Planet Textile Threads

July 27, 2016

Margaret Cooter

Imagination running on overtime

"Interpersonal" relationships are everywhere - most obviously in chairs, which stand in for the people who sat or will sit in them. Some scenarios immediately make you see inanimate objects as participants in a drama, ie as (human) actors.

Here, the traffic lights seem to me to become "people" - are they a couple ignoring each other while the "slain" light tries to rise up again - or is about to sink down for the last time, despite the protection on offer. Or, is the couple keeping a lookout? And what about the "Green Man" on the other side of the street?

Metaphors are everywhere ... don't look too hard.

by Margaret Cooter ( at July 27, 2016 07:05 AM

July 26, 2016

Terry Grant

Taking Inventory

It has been a busy year or so and I've had a lot of good things happen with my art. It has been accepted into a nice variety of shows and I currently have more art "out there" than I ever remember. It has gotten to a point where I am beginning to lose track of what is where, so I needed to take stock. I know I have shown some of this work before, and I know I have not shown some of it, so I think I'll just tell you all where everything is and maybe you will have a chance to see it somewhere!

I have work in two SAQA shows right now. These are really great shows and they are hard to get into, so I feel especially lucky.

"The Cloth Remembers" is part of SAQA's  REDIRECTING THE ORDINARY and has been traveling for more than a year now, to Houston, Chicago, Portland, Germany, France, Spain and Italy. Its final dates are:  
Original Sewing & Quilt Expo - Fredericksburg, Virginia, September 29 and 30 and October 1, 2016
Original Sewing & Quilt Expo - Schaumburg, Illinois, October 13-15, 2016
Original Sewing & Quilt Expo - Minneapolis, Minneapolis, MN November 10 -12, 2016

"Camus Prairie, Idaho" is part of SAQA's CONCRETE AND GRASSLANDS  and just started its journey at the Grants Pass Museum of Art in Grants Pass, Oregon, where it will be through the end of July. Other venues will be announced later.

"Rhythm of Rain" and "A Sense of Summer" are part of the High Fiber Diet exhibit MAKING OUR MARK, currently at the Latimer Quilt and Textile Center in Tillamook, Oregon. It will also be seen at:

Keizer Community Center Gallery - November 1, 2016 - December 30
Chessman Gallery - Lincoln City, OR January 13 - February 6, 2017

"Patterns of Mesoamerica" has been accepted as part of the Dinner at 8 PATTERNS exhibit and will be seen at the International Quilt Market and Show in Houston in October.

"The Moon is a Mirror" will be part of the Columbia Fiberarts Guild FABRICATIONS August 3 - 29 at the ArtReach gallery in Portland. Details here.

"Iris" and "Lily", along with several other pieces, are currently at the Twigs Gallery in Sisters, Oregon through July. 

"Basilica of Quito" and "Pollen" were both recently selected for the next High Fiber Diet exhibit, IT ISN'T EASY BEING GREEN. Venues have not yet been announced.

I also had work accepted for a really fun local project, which I will write about when it happens! I have also submitted several pieces for a favorite local show, including the recently completed "Roses." I will know within a week or so if it was accepted, but I'll show show you its official photo and you can keep your fingers crossed with me!

by Terry Grant ( at July 26, 2016 06:56 PM

Margaret Cooter

Drawing Tuesday - Museum of London

We roamed all over the museum. I was rather hankering after a skeleton, and found this big chunk of bone in the first gallery -
It's the left rear foot of a 300,000 year old elephant, and I got to know it quite well, using six different media, which makes for a crowded page. I seem to have paid more attention to the shape of the bones, rather then to the scale and proportions -
Top left, blind drawing with HB pencil; top right, 4B and 8B, starting at the centre.
Middle left, soluble HB, with some measuring; right, Lumograph EE pencil, first making an outline then doing the filling in.
Bottom left, ivory black watercolour pencil, right V-ball pen (and quite fed up at that point).
I'm not tempted to use water with the soluble HB or the watercolour pencil ... not even sure how to go about it! (A few tips are here and here. No excuses!) (And for coloured pencils, this is basic, a way to start.)

Najlaa enjoyed the pattering of a Chinese plate -
 Carol immersed herself in patterning too - some decorated floor tiles -
Sue found a collection of cooking implements -
 Janet found an architectural model that more than filled the page -

by Margaret Cooter ( at July 26, 2016 09:12 AM

Neki Rivera

it's called work in progress

although it's taken a lot of time to gel it's on its way now. tore some of it to make it smaller and printed,printed, printed. monoprint can be a misnomer if you are using some texture imprinted on the plate; you can replicate it all the times you want. you can also get ghost prints that are  visually effective.

the  diy plate works very well!
i am using golden heavy body acrylics and need to work fast to beat the drying time. also using amsterdam fluos for their transparency and color pop.

putting to work what i've learned.
think the two rectangles at the top are too dominant.

neki desu
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by (neki desu) at July 26, 2016 08:00 AM

July 25, 2016

Margaret Cooter

Arty summery day

Saturday afternoon at Tate Modern, my first visit to the Switch House extension.
 The viewing platform goes all around the 10th floor, and this is part of the view.

Sky high cat (it's under the sofa) and reflected brickwork
Hundreds of kids on bikes, doing wheelies all over the road
 A very quick look at some art -
It made musical noises
Mirrored cubes (what a photo op!) and blue cubes that get rearranged at 10 every day
On the way home, time to look at Bankside Gallery -
Work by Sally McLaren
A monotype, with collage

by Margaret Cooter ( at July 25, 2016 06:20 PM

Tube geekery

"Secrets of the Circle Line" will feed you public transport trivia ... and make the next journey on the "yellow line" a little more in-depth. And once you've watched that, hop over to one of the other tube lines.

An excerpt:  homage to the  roundel on a drainpipe at 55 Broadway, built as the headquarters of what is now called London Underground -
On completion, it was the tallest office block in London - and what, after all, can be taller than an office block?

by Margaret Cooter ( at July 25, 2016 03:38 PM

Neki Rivera

there's future in mono printing

just adding one more trick under my belt. although i had done monoprinting in art school it was the traditional way and using a press.
had read the raving reviews about gelli plates, but quite honestly i wasn't into spending around 80 dollars plus shipping for one of the bigger sizes. that's 3-4 150 gram  yarn cones from colourmart and one has priorities 。^‿^。
however, as the internet can be a wonderful resource, i located some you tube tutorial vids on a diy home plate and a  post from a lady in england with apparently lots of experience from the old days making hectographs as they were called then. the wiki recount is fascinating.
nothing new under the sun!
scroll to the middle of the page and you'll find the recipe.
sort and sweet the plate in the mold above.

and here the unmolded's somewhat scary the way gelatin transforms into this rubbery silicone like texture.
the procedure is very easy and 
although she says- or maybe one of the  vids
i watched- that it keeps without refrigeration i am refrigerating mine because it's very hot and we do not have central air con.

fun and games for this week. too hot for anything too involved. although i miss my looms and weaving.

neki desu
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by (neki desu) at July 25, 2016 08:00 AM

July 24, 2016

Olga Norris

Repetition and alteration

Just as the exhibition Degas: A Strange New Beauty at MOMA New York finishes, I, miles away in the UK, have completed my reading of the catalogue - which is a fascinating examination of Degas' use of monotypes.  Use and reuse, sometimes leaving them in their original state
and often printing again as a literal base for work with pastels.
And what I found intriguing on top of the general interest in his thinking through process was his development in the direction of semi-abstract landscape.
As well as the excellent essays in the beautiful catalogue, there is this article online.

by Olga Norris ( at July 24, 2016 06:55 PM

Rayna Gillman

Saturday stuff

I mentioned that when I went to my MQG meeting on Thursday night, I took an almost-done quilt that needed to have stitches picked out so I could redo and add some more stitches.

Well, yesterday I discovered several red spots on the white fabric that appeared to be magic marker spots.  Can't imagine! I don't have any magic markers and it wasn't near any that I know of, but I  couldn't get them out, so I had to completely replace that section of the quilt.  Fortunately, it was the last 6-8" that needed to be redone, anyway. But what a waste of time!  Replaced fabric, batting, and backing of that section and hope to put the stitches back in tomorrow.

Maybe I can use my new needles and threads: basic black, white, and gray.  I can't believe I was out of white thread; it is a color I rarely use.

On the plus side, the other quilt I had given to Diane Fama to quilt, also looks great.  She did what I would never have thought to do.  Here is one smidgen at the edge of the piece.  She deliberately made the stitching wonky, like my work:-)).  Love it!
I have more quilts than I care to think about, sitting here in various stages - I have to put facings on the two I got back and there is one more small one that needs to be faced.  Then there is one I made a year ago that has still not been quilted.  I am going to do it myself.  Have my work cut out for me.

In the meantime, I have been cooking. Grocery shopping at Whole Foods is always an adventure.  I bought ribs to throw on the grill and then saw they had gulf shrimp, so I had to buy some for tonight's dinner.  Ribs tomorrow night.  It is in the 90's here and grilling on the deck is de rigeur.  I actually sauteed the shrimp in a pan on the grill. Not putting on the oven!

I have stopped buying that iodine-laced frozen shrimp from Thailand or wherever and will buy only gulf shrimp when they are available.  They are expensive but I would rather have them rarely and let them be a treat.   I was reminded that they tasted like shrimp used to taste when I was growing up.  I could never understand why my mother loved shrimp so much; to me, as an adult, they had no taste.  Now I know why she loved them - because these taste like the shrimp we used to get in the 1950's from the fish store.  

Tonight's dinner was sauteed shrimp with garlic and saffron. Took no time and was fabulous.  Served it with grilled corn and grilled asparagus. 
Dessert was freshly churned lemon ice cream.  In case you decide to make it, know that you can use only 2 or 3 egg yolks and it will be wonderful. 

Enough about food - back to the sewing machine...

by (Rayna) at July 24, 2016 02:29 AM

July 23, 2016

Margaret Cooter

Saturday routine

As part of "domestic maintenance", Saturday morning includes a trip to the grocery store, not so much for a Big Shop but for an excuse to have breakfast out, at the nearby coffee shop, and to sit there for an hour working on an ipad drawing. Then a wander round Waitrose, remember to get the weekend paper, and quick home before the ice cream melts.

The drawings are mounting up - here are a couple of the newer ones -

by Margaret Cooter ( at July 23, 2016 09:59 AM

Introduction to linocut printmaking

A short course - three intense evenings. Linocuts can be printed without a press and don't need a lot of "stuff".

My first "reveal" (on the right, a japanese baren)
In the first session we learned about tools -
Gouges for woodcutting, but can be used for lino also
I speedily found these, and some "plastic lino"
... and about cutting - the V gouge for lines and contours, the round one for removal -
Note the position of the hand (behind the cutting) and the angle of the tool
Warm the lino - and use a grippy mat to stop it slipping (though I found that sometimes it's useful to be able to turn the lino as you cut, for a circle for instance). "You have more control if you stop now and again" said Anne Marie. You don't have to press hard! The width of the line depends on the pressure.

Before inking, use a bristle brush to get rid of any "bits". 

We used Safewash inks - oil based, so they don't dry out immediately, but can be washed with water, and you can use vegetable oil to get rid of any oil residue.
Some test prints, trying to get the amount of ink right, and
 using the baren to rub
 Before the next class I drew out a couple more scenes (from my "Home" series of drawings) onto lino, but didn't get round to attempting to cut them. Too detailed! Will have to rethink,,,

The recently-purchased "plastic lino", and the pattern of a ceramic plate seen in a book, led to a quick block and some experiments with multiple prints and ghost prints -
The jig for registration consists of a piece of cardboard the same size as the printing paper. Place the block in position and draw round it; once the inked block is in place, the paper is aligned with the card,
Multipositional tryouts

Exciting inking with two colours happening next to me
Some people were using caustic soda to texture sections of the surface, but I decided to leave that for another day. Did try using the relief press, though, and it gave a smoothly dark print. Can similar results be obtained with my bookbinding press?

The third session was about using colour. First Anne Marie showed a block she'd textured with stop-out varnish (the dark bits) and caustic soda, printed in blue -
 I'd made another little plate to try out some textures -
My two-colour trial was a revelation - I'll be looking for ways to use that technique in my project.
Then it was on with my psychedelic not-quite-circle. Anne Marie suggested using extender ink to make paler and darker versions of the colour - and in retrospect I wish I'd done that - but somehow I got sidetracked into mixing first a pale orange and then adding yellow - not that successful as a top layer, so I tried a darker orange instead.
The registration jig in action
What a difference a colour makes
Psychedelic filigree?
Some plain blocks printed up for later 
Hanging up to dry on the ingenious marble rack
Colour blending -
And the effect it can have -
Elsewhere around the table -

The printmaking room at City Lit -

(This post is linked to Off the Wall Friday.)

by Margaret Cooter ( at July 23, 2016 08:36 AM

Gerrie Congdon

SFMOMA- Part 1


One thing I really wanted to do while we were in California was to visit the renovated SFMOMA. It was closed for a long time as they expanded their exhibition space. Mr C used to say the SFMOMA was great architecture and bad art. The main problem was the lack of exhibition space. Well, that has been remedied. It is 5 floors of wondrous art. I had to stop and sit quite often as my stamina was minimal, but I kept going, feeling enriched by the creativity around me. By evening, I could barely get to my hotel room to crash!

We started on the fifth floor with an exhibition of outdoor sculpture. The wire man up there was quite delightful. This work was by an Englishman who created sculptures from natural materials on his solo treks around the world.



Next was this wall covering created by Jongstra, a Dutch fiber artist. She used raw and crafted felt, hand-spun silk, and dried flora. It was huge and in a hallway and difficult to photograph.


In another gallery, we saw these pieces by Andy Warhol and Chuck Close.


This was a different version of his Marilyn work – Reverse Marilyns.


Chuck Close created this portrait using circles in various shades of gray to black. Mesmerizing to look at.


I loved this piece by Frank Stella, so different from his other work, below.




So, I could not wait to get into this gallery! These pieces were in one room.







This very abstracted work always looks so simple, but believe me, it is not easy to do. Wish I had the ability.

IMG_2191 (1)

These are two pieces by Ellsworth Kelly that could be art quilts – actually, I think I have seen them made into quilts – don’t you agree.


I will continue this on another day. I need to get my beauty sleep. I am taking a Radical Embroidery workshop at Oregon College of Art and Craft for the next 3 days. This has been my week to enter back into my Portland life. It has been great, but very tiring. I seem to be better each day. In San Francisco, we stayed at the Sofitel in Redwood City. It was really lovely. This was the view from our room. I enjoyed living in the lap of luxury for a few days.


by Gerrie at July 23, 2016 05:18 AM

July 22, 2016

Neki Rivera

sakiori or the art of rags

 exquisite,as with all things japanese.
have a good weekend

neki desu
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by (neki desu) at July 22, 2016 06:52 AM

Rayna Gillman

She's Ba-ack

I've actually been back for a couple of weeks, but been keeping my head down at the sewing machine and elsewhere.  Posting on Instagram (how can I not? My daughter works there) and on FB because it's relatively quick and I don't have to think too much.  But that's not necessarily a good thing.

I spent the day in my sewing room, working on files and (dare I say?) trying to clear some horizontal space.  I was organizing my solids, but this is as far as I got. I have about 5 zillion other colors.  I am cutting off 6" swaths and putting the rest away.  How's that for ambition?  More of this tomorrow, I suppose.

Tonight, I was at the North Jersey MQG meeting.  I've actually been around for the last two monthly meetings -- a record! I enjoyed myself immensely, catching up with my friend Rachel and others, and picking out stitches from an almost-done quilt (don't ask).  I have to add some more stitching, but ran out of white thread and machine needles. Will buy them tomorow and get on with it.

I also collected two quilts I had given to long arm quilter extraordinaire, Diane Fama.  This was the first time in my life I had ever had anyone else stitch my quilts, but one was bed-sized and the last time I made a bed-sized quilt, I hand-quilted it. 25 years ago?  The second one needed more time than I could give it. 

 I was a bit nervous, but they turned out beautifully!  My quilt are not easy because they are wonky (deliberately so) and because I require straight stitching, not fancy floral patterns or feathers or doodads.  I still have to face them and clean off the fuzzies, but that's minor. . I would never have thought to do what Diane did, and it looks great. Here is a smidgin of the big one.

I couldn't get a good photo of the other one, and I am too tired to try.  Lots more to catch up on - but I'm past my sell-by date, so I'm going to bed.

by (Rayna) at July 22, 2016 03:38 AM

July 21, 2016

Margaret Cooter

Poetry Thursday - Rachel McCarthy

Survey North of 60 degrees

We're here to cast off names -
Viking, Fair Isle, Faeroes,
pronounce drowned coves, remap the coast.
I'm troubled - not at the cliff's seaward shiver
or the guillemots' black beaks scissored and shrieking -
but the wind singing
one long low note
its worm-burrow to the heart of the Arctic.

Late, in your hotel room, we nip at a bottle of Absolut,
talk of tongues of ice repealing themselves:
Novaya Zemlya, Svalbard, Barents.
I don't mention the wind tunnelling me
like the wisteria that arched the path
from the park to my childhood home
where I'd sneak a smoke
to inhale the boy I thought I loved
before I knew what love was;

snow-quiet, might, obliterative,
to be able to sit at the world' end
and say little of it.

Rachel McCarthy

Encountered at  Alphabet of Our Universe, part social history lecture, part poetry reading, at the Royal Society of Chemistry during the "Courtyard Late" at Burlington House on 15 July - the postcard is a good reminder. The "Y" stamp refers to one of the elements whose history was brought to light in the lecture; fascinating.

Rachel's poetry is inspired by "hardcore" chemistry; she is also a climate scientist. Her first pamphlet, Element, is available now.

by Margaret Cooter ( at July 21, 2016 02:58 PM

Neki Rivera


this was lost in the morass of papers.some lines,some circles,some texture.even when the weight is in the center, the background quadrants make the center less "central". so does the texture on the topmost paper.

and now the fringe benefits.

two gorgeous  drop papers. must start using cloth instead of paper. two birds with one shot.
some of you have inquired so  here's the link for the composition course .

neki desu
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by (neki desu) at July 21, 2016 08:39 AM

July 20, 2016

Olga Norris

Hot work

The hot days - not a heat-wave until we have had five days of heat in a row - have helped to dry the proofs I printed on Monday.
We really appreciated the lovely sharp frozen yoghurt I made with a bowl of redcurrants generously given by a neighbour.  Today is overcast, and looks like the unpredictability is back - life as adventure!

by Olga Norris ( at July 20, 2016 11:31 AM

Sarah Ann Smith

Descended From the Stars, Part 3

The sun in the center of Descended From the Stars

The sun in the center of Descended From the Stars

When I left on in my last post about this quilt, I had shared the dyeing process and the stones and lettering.   Next, I fused trees in the four seasons into the corners.  I distorted the shape so the tree canopy served as a frame.  I had thought initially I might need an inner border, perhaps couched yarn or stitching of some sort, but the shape of the tree worked so well I didn’t need anything extra.   As I did with the stones, I cut out leaves, LOTS of leaves, separating the colors into the ice cube tray so I could place them carefully.

Detail, upper left corner, Spring Tree of Life.

Detail, upper left corner, Spring Tree of Life.  Each of the leaves is free-motion stitched with several rounds of thread on each leaf.  The nice part about doing this at the top stage is that I could use the scissors on my Janome 15000.  I didn’t have to bury thread tails!

Detail, top right, Summer Tree of Life.

Detail, top right, Summer Tree of Life.

Detail of the lower right corner, showing the autumn tree of life.

Detail of the lower right corner, showing the autumn tree of life.

Detail of the lower left corner, with the winter tree kissed by snow.

Detail of the lower left corner, with the winter tree kissed by snow.

I did the stitching around the stones and on the trees, including the leaves, at the top stage with stabilizer underneath.  (See my post here to learn more about my current article for Machine Quilting Unlimited on the Fourth Layer–stabilizer– for densely thread painted quilts.)  I removed the stabilizer everywhere except for under the center because I knew I would want to quilt that area more densely than the rest of the quilt.


Here I have begun quilting.  You can see the custom-dyed cotton duck on the back.  The use of heavier cloth helps keep the quilt flat and stable; it also helps minimize shrinkage.  The final piece had to be 40 x 40 inches, and I wanted to have a balanced amount of blue on both sides of the lettering, so I needed to control the shrinkage that happens with dense quilting.



Superior Threads (Thank you Bob and Heather Purcell!) has come out with some tone-on-tone variegated threads.   I have been pestering Bob for YEARS to make threads like these as I prefer blendy to contrasty.  I ordered up all of the new earth-tone blendy variegateds in the Fantastico line and used them.  I began with a light green blend in the first row around the sun, switched to another in the next to rings, and then a third in the fourth ring that you see here.  If you look at the left, you can see how I snuck some of the current thread color into the next ring to get even more color blending.

Then, I had to decide what threads to use in the dark areas.  My sewing tables (two back to back) are each 24 inches, so I have a nice, HUGE flat surface to support the quilt as I work.


Choosing thread:  dark, pine-y green and deep blue.

With all the manipulation, I realized that some of the ink had rubbed off, despite being REALLY careful to heat set it according to directions.  I wrote immediately to friends Judy Coates Perez and Susan Brubaker Knapp to seek guidance.  Judy had only used the regular colors, not the metallics.  And Susan had an article in the just-out issue of Quilting Arts about lettering, including these inks!  She too discovered that the metallics seem to “shed” a bit.

After quiting, some of the bling had rubbed off my quilt, so I had to do it AGAIN!

After quiting, some of the bling had rubbed off my quilt, so I had to do it AGAIN!  You can see where I have inked over the letters and what is left to re-do.

After re-inking and heat setting, I tested on my scrap cloth several products to seal the ink including GAC 900 (a textile medium that one adds to paint), a UV Coating, matte gel medium, and Krylon Spray Fixative which says it is acid-free, archival and safe on fabric.  Only the Krylon didn’t leave tell-tale signs that it had been used.  So I carefully masked off the rest of the quilt, leaving only the lettering area exposed and sprayed the Krylon on it (stinky!) in hopes that will help prevent the mica flakes in the gold ink from coming off.

I was nearly done, except that I didn’t really care for the multiple layers of thread I had used stitching the sun.  Picking it out did NOT appeal to me.  So I trekked down to Clementine fabrics in Rockland and bought some perle cotton in the right color.

I wasn't happy with the way the stitching looked, so I couched perle cotton on top of the outline of the sun.  MUCH better!  You can see the difference in this half-way-through shot.

I wasn’t happy with the way the stitching looked, so I couched perle cotton on top of the outline of the sun. MUCH better! You can see the difference in this half-way-through shot.

At last, it was nearly DONE!  Time for facings, sleeve and label.

The back side of the quilt.  By dyeing the back to correspond with the front, the quilting design shows up on the back as it does on the front.

The back side of the quilt. By dyeing the back to correspond with the front, the quilting design shows up on the back as it does on the front.

And I couldn’t resist the temptation to place a moon behind the sun as my label.  One more time with the dip pen!

The End--the label is on, the sleeve is done, the facings are stitched!

The End–the label is on, the sleeve is done, the facings are stitched!

(c)Sarah Ann Smith 2015; quote (c) Mirza Khan, used with permission

(c)Sarah Ann Smith 2015; quote (c) Mirza Khan, used with permission

This quilt will be for sale–another reason I opted to not include a lot of personal details in the quilt.   As I said before, I am happy!

by Sarah Ann Smith at July 20, 2016 09:57 AM

Margaret Cooter

Meanwhile, back at the flat...

Living room ready for plastering

... and doesn't it need it!

The kitchen is spared "attention" at this point
Everything had to be moved to any available space
(so many tools in the bathroom!)
And once the plasterer had gone -
I can finally get to my closet!

and the tools have been taken to a job site
Freshly plastered
 Areas of disorder do remain -

And while the Project Manager was on holiday, the electricity went off and the freezer puddled onto the (plaster covered) floor.......

People keep telling me "it'll be worth it in the end" - I hope one day soon I'll at least feel there's a light at the end of the tunnel.

by Margaret Cooter ( at July 20, 2016 09:37 AM

Neki Rivera


the last exercise.this one works pretty well

and so does this one. i think the papers escaping the confinement of the borders add interest.wasn't planned though.

this one's ok, need some more work, the dark side should not stand out that much.however, it's stong.

i like this one, but the yellow needs toning down because it's too dominant.

what i learned besides the  course:
  • working with various papers at once fast because the paint dries is liberating.sometimes stopping to think can act as a brake.
  • what you don't like can be covered with paint.
  • the hundreds of ways alcohol can save the day-i'm serious. i am reexamining the fact that water is the universal solvent. try cleaning caked acrylic on brushes.
  • if it does that then why not dilute acrylic with alcohol to create transparencies or watercolor (ahem) washes.
  • there's nothing that cannot be improved with a little nickel azo gold.
  • critical eye applied to self complacency, but no unnecessary self flagelation.
  • self confidence.
  • some interesting and useful tips.

i am definitely going to take the extreme composition course, but i need to let this one sink in.
meanwhile i'll  start thinking textiles in this context.

all in all fun and  positive learning experience.

neki desu 
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by (neki desu) at July 20, 2016 08:00 AM

July 19, 2016

Natalya Aikens

I ❤️ NY

Recently I took the day off and went to NYC for a bit of inspiration and to catch up with a friend I haven't seen in a long time. It was a lovely day which ended with a wondrous thunderstorm and a great big traffic jam for the way home.

That traffic jam might have ruined the day for me... but! Have I mentioned that I love NYC? I do! So instead of grinding my teeth, I grabbed my phone and snapped a picture each time my car came to a complete stop. Believe me there were a gazillion complete stops.

So for your enjoyment here my favorite snap shots from that fab traffic jam. Next time you might see them reinterpreted in my art with lots and lots of hand stitching!

by Natalya Aikens ( at July 19, 2016 07:17 PM

Margaret Cooter

Drawing Tuesday - Wallace Collection

Most of us were in the armour rooms (fascinating stuff, armour).

This was my view -
And this is the shadowy blind that you see in the reflections; an appealing contrast of soft and hard -
Janet suggested I draw everything I can see, rather than a single object, so I filled the left page and then went on to the right, adding some shading and a bit of colour here and there -
Joyce filled a page with "single items", mostly made in G
 Sue set to work capturing the shadows on a blind, but the angle of sun kept changing and then disappeared altogether (a prelude to being caught in the rain on the way to lunch) -
She loaded a waterbrush with colour from  the grey Neocolour crayon, then painted the colour onto the page. Her other drawings use mainly biro, with some of the grey Neocolour in the corset -
 Carol found "two strong women" (to echo a theme in recent news) elsewhere in the building, and enjoyed the smoothness -
 Janet's two drawings (horses of course) show the result of spending more time with each image -

 Tool of the week - both Sue and I had our sets of Lumocolour pencils with us. Sue's 2B has been getting lots of use -
whereas my HB had gone missing; it's replacement is a dark, waxy Lumocolour EE, which has the advantage of not smearing.

by Margaret Cooter ( at July 19, 2016 09:32 AM

Neki Rivera

looks like newspeak is winning

seems that something is wrong with the verb to paint and has been changed to colorize. godgivemepatience.i have seen it around a coupe of times the latest being this . 
 don't get me wrong, jane davies does not use the wordling. i think she's much too down to earth and real to get involved in that.

so for lesson 6 and last i have been colorizing backgrounds-snicker,snicker.
the exercise revolves around creating atmospheric backgrounds to be used in any kind of composition that has been practiced in previous lessons.

these two need some more work. i need to get away from center placement hangup .

neki desu
Creative Commons License

by (neki desu) at July 19, 2016 08:00 AM

July 18, 2016

Olga Norris

Moving on from the Pipers - finally

From time to time I enjoy a really dense biography - my favourite having been John Richardson's three volumes on Picasso, almost work by work.  Being immersed for so long in an artist's development, I find helps me to meditate more fruitfully on their point of view. 
I have recently been reading Frances Spalding's John and Myfanwy Piper: Lives in Art, and finally finished it yesterday.  I have long been a fan of John Piper's work, but it was Margaret Cooter who through her blog spurred me actually to read the book, and glad I am.  I was particularly pleased that an exhibition of John Piper's designs for fabric was on and I was able to visit it while I was reading the book.
Dorchester Abbey (image from here)
I became properly aware of John Piper's work in the early '70s when I was working in Oxford.  Somehow Piper for me summed up what was attractive about England, a country I had hardly experienced, and it has been fascinating to read about just how he was enamoured with the particularly English character of architecture - especially churches.  Because of that love of architecture we have not only his paintings and prints, but splendid stained glass, theatre and fabric design.
Also I was delighted to find out so much about Myfanwy Piper who wrote librettos, especially for Benjamin Britten: Turn of the Screw and Owen Wingrave in particular.  She was also a critic, and I look forward to seeking out some of her work to read.
But not just yet.  I am ready to move on to my next subject area in my reading pile: printmaking.  Degas' monoprints, then Anselm Kiefer's woodcuts await my attention.  And after that Georgia O'Keeffe - but one step at a time.

by Olga Norris ( at July 18, 2016 02:13 PM

Margaret Cooter

Been there

Tivoli, by Gillian Ayres
Somehow this image found its way into my Quilts photo folder - and what a contrast the bright colours of the print, or is it a painting, make with the dullness of my fabric productions. All that orange!

Checking to see if the pic had been used on the blog, I found it had been a colour inspiration when I was making a stripey painting exactly two years ago. A painting that evolved from day to day, anevolution that I photographed, thinking to "do something" with those images. An idea is hatching, but often these embryo ideas need more time to develop.

by Margaret Cooter ( at July 18, 2016 12:52 PM

Virginia A. Spiegel

“Clover and a Bee” and new SAQA notecards


Studio Art Quilt Associates, of which I am a proud Juried Artist Member, just released its new set of notecards.

Clover and a Bee is included!  You may purchase the set here. There are ten 4×6″ notecards with envelopes.

Studio Art Quilt Associates is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to promote the art quilt through education, exhibitions, professional development, documentation, and publications. Founded in 1989 by an initial group of 50 artists, SAQA now has over 3,300 members: artists, teachers, collectors, gallery owners, museum curators and corporate sponsors.

ART QUILT: “a creative visual work that is layered
and stitched or that references this form of stitched
layered structure

by Virginia at July 18, 2016 11:38 AM

Dijanne Cevaal

Medieval Project- and Something New

I had intended to go back down to Gellibrand but as I have six quilts to make and six articles to write I have taken up the kind offer of some friends to use their bungalow until the Medieval Project starts touring again in mid-August. I will travel with the medieval project as follows:

Canberra- August 11-14
Newcastle August 18-21
Hamilton New Zealand September 1-4
Wellington New Zealand September 8-10
( if anyone knows of cheap/budget accommodation in Canberra or Newcastle your  advice would be much appreciated!)

I have had the thinking cap on for a new project, as people keep asking what I will do next, so I will start creating new linocuts inspired by the Australian Bush- and the new project will be called the Bush Project- so watch this space!I will be making linocuts, printing them on fabric with the idea of creating a panorama of the bush, which will be for sale-and hopefully embroidered and embellished by many hands as the sentinelles were and the Medieval project were.I hope that The Bush Project will again fire the imagination .

Meanwhile some of my sentinelles are for sale- these are the small hand stitched panels that measure approximately 8 inches x 18 inches. They are $125 each- these are the last of the small sentinelles. The photo below is a collage of the three different ones I still have left. Email me if you are interested

I have finally come up for some plans for the use of my block of land, that make me feel better about it and which will hopefully rejuvenate some of my lost dreams, but first I have to get these articles out of the way and sew up a storm!

by Dijanne Cevaal ( at July 18, 2016 12:18 PM

Neki Rivera

and now merino and cashmere

nice colors. disregard the plastic bags. these from colourmart because i needed wools for knitting and weaving. or so i fooled myself into can one resist the drop of the british pound?
now i need to wait for cooler times.

neki desu
Creative Commons License

by (neki desu) at July 18, 2016 08:00 AM

Terry Grant

Phone photos from a bad week

Wow, what a sad, tragic, discouraging week. From shootings to terrorists to hate and nastiness, it has been almost overwhelming. And yet life goes on. The photos on my phone this week show little that relates at all to the heavy sadness and horror I've been feeling. The sun continues to shine, flowers bloom and summer finally is taking hold.

The lilies are grand and my beloved hydrangeas better than ever. This is the first time I have seen pink hydrangeas in our bed. The very pink ones in the foreground are growing in just about the very spot where we discovered a stinky, rotting dead possum a couple months ago. Coincidence? I think not. I know that the PH of the soil affects the color of hydrangeas. I think the possum leaked something transformative into the soil. Ray thinks I'm crazy.

The new High Fiber Diet show, "Making Our Mark" (we've been calling it "Mom") opened at the Latimer Quilt & Textile Center last Sunday and t looks good. If you plan to be on the Oregon Coast this summer, it is there through August.

We have had color themes for several years now and this show is "neutral" as you might guess from these photos. A small amount of color allowed keeps it lively and interesting.

We got back to Portland in time to meet friends for dinner and then go see Judy Collins in concert. Beautiful music is such gift always. I have loved Judy Collins since my college days, and in my, now, old age the music I loved then and now has such deep associations with my past, people I've loved, places I've lived. It moves me in ways I never would have expected. Seeing her again, older, but still lovely and in good voice and good cheer made the world seem not so tragic after all. Leaving the theater, I snapped a photo of the marquee and realized later, they had changed it during the concert and her name was no longer there. Oh well. It's a photo of happy people leaving the theater.

I finished the rose bouquet quilt this week and I'm pleased with it.

Got lots of feedback from the in-progress photos and nearly everyone agreed with adding the extra leaves at the bottom. A couple people thought it needed another rose or red petals instead, but that didn't work for me. Too much. There is magic in the number three, and three red roses seemed exactly right to me.

STASH (Second Thursday At Somebody's House) met at my house on Thursday. We filled my dining room table with papers and stuff and made collages, which was very fun. Then I served lunch on the deck and we admired our work.

A lot to process this week. Gratitude for friends and beauty and art and music, but still so much ugliness out there in the world. I've heard friends say they have quit watching and reading the news—it is too disturbing. I understand, but being oblivious doesn't stop it all from happening. I find myself reading it all, looking for meaning, waiting for solutions. I find myself searching my own heart and hoping others are doing the same and trying to face up to and understand the poison that is bigotry and injustice all around us and within us.

“If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. ... We need not wait to see what others do.”

Mahatma Gandhi


by Terry Grant ( at July 18, 2016 01:14 AM

July 17, 2016

Margaret Cooter

Bradel binding

A one-day course at Morley College. I wanted to follow directions and actually "make something", rather than always have to make decisions! This course was offered last year, and I did it then, but seem to have completely forgotten everything I knew about bookbinding. This was a great refresher, calmly taught by Young Sin Kim; other bookbinding courses are available at Morley, and her course on drop back box on 23 July still has places available.

The photos are here less to set out the process of making a Bradel-bound book, but as a (findable) record of key moments for me. I took notes, but a picture is worth a thousand words.
notched guide for punching sewing holes

protect the section with paper under the weight while sewing

flat brush for glueing; two thin coats

making headbands to match endpapers

cutting endpapers to size

keep spine free when pressing the book block after endpapers added

cloth and two layers of brown paper on spine

use bookcloth for the spine, but fabric or paper is ok for the covers

glue spine to both covers, then turn up head and tail before foredge

Bradel bound - in six hours
Wikipedia says: "Bradel binding (also called a bonnet or bristol board binding, a German Case binding, or in French as Cartonnage à la Bradel or en gist) is a style of book binding with a hollow back. It most resembles a case binding in that it has a hollow back and visible joint, but unlike a case binding, it is built up on the book. Characteristic of the binding is the material covering the outside boards is separate from the material covering the spine." It can be traced back to 18th century Germany.

Comprehensive instructions can be found here and elsewhere on the internet.

by Margaret Cooter ( at July 17, 2016 10:53 AM

July 16, 2016

Margaret Cooter

Drawing "without paper"

Exhibition by Gego (Gertrude Goldschmidt, 1912-1994) at Dominque Levy, Old Bond Street (and New York) - show runs till 30 July.

Free-floating wire nets ... sparse, geometric drawings ... some of the earlier rigid structures too.

A "hand-made, random system of connecting points", says the wall label ... hmm ... and as for the "certain subjectivity" mentioned near the end of that blurb ... hmmmmmmmmmmmm...........

Another wall label (warning: includes artspeak)

by Margaret Cooter ( at July 16, 2016 09:50 AM

July 15, 2016

Olga Norris

A meditation on mass murder

As I finished carving this block I was listening to harrowing tales of those caught up in the mass murder in Nice.  This piece of work, in its subsequent manifestations will now bring a pause to me as I remember the incomprehension and fear in those people's voices.

by Olga Norris ( at July 15, 2016 03:45 PM

Margaret Cooter

At the library

Who needs to search the library shelves when the librarians at Crouch End comes up with such good displays?  
Having read about the Wainright Prize (here) and fantasised about my friends - who are scattered all round the world - coming together to read and discuss the books on the list, I was thrilled to see this gathering of the actual books, and restricted myself to borrowing just one ... a walk through England, along the Icknield Way. Already I've identified a few places that I fantasise visiting - St Catherine's Chapel near Abbotsbury, and Seahenge (photo here) at the other end. Well, one can dream; and it might happen one day (at the moment I'm hardly an intrepid traveller).

Round the back of that display, this one - celebrating  Beatrix Potter, born 28 July 1866 -
The tempting book on Herdwick sheep stayed in the library. I'm making my way through The White Road ... which has 66 chapters; some are quite short. Hope to finish it before it requires renewing yet again -

by Margaret Cooter ( at July 15, 2016 09:43 AM

Neki Rivera

on indian silk

a different take. enjoy.
stay cool and have a good weekend.

neki desu
Creative Commons License

by (neki desu) at July 15, 2016 08:00 AM

Gerrie Congdon

On the Road to CA

File Jul 14, 9 03 48 PM

Here we are in California for the night. We really enjoyed the trip in the new Mercedes, such a difference from the Prius which we did not like for long trips. I made it to the Grants Pass Art Museum and even walked up the stairs which went on forever. I took the elevator down. Photography was not allowed but I snuck in a couple of long shots.

File Jul 14, 9 03 21 PM

I had to get a close up of Terry Grants Camas Prairie, which I love. The quilt next to it is by Cynthia St. Charles. It has lots of wonderful surface design.

File Jul 14, 9 04 18 PM

I got to see two views of my new knee when I checked in with my Surgeon this morning.


Ok, it has been a long and busy day for me. Time to crash

by Gerrie at July 15, 2016 04:32 AM