Friday, June 30, 2017


This piece took far longer to make than it might appear....and I'm just referring to the construction part....not the hours spent altering the fabric, both black and white silk noil. But, isn't that what we love about one-of-a-kind pieces?  They challenge our creativity, our design skills, and construction techniques!

If interested, check out its beginning on this post.  And if you wish to dig in's a post from June 2015, about a 3 day dyeing retreat which included natural dyeing of some of the silk pieces. 

Let me also explain.....I had fully intended doing lots of hand stitching on this's actually been awhile since I've worked on a major one.  Yet....once the numerous blocks were arranged.....a new idea developed.  That was to let the natural dyed pieces speak for themselves....and highlight with simple metallic thread machine stitching.  Sometimes less is better.
 EARTH'S BOUNTY  28" x 29.5"
Botanical printing, natural dyeing with turmeric, curry, blueberries, pine needles, iron water on silk noil, machine quilted


Thursday, June 29, 2017


Although my focus is clearly dedicated to creating wall art, felting, and beading....there are actually other activities I enjoy. eons ago, I operated my own small cooking school in the suburbs of Chicago. In fact, the very first published book of mine was a children's cookbook.  Everyday meal preparation is not as interesting as it was once to me, but I do enjoy baking.
 I've been playing around with different flavored breads....a change from the crusty sour dough bread I normally make.  This is a Kalamata/paramesan cheese loaf after 3 risings.
 A pizza stone has been heating at 425 for 30 mins.
 With the aid of parchment paper, the loaf is slid onto the hot stone and baked for about 45 mins.
I wish you could smell the aroma and hear the crunch as the bread was cut.  Of course I'll be paying for those calories by extending my exercise for the next couple of days!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017


Like I mentioned previously.....this month's Fiber Junkie gathering was rather a free for all....with lots of technique options to explore. 
 Not only did Val have the eco-dyeing equipment set up, she had a vat of indigo to play with too.  Kate is dipping a piece of paper into the solution.
 You can almost see it turning blue as it comes out!
 Denny was hard at work making deconstructed screens and layering and layering previously printed fabrics.  I am always in awe....
 Super, isn't it?!?
She brought a tree stencil that we all went ga, ga over!!
 Now....full disclosure!  It's human nature to show off only the best of what we create, right?  Well.....I have NO fact I have bad, worse, and worser!
I purposely brought fabrics that failed previous dyeing attempts....whether that be ice-dyeing or other techniques.  Of course I was thinking....hummmm.....I'll layer designs and perhaps end up with great 'Denny' style fabrics.  

Even using Denny fabulous tree stencil (Crafter's Workshop), the results were miserable.
 The stencil was used for both positive and negative images.....pitiful.
 This piece stared out as a blue/white print......later to be ice-dyed, followed by a color removal technique, and now printed with stencils and thickened dyes.  Of course the color choice of the dye was all wrong....there is no hope for this one. I'll give it to Denny for her miracle touch.
I'm not even sure how this piece was originally looked like dirty sand when I started.......and didn't look any better after I played with smearing dyes, using stencils and a polka dot roller.  

Yup...that's it.....I knew each was terrible as soon as I made them......yet I went through the process of batching, washing, drying to be put back in the stack of 'needs more help' fabrics.

Okay....not all days can end up with awesome fabric......but all days with the Fiber Junkies are awesome anyway!!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017


Before we hit the outdoor studio.....we continued with our Coffee/Show and Tell....
 Kate makes the niftiest covered notebooks, complete with pen....very well made and always charming and fun to study the combinations of materials.

They are available at Woolworth Walk, downtown Asheville (booth 235) or contact me and I'll put you in touch with her.
 Our planned deconstructed screen printing plans last month were scratched due to the weather....instead we played with thickened dyes.  Denny inspires us so much with her knack of layering and layering and layering......always impressive!  So this month we were to bring back our now washed and pressed fabrics as further inspiration....these are some of Denny's.

 Denny has been taking a break from her typical social commentary theme quilts, instead she's been making BIG quilts.....with lots and lots of piecing.
 Judy brought this oh so lovely piece.  My photo does not do it justice....check her blog Windy Hill guess is she'll blog about it very soon. It features screen printing, photo transfer, machine embroidery, and quilting.
 Here's one of Judy's pieces done last month that will be layered some more...ala Denny!!
Gen is smitten with alcohol inks.....these images will be incorporated into note cards.

One more post to go before the end of our June Fiber Junkies report....stay tuned.

Monday, June 26, 2017


Our FJ's June meeting was chocked full of techniques. This post will concentrate on paper eco-dyeing.  It's NOT a tutorial....just an overview with lots of eye candy that may nudge you to google the subject to explore further. 
 We always begin our day with Coffee/Show and Tell.  Val has been cooking up a storm of eco-dyed paper.  Some are single pages, other are folded and will go into the books she creates.

Many of Val's papers had been previously rusted before the botanical printing....providing a intriguing complex finished pieces. Here's a glimpse of her rust treasures....

A very brief description on how it's done:  Individual pieces of paper are layered with plant material; eucalyptus leaves are used in this example.  A stack of about 7 are pressed between pieces of cedar shake shingles and clamped tightly in place. 
 They are placed in a turkey deep fryer basket....large screws are run through the holes to keep the bundles from floating to the surface during processing.
 The basket is carefully lowered into boiling vinegar/water and covered with a lid to simmer an hour.
 With protective gloves....the basket is removed from the hot water, bundles are removed, and left to cool.  Here Kate is taking her package apart....bliss as she smells the leaf!!
Some of the results.
So often I mention Val.....who generously shares her outdoor studio with us from spring to fall.  She's a gracious and giving hostess (with an equally wonderful husband to put up with all of us), who has more talent in her little finger than I have in my whole body!  Val just got a new puppy who we were all loving on!

Check in with me again for more Fiber Junkies adventures.

Sunday, June 25, 2017


This is not a scene you'd expect to find in the mountains.....where did this guy come from??
But Sooty, our black lab did!  The shell looks like it'd be a great batik pattern!

Friday, June 23, 2017


After increasing my felted bowl/vase inventory, those materials have been put away for awhile.  I'm turning my attention toward creating wall art again.  With the notion of making slightly larger sizes.  My pals Judy, Kate and I will again have an exhibit at the NC Arboretum next spring which is a perfect opportunity to display bigger pieces.
This piece of discharged black silk noil has been calling me.....though with no specific direction in mind.  Unfortunately, it was a rather small piece so I set about recreating the look.
 Denny brought boxes of this dry bleach to a Fiber Junkies meeting about a year ago.....very cool stuff.  I sprinkled it onto a piece of wet silk noil......gave it an all over spritz of water and let it sit for about 30 mins.  The top photo shows the results.
These botanical printed silk noil fabrics were created using ferns, leaves, turmeric and blueberries.  After tightly rolling and securing around wood dowels, they were simmered for about an hour in an iron solution.  I LOVED each one, though I had no ideas how to use them.
 Close-up....this one was printed with pine needles, turmeric and rose petals.
 With my larger piece of discharged silk noil now ready......I've isolated parts of the eco-dyed fabrics....fringing the edges and am exploring several design options.  Stay tuned, won't you??

Visit these creative bloggers for further inspiration: Nina-Marie's Off The Wall Friday, Sarah's Whoop, Whoop Friday, Crazy Mom Quilts.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017


 Cross cut Merino wool batts are often touted as a time saver over wool strands of wool roving.....and I have quite a collection of beautiful colors.  However, I've never been completely successful working with them.  Some projects seem to work, others don't.
 This is an example of the problem I've experienced.  The layers don't felt together in all areas.  In this case, some of the edges have split apart and no amount of elbow grease were able to bond them.
 A friend gifted this felting machine to another pal who passed it along to me.  It's like brand new.  Thank you Patsy and Val!!
What the heck....with 5 needles, this sure beats needle felting by hand.  So...I was off and running.  This should be a no brainer, right? Yet,  I managed to break all 5 needles in a short period of time.  I installed 5 new needles and broke all of those too....fortunately by then the layers were beautifully felted together. 
It was worth the effort....the 9"w x 3" tall piece is now perfectly felted.

Anyone else out there have some tips for me?  My only thought was the layers were too thick/dense....however it easily fit beneath the plastic needle shield and the machine never stalled or slowed down.  Just snap, snap, snap as the tips of the needles broke.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017


My fingers are wrinkled and my upper arms are sore.....but it's all worth it. 6 new wet-felted bowls/vases are now in my online gallery shop.  (When connected to the shop, look for link on top info bar to see a detailed list of available items.) 
 Oval blue vase 6"w x 5" tall -  $29
 Green/grey bowl - embellished with green sea glass - 7" dia x 3" tall -  $35
 Brown/rust bowl - embellished with clear/wire embedded sea glass - 6" dia x 3" tall - $35
 Grey/white - 4" dia x 2.5" tall -  $20
 Pink/yellow vase - 6" w x 5" tall - $29
Two Blues - round vase - 6" w x 5" tall - $29