Tuesday, May 30, 2017


Besides all the rain we've been getting, it had been hot....well....not Florida hot....but unusally warm for our comfortable mountains.  Normally, if we turn our A/C on more than twice a year....it's a record!
 'The husband' has taken to treating our dog with a frozen treat after their afternoon walk to cool her down.  Black dog on black asphalt.....need I say more?

Those prepared frozen goodies are $$ and calorie filled....even our rescue dog needs to watch her weight.  So I set about making our own.  There are lots of recipes available online but after previewing many, I chose two ingredients...low fat peanut butter and no fat, no sodium chicken stock.
 Using about 3 parts stock to 1 part peanut butter.....it was whirled in a food processor until well mixed.  Small plastic cups with lids (found inexpensively online) fit into a muffin tin nicely to keep everything level and in place during the freezing process. Once frozen, the cups are stored in a large plastic bag in the freezer.
Sooty LOVES her treats!

Monday, May 29, 2017



Visit Mary's gallery shop (embellished quilt section) for more details.

Friday, May 26, 2017


We were all so looking forward to our first 2017 FJ gathering at Val's house....where we are treated with our own tables/space to work in her garage studio.  Val graciously hosts us from Spring to Fall, and we literally take over her house as well.....

Unfortunately, we've experienced a prolonged spell of rain and coolish weather, requiring us to nix our plans for deconstructive screen printing, fearing the screens wouldn't dry in a timely manner.
 But heavens.....that doesn't stop the FJ's from playing with thickened dyes.  We all kinda just did our own thing....mostly mono-printing, stamping, and fabric painting.  Denny had brought this textured roller that I FELL in love with....it gives the appearance of strings wrapped around the hard rubber cylinder.
Instead of beginning with soda ash treated white fabric, I brought a stack of previously dyed (in various manners) fabrics that I wasn't keen about.  Denny's adage of 'if you don't like it.....add more', was my motto for the day.
Instead of working with so many different dye colors....which often yields fabrics that may be wonderful, but don't seem to coordinate with anything else I own, I decided to work exclusively (we'll almost anyway) with Indigo dye.

Here's a scrap of felted wool that had gotten lightly stained so it was getting a do-over.  Roadside foliage was placed directly onto the wool.
 It was covered with a silk screen and the dye was pressed through. Unfortunately it didn't penetrate as evenly or well as it should have....look, the foliage hardly appears discolored.
Here is the result.....not wonderful. Which actually became my theme for the day......not wonderful results.
 The next attempt was a previously rejected dyed cotton piece.  Yee gads!
But here it is after batching and washing.....fairly usable.
Another mess that was worked using leaves and a fern stamp.  I didn't like the way the stamped fern looked, so in an attempt to 'fix' it....I got mud.
BUT...you never know....after batching and washing....I was surprised.  Both these pieces are similar in color....neither are good enough to work as whole pieces, but will most certainly get cut up and incorporated into future work.
 Lot's of stamping went on.....this nice piece is Judy's.
 Denny, always the innovator of our group.....smeared thickened dye onto plastic and then printed white fabric.  Great idea to generate textured backgrounds. 
 Kate was using some of our 'group collection' of resists....dabbing paints on and around them.
 Val used a rubber scrapper, applying paint in a landscape orientation.  She ALWAYS makes it look so easy.....and has developed her own unique signature to her designs.
 Judy had great success printing ferns.  She applied paint to a fern, placed it on the fabric and covered with Plexiglas.  The image transferred from the pressure of running a hard rubber roller over the surface.
 Denny, (as I said...the master of layering designs) used stencils, resists, and a polka dot roller for this piece.
Kate too was using some of her 'failed' previously deconstructed screen printed fabric.  I love what she's done here; printing a fern and using the edge of a credit card to depict more foliage.

We all went home with transformed fabric....some real successes, others candidates for another 'do-over'.  Deconstructed screen printing is on our agenda for June....and we can't wait!!!

Thursday, May 25, 2017


I've been enjoying and inspired by beautiful photos my old high school girlfriend DD posts on her Facebook page.  Her latest reminded me to hunt for a piece of painted fabric that I recall creating some time ago.

Of course this doesn't look like much now.....just noodling some possible design motifs.....an idea is forming.....will share when it's underway!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017


I KNOW.....this is gross......BUT amazing.  After experiencing fairly bad drought conditions ever since the beginning of last summer....Mother Nature has made up for it now.  Rain has been falling in buckets over the last week, sometimes 2" - 4" in a few hours.
So.....look what we found in our garage....stuck to a glue trap (of which there are numerous ones.....rural living requires that kind of pro-active action!) Perhaps its den got flooded. This black snake measured about 3' long.  We do have two varieties of poisionious snakes here....fortunately this isn't one.  

Tuesday, May 23, 2017


Now that the weather requires 'housekeeping' inside and OUT.....studio time may be a bit more limited as 'the husband's' recovery continues, now 6 months post-surgery!  Yikes....I realize now just how out of shape I am!

Happily....we've been having some rainy weather....allowing me some studio time to create a few more baskets and small cases for my shop.  The felted wool features ice-dyeing, mon-printing, needle felting, and screen printing.

Friday, May 19, 2017


The final touches are now completed....as you can see I added another circle, machine quilting, and a traditional binding.
Ice dyed cottons, transfer printing, machine stitched.

Visit these fine blogs to be inspired by other artists:  Nina-Marie's Off The Wall Friday, Sarah's Whoop Whoop Friday, and Crazy Mom Quilts.

Thursday, May 18, 2017


 Ever since I discovered how adaptive ice-dyed fabrics were to what I refer to as Frank Lloyd Wright Prairie Style designs....I've been off and running with ideas.
Several pieces of ice-dyed fabrics, made on a 3 day dyeing marathon with two pals, caught my eye as they were organized into my stash. This one was actually the result of a trade....it's a flurry of excitement on our last evening as we review what we created....trading is not uncommon.  So, if I recall correctly....this piece was Judy's.  It began as a rather boring rusted fabric, but caught my eye in this over-dyed rendition.
I'd brought along some pale cotton prints to over-dye.  This one was accordion pleated and as you can see, not very successfully dyed but I did love the color.
 Our last Fiber Junkies meeting's focus was transfer printing.  I am not keen about the process we use as the fabric is generally stiffer than I prefer to work with.  However, Kate (thank you, thank you) insisted I do at least one....providing me with a cactus image and a piece of rust dyed fabric.
This is the result.  AND...talk about a perfect piece for my current project!
VIEW 1. believe it or not, 4 different ice-dyed fabrics have been incorporated into this piece.  Ice-dyeing yields such unique designs and colors....it's amazing that 2 of the 4 had been made at least 2 years ago, yet still coordinated with the current batch.  
View 2 -  The 'plan', though I didn't map it out on paper or computer was to make a smaller piece to more easily fit into my gallery space at Woolworth Walk in Asheville. AND.... to utilize as much of the fabric as possible, some being smaller, odd size shapes. Since I still had a limited amount of fabric left, a final row was added to the top.
View 3 - I'd considered adding circles to these designs before but hadn't quite figured out how best to do that, until now.  The cactus fabric seemed like it would be perfect to feature. The front of the fabric actually blended in too well, so here you see the back of that fabric instead.

The finishing touches are being done today....stay tuned.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017


To many, the name Bill Schroeder will not be familiar, but quilters know his name because he was such a moving force in the quilt world.  Bill, with his wife Meredith, brought Paducah, Ky to the forefront of the quilt movement. Sadly, he passed away May 13th.  More info can be found here.  

 Comments from very prominent folks regarding his passing will flood in. This little voice too wants to express gratitude for his dedication founding Collector Books, the AQS Quilt Show, and the National Quilt Museum. They were both there to support my fledgling career way back when by publishing my first two books, hiring me to teach, lecture and judge at over a dozen of their shows, and the opportunity to lecture and teach at the fabulous museum.

A wonderful man whose impact on quilters everywhere can not be underestimated.

Friday, May 12, 2017

OPEN FOR BUSINESS - Woolworth Walk

This will be a brief, right to the point post.  We are officially open for business at Woolworth Walk in downtown Asheville.
 Setting up our space went fairly well, once some items were installed.  Here Judy and Kate are drilling holes into the clever scarf racks Kate made.
 .....And then installing on a side wall that would otherwise be pretty much dead space.
 While they worked on those tasks, I began to hang my work....following the master lay out plan developed on my guest room floor!  That left me available to  assist them as their quilts got hung.
 Mary's space
 Judy's space - Judy and Kate are sharing the hanging scarf rack in Judy's area, and a floating shelf in Kate's.  The canvas portfolio rack under the shelf will be shared by all of us.
 Kate's space
As we were packing up to head back home.....the first two people to step into our space were quilters, visiting Asheville from Cary, NC.  Let the fun begin!

Linking to:  Nina-Marie's Off the Wall Friday, Sarah's Whoop Whoop Friday, and Crazy Mom Quilts.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017


 Last August pals Judy Simmons, Kate Weston and myself were juried into the well known Woolworth Walk in downtown Asheville.  The popularity of this gallery is evident since it took until about 2 weeks ago for us to be finally notified that a space was availalbe.  I may not be overstating by saying most of the artists stay on there for years.
Woolworth Walk is a uniquely Asheville experience; a privately and locally owned gallery in the heart of downtown, located in a historic building and representing local artists exclusively.  It's complete with a working soda fountain!
Our space is in the lower level, where all 'new to the gallery' artists start out. We purchased the lights from the previous artist and set about plans to paint the walls white.  The flooring is original, stone or ceramic is our best guess....it desperately needs cleaning!
Once we divided up the space.....armed with measurements of my section, I taped off our guest room floor to help me decide what pieces would make the best use of the space. We've exhibited several times at the NC Arboretum where we had the luxury of displaying 90-100 pieces.....that is NOT the case here.  We pay for every square inch so it's important to utilize it!
Besides wall art, I'm hoping there will be a lot of interest in the felted bowls/baskets I so enjoy making.  I planned on using one of the many ladders scattered about our home but ended up deciding on this one.  It was made from recycled barn wood, with narrow shelves rather than steps. I stored baskets filled with all sorts of handy items that I use constantly in my studio. 
 Even with measurements available, I found it necessary to visually ascertain how it would look.
Taking the time to preview how some of my pieces would fit was beneficial.
It was a bit dismaying realizing how few wall pieces could be displayed.  So I considered another option in order to add just 1 more piece.
 I tied out this cubby hole bench (also made from recycled barn wood).  After a ridiculous amount of indecision, I finally chose to use the ladder because the bench was only 19" tall. A longer, taller table may be in my future....
 This week we were back at our space to paint.
 Not surprising, it would require two coats......ever heard the term "watching paint dry"?  We were definitely doing that....anxious to get on with the transformation.
And here it is......booth # 235 - Woolworth Walk - Asheville, NC

Later this week we will hang our work, so check back if you care to follow our progress......it's all so very exciting for us!