Wednesday, October 17, 2012

One brave and awesome woman!

Today, I am posting a picture of the breast pocket I have created for Melanie Testa, an artist that I admire for her strength, courage and bravery.

She has put out a challenge for folks to make 1000 breast pockets to raise awareness for the women who choose not to reconstruct their bodies after breast cancer and to pave awareness for those who would like to put their forms aside entirely. Breast pockets are coming in to Melanie from around the world! My pocket honors Melanie's passion and bravery. Here's a quote from Melanie:
"I would never have thought that an aspect of the cancer experience would make me feel so passionate. I firmly believe the ability to ‘Go Flat’ is an issue of women’s rights. This is an issue of body autonomy, women must have complete control over the only thing we can control, our bodies. As a result, Going Flat must become normalized. Women who forgo reconstruction should not wear breast forms for any other reason than having a preference to do so.
When the beautiful, diminutive 75 year old fella pool program attendee looked at me and pinched her ‘bubby’, which is what she calls her breast form, telling me she hated wearing it for the last __ years (more than 2 decades). I fell in love with her, and fell in love with being a feminist, again. Her daughter keeps telling her to put the breast form away. But she does not feel able to leave the breast form behind!
She called me brave. A teacher. She looked at me in awe.
And I am brave, many women cannot imagine leaving home without their breast forms. Others very much want to leave them behind, but feel pressure to wear them for their jobs, and for the people in their lives who expect them to look a certain way. As more women like me, Margaret W. Smith and Jodi Jaecks put their bodies and their choices out there, normalization of this bodily form, this aspect of women’s lives, will occur. Society will re-member the full array of shapes that an individual woman’s body can take in a lifetime. But no woman should feel compelled to wear forms because our society is misogynist and ignorant and has set up an expectation of what the female form should look like. Especially in light of breast cancer."
You can read more on Melanie's blog here.

Be brave enough to live life creatively. The creative place where no one else has ever been.
                                                                                       --Alan Alda

Saturday, October 6, 2012


I am currently finishing up an online class that I signed up for in August. It's called Spirit Cloth 101 and is led by Jude Hill, a wonderful embroiderer whom I admire for her whimsical and slow approach to quilting. AND, I'm having so much fun--it feels like play to me. Big shout-out to Jude Hill here.

In the class we created small sampler quilts by assembling the bases first. Those bases could be whole cloth, patch worked or woven. Of course there are other methods but these were the methods Jude taught. My favorite was the woven approach so that is how I proceeded with a base. I actually made several bases that I will use at a later date.

My sampler began with a 9-patch structure using the weave as the structure of each square and then the "what-iffing" began. I used a simple leaf shape for my focus using bits of fabric that I had laying around in my fabric stash. The leaves look playful, hence, the title. Also the word "play" will be embroidered in the top left corner.

laying out the leaves...
Finding ways to embellish has been engaging my creative abilities and I feel "at home" when doing hand stitching. That "at home" feeling seems to center me and makes life peaceful. It has a wonderful, meditative quality that I love being part of. My piece is not finished as each leaf needs a personality of its own. I will be adding some wind lines when the leaves are finished to give the piece movement. Here are some pictures of my work on this piece up to this point.

some embroidery has been added--still what-iffing on how to proceed
reverse applique
windblown tree on mini woven base

“It is a happy talent to know how to play.”
                                                                 ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Filling the void

Raise a glass to me! I just finished uploading my final exercises from the online color studies course I have been taking from the Gail Harker Creative Studies Center in La Conner WA. I highly recommend to anyone with an interest in fiber and art, that they look into taking some classes at the center.

It feels good to be finished and yet, there is a huge void that has been left. The void is not bad, it just leaves me craving more. Craving more can be a really good thing as it leads me to discover my next step in the feeding of my passion. So, for now, I need to do some discerning and listening to my heart as to what the next step is.

This summer, I have some unfinished work from my Level 2 class on Design and Experimental Stitch, namely "the bead book." This little book [the tiny size of 4x4"] has about 14 pages of beaded samples. Each page has a left edge knotted buttonhole stitch applied. The work that needs to be done is applying beads/beading to the edges of each page--in a creative manor--to finish each page. Then the pages will be bound together with whichever binding method I choose.  I will post some pictures once I finish. It will keep me busy for the next several weeks.

Finishing a class or project it the absolute best feeling in the world. It just might be a time to sit back and take it all in. The color studies course produced three wonderful sketchbooks of color theory, color schemes and color studies. They will be a wonderful resource to me. One of my favorite exercises in this course was the creation of monoprints. After finishing each exercise, I had a palette full of unused acrylic paint. So, with the extra sketchbook pages, I would create monoprints by pressing the page onto the palette; producing interesting color blends. Very addicting and so frugal. I've included a picture below of some small pages I did and also a picture of a sketchbook cover.

sketchbook cover - monoprint
Art is not a treasure in the past or an importation from another land, but part of the present life of all living and creating peoples.       --Franklin D. Roosevelt

Friday, January 13, 2012

Pursuing passion--2012

Well, here I am, finally getting to another post. Guess contributing to my blog takes a little more planning than what I give to it. I've been pursuing my passion and forget that I should be posting more. My studies at the Gail Harker Creative Studies Center in La Conner, WA, have been consuming most of my spare time. I love the courses I have taken; currently finishing up a Level 2 Design & Experimental Stitch course in March. It has been a two-year-long class covering:
  • Painting, printing and dyeing fabrics and threads, to create a portfolio of hand and machine stitched samples and techniques.
  • Using embellishments such as beads, sequins, cords, and tassels as applications for art pieces.
  • Studying of contemporary and historic artists is undertaken along with study of stitch in different cultures.
  • An assessment will include the creation of an innovative stitch book from an original design.
  • Learning the creative process of taking a work from design, to sample, to a finished piece, in a logical manner.
Throughout the two years of this class, I've attended a series of six, 5-day long class sessions (8am-6pm each day) of intensive instruction and learning at the La Conner school. Very hands-on and full of good stuff, if you know what I mean. I have also just begun a Color Studies 101 online course through the Gail Harker school. It will keep me busy through April 2012.

It has been very freeing and a pure joy to be able to devote my time to creativity and focus on what I am passionate about. After years of raising our girls amd nurturing my marriage--and everything that encompasses the business of daily life--I finally have time to spend on what I truly enjoy doing; and that is creating art.
I've also had some fun creating fabric portraits of my grandchildren and grandpug. These amazing 8 1/2 x 11 portraits look like black and white photos when they are matted and framed.

I hope to post more pictures in the coming months showing some of my work from the school.

"Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time." --Thomas Merton