Studio Sorting 106

Studio Sorting 106

I keep my hard patterns up a tall ladder in a loft in the studio. I accumulate the currently used ones on my makeshift closet on the ground floor. Over time the current ones get hard to access and I need to upload some to make order.

Well, as 68 is fast approaching, getting up and down the ladder is becoming more treacherous. Enter Heather. Heather is my talented ceramist friend Suki’s daughter and she is under utilized in life. She is clever and also talented in so many ways.

Bingo-help me Heather! And she did.

We bucket lined down all those patterns in

the loft and put them on a spare rack.

Now- these are patterns that date back from the ‘80s some of them. Then, there was my production period in the ‘90s, when I had 3 sizes of everything. Many have the motif drawn on them, from my paint-by-graphic period, with corresponding templates accompanying. This was a very tender and sentimental journey, to think about what I really still need.

So- little by little the upper rack filled back up with some of the favorite old styles. And new dividing labels to separate the categories. I felt efficient in my choices. Yes, styles might change and go back to shoulder pads and baggier silhouettes. But I won’t! I like a good fit. I have evolved some of my styles down from big to just right and I won’t go back. That is for the younger generation to explore, as it is part of the cycle of life!

The easiest way to recycle them was to make big rolls and tie them up. Heather had had a vision of all the patterns hanging form the ceiling, but though it would have been haunting and graceful, I really just wanted them out!! We documented the rolls. I only retrieved one pattern from the bin. I’m pretty proud of myself, and grateful for Heather.

 Now for the tubs of fabric…

Fiber Sculpture Sebastopol Center for the Arts

Fiber Sculpture Sebastopol Center for the Arts

On our way back from Benbow in Southern Humboldt, we ducked in to see the fiber show at the Center for the Arts in Sebastopol. It’s an international juried show and a lot of my friends were showing in it. I don’t always make museum shows, so was happy when circumstances and husband aligned to make it possible.

It was a high quality show, the cream of the local fiber talent as well as from around the country. What I particularly enjoy is seeing a tweak that sets a piece off, something that would otherwise look traditional; the weaving that gets spun off the warp, a work shown backwards so you can see the haphazard stitching.

Case in point: Arlene WohlArlene is a weaver at the back end of her career. Meaning she is so done with making clothing. Wanting something else out of life, she heard many of us talk about the Fiber Sculpture class at College of Marin with the magnificent teacher Carole Beadle. After a number of semesters, she works using scraps from her clothing cuttings (sound familiar?), constructing beautiful assemblages with stitching and negative spaces, making good use of her raw materials. I say Bravo Arlene!

More shout outs to local artists Roz Ritter and Susan Doyle. Roz mines herself. She tells stories of her wrinkles and her history with stitching and filmy fabrics. She is constantly
embroidering. Her work is bold and poetic.

 Susan uses clothing as a medium to tell her stories. The piece in this show uses images of clouds taken from her pilgrimage on the Camino that are transferred onto organza and patched into a beautiful kimono that is as light and airy as the images used.

I was glad we were able to stop and see the exquisite work made by these talented artists that elevate the use of cloth, fiber and unusual mediums to such a high level.


Port Townsend Wearable Art Show 2019

Port Townsend Wearable Art Show 2019

The women who lived in Marrakech in the ‘70s have started to gather together every year after one of our dears passed away, taking turns to be exposed to one or the others life, surroundings and activities. This year it is Carol McCreary’s turn. Kinza had told me for years about the amazing wearable art show held in an old Army base in PT and I couldn’t wait to see it!

 Ruth Ann, her sister Melanie and I met in Seattle to have a couple days to see the cultural sights with Seattle based Kinza. This included wandering her neighborhood, where the flowers were bursting with fragrance and color. Then we explored the Olympic Sculpture Park, an outdoor sculpture park that skirts along the Bayshore,  Japantown, where I score Pokemon card binders for grandson, and later after an amazing meal, we visit The Chapel of St. Ignatius that looks as if it was built in Timbuktu.

The next day we car/ferry it to Pt. Townsend, where a resplendent meal awaited us, and the gathering began. The next day we stopped at one of the First People stores and Totem carving workshops. It was fascinating to see how they assemble the work and are training young people to carve. We then hike to falls in the Olympic Peninsula. The Nature is over the top there, deep and ancient, I am touched by the snow-covered peaks , really volcanos, that poke up on the horizon everywhere you look.

The Wearable Art show is a long procession of themed work, modeled by the makers and their friends, young and old. Many of the pieces showcased the perils being wrought upon our Planet, others were whimsical uses of everyday materials. A couple of the works done by younger girls were so moving in their strength and power, it lent hope for our future.

This program highlights and supports arts in the schools and is a wonderful vehicle of expression for the youth.  The show gave the use of fiber arts the respect it deserves.  I recommend a visit to the Olympic Peninsula and including the show as one of your activities while you are there! 


One more September thing…Stockton!

One more September thing…Stockton!

The Haute Couture Societé invited me to show and teach at the end of September. I drove the back way through the Delta region. Stockton was an important part of the shipping industry back in the old days. There is a revival happening around the port.

The Hauties, as they call themselves, were warm and welcoming. Liz Kusama had arranged the Saturday class and lecture, filling the hall with stitchers and fabric artists. I love these tight knit groups that commit to showing their work each month and supporting one another. And I have learned that a two day workshop is best, for really covering the information and letting the attendees have a chance to absorb it.

Sunday, we planted ourselves at the local yacht club, with nice light and a faucet outdoors. There was room to spread out. Of course, there was the Solvy portion of the class. Maybe people have done Solvy before, but I find it brings immediate satisfaction and results to be observed and discussed. Using my scraps brings new inspiration to the process, mixing it up for some different effects. We also did a lot of bucket dyeing and printed up a storm.

What I love is showing up to a hall with my bags of scraps and screens and not knowing what will happen. And by then end of the weekend there has been some good exchanges and maybe changes due to the process of seeing with new eyes. There is bonding and creativity triggered and flowing. I take great satisfaction from these interactions and also new ideas from my”students”.

September Madness…

September Madness…

Is it really November already? My September was a mad house. I had to recover in October.

First on the agenda was a lecture / workshop for Penwag (Peninsula Wearable Art Group), on September 10th. I worked on a new slide show for the trunk show portion of the day. There’s a learning curve showing up and not really having an idea of the layout and facilities. I do feel comfortable talking about my history illustrated with the photos. Followed by dressing the real time models in my pieces and letting them walk around for all to see details and textures.

A quick lunch and then over to the classroom. There were 23-ish women in the class, and they were a bit spread out for my tastes. It being a 3 hour class it was more challenging to create a cohesive space where we can bond and get deep, as a result it felt pretty diffused. However, that said there was a lot of play time silk screening and printing with the linos. I think satisfaction was had in that department! I did try to attend to everyone and give thoughts on their process.

The following weekend I took a class from a German woman- Pia Best and her daughter Marie, who translated. Pia is an dyer who’s speciality is using botanicals. Her process includes starting with indigo dyeing, laying out the leaves and branches then rolling the cloth, mainly a rayon/spandex, around the rusty pipe and then binding it in ace bandage and steaming for 5 hours, hourly dousing with vinegar. Quite a process, that yielded magical results. It felt like an alchemical experience dating back from the middle ages. And probably was!

What I love about indigo dyeing is how centered you need to be in order to not add oxygen to the vat. Takes concentration…Then the musty indescribable smell of the rusty pipe, vinegar and eucalyptus or other botanicals. Whew! I have some nice samples to explore with and an idea that in fact I could maintain an indigo pot if I wanted to. Plus do some more steaming with leaves. Maybe on the weekend so that my neighbors would not be alarmed at the smell…

Museum of Fine Art Houston: Yayoi Kusama

Museum of Fine Art Houston: Yayoi Kusama

I went to Houston on my way to a wedding in Austin this summer. Two dear friends from different parts of my life had just moved there and didn’t know each other yet. One, Pam Barry, my jeweler designer friend, had suggested we go see an installation by Yayoi Kusama at the museum.

I wasn’t familiar with her work and so didn’t have any preconception, leaving myself open to the surprise of these two different installations.

Both are rooms covered in mirrors and dark except for the lit elements that make up the piece. The first was made up of undulating cones covered with polka dots, lit from the inside with changing colored lights. There is music playing and you can move about between the forms. Because of the infinite quality of the mirrors there is the sense of being smack dab in the middle of an Alice in Wonderland environment; quite fun and magical.

The second room allows only two to three people. The room has a slightly elevated pier surrounded by water where you can stand; again mirrors cover all other surfaces. Soft glass tubes of light suspended from wires start to illuminate as if it were dawn in the heavens. You are immersed in the firmament and just as you grasp the experience, it is over, leaving you wanting more, a primal longing to be one with and in the universe.

Next, we went downstairs to check out some of the Native American artifacts. I was drawn to the graphics on some of the pottery and also the woven rugs, strong, bold and pleasing. It is no wonder people are still influenced and inspired by this rich tribal sensibility.

Upstairs was a show called High Society: The Portraits of Franz X. Winterhalter. He painted many of the royal courts in the mid 1800s, including Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Accompanying these lush and detailed paintings were a selection of garments from that period. I was struck by the detailing on several garments which reminded me of some of the touches I saw used on Oscar de la Renta’s clothing. I also love noting the way this painter captured the feeling of the silk and taffeta with strokes that were almost abstract in contrast to his realistic portrayal of the faces.

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