Planet Textile Threads

December 03, 2014

Gerrie Congdon

Fun in Seattle


As I mentioned in a previous post, I was in Seattle for 3 days with Stephanie, Jayme and the precocious Paige. Jayme had a long day of interviews and touring the U of W Children’s hospital. It is one of many interviews she is having this month for her residency in pediatrics which will start next July. She will rank the hospitals and they will rank the med students. On March 20th, she will get her assignment. Tomorrow, she is off to Stanford for her next interview. She has several in Southern California and a couple more in the bay area. We would love to have her come to Seattle – so much closer to us, but it would be difficult for my son to change jobs.

Anyway, Steph and I were there to spend time with Paige who is an inquisitive, talkative and adorable child. Jayme was recovering from the flu and needed to rest so on our first day there, we took her out to lunch. Just look at that face.


On Monday, we took her to the Seattle Aquarium and it just happened to be Toddler Time with some fun activities for children her age.


She enjoyed touching the anemones and sea cucumbers and followed the instructions of one finger touching.


I love going to an aquarium. I find the colors and markings of the sea creatures and coral so inspiring. I took a few photos, but my phone battery got low so I had to stop. I brought my portable charger, but forgot the cord – duh! Here is some of what I enjoyed.


A Sea Horse – such an interesting creature.


Fluorescent coral.


Giant mussels.


Angelic jelly fish.


Coral and anemones.


Star fish.


More anemones


Loved these green anemones.


And more anemones – love them!

We managed to fit in a little shopping in downtown Seattle before heading back to the hotel. The whole time we were there, the sun was so bright and the sky so blue. It was very, very cold, but manageable because of the sunshine.

Back at the hotel, Steph did an art project with Paige which she loved.

2014-12-02 08.57.04

We bought her some Japanese washi tape which she put all over her paper Paige.

We drove home today after dropping Jayme and Paige off at the airport. I am exhausted but so happy to have spent the time with Paige and Jayme.

by Gerrie at December 03, 2014 05:30 AM

Rayna Gillman

where have I been?

Mostly at home.  Thanksgiving was particularly lovely this year. I spent most of the day organizing the cabinet above my desk in the kitchen. This was a result of my starting to reorganize and clear out my sewing room.  Some things simply needed to be moved to the kitchen cabinet but I had to clear those out first.  Ya know what i mean?  One thing leads to another and my shredder got a good workout.

Thanksgiving night, my daughter Hilary and I went out for drinks and dinner.  A relaxing holiday, I must admit. No cooking, no cleanup, no dishes. Ahhh....

I have spent the rest of the week (including the weekend) clearing the clutter (have a long way to go), filling trash bags galore, and getting rid of STUFF.  This includes books I no longer need/want/have room for.  And I have uncovered a stash of small (i.e. journal) quilts I have to put aside and decide what to do with. 

The difficult part is making the small decisions - but that's an old story.  And I still have all those family photos to go through.  Here's one for you: I not only have my own wedding album from my first marriage, but now, my mother's duplicate plus all the proofs, and my grandmother's version. ARGH. These have to go downstairs in the lower level, but not till I clear THAT out. And on and on.  This is what I have been doing for a week - and I still have not touched the fabric in this room.  No pictures till I am done.

Today I went into NY and met Usha for lunch.  I bundled up - hoodie, coat, scarf, and furry clogs, and was amused to see that one of the commuters in George Segal's iconic sculpture in the Port Authority Terminal had decided she needed a head-warmer.

The Port Authority has already started getting dressed for the holidays.

Usha and I had a wonderful South Indian lunch at Madras Mahal on Lexington Avenue and had a chance to catch up -- but it was much too short a visit. She headed to Chinatown to stock up on ginger and I headed to the bus, hoping to avoid rush hour. Nope. Rain and traffic doubled the trip from ½ hour to an hour to the mall where I had parked my car.
I was happy to get home and have decided to leave the continued clearing till tomorrow.

In the meantime:
I have packed up the Quilt National catalogs from 1993, 95,97, and 99, a Visions '98 catalog, and another book and am ready to send them off, book rate, to a good home. If you want them, leave a comment and I'll let the random number generator pick the new owner by Friday morning, Dec. 6.

by (Rayna) at December 03, 2014 03:11 AM

December 02, 2014

Gerrie Congdon

The 100 Fundraiser to Fight Cancer


I am so happy and pleased to be an invited artist for “The 100″ to be held on Wednesday, February 4, 2015. The goal for this fiber fundraiser for the American Cancer Society is to raise $10,000 in one day. Virginia Spiegel and her Fiberart For A Cause has already raised $240,000 through the generosity of fiber artists and patrons. I think I have participated in every one of them. As a cancer survivor and as one who has lost too many friends to cancer, I love that I can give back in this way,

How can you participate? Click here for all the details. I’m sure you will want to be one of the very exclusive 100 patrons who will be randomly assigned artwork from an extraordinary line-up of international fiber artists. Later, I will post a photo of the work that I will be donating.


by Gerrie at December 02, 2014 06:04 PM

Margaret Cooter

Tuesday is drawing day

Last Tuesday I settled down in a quiet, spacious corner of the Museum of London, and that was where Jo and then Jill found me bent over my book, as close to the case as I could get  -
(Thanks for the photo, Jill)
 On my previous visit I'd glimpsed some rich embroidery -

 A closer look - it was the cuff (only) I set out to draw -
 but it rather got away from me, to the point where I was rendering just about every stitch. With a feeble attempt at blue velvet, and just a suggestion of the red on the waistcoat -
Also in the case was the hatbox (and those reflections are of the horses that are part of the State Coach display) -
The postillion's jacket, elsewhere, dates to 1863. "The Lord Mayor's coach is drawn by three pairs of horses. The postillion rides on the left horse of the front pair." -
 Drawing done, we gathered for coffee and out came the books -
 The cafe's sandwich bags were discussed at length -
On the way out we looked at the objects that inspired each of us. For Jill, the "before and after" paintings of soldiers going out to India in the 1850s -
 For Jo, an imaginative view of a carriage on the Underground, by Timo Lehtonen -

And what of the experience of drawing all that goldwork? For the first hour and a half I found it absorbing, seeing how the light hit the threads and how the lie of the threads angled the gleam of the gold. I was mentally stitching it, without the labour of keeping the threads under control. If it took this long to draw, how long would it have taken to stitch! Yet I felt it would be much more satisfying to be stitching it than drawing ... once I'd learned the technique. Same with drawing though - you don't "learn the technique" in an afternoon! I did get very fed up with oak leaves and acorns and clover leaves and roses and elm(?) leaves, but pushed through to the end. My regret is not being able to capture the velvety-ness ... you can do that only by stroking the fabric...

by Margaret Cooter ( at December 02, 2014 08:27 AM

Cynthia St. Charles

Kimono Silk Collage #1

Here is a first effort with the kimono silks.  I mixed in a few necktie silks, too.

by Cynthia St Charles ( at December 02, 2014 05:00 AM

December 01, 2014

Shirley Goodwin

Round the World Blog Hop

I have been invited by Clare Smith of to participate in this Round the World Blog Hop.  Clare is a Kiwi dyer and textile artist, and I love the work she is doing with dyeing fabric while in situ in a gallery.  The rules of the Blog Hop are that we have to answer some questions about our work, show what we are doing, and then nominate some other bloggers to do the same.

Here are the questions:

1. What am I working on? 

OK, this is a tricky one.  I have moved away from quilt art towards makings textile-related things for sale in the local Textile Emporium - in other words, I have gone from making stuff to look at to making stuff to sell. However......I have become very interested in eco printing, dyeing with plant material and Slow Cloth.  What is Slow Cloth?  It's my own offshoot of Slow Fashion, where I will create either accessories (eg cushion covers, scarves, bags) or garments from plain natural fibres (eg cotton, linen, silk) that I have transformed by slow methods such as shibori, dye bundling with plant material, solar dyeing, rust dyeing and so on.  

I am only just starting this journey, so haven't much to show yet except these 2 scarves:

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre? 

The Slow Fashion movement is still in its infancy, and slow cloth is even newer.  In many ways, though, it is older, as this is how cloth used to be made - when craftsmanship and artisans were valued and there was no mass production.  As far as I know, there are only a few textile artists embracing this style.

3. Why do I create what I do? 

Because it interests me.  I have always followed my own interests with cloth and dyeing.  My work has never been popular or trendy, but that doesn't worry me. 

4. How does my creative process work?

I sneaked a look at Clare's answer and positively chortled!  I have also gone to art school, but at an advanced age, so I write nothing down!  It is all in my head and I prefer it that way because it changes constantly.  I do my best thinking when I am lying down.  I think things through in quite a lot of detail this way.

Because I am somewhat late at getting this done, having been at work (unpaid) at the Textile Emporium all day and because I didn't read about it properly in advance, I am going to nominate 2 other bloggers without warning them - I hope they will be able to spare a few minutes to participate.

1. Liz Plummer  from Newport in South Wales.  Liz is a fellow blogger from the Quilting Arts blog ring who kindly invited me to stay for a few days when I was in the UK in 2010.  Liz is also a textile artist doing exciting things with fabric.

2. Dijanne Cevaal who flits from France to Australia and back again.  Dijanne was an early dyeing influence and will be known to many.  She will probably curse me for this as she is producing a book and doing a squillion other things.  However, I wanted to include her as she has also been a huge influence on my work - I love just about everything she does.  I stayed with Dijanne in the south of France when I was on my overseas trip and had a blast.  

by Shirley Goodwin ( at December 01, 2014 07:29 PM

Sarah Ann Smith

Interweave Sale

Hey…I just got a quick note, which I’m sharing here.  If you want anything from Interweave, click through with the link on the left and use this information:

The Quilting Daily shop is offering an additional 10% off purchases and free U.S. shipping, plus 50% off many items throughout the store. Some exclusions apply, but most of our digital products such as eBooks, QA Workshops, downloads and even some of our kits are included.

Among other things my video workshop is on sale, along with a bazillion other really good video workshops and books!   Use

CYBER10 to get an additional ten percent off.

And yeah, my road to the hot place is better paved.  Obviously I didn’t get that post up before Thanksgiving.  More good stuff IS coming, I promise!

by Sarah Ann Smith at December 01, 2014 03:27 PM

Virginia A. Spiegel

1 Day = $10,000 to Fight Cancer


1 Day – 100 Artists – 100 Patrons – $10,000 to Fight Cancer

Please mark your calendar for Wednesday, February 4 and join us for this fast, fabulous, and fiber-licious event.

The 100 invited artists are revealed TODAY.

Will you be one of the 100 patrons that helps us reach our goal?  $10,000 raised would mean that Fiberart For A Cause has raised 1/4 million dollars for the American Cancer Society.

Please help spread the word about the event by sharing info with family, friends, co-workers, groups, and guilds.  Here are logos and more. Thank you!

Questions?  Contact me at Virginia(at)
or leave a comment here.

Logo by Jeanelle McCall.

by Virginia at December 01, 2014 12:13 PM

Natalya Aikens

keeping secrets

Yup. I've been keeping secrets! But I'm done and ready to spill!

I'm excited to announce that I'll be participating as an artist in Creative JumpStart (CJS) 2015, run by Nathalie Kalbach. If you're not familiar with CJS, it's a one-of-a-kind online event to fire up your creativity in Jan 2015.

Learn techniques, discover new materials, and connect with artists and crafters.

Creative JumpStart 2015 Trailer from Nathalie Kalbach on Vimeo.

Throughout January participants get 25 videos from 23 featured artists. I'm proud to be one of those artists, called “JumpStarters.” See for yourself:
Head on over to Nathalie's site to sign up and for more details.
You get 25 videos for just $25 (USD).

But wait – it gets better: if you sign up today you’ll get $5 off. Just use this coupon code during checkout: cybercjs
*This is a limited offer valid from 9:00 am Dec 1, 2014 to 8:59 am EST on Dec 2, 2014.

So what are you waiting for? Sign up here, and apply the coupon code during check out process.
CJS 2015 is proudly sponsored by Liquitex.

by Natalya Aikens ( at December 01, 2014 09:43 AM

Margaret Cooter

Desiderata: Single-tasking

"Responding to electronic interruptions is giving away your power and is the ultimate form of procrastination in contemporary life." (via)

We know that multi-tasking is a problem for most people. You just can't be as efficient when you have to switch from task to task  as when you focus on just one thing. But often, especially for mothers and in certain jobs, single-tasking is a luxury ... or seen as wasteful.
A multi-tasker of necessity, c.1990
Research shows that multi-tasking can reduce productivity by up to 40%, and lead to more mistakes. Through stress, it can damage your health. Through using up "working memory" it can dampen creativity.

As you get older, doing two things at once can be linked to memory problems: "When University of California San Francisco researchers [in 2011] asked participants to study one scene, but then abruptly switched to a different image, people ages 60 to 80 had a harder time than those in their 20s and 30s disengaging from the second picture and remembering details about the first. As the brain ages, researchers say, it has a harder time getting back on track after even a brief detour." (via)

Still, there are ways to help yourself...

- switch off electronic notifications

- do things in batches - getting into the mindset saves time

- pay attention to the person you're talking to - don't let the phone or texts interrupt the conversation

- pay attention to your food, rather than eating in front of the tv or at the computer

- if you start something, don't stop till you've finished it ("only handle it once")

"Almost everything except true emergencies can wait 
until you have completed what you are working on."

by Margaret Cooter ( at December 01, 2014 08:52 AM

Gerrie Congdon

Deconstructed Sunflower Print


Here it is the last day of November, so soon. Where did the month go? For The Printed Fabric Bee this month, Susan Purney Mark was the Queen Bee. She asked for sunflowers. I tried coming up with various sunflower motifs and they all looked like ordinary sunflowers. I decided that what would suit my artistic sensibility would be to deconstruct the sunflower into its essential parts.

I started with printing a leafy background on a pale green hand-dyed cotton. I used a real leaf that looked like a miniature of an actual sunflower leaf.


After doing some random leaf prints, I cut a couple of petal shapes from a piece of foam and started printing petals in various shades of yellow and yellow/orange.



For the sunflower seeds, I used some sequin waste to print random dots of brown.


Susan requested that her piece be 6 inches by 24 inches. Here is the piece that will go into the giveaway:


When we get the collage of all the pieces put together and we are ready for the drawing for the fabric collection, I will post it here.

We had a great Thanksgiving at Stephanie’s home. She cooked a whole turkey for the first time and it was delicious. I brought cranberry chutney, roasted squash and gluten free pumpkin pie.We enjoyed a walk in the neighborhood between dinner and dessert. Miles is really bonding with Scooter now, but he still is not ready to pick up the poop

TDay walk

I spent Friday and Saturday getting end of the month SDA work completed. This morning, Steph and I headed to Seattle, where I am right now. This is what greeted me in our hotel room.paigeinseattle

Paige’s Mom is having an all day interview at U of W Children’s Hospital tomorrow and so Steph and I are going to entertain this little charmer. The weather here is very cold, but with bright sun so it was a nice drive and nice to be out walking around in the University Village area.

Maybe I will check in tomorrow after our day in Seattle with Paige.

by Gerrie at December 01, 2014 05:40 AM

Cynthia St. Charles

Antique Kimono Silk - removing mothball and mold smells!

A friend in my art quilt group, WAV  (visit our blog here) brought a big pile of antique kimonos to our October WAV meeting.  She suggested we could each take pieces of them home and I focused on the dark ones with subtle woven patterns.  As I was taking the kimonos apart in order to salvage every bit of useable fabric, I was envisioning creating fused collages from them. 

When I got my pieces home, and began to iron them, I found the odors of mold and mothballs overwhelmed me!  I could not work with the fabric the way it was, so I decided that even though all this fabric is silk, I would wash the fabric, hoping the odors would vanish in the wash.   I washed in warm water, delicate cycle and used what I always use when washing silk - Orvis paste.  I washed twice hoping the odors would disappear.

Not so!  In fact, the washing seemed to intensify the odors!  Oh my!  The whole house smelled like mothballs and mold - even my husband was bothered by the smell.  I researched how to remove the odor and back into the washer all the silk went.  I soaked it for 24 hours in white vinegar/ water solution.  Then, I spun it out and found it still reeked! 

OK, so the next step, according to my research - hang it outdoors until the smell disappears.  Here are the silk panels on the clothesline, where they hung for a month.  These were my "Halloween decorations".  My grandson and hubby thought it looked very "witchy" or "ghostly". 

I did finally get the smell out

by Cynthia St Charles ( at December 01, 2014 05:00 AM

November 30, 2014

Margaret Cooter

"Under the Microscope"

As children, we aren't curious about the lives of our parents, certainly not about their lives before we were born. As adults, we may never find out about their past. This is what almost happened to Mary Pritchard in regard to her mother, Olive Ackroyd. 

But through inheriting her mother's microscope, and with the help of family photos and letters,  Mary has reconstructed her mother's life as a scientist, at a time when girls generally didn't go into science careers - and in any case, gave up their careers upon marriage. Mary - a photographer and ceramicist - gathered together all her mother's original published scientific papers, photo albums, letters and drawings, and along with her own work based on the microscope slides, put them on show in a carefully reconstructed environment.

"Olive Elizabeth Aykroyd was born in Dublin, Ireland over a 100 years ago and was exceptional in many ways. She went to Trinity College Dublin in the 1930's and obtained a PhD in Zoology at a time when it was unusual for women to pursue a scientific career. Her research contributed to the expansion of the subject at that time. However, after she married and had a family she did not return to her research. 

"Mary has found her mother's original laboratory slides from the 1930s a rich source of inspiration and for this exhibition she has re-interpreted them and re-presented them in a variety of ways - using both old and new technology. From cyanotypes (a very early form of photography) to reprinting the slides of insect larva onto huge pieces of tracing paper, to manipulating the images in Photoshop to produce a homage to Andy Warhol, to decorating ceramic tiles with the slide images, Mary has breathed new life into these tiny, old objects, which have a strange beauty of their own.

"In terms of work inspired by the archive, Mary has been using her camera as a kind of microscope focusing in on details of plants to magnify them and appreciate their beauty and complexity. Mary inherited a love of nature, an interest in science and her artistic side from her mother." (via)

Here is a walk-through of the historical part of the exhibition, a re-creation of a life -

See the work inspired by the archive at The exhibition was held at Artisan80, Willesden, 4-22 November.

by Margaret Cooter ( at November 30, 2014 10:19 PM

Terry Grant

Thanksgiving week

The beginning of the crazy season. I am trying to be calm and organized, which is such a struggle for me— the organized part. I never developed the habit of list-making. I think that would help. I seem to have gotten myself involved in so many things that require many hours on the computer and/or returning things or mailing things to various locations. After I finish up what I have promised, can I resign from some of this? I hope so. I feel a New Year's resolution coming on...

Thanksgiving, the day, was lovely. My daughter hosted the festivities, so we had a quiet day that did not involve cleaning and table-setting and managing refrigerator real estate. I needed only to cook my contributions to the dinner and get myself and food into the car for the 5-minute drive to Emily's! Mid- day, between cooking tasks, Ray and I went for a nice walk in the forested area not far from our house. The day was sunny and warm enough and the yellow leaves were like bursts of sunlight in the depth of the woods.

This is the same creek that runs through our yard, about a mile downstream from us. It is at least twice as wide here as at our house–more in some places.

The forest is still and moist and green and fragrant with fir and earth. I can feel the tension drain away with every step.

Last week I started knitting.

For years I resisted it, telling my knitting friends that I did not need another vice. This week I changed my mind. It seemed like something I could do, despite a bad knitting experience as a Girl Scout 60 years ago. I had forgotten everything I learned making those hideous slippers all those years ago, so I was starting from scratch. But as I got into it I think some ancient sense memory began to kick in. The rhythm of it seemed to come back to me.


My first knitted project was this hot pad. It is not as good in person as it looks here, but not too bad. The embroidered snowflake looks really uneven, but if you tilt your head at a 45 degree angle you will see it at the angle from which I was working it. Better, right? Now I am knitting some mittens for myself. I love seeing it grow into a recognizable shape, and I love how the color changes as I knit this yarn. I would much rather be doing this than working at my computer.

I have also started a large quilt for the High Fiber Diet Neutrals show. The actual theme is "Making our Mark". Some peeks at its beginnings.



Hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving.

PS - I found this photo online that looks like the slipper pattern we used in Girl Scouts, except that mine ended up being about 18 inches long. See why I had that 60 year antipathy for knitting?



by Terry Grant ( at November 30, 2014 02:22 PM

Olga Norris

As part of the room exchange

I have been moving my short story collections to another location.  I had tidied them out of the way, packed into the bottom shelf of a bookcase while my mother was using the room, and had almost forgotten about them.  One aspect of tidying and sorting which I do enjoy is the rediscovery of fading memories.
I love the short story form.  I never really understand why it is not more popular.  I encountered the form first from reading essays at school.  My parents were strict about how much time I should spend at homework, and so when I had finished, I always had a book to read.  With a short story I could quickly be whisked away to another environment, and have an intense relationship with character, plot, ambience ... which could all then be savoured in my mind when doing chores etc.  Novels' worlds were more difficult to hold onto until later in my schooling when homework legitimately took all evening and part of the weekend.
I realised as I was transporting my collection the other day, and placing them on accessible shelves, that if I had to choose just a couple of shelves of books that I could keep, it would be the short stories.  I smiled in memory as I put them up: authors like William Trevor, Margaret Atwood, Alice Munro, Somerset Maugham, Katherine Mansfield, Angela Carter, A. S. Byatt, Borges, Theroux - whose short stories I always found more satisfying than the novels or the travel books, William Boyd, D.H. Lawrence - again I prefer his short stories and poetry to his novels, ... oh, just too many to mention.
Some memorable collections are Our Ancestors by Italo Calvino, Dreams of Dead Women's Handbags by Shena MacKay, Unlikely Stories Mostly by Alasdair Grey, Strange Pilgrims by Gabriel Garcia Marquez....  I also discovered a volume I'd completely forgotten, and now add it to my current hibernation pile: Collected Stories by Carol Shields.
I also have collections by country, by topic, and by general anthology like the absolutely marvellous Soho Square collections 1 (cover pictured above), 2, and 3 published by Bloomsbury.  Now, where no illustrations are involved, I shall be continuing to read short stories, but on my Kindle, so this collection of books dating back to the early 60s has become even more precious.

by Olga Norris ( at November 30, 2014 12:28 PM

November 29, 2014

Olga Norris

Winter projects indoors

My husband and I have decided to swap rooms, and to do so before the end of the year.  This is easy to say, and it's a pleasant occupation to plan where everything will go, but in the meantime it is appalling how much stuff there is to pack up and move.
As a diversion from this I have been working on some designs.
Quiet contemplation (design in progress)
First, based on the scan of the cotinus leaves I appropriated a figure from elsewhere in my files.  I'm pleased with this start, and will likely take it further.
Building an argument (design in progress)
Also the grid ideas have been bubbling away on the back burner, and this pair popped into my mind.  I think I'm reasonably pleased with this too.
But now I'd better put away my digital stylus and get sorting!

by Olga Norris ( at November 29, 2014 11:30 AM

Margaret Cooter


It's good to have some knitting on the go. The wool for this "Aran" jumper is from Jamiesons of Shetland (via the Knitting & Stitching show) - it's for someone who wears out the elbows quickly, and will have leather patches from the outset.

Good cotton socks being the price they are these days, the favourite ones are worth preserving - and I'm loving using bright colours to reinforce the thinning heels and toes -
The darning mushroom is a help, but you can use a suitable light bulb if you don't have a mushroom. Work from the wrong side, and the loose ends will be hidden.

Another darning project is my favourite dishtowel, made in Sweden by Ekelund but purchased in a tiny craft shop in Denmark Hill -
The towel has a complicated weave in four colours, and it reached quite a state of wear and disrepair, front and back both. My repair re-weaves the warp threads, using a variegated cotton. The towel cost about £14 at the time - extravagant? - no, it's had a long life, about 20 years. I'm not sure how long the mending will prolong its life ... perhaps some decorative machine stitching on the worn areas will help too.

Moths again -
Large holes, some of them ... repair will need a very creative approach! At the moment I'm fixing the (many) small holes in this garment - and rotating other silks and woollens through the freezer - three days in, three days out, three days in again. Just in case.

by Margaret Cooter ( at November 29, 2014 08:57 AM

Cynthia St. Charles

Primary Colors Scrappy Back for Scrap Quilt

 Here is the back of the Primary Colors Scrap Quilt shown in yesterday's post.  Details below:

by Cynthia St Charles ( at November 29, 2014 05:00 AM

November 28, 2014

Margaret Cooter

Edward Bawden and Morley College

Having seen Morley Gallery's "Edward Bawden, Storyteller" exhibition, and watched its tv programmes about the artist made in 1963 and 1983, I went to the refectory to see the "Canterbury Tales" murals he worked on in the 1950s. He had had a hand in the original (Shakesperian) murals (1930) that were destroyed in bombing ten years later.
In 1955 funding was secured to have new murals painted. My photos, taken on a sunny day, are impossible -
(better photos are here).

Some details -

Two items in the exhibition were commissioned by hotelier Tom Laughton, brother of the actor Charles Laughton - one was this peep show for the Pavilion Hotel in Scarborough -
which shows a seaside scene, in tunnel-book format. Hardly visible behind it, the large painting is of Scarborough - on a "forgotten" map that once graced the children's section of the library (via) -
Also shown were tapestry designs from 1983, sampled at Dovecote Studios (via) -
Bawden (1903-1989) is known for his book illustration and posters. He saw no difference between fine art and the work he did [nor should we...]; he blamed his productivity on habit: "I can't easily get out of it."

by Margaret Cooter ( at November 28, 2014 08:51 AM

Cynthia St. Charles

Primary Colors Scrap Quilt

This one is 48 x 80".   It is the tenth scrap quilt I have made since September!

by Cynthia St Charles ( at November 28, 2014 05:00 AM

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