Archives for the month of: May, 2006

Also, during St.JCN’s visit, I worked on the Moda squares I got from Hancock’s. I decided on the final arrangement and started sewing them together. More than 20 days later, they are still in the same state. I will get back to it in another month or so.

I decided to get more of the squares, after St.JCN suggested it, and make the piece a little bigger. I was thinking about how I would arrange the new batch of squares. My idea now is to arrange them the same way, but turn the whole arrangement upside down and then sew it to the original group. Since I have not made this decision visually yet, we will have to see once the squares arrive.

One of the benefits for me of my friendship with St.JCN is that she doesn’t mind ironing and pressing. Above is the great unwashed clean and pressed and ready for use! I had nothing to do with these neat piles of fabric. St.JCN pressed and folded it all.

She was quite disgusted that I had not washed all the fabric and packed it up and took it home with her to wash and press there. The fabric will also stay and play with its friends until the chaos here at home dies down.

Some time has gone by since I last wrote and I hope my faithful readers have not given up on this blog. Since I last wrote, I haven’t been doing much of anything creative. However, the top for the Nosegay is finished! St. JCN’s visit was the first weekend in May and extremely productive in a lot of ways. Although we did not get to do everything we wanted (we never do!), we did get to do a number of fun things on the list, one of which was finishing the Nosegay.

The Nosegay was started in a class with Doreen Speckman at Black Cat Quilts. It was the last class she taught at Black Cat before she died. This class was held in about 1997 or 1998. I worked on it on and off, but fairly steadily until I came to the border. The quilt is huge and, thus, unwieldy to work on alone. St. JCN has helped me on and off but other quilts took precendence since the 90s and the Nosegay was relegated to the closet. At some point a few years ago, in an attempt to move the project along, we made border blocks. St. JCN is very good at helping me work through problems. She is also generous with her time and excellent at keeping me on track. We (I?) decided that the time had come to deal with Nosegay. First we looked over all the notes I had from the past efforts (I keep a file on each quilt and stuff everything related to it in the file). One note had been on my bulletin board so long that the ink had faded to a point where we could no longer read it! We also measured the border blocks and the quilt itself. We discussed how to get the border blocks to fit and tried a couple of different options.

I did like the black, in theory, as it echoed the cone in each of the Nosegay blocks, but it really looked like a big blob of black in each corner. The other colors are very pastel-y, thus we thought it was important to watch how the black fit in. I also liked the idea of a different shape in each corner to take the viewers mind off of the fact that the border blocks didn’t fit perfectly.

The yellow looked nice in the corner and was pastel so it worked with the other colors. It also fit with my concept of the different shape to draw attention away from the spacing issue, but again we had the big blob problem. A big blob of fabric in the corner drew too much attention to the area we wanted to mask.

Finally, we selected the above arrangement of border blocks as the best option. Even though the spacing isn’t even when you get to the corners, the blocks being similar draws less attention to the problem area.

Lorraine Torrence is one of my favorite teachers. She is organized, not sentimental, friendly in a professional way and provides useful information. One of her precepts, which has proven very useful to me, is “make visual decisions visually.” This means that a quiltmaker needs to make design decisions by looking at how the design will look IRL before starting to sew and cut. I did this with the black and yellow options above. In the case of the black, I actually sewed a few blocks and we tried them out. In the case of the yellow, St. JCN and I folded the fabric in some semblance of how the block would look. This is a much better method than just thinking it would look good. If I hadn’t looked at the design visually, I would have probably gone with the black and ended up with blocks that drew attentio to an area, I really didn’t want anyone to notice.

Kathan Brown is a printmaker and author of a book called Magical Secrets about Thinking Creatively. She is also the founder of Crown Point Press. At the de Young, they had an exhibit of Crown Point Press prints. On the legends I noticed some of the magical secrets, which made some sense or were interesting to think about so I started to write them down. I stopped when I found a brochure. The Magical Secrets are listed at

Seeing these ‘secrets’ made me think that creativity is a lifetime experience and that you have to work at your creative work.

I like the idea of Magical Secrets of Creativity. It makes me wonder if people have their own ideas about creativity and where people’s ideas intersect. I want to think about Brown’s ideas and see if they work for me.

I spent several hours at the New de Young on Friday. St.JCN spurred me to finally make the trek down there as she is visiting and that is one of the activities that she wanted to do. We are notoriously bad at doing anything remotely touristy when we visit each other, so this was a nice change.

In all, I enjoyed myself. For once, I brought my journal with me and wrote down the pieces of art that I liked. It was a good exercise in looking at things. I, long ago, gave myself permission not to look at all the art. But I looked at a lot of art at the de Young — more than I had really planned to.

The new building took some gettng acquainted with. The entrance was hard to find. Once in, it was a little unclear where to go for tickets. I loved the hominess of the old building, but the new building is definitely built for art and the art is shown at its best.

There is a textile room. They were showing gowns (Fortuny, Dior, Chanel, Balenciaga, etc.). Seeing some of htem was like seeing old friends as I had seen a few them before in a fashion exhibit. I remember making a sketch of a red dress with a big bow and gorgeous back treatment the last time I saw designer dresses.

Here are the pieces that I liked:

Wayne Thiebaud:
Three Machines
I like this one because of hte thickness of the paint and the simple imagery.
Diagonal Freeway
This one is quiltlike.
Park Place
the colors are very attractive.

Richard Diebenkorn:
Ocean Park 116
Quiltlike and pleasing colors.

Bernd & Hilla Becher:
Passau, Germany (Grain Elevator) -photography
This is amazing, because of the shape of the building and the stillness of the pond in front of the building.

Franz Senkinc (Austrian):
Iron, 1931 -photography
I really liked the simplicity of the image and the direction from which it was photographed.

Susanne & the Elders (artist unknown and not available on the web)
Provoking. I am sure certain sectors of society would deem this image pornographic.

I was definitely drawn to geometric shapes. I was not taken with many of the modern art pieces as they looked like a mess to me. I suppose I am not an art sophisticate. As I said, I enjoyed myself and am thinking of getting a membership so I can stop in and bring W.

Stephanie Metz makes really interesting felted wool statues. She is having an opening this weekend.

My favorite piece of hers is Meditation. I think it is unbelievably beautiful. Unfortunately she sold it before I could buy it. Oh well; it wasn’t meant to be.

Here is a notice about the opening from Stephanie herself.

This coming weekend I will be participating in Silicon Valley Open Studios, a Bay-Area wide program in which artists invite the public in to see their creative process, their works-in-progress, and recent artwork.

Once again this year I will be showing my work at the Pacific Art League in Palo Alto along with nine other artists—a group location right in downtown Palo Alto, with ample parking across the street. I will be on site and available to chat and demonstrate wool felting from 11am till 5pm on Saturday and Sunday, May 6th and 7th.

Along with a selection of paintings, prints, and drawings that will be available for sale, I am also pleased to offer a first look at a still-in-progress new body of work: a series of felted wool teddy bear skulls based on a variety of ‘breeds’ of teddy bears.

For a preview of my work and links to the other artists at this location, please visit my web site:

For more information and a directory of artists and locations participating in Open Studios, please see

The Pacific Art League is located at 668 Ramona Street, Palo Alto, 94301; their phone number is 650-321-3891, and their website is