Sunday, September 16, 2018


When my Dad died several years ago, his sister cried that now she was an orphan. My Aunt was in her 80's when she said this, and it occurred to me every one of us has our own very personal relationship with someone who has died, whether it be a parent, child, sibling or friend. We have experiences unique to that relationship that no one else can share.

When someone close to us dies, a connection is lost. We are the only one left with those memories, the jokes we shared, the not so funny times we got through.

The thing is, we all have gone through similar experiences, we've all felt loss, grief, pain.

There's a golden thread running through this work, connecting our individual grief with the rest of the world

Friday, January 27, 2017

Open the Window

 I'm continuing to explore the concept of personal loss, how it affects the people left behind, how it affects those on the periphery, the coping mechanisms we all employ to deal with it.

We all want to be available to help someone suffering from loss. Often, that person isn't ready to receive this comfort. While a window may be open, they construct barriers and roadblocks to prevent our help. Maybe they are angry, maybe numb, feeling guilty, or just uncomfortable with sharing what they are feeling personally.

We need to persevere.

"Look for the helpers in times of tragedy" Mr Rogers advised. "If you look for the helper, you'll know that there's hope"

The sixth installment in my Loss series is called "Open the Window". It's 7 feet tall, 32 inches wide and 32 inches deep. Made of strips of silk organza with windows stitched in them, wire, and rusted organza with hand stitching.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Loss and Anger

The Angry Truth is the working title of my newest piece in the Loss Series.

One of the common emotions when you lose someone is anger. Anger at the person you lost, anger at family, your friends, caregivers, anger at yourself. It can come from a feeling of helplessness for the pain you're having,  feeling fear at what your future will be like without them, frustration that you are unable to change things, and then guilt for feeling angry.

I know it's normal, part of the grieving process, something we have to go through, but that doesn't make it any easier.

I've witnessed this deep, visceral anger, and while making this piece I thought about all the times I've seen it

Making angry art is really difficult. Putting myself in the place of those who have suffered deep loss feels fake. I can only look at it from the outside

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Catching Up

I have a crazy busy life right now, but I wanted to take time out to share what I'm up to. Tomorrow, Paula Chung and I are packing up 18 pieces of art from our A View Within series, and shipping them off to the Ruth Funk Center For Textile Arts in Melbourne, Florida. We are sharing the venue with SAQA's Radical Elements, which makes this a really dynamic exhibition. This exhibit runs May 28th thru August 27th, and I will be doing a Gallery Talk on July 23rd at 1pm.

The following week we are shipping 35 pieces to the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft for an exhibit that will run May 27th through September 3rd. Paula and I will both be giving a Gallery Talk, and possible some other presentations the weekend of June 9th thru 12th.

With a little prodding from Deborah Boschert, I'm trying to put together a piece for the SAQA auction. No promises on this, but it's kind of relaxing to work on something small.

Paula and I are continuing on with our work, and we are thinking about refining it a bit by working on one area in more depth. Along this line we are focusing on several X-rays gifted to us by our friend Betty. They are images from the 1950's, a series of head, jaw and mouth X-rays.

And I'm very excited to be in this new book by Martha Seilman, "Art Quilts International, Abstract & Geometric", available in the fall on Amazon. One of my pieces in the book will be traveling to IQF Houston in 2017, then IQF in Chicago, and possibly sone other venues.

While all this is going on, I'm continuing to work on my Loss Series, trying to depict the feelings of anger and frustration that go along with a physical or emotional loss. The art has been stagnating on my design wall, as I'm finding it very difficult to convey what I want to say.  Right now it's too neat, and I think loss is very messy, so I'm going to take a deep breath and start messing things up.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Multi tasking

I always work better when I have a few projects going on at the same time. It puts me in my zone, which is my favorite place to be. Right now I'm stitching on some of the A View Within work, and this kind stitching is pretty mindless.

Up on my design wall is an idea for the "Loss" series, with a few samples of what I want to do right where I can see them when I glance up.

Over on the window are some x-rays a friend gave us of a family member, taken in 1958.  We are thinking about a miniseries, and when I take a break from stitching, I make some sketches,

and work on some color samples.

I work so much better when I take my time and ponder my ideas.  I'm usually not happy with work that I rush through.  I don't have any deadlines right now, so I'm just doodling along, in my happy place

Saturday, December 19, 2015

More Mending

Carol asked me to describe the layers, back to front, so today I photographed each layer.  I also took a more detailed shot of the magnets holding it all together.

The bottom magnets are the half inch cylindrical, then after the first six, I changed over to smaller cylindrical, trying to avoid weighing the piece down when it's hanging.

Each layer has a circle burned out of it, then that circle is reattached with some loose hand stitching.

My thinking is that it will never fit back the way it was originally.

Here the photos get a little weird, I believe because of some refraction.

While we were photographing,

we both noticed

that we liked the layers

eight (below)

and nine (below)

more than the finished layer ten.  It seems like ten is taking it one or two layers too far. With eight and nine, you can still see some depth, but ten seems a little shallow.  I think this may end up and eight layered piece.

Thursday, December 17, 2015


My fourth piece in the Loss series is finished.  It's called "Mending", which I think is an ongoing process we all go through when loss occurs. While working on it I was thinking about all the ways we heal, and it seems to me when we suffer a loss, we don't always heal.  Sometimes we just change. When I think about mending, it's about putting things back together, but they never fit back the way they were. There's a new, different dimension, layer upon layer.

When starting a new dimensional piece, I'm learning to think ahead to how it will be displayed. I was discussing the possibilities with Ted in his office when I noticed some magnets on his white board.  I knew I wanted the fabric to hang about half an inch apart and I  found some cylindrical half inch long magnets on line.

I wanted the hanging device to be as invisible as possible, so I decided on acrylic and found a fabricator who drilled the holes for the magnets, and smaller holes to use for mounting it.

It turned out to be really easy to hang it this way, and it's easy to disassemble.  The biggest problem is the magnets wanting to stick to anything metallic nearby.

Here are some close ups

I burned circles out, then hand stitched them back together

Below is a side view.

For whatever reason, my thinking on this series is somewhat out of sync.  While finishing this up, I started thinking about the anger and frustration that goes along with loss, usually one of the first emotions felt.  But I know there's no set rule for this.  How to show anger?  I'm not really sure.