year as soon as the weather improves,no rain no storms. the white knit, a gift from a friend, will also get a kakishibu treatment. want to experiment overdyeing ai with kakishibu. or vice versa.
there's also a silk yardage that has been waiting to get printed.hope the screens are still operative.

neki desu
Creative Commons License

by (neki desu) at May 21, 2015 08:00 AM

Cynthia St. Charles

Charlie Russell Train Hold Up

 Rustlers on horseback stopped the train near this little "town". 
 The first to board the train were the "girls".

by Cynthia St Charles ( at May 21, 2015 05:00 AM

May 20, 2015

Margaret Cooter

"Elements" evolution

Moving on from benday dots, "Elements of visual perception" benefitted from insights obtained through some research on visual perception itself, especially the structure of the eye.

Dots still appear, thanks to the discovery of some sheer fabric with ersatz sequins; used on the reverse, they add "interest" (or tension?) - well, they break the monotony! And, they reference "floaters" ...
first mock-up, stripes of colour underneath organza
The "elements" are now the squares (pixels?) of colour, harking to the cone cells, which perceive one colour each - red or blue or green. And there are about 20 times as many rod cells - light or dark - for which the overlap of squares will provide various shades of grey.

The fabric is organza, mostly silk; the edges of the squares are cut as straight as possible, but some unravelling may occur over the life of the quilt ... which fits in with natural decay, ageing, of vision.

So I'm happy with the concept, and hope the piece can be made to look ... what ... interesting, inviting, exciting?
playing around some more - flashes of colour (and fewer dots)
As for the quilt part - layers joined by stitch - that's a background, now with lines of hand quilting (red, green, blue) and guide lines of machining onto which strips of squares will be placed. Under them, in the central section (like in the eye), some strips of colour -
Another mock-up - grey round the edges and colourful in the middle, is the idea -
Seeing it in a photo, and thinking about it as I write, is so helpful. Even so, I'm not sure whether this is at the "full steam ahead" stage, or whether there's an elusive "something else" that needs to be considered.

by Margaret Cooter ( at May 20, 2015 02:09 PM

"Chelsea" time

It's Chelsea Flower Show week. I loved this photo of a fine display of potatoes -
It came via the Guardian's daily email news offering; more pix of highlights of the show are here.

This year I have my own garden, at the front, and on the way out or in often spend a few minutes just looking at the plants, thinking of nothing.  Tiny and constrained as this oasis is, it gives me immense pleasure to see the plants settling in, growing, and flowering. The aim is to have "something nice" year round, and attract insects (beside a busy road!). 

In the first of what I hope will become an annual series of photos, here is Garden136, May 2015 -
Thyme in flower; mexican daisy looking very tiny; coralbells settling in; silene looking gorgeous;
geum trying to root; parsley, rosemary, lavender doing well

Geranium loving its new lease of life; phlox almost finished flowering; violas about to bloom;
more lavender; a purple-leaved hebe; parsley setting seed;
ornamental grass ; camomile ... and zinnia seeds coming up

Clematis montana; a tiny honeysuckle; winter-flowering jasmine, also tiny;
perennial wallflowers for next year; a pot of petunias (the other pots to be sorted);
forget-me-nots almost over, about to self-seed; violets, hidden;
camomile; more zinnia seedlings ... and the stones are to deter foxes doing more digging

Osmanthus filling in the hedge; deadnettle and cyclamen under the box hedge;
more ornamental grass
The "flame" euphorbia, planted in the corner near the ivy, arrived as the tiniest thing, maybe an inch high - it had grown to six inches, but the stem has snapped - foxes?? 

by Margaret Cooter ( at May 20, 2015 11:40 AM

Sunday excursion

To a bookshop, via Hampstead Heath. Taking gentle exercise: up the hill and back down again.
Hampstead Heath in bloom - cow parsley and chestnut
Dappled shade and dogwalkers
More dapples, with runners this time
Into Hampstead village, with churchbells ringing peals (interminably, it seemed)
A good year for wisteria
Seen on Flask Walk
Here lived the author of the Eton Boating Song, written in 1862
Neighbours - wisteria and clematis
A touch of Arabia on the way back to the station
(and mares' tails heralding a change in the weather)
Near the station is Daunt Books - "travel, literature, and non-fiction" (they have some interesting talks to listen to, here). So many books, so little time, so many that I wanted to read immediately (but did not buy) - 

 We were prowling round in the Berlin section, with its fiction conveniently grouped -
A good half of the books were set in or dealt with WW2. I was after something more historical, or more modern, not sure which; again, I wasn't able to choose anything to buy. Maybe the desired novel will appear when we get there. Or after we come back?

by Margaret Cooter ( at May 20, 2015 09:13 AM

Neki Rivera

more yarns. it's war!

happy camper.
they are here and they make a handsome pair.the purple one is 1/20 cashmere the color a bit darker.
the green is 2/44 merino a muted lime green.

and now, let us proceed weaving with two looms, shifting gears from computerized dobby to table loom and back.might not be a good idea.

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

Cynthia St. Charles

National Academy of Sciences Exhibition!!!!

Opening today, and running for 5 months - the SAQA Radical Elements exhibition.  The National Academy of Sciences Museum is located on the mall in Washington DC!

My piece in the exhibition is called "Zinc" - it is about the element Zinc in the periodic table of elements.  The middle layer of this "quilt" is actually made of thin sheets of zinc.

by Cynthia St Charles ( at May 20, 2015 07:09 AM

May 19, 2015

Terry Grant

From Chicago Onward - Day 13

Our last day in Chicago started at the Museum of Contemporary Art. Odd, I have to say. There was not much that really engaged me here. But two artists did, in very different ways.

The installations of Colombian artist, Doris Salcedo filled one whole whole floor. At first I was confused by a maze of what seemed like a storage space filled with stacked tables, then disassembled hospital furniture and stacks of folded men's shirts. I stopped to read the guide and then watch a video and slowly her meaning began to unfold. Loss. Absence. The aftermath of people being displaced; violence; orphaned, abandoned children.

See the small rectangles on the wall? These were actually openings into the wall. Inside each opening was a shoe, or a pair of shoes. The artist learned that female victims of violence in Colombia were often identified by their shoes. These were actual shoes from Colombian women. Stretched over each opening, and sutured in place is a covering of translucent animal skin. Haunting and beautiful.

After the heaviness and sorrow of Salcedo's work, I really appreciated a small but joyful collection of Alexander Calder works.

Isn't the lightness and grace of this mobile lovely?

In the afternoon we went to the incredible Field Museum and saw the old elephants....


Sue, the tyrranasaurus...


And a wonderful exhibit about Vikings. We saw many wonderful Viking objects, and most of my photos were shaky, but I do have these:


And scissors! Did you know that real Vikings never wore helmets with horns on them? Now you do, and so do I.

And with that we could do no more. So much more that could have been seen or done in Chicago, but we tried to focus on what we had not seen before. I know. It is almost sinful to leave without a trip to the Art Institute, but I have been there before and I hope I will go again. My feet and back could not have held up.

Back on the road. Yesterday Ohio, today that little knob of West Virginia that pokes up between Ohio and Pennsylvania, then into Pennsylvania.

We stopped in Wheeling, WV for lunch and poked around there for a bit. It is a really old town. The last battle of the Revolutionary War was fought in Wheeling.


This suspension bridge was built in 1847, and at the time it was built was the largest suspension bridge in the world. It is still in use. I drove across it today, twice.

We left the freeway and took back roads through farmland, once we got to Pennsylvania. Beautiful and peaceful.

Tomorrow we will see our friends in Delaware. I can hardly wait!



by Terry Grant ( at May 19, 2015 07:34 PM

Margaret Cooter

Drawing on Tuesday - at the Wellcome Collection

As well as its permanent collections displaying some of the items collected by Henry Wellcome, who founded the pharmaceutical company that has been so profitable since, and another gallery with some modern art related to health and the body, the Wellcome Collection has exhibitions (currently: Forensics) and now has a Reading Room with more art on display ... more of that another time perhaps.

First a few photos from the Medicine Man exhibition "a cross-section of extraordinary objects from his collection, ranging from diagnostic dolls to Japanese sex aids, and from Napoleon's toothbrush to George III's hair" which "provides a very different perspective on some of our own obsessions with medicine and health."

African figurines showing diseases

Forceps from the 18th and 19th centuries

After some sharing of photos of interesting things
"the reveal" -
Mike found expedition medicine chests supplied by Burroughs Wellcome Co (as it was then)

Caryl was captivated by a glass model of the MRSA bacterium

Jo went beyond observation, to abstraction
Janet used "blind drawing" as a warm-up for the more detailed drawing

Mags collected hands from a display of 19th-century prosthetic limbs
My work for the day involved rather a lot of blind drawing in my A5 notebook - first as a warm-up (and a way to choose something to spend more time on) -
It extended to drawing the same object over and over, without looking at the page (except to place the next object) -

Bleeding bowl and early binaural stethoscopes
African wood carvings and several views of a trepanned skull dating to 2000 BC
Flasks and bottles
Finally, something that looks a bit more "real" -
and a drawing in the A4 sketchbook, from the lowest shelf of glass jars - I was pleased that it does look like glass -
My favourite from the day is the bleeding bowl, made with four lines in about 10 seconds. Just lucky.

by Margaret Cooter ( at May 19, 2015 09:45 AM

Neki Rivera


the good ones is that it weaves very fast being so open. the bad ones is that the 30 turns xcm yarn
kinks like crazy, even in a fur lined shuttle.
waiting for the yarns i ordered for warp on  the other loom

neki desu
Creative Commons License

by (neki desu) at May 19, 2015 07:33 AM

Cynthia St. Charles

Charlie Russell Chew Choo Scenery

 In early May, the grass is just greening up in Central Montana.  The tracks pass through vast agricultural areas and a few abandoned towns.  We were able to view 5 different mountain ranges from the train as we traveled along the tracks to Denton.  Above - the Big Snowy Mountains are off in the distance.  Below, the Judith Mountains - closer and snowless.

The train passes over three huge trestles along the way.  These are amazing works of engineering and construction!  Above, the view down to the Judith River, with the trestle shadow and a bit of the Judith mountains off in the distance.

If you are interested - here is the website:

by Cynthia St Charles ( at May 19, 2015 06:37 AM

May 18, 2015

Gerrie Congdon

Checking in With Some Fun Stuff


Friday night was the opening night for the Wrinkle in Time Art’s Festival at Trinity. Work that was made in the series of art classes over the last few months was on display. Here is some work from the screen printing class. My magenta and black piece is in the top middle.


These were work down in the Reduction Printing class. My piece is on the bottom left.


And here are my ceramic pears from the clay class. I have a lot to learn about glazes.

Here is some work from my art quilt class. These pieces are fused down, but not much stitching has been done.


The lighting on this panel made it difficult to photograph. I am so pleased with work and the originality.


Here is my Moonstruck piece hanging in the exhibit in Kempton Hall. The spotlight made it difficult to photograph. I got lots of nice comments about it.


We had to miss many of the festivities over the week-end because we left on Saturday morning to fly to San Francisco to celebrate Jayme’s graduation from UCSF med school.

On Saturday, we were thrilled to have Paige hang out with us. We took her to the park near their new home in San Mateo.

paige at park

Yesterday, we had a big party to celebrate with Jayme’s family and friends. Since they only moved in two weeks ago, there was much to do to get the house and backyard ready. Mr C and I did all the food shopping. By the time we got home, it was time to start cooking for the 4:00 party.

Here are some shots from the party:


Their new home has a wonderful big back yard. The weather was in the 60s, but we all enjoyed being outside, anyway.


My son, slicing the tri-tip that he grilled.


Here is the beautiful guest of honor, who worked as hard as any one to put on the party.


Here is Paige with her buddy Clark. The quilt I made her is on her bed.


What a little beauty she is!


Love this photo of Paige and two of the boys from her old neighborhood.

Today is a down day of just hanging out with Jayme and her family. Tomorrow night is her graduation. That will be an exciting event.


by Gerrie at May 18, 2015 10:49 PM

Margaret Cooter

Moan on Monday - the pain of the train

The Cornelia Parker exhibition at the revamped Whitworth art gallery is nearing its final days. We plan to go see it on Saturday. I looked up train fares and after grappling with the trainline site found this ...
Cheapest (admittedly it's an open return, off-peak) is £163 for the two tickets ... which shoots up to £658 if travel during rush hour is involved. And first class ... nearly £1000!

On another site, with a much easier booking system, the cheapest fare for two is £79, which makes it almost affordable. That system allowed you to specify if you have railcards, but you had to choose a train time both ways.

Book two months ahead, though, and a one-way ticket, per person, can be had for £15 - £60 return for two, if you can fit in with train availability.

Spontaneity doesn't come cheap, where rail travel is concerned. But spending 9 hours on the coach, however little it costs - though "FROM £12" could mean anything - is not an option.

by Margaret Cooter ( at May 18, 2015 10:07 PM