Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Broccodile

Here's a fun project that I did over Christmas vacation...a baby blanket for my 1-year-old nephew Brock, also know as "Brockoli" and "Brockodile". First, I made a montage using images from the internet, then printed it out in pieces...

Then I sewed several layers of jersey fabric over quilt batting and pinned the printouts to it, sewing over them to create broccoli and crocodile shapes. Then I tore away the paper, leaving the shapes stitched in thread.

The cats love to sit on anything I'm working on, especially something soft and cat-sized, like a baby blanket :)

Then I cut away layers of fabric to reveal different colored parts of the pattern.

And lastly, I throw it in the washer and the dryer to get the edges to shrink and tighten into a cohesive-looking whole. Here are pictures of both sides of the finished blanket, different due to cutting away fabric in different areas:

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Clouds n Trees

After finishing the cloud quilt (it went to live with Mom), I wanted to try more shapes from nature. I LOVE this quilting technique! It takes a little planning, but I enjoy the analytical, problem-solving aspect of creativity.

Basically, I start with 3 sheets of fabric layered one on top of the other, then start sewing the pattern, cutting away portions to reveal the different colors of fabric. I wash and dry the quilt a couple times during the process to see how the edges will curl up. This Tree Quilt is about 18" x 24"—I think this technique really needs to be used on bigger pieces. The tree motif would be great on a blanket.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Clouds in Raw-Edged Linen

I started this project a few weeks ago after getting some linen fabric in an employee sale. It's wall-hanging sized. I plan to edge it with strips of the darkest blue fabric and sew a long pocket for a dowel rod on the back for hanging.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Manatees of Manatee County

I had a blast thinking this up during our trip to Sarasota and St. Petersburg Florida a couple months ago.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Before and After

Here's another collaborative piece with my friend Ronda. I decided to send it to her without telling her anything about the people in the photo, or the handwriting...I didn't want to color her interpretation. Here it was before Ronda...

...And here it is after Ronda.

It was such a treat to receive it back in the mail. I waited until I could sit down and spend some time opening it, like a really special gift (which, of course, it is.) I love the seashells sewn into layers of mesh, and the playful materials. The children are Aunt Gail, Mom (Norma), and I think Jeannie (their cousin, Moselle's daughter.) The writing is from a really lovely letter that Grandpa sent to Grandma within a few years of the time this photo was taken.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Dancing Ideas and collaborative art through the mail

My friend, Ronda, and I collaborated on this 8x10 felt mixed media collage through the mail. She initiated this piece by sending me a cutout felt bird shape, a background of quilted fabrics, and sequined heart. She was so surprised when she opened the mail a few weeks later and saw what I did with it...and that moment is the MAGIC of collaboration! Thanks Ronda!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Aquacows of the Midwest

Ah, summer in the midwest. We drive past these cows everyday on the commute to Tonganoxie. With temperatures in the 90s, the cows have been getting in the pond with the Mallards. I told my carpool buddies next time we saw the cows and ducks together, we had to stop to take pictures. Today was the day!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Scribbling in Cyberspace

I love the internet, if for no other reason, because it provides a free and easy cyber~space in which to exhibit art. As wispy and imagined as the "audience" may be, it still motivates me to create. I highly recommend blogging to inactive artists who want to be more active.

I like "scribbling" with the sewing machine, contrasting with folds and puckers of soft fabric. The two crows quilt-collage above is still in progress. Along with the Unicorn, it's part of an animal spirit guide theme that I'm following.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Insight for the it love?

I love this fabric. I got it from an "scraps" bin when I worked at a clothing boutique that utilized antique kimono fabrics. Of my diverse fabric collection, this one caught my attention today—it evokes something unexplainable in me. Anymore, I only work with materials that I love. I think many artists today would agree that life experiences inform their art as much as practicing a technique. While I think that practicing a technique is valuable and necessary, it's just empty motion without deep and real self-expression. That's why I choose materials and techniques that resonate.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Experiencing the darkness without falling in

Sometimes I feel so boring. Inspiration is just a word, and there’s a emptiness and inertia in my day-to-day activities that leaves me vaguely unsatisfied. I am immensely grateful that I’m not bound to this cycle, at least not like I used to be. Quiet affirmations keep me walking the fine line of experiencing the darkness without falling in. I was reminded of this again at this Sunday’s service at Center for Spiritual Living; God, or Love, or whatever you call it, is present in the darkness. It's in the light. It’s in the interesting times and the boring. It’s everywhere at all times, loving and accepting me no matter what. That’s comforting and inspiring.

During Sunday’s service, Jurie used the words “gold mine” in a prayer, but I heard “goal mind,” a lovely and poetic little happening...

gold mine~ goal mind

Later, driving on the highway, I passed two pairs of crows at the side of the road within a few minutes of each other. I heard once that crows signify a spiritual message, and I often pause when I see a crow and try to listen more deeply to the moment.

These sketches are made from pictures of crows online (gotta love Google’s image search!) I’ll probably work them in to the next collage.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Knitting at the IHOP

I'm in a booth at the International House of Pancakes at 10:45 p.m. on a Saturday with a knitting project in my lap using the high-speed internet to blog. Life is truly weirder than fiction!

Once I truly start a knitting project (as opposed to the false starts that make up 90% of my knitting ;o), I want to take it everywhere with the movies, to hang out with family and friends, to watch TV, to the IHOP. Why is that?

I'm knitting a short fleecy poncho. It's knitted "in the round". The first time I started it, I was knitting happily 8 inches along, but was annoyed by two big twists which caused the yarn to get tangled, and couldn't wait to take it off the needles and untwist it. Then I realized...mental head slap...taking it off the needles won't untwist it! I was basically knitting a 3-D infinity symbol with no value as a poncho. So I pulled it out and started over.

The good thing about chunky fleece yarn is it's going pretty quickly. 

"Little One" strikes a pose

For weeks after finishing the Unicorn quilt-collage, I imagined the next project would be a portrait of my cat, "Little One", done in the same quilt-collage style as the Unicorn. I took dozens of pictures to try to get the perfect shot: a composition that would translate easily to embroidery, that showed his lovely undulating black & white markings, plus captured the utter relaxation of resting cat. I tried drawing him from life...not easy with a cat...and although composing a picture seems impossible, drawing from life inspired me with details that photographs couldn't. In the end, the idea of a portrait of my cat was more appealing than actually doing it, so I moved on to a knitting project.

Compositionally pleasing picture of Little OneThen, with the knitting supplies spread out and the planning underway (for a cute little poncho), Little One sat down in the middle of it all and struck this pose, which meets all my requirements for the cat-collage idea. The irony is delicious.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Do you believe in magic?

I created this blog as a journal for inspiration — for creativity in life, in art, and in relationships. I love it when the mind is in overdrive, and ideas flow faster than one can write, draw, or speak them. This blog is called Magic is Real, a tongue-in-cheek acknowledgement of the big-d Divine in everyday life. (I just hope the url "" becomes available soon...that would be the icing on the cake.)

I like to play with word pairings like this...

poetry   ~   paradox
people   ~   computers
art   ~   science

Periods of mental exhilaration often follow periods of confusion, uneasiness, and self-indulgence. It's cyclical. When I'm meditating or journaling regularly, a period of confusion is almost always followed by an awakening in some area of my life.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Magic is Real

This quilt-like collage represents a hopeful synthesis of my spirituality and my craft. I started by laying out inspiring materials I had on hand, let go of self-conscious second-guessing, and started pinning and sewing. It's not magic...or maybe it is...

I was inspired by a guided meditation about climbing a mountain and finding a peaceful place at the top. We were guided to see a pure spiritual being and receive our personal message...and the first creature that came to my mind was a unicorn. The unicorn said to me, "The spiritual work you do is worthwhile, and even though it may not seem like anything is happening, it is." I felt a touch self-conscious and silly about imagining such a, well, imaginary character...and also knew it's not silly at all. Unicorns are eternal. They're completely imaginary yet imbued by our culture with all kinds of spiritual meaning. Kind of like our own spiritual nature...invisible, but every bit as real as we believe it to be.