Category Archives: Probably talking to just myself

even greater distances

I don’t know how many textile artists work, when out of the public eye on blog, Instagram and FB, but me, i keep files and a private blog for ideas, sketches, colour and fabric combos, inspiration and possibles. Though little was “accomplished” this year, i’m happy with the results, and the dye play i’ve been doing, BUT i found myself this morning opening a new file and category for “WORK 2018”.

A LOT of the 2017 notes are archived already. Some are switched to the 2018, and a LOT MORE deleted.

I love the little moon series i’ve created over the last two years, and intend to make many more, however i also need to get back to the larger works as well. “Samara” will be one of them, and after seeing her in the sun yesterday, i pulled a bunch of these naturally dyed fabrics.

They may not all get used here, but given the initially planned harder look, i think this is more on track with what she’s saying, softer, still strongly feminine, but with a more “fertile” approach. I want her wings to be more inviting, enveloping, brilliant even. Autumn after all is not just a time of endings, but of rich harvests and warm gatherings. I do need however more autumnal colours so into the dyepots again with some of these scraps.

For other work i’ve wanted to do, i guess i will be making larger pieces of the potassium permanganate dyed cottons after all. I must have cut up the piece i did during residency, thinking it was a “fail”, a lesson learned: leave it alone and the time will come as it needs to!

While digging around in the actual fabrics i still have, i found this, and am thinking to use it as a “marker” for a new series with the PP.

It’s snow dyed, with Procion, but that doesn’t matter. In the grand scheme of things, colour is colour. And the texture of this old rayon velvet is freekin’ awesome. It’s vintage, at least 20 years old and at a yard and a half, is plenty to incorporate into this dreamed of work.

Another week of dyeing, and i figure i will have enough of threads and cloth to “share” and to use.



greater distances

Every time i finish something now, it seems a greater distance to the next one. I know these things are in there, in my heart, mind, gut, wherever that inspiration and dedication comes from, but digging it out gets harder and harder, though lord knows i feel empty and bereft without *something* going in my hands. Sometimes i wish i could just take a picture of the inside of my head and put that immediately on the fabric and in the stitching, but alas….it doesn’t work that way, does it? It’s almost as if there is a starter shot i’m waiting for, anticipating but never hearing or hearing a second late. I know i will jump in when the sound stops, but in the meantime it’s quite frustrating! It’s like that first step will mislead me, a commitment to the wrong future. May 2014

I used to “worry” about producing X number of pieces a year, but in the last couple, have recognized i don’t work that way anymore. The few i do get done take time, lots of time, as i invest my heart and soul in them, working myopically, intensely focused, by hand. “Tabula Memoria” was an 8 month project (Dec 2016-Jul 2017), and this year i have completed nothing else. I’ve started a few things along the way, small, not terribly exciting to me, or soul satisfying, but i don’t wonder anymore if i still have “It”, just because there aren’t 11tybajillion “finished” bits…..

I do still have It. It though has it’s own timetable. Part of this is logistical: there’s a certain piece of potassium permanganate dyed cotton i did during this summer’s residency, a large expanse, but do you think i can find it? I can’t even remember if i’ve already cut it up and used it for something else, overdyed it or threw it out. That of course is the piece i MUST have…… I’m giving myself a day to find it, and if i don’t, well, back to the PP pot. (Potassium permanganate that is, not a hissy fit of urine….)

And this, this i must get back to, caught yesterday still hanging on the studio wall.




animal lovin’

Oh, deer….this morning’s usual let the DogFaced Girl out was interrupted. At 545, in the dark, in my nightgown and bare feet, i am sliding through mushy downed apples and cold wet grass, as i try desperately but calmly to herd two baby deer towards the gate. Momma Deer is on the other side of the fence, glaring at me, the babies are panicking because they’re too little to jump the fence, and now i’m panicking they are going to hurt themselves. Finally, i get them to a point where they can SEE the open gate they came in, and they bolt. *Now* Nessie can go out, and i’ll assess the hoofies everywhere destruction in the garden later. Wouldn’t give up these wildlife experiences for anything though! Oh and wash the applesauce from between my toes!


Sigh, part of loving animals is saying goodbye too…Last week it was our old baby boy, Mo, (right) and today, it’s his brother Cosmo (left). The family plot is sadly filling…………..

Truly the end of an “era”. I don’t know about other people, but Greyman and i mark this especially, since when we met, we immediately had a “blended family” of 5 cats… now ALL of those babies are gone.

First we lost Slowroll:

Then Doogie:

Then, their Momma, Selena:

Then, Miss Piggy:

Then Mo:

Now, Cosmo:

Still loving Nessie, the DogFaced Girl, and Slapshot, the Spastic Elastic:

 We gave them/give them love and spoiling, and they do the same for us. We just can’t have a house empty of animals.

Posted by on August 30, 2017 in Probably talking to just myself



I don’t think i’ve given my studio a good deep clean for more than a year, and certainly some drawers haven’t been touched, or even opened (!) in longer! When the space is so bad you can’t bear to go in there,and don’t want to work on *anything*, in face feel like just giving up period, it’s time for a purge.

Hauled out 2 bags of actual garbage, picked through said drawers and sorted, tossed and “refiled” a few “projects” that went totally out of sight out of mind. Moved the serger and extra sewing machine to the basement, along with the huge plastic bag of plastic bags stored in plastic bags (apparently i have a secret fetish for them…), paints which i rarely use anymore (after sorting the dried up ones out), stuffing materials, and assorted cosmic debris.

My extra chair has room for a person now, instead of piles of books, cloth and EMPTY storage containers. The books are all put away, but easily accessible, the threads are back in their colour drawers, and the dyeable cloth is in one three Rubbermaids, and the dyes are all in one spot along with their tools, bottles, instructions and adjuncts. I have a floor again! And worktable space!

I found some things i haven’t Seen in a long time: a baby bootie pattern i thought i lost 16 years ago (they were ADORABLE, and i may make more), a sheer curtain i was beading with dragonflies (obviously lost the other matching but unstarted one) which needs only ONE wing to finish, and a blanket “fling” i’d really like to complete as well.

All this was because A. the owner of “Tabula Memoria” will be picking up the work in September, B. because i got tired of tripping and sliding on things (think minefield, not obstacle course) C. i could rarely find what i had in mind, and when i did i had no room or gumption to work on it.

And D. i bought new dyes and i want to be able to use them! Because i had a Lightbulb moment at the beginning of the week: get into the ACAD bookstore *before* res ends. They don’t just sell books, but all the art supplies students need for their wonderfully varied programs. And i don’t have to pay for shipping!

I bought Osage, Logwood and Cochineal, having never worked with the first two, and only minimally with the third. I decided to go the true route, and suss out the real deal from both Maiwa, and Jenny Dean’s books.

I’m realizing too that haste makes waste. I’m sure that stubbornly doing things my way was the reason that my madder dyeing has been less than stellar! Instead of using proper WOF dye material to fabric, i have wasted a LOT of dye materials, thinking there was “enough” being used, and then throwing it out because it gets moldy as i get discouraged and ignore it………………READ THE INSTRUCTIONS: just because the dye bath *looks* rich with colour, doesn’t mean it is.

The logwood and the osage are now soaking, and tomorrow i hope to start dyeing cloth with them. YUM.


i *can* “just can’t do it”

SIGH. Well, chalk it up to “know your limitations”, whether they’re skill set or interest.

I’m sure you’re all tired–hell, I’M tired, of all the blah blah about the end of res exhibit. *Nothing* i’ve pulled has really got the crank turned, even with the possibility of using the recent naturally dyed threads. And since we’re now down to 18 days until the show is hung, well, whatever……………..

SO, instead of beating myself up, and worrying about what i might Finish (in 18 days??? yeah, right…) , i’m going back to this:

Started last year, however much i get done on her will be my goal, and that’s good enough. She may have to be hung “creatively”!

Her body is almost done, though who knows what else may happen on those large alabaster thighs 🙂 ?

I’m going to be doing her wings similarly to what i did on “Strange Soul Take Flight” (left), and “The Weight She Carries” (right), but not so slavishly that i’d be repeating myself.

Yeah, yeah, what will be, will be.


slow slow summer

All i’m doing is experimenting, and adding knowledge, no stitching since finishing “Tabula Memoria”.

In all honesty too, time at ACAD for the residency has slipped away and i am left with a little more than a month to go, with very very little to show for it. Most of my ideas though are being utilized at home though so no loss really!


As much as i love all my commercially dyed threads, especially all the permutations of the variegated ones, i also want more naturally dyed choices, so i’m doing it myself. I can’t/won’t be doing huge batches, but enough to keep me happy at least. I’ll still use the “boughten” threads, and hopefully if all goes well with the pre-mordanting, will have a range of natural dye colours to supplement the arsenal.

I’ve gone through all my dyes and have enough of everything to get a BIG collection of colours, after different mordants and modifiers. This is more manageable in terms of space, time and effort also, as the batches can be quite small for threads.

Hoofies crossed.



residency exhibit plans again, revised

Nothing has really been turning my crank, despite plans to maybe work from this or this. Sometimes it *is* good, or necessary to return to what we’ve done before, but as i looked for fabrics, i realized this is what has the juice flowing:

This piece of cotton lent to be used as a table protector by another residency participant, and neither of us is sure why or how it became so black. (It reads blue in these photos, but truly is BLACK.)

There’s also this piece of silk. Though i’m hesitant to cut it up, or obscure the patterning with stitch, it doesn’t do much good making fabrics that are juicey, but never get used.

For the minute, they are piled neatly with a few thread choices. I’m working on the journal that goes with “Tabula Memoria” and as i shuffle around photos and chunks of writing, the back of the vasty head will stew on the possibilities. I do know i am going to be more “sculptural” this time, something i have wanted to do for a long time. I need to dye some more silk thread with my hoarded rhubarb root as well for this plan.

We’ll see by the end of the week if “best laid plans” are going to work out.

Our vacation this summer has turned to a “stay-cation”: it’s painfully hot (hot enough you want to take your skin off, hot enough you want to kill someone, something, anything if it touches you), old Mo Cat is signalling the Rainbow Bridge’s FerryMan (sigh…), barely eating, moving or drinking, and the Greyman is sick, sick, sick. (When a die hard coffee drinker who even has a cup before bedtime won’t take one sip, you know he’s really Sick, not just that ManBaby thing.)