Planet Textile Threads

October 21, 2014

Margaret Cooter

Not everything works the way you thought it would

These bricks came down from the attic ... last used in the 1960s or early 70s. The idea wast to give the colourful ones to a friends' child.

So I spent a tranquil Sunday morning piecing together, from thicker fabrics on hand in the weekend studio, a bag for the bricks that would lie flat and become a play area, then gather itself up with bricks inside. This was from memories of a pattern I'd seen in the 70s. Which is some time ago.
80cm diameter
I had to improvise the way of holding the cord, and indeed the cord itself - it's a long piece of selvedge.
It gathers up, with a little effort...
... and leaves a bit of a tangle, and floppy bits...
Unfortunately the floppy bits will let bricks escape - I had hoped it would be "tidier" somehow. Next week I'll undo the loops and the edging and add a tunnel into which the cord will fit, and from which it will emerge at useful intervals. Aha, here is a tutorial - the cord emerges twice, not 12 times!

by Margaret Cooter ( at October 21, 2014 09:32 AM

Rayna Gillman

I think it's Monday

Honestly, I can't keep track.  I got home from Philadelphia yesterday (thank god it was only a 2 hour drive and not a flight) and the rest of the day felt like a Saturday.  Probably because it wa an afternoon of errands.

The art cloth network meeting was excellent: business to be discussed, along with show & tell and fine dining at neighborhood restaurants. We had our meeting at Dianne Hricko's studio and loved being surrounded by her gorgeous wearables.

The gremlins have been at work and have stolen the plugs for my iPad & iPhone chargers.  Bah!
Left with only one, I had to go to the Apple store to buy two more.  THIS time I put my initial on them so that nobody can remove them by mistake.

Back to the supermarket, the kitchen, and the email today.  Carrot, potato and parsnip soup.
No recipe - I just threw the veggies into the pressure cooker, added seasoning, and 20 min later, soup.
Used my stick blender to puree it, added some curry powder and it was pretty good. Maybe even very.

Then I collected my mail and there was a grand jury summons, which has to be answered online. The only problem is, it told me my login was invalid. At this rate, there will be a warrant out for my arrest.
Never a dull moment:-)

by (Rayna) at October 21, 2014 12:33 AM

October 20, 2014

Margaret Cooter

The comfort of materials

Contemplating this ...
(found on artpropelled; originating here, with more pages shown here)
... my brain whirrs. Pigment on pages of a sketchbook ... gradations, mixtures of paint ... masking tape resist ... perhaps a book that underwent a series of interventions on each page, in no particular order ... the sort of thing a person could do to PLAY ...

Something stops me though from rushing into the studio and plunging into this new project. Well, first I had to look at the rest of Elisabeth Couloigner's work, and that got a bit overwhelming!

My hesitation is about materials. This links with a similar thought that arose in Thursday's sketchbook class, when we used colour, and I didn't venture into using pastels ... because I'm not comfortable with them, don't like what happens when I use them, don't like the bold bright colours. And yet seeing what other people did with pastels ... that inspired me a bit, seeing the overlap of colours when simple (or not-so-simple) lines were used ...

So, you have to be comfortable with materials before you willingly pick them up and "just go". After the recent daily painting project, I'm so much more comfortable with (acrylic) paint and can happily mix and fail and start again to get a desired shade if something needs matching, even though I'm still not sure which shade is necessarily desired when painting "from imagination".

Do you have a "go to" material or tool? I'm comfortable with pen or biro, unfazed by drawing the line "wrong" when working fast - the pen feels like an extension of my eye, rather than something that must tell a recognisable truth to a critical viewer.

And I'm comfortable with a needle and thread, and with colourful fabric to choose from.

But I'm not comfortable - or even excited about - adding a different colour that has to be "thought up", even though I've played about with this for months. Hmm, for the daily painting of the ever-changing stripey picture, I had certain rules, even though they weren't written down... rules about how many colours to use per session (as few as possible), about not having leftover paint, about the shapes that were appearing. Rules, or a method (which is nothing if not implicit rules...) of how to start and what to do next. And an idea of what it will be like when it's "finished".

Play, now ... that has no rules (we are not playing a competitive game or sport). The starting point is vague ... you move a few things around. What happens next at any point is quite possibly random or accidental. "What it looks like" may not matter at any stage, it's about the process of doing, of playing. There is no predefined outcome ... you play till you're played out.

Playing with materials - putting lines or colour or pattern or marks on a scrap of paper or sketchbook page - what a fun thing to do. Remember colouring books? - as children we didn't feel compelled to colour all the pages before moving on to the next book ... we simply left blank the pictures that didn't appeal. (But oh boy, there were "good colourers" and "messy people"... and now we have inner critics...)

Well then ... let's play with one of our "uncomfortable" materials, say for 15 minutes a day for a week. First up for me is - oil pastels.

To end, another of Elisabeth Couloigner's pages from "I'm Searching" -

by Margaret Cooter ( at October 20, 2014 08:24 PM

Sarah Ann Smith

Interweave DVDs on sale for 2 days, including mine

Hey…if you want to start Christmas shopping early, head over to Interweave.  Just got an email that stuff is ON SALE for two days only.   Price on my dvd is less than wholesale plus postage!  AND you can get 3 video downloads for only $35….use the link below to get there.

The cover (back and front) of my DVD, Art Quilt Design From Photo to Threadwork, with Fabric Collage and Machine Quilting.  Order the DVD from me here, or the download and DVD from Quilting Arts/Interweave here.

The cover (back and front) of my DVD, Art Quilt Design From Photo to Threadwork, with Fabric Collage and Machine Quilting. Order the DVD from me here, or the download and DVD from Quilting Arts/Interweave here.  Here’s the link to my DVD.

Save up to 60% during the Flash Sale at Interweave

by Sarah Ann Smith at October 20, 2014 05:52 PM

Martha Marques

Quince Invite to Submit Martha's Scarf

I was recently asked to rework my Fishbone Lace Scarf in Quince's Piper for sale on their website, Quince and Company.  I have followed Pam Allen's work for decades....since we lived in Hawaii where I bought American Knits from the newly opened Barnes and Nobles in downtown Hilo in 1994.  Pam had a wonderful pieced knit coat, hat and mittens that were modeled on her lovely young daughter.  I was doing a fair amount of knitting at that time, but it had to be shipped back to the nieces and nephews in Maine, of course.  Not a lot of demand for woolen mittens and socks in Hawaii.  I have had an ongoing need for knitting, however,  since I learned at the age of 4 in order to maintain my equanimity in the face of .... life stuff.  You know how they say that knitting is therapeutic?  I require daily therapy so the knitting takes place whether I am living in the tropics or in Maine.  I have continued to follow Pam Allen's career as the editor of and a prolific contributor to  Interweave Knits through the start up of her yarn company Quince which is located here in Portland, Maine.  This is also,  conveniently enough, the location of my home and Threads of Meaning studio since we purchased it in 2009. 

I was surprised and very pleased to be asked to contribute something to the Quince endeavor.  This scarf is knit up with one skein of Pam's Piper in the soft rose color Odessa.  Knit in this fine 50/50 Texas mohair/merino blend one skein makes a beautifully airy, long, luxurious scarf about 7x60 inches.  Two skeins would make a scarf twice as wide, twice as long or 1/3 wider (about 11 inches) and half again as long (say 90 inches).  This single ply yarn knits easily on size 7 needles with no catching or awkwardness and the pattern itself is very simple.  It is an excellent project for a first time lace knitter since you have a "working" row, followed by a purl row, and then another "working row" followed by a knit row.  In other words you have resting rows in between the attention paying rows which is soothing and therapeutic.  You can purchase the pattern through Ravelry, or by visiting the Quince website where you can also pop over to buy the yarn.  There are some lovely colors in Piper.  I knit up this sample for them but am considering knitting up one for me in the Teal hand dyed to go with my grey wool winter coat.

October 20, 2014 05:21 PM

Olga Norris

Brain-cleansing pause

This past weekend I have been stalwartly making my way through the excellent but enormous meal of input of the Marine Archaeology course.  I still have not completed last week's information, and in the middle of sections ranging both in time and geography I just had to give my brain a rest.  So I concentrated on something else to aid digestion.  Leftovers from my thinking about grids, Bauhaus, and the colours around me brought about this:
Autumn interior (design in progress)
On my way now to continue my attempted absorption of the facts about boat design through the ages, trade routes in the Eastern Mediterranean in the Bronze Age, Viking burials, ... etc. I took a few snaps in the bit of the garden I pass from the front door to the annex.  The spill over of seasons is such a delightful mix and I love spotting so many little gems.
The Dortmund rose is now in full hip, draped over the winter jasmine, the leaves of which are developing a gloss just as the rose's are turning.
The callicarpa as ever is just stunning at this time of year.  The birds never touch the lurid berries if there is alternative food around.  Can they see the 'unnatural' colour, I wonder?
And co-ordinating beautifully, not paying any attention to what time of year it is, the Mermaid rose is still flowering.
A drainage project for winter is waiting for the comfrey to realise that it should all be dying back - not flowering!
The annuals keep on going.  I cannot bear to take them out when they are still producing such lovely blooms.  The mass of leaves of the nasturtium are there even after a second flush of flowers - and look at the front rim of the pot: a new seedling!
The fuchsia drapes itself elegantly against the annex door.  Even though it soaks my skirt on rainy days, even though I bring so many flower heads into the annex with me, I love having to brush my way past it.  This is the last year of that ridiculous pleasure; this winter we are moving the plant to a more appropriate spot.
And down by the door the winter flowering ground cover is forming buds (sorry, I can never remember the name - I really must look it up), and I was astonished as I looked closer that the snowdrops' leaves are up and already being nibbled by some passing pest.
Now, back to facts aquatic!

by Olga Norris ( at October 20, 2014 04:17 PM

Natalya Aikens

the finish line

I can see it from here! I have been very slowly stitching away on this small portrait of the St. Nicholas Cathedral in St. Petersburg, Russia. Now it's a question of how much is too much and how much is not enough?

This started as a wool sweater that I pounded, ahem, felted into submission, to make it as flat as possible without loosing texture and pattern. I then strategically sprinkled thread clippings and tiny swatches for an indication of color and machine stitched the outline of the cathedral. All that went fairly quickly. The next part, the hand stitching part, is the slow part. I want the portrait to have a loose sketchy quality to it, almost like a quick watercolor sketch.

Here are a few close ups to show you where I am:

What do you think? Am I achieving the sketchy quality?

by Natalya Aikens ( at October 20, 2014 01:51 PM

Margaret Cooter

Moan on Monday - adverbial overload

The world is sad about Colonel Meow (via)
Does no-one simply "die" - or rather, do newspaper reports not allow them to simply die? Every time you read a report of a death, the person has "sadly died". Soon there will be a new word in the language: sadlydied, replacing died ... in much the same way that "suggested" has replaced "said" in recent years (but that's another rant altogether).

I suspect a subeditor was at work in this sentence: "At present, about 8,000 people have been confirmed as diagnosed with Ebola, and of those 3,865 have, sadly, died. " Does the Guardian's style book have guidance on sadly died, detailing situations in which it needs to be bracketed by commas?

A search for "sadly died" (in quotes, entire phrase) gets only 549,000 hits ... perhaps there's hope yet. No, wait - "sadly he died" (no quotes) gets 22,600,000 hits, and "sadly she died" gets 5,240,000 ... and "sadly died", no quotes, gets 22,700,000, presumably including a lot of the "he"s and "she"s.

Sadly here can mean "unfortunately" ... but the ludicrous spectre of the person being sad to be dying will keep rearing its head as I read yet another occurrence of the phrase.

Furthermore, a death toll, eg in the current ebola outbreak, isn't just high (48% of those infected), but "tragically high" ... possibly because a nice long word was needed (high is just four letters, after all), and nothing sensible could be thought of.

by Margaret Cooter ( at October 20, 2014 09:44 AM

Neki Rivera

inspiration is hard work


the more one works, the more inspired one gets. this is nº 5 already finished. it has given me some thoughts about the series; i can see the whole of it now not just the individual pieces.


next one already on its way. i just hope to get 10 pieces of work from this warp; the mess behind the heddles is mind blowing. hemp is beautiful, but weaves with pain.

neki desu
Creative Commons License 

by (neki desu) at October 20, 2014 08:00 AM

Cynthia St. Charles

Trail to Grinnell Glacier

 Progress was kind of slow because we had to stop so often to take pictures.  It was just stunning at every step.  The light was just great at this early morning hour.

by Cynthia St Charles ( at October 20, 2014 06:00 AM

October 19, 2014

Margaret Cooter

Simply gorgeous

Strip woven cloth made by the Ewe people of Togo (found here). Fabulous. I'm imagining using the stripeyness of the colourful squares for a scrappy quilt - with red lines of quilting on grey.

What makes it dance is the light and dark yellow, and the way thin lines of red are used throughout.

by Margaret Cooter ( at October 19, 2014 01:13 PM


Without writing things down, how do we remember?

The saying goes: I hear it and forget; I see it and remember; I do it and understand.

I heard birdsong and don't know what bird it is. I see artworks and sometimes remember the name of the artist. I follow a knitting pattern and get lost ... but once I understand the structure, I can look back and see where it's gone wrong. Different sorts of memory are at work, and  there are surely ways to enhance each of them.

One such is the phrase or sentence that helps us to remember lists - Roy G. Biv for the colours of the rainbow, for instance. Another method is to have a mental set of places and put objects in each one. Remember names by associating them with something meaningful to you. 

But what about the wider picture? In oral cultures, memory boards help to maintain and transmit historical knowledge. Someone who knows how to read them passes on the knowledge through a performance. 

Lukasa (memory board) in the form of a woman with a tortoise body. Luba culture, Congo (via)
"Lukasa, or memory boards, are hand-held wooden objects that present a conceptual map of fundamental aspects of Luba culture. They are at once illustrations of the Luba political system, historical chronicles of the Luba state, and territorial diagrams of local chiefdoms. Each board's design is unique and represents the divine revelations of a spirit medium expressed in sculptural form ... many lukasa utilize a system of denotation based on masses of shells and beads affixed to their wooden surfaces." (via)

" These wooden memory boards are used by Luba kings, diviners, geneologists and court historians in the Congo. The Lukasa is a memory aid, a means for evoking events, places and names which assist in initiation ceremonies. According to  A History of Art in Africa, "It stimulates thought and instructs in sacred lore, culture heroes, migrations, and sacred rule ...A configuration of beads, shells and pins coded by size and colour on one side refers to kings' lists. Beads may stand for individuals, a large bead encircled by smaller ones perhaps representing a chief and his entourage. Bead arrangements also refer to proverbs and praise phrases" as well as migratory paths and roads." (via)

" a great deal of ritual performance and ceremonial song is linked to repeating pragmatic and rational knowledge. This includes astronomical observations used to retain a calendar closely related to resource availability – be it from hunting, gathering or farming. Star patterns are often used as representations of mythological characters whose stories also encode rational knowledge." (via)

"Sets of locations in the landscape have been used as memory aids – the most effective memory aid known. ... the songlines of the Australian cultures, the sacred trails of the Native Americans and sacred paths found in cultures around the world served the needs of memory in exactly the same way." This is the method of loci, attributed to the Greek and Roman orators.

Medieval manuscripts too were designed as miniature memory spaces.
"In the Middle Ages, the memory arts changed purpose from the oratory of classical times to become the domain of the monks wishing to memorise great slabs of religious tracts. Monks were expected to memorise, at a minimum, all 150 psalms, a task which took somewhere between six months and three years.

"The heavily illustrated handwritten manuscripts were seen as a prompt for medieval memory when books were extremely rare and horrendously expensive. The words were enmeshed in images which match the classical recommendations for making information far more memorable: grotesque and violent acts along with fanciful beasts, strange figures, gross ugliness and extraordinary beauty. It was common to have each chapter start with a coloured initial, alternating between red and blue, with repeated letters each having their own design, such as in the Smithfield Decretal shown above."

To end, a contentious statement from the blog: "Art in oral cultures is primarily a memory aid to the knowledge system while art in literate cultures is primarily aesthetic."

by Margaret Cooter ( at October 19, 2014 09:12 AM

October 18, 2014

Sarah Ann Smith

The most beautiful place on Earth

Yesterday evening, I dropped Eli off at a teammate’s home for the weekly Cross Country team potluck Spaghetti dinner.  The house is on Appleton Ridge Road, which has some of the most stunning views in the area, so I took the scenic route home.  Then today, on a quest for small halogen bulbs for our under counter kitchen lights, I took the back road–Barnestown to Gillette to Hope Roads to route 17.   OH MY… I truly live in one of the most beautiful places on Earth, and this is the finest example of autumn in the decade we have called Maine home.   Enjoy (and tell me you don’t want to grab paint and dye and play).  Click on photos to view larger.:

on Hope Road in south Hope, Maine.  Photo (c) Sarah Ann Smith

on Hope Road in south Hope, Maine. Photo (c) Sarah Ann Smith.  The colorful foreground is wild blueberry barrens.  Rockport in the background.

Friday evening on Appleton Ridge Road in Appleton/Washington, Maine. Photo (c) Sarah Ann Smith

Friday evening on Appleton Ridge Road in Appleton/Washington, Maine. Photo (c) Sarah Ann Smith

Looking west from Appleton Ridge Road at sunset.  Photo (c) Sarah Ann Smith

Looking west from Appleton Ridge Road at sunset. Photo (c) Sarah Ann Smith

Sumac at Barnestown and Gillette roads, Hope, Maine.

Sumac at Barnestown and Gillette roads, Hope, Maine.

From Gillette Road in south Hope, Maine. Photo (c) Sarah Ann Smith

From Hope Road in south Hope, Maine, looking back towards Gillette Road.  I am pretty sure this is the back side of Ragged Mountain. Photo (c) Sarah Ann Smith

South Hope, Maine.  There is a trail head near here and I keep promising myself I'm going to go hiking there.  Maybe early this week as a treat?

South Hope, Maine. There is a trail head near here and I keep promising myself I’m going to go hiking there. Maybe early this week as a treat?

Tree and wild blueberry barrens on Hope Road, south Hope, Maine. Photo (c) Sarah Ann Smith

Tree and wild blueberry barrens on Hope Road, south Hope, Maine. Photo (c) Sarah Ann Smith

Looking towards Rockport from Hope Road, Hope, Maine.  Photo (c) Sarah Ann Smith

Looking towards Rockport from Hope Road, Hope, Maine. Photo (c) Sarah Ann Smith

Hatvhet Mountain as seen from in front of the Hope General Store.  Hope, Maine.  Photo (c) Sarah Ann Smith

Hatchet Mountain as seen from in front of the Hope General Store. Hope, Maine. Photo (c) Sarah Ann Smith

Sure wish I’d had my good camera with me, but thank heavens for the iPhone Camera!

by Sarah Ann Smith at October 18, 2014 11:36 PM

Margaret Cooter

Why do we wait so long?

After weeks or is it months of meaning to make a new cover for the little ironing board, I finally did it! A manky towel gives it more padding. 
Times like this, you think: "Why did I wait so long to do this?"

Little things make a big difference. It's such a pleasure to use the board now. No more catching the iron in the ripped bit...

by Margaret Cooter ( at October 18, 2014 01:05 PM

Contemporary art sketchbook walk - week 3

The theme for the week was colour; as it turned out, the shows were mostly black and white, but we gamely drew with coloured pencils and added accents with pastels... 

First stop, Iniva on Rivington Street, where a delightful primary school class was enjoying the "forgotten portraits", including the Black African Choir that toured Britain, coming from South Africa and dressing in "native costume" for publicity purposes - photographs "deeply buried" in the Hulton archive for 120 years. "The Black Chronicles II" runs till 29 November.
London Stereoscopic Photographic Society, 1891-3 (via)
Record books of the London Stereoscopic Society
Then to Calvert 22, a gallery that deals in contemporary Russian art; the current show is Beyond Zero, and includes an intriguing 1965 film, by  visual-effects pioneer Pavel Klushantsev, about the space race, from the Russian point of view ... all those American rockets that simply missed their moon target...
The show includes "a full set of hand-painted colour plates from Mikhail Matyushin’s Reference Book on Colour for the first time in the UK. Matyushin was an avant-garde artist, a musician and a close associate of Kazimir Malevich. Together with his students, Matyushin staged practical experiments to test his idea of ‘expanded vision’. In studying how a primary colour interacted with a surrounding colour, he observed how the neutral space between the two became tinged with a secondary tint. The results, recorded in these hand-painted tables in 1932, have helped generations of architects and designers find harmonious colour schemes for their work."

At Kate MacGarry is Ben Rivers' show "Things" (till 25 October); rather than watching the video I drew "Bedroom" -
Digital print, 102.5cm square, on the gallery's red wall
Next door, Johnathan Viner is showing "Goliad" by Will Boone (till 8 November) - " a new series of paintings which evolved from previous works which superimposed the letters of a word (also the paintings title) on the canvases' surface, thereby treading a fine line between legibility and abstraction" -
Hot seats, monoprinted canvases, and large works of layered stencilling by Will Boone

Lovely old bit of window-opening machinery; the gallery was a printing shop

Sharing sketchbooks over a delicious mocha
 Final stop: on Redchurch Street (artist )
Love the red double doors, very business-like

At the end of the day, sometimes a photo is all you need
Seeing how other people had augmented their sketchbooks from previous weeks by sticking in information and photos, and working on painted pages, I carried on working on my pages at home, sticking in photos, adding more colour (note to self: try oil pastels and chalks sometime soon), and writing a few notes about the works seen.
Blind drawings and overlaid images

Leaving well enough alone (rather than colouring-in)

The drawing made in the gallery (right) translated into cloth and collage; it includes
a transparent layer, as did the original

by Margaret Cooter ( at October 18, 2014 09:35 AM

Cynthia St. Charles

On the Trail to Grinnell Glacier

The glacier is right above Joe's head in this picture.  We were about 3 miles away at this point.

by Cynthia St Charles ( at October 18, 2014 06:00 AM

Dijanne Cevaal

In Charentes

The artists open studio weekend was great fun but alas only a few sales of printed panels.It was interesting spending time with other artists and we enjoyed each others company despite my bad french!
Here  is one of the cats with the quirky and fun recuperated sculptures of Catherine Pezaire

Then on Monday I picked up a hire car for two weeks as I wanted to go to  Charentes as a friend had offered the use of her house whilst she is away in the  US- and I have been with people since landing all those weeks ago constantly so it is nice to have some time on my own. And the ambience of the house is lovely and the weather apart from a bit of rain has been sensational. I have tried to be outdoors as much as I can in this gorgeous weather . Some of the outbuildings in Charentian white stone.

Then next week I head off to the Open European Quilt Championships in Veldhoven for the last time. There are still some places in my workshop working with Solufix on Sunday the 26th of October but you will need to contact them soon if you want to join the class!

On the way to Charentes which was about 5 hours from Paris I stopped in  at Au Fil d'Emma to get some dyes and to check out Emma's new premises. The shop is light and airy and the space so much better to where she used to be and the workshop space is much better. I shall look forward to teaching there in March 2015! Plus there is a small gallery area for small works and it is much easier to park!

And some of the hand dyed fabrics I made- I never knew I could be so careful with buckets and containers- in situ with some Charentian charm- I am seriously liking the reds. Maybe Charentes is calling to me?

And then last, I am wondering when my run of bad luck with cars is going to end? My youngest daughter was involved in an accident when  the car hydroplaned in bad weather conditions  in Melbourne. Fortunately for her ,she was not going  fast and she and her friend were not hurt ( thank goodness) but my car has been deemed a write off.  I am insured but as the car is old and a under 21 year old was driving  I think I won't get much change out of the market value! Sigh- anyone have a decent little car for sale- not expensive?

So I was very glad  to spend some time with Jane Rollason  and her partner Michel last night , I needed some laughs to take my mind off the demise of my little lemon of a Peugeot ( this car has had so many things fixed it is like a new car). I will be teaching a workshop at Jane's house in Viville on the 9th of November- linocutting and printing.

And I shall be starting an on-line linocutting class on 3 November 2014- contact me for information or if you are interested in joining!

by Dijanne Cevaal ( at October 18, 2014 05:00 AM

Rayna Gillman

Time's winged chariot

Flies along.  We've been nonstop with our Art Cloth Network conference - meeting all day and going to a lecture on indigo dyeing tonight by Rowland Ricketts.  Go to his website and you will see some beautiful work.  These are a few examples.

Philadelphia, which is not a small city, nevertheless has the feeling of one.  At 7 this morning I took this photo from our hotel room window: a city without traffic?  

Maybe just this morning.  We'll see what tomorrow brings.

by (Rayna) at October 18, 2014 02:23 AM

October 17, 2014

Margaret Cooter

Audacious installation

"Olafur Eliasson fills modern art museum with "giant landscape" of rocks." (via)

He filled an entire wing of Denmark's Louisiana Museum of Modern Art (north of Copenhagen) with a landscape of stones meant to emulate a riverbed. More photos are here.

The exhibition is on until 1st April 2015.

by Margaret Cooter ( at October 17, 2014 09:30 PM

A little more art in W1

Claudi Casanovas, of whose show and work I wrote in 2009, has new work at Erskine, Hall & Coe (till 23 Oct) - all the work is shown online but here is my own overview -

We puzzled about how he got that conglomerate texture, so like stones, and whether the pieces were hollow.

"He explores complex ideas using a mixture of local and imported clays, subjecting both to physical, chemical and esthetic experiments. Organic materials, metals and metal oxides create porous openings and unusual colors in the unglazed surface. After firing, the piece is subjected to further cutting, sandblasting and polishing. The final sculpture is a very personal expression of fundamental emotional ties with the earth." (via)

Also at the gallery, a few drawings by Matthew Harris - strips of waxy paper sewn together with long, couched threads -
Mixed media on paper, bound with waxed threads
On to Marlborough Fine Art to see Paula Rego's "The Last King of Portugal" ... her always-interesting "slightly Freudian" scenarios and figures, this time mainly in pastels -
 All the pictures are on the gallery's website, at least till the show ends (25 Oct).
"Get out of here you and your filth" 120 x 160 cm (via)
Passing quickly by Dover Street Market - something to investigate another day -
Window by Phoebe English and Set Designer Phillip Cooper created using
components referencing Phoebe’s SS15 collection

by Margaret Cooter ( at October 17, 2014 08:30 PM

Cynthia St. Charles

Lake Josephine in the Morning

The trail to Grinnell Glacier began at Swiftcurrent Lake, where we followed the shore along to Lake Josephine (above).  We paused for a photo from the dock used by the ferry boat that takes passengers to the other end of the lake (saving them a few miles of hiking to get to Grinnell Glacier).  We chose to hike instead of taking the ferry.  We had the trail to ourselves until we got to the other end of the lake, where we met up with the tour group that had just gotten off the boat.

by Cynthia St Charles ( at October 17, 2014 05:34 PM

Terry Grant

Back at it

The hard thing about taking a vacation is that it ends. Just. Like. That. Vacation is over and you are back to real life, which is all the more real, because things kind of piled up while you were gone.

I came back to two shows that needed my immediate attention. I had two pieces juried into the Beaverton Arts Mix, and had to deliver my work the day after we got home. It was a really good show, that lots of people came to see. My son-in-law, Carlos, had one of his paintings in the show too. Always great to have work in a Fine Arts show. Even though I didn't sell anything, I hope people are enjoying and learning about fiber art. People were interested and asked me a lot of questions. The show the next weekend was bad. Nice people, nice venue, no customers. I won't do that again.

Now I am getting ready for the Washington County Artists Open Studios this weekend. On Monday I got up at a really brutal hour and went to one of the other artist's studio for an early morning TV show feature about the tour. Here I am demonstrating and talking to "Joe on the go" from channel 12, about how I make my art.


We started at 5 am and went until about 8, with demos and interviews interspersed into the live morning news program. Who watches TV at that hour? Apparently quite a few people. Lots of people have told me they saw me.

Meanwhile, I have been writing a magazine article for a Dutch magazine, and cleaning and arranging my studio for the Open Studios.


I have hung as much work as I can and put small pieces out on tables.

I can demonstrate free-motion stitching on the same sample I used for the TV show, and show a small finished project, which is what I made for the magazine article. Nice to be able to make good use of these things! Can you tell by what I'm making that my head is still on vacation? And I still dream about Spain every night.



by Terry Grant ( at October 17, 2014 01:03 PM

Natalya Aikens


That was one of the first thoughts that crossed my mind when I first saw the installation. This summer I got lost in the hallways of the Vermont Law School. I was looking for an art exhibit and got a double treat when I stumbled on the sticks. Yes sticks. But such perfectly arranged sticks. Or reeds. Because first I saw these reeds in the Cornell Library... I wanted to walk through them..
Phragmites by Elizabeth Billings
Phragmites detail
Then as I was wandering the hallways I found the sticks. They were whittled. Perfectly. I thought about the methodical, meditative way the artist must have sat there and whittled for days... I wished I was whittling along with her...

Unfortunately there is no name for this installation. It goes down a very long hallway...
There was no signs anywhere in the hallway or the library to tell me who this artist was. Fortunately once school started a quick phone call solved the mystery for me. Now I'll be on the look out for more serene art by Elizabeth Billings. Hopefully there will be signs. But I may not need them.

by Natalya Aikens ( at October 17, 2014 09:59 AM

Neki Rivera

equinoctial splendor ii

riding to sagano  on the scenic autumn  train
have a great weekend

neki desu
Creative Commons License 

by (neki desu) at October 17, 2014 08:00 AM

Gerrie Congdon

Making Progress


Yes, I am! I am making progress and I like how this is coming along.


I love the ethereal look of these leaves compared to the previous leaves that I printed on silk.


I am almost done stitching the leaves down. Then, I will work on the other quilt that I want to rehab for my crit group on Saturday.

That is all I have for tonight. Ta ta!

by Gerrie at October 17, 2014 06:04 AM

Kyra Hicks

San Diego People of Color Quilt Guild Opportunity Quilt 2014

I was born and raised in Los Angeles, California - and when I was on the San Diego People of Color Quilt Guild website - I recognized that this was a California quilt!

This gorgeous 2014 Opportunity Quilt was hand pieced by Norma Jones and machined quilted by Vivian Townes.

Visit the guild's website to see this and other guild quilt photos. Enjoy!

by Kyra ( at October 17, 2014 06:30 AM

Rayna Gillman

quickie post from the city of brotherly love

Art Cloth Network meeting from today till Sunday.  It was raining when I left home this morning, but cleared and I got here in 2 hours, door to door.  I will be showing my surface design on Saturday, but will post this transformation so you cn see what i did yesterday morning on the spur of the moment.

The very large shawl  on the left is a raucous yellow, but lovely fabric - a linen rayon blend.  I overdyed it last week and it came out a yucky color, so yesterday i tied it with rubber bands and threw it into a bath.  I am really happy with the results.
Tomorrow, meetings all day and I should have more interesting stuff to post.  Early bedtime after a late night and a full day.

by (Rayna) at October 17, 2014 01:49 AM

October 16, 2014

Sarah Ann Smith

Intentional Printing by Lynn Krawczyk and giveaway!

The drawing is concluded.  Any comments left now (after 5 pm Saturday) will be appreciated but won’t be in the drawing.  The lucky winner (chosen by a random number generator on the internet) is comment number 16, Sylvia!  I’ll email you directly.

Sometimes the right book comes along at the right time.  For me, Intentional Printing by Lynn Krawczyk was that book. Lynn is funny (love her Facebook posts), creative and has been able in her book to get me (and hopefully you) to just “fling some paint” and have fun making cloth you will actually USE.  So I’m going to tell you a bit about her book.  Then I’m going to send you over to her website and blog:  if you’d like to win a copy of her book, comment here by 5 pm East Coast Time on Saturday, October 18th (that’s SOON), and tell me something that you liked about her website and/or blog.   Here’s her site, Smudged Textiles Studio and her blog.  Read on!

Lynn Krawczyk's Intentional Printing

Lynn Krawczyk’s Intentional Printing.  Here’s a link to Lynn’s website page about her book, complete with a fun video of her telling you about the book and showing her printed cloth.

For years now I’ve been buying books about dyeing fabric and surface design, yet I do precious little (almost no) surface design in my own work.  So WHY do I keep buying the books?  There must be some deep desire to make my own cloth in a way that goes beyond dyeing fabric.  Many of the books I’ve purchased are intimidating:  so much to do, so many options, too many supplies, too much set up and clean up time.

With Lynn’s book, which is about paint (not dye),  all of a sudden I got up and started DOING.  No fuss, perhaps some mess (the fun kind), and productive work that has got me to develop a whole new workshop that combines the best parts of a class I used to teach (and eliminated because I hated teaching the other parts of the class) with Lynn’s approach to paint on cloth.

Lynn discovered that the pieces she made just didn’t quite work, didn’t fit what she wanted to do.  So she figured out how she could work to create pieces she wanted to use, was inspired to use, while keeping the spontaneity of the process intact.   The chapters of the book are:

  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1:  Exploring Intentional Printing
  • Chapter 2:  Tools and Materials
  • Chapter 3:  Fabric Printing Techniques
  • Chapter 4:  Handstitching
  • Chapter 5:  Layered Printing
  • Chapter 6:  The Projects
  • Templates
  • Acknowledgments, Resources and Index

Inspired by this book, I worked up two pieces that you’ve seen recently on this blog, The Nest and my X and O (Hugs and Kisses?) pieces that I’ll be teaching in the Fiber on a Whim Booth at International Quilt Festival in a mere two weeks!   Here’s a link to more information about my mini-class and to my thermofax screens blogpost (and to Fiber on a Whim where you can ORDER those screens!)   Once you see the inside of the book, you’ll see Lynn’s X and O piece, which must have been in my subconscious when I made mine!

Learn to make the painted fabrics in this project in my mini-Whimsy class at IQF-International Quilt Festival Fall 2014.

Learn to make the painted fabrics in this project in my mini-Whimsy class at IQF-International Quilt Festival Fall 2014.

And some art cloth--this is SO not my typical, but I could see playing with surface design, a lot, to make more fabrics to use in my more typical style.  I wanted to have something totally "not me" though so that students get to try both representational and not!

And some art cloth–this is SO not my typical, but I could see playing with surface design, a lot, to make more fabrics to use in my more typical style. I wanted to have something totally “not me” though so that students get to try both representational and not!

What I really liked was that Lynn’s approach can work for the way I use fabric.  So many of the surface design books are by people for whom the fabric and the process are the be-all and end-all.  Once the cloth is done, no more needs to be done.  But I don’t like abstract stuff very much, and I don’t think the cloth is the artwork (for me! if it is for you, that’s great, but it’s not what I want to do), it is something that goes into creating the art.  With Lynn’s book, the cloth can be the goal and the finished product, OR it can be a component that goes in to the artwork.

In The Nest, for example, I used a couple techniques Lynn covers in creating the background fabric, the nest, and the eggs.    In a quilt that I will share with you next week, Insalata, I dyed the fabric for the background but it just wasn’t quite enough.  So I used paint and a couple stencils to create background texture that got the fabric from “pretty good” to “just right.”  That’s exactly what Lynn’s book is about:  getting the fabric you need for the idea in your head / the project you want to make.

For novices to surface design, this book is a great start.  For folks like me who have tried it some but just weren’t jazzed, this book is a great way to help focus random flinging of paint into a process that will give you something with which to create (instead of a pile of “what am I going to do with that now?” cloth).  HIGHLY Recommended!

So if you want to WIN A COPY, here’s what to do:  go to Lynn’s website and blog,  Then come back here and  leave a comment  by 5 pm East Coast Time on Saturday, October 18th (that’s SOON), and tell me something that you liked about her website and/or blog.   Here’s her site, Smudged Textiles Studio and her blog.  I’ll post the winner probably on Sunday–Eli has a Cross Country meet that will last all day Saturday.   ENJOY!

And thank you Lynn for offering a copy of your book…I LOVE IT!

by Sarah Ann Smith at October 16, 2014 06:43 PM

Margaret Cooter

Poetry Thursday - Java Jive by The Inkspots

You're pouring out your morning coffee and a phrase, a line, comes to you ... For me today, it was "cuppa cuppa cuppa cup" - where was that from? A quick search led to this - Java Jive, sung by The Inkspots in 1940.
Lyrics are by Milton Drake (who also wrote the words to Mairzy Doats). The words need to be taken off the page and into a song to make sense ... perhaps this is the very opposite of poetry?

I love coffee, I love tea
I love the java jive and it loves me
Coffee and tea and the jiving and me
A cup, a cup, a cup, a cup, a cup!
I love java, sweet and hot
Whoops! Mr. Moto, I'm a coffee pot
Shoot me the pot and I'll pour me a shot
A cup, a cup, a cup, a cup, a cup!
Oh, slip me a slug from the wonderful mug
And I cut a rug till I'm snug in a jug
A slice of onion and a raw one, draw one.

Waiter, waiter, percolator!
I love coffee, I love tea
I love the java jive and it loves me
Coffee and tea and the jiving and me
A cup, a cup, a cup, a cup, a cup!
Boston bean, soy bean
Lima bean, string bean.
You know that I'm not keen for a bean
Unless it is a cheery coffee bean.

I love coffee, I love tea
I love the java jive and it loves me
Coffee and tea and the jiving and me
A cup, a cup, a cup, a cup, a cup!
I love java, sweet and hot
Whoops! Mr. Moto, I'm a coffee pot
Shoot me the pot and I'll pour me a shot
A cup, a cup, a cup, a cup, a cup!
Oh, slip me a slug from the wonderful mug
And I cut a rug till I'm snug in a jug
Drop me a nickel in my pot, Joe, Taking it slow.

Waiter, waiter, percolator!
I love coffee, I love tea
I love the java jive and it loves me
Coffee and tea and the jiving and me
A cup, a cup, a cup, a cup, a cup

The words hide mysteries ... Mr Moto was the fictional Japanese secret agent in eight films starting in 1937, but how is he connected with coffee?* "A slice of onion" - ? - lunch counter slang is one suggestion for that ... or just filling up the lines. "Think prohibition slang" is another suggestion, which leads to the idea that "a raw one" could be a hangover cure - and wasn't coffee itself a remedy for hangover?

"Cut a rug" = to dance, especially in a vigorous manner and in one of the dance styles of the first half of the twentieth century. "Tea" is slang for weed [itself slang for cannabis], "cabbage" and "green" can refer to money. "Drop me a nickel" ... from Louis Armstrong's delightful account of being busted in 1931 we learn that to drop a nickel is to put a nickel (5 cents) into a telephone is to call the cops and stoolpigeon on someone ... but is that relevant here?

Of "cheery coffee bean" Wikipedia says: "The song "Java Jive", a hit song for The Ink Spots in 1940, originally featured the couplet "I'm not keen about a bean / Unless it is a 'cheery beery bean'", as a pun on Ciribiribin, but the Ink Spots' lead singer inadvertently sang it as "cheery cheery bean", and recordings by subsequent artists have generally either followed suit or changed it to "chili chili bean"."

*As with "true" poetry, there are layers under the surface, and varying readings. One interpretation (halfway down this page) suggests the entire song is about personal recreational use of controlled substances:

'Whoops, Mister Moto, I'm a coffee pot' is, on the surface, a reference to pop culture: Peter Lorre films. At that surface level the line is incoherent. Everything falls into place if we interpret it as drug slang: 

Whoops, Mr Moto!
(Whoops, Mr Marijuana Supplier!)
I'm a coffee pot!
(I blend pills/beans with my pot!)
Shoot me the pot
(Give me the marijuana)
and I'll pour me a shot 
(I'll pour in my special ingredients)

As with other cryptic songs, from 'Follow the Drinking Gourd' to 'Proud Mary' and 'Poker Face', the surface meaning of the words is what gets the lyrics past censors and makes the song acceptable to a general audience. The words make a kind of sense on a surface level as long as the listener isn't paying much attention. Attentive listeners find quickly, though, that the literal surface meanings have trouble adding up to anything coherent. The difficulties point to code--slang--as key in understanding the song. 

"Moto" is also Mexican Spanish slang for marijuana.

(If that's the case, what might Mairzy Doats (1944) be about...? Nothing, it seems: it's a novelty song based on a nursery rhyme.)

All that speculation aside, I love the unexpectedness and sheer nonsense of "waiter waiter percolator" in the song.
1940s percolator - the colour of coffee splashing up into the
glass knob showed how the brewing was coming along

by Margaret Cooter ( at October 16, 2014 09:05 AM

Neki Rivera

my friend blu-tack

if there is an essential that is blu-tack (of a thousand uses) whe i'm running short i tend to get anxious and run to the school supply store( yes, we still have them, no office depot around here) for a refill.

 i am using it  here to hack the spindle of the bobbin winder and adapt it to these silk bobbins which have small orifices.i first tape a useless needle from the knitting machine with gaffer tape and tighten it to the spindle. i have  a good supply of those,  no worries about that :(
i know i could buy a dedicated winder for those bobbins, but do i really need more stuff when i can solve it with a little tack and gaffer tape?

then put some blu-tack  on the needle shaft and push the bobbin towards it making a tight fit. i sometimes even put a bit in the
bobbin hole as it really has to sit put so that it winds correctly.
 you can also use a bamboo skewer if need be.

neki desu
Creative Commons License 

by (neki desu) at October 16, 2014 08:00 AM

Kyra Hicks

Have you met Roy Mitchell Jr., the Watermelun Babies quilter?

Roy Mitchell Jr. - Photo Q.S.O.S.

Roy Mitchell, Jr. is a Virginia quilter, who recently presented at the Flint (MI) African American Quilters Guild celebration in September 2014.

Mitchell, a collector of African American memorabilia, is pictured here with his Watermelun Babies quilt he stitched.

In 2008, the Quilt Alliance's Save Our Stories project interviewed him. It's a fascinating read - including how his father and teenage son now also quilt!

Mitchell teaches a popular course in quiltmaking at the Culpeper (VA) Juvenile Correctional Center - and ensures another generation learns the joy of quilting!  Enjoy!

by Kyra ( at October 16, 2014 06:30 AM

Cynthia St. Charles

At the Trailhead for Grinnell Glacier

 We had beautiful weather for (part of) our trip to Glacier National Park, and we'd allowed at least one day for a hike.  We chose to go to Grinnell Glacier, 5 1/2 miles each way from the Swiftcurrent trailhead.  It was described in our guidebook and map as having breathtaking views, so that sounded great.  Here is Joe at the trailhead before we set out at about 8 AM.

by Cynthia St Charles ( at October 16, 2014 06:00 AM

Rayna Gillman

My dinner, as we speak

I am eating this as I blog, trying to pace myself and savor every bite.  This is to die for: of course, Mark Bittman's recipe. I have never made one of his recipes I didn't love. It was in last Wednesday's Times and I saved the page because it was so easy and because I had cherry tomatoes and a small eggplant.  One day last week I was home and I put the cherry tomatoes into the oven and roasted them s-l-o-w-l-y, as per instructions while I went on with my life. 

No time to cook so I put them in the fridge and left them there till yesterday, when I cooked the eggplant, before it passed its eat-by date.  This took all of five minutes.  Fortunately, the supermarket had had a sale on these cute little mini penne for 99 cents, so for a change I had all the ingredients. But any pasta will do.

Of course, I cheated a bit.  I saute'd an onion and added some leftover canned tomatoes (sans jus) and some salt/red pepper flakes before I added the cherry tomatoes and aubergine. (I think that is a much sexier word than eggplant, don't you?? -- or is that just because I was French in a pervious life?)

 Cooked the penne for 7 minutes, added the other stuff, grated some fresh romano cheese and that was last night's dinner.  I had cooked just a cup of dry pasta and there was enough left over for tonight.  Perfect, since I am leaving for Philly in the morning.  Come to think of it, I have some regular-sized tomatoes that will rot while I am away for 4 days, so I think I will put them into a slow oven with some garlic and olive oil and let them roast while I finish packing tonight. Here they are, sometime later.
I am not kidding, this is better than almost any pasta I have had in a restaurant -- and believe me, I eat out a lot. This is inexpensive, easy, elegant and delicious. All it needs is a salad and some red wine.You could add capers and anchovies and it would still be fabulous.

On another note...Yes, I did see a friend today!  The lovely and talented LInda Hicks ( and her charming husband Joe came to Montclair to see my exhibit and then were going to the Newark Museum to see the wonderful quilt exhibit I posted about a few days ago.  Linda and Joe live in Boston and were in NY for the week, so the drive to my part of NJ was not a problem.

We met for lunch and while I can't speak for them, I had such a delightful time that I was sorry we didn't have longer.  Next time they are in NY, we need to meet in the city.  Ah...the joys and perks of friendships that are born on the Internet and turn out to be real!

Using up more food that will go bad in the next 4 ays, I made some goats's milk strawberry ice cream and while I think I put in too much sugar, it will be okay and maybe when I get back I will go back into it and see how I can make it better. 

For now, I am waiting for the tomatoes to finish roasting and then I'll tie up a few loose ends.

by (Rayna) at October 16, 2014 01:25 AM

October 15, 2014

Margaret Cooter

Contemporary art sketchbook walk - week 2

The first gallery we went to seemed to be out for lunch - no-one there to let us in... so it was on to the next, past some east end Des Res areas -
An old sign carved into the bricks at the end of the building -
The entrance to Cell project space was through a tropical passageway and up the stairs -
into Yuri Pattison's installation, Free Traveller (till 2 November) - video work, sculpture, and a new online work -
Then on to Hada Contemporary on Vyner Street, showing portraits by Chun Kyungwoo (till 30 November), whose work "explores the preconditions that allow human contact". The photographs are taken with long exposures during which the subjects move about a bit, hence the blur. For this group, each man came, at different times, and sat for the number of minutes of his age;
Portraits based on connection - the configuration of the character "ren" which means "human being" -
Along the way to coffee and the passing-around of sketchbooks, planters made from pallets -
Then to Wilkinson and the work of Jewyo Rhii (till 26 October) - cooling systems, ersatz typewriters, strangely cobbled-together objects with a not-quite-whimsical edge -

I loved the look of the ice on the battered tins -

Another gallery door along the way -
Finally to Acme project space, for Sarah Duffy's "Breathless" (till 19 Oct) - her interest in ventriloquism (belly speaking) led to learning to sing without moving her lips.
The gallery plan, or rather the list of works, includes an invisible component - the live ventriloquy performance of the opening night. It was rather compelling to watch the video, as it was.

Our topic for the week was tone, so we started by blackening some pages with charcoal, then both drawing and rubbing out. Of course the charcoal rubs off and/or transfers, but I liked what it did on the blank pages opposite, for instance when I later drew more of the shelving -

by Margaret Cooter ( at October 15, 2014 05:33 PM

Suddenly noticing

During and since the CQ retreat I spent much time looking at and thinking about books and websites about Sian Bowen's work, and have been happily piercing different types of paper with various implements ... but this process lacked something important, namely subject matter. Instead of working on a theme or towards something, I've merely been working with materials.

Reading the Nova Zembla book at my usual place at the kitchen table this morning, I suddenly noticed the so-familiar shapes of stairs and the door on the landing, ajar and lit from behind, and started thinking about light and shadow and thresholds and perspective and liminality and transience and luminosity and lumens and photons and how light doesn't bend around corners, so what's happening when the light we see comes from around the corner?

It took only a moment to catch these thoughts (=light) via the camera -
Once invisible, these have suddenly become unavoidably visible spaces as I move around and pay attention to them. 

Elsewhere, on two floors, two doors occupy a corner -
As I think about this, the "empty" space reconsitutes itself (is this what happened to Rachel Whiteread at some point?)
Rachel Whiteread's Stairs (via)
Doors and stairs were my chief fascinations during the foundation course, and house plans have always been an interest, thanks to living ages 9-18 in a house under constant construction or extension - I'd spend hours imagining the 2D plans in my father's building magazines as 3D, real, houses. 

Looking just now for a remembered painting, or photo, of some "impossible" doors (was it by Duchamp? - yes!)
Sometimes you hit it lucky with the sites you find things on .. this one helpfully adds: "door frames set at right angles with one door between them so that when the door closes in one frame it opens  in the other. A clever way to illustrate contradiction and transition at the same time" - transition yes, but contradiction I'd not thought of, and it's intriguing to think of light being a contradiction (literally, "saying against") of dark ... and its transition - how it weakens, through distance, into dark. And then the blockage offered by walls, making it possible for light to fill a space. 

Duchamp, that useful artist, also offers this installation, His Twine - 
in which the "rays" occupying the space remind me of the way light can bounce between mirrors. Somewhere I have a wonderful photo taken inside a mirrored cube, showing a million points of light, but it's not easily findable at the moment.  (Instead, have a look at the space-filling work of Monika Grzymala.)

Ah, mirrors - another dimension, a trickery! Consider these, taken at BMA House, or these -

But I digress. The starting point was light behind a door, outlining its fore-edge, spilling(?) over the other edges ... no, more of a seeping beyond them. Doors, thresholds, spaces, light ... vestiges, or stirrings, of an idea that may prove ephemeral or may morph into something else.

by Margaret Cooter ( at October 15, 2014 02:04 PM

Olga Norris


An exercise based around the idea of the grid got me animated over the past couple of weeks.  It is a HUGE area to explore, so I decided just to keep to elements close to hand.  I started with my diminishing but still substantial postcard collection, which provided me with lots of material, but I chose the work of Gunta Stolzl to think about.
She was a weaver, prominent in the Bauhaus group, and I wonder how much inspiration she gave to fabric designers Collier Campbell, whose work I have also long admired.  (Coincidentally I discovered that there is currently an exhibition of quilts inspired by the Bauhaus.)
In considering grids the challenge is to eliminate, to think about what it is that entices, what might possibly work for me. 
I am attracted to photographing grids, such as this path of broken shells:
But mostly the grids which seem to attract me most to photograph are accidental,
or distortions.
I used grids directly when I was designing patterns for my knitting machine.  Here are some doodles showing the template,
and here is an actual design.
Early in my stitching career I did use galvanized mesh (meant for making pet cages!) in some of my pieces - perhaps I was feeling particularly caged at the time?!
Discomforter: Rough edges (detail)
Measured response (seen framed)
Sharper (made with pieced felted knitwear triangles, flint, and stitched cotton figures)
Sharper (detail)
And in my printmaking I have used grids, either whole-ish, or broken.
Piano player (drypoint with chine collé)
Figures (drypoint with chine collé)
Tilt (drypoint with chine collé)
At the end of this current exercise I used a couple of broken grid ideas to come up with this:
which could well be the beginning of something worth taking further.

by Olga Norris ( at October 15, 2014 01:37 PM

Virginia A. Spiegel

Collaboration x 2 and a Donation

Collaboration300Collaboration 1
Virginia A. Spiegel

Karen Stiehl Osborn, Von Biggs, and I had such fun at the KHN that we decided to commemorate it with collaborative artworks. I provided the base layer, Von added his circles, and Karen added the top layer. Karen then cut the piece into 25 2″ squares for each of us.

Above is my artwork. It’s 10″ square and mounted on Bristol board. Each square is attached wih only a dab of archival glue in its center as I wanted some texture in the piece.


We also collaborated (same procedure) on the above artwork shown with Pat and Elizabeth of the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center of the Arts. Karen wrapped the artwork around a 12″ x 24″ x 3/4″ stretched canvas.  Our donation to the KHN was a small thank-you for their opening their facility to us for a week.

by Virginia at October 15, 2014 11:55 AM

Margaret Cooter

Art in unexpected places

Scurrying through the raindrops, in behind Green Park station on the way to Cork St and beyond, I glimpsed some little animal sculptures inside a shop, on a shelf high up - they were intriguing enough to get me into the intimidatingly smart shop, which turned out to be Paul Smith on Albermarle St. The "little horses" displayed high up were only some of the objets d'art on display (and for sale) along with  the clothes.

Rug designed by John Byrne, woven at Dovecote Studios (via)
A niche covered with dominos -- 26,000 of them
Close up (and colour corrected) ... rather like punched cards
There was furniture - chairs, desks, mirrors, notably a mirror edged with commemorative china - and a set of  cast glass paperweights that looked like a little village of houses - or gigantic boiled sweets. Can't believe I didn't take a photo of them... a snip at £899 the set (of 9 or 10).
Waiting to be hung
Closeup of the commemorative mugs

The "little horses" turned out to be strange creatures, some horse-like, made from terracotta or white clay by Friederich Nagler, who seems to have been constantly making all sorts of things throughout his life (1920-2009), but refused to exhibit them.But they were shown to the world last year, along with his paintings. From Austria, he had no formal art training, but had been interned in the "artists camp" on the Isle of Man after fleeing to England.
Metal sculptures by Nagler (via)
A terracotta horse and other creatures, and views of Nagler's home
Combining gorgeous objects with nice clothes in a smart shop is a great idea. There's a gallery downstairs but the next show was being installed ... I'll be dropping in again to see what's new in terms of art. 
More objets d'art

A new slant?
Seen from the street (unidentified artist)
(Reminds me of mending!)

by Margaret Cooter ( at October 15, 2014 09:57 AM

Neki Rivera


according to merriman- webster : 
to bring (something)back into use or popularity.
to return to consciousness or life: to become active or flourishing again.

so here i am again weaving this project  which was started when it was still cool.
think i've gained new appreciation or a diffrent look on it as i'm not pressed for time and enjoying its slowness.

 after some time i have accomplished this much, but that's ok.
it's weaving, not sewing.

neki desu
Creative Commons License 

by (neki desu) at October 15, 2014 08:00 AM

Cynthia St. Charles

Breakfast at Many Glacier

 Steam was rising off Swiftcurrent Creek, too.  We had our breakfast on the banks of Swiftcurrent Lake.  Unbelievable!

by Cynthia St Charles ( at October 15, 2014 06:37 AM

Rayna Gillman

do you wonder why I don't blog every day?

Easy.  Contrary to popular opinion, I have a really boring life, most days.  Take today, for instance:

Did laundry
Went to bank
 Went to the cemetery to see if my mother's footstone was up.  Finally, after a year and a half!  Then I threw grass seed on the plot: luckily, today was unseasonably and deliciously warm and it is supposed to rain on Thursday, so maybe it will take. Further planting decisions wait till next spring. I left a stone on each of my family members' gravestones and drove home.

Paid bills.
Shredded papers from the file cabinet, attempting to make room for more.

Dealt with email spam on my iPad

I have a great spam filter on my computer, but the same dreck that goes directly to the junk folder on my macbook comes directly into my iPad inbox in quantities that bury my real mail with 20 0r 30 copies of each message, with such headlines as...
Water could kill you 
I started on Thursday and today I have lost 8 percent body fat
Rachael Ray Banned For Life Over New Photos
70% stock market crash imminent (CIA insider warns)
Reverse acid reflux in 6 days
Meet Japanese Singles Online
Learn how to build beautiful furniture in your home
Unleash the potent power in your pants 

You get the drift.  Then, there are the amusing ones that start out this way...

Hello Dear,
Good day,my name is Miss Rachel Dominic Dim Deng. 24years old, the only daughter to my late parent Mr/Mrs Dominic Dim Deng. He and with 18 people on board including veteran politician Dr.Justin Yac Arop who was also Adviser to the President of South Sudan for Decentralization died on the the aero-plane crashed on Friday May 02, 2008. 

Such imaginative names!

I have tried before to find a way to filter that garbage, to no avail. ios mail has no way to use a filter. Finally, after a week of hundreds of unspeakable messages in multiples of each one, I searched online (of course, where else??) and followed some advice from the Apple support community that works! I use gmail to download from my studio78 server and en route, their spam filters do their jobs.

It took me hours just to delete the junk from my iPad because you know that there is no "delete all" function in the inbox.  Sigh...  But my iPad inbox is slim and trim tonight! (more than I can say for myself).


Ironed the two scarves I printed/steamed/washed yesterday.  Here a a couple of glimpses before I crash.  

Tomorrow, I pay the rest of the bills, pack for my trip to Philadelphia, and maybe if I am lucky, get to see a friend.

by (Rayna) at October 15, 2014 03:31 AM

October 14, 2014

Sarah Ann Smith

My DVD in QA’s Top 25!

Just a very quick note:  Interweave is having a 25 percent off sale on its top 25 products, and mine is among the top Quilting 25!   Check it out here.  The sale ends tonight, so move quickly.  If you do the download, I highly recommend the High Def version–it is really sharp and crisp. Will be back soon with some pics of teaching at Terri Sontra’s Purple Moose Designs inaugural retreat in the White Mountains of New Hampshire…so much fun!

The cover (back and front) of my DVD, Art Quilt Design From Photo to Threadwork, with Fabric Collage and Machine Quilting.  Order the DVD from me here, or the download and DVD from Quilting Arts/Interweave here.

The cover (back and front) of my DVD, Art Quilt Design From Photo to Threadwork, with Fabric Collage and Machine Quilting. Order the DVD from me here, or the download and DVD from Quilting Arts/Interweave here.  Click to see larger.


by Sarah Ann Smith at October 14, 2014 11:47 AM

Margaret Cooter

The extraordinary lives of other people

You can know someone for ages and then suddenly find out something about them that puts them in an entirely different light. For instance, with one friend I discovered after a few years that she had been a lifeguard and indeed had spent much of her childhood in competitive swimming. As young mothers, we were too busy with the demands of the present to discuss the past, but is it possible that during our many conversations the topic of childhood's demands never arose? From my non-sporty background, her swimming prowess seemed incredibly glamourous ... and impossible to emulate.

Then there are people you meet briefly and learn about something they do that seems impossible in a different way. Adult-ed classes often start with "going around the room" and everyone saying something about themselves, why they're at the class. That's how I met Yvette, who introduced herself as an actor and breast cancer survivor, and now she's doing a show in north London in aid of breast cancer charities.

Acting, performing, dancing  are almost totally outside of my own world of possibilities, so I find it amazing when people I've known in another context do this "impossible" thing.  And for six nights, one after the other - phew, the stamina!

My point is - we're surrounded by people who've had, and have, a lot of interesting things going on in their lives. Of course we don't want to pry into things they'd rather not talk about, but what a privilege it is to hear their stories, to compare their experiences with our own. I find it endlessly fascinating.

As for Yvette, she says of her show:

The show is supporting Cancerkin, an excellent breast cancer charity based at the Royal Free Hospital in London, where I teach regular dance classes.
“Yvette’s relationship with Cancerkin is far more than just supporting us at her inspiring performances of Sequins on my Balcony; she also runs sessions combining dance and laughter yoga to other breast cancer patients at Cancerkin. These classes introduce the joy of dancing - from Bollywood and Belly Dance to the Charleston and Samba Reggae - and bring a smile to everyone’s face at what can be a very distressing time” - VICTORIA TODD, CEO Cancerkin
Copies of my book, BELLY DANCING AND BEATING THE ODDS, published by HarperCollins, will be on sale and £1 per copy will go to the Just Because Breast Cancer Charity. 

by Margaret Cooter ( at October 14, 2014 10:01 AM

CQ winter school retreat

Amid the many participants in Alice Fox's class (rusting) and Philippa Naylor's class (machine quilting), five of us "on the retreat" were doing our own thing(s): Jean had one quilt under the needle and was designing another; Sheila was quilting and designing too; Karen worked on her cat portrait and journal quilts; Sally-Ann's box of "shadowy" fabrics were gradually interwoven into a two-panel piece.

My tables - we had two tables each, in the large room - were by the window -
...with a green view towards Pendle Hill -
Room to spread out and get an overview of the "maps" -
Two more are finished, and most of the set now have one or more labels added - labels salvaged from clothes over the years. I'm adding them face down, so the writing and the colours used are in reverse. How does this fit the "map" concept ... hmm, not sure, but I liked doing it! (and they can be unpicked if I change my mind).

In between making decisions about the maps, I mindlessly stitched down strips onto a piece that was pinned together earlier, probably about a year ago. And found myself starting another such, but this time big enough to be a journal quilt for my High Horizons series - 
Another form of distraction was stitching and gluing bits of cloth into some little books -
That wicked-looking dressmaker's wheel, as well as an antique bodkin, were part of the selection of tools Sally-Ann brought along for redistribution. Inspired by my book about Sian Bowen's Nova Zembla project, in which she used piercing a lot, I started puncturing the paper ... and will be doing more of that ... In fact that's the major thing I'm taking forward from this weekend - to investigate little holes in paper....

More distractions - photography in the grounds -
deliquescing hydrangeas in the garden
end-stage hostas planted in urns
misty vistas
Of course mealtimes, teatimes, and bartimes provided distraction too. All in all, another delightful CQ weekend at Alston Hall!

by Margaret Cooter ( at October 14, 2014 09:36 AM

Neki Rivera

being biased

kms and kms of  silk strips cut on the bias. joining them was no easy feat for a mild dislexic. left, right, wrong side, right side now match it all.sigh!

the gizmo. most of the times simple is good.
sometimes simple is really good.

now tell me these are not the best looking seams to be seen on
the internet?
 even the hem!

still have pending some finishing touches. it will be a go over the week. on to the next!

neki desu
Creative Commons License 

by (neki desu) at October 14, 2014 08:00 AM

Gerrie Congdon

Busy, Having Fun and a Year Older

On Thursday, Lisa and Clay arrived from San Francisco while I was having fun with my STASH group – it is the first time that all six of us have been together in so long. In the afternoon, the girls and I headed down to Pioneer Square where Design Week Portland had set up a display and geodesic domes. In one of the domes, she was interviewed by Namita Wiggers,  former Director and Chief Curator for the Museum of Contemporary Craft in Portland, and  now freelance curator and writer. Coincidentally, Namita will be the keynote speaker for the SAQA conference in Portland next year. I always enjoy hearing Lisa talk about her path to success as an artist. Two people brought their college students to her talk — pretty cool.




On Friday, I got my new teeth “installed.” They look really good! After that, I picked up Steph and Mia and we went to another event where Lisa was the featured speaker. She talked about her evolution as a sketchbook user and how important it is to her work, now. She had her two latest books there for sale and after the talk, she signed books. When I left there was a huge line and she sold out of all her books. I think there were over 200 people there for the event.


On Saturday, I got to go shopping with Mr C and pick out some birthday presents for myself. We all went out to dinner on Saturday night because the girls were leaving on Sunday, my actual birthday. We has a wonderful meal at a restaurant in our new neighborhood. This is me ogling my birthday cheesecake.


On Sunday, after church, we went out to brunch with a group of friends who had gone on the trip to Israel with us. One couple was visiting from Iowa. So I feel as if I had a wonderful 4 days of fun and good food and great company.

I managed to get a little studio work done. I painted some organza for leaves for the quilt I am trying to rehabilitate.


I then fused pieces of organza together to give more depth and character to the fabric.


I need to find time to cut and stitch the leaves and finish redoing the quilt before my crit group next Saturday. But, first, I have to finish the guild newsletter!

by Gerrie at October 14, 2014 05:43 AM

Cynthia St. Charles

Swiftcurrent Lake in the Morning

 One of the rewards of rising early was the opportunity to watch the steam rise off the surface of Swiftcurrent Lake.

by Cynthia St Charles ( at October 14, 2014 06:34 AM