Friday, January 12, 2018


Deposition, mixed media collage

I remounted these two older pieces in the hopes of attracting a new forever home for them. I admit they are rather somber. They're littermates in a series I did quite a few years ago about working through childhood loss(es). Some have been "adopted", that is sold through the gallery they were exhibited in, and some were permanently retired. Not all the puppies make it.

Levitation, mixed media collage

Anywhoo not to get too broody here - if one can make art about their issues, then one's already in a better place - I took them out of there deep black frames and attached them to coarse cotton fabric stiffened with gesso. It's a technique I'm really excited about because it sets off well my casual style without having to bother with mat frames (especially if I'm not working in a standard size). Simply dry brush two coats of gesso on osnaburg - but allow for shrinkage.

Deposition, mixed media collage, detail

I like the added bonus of putting a subtle machine sewn border all around to complement the art work. First time I used one of those dang fancy stitches on the Janome. (Maybe it's not too much machine after all.)

Levitation, mixed media collage, detail

These two pieces are available in my Etsy shop:

For you image hounds, more pics of my artwork and other lurid snapshots can be found on Instagram:

To see the arts & crafts that inspire and goad me, check out my drug of choice, Pinterest (no hangovers! no jail time!):

Sunday, December 24, 2017

A Simple Christmas

Simple Christmas, mixed media collage 

'Tis the Season to be Arting... This is an effective strategy for dealing with all sorts of conflicting energies. Would that I could indulge to my heart's content.

Simple Christmas, mixed media collage, detail-b

The seed of the idea came from wanting to use the street finds of bottle caps and broken glass. How does Christmas come to those without money. Augmenting with a burlap background and kraft paper snowflakes seemed a natural fit. So much beauty can be found in the humble. The tree itself was a process. I sewed down scraps from a variety of green and patterned fabrics in a grid style then cut my shape from that.

Decorating. The icing that makes cake, dessert. Embellishing with many peaceful moments of sewing straight stitch, affixing sequins and beads, and fussing over shisha wrapped sparkly "presents".

Simple Christmas, mixed media collage, detail-b

I made this piece several Xmas' ago and became so fond of it I decided to frame and keep for myself. It's a touchstone for several mental working-through's.

The Holiday Season is complicated for me as it is for many. When I have the presence of mind to just stop - and focus on the reason for the season as they say, then it's like a breath of fresh air: Jesus. Birth. Hope.

Merry Christmas, y'all

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Sunshine And Flowers

Grandmother's Garden, mixed media textile collage

Grandmothers decorate my house and inspire my art. This piece of happy fluff started with a scrap of my Grandma-In-Law's dress - soft blue and white gingham dotted with yellow-centered pink flowers and green leaves. Finally making use of some of my precious hoard!

The foundation is a square of osnaburg roughly coated with gesso for instant texture and support. It was an experiment that pleasantly surprised me - will definitely do this again. Then there's the treasure scrap of course and on top of that I layered a sheet of vintage book text (with watery glue) and yet another experiment from long ago, hand printed flowers made from the plastic rings of cap gun ammo.

Grandmother's Garden, mixed media textile collage, detail-a

I went straight to the sun for beginning my embroidery. I wanted bright and happy. Tacking down a folded piece of yellow lace fit the bill, and I followed that up with a circle of buttonholed rays. Flowers were a mixture of fly stitch and lazy daisy plus buttons and two kinds of beads. More buttonhole for the stems and then an explosion of them for the background worked in variegated blue perle. Helped tie the layers together.

Tipping the sun rays with yellow beads made my heart sing. I love yellow and I love beads. Dotting the fabric print flowers with yellow beads was a no-brainer too. But something still felt missing. So after some miscues with color and design I settled on off-white running stitch "flourishes" in the upper corners and lower pockets.

Grandmother's Garden, mixed media textile collage, detail-b

Mission accomplished. As to my comment about grandmothers decorating my house - the background of my photo here comes from my paternal grandmother. It is a vintage runner of flax -  an exquisite example of renowned Lithuanian weaving. I do adore incorporating the "old stuff" (textiles, china etc.) into my decor - it's meaningful and fun-kayyy.

Just want pix without conversation, check out my Instagram:

Want to invest in wonderful folk art, check out my Etsy store:

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Mademoiselle Becoming

Mademoiselle Becoming, mixed media art journal page

Playing catch up here as I completed this art journal page a couple of months ago. I have been enamored with these little black and white photos and illustrations found in a Swedish dictionary. (One of my go-to sources for vintage printed pages.) It's been a challenge to use them in my art as they are quite small so details are easily lost, especially with all the grey tones. Not much really jumps out.  My technique of placing sheer fabrics over them to integrate into the background and protect the delicate paper makes it even trickier.

But stubborn donkey here keeps trying (you may recall my plaintive comments on dry gel transfers - I can't leave well enough alone although the paper hazing drives me nuts).  So that's why this is an art journal page rather than a full-on wall piece. As an experiment it works.

Here I watery-glued a large scrap of old silk scarf on top the vintage book picture. It's light color with delicate patterning works well but there's a visual difference between where the glue was applied and where not. That's okay in the context of a very scrappy, grunge collage, however it's unattractive when the fabric is dark and/or opaque.

The rest of the process is pretty self-evident. I added a few more glitzy scraps then embroidered all over in grey to help pull together. The tiny pink beads add texture with soft unobtrusive color. And the buttons guide the gaze (yours) to the face. Mademoiselle's lips have been rouged up for two reasons: attention (yours) and commentary (coming of age).

This is the third or fourth piece using these dictionary pictures. I think my success is limited - a grey focal point is hard to liven up without calling too much attention to the supporting players. Might gather them together, add a few more, and call it a subtle artist's book.

In meanwhile, splashier fare available at my Etsy shop:

And if it's microdoses of eye candy, visit me on Instagram:

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Awesome Sauce!

Sew Somerset, Winter 2018, Middle of Somewhere mixed media collage

Celebrating that I just got published by my favorite arts & crafts magazine, Sew Somerset!!  Winter 2018 issue.  I. AM. SO. JAZZED.

For those who may be unfamiliar, Sew Somerset promotes The Art of Creative Sewing with Mixed Media, published semi-annually. I fell in love with the magazine a few years back when Heike Gerbig's poetry-inspired textile art was the cover feature. Their showcasing stitchery in a mixed media context affirmed my own leanings and inspired me to go further down that path.

Back to play....

Friday, October 20, 2017


Anachronism, fabric art journal page

Found image inspires needle fiend!
A tiny dictionary picture of an ornate carriage got my creative (and dare I say, spoked) wheels rolling. Visions of irregular edges, a hand drawn horse, and pearly beads immediately came to mind. [So did a chartreuse ribbon with white polka dots but that led to an entirely different pony project. Wait for it.]

Anachronism, fabric art journal page, detail-a

Beyond those elements the rest of the piece didn't come together that intuitively. I played around with sizes and shapes of the vintage paper layer (old French almanac) as I have a frustrating propensity to frame within a frame ever so tidily. Finding the right shades of embroidery perles to stand out from the background without calling attention to themselves - well, there was some unpicking to do.

Auditioning fabric scraps to layer and piece the background is one of favorite parts of the process. Thank goodness I have a stockpile of lace tablecloths too -- instant texture (and a case can be made for coy symbolism too). This was also a perfect excuse to trot out the silver metallic embroidery thread (appearing as glinty French knots).

Anachronism, fabric art journal page, detail-b

The silvery flower button - it has been waiting for this project. I am very proud of myself for actually using it instead of saving for something "special" later. Because frankly I don't know if I'll know when that is. And it turns out there are button factories right now in real time making more, not to mention vintage shops all over the country and online with bountiful inventory.

I didn't plan on this as a sellable piece by itself. I have several of these quiet explorations that could be collected together into an artist book. The old Swedish dictionary providing these little black & white gems will surely yield at least a few more.

In case you were wondering...

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Three To Get Ready

Abudanza art journal page go, Journal, go! Every once in a while I get to feeling a little guilty for neglecting my "Art Journal". It's basically a chronological catch-all for experiments that scratch an itch for slapping some paint around, maybe even a little modeling paste, and of course gluing stuff down.

There's no rhyme or reason for these pages appearing together other than they happened close in time. One idea doesn't necessarily lead to another but they may be acquainted.

First page shown hides at least one if not two layers of *ugh*. Going for that distressed texture was a no-brainer even though the color combination was a process of trial and error. The raised lettering is a result of paste and stencils. Note: seal them after the first coat of paint otherwise any wiping tends to strip the pigment off. In this case it was a happy accident. The lovely wench image comes by way of  dried pasta packaging. You just never know...

Copper Fetish art journal page

The second page actually was the first to be prepared -- stamping washers and screens into modeling paste - and then nothing for weeks. The color combinations here too took some trial and error: I have something in mind, it doesn't go as planned, so then I try this and then that until finally I can live with it. The dusting with Pearl-Ex powder mixed with gum arabic over the raised surface felt like redemption. It's the rug that ties the room together.

Ok, I snuck in a little stitching, just to fix the copper scrap to the double fabric layer. (That too was a gift from the Art Gods & Goddesses.)

Hydrangea art journal page

I love purple and have a lot of it in paint form because I didn't realize how ginormous 4 ounces of it is. Note: stamping with pigment ink on acrylic doesn't work well so try a coat of clear gesso first. The flower stamps still aren't saturated and crisp but they're sufficient for delivering enough yellow to pick up on the magazine image and its fabric "frame".

My pride and joy here is the stencil I made from a sheet of acetate and a heat pen. I found the design in a Dover clip art book of - wait for it - stencil designs which I scanned and enlarged in Photoshop. I know there are scads of ready made out there but my imperfect rendition(s) suit my primitive style better.

These turned out to be fruitful exercises - light modeling paste and stencils are fun to play with and I'm eager to incorporate them into more pieces. And I'm confident they can play well with stitching.

In case you were wondering...