Planet Textile Threads

April 16, 2014

Rayna Gillman

speechless, but not wordless


Do you believe this?? Yesterday I had the a/c on in the car and the windows wide open in the bedroom to let in some air. In about 10 hours I am leaving for New England -- by car. Yahoo weather assures me that it will  be sunny and 50F degrees. But not where I am going.

by (Rayna) at April 16, 2014 04:35 AM

Terry Grant

The Crow

Maybe you remember the birds I made a few years ago? I started making little stuffed birds, then I tried some more stylized birds using paper and/or fabric fused to a stiff backing and hand-sewed. I have had an idea of trying to design a crow, using the second technique, and I finally started working on it last week, and finished the prototype yesterday. Here he is.

I started with a flat drawing, working from crow photos found online as my reference. I pulled out one of my earlier, unfinished birds to refresh my memory of how I had used contour lines to start building components. 

Using those preliminary pieces I started giving the body dimension by slashing and spreading the pieces and then using bits of blue masking tape to fit the pieces together to create a three dimensional model. 

The masking tape is easy to remove and reuse as the pieces need adjustments. Little by little the paper model takes shape. 

When it finally looks right I carefully remove the blue tape and trace each pattern piece onto heavier paper. I keep a stack of old file folders for patterns—just the right weight. Then I trace the pattern pieces onto my fabric, which I have fused to a stiff backing. Here are all the pieces (except the wings), cut out and ready to assemble.

I sewed the pieces together, using a decorative joining stitch, by hand.

I need to work out a better stitch for this step, as this one allows the pieces to gap and move, so I had to add some hidden whip stitches on the onside. It was a lot of difficult stitching. 

In this photo you can see the legs and feet, made from wire, wrapped with florist tape. 

This is my prototype, from whom I have learned what worked well and what didn't. I'm looking forward to making another one. I have some changes in mind. Thinking the beak might need to be a separate piece from a different (shiny?) fabric. 

by Terry Grant ( at April 16, 2014 12:01 AM

April 15, 2014

Virginia A. Spiegel

Last Day! Sign-Up for Intentional Printing Java Art Exchange

JavaLoveStitchI love hand-stitching with threads from Laura Wasilowski’s Artfabrik!

Today’s the last day to join an exchange of java-themed art based on Lynn Krawczyk’s new Intentional Printing book published by Interweave/F+W Media. It is available as an e-book also with both version currently on sale.

All the details of the Intentional Printing Java Art Exchange are here.

The Exchange group, as of this morning, with participants from the U.S., Canada, and Australia:

Lynn Krawczyk
Virginia A. Spiegel
Jamie Fingal
Janice Novachcoff
Bethany Garner
Mary Ann Van Soest
Rhonda Baldwin
Von Biggs
Jay Dodds
Gisela Towner
Deirdre Abbotts
Michael P. Cunningham
Gordana Vukovic
Anne McMillan
Marissa Vidrio
Gwen Maxwell-Williams
Marie Z. Johansen
Eileen Hallock
Sylvia Weir
Sally Wescott
Liz Berg
Jeanette Thompson
Rebecca Buchanan
Margaret McDonald

by Virginia at April 15, 2014 01:17 PM

Sarah Ann Smith

On the Glorious Color Blog

WOOT!   My quilt for Joshua caught the eye of the Glorious Color Blogger, so of COURSE I said yes they could include it in a blogpost!  Glorious Color is the source of all things related to the Kaffe Fassett collective, so you can buy fabric (and more fabric), books, and all sorts of goodies.   Anyway, they’ve done an entire POST on diamonds, starting with Marilyn Monroe–check it out here (PS…you have to scroll down a LONG way to see the quilt!).  Here’s a photo I took and shared not long ago:

It's a's not even a full year after Joshua graduated and got his GED and his quilt is DONE!

It’s a miracle…it’s not even a full year after Joshua graduated and got his GED and his quilt is DONE!

As you might guess by my silence, I’m madly working away on a quilt for a deadline.  As soon as I surface I’ll be back.

Thanks Glorious Color for liking my quilt enough to feature it on the blog!

by Sarah Ann Smith at April 15, 2014 10:54 AM

Cynthia St. Charles

Four Five Inch Squares

These four five inch pieces might be done, but I am not sure, actually.  The picture is kind of funky because it is possible to see the surface between these small pieces.  I am thinking I may do some ink work on these - I feel like the circle block prints need a bit of emphasis. 

by Cynthia St Charles ( at April 15, 2014 06:00 AM

Terry Grant

Digital Drawing day - Snack Time

For the first time since we started this we missed our Sunday deadline. Or, more accurately, I missed the deadline. It was a brutal week, is all I can say.  To give ourselves a little breathing room, we are skipping a week and will be back on Sunday, April 27 with our next challenge. Now, on with this week's theme, Snack Time.


My favorite snack—a glass of wine and a handful of almonds. I started with a photo of the background cloth and gave it the Glaze treatment. It seems a little like cheating, but is such a slick way of creating a complex background. Once again, those semi-transparent shadows on their own layer proved the unifying piece. 

iPad, Sketch Club and Glaze apps, New Trent Arcadia stylus



Terry is determined I will do still lifes. It does not come easily to 
me, particularly when I'm hurried. Nevertheless -- I would call these 
healthy snacks: an apple, grapes, pear brandy.

I didn't control my layers, although I'm getting better. I'm learning 
how to blend without using a smudging tool. I haven't actually found one 
in ArtRage yet.

This was done in a great hurry, ill-advised when one is doing still 
lifes. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the grapes. And the brandy.

ArtRage, Laptop, Wacom stylus.

Next week's assignment: "Put a bird on it."

by Terry Grant ( at April 15, 2014 12:35 AM

April 14, 2014

Carol McFee

Alice Fox course

I was lucky enough to get a place on the Alice Fox course on our annual weekend with the North Wales Embroiderers Guild at Plas Tan Y Bwlch, Maentwrog.

To see what we got up to, go take a look at the Croesew Blog

It was one of those weekends when you wish you could be on all three courses at once.

Plas Tan Y Bwlch is a wonderful venue, lovely food and the legendary bread and butter pudding with our Sunday lunch.

by Carol McFee ( at April 14, 2014 08:33 PM

Olga Norris

With added pompoms

This piece has a story, and continues to create its own story.
Patched pastime (56 x 104cm)
Once again you see my juggler.  This version was a drypoint print with chine collé; one of my carborundum experiments.  The chine collé is a sheet of crumpled tissue paper which I had then covered with soft pastel, and I very much enjoy the 'accidents' that take place as the whole goes through the press. 
In this case the tissue has been pulled across the carborundum body, making folds.  I love this effect, and was delighted to see last week at Compton Verney a glorious draped torso by Henry Moore.
Henry Moore: Draped torso, from here
I thought that this juggler would look good stitched, and so sent her away for printing on a sheet of several images.  At the back of my mind I had an idea.
My jugglers and acrobats represent figures of leisure, and I'd been thinking recently about the fall of Rome and wondering how similar our civilisation is to the situation at that time.  I started thinking about the images of acrobats, dancers, and folks enjoying their leisure occur in classical art.
Parallel to those thoughts was my ongoing downsizing: getting rid of life's accumulations (while, of course, with fully appreciated irony I make even more!).  So much has no immediate use, but I'm reluctant simply to throw away.  Into this category fell strips of machine knitted silk yarn.  (I used to design and knit garments - but that's another story.)  I'd been pleased with the patterns which had been inspired by classical sources, and somehow my back burner put everything together.
It all seemed to be combining well, and I was rather pleased.  I thought it would be perfect to enter for the European Art Quilts exhibition this year, but unfortunately the size is just below the minimum perimeter size - 360cm - even with the pompoms.
Ah yes, the pompoms (thank goodness I had held onto the rest of the silk yarn, and the same two yellows are involved here) - well, when the rest was put together, it just obviously needed pompoms!  Seven, to match the juggled balls.  And despite the size disappointment, I really like the result - and how pleased I am to have been able to make use of the knitted silk.

by Olga Norris ( at April 14, 2014 02:31 PM

Margaret Cooter

Monday miscellany

Work by Korean-American artist Kyoung Ae Cho, from her solo show (13 April till 13 July, Lynden Sculpture Garden, Milwaukee, WI) -
M-a-r-k-i-n-g, 2013
24 pieces, 30 x 24 inches each
Hair (collected from April 2011-March 2013), silk organza, muslin, thread, mixed materials Hand felted, hand stitched.
Kyoung Ae Cho presents recent, or recently completed, work. Much of it involves the painstaking collection of things over a long period of time, as in M-a-r-k-i-n-g, which references a Korean custom of collecting one’s own hair as it is shed in the course of daily life; or the slow accretion of small objects to produce a whole, as in her 10-foot-square quilt of artificial flowers. Cho’s practice is never far from nature: she collects fallen leaves and twigs for her hangings and closely observes the flowers and insects in her garden, recording their behavior in startling, almost voyeuristic photographs.(photo and text from

Delightfully small -
Itty bitty books in itty bitty bottles - by Rhonda Miller, shown at 
Halifax Crafters Spring Market (wish I could have been there!)
See more of her work at


"The designation of quilts as ‘decorative art’ has undoubtedly made it harder for them to be given the same consideration as paintings or sculpture. First of all, I find the term ‘decorative art’ to be a little misleading. To label objects that have their origins in utility ‘decorative,’ doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me. Meanwhile, I think it could be argued that other ‘high’ art forms like painting and sculpture are, in many ways, more purely decorative than objects like textiles and pottery." - Virginia Treanor, one of the curators of the innovative display, Workt by Hand, showcasing 35 historic quilts from the Brooklyn Museum’s renowned decorative arts collection; read the rest of the interview at


Last week was Coffee Week in London - here's a list of 10 recommended independent coffee shops throughout the city - a mere tip of the iceberg:  (My local made it onto one of their other lists...)


Not many miscellaneous items have come my way in the past week (not enough computer time!), so I'm including some of my own photos, from the archive -
Still Life in a Traditional Caf (2011)

At the Steam Museum (Rainy January) (2011)


by Margaret Cooter ( at April 14, 2014 10:56 AM

Natalya Aikens

unexpected abstraction

Quite unexpectedly I created an artwork of abstraction. I've done this once before (and realized that for some bizarre reason I never shared it here), but it was much more deliberate last time. This time it just kind of flowed out of me. They do say that art is therapy, so perhaps I work working on my inner demons... heh..

The challenge was to create a work of opposites for an exhibit with my fiber arts group. Wide ranging subject that can be interpreted in a myriad of ways and I can't wait to see what everyone else has done. I chose what I thought was the straight and narrow interpretation - black and white. I wanted to create an architecturally inspired grid and do it in black on one side and white on the other of this reversible piece. The grid got more and more complicated. And then I was compelled to fling some paint on it. OK, not fling, but use vigorous movements with my hands and a sponge. Thus the sides got reversed. Is it still black and white? Which side is black and which side is white? I don't really know.
black detail
black detail
Black. Natalya Aikens©2014
white detail
white detail
White.  Natalya Aikens©2014
Oh and in case anyone is wondering about my materials, it is all recycled plastic shopping bags and rayon thread. Black and white of course. Measuring 52" inches tall and 18" wide. See it in person at the Northern Star Quilt Guild special exhibits section on May 3rd and 4th in Katonah, NY.

by Natalya Aikens ( at April 14, 2014 09:55 AM

Cynthia St. Charles

Work In Progress -" Rocks and Water" Mixed Media

 This piece is unfinished at this point.  It is sized 10" x 15".  The layers to this point have been:
1. seal illustration board and edges with gesso.
2.  screen print text (Grandma's recipes)
3.  print with bubble wrap and metallic paint
4. paint layers of Golden fluid acrylic, and letting the paint drip down the board to create linear details
5. collage a mountain scene onto the board at the horizon line
6. collage tissue paper using matte medium (diluted)
7. screen print a mountain scene sketch with gold metallic paint
8. collage another layer of found imagery - water overflowing a lot of rocks.
9. collage over with another layer of painted tissue paper.
10.  Rub with pastels to emphasize wrinkles
11 - ?  I am at a pause on this piece.  I really like it so far and I am not wanting to ruin it.  I am waiting for final inspiration. 

by Cynthia St Charles ( at April 14, 2014 06:00 AM

April 13, 2014

Marion Barnett

My New Toy... proving to be great fun, and incredibly easy to use.  Several years ago at a craft fair, I tried out a peg loom, but did nothing about it.  Now, I am the proud possessor of one of these wee beauties, and I'm having great fun with it, as I expected.  Just goes to show that procrastination gets in the way of fun, right?

This is one evening's weaving, about an hour's worth.  I watched a couple of YouTube tutorials, and they both suggested starting with a scarf, so here it is.  It's remarkably easy to use a peg loom.  This is worked with sari yarn, and it's really very firm; I think I should have used the other set of holes, which are slightly wider spaced, and made something less stiff...but you learn every time you do something.  I worked it with all the yarn I had on the ball, and produced a collar sized piece which I'm quite pleased with.

Given that I'm a texture fiend, I love the textures this loom produces, and am already thinking about how to use it with all kinds of things.

Part of the reason I'm doing this now is that I want to use these at the Hub.  For those of you who don't already know, I volunteer two mornings a week with adults with learning difficulties.  It has been a real learning experience for me, both as a giver of workshops and as an artist.  Some of the people in my group have issues with manual dexterity, so I'm always looking for things that would be easy for them to do.  The premises we work from aren't the best decorated, so the plan is to make rugs using this loom to cover the worst bits of the carpets, and to cheer the place up a bit.  If anyone locally (or not so locally) has any fabric scrap they would like to donate to a really good cause, this is your chance...please leave a message or email me for more information.  We would all be really, really grateful.

And maybe now I'll get the other loom set up, the floor loom in the studio... procrastination is the thief of fun, right...?

by marion barnett ( at April 13, 2014 01:14 PM

Margaret Cooter

Painting, engraving, authorship, and meaning - Magdalena de Passe

It's hard to imagine, from our image-saturated present day, how rarified access to art was, 500 years ago. Paintings were displayed in churches, and in the homes of the rich; such images were accessible elsewhere rarely if at all.

So it was collectors, and those involved in producing art, who had the most access to "pictures". And what were the pictures about? Religious themes (often including donor portraits), and depictions of myths. Starting in the 15th century Northern Renaissance, portraits of patrons became an important subject.

In the 16th century, Northern artists, mainly from the Netherlands (which by the way was being over-run by Spanish conquerors), brought back from Italy their own work influenced by the great Italian painters and currents in Italian art.

One such painter who went to live in Rome was the German Adam Elsheimer (1578-1610). He painted small-scale works on copper, and his influence comes from their translation into prints. The lighting effects in his work are remarkable, and Rubens struck up a friendship with him.

Another friend, at least at first, was Hendrick Goudt, who established his reputation with seven prints after Elsheimer at the start of the 17th century, and thereby publicised Elsheimer's work in northern Europe.
Elsheimer's Apollo and Coronis (26 x 32 cm): large-scale composition on a miniature level
Goudt must have shown his engravings, or possibly the original painting, to Magdalena de Passe, who produced her own engraving of a work known since 1951 as Apollo and Coronis. It is based on a story from Ovid's Metamorphoses, and was formerly thought to be of Cephalus and Procris - both stories involve jealousy and wife-killing.

Magdalena (1600-1638) was taught engraving by her father, Crispin de Passe, along with three of her brothers. The family was rooted in artistic circles - the mother was the niece of the painter Marten de Vos (d.1603; he had spent six years in Italy and brought the Venetian style to Antwerp). As Mennonites, Crispin and his family had had to move from Antwerp to Cologne to escape the Spanish and then to Utrecht. However, work they all did, producing more than 1400 engravings and 50 illustrated works.
Magdalena de Passe's engraving, 21 x 23 cm, with added text
The subject of painting and print (and hence their "meaning" or interpretation) had been contested, and the inscriptions below the image add further meanings, rooted in history. This work "bears all the characteristics of [the] singular and specialized mode of production [of engravings "after" paintings] ... she credits the painter in an elegant italic formula ... she includes a set of verses in Latin to sum up the moral implications of the scene ... she includes a dedication to a prestigious figure" says Stephen Bann in Nelson and Shiff, Critical Terms for Art History, 1996. "The work is enmeshed in a close texture of relationships which make it virtually impossible to separate out the stake of an individual authorship."

Bann compares literature and art - in literature, says the critic Harold Bloom, "there are no texts, but only relationships between texts", and the art historian Norman Bryson has extended this: "in the visual arts, tradition has an even more constraining effect because the image maker 'lacks access to any comparable flow (at least before the mass dissemination of imagery).'"

In the bottom left corner Magdalena put her own name and that of her father: "Magdalena Passaea Crisp. F. Fecit." Above that is a high-sounding dedication of the print, to the prince of Flemish painters, Rubens. The most significant northern exponent of the baroque, Rubens made Antwerp and Flanders the center of northern Italianate painting. The dedication is appropriate, as Rubens valued Elsheimer highly.

A 17th-century German painter, Joachim von Sandrart, warned of the limitations of engravings: by their very nature, they cannot achieve the "excellence" of paintings. (Around the time he wrote, engraving was being demoted from the "artistic" stratosphere, but that's another story.) Stephen Bann makes a case for Magdalena misinterpreting the painting. She has included four lines of Latin verse in a stylish italic hand, and these point out the dangers of ill-directed zeal and draw attention to the "unhappy Procris", who perished at the hands of her husband, or rather, by his javelin (which had been her gift to him as appeasement after a jealousy-producing incident). This is a confusion with the Apollo and Coronis story - Coronis perished from Apollo's impulsive act, again after a bout of jealousy, killed with an arrow - but Apollo, a healer (gathering herbs in the painting), saved their unborn son, who became the god of medicine, Aesculapius.

What is interesting about this mis-reading and mis-naming is that, in the light of the Latin verses, this engraving falls into a class of images espousing wifely virtue, and thus becomes appropriate for a marriage gift. Was Magdalena taking Goudt's title at face value, not bothering to check the details of the story, or was she looking to improve the saleability of the print among her Calvinist compatriots?

Bann hesitates to speculate on "the stake of this dutiful daughter ... in a representation of femininity which differs significantly from the one which Elsheimer intended ... the skillful craftswoman effaces herself behind the scene which she has patiently re-created in another medium."

by Margaret Cooter ( at April 13, 2014 09:42 AM

April 12, 2014

Margaret Cooter

Starting the painting project

"A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step." Don't know how far I'll be travelling with this notion of spending half an hour a day dabbing and swooshing various colours of paint here and there ... but the thing is to start, and then "que sera sera".

Out of the archive came this glued-up thing, about 12"x16" - I covered it with white (using a wide foam pad, and then a 1/2" brush to get into the cracks) and added other colours. It's as simple as that.

Various edges lifted and needed sticking down with blobs of paint. When it had dried, I sanded it a bit with coarse sandpaper, and it's ready to be transformed some more.

As for spending half an hour -- I got so caught up in "mending" the surface that an unknown amount of time passed...

by Margaret Cooter ( at April 12, 2014 07:27 PM

Olga Norris

Two completed pieces

My work takes an incalculable time to complete from initial idea to photography.  In the latest batch for photographing are these two, the first of which has been developing for years, and the second came about relatively quickly - in a year.
The piece above, Mixed messages contains elements which I have gathered over decades: much of the lettering and numbers in the left section is from tombs on the floor of Winchester Cathedral - photos taken when I was taking part in an exhibition there in the early 2000s.  Greek lettering in the right section was from photographs taken in a museum in Corfu.  Other elements include one of my childhood patterns for cross stitch, a piece of graffiti on the front door of my cousin's building in Thessaloniki when I was staying there with my mother just after she had her stroke, the For Sale sign on a house that we coveted on the sea shore in Bexhill, and my photo of the poster for the brilliant exhibition Unpopular Culture showing in Bexhill in 2008.
The coming together of all these elements into the initial design for this piece of work began in 2011.  In 2012 the design was complete enough for me to seek permissions from both subject and photographer of the Unpopular Culture image.  Both were granted and I then sent off the file for printing with a batch of other work.  Finally, it's turn came round for stitching and the next queue was awaiting sufficient work to make a decent pile for photography. 
One of the advantages of taking such a time to get to the end is that I really appreciate the piece after so many different viewings at various stages, and in between other work.  I enjoy my work.  (I had hoped to accelerate the making of this piece in order to enter it for a SAQA show, but it was not the right size, so, ... once again....)
One reason why Silkie, waiting was much faster is not only that the concept is simpler, but also I printed it myself onto an A3 sheet of silk prepared for inkjet printing.  The initial scribble pattern was made on a tiny piece of tissue paper (about A6), then scanned and the digital collage with the figure completed.  In this case also the stitching did not take that long (relative to my normal stitching times for individual works.)  It has spent more time in the photography queue.  But its companion piece, Silkies, waiting is indeed still waiting for the stitching to begin, and is also now competing for attention with the designs from this year's scribbles of the Cornish sea.

by Olga Norris ( at April 12, 2014 02:56 PM

Virginia A. Spiegel

“Intentional Printing” Java Art Exchange – You’re Invited!


Love java? Love art?  Love Lynn Krawczyk’s new book, Intentional Printing:  Simple Techniqes for Inspired Fabric Art?  

Please join us for the Intentional Printing Java Art Exchange.  Important Dates:

April 15, 2014: Deadline for commitment to participate
May 2, 2014: Deadline for completion of art
May 5, 2014: Artists will receive the e-mail of the artists to whom they should ship their java art. Artists will contact the new owners for a shipping address. You may need to ship your artwork outside the continental U.S.
May 9, 2014: Last day for artwork to be shipped by artists to the new owners.

All the details are here.

These are a few of my 6″ printed squares for the exchange – yet to be hand stitched.

by Virginia at April 12, 2014 12:06 PM

Margaret Cooter

More boro

More from the exhibition at Somerset House. Click on the images to enlarge.

by Margaret Cooter ( at April 12, 2014 12:33 PM

Pretty is as pretty does

Still thinking of making "something pretty" ... and wondering what "pretty" actually is. OK, it might be epitomised by pastel butterflies ... but those aren't what I have in mind ...

Going round my flat looking for pretty things, I found these patterns on bowls, quilty items, Persephone bookmarks -
Birds fit easily into my prettiness comfort zone. Colours ranging from the pastel to the strong but somewhat muted brights. A sense of space, of lightness. Orderliness, though not necessarily in a regimented way.

A focus group of female friends identified that pretty has to do with the feminine - they mentioned pastel colours, rounded shapes, petals, small or detailed patterning.

What does the dictionary say?
pretty: adjective - (especially of a woman or child) attractive in a delicate way without being truly beautiful;  pleasing to the eye or ear (from the Oxford Dictionary)


adjective, pret·ti·er, pret·ti·est.
pleasing or attractive to the eye, as by delicacy or gracefulness: a pretty face.
(of things, places, etc.) pleasing to the eye, especially without grandeur.
pleasing to the ear: a pretty tune.
pleasing to the mind or aesthetic taste: He writes pretty little stories.
(often used ironically) fine; grand: This is a pretty mess!" (via)

Note in 4. the conjunction of pretty and little! The word "pretty" seems to embody a diminution - "not truly beautiful"; colours diluted to pastel; shapes safely rounded.

"Pleasing to the eye" - that's not a bad thing. All too rare, some would say!

A related exercise is to find words for not-pretty art. How about: strong; immediate; raw; overworked; vivid; chaotic; frenzied; intense; dark ...

by Margaret Cooter ( at April 12, 2014 09:59 AM

Cynthia St. Charles

Circle Printing Blocks

 I am working a lot with circles and horizon lines these days.  I have created a lot of printing blocks for this series - using the blocks on postcards and working up to larger pieces. 

by Cynthia St Charles ( at April 12, 2014 07:28 AM

Carrot People #4

This piece is also finished and is the largest of the "Carrot People" series.  It measures 20 x 15" 

by Cynthia St Charles ( at April 12, 2014 06:00 AM

April 11, 2014

Margaret Cooter

Boro - words and details

The Boro exhibition at Somerset House till 26 April is well worth a visit. The textiles, of which there are many, are attached to stretched fabric on the wall, though in Japan they've been shown in folded heaps on the floor.

We were lucky to chat with Gordon Reece, who was instrumental in setting up the exhibition and indeed in collecting the works, and heard of how disregarded these textiles are in Japan - they are an embarrassment, a sign of poverty (as were the Canadian Red Cross quilts sent to homeless families in WW2). We value the frugality, and the abstract patterning - there are parallels with Gee's Bend quilts.

Click on the photos to enlarge them - it should make the words easier to read. A catalogue is available, but these texts aren't in it.

by Margaret Cooter ( at April 11, 2014 04:54 PM

Marion Barnett

Being Away From Home...

can be wonderful, but also a pain... the latter, when you forget your sketch book.  I had gone to the bus station to meet my friends Alison and Michael off the Inverness bus, had some time on my hands and...aaargh... no sketchbook.  Usually I have two or three in my bag.  Fortunately, I did find a card blank in there (no, I have no idea what it was doing there either).  That, a pen, courtesy of WH Smith, and fifteen spare minutes on a bench, produced this;

I've been mulling about shapes like these ever since I got back to painting.  Working in this format, though, made me wonder about making a book.  And some quilts.  So, an idea was born.  Notice that I write all over my sketches, just to remind myself of what the thinking was at the has moved on a bit from there, now.

I love the simplicity of sketches, and would like to make some stitched sketches in a similar vein... watch this space.  The series seems to have a title; 'Linescapes'.  These ones clearly tie up to landscape, but I think that overt marks like these will not last long; they come from one of my quilts, Norfolk Fields.

Although there is definitely a connection between the two, I think Linescapes is really about space, not about landscape per se.  It might be argued that there is no difference...but it feels like there is.Now to clear the decks so I can Get On With It.

by marion barnett ( at April 11, 2014 02:32 PM

Natalya Aikens

folk couture

Run! Don't walk, to see this totally fab exhibit at the American Folk Art Museum at Lincoln Center. It's only up until April 23rd. Here are a few of my favorite images to entice you. For a very thorough review go read Vivien's blog.
Ronaldus Shamask hanging from the ceiling
Fabio Costa
designers sketches - Gary Graham
more designer sketches (Fabio Costa)
I just love this little gem of a museum, wish it's bigger space didn't close....

by Natalya Aikens ( at April 11, 2014 01:24 PM

Margaret Cooter

Men at work

Great excitement at 136A, a dwelling often afflicted with shaking and rattling as buses speed down the road outside, hitting the dips and bouncing up again. It gradually gets worse, and there comes a point when you notice the cracks are getting wider...

This time, such a speedy response - less than 24 hours after the situation was reported to Islington Council, the repair team brought asphalt and filled in the dips - well done, guys!

And the bonus is: the bus passengers are getting a smoother ride.

by Margaret Cooter ( at April 11, 2014 11:17 AM

New in the notebook

This came out of nowhere one evening when I was listening to catch-up radio, a programme called "500 years of friendship" in fact. Seeing a nice blank page, my pen started writing down words and it developed from there, with the words written in all directions, concentrating on grouping words of the same length and starting new groupings here and there, now and then.

This leaves you with only the vaguest idea of what the programme was about (because you're concentrating on catching the next usable word, and thinking where to put it) - and reading the finished item isn't much help, because the words have been put all over the place rather than in sequence.

But it gives you the illusion of paying great attention, and not leaving the hands idle. Those were 15-minute programmes - The Verb is 45 minutes -
Looking at the negative space, I'm seeing ... not a house plan ... more like a maze ...

More "constructive doodling" - while hanging on the phone trying to get a PAC code, with music playing (9 songs) that I'd rather not have been listening to! After a while it got almost interesting - a chance to extend the mark-making repertoire -

(This post is linked to Off the Wall Friday - where you can see what lots of creative people are up to.)

by Margaret Cooter ( at April 11, 2014 11:06 AM

Doll-like objects

These are children's dolls made by the Nenets tribe in north-western Russia -
What do you think their heads are made of? The label at the Polar Museum in Cambridge reads: "Dolls are made from the upper bill of a duck or goose, with the beak representing a person's head. Along with carved wooden reindeer and miniature sledges, children use beak dolls to enact scenes of everyday life such as lassoing reindeer or migrating to a new campsite. Beaks are obtained in May during the spring hunting season when ducks and geese from southern regions (including Britain) fly to nest in the tundra. There they constitute the main diet for herders at a season when reindeer meat is scarce, as reindeer are not slaughtered in the calving season."

Less exotic are these figures seen recently in Selfridges -
They're designed by Alexander Girard (1907-93), who designed much else, including textiles for Ray and Charles Eames. He had an extensive folk art collection (now housed in Santa Fe), and obviously loved colour and pattern. The year before his death, he gave the contents of his studio to the Vitra Design Museum.

by Margaret Cooter ( at April 11, 2014 09:27 AM

Cynthia St. Charles

Carrot People Mixed Media #1, 2, 3

I have been working with mixed media the past several months.

 Because the process involves adding layer after layer - with lots of drying between layers - (usually at least half the day), I decided to work in series - keeping with similar color families and design elements for the entire group.  To do this, I cut my 15 x 20" illustration boards into smaller sizes.  This group of three is sized 9" x 5".  I did not take any pictures of these in progress, so you are seeing the finished pieces here.  At least, I think they are finished.   The final layer - the screen print of the carrot people petroglyph gives them their name - "Carrot People #1, 2, 3.

by Cynthia St Charles ( at April 11, 2014 06:00 AM

April 10, 2014

Martha Marques

PeaceFleece KAL for Latvian Braid Fair Isle Mitts

From today until May 15 I am offering the pattern for these mitts free to people participating in the Peace Fleece KAL on Ravelry.  For the duration of the KAL you can get your free pattern by leaving a comment with your e-mail address.  I'll send you the PDF attached to a return e-mail from me.

I am, as you can tell from reading through my blog, a very big fan of the Peacefleece yarn, the Peacefleece people, and the Peacefleece business ethos. 

I binge ordered every single color of their DK weight yarn in February.  I attribute this to 2014 being the longest, coldest, most color deprived winter since I returned to Maine in 2007.  It was beyond my ability to self regulate.  Fortunately since I am "in business" I can look at it as a wise inventory investment rather than the impulsive response to color deprivation that it actually was.  Also, my birthday is in February.   So there's that....

The colors in this Mitt are Sheplova, Father's Grey, Antarctica White, and Blue Jay.

The colors in this version are Olive Roots, Antarctica White, Blue Jay and Violet Vyecheerom.  You will need 1 oz of each of the main colors, and smaller amounts of each of the "trim" colors.  I recommend you choose a light, a bright, a dark and a contrasting.  In the mitts above the white is light, the dark is Father's Grey, the bright is Sheplova and the contrasting is Blue Jay. 

In the mitt directly to the left it is a little less clear cut.  The light is white, the dark is Olive Roots, the bright is Blue Jay and the contrasting is....Violet?  Which is really not that contrasting but it worked.  So that is why I give you a Recommendation rather than a Rule.  I would just purchase 4 colors that you really, really like.  Four of Peacefleece's 4 oz skeins will give you enough to make many, many mitts and you can mix the colors around every which way.

You'll need needles (I made these with double points) in size 1-3 depending on your knitting style...I knit loosely so I used 1s.

April 10, 2014 12:59 PM

Margaret Cooter

Poetry Thursday - The Great Book of Gaelic

An Leabhar Mor, The Great Book of Gaelic, is a project published 2003 with 150 poets, artists, calligraphers taking part. The book is on line - you can click on the number and see every page -

One artist, Steve Dilworth, contributed a print of a rock - it balances on another rock - he'd covered it in lard, then (on a programme made in about 2004, shown on BBC Alba) it was shown burning, fuelled by the fat.

Another (Remco de Fouw) worked only at certain phases of the moon, the dark phases, because he photographed the surface of the sea by holding paper soaked in photoemulsion near the surface, then flashing a light to expose it - then printed it right away in the back of his jeep. (See more of his work here.)

Various poets have translated the "blackbird" poem (written in the year 800 or so) - two versions are shown here (translators David Greene and Frank O'Connor; artist Jake Harvey) -
The little bird 
has whistled 
from the tip 
of his bright yellow beak; 
the blackbird
from a bough 
laden with yellow blossom 
has tossed a cry over Belfast Lough.

by Margaret Cooter ( at April 10, 2014 09:39 AM

Terry Grant

Blue Two

I made a second "blue" quilt. I had an idea that I wanted to try, and as it turned out, it was a great opportunity to use my iPad drawing app to assist in its design.  It was very fun to make despite the 24" x60" size/dimension that I am growing to hate. I made it as 6 separate components that were eventually joined together. Here are 5 of the components as I began to assemble it. 

My abstract concept had to do with a vast night sky and a shades of deep blue, and superimposed by light and color (perhaps this part was influenced by our trip to Las Vegas). 

And (definitely influenced by that desert sky) I wanted to add a suggestion of the immensity of galaxies and planets and nights filled with stars. But starting to add a bunch of dots of paint was pretty scary. I could easily ruin the whole deal. So I loaded the photo above into my Sketch Club drawing app and tried out some digital paint on it.  I thought the dots might need to be only in the upper section, like this. 

Or maybe there should be dots in the bottom section, but with less contrast. 

Uh, no. It was becoming clear to me that this was where I was heading:

So, without actually touching paint to the actual piece I was able to find what I wanted to do.

Here is the final result, using real paint. 

by Terry Grant ( at April 10, 2014 01:21 AM

April 09, 2014

Pam RuBert

Morning Song

Early Saturday morning before dawn, we started the morning with poetry, bird calls, and frost on our feet.


It was part of a sound installation sponsored by ideaXfactory designed and led by Gerard Nadeau of Drury University’s architecture department called Morning Song Evening Song. Starting Friday evening with a workshop led by Greater Ozarks Audubon members, we each put a wooden Audubon bird call on an orange ideaXfactory lanyard around our neck and headed up to Park Central Square.

There at sunset, we spread through the First Friday Art Walk crowd and started a slow symphony of bird calls noises, first a few, then many. Then more, then faded away.

The next morning we assembled at the ideaXfactory at 6 am, shared bagels and coffee and headed to the West Meadows future greenways park site.


In the wet grass, Kate read bird poetry, then we started the morning crescendo of bird calls and watched the sunrise over the Grant Street bridge. The morning experience was much different, and I think, much more profound than the evening.

After it was all over, Ed Filmer showed up to video, so we got to do it all again. And I had time to make another drawing.


For more photos, please visit to ideaXfactory’s Morning Song Evening Song post.

Wendy-and-Erin Pema-and-friends more-friends Audubon-workshop Audubon-bird-call IMG_3563 IMG_3571 IMG_3588 IMG_3597 Morning-Song4 Morning-Song3






by PaMdora at April 09, 2014 02:20 PM

Virginia A. Spiegel

In the Studio: Intentional Printing for the Java Art Exchange

bookandfabric400Intentional Printing by Lynn Krawczyk.
Published by Interweave/F+W Media

This week it’s all about  prepping for the Intentional Printing Java Art Exchange. Everyone is welcome to join the Exchange; details here. Deadline for sign-up:  April 15.

firstlayerfabricsLast week, I laid down the first layers with stamping, swiping, and other fun techniques from Lynn Krawczyk’s new book.  I like to do WAY more fabrics than I will need for the Exchange because it’s all about choice. I made each strip 7″ wide so I can trim down to the required 6″ after stitching, etc.


First up this week is writing.  I really did like the small squeeze bottle Lynn recommended over the syringe I had used previously.  I wrote sparsely on some pieces and covered the fabric completely on others.  Again, its all about having choices later in the process.  I also realized as I went along that I wanted some variety in the size of the writing; I tend to write very large.

Lynnscrees400After letting the writing dry, it was screen printing time. Since my Thermo-Fax is on the injured reserve list, I was happy to have Lynn’s excellent screens which she cleverly labels. I decided to save the “enormous coffee cup” (which I love) for another project.

redjavaSince the pieces tended toward the dark with dark blue writing, I went with white for the screen printing.  I ran out of plain white, but had pearl white which worked great to add a little shimmer to the pieces.

bluejavaI like this piece since running the writing vertically will add interest to the finished piece(s).


Next step is choosing where to cut the pieces and then on to hand stitching.

by Virginia at April 09, 2014 01:31 PM

Olga Norris

A brilliant day out

Yesterday we went to Compton Verney, a country house which has been turned into an 'art destination', housing a permanent collection and excellent temporary exhibitions.  The weather was good, and the exhibition is one which we would not miss, as it involves two of the artists we both have admired for many decades: Auguste Rodin and Henry Moore.  I find that each has indeed influenced my own work more profoundly than I had realised.
It is such a bonus to have so close together two excellent exhibitions about Moore's work, the first being at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford: Francis Bacon/ Henry Moore: Flesh and Bone.  I wrote a post about our visit, and Eirene also wrote a post in A Place called Space.
The grounds of Compton Verney have several examples of Rodin's and Moore's work, and we would have lingered longer had the wind not been so biting as we made our wandering way to the house itself.  I always enjoy the four sphinxes on the bridge across the lake - they of course are neither Rodin nor Moore, but permanent delights.
The first Moore is on the car park side of the lake, and affords a tantalising view across to the other pieces and to the house.
Moore:The arch
Rodin: Cybele - I just love that folded back arm of hers.
Moore: Seated woman
Moore: Three piece sculpture: Vertebrae  with a view to The arch and Rodin's Jean d'Aire, Monumental Nude on the near bank.
We had a lovely light lunch in the restaurant before embarking on the exhibition proper indoors.  Then on to several rooms of sculptures and drawings.  There is also a display containing fascinating objects from the two artists' own collections: examples of classical art, ethnic artefacts, and natural forms such as shells and stones.  It was such a joy to re-encounter familiar pieces, and to find completely new works which took my breath away, such as this bronze by Moore:
Henry Moore: Working Model for Mother and Child: Upright (image from here, although the piece in the exhibition was part of the Henry Moore Foundation's collection).  I was entranced by this piece in particular because to me she looks as if she is singing with her open mouth, and that the 'child' resembles an instrument such as a harp (the right hand being well placed to be pausing from playing such).  I also very much like the marks on the lower body, and the snail-shell-like curves of the dress at the bottom back. 
I love Moore's work for its stillness, and Rodin's for the gestures.  The examples chosen throughout the exhibition are wonderfully complementary and we found the whole a thoroughly enriching experience.
Rodin: Monument to the Burghers of Calais from their normal place near the Houses of Parliament in London.

by Olga Norris ( at April 09, 2014 01:05 PM

Margaret Cooter

Drawing sound

On coming across Debbie Lyddon's "Soundmark drawings"
I wondered how other artists visually represented sound.

First thought - musical scores - from the very early (the bare bones of information; finer matters were taught in person)
from Croatia, 1070 (via)

through the "usual" western notation
Gavotte from JS Bach's  notebook for Anna Magdalena Bach (via)

and non-western notation, dongjing for example (via) -

to recent depictions of electronic and other music -
Murray Schaeffer (1977) (via, where there are links to many graphical scores)

Of course you can't "hear these sounds with your mind's ear" unless you've been taught the notation. Guido d'Arrezo was one of the earliest to write down notation, using the hand as part of his teaching system -
Eleventh century (via)
 What of translating heard sound to visual representation that doesn't need the mediation of education?

In 1951 Norman McLaren made the first of several films picturing sound, Pen Point Percussion; watch it here (6 minutes, including animation); ten years later he made Synchrony, deriving the visuals from the score -

Trisha Donnelly's "sound drawings" are discussed in this article.
HW, 2007 consists of "two cotton panels hung at the entrance to a gallery, each bearing a configuration of lines in black and blue embroidery. On the left, curved lines increasing in length resemble the sign for noise emitted from a speaker, while straight, parallel lines decrease in length, indicating a vibratory movement that diminishes with distance from its source. ... [a] latent aurality is central to HW which, hung at the entrance of an exhibition, coaxes viewers not just to look, but to listen to the works on display. ... these lines visualise the invisible, symbolising sound as a vibratory, wavelike movement."

Miro, Souvenir de Montroig (via)

The other side of the coin is to think of what an existing artwork - something by Miro, say - would sound like. A project at Aberdeen University considered this: "The dialogue between [sound and drawing] confronts experiences of time and space. Trace, gesture and sound patterns emerge in a process of multi-perceptual experience.  It is here that a drawing becomes a score, that a code triggers improvisation, that the rhythm of the body encounters the time of the clock, that the horizon of the eye merges with the track of the ear, and that the individual enters a shared experience."

And around the edge of that "coin", the sound of drawing - a table wired for sound, with a facilitator who takes participants through abstract drawing exercises, resulting in a large shared drawing.

To finish, this painting by Paul Klee is called "Ancient Sound" -

by Margaret Cooter ( at April 09, 2014 09:14 AM

Cynthia St. Charles

Painted and Hand Printed Tissue Paper

 Here are some examples of the painted tissue paper that I am using for my mixed media art.  Some of it has been screen printed and block printed, also.

by Cynthia St Charles ( at April 09, 2014 06:45 AM

April 08, 2014

Margaret Cooter

Quilt sleeve slippage

The quilt has been hanging on the wall for some time. Taking it down to pack it up to send away, I noticed that the hanging sleeve was showing at the top -
 It had been put on according to instructions about making a D shape, to allow for the bulge of the rod. The reason for the slippage was at the bottom of the sleeve -
Stitches not firm enough, thread a little bit stretchy perhaps - and uh-oh ... sleeve creep! "Your slip is showing" - something we didn't want to happen as teenagers, back last century in the days of modesty. "Your sleeve is showing" ... something we don't want to hear when quilts get hung up in exhibitions.

So, when a sleeve is needed, be careful. And consider making the sleeve to blend with the binding or edge of the quilt, rather than using just any old fabric. (At the JQ exhibit recently, the hanging system allowed you to see - if you were close enough - the tops of the sleeves of the quilts that were hung below eye level, and a very interesting collection of random fabrics these made!)

by Margaret Cooter ( at April 08, 2014 04:40 PM

Carol Anne Clasper

It's been a while

It has been a while since I posted to my blog.  Time just seems to fly past.  I have been busy with classes.  They finished a week or two ago and I won't be teaching anymore.  I have decided to spend more time on my own projects.  I am still going to keep in touch with my Monday students but I won't be back until late September.

Apart from that I have started on the Latte quilt again, it's been a while.   I have also made a start on a painted quilt spurned on after purchasing Linda Poole's new book.  

We have been busy up at the allotment and made it ready for this year's planting.  

All the beds are looking good.   Yesterday I planted 3 varieties of onions as they had started to sprout, they are covered with mesh so if it does got cold and we have frost they should be OK.  

I took the chitted potatoes to plant but the ground is a little too wet at the moment maybe later in the week if it stays dry.

by Carol ( at April 08, 2014 03:29 PM

Margaret Cooter

Blank canvas, blank mind

How people ever get started on anything is a mystery. Especially ... starting a painting.

I'm no painter, despite a certain amount of exposure to painting classes and learning about colour mixing. In fact, I watch people painting and wonder how they know what to do - and where to start. 

Painting from observation is one thing - the subject is in front of you. If you know what you're doing, you'll know about underpainting and/or about what colours to put on first, and little things like how to load up the brush and how fluid the paint should be, and how to get tidy edges. Maybe you've learned this by trial and error (and maybe that's what I could be doing too), or maybe you had good instruction along the way.

Painting abstracts, or even painting for the sake of painting - or for the sake of improving technique - is quite another thing (for me anyway) when it comes to starting (and continuing). The nearest I've come is with the Colour Dictionary -
hundreds of pages of words covered over with freshly-mixed colours, one page at a time. The project made me happier about mixing colours, and the Problem Of The Blank Canvas wasn't an issue ... but has it led to a desire to do more painting, to play with liquid colours (or even solid colours: pencils or fabric) - no, not really ... and I wonder why not. 

Possibly what happens with painting is the same as what happens with other kinds of making - you devote yourself to Doing It, so that when you get stuck in, the doing brings to mind other paintings that you could do ... and when you finish one painting, there's something else to start on, as a natural progression. Either you're happy with what you've done (or intrigued with what you could do next) and it becomes a series of some sort, or you're not, so you start on an entirely different tack - doing the first painting has revealed what you need to be doing differently.

I feel I don't have good "intuition" with paint - and that's probably because I simply haven't done enough of it. No, not the 10,000 hours required to be excellent ... I think, on the basis of persevering with drawing, a feeling of competence arrives around the 150 hours mark. That's half an hour a day for just under a year: 300 days of squeezing out enough paint to last for those few minutes of painting ... set the timer, why not, and Just Do It ... take it forward, have a conversation with what's happening on the canvas, let it tell you what to do next - and paint it over, next day, if you want. 

Perhaps that experimental (experiential?) canvas will have as many layers of paint as there are pages in the Colour Dictionary. Connie mentioned Flora Bowley's Brave Intuitive Painting; a glance at the video on her site gives a few ideas about how to start...

The first step is the hardest: making the first choices. Which colour(s) ... which brush ... this is when random chance is useful: writing notes on slips of paper, putting them in jars, and pulling out "a colour" and "a brush" ... this could be an easy way to get past this brick wall. Another jar could have trigger-words, or even scraps of paper with sections of images, to help with the getting-going. Each one of these is a nudge forward, a way of borrowing momentum...

Another way of making a start is with an assignment, for instance, these two:
  1. The Mark: Repetition, Unity with Variation. Create a non objective painting by repeating a brushstroke (mark) all over. Create an area of interest by adjusting color and or value in an area of the painting. Artists: Alma Thomas, Joan Mitchell, Brice Marden, Jack Tworkov.
  2. The Grid:  Pattern, Variety, Emphasis. Create an asymmetrical composition based on an irregular grid. Color: Limited to a pair of complementary colors plus the use of white. Use a range of values. Look at Sean Scully, Paul Klee, Mondrian, West African Kente Cloth.

Broken into small steps, into attractive possibilities, this seems like it could be interesting and dare I say fun. I'll leave it a few days to decide whether to start...

Another thought -- why do people who could be happily drawing, or collaging (paper or fabric), or stitching, or making books or pots or clothing ... why, with this sort of creative expression happily to hand, do they set out to do something unknown, something difficult, something they risk never being satisfied with? What are they trying to prove, who are they trying to impress... Might it not be a better use of time to become more skilled in something that's less of a challenge?

by Margaret Cooter ( at April 08, 2014 09:10 AM

Cynthia St. Charles

Painting Tissue Paper

I have shifted my focus a but to working with mixed media.  Paper, paint, print, and recycled materials.  Here is what's on my print table today - I am painting tissue paper.  I place a sheet over waxed paper and paint with watercolors or diluted fluid acrylics.  When dry, I peel away the waxed paper and add it to my collection.

by Cynthia St Charles ( at April 08, 2014 06:00 AM

April 07, 2014

Rayna Gillman


Yesterday (Sunday) I was honored to have been invited by Rachel Ray, author of this gorgeous book, Quilting with a Modern Slant, to be part of a panel at the Art Quilt Gallery in NY, talking a little bit about my work, my process, and to show some of my pieces.  I was so happy to meet Rachel after all the back-and-forth on phone and email over the last couple of years, while the book was being written and designed.   

I have to tell you how wonderful this book is -- and I get nothing but pleasure out of recommending it because I believe it is the most important book on contemporary quilting to come along.  The great thing about this book is that it is inclusive; showcasing a variety of quilts and quilt makers who might not call themselves "modern" quilters but have an aesthetic that has influenced the modern movement.  There are not only gorgeous pictures of quilts, but interviews with the makers, tutorials, and even a few patterns.

Also in the book and on the panel, my friend Victoria Findlay Wolfe, who has become a dynamic force in today's quilt world.  She would not call herself a modern quilter, either -- but like me, she works inprovisationally. Here is the selfie of us. LOL
 The gallery was packed, including two people who had come all the way from Philadelphia for the program, and a visitor from Brisbane on holiday.  City Quilter did a brisk business in books and fabrics and we had a great time meeting people who had come to see us. 

Because it was a Sunday, I drove into the city and - hooray - parked for free on the street.
All in all, a good day.  This morning, I am off to see my dentist, which is always a pleasure.  Really!  Then, supermarket and home to start my Passover cooking for next Monday night.  Let's see...eggs, onions, potatoes...

by (Rayna) at April 07, 2014 01:47 PM

Margaret Cooter

Monday miscellany

Stroud International Textiles has an annual textile festival - this year the "Select" event runs 4 April to 31 May. There's lots going on, including an exhibition at nearby historic property Newark Park, with 30 artists participating, from 23 April to 8 June. A visit to Gloucestershire seems in order!


The "Man eating tree of Madagascar" was one of the
10 great hoaxes of the 19th century


Last week my Travel Lines had 15 seconds of fame via The Londonist, in a round-up of people who have done what can only be called "obsessive" projects to do with the Underground - photographing all 270 stations, or walking between them, for example. Part of the great British tradition of eccentricity??


The old Routemaster buses, with the open platform and stairs at the back, still run on some routes, notably past the Albert Hall. These are glimpses of springtime in London from the top of a Routemaster, heading towards Knightsbridge (and Harrods).


If you've broken the unwritten rules of  travelling on public transport, your photo could appear on the internet in another episode of stranger shaming: "A quick look through stranger shaming Twitter accounts in the rush hour shows a casual willingness for people to take easily identifiable photos of total strangers accompanied by abuse and piss-taking." It's not illegal to take photos of strangers in public, but there's a fine line there that's often crossed.  Project Guardian is an the initiative involving the British Transport Police (BTP), Transport for London (TfL), the Metropolitan Police and City of London Police - taking compromising or unwanted photos of strangers on the tube could result in arrest at the next station.

by Margaret Cooter ( at April 07, 2014 09:11 AM

Cynthia St. Charles

Radical Elements Exhibition Opens

Radical Elements SAQA Exhibition has just opened at Montgomery College in Silver Spring, Maryland.

My piece, "Zinc" measures 22 x 36". Selected artists were asked to interpret an assigned element from the periodic table.  I used zinc sheeting, woven sheer nylon, screen printed and heavily stitched by machine before melting away between the stitched areas to create a supportive web.
 The artists were asked to keep the pieces under wraps until after the opening.  Two detail images below:

by Cynthia St Charles ( at April 07, 2014 06:00 AM

Pam RuBert

First Friday Art Walk drawings

This Friday I had planned on drawing a sound installation sponsored by the ideaXfactory (more on that later) but it turned out to be harder than I thought. So instead I drew some other interesting things that happened downtown on the First Friday Art Walk. There were a  lot of people eating green cake as they walked around Park Central Square…


Turns out Park Central Library was hosting an “Edible Books” event, and they had asked local cake shops to make Call of the Wild cakes. The biggest one was made like mountains covered with green pines trees. There was a whole row of ladies cutting and giving away slices of cake. I must say I was a bit relieved as I had originally thought people were eating parsley cake.


The library was so crowded, it was hard to draw because people trying to get free cake kept bumping into me. I went back outside and saw this young guy spinning fire.  The fire glowed nicely against the twilight sky, and so did the string lights hanging across Park Central East. There was a couple wearing hoodies sitting on the edge of the fountain. I would have stayed longer, but it was so cold outside that I couldn’t draw a non-shaky line.


Back at the ideaXfactory, there was a silent art auction going on organized by a lot of Drury University folks to raise money for Rare Breed. They had installed a beautiful folded paper installation on the ceiling for the upcoming Saturday night Drury Beaux Arts Ball, and the paper walls of the temporary gallery also glowed with changing colored light. A DJ wearing fingerless gloves played electronic music for the Friday night auction preview. In the glow of the “cloud” installation, it was a popular spot all evening long.


Over at Art & Letters, a collaborative show organized by Meganne had an opening. She has started about 20 ink on canvas and paper paintings, then asked other local painters to finish them.


 Cattywampus was playing in the corner in front of Christiano Bellotti’s painting.


 Ryan Dunn of Smokey Folk played a few songs with the band.


I really thought I knew this woman in front of a Tyler Estes and Meganne Rosen O’Neal painting. Turns out I know her sister! The best part about ending up at Arts & Letters was Russ and I had great luck at finding some funky retro clothes for the Beaux Arts Ball on Saturday.

by PaMdora at April 07, 2014 04:15 AM

April 06, 2014

Terry Grant

Digital Drawing Day - The Worries in my Head

Oh my! This was an interesting topic to consider! I am a worrier. I don't want to be. I try not to be, but it creeps in. Better, I thought, to assign those worries to an official "worrier." Here are our offerings for this week. Hope they are not too much of a downer!


The Worrier

My inner worrier comes out at night. She is a sad, humorless old woman, much older and sadder than I.

"Look at you." She says accusingly, "what have you done with your life? I doubt that anything you've ever done means anything to anyone. Your children will find you a burden as you grow older. You will end up dependent on them. Don't you think that pain in your back is something horrible? I'm pretty sure it is. Fatal, no doubt. And that spot on your shoulder?—pretty sure that's skin cancer. Did you forget to lock the back door? I think you did. Robbers are probably carrying away your camera and your computer and your TV set even as we talk. And I think the cat has fleas again. He was scratching. And, by the way, I think you missed the deadline to enter that show. Oh well, you won't get in anyway. With all the rain I wonder which tree is going to fall and crush your house, killing you in your bed? If the tree doesn't do it, it will probably be Cooper Mountain giving way and sliding right over top of you, just like that mudslide up in Washington. Doesn't seem like you will have enough money for taxes this year."

"But don't mind me—you just need to get to sleep now. Oh, wait—Do I smell gas???"

iPad, Sketch Club app, Glaze app, New Trent Arcadia stylus


 Worry, Family History

The family history of Ms. Digital Homework is as follows.

Digital Homework, working backward up the family tree, was begat by Finish/Not Finish who was married to Foolish. Foolish was the result of the union of Snort and No Snort. No Snort was the union of Mocking, who was begat by Embarrassed and Won't Know. Things get confused here because Won't know also begat Mocking who married No Snort.

On the other side of the family, Digital Homework's parent, you remember, was Finish/Not Finish. Not Finish was the result of the union of No Exercise and Exercise. No Exercise was begat by Weak and Fat. Exercise was begat by Tired and Sore. Sore was the result of the union of Cry and Quit.

Again, the lines get a bit tangled, as Cry seemed to have unionized with Quit, and Quit made a union with Embarrassed, whom you remember was also tied to Won't Know and they begat No Snort. But Cry also seemed to have married, on the side, Cry (2) who appeared out of nowhere.

And thus began the Family of Worry. And God created Worry and saw that it was Good."

Ta-ta, jou

Art Rage, Wacom pen, on PC

Next week's challenge: Snack Time

by Terry Grant ( at April 06, 2014 02:36 PM