Planet Textile Threads

May 26, 2015

Dijanne Cevaal

Week 3 Florence Dreaming and a Linocut

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

May 25, 2015

Margaret Cooter


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

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

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

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

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

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

Neki Rivera

but without ray davies

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

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

elections are over and life goes on.

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

neki desu
Creative Commons License 

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

Cynthia St. Charles

One Last Post about the Charlie Russell Chew Choo

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

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

May 24, 2015

Margaret Cooter

Seen on Savile Row

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

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

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

Cynthia St. Charles

Charlie Russell Chew Choo Showdown Skit

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

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

May 23, 2015

Terry Grant

The Atlantic Ocean, Monticello and headed south - Day 17

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Margaret Cooter

On yer bike!

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

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

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

Cynthia St. Charles

Charlie Russell Chew Choo Train Robbery

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

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

May 22, 2015

Gerrie Congdon

Back Home and Busy


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


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

student work 6

This piece is the four seasons.


Her Mom is doing a wonderful still life.


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


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


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


A fun landscape by her Mom.

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




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


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

by Gerrie at May 22, 2015 05:13 PM

Neki Rivera

of looms

thinking over

have a great weekend

neki desu
Creative Commons License

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

Natalya Aikens


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

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

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

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

Cynthia St. Charles

Charlie Russell Chew Choo Train Stop

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

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

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

Pam RuBert

“Threads of Thought” at 21st European Patchwork Meeting


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

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

by PaMdora at May 22, 2015 04:14 AM

May 21, 2015

Margaret Cooter

Some exhibitions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rayna Gillman

a lazy week

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

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

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

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

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

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

Margaret Cooter

Poetry Thursday - Lucifer in Starlight by George Meredith

George Meredith caricatured by Max Beerbohn, 1896 (via)

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

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

Hear it read here.

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

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

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

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

Neki Rivera

dying to dye

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

neki desu
Creative Commons License

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

Cynthia St. Charles

Charlie Russell Train Hold Up

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

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

May 20, 2015

Margaret Cooter

"Elements" evolution

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

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

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

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

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

"Chelsea" time

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday excursion

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

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

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

Neki Rivera

more yarns. it's war!

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

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

neki desu
Creative Commons License

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

Cynthia St. Charles

National Academy of Sciences Exhibition!!!!

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

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

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

May 19, 2015

Terry Grant

From Chicago Onward - Day 13

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

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

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

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

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

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


Sue, the tyrranasaurus...


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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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



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

Margaret Cooter

Drawing on Tuesday - at the Wellcome Collection

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

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

African figurines showing diseases

Forceps from the 18th and 19th centuries

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

Caryl was captivated by a glass model of the MRSA bacterium

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

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

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

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

Neki Rivera


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

neki desu
Creative Commons License

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

Cynthia St. Charles

Charlie Russell Chew Choo Scenery

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

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

If you are interested - here is the website:

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

May 18, 2015

Gerrie Congdon

Checking in With Some Fun Stuff


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


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


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

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


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


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


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

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

paige at park

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

Here are some shots from the party:


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


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


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


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


What a little beauty she is!


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

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


by Gerrie at May 18, 2015 10:49 PM

Margaret Cooter

Moan on Monday - the pain of the train

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

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

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

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

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

Terry Grant

From Somewhere in Indiana - Day 12

Continuing with our Chicago adventure...

After our great architecture tour, we wandered down Michigan Avenue and enjoyed a good lunch, then made our way to the Chicago Cultural Center. It is a magnificent 1897 building, built as the Chicago Central Library. In 1977 it was repurposed as the city's cultural center. The building itself is very beautiful and would have been a treat if there was nothing else to see there.


Lucky for us there was a wonderful exhibit of paintings by Harlem Renaissance artist, Archibald Motley.

There were a number of beautiful portraits, including this self-portrait.

But my favorites were the lively narrative pieces depicting African American life in the '20s and '30s. The one below is called "Holy Rollers". ( sorry about the quality of the photo—unavoidable reflections)

Google him if you want a treat.

In another gallery was an exhibit of advertising art from a Chicago company called Valmor that made perfumes and hair pomade and skin-lightening creams and other products. I know I remember these images from my childhood. Surely the use of these products would make one irresistible and one's life perfect! Very fun exhibit.

Across the street from the Cultural Center is Millenium Park where we dragged our tired bodies and found a bench for a breather and a little people-watching. We were rewarded with this little tableau:


We gathered just enough of a second wind to check some of the wonderful features of the park.

Outdoor concert venue designed by Frank Gehry.


"Cloud Gate" (aka "The Bean"), this mirrored sculpture is mind-bendingly fascinating! Photos don't do it justice.

The Crown fountain is delightful.

And this is lovely. Millenium Park is terrific!


A very good day in Chicago. Still more to come.

Today we are driving to Columbus, Ohio and as I write we are somewhere in the middle of Indiana. If you are reading this you will know that we got to Columbus and I was able to connect to the Internet and post. Tomorrow is another driving day and I'll finish up my Chicago pictures.


by Terry Grant ( at May 18, 2015 06:27 PM

Sarah Ann Smith

Vermont Quilt Festival–come play with me!

Wanna come play with me?  It is time to look forward after a very busy winter and spring! I’ll be teaching at Vermont Quilt Festival at the end of June.  I’m so looking forward to it…pretty much my three most popular classes and a new one.   Balinese Garden teaches you decorative machine applique in your choice of pillow top, small quilt or table runner.   Fussy-Fiddly is about how to use those  (not really) challenging threads successfully; we’ve got so many wonderful thread choices available to us now, so let’s USE them!   Birch Pond Seasons teaches you skills and techniques to make not only this “north country” pattern, but go on to work on your  own designs.  Finally, Sunday’s half-day class, Easy Peasy Inside Out Bags, is about making quick and easy, lovely bags:  any size you want, easy zipper installation and addicting like potato chips–bet you can’t make just one!  I sure couldn’t–I keep making (and giving) them!

Here are my classes:
115    Balinese Garden                                                                    Thursday, June 25
218    Tame Fiddly Fussy Threads for Machine Quilting        Friday, June 26
314    Birch Pond Season                                                               Saturday, June 27
410    Easy-Peasy Inside Out Bag                                                Sunday, June 28

To sign up, click on this link: .  Once there, look just below the purple “Basic Sewing Supply List” for “view by instructor.”  Use the dropdown list to select Sarah Ann Smith, and it will pop up information on all these classes.   Also, I’m happy to answer emails with questions!


Balinese Garden Table Runner–Class is Thursday June 25.  As always, I encourage students to cut loose, be creative, and make the project their own.

115    Balinese Garden  Thurs June 25

Here are four versions of my tossed leaves.  You learn to make a freezer paper stencil and paint on cloth.  While the paint dries, learn key tips to success with metallic, holographic, heavy and shiny threads, then free-motion quilt your piece.

Here are four versions of my tossed leaves. You learn to make a freezer paper stencil and paint on cloth. While the paint dries, learn key tips to success with metallic, holographic, heavy and shiny threads, then free-motion quilt your piece.

Here’s a closer view:

The original quiltlet which happens to be on the cover of my book!

The original quiltlet which happens to be on the cover of my book!

218    Tame Fiddly Fussy Threads for Machine Quilting        Fri June 26

Learn all sorts of fun tricks for making free-form fabric collage quick and easy

Learn all sorts of fun tricks for making free-form fabric collage quick and easy

And the autumn view.  I encourage students to personalize their quilts.  Bring a photo of your favorite mountain and make it the featured hill.  Make it any season you want!  Be creative!

And the autumn view. I encourage students to personalize their quilts. Bring a photo of your favorite mountain and make it the featured hill. Make it any season you want! Be creative!

314    Birch Pond Season        Sat June 27

These bags are so easy and fun to make.  They are wonderful to use (in all sorts of sizes), to give as gifts, and can even be turned into iPad or notebook covers.

These bags are so easy and fun to make. They are wonderful to use (in all sorts of sizes), to give as gifts, and can even be turned into iPad or notebook covers.

If you watch Quilting Arts TV, these may look familiar, as they are on one of my episodes in season 1400 AND were in the 2014 Quilting Arts gifts magazine.

If you watch Quilting Arts TV, these may look familiar, as they are on one of my episodes in season 1400 AND were in the 2014 Quilting Arts gifts magazine.

410    Easy-Peasy Inside Out Bag  Sun June 28

For all my classes, you can check here on my “Classes” page for more information and PDFs of the supply lists, or look on my “Resources” page for the downloads.  I’d love to have you in class!

by Sarah Ann Smith at May 18, 2015 12:37 PM

Virginia A. Spiegel

Two by Twenty – I’m In!



Shagbark 3
Virginia A. Spiegel

After taking a long break, I finally entered a Studio Art Quilt Associate’s exhibit and was thrilled to be juried in to Two By Twenty.

Twenty artists each had two pieces that relate to each other in some way selected by juror Dr. Jacqueline M. Atkings.  The exhibit will premiere at the  Open European Quilt Championships, Maastricht, Netherlands – October 2015.

Artists and their selected artwork:

lse Anysas-Salkauskas – Three Old Pals
Ilse Anysas-Salkauskas – Tin Soldiers

Teresa Barkley – A Grand Centennial
Teresa Barkley – The Triangle

Pat Bishop – Gawking Cranes
Pat Bishop – Walk of the Cranes

Sandra Townsend Donabed – Tune In Turn On Drop Cloth 5
Sandra Townsend Donabed – Tune In Turn On Drop Cloth2

Jane Dunnewold – Feather and Bone (right panel)
Jane Dunnewold – Feather Study 4 (Left panel)

Rahel Elran – Primodials  #6
Rahel Elran – Primoidals  #5

Caryl Bryer Fallert-Gentry – Reflections of Cowichen #1
Caryl Bryer Fallert-Gentry – Reflections of Cowichen #2

Deborah Fell – Passage of Time:  Braunschweig 2
Deborah Fell – Passage of Time:  Braunschweig 1

Sandy Gregg – Call for Entry 2
Sandy Gregg – Call for Entry 4

Marjan Kluepfel – Forest Fancy
Marjan Kluepfel – Forest Fire

Mary-Ellen   Latino – Travel Muse: El Burro 1:
Mary-Ellen Latino – Travel Muse: El Burro 2:

Deda Maldonado – Everglades
Deda Maldonado – Flight at Night

Barbara McKie – Botswana’s Beautiful Bird
Barbara McKie – Kookaburra

Elizabeth Michellod-Dutheil – *AU SEUIL DE LA VIE* 4ème jour de la création
Elizabeth Michellod-Dutheil – *XY* 1er jour de la création

Beth Miller – Hollyhocks
Beth Miller – Sweet Pea

Simona Peled – Plannig
Simona Peled – Tactile Architecture

Donna L Radner – Earth, Water and Stone #1
Donna L Radner – Earth, Water and Stone #2

Maya Schonenberger – Ice
Maya Schonenberger – Ice 2

Virginia A. Spiegel – Shagbark 3
Virginia A. Spiegel – Shagbark 4

Janice Stevens – Urban Jungle
Janice Stevens – Urban Transportation






by Virginia at May 18, 2015 11:28 AM

Neki Rivera

more collapse

it took me very long,but finally this warp is beamed.the white yarn stripe on the left of the pinks is an 18turn x cm wool very fine i'd say about 1/ can imagine managing the kinks! frequent breaks help as i just managed 3 broken ends.
the pink is cochineal, the darker terracotta is madder :( thinking about piece dyeing either red with leena's mushrooms or logwood. still have time to think about it.

neki desu
Creative Commons License

by (neki desu) at May 18, 2015 09:11 AM

Margaret Cooter

Art at King's Place

Peter Randall Page,Up Flow, 2014, bronze;
Sap River II, black ink on paper

Almuth Tebbenhoff, Yellow, painted steel
Charcoal drawings by sculptor Jon Buck
A spill-over from Pangolin sculpture gallery, part of the King's Place art complex.

by Margaret Cooter ( at May 18, 2015 09:47 AM

Cynthia St. Charles

Charlie Russell Chew Choo, Lewistown, Montana

I recently had the pleasure of riding this historic dinner train called the Charlie Russell Chew Choo.  We boarded the train just outside Lewistown, Montana.  Our group included my husband and myself, my parents, my older sister and her husband.  Here is what it looked like as we were climbing aboard about 1 PM on a May afternoon.  We knew we would be served a multiple course prime rib dinner and there would be entertainment.  This was our first experience on the Charlie Russell Chew Choo.  Adding to the fun - a film crew from the Food Network was there filming for a segment on their channel.  I believe it will be on "Worlds Weirdest Restaurants", but I do not yet know the dates it will be showing.

by Cynthia St Charles ( at May 18, 2015 07:03 AM

Dijanne Cevaal

Week 2 Florence Dreaming

The reason for being in Florence is to research for my next book, and to find some inspirational subject matter, and in that regard this week proved to be a bit of a gem.I caught up with friends who I will go and see later in the month. I have been working on a counter ego doll- Colombina- I want her to track around with me and see the sights. Colombina is a character from the Commedie Dell'arte, which developed in the sixteenth century and she was a servant though often the only one with any sense or intelligence on the stage and the mistress of Harlequin. All the characters in Commedie Dell'arte wear masks and are the basis of the Venetian carnivale masks but in the beginning it appears Colombina did not wear a mask though she did wear a patched dress as a servant girl would and sometimes also the diamond shaped patches of the harlequin costume. Anyway I will look more into her history but at the moment I am having fun with her in weird and wonderful places ( and she is not quite finished yet- that old enemy time and more time)

Yesterday she went to the Artigianato e Palazzo a fair for artisans and their crafts.The  booths were spread throughout the garden, which is quite lovely with formal elements.Lots of potted lemon trees and orange trees, peonie roses and artichokes.

My favourite booth however was the Fabriano booth. My daughter and I have used Fabriano paper in the past and indeed all the cards we made for the Pozible campaign were printed on Fabriano card paper. Sandro Tiberi was demonstrating how to make hand made paper and how to  emboss the paper with designs.It was not very busy as I got there quite early so I asked Sandro some questions amongst which were, whether he would be prepared to try one of my linocuts for embossing. He said yes, so I immediately caught the bus back to the apartment, picked up some linocuts, and took the bus back to the Artigianato. Sandro not only used one of my linocuts but all the four I had brought with me- and I was completely blown away by the results ( he also made a set for himself)- they are so different to  printing with ink- so textural and the feel on the hand made paper is just beautiful- so thank you Sandro for letting my imagination take a leap ! Sandro is based in Fabriano and  runs a Accademie where  the art of paper making can be learnt- you can access it through his website.

  The olive tree linocut came out so gorgeous, I couldn't believe it! The rabbit linocut also came out to great effect- the areas so well defined. The linocut of the vase of poppies ended up coloured because the last time it was used in a transfer printing workshop it had not been washed properly so the transfer paint transferred and as the paper was dried with a heat press the colour turned to black.I quite like the effect.

Last Friday evening I went to the Eataly knitting cafe which was held in the  instruction rooms above Eataly near the Duomo. It was lovely to meet some local people and to have some of their insights on what I should see .It was suggested I go to the Palazzo Davanzati- and I did- and what a morning it turned out to be! I went early ( i find it hard to deal with big crowds of people so  try and get places early so there are less people around) and was  delighted by the Palazzo and it's frescoes and furnishings showcasing a 16th century merchant house.It is also the home of one of the few copies of the the Coperta Guicciardini from the 14th century the original of which is in the Victoria and Albert Museum. The copy was made and donated to the Palazzo by Silvana Vannini Morgantini from drawings by Maria Silvestri Sardini- and it's gorgeous- just a pity it is lying on a bed though of course it suits the ambience it is supposed to  reflect. I have long wanted to see the original , sought permission on 3 occasions from the V&A but was never rewarded with even an answer except once and then could not because you had to  book to see it so long in advance, so was completely delighted to be able to see the copy of it. Then to top of a wonderful morning there was a small concert held in the court of the Palazzo- 3 different short pieces from the seventeenth century beautifully sung- just magical! And all this cost just 2 Euros!

And just some shots of the frescoes around the Palazzo. The Palazzo contains the fresco cycle know as the Chatelaine de Vergy- depicting the story of an adulterous relationship and it's tragic outcome.

And because it is taking me forever to write this blog post I wanted to leave you with and image of these lads in their headgear!

by Dijanne Cevaal ( at May 18, 2015 03:03 AM

May 17, 2015

Terry Grant

Chicago - Day 11

tulips on Michigan Avenue

The first time I visited Chicago I was 17 years old, traveling cross-country by train to attend a Girl Scout encampment in Maryland. One of the girls I was traveling with had an aunt and uncle who lived there and hosted us for several days and took us out to see the sights of Chicago. It was my first big city experience and I loved it. I bought a pair of sling-back, square-toed, red flats in a shoe store on Michigan Avenue. Boy, did I love my "Chicago shoes". I knew there was not another pair like them in Pocatello—probably not in the state of Idaho, and when I wore them I thought about walking down Michigan Avenue, thinking I had probably walked past more people on the sidewalk that day than lived in Pocatello. Over the years I have been back four or five times, once in the dead of winter with an icy wind blowing off the lake. I loved it even then. So I was looking forward to being in Chicago again.

We've spent the past two days in Chicago and I have taken so many photos that my system has fallen behind. It will take me a couple days to catch up, but I am finally ready to start. Yesterday morning we took the Chicago Architecture Tour given by the Chicago Architecture Foundation, and it was grand! The tour takes place on an excursion boat on the Chicago River and our docent for the tour was superb. She knew the history, the architects, the inside stories of all the incredible buildings that make Chicago the city of incredible architecture.

I took way too many photos to post. Here's my iPad screen after I winnowed them down to my best shots...


And a few of my favorites...




The tour was terrific and worth every penny it cost. If you go to Chicago, take the tour. Just do it.

So—more to come. I'm not finished with Chicago, though we say goodbye in the morning and are off to Ohio, with tired, walked-out Chicago feet. A day in the car might be just the ticket.


by Terry Grant ( at May 17, 2015 10:43 PM

Margaret Cooter

Street corners of note

Here we are in Central London on a fine afternoon, keeping our eyes open.

This corner has some old lettering on the stones of St George's Hanover Square - a church that has a full time professional choir (I didn't know that till this minute!). It was built 1721-5 and the lettering looks almost as old as that.
The obelisks (there's another at the other side of the porch) are 18th century lamp standards

At the corner of Maddox Street and St George's Street, London W1
The old street names show the addition of the postal district, W - a system that was introduced in 1857. Districts were subdivided with numbers (eg, W1) in 1917 as a measure of wartime efficiency.

 A somewhat similar street corner, about 2 minutes' walk away, is occupied by Central Police Station (27 Savile Row; open 24 hours a day). Savile Row was built 1731-5; tailors first arrived in 1803 - which is appropriate as the street was built on land owned by a merchant tailor, William Maddox. The houses, originally only on the east side, were occupied by military officers and their wives, along with politicians - a fashionable address, attracting merchants and makers of luxury goods.

Fast forward to 1939, when the Metropolitan Police Station was built - only to be damaged in 1940 during a bombing raid. Since then it's had double glazing installed - and a raft of security cameras.
At the corner of Savile Row and Boyle St

Security cameras figured in one of the exhibitions we wandered into, in the area; this is a small painting by Henry Hudson, who uses plasticine for his impasto effects, "somewhere between sculpture and painting and etching, even" he said, talking to a group about his contemporary Rake's Progress series ("it took me about five minutes to map out the complete story, and then about 2-1/2 years to make the work"). See a video of how he works here.

by Margaret Cooter ( at May 17, 2015 09:35 AM

May 16, 2015

Margaret Cooter

1930s reading

Two (library) books from Persephone Press, republishing forgotten or neglected novels from the mid-20th century. 
The endpaper fabric is taken from 'Rope and Dandelion',
a blockprinted velvet designed and printed by
Margaret Calkin James for her new house, 'Hornbeams' in
Hampstead Garden Suburb, in 1936.
"The New House" by Lettice Cooper was published in 1936. Set in one day, it tells of the move from a large family home to a smaller one - a "window of opportunity" for Rhoda, who has been doing her mother's bidding for years and longs to see Life. (The author herself was yet to break free from her own mother.) It deals with the meaning of home and stability within family tradition and the clamouring of the outside world in what we now know was a prelude to WW2 and the class upheavals that followed it. The socialist undercurrents have a different slant today, and though those basic problems remain, the story is quite gripping and the characters arouse outrage at times, soon followed by sympathy. There is vivid jealousy, and poignant depiction of lost love.
Endpapers taken from 'Dahlias', a 1931 design for a dress silk by Madeleine Lawrence
"The Fortnight in September" by RC Sherriff, first published in 1931, is the story of a middle-class London family's holiday at the seaside. I'm not far along in it, not far enough to guess where it's going, but already the family is frighteningly claustrophobic. The "period details" are interesting - what are sandshoes, and were sailboats (toys) really called yachts?

by Margaret Cooter ( at May 16, 2015 11:39 AM

Gerrie Congdon

Printed Fabric Bee Winner


I did a randomly generated number today and came up with 5. Starting with comments on my blog, the winner is Annette Deardurff. Send me your snail mail address to gerrie at and I will send the collection to you after I return from a quick trip to CA.

by Gerrie at May 16, 2015 04:28 AM

May 15, 2015

Terry Grant

Welcome to the Heartland - day 8

The flat, windy highways of Nebraska gave way to the softer, greener rolling farmland of Iowa, and rain.


We learned that our Idaho sister-in-law, Kristin, is in Iowa caring for her mother who is quite ill and with only some minor adjustments to our plans we could arrange to see her and meet her mother. We wound our way through the lush farmland to the lovely little town of Independence and had a good visit with Kristin and her frail, sweet Mom, then headed to Cedar Rapids for the night. This morning we went out to see the Amana colonies, which were founded by a religious group in the mid 1800s as a communal society, providing everything the members needed within their group. They are known for their fine craftsmanship. (Read more here)

The setting and old, but scrupulously maintained buildings and homes are beautiful.


Here is Ray, headed for the well-stocked quilt shop. (You know how he loves a quilt shop!) Nice shop

We wandered down the Main Street and saw a few beautifully crafted items in the shops, but I was truly dismayed by all the kitschy, tacky stuff crammed inside those beautiful old buildings. Very little was locally made and much of what was locally made was church bazaar stuff—hotpads and knitted mop covers (really!) and the like. We tired quickly of the hoards of people and unappealing goods. I think they are cheapening their brand and turning this national treasure into just another tourist trap, but who am I to argue with what appears to be "success"?

One thing I did especially enjoy was the Woolen Mill, where they weave beautiful wool and cotton blankets.

We left Amana and drove to Iowa City to check out the highly recommended Prairie Lights Bookstore and found ourselves in a town crowded with University of Iowa graduation celebrants and festivities.

Soon we were back on the road, crossing the Mississippi River into Illinois. A long driving day involving traffic, lots of road construction and paying for all this fun by repeatedly stopping, in sometimes long, slow lines to pay tolls. But we are ready for a few non-driving days in Chicago—a great town— indeed a "toddlin town". I'll let you know if we find out what that means.


by Terry Grant ( at May 15, 2015 10:15 PM

Margaret Cooter

Gathered and released

Colourful running stitch on layered organza continues. The ungathered strip is shown at the design stage here; others, transformed into journal quilts, are here, and their genesis is here. Gathered up, it and others await steaming in my improvised steamer.
Once they've been steamed, they need to be unwrapped. This next one was an experiment in the "wrapping" (which holds the bottom edge in tight pleats), using crochet chain-stitch -- will it make the thread curly, so it springs up between the folds?
You can see the thread "springing up" here -
 Less so on the other side, which has shorter stitches between the ridges.
 The areas of applied fabric mean that each piece has two, different, sides ... which to use?
I'd planned to used the brighter side, but suddenly the potential for deliberate double-sidedness appears. How would that be displayed, though?

Here are all the latest pieces, permanently pleated, still with a froth of thread -
And now I'm going to give this a rest and turn to the Elements quilt, one of the three big(ish) projects I need to finish in the next 20 days - plenty of time!? That quilt is having a hard time coming into the world.

(This post is linked to Nina-Marie's Off the Wall Friday)

by Margaret Cooter ( at May 15, 2015 02:15 PM

Some recent excursions

Sonia Delaunay (on till 9 August) - a rather hurried visit, lingering over the portrait paintings in the first room, including some of these -
Crouch End Open Studios - how lovely to wander the back streets, enjoying the gardens, seeing inside people's houses AND seeing their art! Mark Entwistle, Jane Human, Andy Metcalf, and Julie Leonard were on my route.
Mark Entwistle, Daisey on Stairs

Jane Human, Kintyre
Andy Metcalf

Julie Leonard (artist in residence at Crossrail)
Julie was showing someone the basics of iPad drawing, which was most interesting, and whetted my appetite for the course I'll be doing in October. You can start with a photo, trace a few lines to get a "skeleton", then use that skeleton as the basis of your drawing ... interesting ...

Finally the talk by Jack Zipes about his translation of the first edition of Kinder und Hausmaerchen by the brothers Grimm. It contained a scholarly apparatus and was not an immediate best-seller, though by the 1850s it was in its 7th edition. It was a translation into English by Edward Taylor in 1823, in which he put the tales into colloquial language and added illustrations (by Cruikshank), that turned the tide and indeed changed the Grimms' mind about presentation. The rest, as they say, is history. Jack Zipes' translation is into "colloquial American - the first American translation."
Book signing queue
I bought the book (and had it signed) . Its 519 pages include illustrations, an introduction, and notes, and index - and 156 stories.

by Margaret Cooter ( at May 15, 2015 02:10 PM

Colour perception confusion

My (shallow) research into visual perception, arising from the need to identify some "elements of visual perception" for the Elements quilt, is causing me great confusion. Yes we have three types of cones, for seeing three colours (blue, green, red) - but how do these three colours "combine" to let us perceive the 256 million (or however many there are) colours that can be represented on a computer monitor, never mind help us find just the right colour on a paint chart?

Wikipedia gives this succinct explanation, the nub of which is in the highlighted sentence: "Humans normally have three kinds of cones. The first responds the most to light of long wavelengths, peaking at a reddish colour; this type is sometimes designated L for long. The second type responds the most to light of medium-wavelength, peaking at a green colour, and is abbreviated M for medium. The third type responds the most to short-wavelength light, of a bluish colour, and is designated S for short. The three types have peak wavelengths near 564–580 nm, 534–545 nm, and 420–440 nm, respectively, depending on the individual. The difference in the signals received from the three cone types allows the brain to perceive a continuous range of colours, through the opponent process of colour vision. (Rod cells have a peak sensitivity at 498 nm, roughly halfway between the peak sensitivities of the S and M cones.)
All of the receptors contain the protein photopsin, with variations in its conformation causing differences in the optimum wavelengths absorbed.
The colour yellow, for example, is perceived when the L cones are stimulated slightly more than the M cones, and the colour red is perceived when the L cones are stimulated significantly more than the M cones. Similarly, blue and violet hues are perceived when the S receptor is stimulated more than the other two.
The S cones are most sensitive to light at wavelengths around 420 nm. However, the lens and cornea of the human eye are increasingly absorptive to shorter wavelengths, and this sets the short wavelength limit of human-visible light to approximately 380 nm, which is therefore called 'ultraviolet' light. People with aphakia, a condition where the eye lacks a lens, sometimes report the ability to see into the ultraviolet range.[12] At moderate to bright light levels where the cones function, the eye is more sensitive to yellowish-green light than other colors because this stimulates the two most common (M and L) of the three kinds of cones almost equally. At lower light levels, where only the rod cells function, the sensitivity is greatest at a blueish-green wavelength."

So, to see yellow ... because of the opponent process of colour vision, the blue cones are not firing, so yellow is made up of a combination of the red and green cones (which would show green and red, respectively, if they were not firing). Huh? a slight difference between red and green signals makes us see yellow??

As for red ... the blue cones are stimulated significantly more than the green cones. That sort of makes sense, but in a weird way - why is seeing red not due simply to stimulation of the red cones?

Blue and violet tones are produced when the blue receptor is stimulated more than the other two - that, at least, makes sense.

More research - and thought!! - is obviously needed. Meanwhile, every time I ponder these mysteries, a new approach to some detail of the Elements quilt appears. Which is why we do research....

This morning I've been playing with squares of fabric - black and white and grey, and red, green, and blue. Unsurprisingly.

by Margaret Cooter ( at May 15, 2015 12:29 PM

Sarah Ann Smith

Thermofax 101: Lyric Kinard’s new DVD Workshop

Don't know that I've ever seen #1 come up before! Well done!

Don’t know that I’ve ever seen #1 come up before! Well done!

Update:  comments are now closed.  I used a random number generator and astonishingly, No. 1 came up!  So I will be contacting Susan to let her know.  Lyric will send the DVD out directly, as will I.

Well, you aren’t going to want to watch this once–you’ll want to watch it several times, at least!   I can’t believe how much Lyric has managed to pack into about 65 minutes of instruction on her new video workshop Thermofax 101:  screen printing made easy, from Lyric Art Publishing.  You can order it here, .  OR you can enter the giveaway–for both this DVD and my own Art Quilt Design: From Photo to Threadwork (here).  Read to the end to find out how.

Thermofax 101, Lyric Kinard's new DVD workshop, is totally worth getting.  I can't believe how much she packed in.  Plus, how can anyone not want to spend time with someone with enthusiam and a cute smile?

Thermofax 101, Lyric Kinard’s new DVD workshop, is totally worth getting. I can’t believe how much she packed in. Plus, how can anyone not want to spend time with someone with enthusiam and a cute smile?

I was thrilled when Lyric asked if I would like to be part of her bloghop.  Not only do I have fun running into her at various fun places like teaching at quilt shows around the country, in Houston, at Quilting Arts TV taping in Ohio, and admire her art (made while being an uber-busy mom) and teaching, I’m also getting more and more into my own surface design.  I tend to use surface design differently than many—-for most who are really “in” to it, the cloth is the end product.  For me, it is something that goes into my artwork as a supporting player, not the star of the show.  So I was curious to see the “hows” and how what she teaches would fit in with my somewhat different approach.   The answer is it’s a fabulous DVD!

I watched the video as soon as I got home from about 3 weeks of being on the road, and learned a lot on the first run-through.  But I was pretty obliterated by all that travel, so I figured I’d better watch it again:  my goodness gracious but there are more and more gems salted in throughout.

There are four segments:

1.  What’s a Thermofax, which tells you just that, explains how the machine works and how you prepare the screen for use, including advantages and disadvantages of both ways.

2.  Creating Imagery:  the key here is to play.  Only YOU can figure out what makes you happy, what makes you itch to get to the studio and create.  The best way to do that is to mess around.   And then Lyric gives you about a bazillion ideas.  For those really itching to get deep into how to create your imagery, this section may be frustratingly brief.  Honestly, that’s because you could have 100 hours of video, from 33 different instructors, and you’d barely scratch the surface (ahem….pun intended).

3.  Printing Techniques.  For the FIRST TIME I’ve seen someone explain WHY you want canvas/cloth on the top of a print surface, not plastic.  Makes total sense—-why has no one in all the books I have on printing EVER explained that simple, logical (once you’ve heard the explanation) fact?  It’s at about 21:20 in the video.  And I recommend chocolate pudding, re-purpose the dishwasher detergent.  You’ll get it if you see the video LOL!  Lyric also shows how to hold your squeegee (as well as explaining what kind of squeegee or stand-in object) to get the best print, including demo-ing to you can see from various angles.  Helpful!

Lyric talks about the kind of paint you want, and mentions her favorites, but wasn’t fond of Speedball or Versatex.  I agree on the Speedball, but quite like the Versatex.  To Lyric, she doesn’t care for the hand of the cloth.  However, I have liked it on the small pieces I have done.  It’s one of those “try it all (before buying a bunch of any one product) and see what you prefer” things!


For the nest piece, I took some pale beige batik, my Queen Anne's Lace stencil and paint to create this cloth, which I love so much I can see making yardage of this to use!

For the nest piece, I took some pale beige batik, my Queen Anne’s Lace thermofax screen and paint to create this cloth, which I love so much I can see making yardage of this to use!  You can buy  Sarah’s Thermofax Screens at Fiber on a Whim at Fiber on a Whim.  To read more about my “nest” please see this blogpost.

4.  Designing Cloth.  Throughout the DVD Lyric salts in bits of wisdom about various elements and principles (E&P) of design.  I was SO clueless when I began art quilting.  I then got lucky and took a class at a local community college/extension service while living in Friday Harbor.  Since then I’ve looked hard at things, studied them, to internalize the “E&P” of design.  As you work with them, you get better so you don’t need to look so hard, but Lyric brings them up in an integrated manner that will help you have better results, sooner.  And she shares a tip I discovered the long way around:  if you have a yucky piece of cloth, or don’t like what you did, just add more layers.  After all, is it going to get worse?  No.  And it might well get better.

You also get a PDF on the disc with

  • a list of supplies,
  • where to get screens made in the US, Canada, Australia, England and Germany
  • info on suppliers of machines, screens, frames, textile paints and surface design supplies
  • footnotes for each chapter with internet links
  • plus Lyric has some helpful free tutorials on her website that will supplement the information on the DVD

I wish I had had this video when I started out.  Some videos about printing are Graduate Student level, and overwhelm you.  Some are so basic you could have gleaned all the good stuff from a four-page (with lots of large photos) article.   Lyric’s is correctly titled Thermofax 101 (so Lyric, will you do a 301 or 401 for us too?); it’s aimed at the newbie.  But those of us who have been doing this a bit can still learn plenty.  So I’m going to go play, then in a month or two view my copy again.

To win a copy of this DVD AND a copy of MY DVD,

my video workshop that takes you from your photo to a finished art quilt

my video workshop that takes you from your photo to a finished art quilt

leave a comment by 7 a.m. May 21st East Coast Time.  I’ll use a random number generator and whoever left that comment (please keep it to one comment per person, please) will win both copies.  Lyric will mail hers out directly, as will I.  International entries are OK!

Check out the other reviews on this bloghop:


May 14   Deborah Boschert
May 13   Jamie Fingal  
May 12   Desiree Habicht

May 11   Susan Brubaker Knapp
May 9    kathy york
May 8    Carol Sloan

May 7    Liz Kettle
May 6    Jane Davila
May 4    Linda Stokes

May 2    Judy Coates Perez
May 1    Susan Price & Elizabeth Gibson
April 30  Judy Gula

April 28   Sue Bleiweiss
April 27   Melanie Testa
April 25   Leslie Tucker Jennison
April 24   Cheryl Rezendez




by Sarah Ann Smith at May 15, 2015 10:25 AM

Neki Rivera

pixels are pixels

a fascinating approach
have a great weekend

neki desu
Creative Commons License

by (neki desu) at May 15, 2015 08:00 AM