Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Holidays

As Christmas draws close let us remember the reason for this blessed day.  No matter what your regligous beliefs or non beliefs take a moment to be thankful for all the wonderful blessings life has to offer.  Our freedom, our health, our abilities to forgive and forget.  Our passsion for creating.  Our ability to feel joy and saddness. Treasure each day no matter what your situation is - remember it could always be worse. Take a moment to smile, to laugh, to cry, to remember those that have left this world before us. Don't forget to tell that special person in your life that you love them, no matter what.  Be thankful for those that gather with you and those that can not make it this time.  Remember to be just a bit more giving  -  in time -  in patience - in caring - through out the coming year.  Relish this magical time and carry it in your heart always.  Have a most blessed Christmas and a safe and Happy New Year.  I'll talk to you next year.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


I realized that I probably should clue you in on why I keep refering to "purpeck".  I wrote a feature story for Jane Dunnewold's Art Cloth Quarterly about "Arual and Friends".  These were the names that I had given to those "little voices" that we all contend with on a daily basis.  I am going to "re-print" the story on "purpeck".
       Ms. Dally has been very busy collaborating with her friends these past few months to find ways of detouring my studio time into “grandma time”. She seemed to think it would be an excellent idea for me to have my grandchildren, Ragen who is 3 years old and Sarah 11 months old, visit with me several times but most importantly over a long four day weekend. I argued with her about all the projects that needed to be worked on and how behind I was on them. I might as well have been talking to a brick wall! She knew that I could not resist those angelic little faces and all she would have to do is just remind me how much I enjoyed them – well that and having Ragen ask me as only she can do “Dawa, I need come Dawa’s house…..peas” Of course that sweet little voice was all it took to brake my commitment to studio time. Here I am thinking that I have lost a whole four days of work and how much farther that would put me behind in the projects that I have lined up. Then the hurried-ness and “must-get-dones” just seemed to melt away when I opened the door and Ragen ran up the walk with such excitement yelling “Dawa, Dawa” and gave me a big hug and kiss and then Sarah reaching out for me with her little face lighting up with a grin from ear to ear.
        Ragen, the 3 year old, has her own area in my studio and is a regular visitor there. She knows where her paper and scissors are as well as her paints, crayons and markers. She has gotten the fine art of cutting tiny little pieces of paper down pat. Her bright blue eyes just sparkle when she gets to “kuck” her papers with her own scissors. Today she asked me to sit down beside her and help her “kuck” papers and draw. In sitting with her and watching her create I was amazed at her confidence and deliberation. She would carefully select a colored piece of paper and just the right colored marker then proceed to make marks on the paper. With each stroke she would stand back, put her hands on her hips, cock her head to one side, look intently at the mark and exclaim “purpeck”! Then continue with the next mark. After each mark she made on the paper she would stand back and pronounce the mark “purpeck”. She told me her story about the “bad guy” and “Nemo” and of course the “mermaid” with “purpeck” strokes of her marker and confidence in her abilities. Now if you asked an adult to describe what she had drawn they would be at total loss to decipher what she was showing them. Why should there be any question as to what those little marks at the bottom of the “bad guy” were – of course they were his “dibing soup”. To her innocent 3 year old eyes her drawing told her story and it was perfect.
        While watching her that day I wondered at what point in my life did my marks stop being “purpeck” to me? What changed in me to diminish my confidence and the deliberation of making perfect marks each and every time?
        I’m realizing that perhaps Ms. Dally knew what she was doing and this was not “lost time”. As I thought about Ragen and her purpeck marks I decided that MY eyes and MY mind will see each mark that I make as “PURPECK”. There may be an adult out there that has no clue as to what MY marks are saying but they tell MY story to me and are PURPECK. I’m thinking that maybe we should all be making “purpeck” marks.

Ragen is now 6 years old and still has that confidence about her "purpeck" marks. And while she is very confident about her marks, I am still working on mine.  I am getting better and am beginning to like a lot more of my work - but still have those occasional marks that go into the circular file as they are not "purpeck" to me.

Monday, December 21, 2009


As the year winds down it is time to release all those past mistakes, let them go and move on.  We have yards of clean fabric in front of us waiting for us to make our mark on.  What a wonderful thought that we can start each day, week, month, year with a fresh start - a clean slate.  We are free to choose different paths, to explore new avenues, to make a difference.  We are free to accept the challenge to grow in the coming days.  If we stumble we have a new day just around the corner.  Time to pick ourselves up and try again. Learn from our trials and enjoy the journey.  Let our minds and hands begin to work as one.  Transform those yards of fabric into magical places in our minds eye.  Call upon the child to come play daily - immerse ourselves in the act of doing and being. Remember that EVERY mark we make is "perpect" Keep this magical time of the year in our minds and hearts all through the coming year.

19" x 106"
Cotton Sateen, Printed, discharged, gold powder, paper lamination

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Childs Play

I am constantly amazed at the number of people that must have "instructions" before they can create! If you are following "instructions" how is that creating? While there are some guidelines if you are using products such as mixing dyes or discharge paste or photo emulsion---I don't believe there are any fast rules. I guess I create very much like I cook! Some of this and a little of that - and somehow it turns out. I know that I can never duplicate or reproduce what it is I'm making - I can come close but not exactly. Now I can't say this is a good formula to follow if you need to have a consistent color for production work - then yes you would need to know exact measurements so that the product can be consistent. BUT I will say that to me that is not creating - that is producing. This is one area where I would be in way over my head - I don't think I could make the same thing twice if my life depended on it! I don't like to repeat what I do - my work is truly "one of a kind". When I work it is as if I am transformed to another place - a place where rules go out the window. (Of course safety rules should never go out the window!) My child self takes over and boots the adult out the door slamming it behind her! Who cares if I didn't measure exactly or if a little bit of blue gets mixed with the red....or if the squeegee isn't at a perfect angle or pulled from top to bottom....who is going to know but me? If the end result is something that I like than does it really matter how I got there? Let your child out more often you will be amazed at the results!

Saturday, December 19, 2009


This is the time of year when many begin to reflect on the accomplishments of the year....  where they are now from where they were a year ago...  Did they move forward or stay in the same place?  I don't normally do resolutions but I do look at where I have come from and where I want to go.  What will it take to get to that point?  I'm thinking that this year has been a tremendous year of experiences - I opened a Fiber Gallery with three other very talented ladies, only to see it have to close due to circumstances beyond our control - but the experience was there and is something that I would do again when the right time and place finds me. I entered several shows and was accepted (yeah - even won some awards!), I was invited to participate in an international show, I was in a group show, I had a solo show.  I completed many yards of fabric.  All these "accomplishments" are great but what did that really do for me?  I GREW as an artist!  I became more confident in my abilities, I actually started this blog (something that has been on the burner for a long time).  I am learning that there is worth in some of my thoughts.  I have realized that I can "run with the big dogs" and keep up.  This past year has been very exciting for me in experiences.  I can set my sites higher for the upcoming year and begin to EMERGE in a bigger way.  I hope that everyone sets their sites just a bit higher for the upcoming year.

Art Work:  Emerging, (detail) Cotton Sateen, screened, discharged, printed, textile paint, ink, gold powder  22" x 106"
Available here

Friday, December 18, 2009


Surfacing after a few days with my grand children. It was a magical week but also made me appreciate young mothers who deal with little ones daily.

Not only surfacing from children but also from mind matters....trying to de-clutter thoughts to make room for new beginnings. This time of year is especially hard for me to do that. There are so many distractions, so many activities and "to do's" that time for thinking art thoughts is very limited. I gave myself permission to stop for seven days and play with the girls, to enjoy the season through their eyes, to see that even if the ornaments are all clumped together the tree is still beautiful. The two year old would stand and just "awe" in a breathless manner. She was taken to another place by the magic of it all. The older ones were excited and relished in the placement of the "special" ornament.

The energy expounded this past week would have been enough to power a small town! The enthusiasm for each activity was contagious. Their acceptance of the smallest, simplest task was amazing to watch. The minds going at full speed as they took in packages, lights, trees, cookies. I will try to hold it all in my mind so I can record it on fabric at some future point. For the present I need to get the "adult" things caught up and of course I will enjoy the quietness for a bit.
 24" x 100"
 Layered Silk Organza, printed, gold powder
Available Here

Monday, December 14, 2009


Horizons is a small piece done to remind myself to look forward....simple lines with sunshine.....filling the foggy, rainy days....6" x 8" x 1", hand dyed fabrics, hand stitching, gold foiling  - a nice little bit of sunshine..... availabe here

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Simple Things

The sun finally came out for a bit this afternoon. The girls and I took advantage of the sunshine and warmth by taking a walk along the creek.  They quickly found how exciting it is to throw rocks into the water. It was captivating to watch the delight in their eyes as they watched the water spash up and the ripples expanding outward.   Such an uncomplicated activity created lasting memories.  The simple things we take for granted by far outlast all others.  

Saturday, December 12, 2009


I'm feeling complete today - the house is full of laughter, giggles and little voices time to think.....just to enjoy - even if there are spills on the floor or the dog is eating their lunch!

I noticed that "seven" appears in much of my work.  In this one there are seven blocks.  This is/was not intentional, it just happens.  I did a little checking and found that the number seven means for one thing to be complete or full.  It also is a magical number and deals with perfection.  I'll be talking about seven more in later posts - what it means to me and why I think it appears over and over in my work. For now, I'm just going to enjoy the compelteness of today.

Completeness. Three layers of sheer organza dyed, over dyed, printed, gold leafing   22" x 96"

Friday, December 11, 2009

They are coming!

In this most busy time of the year I always try to remember to stay focused and centered on the important things in life. To count on the pure joys of seeing, of hearing, of smelling, of tasting and of touching. We are so blessed to live in this world yet so much of the time become so involved in self that we loose site of the big picture. Today our three grandbabies come to stay with us for a week. Although it will be most hectic it will also be magical. The house is waiting for the little hands to help decorate, the oven is waiting for warm cookies to be baked, the quietness will soon give way to laughter, little voices, the pitter patter of feet running and of course the constant noise. I relish these times as I can experience the discoveries of life through children's eyes yet again. It won't matter to me if the lights aren't perfect or the cookies are a bit miss-shaped because in the eyes of the children they are all "perpect".

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Is It or Isn't It?

I am constantly telling people that "I do not quilt". I did join SAQA thinking that maybe I might venture off into some "art quilts" but still held firm to the thought that "I do not quilt"! A while back I was working on a small piece for a show that is completely covered in stitch. A friend looked at it smiled and said "what do you mean you don't quilt - that's exactly what you are doing"! My mind just laughed at her comment and I said - "No, I'm not, I'm embellishing with stitch". We both had a good laugh at our conception of quilting. I suppose that technically I was "quilting" after all the piece was three layers and I was certainly holding the layers together with stitch. I wonder how many of us play these mind games....the thought of me quilting was just absurd yet I could "embellish" with hand stitch with no problem! Doesn't it go back to our comfort zones and what our "adult" mind says we can and can not do? So why do we impose these restrictions on our artistic self?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Where Do They Come From?

I am often asked "Where do you get ideas for your work? The short answer is....from everything I see, hear, touch and/or smell. Many times just a word or glimpse of something will fuel the fire for a new piece. Sometimes it takes a lot of percolating for the idea to surface and sometimes it becomes a reality in a flash. The piece shown was one of those quick inspirations. The title "Descent" does not really clue the viewer in to the inspiration source. I will share the short story of this piece with you......I was working at Art Cloth Studios with several ladies a year or so ago. We had been working very hard all week and were pretty stressed. The suggestion was made to "throw an orange out of the's a great release of stress" - the short of the story is that the studio is on the third floor - Oranges began flying out of the window and yes the stress was gone! We laughed until we cried. This was one of those AH HA moments - sketch book came out and I jotted down a quick sketch to work on at a later time. Ideas come from all around - be ready to capture them for later use! 

Descent 27" x 104", Cotten Sateen, mx dye, appliques, hand stitching

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

It's the Small Things

I am constantly reminded by my granddaughters to take time to enjoy the little things in life. As we grow older it seems that we get so absorbed in "responsibilities" that we forget to stop and really look at what is all around us. Perhaps our inner child has been buried by all that is going on and our adult continues to throw more on top. I think that we need to nourish that inner child, hold on to her - experience and view the world through her eyes. We need to put that adult away for a few hours everyday and let the child take over. She is not so critical of what is in her world. She loves every mark she makes and relishes in her discoveries. She is amazed at what the world presents to her and soaks it all up in her innocence. Her actions and words speak pure and lovingly. Her time is slow and direct, her focus is on just what is in front of her.  Let's see if we can't find that inner child and let her out to play!

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Short Answer

I am not one that generally looks “deep” into why I make the art that I make. I’m not sure if this comes from the ever present little voice (I call her Aural) that is constantly telling me “that’s not good”, “why are you doing that”, etc. or the fear of sounding like a complete idiot. A friend recently asked me several questions – one being “Do you find that the medium (fabric) adds a dimension to expression that you may not get with paint on canvas?” This made me stop and think – why DO I work on fabric? I have painted with acrylics and oils, worked with pastels, graphite pencil, ceramics and many other mediums so why am I drawn to fabric? I thought I was going to give a short answer but it turned out I had a lot more to say than I thought I did! I'll be short here.  The short answer is Yes, I feel that fabric adds a great deal of emotion to a piece. I once explained what I do as "an abstract painting that has been released from the constraints of its frame". Yes, to me the fabric becomes alive, it has soul and movement, it is not static. I love when a viewer is looking at the work and the piece gently reaches out to them. The work follows the viewer as if to say come back, talk to me. I find that the flowing of the fabric is very difficult to resist, viewers instinctly reach out to touch it. There is a peaceful dance that happens between the viewer and  the art work.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Thinking Stage

I am in the process of doing some smaller works for a show in March.  I have many bits and pieces of larger works that I am trying to reclaim and remake - So now I'm in the thinking stage - trying to decide what to use, what fabrics to combine, auditioning threads - even deciding if I am going to do any handstitching.  My works come from lots of thinking (maybe procrastination!) so it is a slow process.  I don't like to record in journals but perhaps with the blogging this will change.  So for now you will just get to see this work in the embryo stage - together we will see how the third piece develops.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

A cold morning

Another "winter" type piece. Again, these colors are some I normally don't do. I have a very difficult time when things are rainy or gloomy - I need the bright sunshine to energize me! But after a drive through the Texas countryside the image of fields on a very foggy January morning kept haunting me - the only way to get it out of the mind is to put it onto the fabric! I did some experimenting with this piece. The "fabric" I'm stitching on is Lutrador - I burned, painted and stitched it. I also used graphic and pigment pens to emphasize the tree forms. The "fog" comes from a piece of sheer fabric painted/inked in grays that lays over the front, there is also a piece of black organza that lays over the back. That was the original plan for the piece. Since I have completed it I have shown it with the sheers hanging over the back so that you see the Lutrador first - also it has been shown from both the back side and the front side. Depending on how it is hung the whole feel of the piece changes! Three for one. I am happy to say that this piece now has been adopted out to a permanent home.

Friday, December 4, 2009


Today is so gloomy!  Yet holds it's own beauty.  The skies are grey, folage is missing from the trees and the wind is gusting.  I don't think snow will be in the picture - just cold.  I tried to capture this feeling in Winter's Morning  - the cold, misty overcast day - letting only the bravest of trees peek through.

This piece was done with graphite, inks, sheer organza, muslin and machine stitching.  It is mounted to black felt.

Thursday, December 3, 2009


In many ways my work is merely a reflection of what is going on in my life.  I think that many artists work this way.  I find that trying to balance the everyday living and then making time for art is always complicated for me.  Although I no longer have to report in at a "9 - 5" job, I still have several "jobs" I do from home.  Trying to find the discipline to work is difficult for me.  I am easily distracted by the "just one more entry to the books" or "it will just take 10 minutes to get these invoices out" or "I'll just throw a load of laundry in"...... the "JUSTS" seem to take up a lot of time and before I know it my intent to get in the studio and work is just a dream.  I am making an effort to work everyday, be it in small steps or to be able to sit and stitch all day. (That only happens when deadlines are near!)

This small 12" x 12" piece was about balance - perhaps it wasn't balancing fate but balancing my life. 

Balancing Fate 12" x 12" x 1"

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Under Pressure

Detail Under Pressure

Today I'm not feeling "Under Pressure" but thought I would share with you the piece that is title such.  I was invited to be a part of an international exhibition in Australia last year - November to be exact.  I was thrilled with being invited and looked forward to working on a piece for the exhibit.  As human nature - or at least my human nature - goes I put off and put off the making of this piece.  There were lots of "thinking" days, lots of "what if" days but nothing was being put on fabric.  As the deadline loomed it all came together -  in the nick of time.  On top of producing a quality piece of art I also had to write an Artists Statment - I worried about that for a long time and just as the artwork came together so did the Artist's Statement - in the nick of time.
I am very happy with this work and even more excited that the Exhibition will be touring Australia until early 2011.

Under Pressure
118” x 32”
Silk Broadcloth
Deconstructed Silk Screen, Painting with Thickened Dyes, Dye Wash, Mark making with Pen, Burning, Gold Leafing
The photo is a detail of the piece.

Artist's Statement

A fleeting idea, a glimpse of color, a smell or perhaps the touch of an appealing surface will set my soul off on another journey across expanse of white fabric.

Under Pressure began as a distinct attraction to the rich warm bronze and cool blue color combination. My next piece was begging me to incorporate the colors that spoke so strongly to me. As the bronze and blue colors combined with serendipitous textures layered down the length of cloth, images of rock buried deep in the earth began to emerge. The cloth began speaking to me of waiting, of patience, of time. I explored directions the fabric could go, yet not feel any of the directions calling me, so I continued to wait. I studied the layers developing on the fabric. I saw similarities of the formation of this cloth to the formation of precious metal or priceless jewels. Both depend on layers, time and pressure. Layers are dependent on what comes before; yet push the previous layer down. Never destroying the prior layers, but needing them for support. Only under pressure do precious metal and jewels develop. Time. Patience. Pressure. The creation of my fabrics is so similar! As I waited with the pressure of deadlines looming, images of gold veins, cracks and fissures came to mind. It was the direction the fabric was calling me to take.

So with Life - time and patience are needed to permit layers to build, pressure is needed to produce the desired results. View Under Pressure in the literal sense, but also figuratively. Precious results take time and patience. We depend on layers of learning, time to digest the lessons and the pressure of life in general, in order to create these precious results.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Store Site now UP

I was asked why the flurry of activity by a friend of mine - the only answer I could come up with  - I don't feel good and it was easier to sit at the computer than to texture the bathroom wall!  Not to mention that these things have been on the burner for longer than I care to admit!  I am still working on the website - I get aggravated at not being able to change something so I have to back off for a bit.  BUT I do have a URL to my "store".  There are just a few items up right now but more to come.  Plus I have to figure out how to put a permanent button on the blog.  Technology - can't live with it - can't live without it!

New Store -

Sunshine for a Dreary Day

Today I thought it would be nice to bring a little sunshine since the day is so cold and rainy. This is a piece of Art Cloth created a while back. It is done on silk broadcloth using mx dyes and gold leafing. The color is one that I normally do not work in but you know if you don't get outside your comfort zone how will you ever grow?
Caliente, 2008, 20" x 78" Silk Broadcloth, Silk Organza, mx dyes, gold leaf.