Planet Textile Threads

November 27, 2014

Margaret Cooter

Out of the blue

The offensive email gave few clues as to what was upsetting the writer, but she seemed to be referring to my "Textile taxidermy" article in Through Our Hands.

Quite apart from being unsigned, the email was so uninformative that I decided to ignore it ... but then wondered if someone's email account had been hacked and similar emails sent, by some malignant person, for unknown reasons, to others who had written articles in the magazine.

On contacting the editors, it transpired that they knew the writer - and they got in touch with her about the matter. She quickly sent me an apology.

But I couldn't reply to her ... I simply didn't know what to say. Either the writer was a person with strongly held beliefs who was a poor communicator, letting emotion get in her way, or else she was having things going on in her life that pushed her into unfortunate behaviour. Yet......even if either of these were true, that email should not have been sent.

On receiving another apologetic email, which gave a bit of background to the story, I finally mustered a few (rather stern) words to the effect that such emails hardly win hearts and minds ... and now I hope that's the end of it.

It's a bit of a shock to the system, and has given me a tiny insight into the effects of bad internet behaviour. May it not happen to you!

**Addendum: I was a bit hasty in publishing this post, for two reasons.

Firstly, it's not clear from what I wrote that the writer of the email had reacted to the topic - specifically the word taxidermy - without looking closely at the article - she didn't realise that "textile taxidermy" in no way involved dead animals.

Secondly, I've received further communication saying that she's not usually like this, she doesn't know what came over her. Which I believe ... and sympathise with ... who among us hasn't sent a frustration-fuelled email to someone at some time, probably more strongly worded than if we had been calm and rational?

Also, I didn't make clear the point of writing about this incident ... I've written about a personal reaction to bad internet behaviour, and my dilemma over whether to engage with the writer and the possibility of consequences. I was lucky to have an intermediary, and to have a good outcome, but in so many cases of trolling it is otherwise.

The incident has raised my awareness of the devastating effects that sustained attacks must have on people - think of teenage girls being bombarded with hateful messages, texts, and social media  and what that does to their self-esteem. We've probably all suffered some bullying at some time, and know how unpleasant that is - what makes it worse on the internet is a kind of undertone  that it's ok to send nasty emails because, hidden behind a screen, you are (a) anonymous and (b) beyond reach. Not true!

by Margaret Cooter ( at November 27, 2014 09:41 AM

Dijanne Cevaal


It's been some weeks since I posted on my blog and I have been intending to for weeks now , but the reality is that my eldest daughter and youngest daughter ( different houses) both moved house on the same weekend( last weekend). As I have a lot of my things stored at my eldest daughters' house that has also meant moving almost my entire household goods yet again in less than 12 months.

To say I am exhausted is an understatement, as I got off the plane from France at 11 pm on a Wednesday night and flew to Adelaide early the next morning to  supervise the Sentinelle exhibition which has been hung by the South Australian Embroiderers Guild. They did a great job and many thanks! Then straight home to packing and more packing.

I have also decided to rent a studio space at Appleton Street Art Studios in Richmond, because I was feeling well and truly fragged having my studio equipment here there an everywhere and I could not think straight. So I have also been setting up the studio there and hope to be working steadily from this weekend onwards, because if all our stuff is not moved by then, I will burst! I will also have space in my studio to do small classes for 2-3 people or even one- let me know if you are interested. The other  really good thing that happened whilst I was away is that they have decided to dedicate a Gallery space and coffee nook drop in at the studios- and it is looking great. Hopefully it will draw more art collectors even of the textile kind!

Meanwhile part of the reason I haven't posted sooner is there is a lot of things going  on with the book which have been complicated by my being away , but I have to earn a living  so it's half a dozen of one and half a dozen of another. Here is part of the update I put on Pozible yesterday:

We are waiting with bated breath for the book , but there have been one of two delays which has set our schedule back a week or two and brings us into a period when Australian customs is very busy with Christmas processing- we are hopeful that things will process smoothly and quickly but I have to be realistic and also entertain the thought that it will go slowly in which case the book will be delayed from our projected publishing date. We are very sorry about this , but with me being overseas and the printer being overseas , some things took longer than expected, and even in this day of instant communication some things have to be actually read and done in the flesh.

So it looks as if our schedule will be pushed back to early January delivery ( we would also like to avoid the Christmas mailing period and would prefer to send after Christmas simply because the mail service gets overrun at this time of year and we hope you will understand)

We are very sorry about this, but sometimes things happen which cannot strictly be controlled. We will let you know as soon as the book is on Australian shores and the new delivery date.

I am really very sorry about this uncertainty and I am still hoping it will all be as we had hoped, but I also have to be realistic.We know that the  printer is reliable as they also print books for Quilt Mania so the book will get here but it's simply a question of when.

 I have finally finished stitching the little Rabbit piece as part of the Medieval Project. These panels are available to buy, just follow the link, and hopefully I will have made a new linocut in the next few days  if I can find time to sit and work for a couple of hours which will be the last of this series for the medieval project....

The panel not completely finished- some of the background seed stitching is not finished. Does the stitching make a difference?

 This is the panel  finished. I use very simple stitches only, things like back stitch and chain stitch and colonial knots. Some of my greens aren't entirely satisfactory but I did not have the full array of greens to hand because much of it is still packed away or I did not take it with me whilst travelling.

The bottom two photos are detail photos showing the simplicity of the stitches. I am still thinking about what I shall do around the edge because the pages are looking a little like illuminated texts, an unexpected but pleasant result!

I was also invited to be part of Blog Hop Around the World and was supposed to post last Monday- I will post this coming Monday and my apologies to Alicia Merret who invited me , for my lateness, but when I said yes I wasn't expecting to be moving house. So I will try and do an extra special post this Monday!

There has also been another ongoing issue, regarding my block of land which is really starting to impact.There are many people affected in the same way as I am but I can find no action groups of lobby groups to get something happening about this. It affects most vacant properties in Water Catchment areas in Victoria- some people don't even know they are affected because their councils have not told them.Just scroll through, if this kind of thing bores you however it is part of life's little curlies that affects artistic output and inspiration...but shit happens

 I have a piece of  land which is situated in the Gellibrand township , and which was my share of the property divorce settlement in 2009 , zoned residential. It is affected by legislation which  came  into place in 2012- regarding Potable water in water catchment areas. In essence I do not have an issue with the legislation but I do have an issue with  Colac Otway Shires handling of the situation, and the short sightedness in  the state governments implementation of it  and the effect the implementation would have on small holding owners. The legislation requires  that Colac Otway Shire come up with a plan for waste water disposal in the township. I only found out about this legislation and the effect on my property earlier this year when the real estate agent emailed me to ask if it affected my land because he had an interested buyer? "What?" I have gone?? I had no idea( I have been trying to sell this land since 2011). So on contacting all the necessary authorities, my land is affected and I was advised by the overriding authority that they will not allow any building on land less than 40 hectares in areas affected by the legislation( my land is half an hectare). I  sent a letter to Colac Otway Shire , asking about the effect of the legislation and asking them to review my rates until they put in place the aforesaid plan( at the moment my property is being rated on a value much too high given the effect of the legislation, which means the property cannot be built on). They suggested I apply for a Building Permit ( which is on the top rung of  permit costs because of the high rating value  on the property) despite the fact that I have a letter on file to say that all permits must be referred to the overriding authority which will not issue permits unless there is a  Waste Water Management plan in place- and ergo there has not been one made by Colac Otway Shire- not since the new legislation came into place. They also say their rates valuation is based on current valuations of property sales in the area,  but on some investigation I have found out that not a single vacant land property has sold in the township since 2010. There has been a number of letters back and forth but still I am in the position that Colac Otway Shire say ,apply for a Building Permit and see what happens.... I don't want to build on this land , I don't have the money to spend to apply for a permit  which given the correspondence on my file will result in a "no" answer. I want to sell it so I can get on with my life, but I do want to be able to tell a prospective buyer that they can apply for a building permit with a hope of success. Colac Otway Shire now say they  hope to have a Waste Management Plan in place mid next year, but have only just appointed consultants to do this, despite having funding provided by the State Government as early as early 2013- nearly two years ago. The least council could do is grant a moratorium on rates until they bring into  place a Waste Water Management plan ( and there will still not be any guarantee that they will allow new builds)

Meanwhile I have to sit and wait and wait and pay high  rates , which were also increased for this new financial year. I cannot purchase a new property  until I sell this property, and well real estate prices are escalating at a rate of knots-any urban areas are now beyond my means. Apart from going to the press I think I have explored most avenues available to me and would be glad if anyone could make another suggestion??

by Dijanne Cevaal ( at November 27, 2014 09:19 AM

Margaret Cooter

Poetry Thursday - The Sundial by Gillian Clarke

The Sundial
Owain was ill today. In the night
He was delirious, shouting of lions
In the sleepless heat. Today, dry
And pale, he took a paper circle,
Laid on the grass which held it
With curling fingers. In the still
Centre he pushed the broken bean
Stick, gathering twelve fragments
Of stone, placed them at measured
Distances. Then he crouched, slightly
Trembling with fever, calculating
The mathematics of sunshine.
He looked up, his eyes dark,
Intelligently adult as though
The wave of fever taught silence
And immobility for the first time.
Here, in his enforced rest, he found
Deliberation, and the slow finger
Of light, quieter than night lions,
More worthy of his concentration.
All day he told the time to me.
All day we felt and watched the sun
Caged in its white diurnal heat,
Pointing at us with its black stick.
Gillian Clarke
The poem was borrowed from here - and gives the title to one of Gillian Clarke's early collections (1978). My introduction to this poem, and to her poetry, was via a tv programmer called Great Welsh Writers - if you are in the UK, you can watch it on BBC iPlayer (here) until 14 December.
What prompted her to write the poem, she says on the programme, is the feeling that came over her, watching her son - like a huge cavern inside her chest, "in which was a huge other world of the sun, the sundial, the child, the standing stones, and all of time. I had no words for it, I just had this idea, and it turned into a little poem."
Gillian Clarke has been the national poet of Wales since 2008. This biographical note is from her website: "Born in Cardiff, Wales. Poet, playwright, editor, translator (from Welsh), President of Ty Newydd, the writers´ centre in North Wales which she co-founded in 1990. Tutor on M.Phil. course in Creative Writing, the University of Glamorgan, since 1994. Freelance tutor of creative writing, primary schools to adults. Her poetry is studied by GCSE and A Level students throughout Britain. She has travelled in Europe and the United States giving poetry readings and lectures, and her work has been translated into ten languages. She has a daughter and two sons, and now lives with her husband (an architect) on a smallholding in Ceredigion, where they raise a small flock of sheep, and care for the land according to organic and conservation practice."

by Margaret Cooter ( at November 27, 2014 08:53 AM

Cynthia St. Charles

Primary Colors Scrap Quilt

 This scrap quilt is composed of a failed "art quilt" and some leftover blocks from a New York Beauty along with some fabric pieces from the scrap box.  Detail images below.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone.  I am cooking dinner at my house for all our kids and grandkids.  We all look forward to these happy times together. 

by Cynthia St Charles ( at November 27, 2014 05:00 AM

November 26, 2014

Neki Rivera


the series i have been working on since i returned from japan. all that red and those stones found their way into weaving. the beginnings are here  ,where i explain the process, and here.
i beg your forgiveness for the quality of the photos. it proved to be a greater challenge than expected and this is the best i could do  (´_`)

neki desu
Creative Commons License 

by (neki desu) at November 26, 2014 11:45 AM

Margaret Cooter

Last of the journal quilts

The basis of this 8" square quiltlet was a painting found in a magazine, which I cut into "distances" and then overlapped them, stitching as each new layer was added -
The irregular area on the left proved awkward to overlap, and had to be replaced with a suitable colour from elsewhere in the magazine.

Gives a bit of mystery, don't you think? -

The quiltlet measured only 7.5" square, so had to be "framed", appropriately in gold -
High Horizons: Harvest
The rest of this year's journal quilts have black satin stitched edges and are ready for adding to the CQ yahoogroup files -
High Horizons: Oktoberfest
High Horizons: Starry Night
High Horizons: Winter Fields

by Margaret Cooter ( at November 26, 2014 08:27 AM

Cynthia St. Charles

Scrappy Back for Pastel Baby Quilt

 Here is the back of the baby quilt I posted yesterday.  Still using up the scraps and no end in sight!

by Cynthia St Charles ( at November 26, 2014 05:00 AM

November 25, 2014

Sarah Ann Smith


As usual, re-entry to home life after Houston is a whirlwind, as you might gather by the absence of posts here!  Joshua’s birthday is always just a few days after my return, so usually the suitcases aren’t emptied and put away before I’m shopping for birthday dinner and so on.  Life was complicated by the snowstorm which cancelled my flight from Boston, causing me to drive home in the snow in the dark in a rental car.   At least they cancelled flights early, so I got home not much later than I would have had I waited in  Boston for my connecting flight.  In the next few posts I’ll share International Quilt Market and Festival, but first, a little bit of home.  Since US Thanksgiving is in two days, and since there is nothing I am more thankful for than my family and home, let’s start here.

Getting up the driveway the night before I took this picture was entertaining.  Our plow guy had to use his backhoe there was so much snow, and IT got stuck due to soft / not frozen earth and deep, wet snow.  I left my car at the bottom of the drive and walked the last quarter mile uphill to the house.  But it sure is glorious when the sun comes out!

Getting up the driveway the night before I took this picture was entertaining. Our plow guy had to use his backhoe there was so much snow, and IT got stuck due to soft / not frozen earth and deep, wet snow. I left my car at the bottom of the drive and walked the last quarter mile uphill to the house. But it sure is glorious when the sun comes out!


Aren’t those colors fantastic?

Guess we should have taken the settee and rockers in a bit earlier.  They are now stashed in the garage!

The snowy front porch.

The snowy front porch.

Then, pumpkin pie.  The shopping list for Joshua’s birthday always begins with fixings for his birthday pie, which is what he has wanted since he was about 10.  We’ve kept the “year” / age candles as the boys grew, and keep re-using them.  Joshua is now starting his third decade—how can he be 21????????

Thanks to Eli for getting the shot--mama delivers the pie.  Yes, Joshua shared LOL, but we did send them home with the nearly half-a-pie leftovers, which I expect were gone by breakfast the following morning.

Thanks to Eli for getting the shot–mama delivers the pie. Yes, Joshua shared LOL, but we did send them home with the nearly half-a-pie leftovers, which I expect were gone by breakfast the following morning.  Notice he’s wearing the sweater Eli and I bought him in England?

Then I was sneak-attack with the camera.  None of them were thrilled, but what the heck.  I’m Mama, and I want pictures!

Ashley, Joshua being our goofball, and Paul on the sofa.

Ashley, Joshua being our goofball, and Paul on the sofa.

Eli, muttering because he knows I'm taking a picture, but I love this one!

Eli, muttering because he knows I’m taking a picture, but I love this one!

And the next day, three fourths of the feline contingent:

L to R:  Tyger, Hannah Chan and Zeus.

L to R: Tyger, Hannah Chan and Zeus.

I’ll have a new post tomorrow starting with International Quilt Market.


by Sarah Ann Smith at November 25, 2014 08:27 PM

Olga Norris

Gearing up for winter projects

This end of year is proving to be a busy one, especially in the garden.  We have almost completed an area of gravel near the dark side of the house.  We chose a local flint which has a lot of white and has already made a difference to the light on darker days.
Last year we had a deer fence erected on one boundary, and this winter we propose to plant a hedge just inside this fence, eventually to overgrow it.  I'm busy sorting out the quantity and variety of native hedge plants which will feed the birds in years to come.
Hawthorn grows well here, and provides lovely blossom as well as berries - and thorns to repel unwanted visitors!
Holly has the same qualities as the hawthorn, but the added benefit of being evergreen, and thus providing a bit of all round privacy.
Guelder rose, the common viburnum is a plant I really love, also with blossom and berries, but it has the added beauty of glowing red leaves in autumn.
Spindle, euonymus, has berries like earrings - such an exquisite delight to discover when looking closely.
Dogwood, cornus, provides interesting leaves in the summer and attractive stems in the winter.
And I am assured that they will all grow quickly at about the same pace.

by Olga Norris ( at November 25, 2014 01:51 PM

Margaret Cooter

Tuesday is drawing day - British Museum Islamic gallery

When you emerge from the Underground (as I did last week) and find the rain has stopped and sunshine is moving in, it raises your spirits ... and anything seems possible. This is Russell Square, which is near the "back door" of the British Museum - 
The Islamic World gallery is near the back door too. There were sounds of school groups being mustered, but they left this gallery in peace, and I settled down to draw some 700-year-old Syrian incense burners, joined later by Mike and Pat intent on their own selected objects in other parts of the gallery.
The incense burners reminded me of a row of tap dancers, with their little feet often not flat to the ground. I drew them lightly to position them, and then with more certainty to try to get the shapes right -
 and then tore bits to tissue paper and stuck them over the pencil drawings -
Then followed the detail (in felt pen) ... to the point of tediousness (and confusion) where I was ready to give up. But the blank section was left on purpose: the incense burner is inscribed (in Arabic of course) "Within me is the fire of Hell but without floats the perfume of paradise", and I think it's better to imagine the inscription than to try to replicate it.
After coffee and much discussion of  sketchbook-keeping and drawing opportunities and purposes, returning to the gallery I saw the wonderful bowl (Iran, 10th century) with its Kufic inscription sliding down, or is it reaching down, to the bottom -
Starting to draw it, I couldn't ignore the bowl beside it or those behind ... and somehow the shelving got into the picture too -
I'm not happy with the look of that drawing - the composition (such as it is) just sort of happened, and it needs a dark background? - but I certainly did a lot of looking at the peripheral things and the bowl itself. Up close, the bowl shows that the calligraphy has thin areas of white and white dots ... how long would it take to learn to do that with a brush?
"He who speaks his speech is silver, but silence is a ruby, with good health and prosperity" says the inscription.

by Margaret Cooter ( at November 25, 2014 09:25 AM

Neki Rivera


cool building-ginza

a very cool building in ginza.

photo processed and glitched

further processing and resized.

and finally knitted. cut  the last 40 rows on a whim. maybe shouldn't have done it.

neki desu
Creative Commons License

by (neki desu) at November 25, 2014 08:43 AM

Gerrie Congdon

Moving On


I am somewhat in limbo because I can’t start dyeing the fabric for my solo show until January when I can have a larger space to work. I have been putting off making a couple of kid quilts for my great nieces, using the fabric line from my daughter, Lisa. I have a huge pile!!


I went looking on the internet for a quick and easy pattern that would work with the 9 different fabrics I have. I found this quilt which is designed to use a Moda fabric pack. I am going to modify it for my use.


I am going to make mine a bit larger. I have cut enough rectangles to get started on the first quilt. You can see them up at the top. I have two rows stitched.


I think this is going to work great and be easy to stitch together and quilt. I might have them done by Christmas.

Stephanie is going to do the Thanksgiving dinner this year. I am taking a couple of dishes and wine. It feels weird not to be in charge of the whole thing. But I think I can do this.

On Sunday, she and I are driving to Seattle to meet up with Jayme and Paige. Jayme has an interview for her residency at U of W Children’s Hospital. Steph and I are going to entertain Paige on Monday, or vice versa! It should be fun. An all Congdon girl party.

I found out from my friend, Mary, that she finally got a letter from the church and she has the commission. I asked her about their desire for a sculptural piece with uneven edges. She has done a piece like this that they liked. I am happy she got this. Doing sculptural quilts is not in my wheel house.

by Gerrie at November 25, 2014 06:55 AM

Cynthia St. Charles

Pastel Scrap Quilt for Baby

 Here is another of my recently completed scrap quilts.  This one is made with my own hand dyed and hand printed fabrics.  I chose pastel colors from the box and it only added up to a baby quilt size, which is just fine, I think.  Details below:

by Cynthia St Charles ( at November 25, 2014 05:00 AM

Rayna Gillman


I can't remember having spent a whole weekend doing NOTHING. I mean nothing! Saturday evaporated in a minute, after I had slept the morning away.  And Sunday, I spent huddled over the computer doing geneaology research which may ultimately lead to a big question mark. Ah, well.

Probably the exhaustion was due to a hectic week, crowned by spending a cold Friday in New York, visiting a bunch of galleries on the Lower East Side and getting an education in some art I might never had given a first glance, let alone a second one.  Stimulating, educational, exciting.  And exhausting -- climbing all those flights of stairs to art galleries in lofts.   Worth the effort.

Our curator and passionate, knowledgeable guide, Justin Polera, gave us the backgroun and the intent of the artists we saw -- but to me, art evokes a visceral response and while knowing the artist's intent helps me understand it, it does not make me like it.  Here, a couple of pieces by Klaus Merkel at the Joe Sheftel Gallery on Orchard St.

Across the street, Andres Carranza. He was cutting up canvas on his hands and knees and took time to speak to us about his work and his process.  Although he is right-handed, he worked with his left hand on these canvases, which were site-specific installations on the gallery's walls.  It was these that he was cutting into smaller sections, to sell.  Andres is here from Costa Rica on a residency and is heading to Art Basel Miami next week.
Sam Lewitt works with plastic-clad copper (or is it copper-clad plastic?) - the material many computer components are made from.  His work was in two galleries, and it was the work in the second gallery that captivated me. Drop-dead gorgeous; it could have been cloth, but it wasn't.
I don't normally cook on weekends, but Friday night I was too tired (and cold) to even venture out to eat.  Takeout from the Greek restaurant that delivers was the perfect answer.  So tired that we did not go out till Sunday night.  Saturday night must have been leftovers.  A blur.

I've been reading, staring into space, and taking a few days off to nurture myself a little -- without guilt.
Feels good.

by (Rayna) at November 25, 2014 12:24 AM

November 24, 2014

Margaret Cooter

"Sacred Spaces" by Thirteen Textile Group

This exhibition opened today - and is on till 29 November at Waterloo Action Centre, near Waterloo Station - and what a visual treat.  The artists have been exhibiting together since 2012, most if not all having met in the Advanced Textiles Course at City Lit.

Some of the wall displays -
Sue Mackay, Suzie Tucker

Moe Casey, Lynne Acred, Pam Smyth
Works by individual artists -
"Figures" by Britt Proudlock

"Forgive Me" and "Protect Me" by Sally Eland

Part of Blayne Collins' installation

Sumptuous spirals by Moe Casey

Sue Mackay's "Circle" series

"Moon Night Day Night" by Marie-Clare Mawle

Petroglyphs inspired Pam Smyth

Detail from Ashokashri's "Isle of Lewis" works

Hidden in plain sight, Rose Chapman's "Highlands"
All 13 artists have pages on the group's website.

by Margaret Cooter ( at November 24, 2014 06:57 PM

Glimpses of the Museum of London

A few weeks ago, thinking ahead to venues for "Tuesday is drawing day", I did a rekky of the Museum of London to find what might be tempting - and away from the hurly-burly, if only to have a nook for setting down a sketching stool.

The first three are on the entrance level - medieval and renaisssance -

 Downstairs is the London 2012 cauldron, including the moulds for each -
 Livery of the old City companies, and the golden Royal Coach -
 Kitchen tools from early last century -
 And somewhere is The Pleasure Garden, a very modern take on the 18th century -
Sketching stools were right at the entrance that day, and may be there still.

by Margaret Cooter ( at November 24, 2014 06:07 PM

Sketchbook walk - some Eastcastle Street galleries

Inside the boxes, crystals have formed - they are napthalene, the chemical used in mothballs, which Aiko Miyanaga uses to shape objects that are then trapped within glass: "the naphthalene sublimates and re-solidifies to release itself from the shape of the [objects]. Instead of disappearing into air, it is continuously crystallised through the conditions of temperature and humidity". Other objects are ceramic, in her show at White Rainbow.

Drawn from the other side, the trapped shoe seemed to "need" the view of the street -

At Art First, "Moon" - always an appealing topic for an exhibition.
Douglas White, White Moon I, 2014, wax, pigments, lightbox

Caroline Gibson, from Galileo Series, indian ink on paper
(plus a shadowy reflection of the photographer)

Detail from Simon Lewty, Reverie of Lunar Seas, ink and acrylic on paper

Chang Eung-Bok, Hanging moon fabric (cotton organdy)
My favourite in the show was Bridget Macdonald's "Tree with Daylight Moon" (via) - the actual tree stands near her birthplace at the southern tip of the Isle of Wight, and is buffeted by the salty wind -
My drawing was of Douglas White's other moon, suspended between glass in a wood frame; he "drew" it by dropping wax - all the wax from a single candle - onto water (carefully, after practice, with skill ... my drawing is lamentably less careful and skilled) -

No drawing went on at Carroll Fletcher, though the light works of James Clar were pretty to look at -
Freefall v9
Rain under Lampost
Liquid Viscosity

At Pi Artworks, the work of Susan Hefuna - works on paper alongside palm wood structures and bronze works, influenced by the streets of Cairo, which has been a reoccurring element within her practice.
I sat on the floor and drew the tower in charcoal and (right centre, below) in pastel, knowing the charcoal would transfer to the opposite page, whereas the waxy pastel hardly transferred at all. This left a space for the pencil drawing (left centre) of the structure's construction - square panels made of sticks inserted into holes in the crossbars, a time-consuming technique for such a improvised, temporary look. The panels are tied together with string.


"Fragile and porous cross-hatch layers"

by Margaret Cooter ( at November 24, 2014 08:26 AM

Cynthia St. Charles

Bright Row By Row Quilt Back

 Here is the back of my Bright Row By Row Quilt.  It includes a row of paper pieced cats that I found in the drawer AFTER I had the top completely put together including the many borders.  I did not wish to tear things apart, so I opted to add the cat row to the back of this quilt.

by Cynthia St Charles ( at November 24, 2014 05:00 AM

Terry Grant

Working from Photos

There has been a recent discussion on the Quiltart list about creating artwork from photos, both one's own and photos from other people. What started this discussion were some of the prizewinners from this year's Houston Quilt Show that were obviously copied from photos. This piece was taken very directly from Dorothea Lange's photo of the migrant mother, from the dustbowl era. The quilt artist did not violate any copyright since the photo is in the public domain, but nevertheless, many of us were surprised that it was awarded a prize in a category for original artwork. Similarly, this piece is a very faithful copy of a painting. The quilt artist obtained permission from the painter to copy the painting. Googling found the original painting and it is a detail for detail copy.  In our online discussion no one is questioning the artists' legal rights to use other artists' works as their source material, but many, including myself, are disappointed that these copies were first, accepted in categories that clearly called for original work and second, that they won awards.

Artists may, of course, do whatever the law allows them to do in regards to where they find their images, but one has to wonder why one artist chooses to copy the work of another. (and that includes someone else's photo) I find it hard to think I would get a lot of satisfaction out of that kind of work. Yes, copying of master works is a popular exercise for art students, but it is understood that this is an exercise and not your personal work.

So--what about photos? Working with photos is common in the art quilt world. Some quilt artists actually print a photo on fabric and then stitch right over it. Some painstakingly copy a beautiful photo, detail by detail. Some use a photo as a starting point and abstract and rethink the composition. For me, I use my own photos, never anyone else's, and sometimes I follow the composition fairly closely and sometimes I use only the parts I want to emphasize and that work as part of my own vision. Here are a couple of recent works, drawn from photos taken on our Spain trip.

This one is a fairly straightforward interpretation of the photo I took on the steps of the Prado.

The second is this small piece, depicting pomegranates, as they grow on a tree.

An abstracted image, using this photo of a pomegranate tree I took at the Alhambra as reference.

Would I try to render a photograph as realistically as possible in fabric? No. I don't see the point in that. That image already exists as a photograph and unless I can bring something new and personal to it I don't know why I would want to simply copy it. The bird, above, is close, I know, but I still feel I have brought something new, at least to me, to it.  Or maybe not.

As far as the discussion about the unoriginal/original quilt pieces in Houston, there was no agreement. Some folks think the fact that they were so skillfully copied is reason enough to give them a prize! Others of us are shaking our heads and thinking this represents a low point in any efforts to bring attention and respect to our art form. It is always, I guess, in any medium, the case that hobbyists and serious artists mingle and no one, not even the artists, knows which is which until these kinds of discussions come up.  I once saw an awfully cleverly reproduced painting of the Last Supper at the State Fair. It had a blue ribbon on it. Sigh....

by Terry Grant ( at November 24, 2014 12:40 AM

November 23, 2014

Margaret Cooter

An imaginary map quilt

Blue Collar City by Sally Dutko (via)
"Yes!" was my response on seeing this photo in Kathy Loomis's review of the map quilts in Quilts=Art=Quilts. In fact she's reviewed all of the categories of quilts in the show - abstract, representational, etc, and with considerable insight ... she was a juror for the show ...

So, why does this piece hit all the buttons for me?
- The title: it does what it says on the box - with tongue in cheek.
- The aesthetics: composition, materials, colours.
- Thrift: clever reuse of materials.
- Inventiveness: I find myself mentally sidling up to the artist's moment of seeing-the-connection, vicariously enjoying the moment when the pieces fall into place, the way is clear...
- Verve: everything is confidently placed, without fuss or fiddling.

The size is 52"x36" - it would have been easy to make this quilt, this map, too big or too small, but it's in balance with the size of its components.

And ... it almost looks like a real city, without the viewer having to fuss about details. You don't get lost in looking for familiar streets; you can stand back and think about what "blue collar" means in the life of a city, in the death of a city, in the lives of its inhabitants. Imaginary map, imaginary city it may be, art work it is ... and it's what the viewer brings to the work that completes it as art. For someone outside the industrial life a a city, "seeing" this "map" is totally a feat of the imagination, but none the less real for that.

by Margaret Cooter ( at November 23, 2014 08:42 AM

November 22, 2014

Margaret Cooter

Large sketchbook development

The little John Piper picture in my new large sketchbook has been joined by another image I simply couldn't throw away (for reasons not yet known to me), a vignette of a carving of an Indian(?) musician -
After cutting out its shape through several pages and glueing it on the last one, I started adding colour (the paint was used as glue too). On the last page of this set has been rolled with block printing ink ... which, being water soluble, easily mixes into any paint subsequently added to it.
The ovals are the cutouts, also inked up, for use elsewhere ... cut into filigree perhaps? Thinking about this as I write, the next step with the musician will be to draw him, or others like him*, behind the cut-outs and on other parts of the pages. Also, I'm seeing faces on the left-hand page - amazing how we tend to see faces whether we look for them consciously or not. John Updike said something about abstract art aspiring to remove anything that could be seen as a face...

And coincidentally to faces - from a review of James Hall's recent book on the self-portrait, this photo from the review in World of Interiors -
It's a self-portrait of Sofonisba Anguissola "holding a medallion". Hall says that the medallion is actually the back of a mirror bearing her father's initials and a marginal inscription: "Painted from a mirror with her own hand by the Cremonese virgin Sofonisba Anguissola". Perhaps this was fresh in my mind when the Indian musician, with his "medallion", came to hand?

Elsewhere in the large sketchbook, more scrapes and blobs of colour get added whenever the paints or pastels are handy -

*Similar musicians are surprisingly hard to find on the internet, but this one is certainly appealing -
Apsaras as a musician, 6th century Chinese, V&A (via)

by Margaret Cooter ( at November 22, 2014 11:36 AM

Cynthia St. Charles

Row By Row Details

 I love all these bright colors and bold patterns mixed with the black and white graphic prints!  So glad I finally got this one put together!

by Cynthia St Charles ( at November 22, 2014 05:00 AM

November 21, 2014

Margaret Cooter

Photo download organising tip

A very simple thing is saving me lots of frustration. It's one of those "why didn't I think of this sooner" things....

When I (and perhaps you) download pix from camera or phone, the "natural" way they are organised is by date taken, oldest to most recent ... so you have to scroll down to the bottom to find the photos you took only yesterday.

It's so much easier when the most recent photos are at the top of the screen.

At the top left of the screen is an icon called "Change your view" - click on the arrow to get options -
Near the bottom of the list is "Details" and it's here that you can re-order the way you see your files -
Clicking on the column heading changes the "Date Picture Taken" column to show the most recent photos first -
Change the view back to "Large icons" so as to actually see what the photo is. (Take a moment to delete the duplicates!)

Now the latest photos are shown at the top, saving you the effort of having to scroll down. OK, that scrolling only takes a little time, perhaps less than changing the view - but this new way of looking at the files has a knock-on effect -- to the other folders in which you have photos.

My downloaded photos are saved into monthly files, named "2014 05may", for example, so they are listed in sequence and are easy to identify. The photos within these files are listed in reverse order, so that the newest are at the top - and that means that the photos downloaded today are most easily accessible. (The rest are out of sight, off the screen, not cluttering my field of vision - that helps!)
"Image Size" is found under Image in the Photoshop menu
My downloaded photos arrive on the computer at 180 pixels/inch resolution - rather useless, as it's neither 72 pixels/inch to use on screen, nor 300 pixels/inch to use for printing. It's a camera default, and I have a workaround, a little routine for preparing the photos for use on screen -- open, crop, deal with colour balance, save for web.

The "organisational" part of that routine has taken care of itself, now that I have a monthly file for the on-screen photos ... and that's the "why didn't I think of this earlier" part of this story. Previously, the selected, edited, resized photos went into the main folder, and once I'd used them they went into "archive" folders - sometimes....
Not the best way to keep on top of things
Sometimes that step was forgotten, making for a clumsy, inert backlog, some of which hadn't been used on the blog but had been sent in emails. (What a mess; I've not yet steeled myself to deal with it.)
So much better - monthly folder with most recent photos at the top! 
In their monthly folders, current photos at the top, the older ones can simply be disregarded. How simple, how obvious, is that? ... once you think of it.

by Margaret Cooter ( at November 21, 2014 10:18 AM

Neki Rivera

mono no aware

have a good weekend!

neki desu
Creative Commons License 

by (neki desu) at November 21, 2014 09:00 AM

Cynthia St. Charles

Bright Row By Row

 I pulled these bright fun pieced rows from a UFO drawer in my studio.  This is from a quilt guild "Row by Row" exchange.  I made the first row (actually two rows of houses) and put them in a bag along with a collection of bright fabrics mixed in with some graphic black and white prints.  This bag was passed along from one to another in our "Row by Row" group.  It was probably started around year 2000.  Not sure.  One of the rows was made by a member who is now deceased.  As long as I am cleaning out space, I felt I may as well finish this one up.  I remember being flummoxed by it when I got these rows back all those years ago.  I did not hesitate at all this time.
It is all finished now and measures 50 x 61".

by Cynthia St Charles ( at November 21, 2014 05:00 AM

November 20, 2014

Margaret Cooter

"We would like to sincerely apologise"

Spotters of split infinitives may well think this is going to be another rant about editing (lack of) - but no ... split infinitives are small beer in the word-misusage pantheon. More on that another time, perhaps?

This is a story with a nicely surprising outcome. It started when my son found a bit of wood in his packet of crisps - and let the manufacturer know. 

Back came this box of goodies -
with an apologetic letter -
which details how they are improving their manufacturing process. Hopefully no other bits of wood  found their way into crisps packets ... if you find one, let them know!

by Margaret Cooter ( at November 20, 2014 12:21 PM

Poetry Thursday - Fine Knacks for Ladies, by Anon

Sing along (via)
Fine Knacks for Ladies

Fine knacks for ladies, cheap choice, brave and new
Good penniworthes, but money cannot woo;
I keep a fair, but for the fair to view;
A beggar may be liberal of love.
Tho' all my wares be trash, the heart is true,
the heart is true, the heart is true.

Great gifts are guiles and look for gifts again,
My trifles come, as treasures from my mind,
It is a precious jewel to be plain,
Sometimes in shell, the orient pearls we find.
All others take a sheaf, of me a grain,
of me a grain, of me a grain.

Within the pack, pins, points, laces, and gloves
And diverse toys, fitting a country fair
But in my heart, where duty serves and loves,
Turtles and twins, courts brood, a heavenly pair.
Happy the heart that thinks, of no removes,
of no removes, of no removes.

Borrowed from "An Elizabethan Song Book."
John Dowland, Second Book of Songs or Ayres, 1600. (via)

Carol Rumens' analysis of the poem will deepen your understanding of it - there is a little mystery about the author - it's given as "an old peddler's song", but could it have been Dowland himself, or perhaps Thomas Campion? And what of those "removes" in the last line - a removal of clothing, perhaps?

Plenty of renditions of the song can be found on youtube - by Sting, a 1984 BBC clip from the King's Singers "Madrigal History Tour" (with a young Antony Rooley on lute), by tenor Tyler Ray, from German television sung by the Singphoniker (with a good strong countertenor), by Alfred Deller, an inspiration to the early music revival ... pages and pages of versions ...
Traditionally rendered (via)

by Margaret Cooter ( at November 20, 2014 12:12 PM

Neki Rivera

a useful exercise

from very little collapse to maximum.the wide white is doupioni silk in a very slubby texture.

weaves are plain and han
damask light and tight beat.

then merino wool weaves:han damask and plain weave light beat.
the collapse came in the  wet finish so it's  fulling

after these:
wool steel and crepe wool light beat,
plain weave. the weave close to
the magenta yarn is all
wool stainless by itself, with a firmer beat

48/2 merino and crepe wool, very light beat. plain weave and han damask.the warp kinks out.

end game: wool crepe same as warp

han damask light and firm beat.

 plain weave, very light beat.

neki desu
Creative Commons License 

by (neki desu) at November 20, 2014 09:53 AM

Cynthia St. Charles

Scrappy Quilt Back for the Stripe Scrap Quilt

I forgot to mention this one measures 43 x 70".  Here is the back for the Scrappy Stripe Quilt I posted yesterday.
Here is a detail of the quilting on the backside.
My pile of finished scrap quilts is getting higher!  (they are piling up awaiting labels!)

by Cynthia St Charles ( at November 20, 2014 05:00 AM

November 19, 2014

Olga Norris

Not rust, but salt

I am learning about salt in the FutureLearn course on Exploring our Oceans this week, and we were provided with this link to fantastic photographs of volcanoes, such as the one below -
Like in a coral reef, yellow ridges of salt rise to the surface of the blue lake (Dallol, Ethiopia).

by Olga Norris ( at November 19, 2014 02:40 PM

Margaret Cooter

Poking around in and around the Barbican

The Barbican was planned in the heady days when "everyone" travelled by car, so getting there on foot is a labyrinthine trek. Either you go up narrow stairs, along a windswept plain, down shallow steps - and up yet more steps, internal this time, to the art gallery ... or you dodge between temporary fences along the  upper levels - as we did, and on passing the Conservatory found that it was open.
It was built to camouflage the fly tower of the theatre, once and possibly still the highest in Europe, or at least the UK or perhaps London. It's a nice addition for events held in the adjacent halls, and is open to the public on Sundays, 12-5.

Our destination was the Constructing Worlds exhibition - photography dealing with architecture. You can see some photos on the website, and read the exhibition wall texts. This image (found here)
appears with the Audioguide on the website - it's by Lucien Herve, taken at Chandringar, Le Corbusier's designed city in India - I did try to draw it in order to make sense of it. (Look how important that one little person in it is...)

While I was writing down the name of the photographers and extracting "one little fact" from the wall text, not once but twice a member of staff came over and mentioned that the texts could be found on the website. Which was nice.
I'd been interested to see this show because of having to wait for a train and having a chance to draw the interesting structure on the poster for the show, which also appears on the cover of the book -
It's the Monument to Progress and Prosperity on the banks of the Yangtze River, photographed by Nadav Kandar.

Coming out of an exhibition like this, you see your familiar surroundings in a new way -
Outside the Barbican Art Gallery
While in the building we had a quick look at a little exhibition about the architects of the Barbican itself - these are the "old fashioned" tools of Geoffry Powell -
Another visual delight was the lighting in the cafe -
And then we went to The Curve - wow - 12,000 cyantopes! -

The artist, Walead Beshty, photographed the front and back of each piece as it was made (over more than a year) and the photos are being assembled at half size in chronological order in huge books. Two are on display ("don't touch!") and there will be 41 eventually. The words stamina and endurance come to mind.... Not only in the making, but in the week or more it took four people to install it all. It's on till February ... read more about it here.

Walking back to the tube, we saw this sign, amid others pointing what used to be where now modern buildings stand ("Thanet House was on this site, demolished 1878" etc). (Ironmongers Hall in the background is a survival from the 1920s, though Pepys mentioned the previous Hall, on a different site, scorched but not burnt in the Great Fire) -
"The probably site, where, on May 24, 1738 John Wesley "felt his heart strangely warmed." This experience of grace was the beginning of Methodism. This Tablet is gratefully placed here by the Drew Theological Seminary of the Methodist Episcopal Church, Madison, New Jersey, U.S.A. August 1926"

What a mixup and layering of history London is, not just in grand places but on ordinary streets.

by Margaret Cooter ( at November 19, 2014 08:50 AM

Cynthia St. Charles

Stripe Scrap Quilt

Horray!  I have made a lot of good progress with this series of scrappy random quilts.  There are so many other life events in my world right now - these have been like a breath of fresh air.  Therapy, actually.  I was happy with the way the spiral quilting turned out on this one.

by Cynthia St Charles ( at November 19, 2014 05:00 AM

November 18, 2014

Neki Rivera

the frugal weaver strikes again

left over crepe wool that could not possibly be cut and thrown away. since the tough part was already done which was the warping, it was only a matter of re tightening and re sleying. note the stylish printed cloth on the table serving as a threading eye-saving number   ^_^

it came out narrow, no choice. here's han damask
with a light beat and some more tightly beaten using the same wool crepe as weft. 
other wefts will follow and i am hoping this albeit narrow, will be a useful sample.

neki desu
Creative Commons License

by (neki desu) at November 18, 2014 09:00 AM

Margaret Cooter

Tuesday is drawing day - Horniman Museum

The Horniman currently (till Sept 2015) has a display of Romanian textiles - and this poster from its 1985 exhibition is one of my earliest London "souvenirs" -
so in front of the textiles is where I settled down, choosing first of all the vivid patterning on a coat that also showed signs of moth ravages (a subject close to my heart) -
As you can see, the black background to the border gave me some problems, using water-soluble pastels. How I longed to have had some black tissue in my bag ... but you can't carry everything, it's a matter of making do with what you have - and there's always the possibility of doing more once you get home.

On the other side of the display case were "my three guys" and other icons, flanked by colourful cloths, as they would have been displayed in traditional homes -
 This is St Elijah, driving his chariot across the sky to bring rain for the farmers -
Copying "primitive art" allows for a variety of sins ... accuracy isn't part of the spirit of the thing. First I put down some areas of colour -
The line-work made it come to life -
The blue and "beige" backgrounds await a decision on how to add them - watercolour? acrylic paint? pencil crayon?

The icons on display were painted on glass, so the lines would have been put on first, then the colours, with the background last.

One of the glories of the museum is an enormous walrus, first exhibited in 1886, though the museum has had it only a century. The "souvenir" biscuits are a nice touch -
After lunch we decided to continue drawing. Jo went to work on several versions of the walrus, and I settled down in front of one of the bird displays -
My drawings are linked to an ongoing photo project -

Candidates for "Close encounters of the bird kind"
After drawing the birds (from a distance) I went up close to add their names, and to get a closer look. For several, it wasn't all that easy to find the right bird ... which rather mirrors a story told by the scientist Richard Feynman. His father had pointed out to him that it wasn't useful to know what the name of a bird was - that told you nothing about the bird, it just told you about humans: "Let's look at the bird, and what it's doing."

by Margaret Cooter ( at November 18, 2014 08:13 AM

Cynthia St. Charles

Quilt Back for Pink and Green

 I thought this one may as well have a pieced scrap back, since that is what I am doing these days.  I balk at the idea of buying more fabric!  These backing fabrics are quite old.  Some of these fabrics are from the 80's!  I think it makes for an interesting quilt!

by Cynthia St Charles ( at November 18, 2014 05:00 AM

November 17, 2014

Margaret Cooter

A quick visit to the British Museum

Two forces propelled me to the BM on Saturday afternoon: finding out about sketching stools, and the Germany exhibition. (Timed tickets for the latter, unless you are a "friend" of the museum.)

Also I wanted to do a quick rekky of the Korean Gallery, in preparation for drawing day tomorrow - and found it was closed for renovation! This required a reconsideration, a search for quiet rooms. Room 95, Chinese ceramics, is usually quiet, hidden away off the north staircase, and has such lovely things, beautifully displayed -

Also on the north stairs are the Print gallery, and above that, the Japanese gallery -
Below, the Chinese and Indian galleries, in a long room with gold leaf on the walls; the bays lend themselves to being out of the full flow of the traffic -
Then right near the back door - the north entrance - is the Islamic gallery -
fascinating and usually not too busy, not as busy as the Egyptian galleries at least! So that's the destination of choice.

Sketching stools are available on racks to your right as you enter the Great Court from the front entrance, and as you enter the Living and Dying gallery from the north entrance. Others are said to be in or near Room 56 on Level 3, but that is dangerously near the ever-popular Egyptian galleries.

In the Print room, on level 4, I found a small display put together by 6th form students from a local school, who also wrote the labels -
The prints they chose ranged from the 16th century to these modern prints by two of my favourite artists, Chris Drury and David Nash -

As for the Germany exhibition - I've started listening to the "Memories of a Nation" podcasts, all 30 of which are available on the BBC website - and got curious about the actual objects. No photography in the exhibition (and it was fairly crowded and dim), but the objects discussed are pictured on the BBC website, as well as highlights on the BM website. The exhibition runs till 25 January.

by Margaret Cooter ( at November 17, 2014 01:51 PM

Virginia A. Spiegel

New Artwork – Between 5


Continuing on the theme of transitions, this is Between 5.

Nonwoven fabric, acrylic paint, rayon thread on stretched canvas.

by Virginia at November 17, 2014 01:40 PM

Margaret Cooter

Not a "nice" subject

Today is World Toilet Day - something we in the Western world are spared having to think about, yet elsewhere to have a proper toilet is a dream. 

"2.5 billion people lack access to improved sanitation" says the World Toilet Day website. One billion people around the world do not have access to a toilet and must defecate in the open. Even travelling from their home to a public toilet can be dangerous and frightening for women and girls. 
"Inadequate sanitation remains one of the world’s most pressing development issues, often hitting women and girls the hardest." (via)
"My Toilet: global stories from women and girls" is a photo exhibition at the Royal Opera Arcade, Covent Garden, 10-5, till 22 November. "The images and stories show that, although the type of toilet changes from country to country, the impacts show recurring themes. Having a toilet can mean dignity, safety, education, employment, status and more wherever you are in the world. A toilet equals far more than just a toilet."

by Margaret Cooter ( at November 17, 2014 11:09 AM

Pamela Allen

Chicken clucking

Just so people understand that I am a chicken lover from way back despite what I said on quiltart this morning.

by pamelala ( at November 17, 2014 10:38 AM

Neki Rivera

the importance of small things

a little over the height of a penny was causing

this total jam havoc going from left to right with the lace carriage. live and learn.

neki desu
Creative Commons License 

by (neki desu) at November 17, 2014 09:00 AM

Margaret Cooter

Moan on Monday - ruthlessness

In response to my post about the moth damage to a little sweater knit for a toddler some thirty years ago  came an outcry and a clamour to save it, preserve it, mount it as a museum object.

Although I understand this preservation instinct, I have been ruthless and have discarded the now-useless, un-beautiful object - but not without preserving its memory as both useful and beautiful; made with love and joy.

There comes a time, I've come round to thinking, when you have to let go. Let go of the thing - not of all its associations.

In general it's hard to let go of things that have good associations ... in fact it can feel like you're throwing away all the good memories that are embedded in the object. But you aren't.

Yet some objects that hold less-good memories can be hard to let go of - what about those unwanted presents from "important" relatives? - most frighteningly, family furniture that "must" be fitted among your own things.
Someone's inheritance (via)
Another category is the things you have several of, "just in case" - and who among us isn't "guilty" of this?

A subcategory of "just in case" could be called "wishful thinking" - it includes those clothes you keep because you might lose (or gain) weight sometime soon.

It's a widely-held belief that the moment you throw out something, you'll "need" it ... or rather, there will come a moment when it would have been useful. Poppycock! If the thing had been languishing in a forgotten cupboard, would you have been able to use it? It's likely that you're only noticing this "need to have the object" because you've seen or handled it recently - what about all the many other objects that are quite happily and uneventfully discarded?

Ruthlessness in regard to discarding things can go too far - how sad to hear "my mother threw out my teddy bear and didn't tell me". (We hear a lot about hoarding disorder, but is there a "fear of clutter" disorder too?)

Artists have built reputations on acts of destruction, and gained much publicity from getting rid of all their possessions ... only to build up a new collection. There are so many things in our environment, we all have so many belongings, thanks to machine manufacture and lifestyle aspirations and consumerist pressures. These days, second-best beds are rarely mentioned in wills and legacies. Easy come, easy go...

While having this series of fleeting thoughts, I've unearthed another topic to cogitate on - "What is valuable?" It would seem that being ruthless (in discarding things) means having a clear line between what has value and what doesn't. That clear dichotomy rather frightens me, but some people are quite sure in their own minds about this distinction. They know what they don't like, and never give it another thought, except for telling you about it!

The sad little sweater was valuable to me, but I didn't look after it and the moths damaged it. Its intact memory is now what I value about it. Objects come and go, but are more than their physical, tangible embodiment; isn't that why we have photographs, descriptions, and mental pictures?

by Margaret Cooter ( at November 17, 2014 08:59 AM

Cynthia St. Charles

Pink and Green Scrap Quilt

 I am on a big mission to clean out the studio.  I have been working at this slowly over the past year.  Many things have gone to the second hand store, trash, and a few things are being resurrected and finished.  This UFO (pieced top) has been in a drawer for many years.  Probably 8 years or perhaps longer.  I thought I could finish it off as I have been doing a rather extensive series of scrap quilts.  This one is a good nap size - 45 x 72". 
 Here is a little detail picture of the quilting.  Working these larger utility quilts on my domestic machine are a challenge.  Nothing to brag about here, except for the fact that it is now finished and no longer a UFO stuck in a drawer.

by Cynthia St Charles ( at November 17, 2014 05:00 AM

November 16, 2014

Rayna Gillman

end of the week

Packed and ready to leave for home, with a stop on the way.  This has been a delightful
week -- nonstop Mexican food, great company, and a class of SAQA members that didn't even know how talented they were.

A key part of this workshop was the  voluntary critique of works in process; what I call 'groupthink."  Looking at someone else's work-in-progress is the best way to develop an eye for design you can take back to your own work, and the class members came up with some alternative solutions to some design problems others were stuck on.made were insightful and helpful.ifyou...?"

Julie is putting together her quilt, which captures the essence of a field of wildflowers.  
Following the group's suggestion that she try it without the blue and white sky, she removed that section and decided the piece was better without it. She set it aside and the blue and white units can be the starting point for another piece of work.  A design solution!

Kathy made this art quilt, which started as pieced strips she couldn't imagine would turn into anything cohesive.  But here it is, partially put together and ready to be completed at home.  I look forward to seeing the photo of the finished piece! It is both energetic and serene.

Elise's piece ended up to be a dynamic piece that made her feel really good.  Admittedly, it was a challenge to put together all those different sized pieces -- but it was worth it.  And the group's suggestions as she worked on it really helped with her color choices and placement.  She's happy, as she should be.

 I'm at the Tucson airport and have a long day ahead of me.  As always, I envy the class participants for having days to just play.  I have a break from teaching now for several months and am eager to get back to my own design wall and sewing machine.

by (Rayna) at November 16, 2014 03:45 PM

Olga Norris

The rust age

Natural dyeing is so popular these days, and particularly the use of rust - just put the words rusted textile into Google and look at all the divers images that pop up.  I have written a short post about this in Ragged Cloth Café, but encountered so many more examples that I've continued here.
I particularly was interested to see what folks made of their rustings, and was struck by the following:
I really like the combination of indigo and rust in this piece by Jenny Bullen.  The image came from here.
And I very much like the combination of colours in this piece by Constance Rose.
Mixing the rust element with colour gives it another dimension, it is more than an end in itself -
although having said that, I do like this photo of rusted cloths hanging out to dry (from here).
I also like this checkerboard weaving of rusted cloth with batik by LuAnn Kessi.

by Olga Norris ( at November 16, 2014 10:03 AM

Margaret Cooter

Yet another opportunity for drawing

Recently I joined the local art society, not sure of what to expect, apart from the chance to exhibit work twice a year. Turns out it has a sketching group, which met recently at Sutton House in Hackney.

In its garden is a strange contraption -
which turns out to be a rather magical place, a sort of compressed classical interior - go up the narrow staircase to the gallery, or go past the grand fireplace to the lower area, which is the right height for a child or a seated adult -
On a warmer day it would have been a good subject for a pastiche on Piranesi?

Inside the house, the cellar was a bit chilly but had a convenient table, and some enticing baskets in the corner -
 My drawing is a (lurid!) concatenation of the two areas -
A possibility for another drawing was this staircase-window view, with its gamut of reds and a convenient step to sit on -
But the Georgian Parlour offered a windowseat with radiator underneath, so I edited a few things out of this crowded corner (what a glorious chair...) -
Too much editing-out, perhaps - the drawing looks  sadly empty, but maybe that's because the perspective has gone a bit wonky here and there -
Never mind, I'm really enjoying using the neopastels and the waterbrush, and am getting bolder about mixing colours. Anyway, it's all about looking.... and I've just now seen that any shadow from the table is missing, as well as any indication of a skirting board.

Elsewhere in the house is a cafe with second-hand books to browse -
And these chairs in the garden rather called to me -

by Margaret Cooter ( at November 16, 2014 08:51 AM