Saturday, August 5, 2017

Fun teaching assignment

I got to get away from real life today and play with a bunch of artists at Dunedin Fine Art Center today.  It was a treat.

  Each artist had their own easel and taboret to work with. 

Most worked right through lunch time. 

 We were spontaneous and creative - several made portraits, 
some still life, and some made landscapes.  


 The time flew by!  I think everyone enjoyed it and we designed without patterns!  Very freeing. 

This student said she could hardly wait to get home and work on finishing her portrait.  Notice the Eiffel Tower nose!  Wonderful.
The only negative part for me was the two hour drive there, and the two hour drive home.  But, thank you to Teddy, who drove three and a half hours each way to take the class! 

Saturday, July 8, 2017


I have been learning to build a website/blog!  I tried several times to get assistance with this, and was willing to pay for help, but ended up using a hosting service called Wix, which has lots of tutorials for do it yourself web designing.  So far, it's going pretty well.  I haven't thrown the computer out the window.
The new website and blog are for a small group of international fiber artists who will be working on various art quilts over the next two years.  We will issue prompts bimonthly and then post the resulting work on the blog.  If you would like to follow our process, please subscribe at

So I've been thinking about starting a new series of art quilts.  I'm debating with myself over what they should say, what ideas they should communicate.  This afternoon, I was mowing part of our property.  Mowing is good thinking time.  It can be meditative.  You're just going back and forth, following the line of the row you just finished.  Loooooonnnnngggggg rows of tall grass.  Usually, I'm singing.  But today, I was thinking about my new series.  I thought, "What makes you angry?',  "What are you most concerned about?" and "What do you want to leave behind?"  And I decided.

My next work should be about how precious life is!  We seem to have lost that belief.  Life is so dear, and wonderful, and important.  And, the next thing I knew, I had mowed over a snake.  Not on purpose - I didn't even see him until I went around again, and there he was with a head wound, writhing toward the safety of the tall grass.  I was afraid I would mow him again if he stayed there, so I went and got my brave husband, who came with a shovel and carried the snake to the woods.  I hope he makes it.  I don't understand why he didn't slither away when he heard/felt the mower coming.  Maybe it was like squirrels when they freeze and don't know which way to run?  Anyway, I thought it was so wierd that this happened right when I was thinking about how precious life is.  Maybe that proves my point.  You never know when something catastrophic may happen.

I didn't get a photo - it was a pretty garden snake with black and green markings.  But I do have a quilt with a snake.
                                                        Marine Scene    33 x 42"    $975
                                                        Hand applique, machine quilted

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Graffiti on Cloth

I was invited to make an art quilt with the theme Personal Iconography: Graffiti on Cloth.  This is the third year in a row that I have made a quilt for the group Dinner@Eight.  My plan was to use fiber items that I have saved or collected, or been gifted over the years.  I gathered them all and brought them to a retreat for fiber artists in April (Focus on Fiber in New Smyrna Beach, FL)
I worked on a couple of arrangements, and played with my 'ingredients' until I was satisfied with the composition.  Everything was pinned to the background fabric and batting.  Folded it all up, and brought it home. 

Then, I went to Chicago for the International Quilt Festival.  Then I went to Nebraska for the Studio Art Quilt Associates conference.  Then I came home and tried to get caught up on what I had missed while I was gone.  A reminder email came from one of the Dinner@Eight curators.  I replied that it would take a miracle for me to finish on time, and I apologized that I probably wouldn't make it this year.  Soon, it was June 20, and the Dinner@8 deadline was June 23.

I had my composition all laid out.  All I would have to do is to stitch all the pieces down, quilt the project, finish the edges and photograph it.  I had three whole days.  I decided I should give it a try.  So, I worked like a madwoman for 3 days, staying up late into the night, and rising early to work on my project. I got dibs on the kitchen counter before anyone else could take it over.  I bent my needle.  My fingers got sore.  BUT, I FINISHED and submitted it at 10:30pm, shortly before the midnight deadline.  It was quite stressful, and I never want to wait that late again.

Just today, I received notice that my work had been selected for this year's exhibit!!!  It will be shown at the International Quilt Festival in Houston this fall, and hopefully, at the Festival in Chicago next spring!

 One of my favorite 'ingredients' is my green bloomers which I used to wear in high school PE class.  Don't know why I saved them, but they certainly don't fit me anymore, and my precious mom embroidered my name into the waistband, so they are part of my personal iconography.  Also the long white nylon gloves (like stitching through concrete) that I wore to many Rainbow Girl events and a couple of Proms.  Other precious items are art gifts from other fiber artist friends.  There are pieces of some favorite clothing items, and a Girl Scout badge that never got sewn on to my sash (which I no longer have). So, I am happy to have used these various little pieces of my history and my friendships.  The quilt is not my usual style, but I love it.  There are many precious pieces with loads of symbolism in it.  NFS.  The title of the work is Precious Threads.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Bill and Jean

Been spending quality time with my grandmothers' sisters, Jean and 'Bill" recently.  Doing their hair, fixing their faces and clothes.  Getting up close and personal.  Aunt Bill just celebrated her 96th birthday, and she is the last of the Shepherd sisters.  This is an 'in-progress' shot of a project using a photo of Jean and Bill in their younger days.  I'm working on reproducing their portrait in cheesecloth, in the style of artist Mary Pal, of Canada.

It's fussy work, because the cheesecloth wants to stick to you and everything else, but I'm getting the hang of it, and I know the results will be wonderful.  Right now, I have an enlargement of the photo under a sheet of Duralar, and when all the layers are complete, I'll peel the cheesecloth off and stitch it to a black fabric background.  This will be a precious keepsake when finished.  My siblings and cousins spent many happy hours with these ladies when we were growing up.  Cherished memories indeed. 

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Shirt Tales

Friday, June 9, 2017 was the reception for my solo exhibit of 47 portraits at Dunedin Fine Art Center - Dunedin, FL.  It was a beautiful full moon evening, with music and lots of admirers, and four fiber exhibits in one venue!  Behind the speakers were quilts from New Quilts From an Old Favorite - New York Beauty collection.

That's me on the left, talking about my Shirt Tales, and Sandy Snow, who had an award winning NYB quilt on display. I was very fortunate to have Michael Dunn take some wonderful photographs for me throughout the evening.

There was a nice crowd of folks attending who appreciate fiber art.  They asked good questions and laughed at my jokes.  Below is one of my favorite photos from the event.  It is no less than thrilling to see people enjoying your work, and each of my quilts has a story.  Patrons told me that they enjoyed knowing the stories that went along with the images.  This one is titled, Grandma Magic.

Also exciting for me was seeing my 'name in lights', or on the wall, anyway.  Truly felt like Cinderella most of the weekend!

I was pleased that the curator, Catherine Bergmann, had selected this piece of mine to show in the atrium of the Art Center.  The title is Driving Lessons.  All the work was beautifully displayed and lit.

Another of the exhibits is a regional SAQA show called Growth!  (Studio Art Quilt Associates)  I'm very proud of this collection of work by my colleagues in Florida.  Here are some scenes from that gallery:

All four exhibits will be shown until August 18 at DFAC.  I'll be teaching a fiber collage workshop there on Saturday, August 5.  Contact DFAC for information.
                          And there were a few outtakes.  This is not what it looks like.

                                     And I have no idea what I was thinking here:


                         Thank you Michael, for taking pictures.  It's not an easy job!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

I'm back

My goodness, it's been nearly a year since I last posted to my blog!  I have been busy!  I was especially busy in April of this year - beginning with attending my annual retreat in New Smyrna Beach - Focus on Fiber.  I was happy to meet artist Mary Pal from Canada there.  She shared her beautiful portraits made with cheesecloth, and her techniques for achieving super realistic results with such a simple medium.  This retreat is always such a wonderful reunion with fiber sisters, and an inspiring, relaxing, soul filling experience.  Big thanks to Mary McBride for organizing it every year.

From there, I went to Chicago, where I met my sister Jan and we spent some time together at the International Quilt Festival.  We had a wonderful time and saw some very inspiring work there.  I had the honor of leading a small group around the Dinner @8 exhibit called Patterns.   Took a class with Jamie Wallen, bought (and won) some more fabric, and had lots of giggles with my sister.   Came home with a new little sewing machine!!

While we were there, my sister joined SAQA - Studio Art Quilt Associates!  That's Jan on the left with SAQA president Lisa Ellis and me.  Jan and I had our own private Portraits 101 class in our hotel room.

Came home to unpack and repack, and headed off to the international SAQA conference in Lincoln, Ne. This conference was jam packed with fantastic art and networking experiences.  The SAQA special events committee, led by Deb Cashatt, really outdid themselves keeping us busy seeing, learning, and enjoying our time in Nebraska.  One of my favorite activities was a spontaneous walk to the state capitol building on a Sunday afternoon, in horrible cold, windy, rainy weather.  The experience of seeing this magnificent building and the enormous mosaics, paintings, carvings, and columns was SOOO worth  that difficult walk.

Some of the mosaics on the floor were so beautiful, I felt we shouldn't have been stepping on them!
So, now I have arrived home in Florida, and have spent some weeks preparing for a solo exhibit of my portraits at the Dunedin Fine Art Center this summer. 

You can get details about the exhibit, (and three other fiber art shows that will be there at the same time!!) by going to  and look under Current Exhibits.  The reception is on Friday, June 9 from 6 to 9pm.  It will be a wonderful collection of fiber art, including a regional SAQA show called GROWTH!, and an exhibit called New Quilts From an Old Favorite.

So, I'm ready to stay home for awhile, and relive my adventures, and plan some new ones.  For a minute, I was all caught up on my customer quilts, but I'm now back in the thick of that activity.   And the grass has been growing, and the fence needs to be painted, etc. etc.  Life is indeed good.