Sunday, November 18, 2018

Hash: A Dog's Lunch

Hash: A Dog's Lunch, artists book, detail-1

 I made this book just to be fun to look at and hold in your hands - chock full of color and texture. A real page-turner so that there's something different to enjoy on each one.

I varied my imagery and techniques as intuition and whim dictated. Drawing, magazine pictures, paint, embroidery, texture pastes, buttons, stamping, etc. Because it's an opportunistic bit of this and that, I named it after one of my favorite phrases: a dog's lunch.

Hash: A Dog's Lunch, artists book

This mixed media filled-in art journal is constructed of paper-fabric, that is, paper laminated onto fabric which offers the benefits of both surfaces. Each differently sized "leaf" (single sheet when bound becomes two pages) is made from two sheets, both individually decorated, attached back to back for extra support. (Plus it hides messy thread ends.) I gathered three leaves together to make a signature (individual section of sheets folded down the middle and bound together). There are three signatures total. The fabric-encased hard covers are decorated on both sides. The binding is done with double-needle Coptic stitch (first time!), reinforced with decorative ties at the top and bottom of the spine. Measurements are: 5" tall, 4" wide, and 5-1/2" deep.

Hash: A Dog's Lunch, artists book, detail-2

Because this artist book is bursting with art, it's not meant to close down well. It wants to be open (upright or on its back) and looked at!

It is available in my Etsy shop:

To see my latest stitching and inspirations, visit me on Instagram:

Monday, September 10, 2018

Pear, mixed media textile collage

Street find inspiration struck again.  That this little twisted piece of metal so obviously resembled a pear meant all I had to do was flesh it out and frame. They are an unfussy fruit, a simple buxom shape coming in friendly colors of yellow and green, or even sometimes a sultry wine-ish red.

Pear, mixed media textile collage, detail-a

I wanted to play not only with layering fabrics but having a focal shape straddle them so to speak. The tension of the uneven scraps and color juxtaposition makes for a more interesting background. It also gives me springboard for experimenting with traditional embroidery stitches. While the subject (fruit) and the stitches (basic) are pretty traditional in themselves, they have been tweaked for a fresh interpretation.

Pear, mixed media textile collage, detail-b

Or so I hope. My intention isn't necessarily an avant garde rendering but a gentle twist, enough to get you to look twice and enjoy what you see. In these days and age, there's enough wall space for both kinds of art: one that challenges and one that affirms.

"Pear" is reinforced and fabric-backed, measuring 5" x 7" so it will fit a standard frame.  It is available in my Etsy shop:

To see my latest stitching and inspirations, visit me on Instagram:

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Queen of My Mother's Garden

Queen of My Mother's Garden, mixed media textile collage

This began as a mere experiment of cross-stitching a simple pattern on non-evenweave fabric - in this case an iris on a scrap of jacquard tablecloth. I'd like to incorporate a greater variety of cloth scraps in my collages - and here's a chance to tailor make some particularly special ones.

Turns out the waste canvas does the job though for me it can be tricky to align with the grain of the fabric underneath and stretch it out without warping. (In a second attempt on a later project, centering letters on a true horizontal to the piece became an issue too.)

Queen of My Mother's Garden, mixed media textile collage, detail-a

With a usable experiment in hand, I had an itch to contrast this cross-stitching with free-motion stitching. There was an image in my head that I could not shake: hand drawn circles overlapping as if for emphasis.

And then what? Try at not trying. Continue with this loose, spontaneous approach. I set out a two baggies of scraps (one, cottons and the other, everything else) and my big box of ribbons & lace. I happily auditioned fabrics, and they eventually sorted themselves into the configuration you see here. I was in the rumored Zone.

Queen of My Mother's Garden, mixed media textile collage, detail-b

Deciding what to embroider where however, doesn't usually flow so easily. I've done my fair share of unpicking - even more than once. What I envision doesn't always translate successfully. Sometimes colors stand out too much or too little; and thread thicknesses can appear clumsy or stingy. It has to feel right, right? - or at least not wrong!

Queen of my Mother's Garden, mixed media textile collage, detail-c

When I think of irises, my first thought is that they are my mother's favorite. She was quite proud of the ones she grew in a side yard removed from foot traffic and playing kids. In retrospect I realize that gardening was where she found her Zone. Yet I was a little jealous - as an only child of course I wanted to be the center of such absorbed attention. And so here I managed to sneak in that little drama as shown above.

Queen of My Mother's Garden comes mounted on a 5" x 7" textured cotton background, and is available in my Etsy shop:

To see my latest stitching and inspirations, visit me on Instagram:

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Cafe, oui!

Le Grand Fabrezan, textile collage

While traveling overseas, I brought along a very basic art stitching kit. It consisted of denim and osnaburg scraps, a handful of perles (sizes 5 & 8) in neutrals and basic colors, plus scissors and needles. And a seam ripper. It would be a the fun challenge: what could be created with limited supplies and the occasional found object.

Le Grand Fabrezan, textile collage, detail-a

I knew I wouldn't have much time to give myself over to some big complicated project - that's what home studios are for. But I knew I would jump out of my skin if I didn't have something to sew even if only to make chicken scratches.

A little burst of inspiration came in the form of the ubiquitous cookie served with cafe au lait. I even had an affinity for the colors on the wrapper: buttercream, red oxide, and rusty orange. Why not a still life of sorts. 

Le Grand Fabrezan, textile collage, detail-b

I set to work piecing my "canvas" because I'm so taken with the look of patchwork. It adds instant texture and visual interest to the background. Then with my rudimentary drawing skills I sketched out a basic coffee cup and went over that with thread. The kicker would be the real live wrapper. And actual coffee stains for effect.

Very satisfied with my minimalist textile collage. It was completed in several days between jaunts to quaint places and periods of idle conversation. I gave it as a tiny gift to my hosts who already had purchased another (grander) piece for their collection.

To see my other latest stitching and inspirations, visit me on Instagram:

I also my original artwork in my Etsy shop:

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Feel The Heat

Desert, Late Spring, mixed media textile collage

My take on the transition from tender Spring greenery to that intense Summer heat found in the desert (and seemingly everywhere right now from my vantage point of late July!) As I live in the arid region of Southern California, I feel a mild dread of what's to come - the record-breaking high temps that zap all my energy. The landscape cries thirst.

Desert, Late Spring, mixed media textile collage, detail-a

Yet there is a sear beauty to what the sun wreaks - it has such an intense power, an incredible presence. This cycle repeated endlessly over time. That germ of thought is what came to mind when I stumbled upon this rusty metal disk. It would be the nucleus of my sun image. Old yet timeless, relentless.

It was easy enough to fall back on the cliche colors often used to clothe the sun - yellows and golds. The ochre shades well compliment the rich reddish brown of rust. They rightfully suggest energy, brightness, and warmth.

Desert, Late Spring, mixed media textile collage, detail-b

Now of course the flora found in the desert isn't that saturated green as found in the jungle - it tends toward the sage and khaki shades with plenty of silvery and ashy highlights. This against the endless palette of browns and beiges becomes a study of subtle contrasts. No splashy kodachrome shots here. The simplicity of form comes to dominance.

Desert, Late Spring, mixed media textile collage, detail-c

"Desert, Late Spring" comes mounted on an 8" x 10" canvas-y feeling dry-brushed cotton, and is available in my Etsy shop:

To see my latest stitching and inspirations, visit me on Instagram:

Friday, July 20, 2018

Home On The Range

"Out On The Range", mixed media textile collage

Colorplay. An idle mental exercise of what might go with a terrifically deep rust upholstery fabric I'd been hanging onto to it for longer than I can remember. I knew its sturdiness would come in handy as a background "canvas" for... something Westernish. Hence the horse. Then the perfect contrast came to me - cool blues, turquoise maybe. And the scrap bag yielded this nugget of a print.

"Out On The Range", mixed media textile collage, detail-a

I'd been wanting to play around with stitching a particular shape on top of a formless fabric scrap instead of fussing with a tight, refined applique. That looseness of having the colors extend beyond the lines - think what you're not supposed to do in a coloring book - appealed to me.

Got a nice conversation going when I introduced some lavender and added more blue in the form of sparkly organza.  Needing more space to fool around, I decided to expand with a big chunk of pale peach wool felt. (Remember how this was the only "flesh" tone in crayon boxes of yore?)

"Out On The Range", mixed media textile collage, detail-b

Then it was time to go tactile, and that meant beads, button, and embroidery. Another sun! The circle motif speaks to me - complete, stable yet full of dynamic potential (e.g. sun rays). So many ways to suggest that energy, and it gives me an excuse to dawdle longer with needle and thread.

Another technique I'm playing with is mixing fancier with plain embroidery stitches. I am fascinated with how an over and under here and a twist there can render an elaborate line for the eye to follow and guess at. Thread play in general stakes out a bigger space than it actually occupies.

"Out On The Range", mixed media textile collage, detail-c

"Out On The Range" comes mounted on a 5" x 7" canvas-y feeling dry-brushed cotton, and is available in my Etsy shop:

To see my latest stitching and inspirations, visit me on Instagram:

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Tooting My Own Horn

"Contemplating Nature", Sew Somerset, Summer 2018

Sew Somerset, Summer 2018, is featuring a how-to based on my artwork, Transpiration. It's an embroidered leaf print (yes, the leaf really was that ginormous) cut and folded into an X-book. It's also free-standing.

OMG!!! This is my favorite mixed media art magazine and so, I'm over the moon they'd choose one of my pieces to stand alongside those of other really cool artists. Snap it up - there are pages of inspiration!

Sew Somerset, Summer 2018, cover

This particular piece is also available in my Etsy shop:

Monday, May 14, 2018

These Violet Delights...

Violet, mixed media textile collage

You may recognize a few of these fabrics from my Easter Lily textile collage a short time back. A flagrant example of commitment avoidance. Violet began first but finished last -- because it was easier to fool around with the scraps than figure out how to play up this very dimensional flower.

This began as a sandwich of cotton tablecloth lace, vintage book page, and good ol' muslin. Watery glue stiffened it up quite nicely which gave me the idea of following the hardened lace with embroidery floss. But a focal point was needed as the actual flower pattern within the lace was too amorphous to read well. I tried rubbing an oil paint stick on certain areas to highlight but it wasn't enough.

Violet, mixed media textile collage, detail-a

Scrunching up sheer purple organza did the trick as it poufs up off the surface even as it reveals the page underneath. Then it became a matter of adding enough detail around it to draw attention without hiding the type printed texture nor leaving it a sea of plainness. 

Violet, mixed media textile collage, detail-b

In hindsight the adding in of details seems quite simple but my mind does not make it easy - I go through dozens of scenarios before finally choosing, and even then I may end up ripping out a fair amount of stitching. Add in a little nagging voice that asks why I'm not using this or that neglected  notion, and I'm a mass of resentment at having too many choices.

But once I'm on the path, it's a marvelous thing to watch the unfolding of color and texture. Bright turquoise and mysterious purple, glinty beads and intricate lace, smooth buttons and cushy perle.

Violet, mixed media textile collage, detail-c

Violet which measures 8" x 10" is now available in my Etsy shop:

To see my latest stitching and inspirations, visit me on Instagram:

Saturday, May 5, 2018

More Than Meets The Eye

Love Prayer Flag, mixed media textile collage

Nothing profound at work here except for the sentiment expressed in word and symbol. It started off as a way to use up this deliberately wrinkled paper glued to fabric. I had spritzed it with walnut ink to highlight the network of random lines, let it languish in the cool-papers-for-collage-someday box for several years, and then smoothed on some cold wax for matte-y protection.

Love Prayer Flag, mixed media textile collage, detail-b

The color combo of yellows, greens, and oranges is irresistible to me. It reeks of wholesomeness and good cheer, qualities that often elude me. After one fabric was chosen the rest suggested themselves like a game of connect the dots. Most are upcycled clothing scraps - husband's shirt, grandma's dress, and some stranger's exquisite taste in office appropriate silk.

I like randomness so I fought myself tooth and nail to either leave the unevenly sided scraps alone or to be careless with my straight lines. It plays to my turning lack of precision skills to strengths of wabi-sabi-dom. I tell myself it confuses mischievous evil spirits - enemies of perfection!

Love Prayer Flag, mixed media textile collage, detail-a

I echo that "credo" in my embroidery. Here it was a challenge to find stitches that were more than mere dots and dashes but also didn't look out of character for the personality of the piece. My favorite part has to be the reddish triangles inner border. Big, small, wide, narrow - there's a parade of movement.

My newish thing lately has been to mount my collages onto dry-brush painted cotton. Has a canvas-y feel and obviates a mat come frame time. To add more polish and better job secure the edges I blanket stitch the perimeter. Only too happy to do so as it's a quite peaceful activity.

Secret compartment alert! This prayer flag doubles as a pouch for letters and keepsakes by having a slit and lined backside. (At 5" x 7" that's a decent amount of room.) By tucking in your heart's desire  safe and sound, you're augmenting all that good intention mojo.

Love Prayer Flag, mixed media textile collage, detail-c

The prayer flag is now up in my Etsy shop:

If you'd like to take a gander at my other art works, fly on over to my Instagram feed:

Friday, April 20, 2018

A Dog's Lunch Redux

A Dog's Lunch Journal, Butterfly Travel Edition

Ohmylord, there're a plethora of heirloom quality handmade journals out there - the kind you shouldn't spill coffee on. These don't compete. They're for down and dirty recording of your passions - furtive sketches, irreverent observations, and hasty garnerings.

A Dog's Lunch Journal, Butterfly Travel Edition, detail-a

These may look familiar and indeed they are. They came out last year, but I have just given them a major makeover - tricking them out with charms and danglies, gilding page borders, stamping out suggestive prompts and images, and even protecting the covers with metal corner edges. (Did you notice the butterfly imprinted wax seal on the front?!)

A Dog's Lunch Journal, Butterfly Travel Edition, detail-b

These elements are fun, even grunge-y but not so precious that they demand clean hands and a noble mind. My motive was to enhance the inner & outer journey theme of these "blank" workbooks. Each page is a point of departure.

A Dog's Lunch Journal, Butterfly Travel Edition, detail-c

Speaking of pages, there are 116 of them plus three envelopes and three double-sided pocket pages. I handmade just four of these 6" x 8-1/2" journals, so while they have similar types of elements and formatting, no two are identical.

Come find them in my Etsy shop:

Keep current on my latest projects and inspirations on Instagram:

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Easter Lily

Easter Lily, mixed media textile collage

Put the finishing touches to this Easter themed collage the day after so while I may be technically a day late and a dollar short, I'm going to parlay this into first out the gate for next year's holiday.

My 6" x 10" banner started out as an experiment for another project using the same fabrics. How would they look tea-dyed? Pretty decent but decided I preferred the original color saturation instead.  

Regardless, couldn't leave well enough alone. These muted orphans made their own home as a background for another great what-if: a flower made from lace tablecloth scraps. And since Easter was coming up and these are holiday colors, why not make that flower a lily. 

Easter Lily, mixed media textile collage, detail-b

My embroidery scheme is made up as I go along. I'm lucky if I can envision one or two steps ahead. And it's not unheard of to pull out a "done" section if it doesn't settle right. That being said, I felt particularly satisfied with the scroll stitched petal edges. The height emphasizes the lily as the focal point.

Easter Lily, mixed media textile collage, detail-a

I don't necessarily try for symbolism in my stitching motifs. Either it works as a design element or it doesn't. (Otherwise I'd fall down a rabbit hole of puzzles, clues, and gotcha. Precious and annoying.) Had hoped it would be obvious that those white knotty things below the lily were suggestive of lilies themselves, as in "lilies of the field" (Jesus' Sermon on the Mount) but they could be read as birds (as one viewer observed) or just somethings that create pleasing texture.

Easter Lily, mixed media textile collage, detail-c

The Y's on their sides with a french knot "head" - there are 12 or 13 if you include the one off by itself (Judas!) - are my quiet nod to the apostles. It wasn't pre-planned but developed itself as I counted out the spacing to liven up that edge.

The blue blanket stitch spirals hopefully suggest positive energy and dynamism - as in the dynamism of a living faith. One path (of many!) is offered in the blooming cross at the picture's bottom. Make of that what you will.

In Easter Lily then, rather than making a statement I wanted to spark a happiness in the viewer, an awareness of joy and a sense of possibility in her (or his) own life. Rebirth. Renewal.

This will be listed soon in my shop:  Or call dibs by emailing me.

To see my latest works and inspirations: 

Monday, March 12, 2018

Everyone Wants A Piece

Cake, Mixed Media Textile Collage

Dessert is my happy place. Yet without the metabolism of a gazelle, my visits are few and far between. And so I vicariously indulge appetite with art - reminding myself of greater, more lasting pleasures.

This innocently began with a little scrap play, leftovers from my recent textile collage, Cross. Some of the pieces tiered so nicely suggesting you-know-what that I couldn't help myself.  Beads, buttons, lace, ribbon - just too easy.  Heady stuff.

Cake, Mixed Media Textile Collage, detail-a

I think the key for me was to make a background that had some texture but didn't compete with the centerpiece. I dry brushed a cotton fabric background then laminated an old dictionary page on top, whitewashing it to keep the words from jumping off the page. Went over this with a glaze of delicate metallic lilac to suggest a glow of sorts.

Cake, Mixed Media Textile Collage, detail-b

The embroidery was done with a mix of flosses and perles - think different line thicknesses for mark-making. Got myself into a little trouble when I originally stitched the candle "light" circles in a very different color. Couldn't get past it and so carefully undid and redid them all in the white you see now.

It was a good opportunity to use some stitches I hadn't tried in a long while. Coral, for example. It's a challenge to incorporate the fancier ones when my style tends casual. Plus it has to make sense in my head - think existential.

Cake, Mixed Media Textile Collage, detail-c

Hoping others find this delectable. I found it quite satisfying, and wouldn't mind trying another. There seem to be all sorts of possibilities. Aaagh - sugar rush!

"Cake" and other original artwork listed in my Etsy shop:

Also available on Amazon Handmade:

Enjoy the picture show at Instagram:

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Three Apricots

Three Apricots, mixed media textile collage

An experiment with watercolor pencils transferred to fabric for the sheer pleasure of embellishing with stitch and beads.

I love watercolor painting but alas it is not one of my skills. Have tried throughout the years never meeting with enough success to think I could get the hang of it if only I really really applied myself. So I "cheat" and use watercolor pencils to block out my basic (and primitive) drawing then water brushing ever so gently to achieve blending! and gradation!

Three Apricots, mixed media textile collage, detail-a

I painted this little still life on a leftover scrap of Transfer Artist Paper because it can be applied to just about anything with an iron. Love this stuff but sadly not available anymore because a crucial ingredient is off the market for ever. (They are trying to find a work around.)

My motive was having a picture to embroider in a casual sketchy way - because I haven't done so before. I admire that free-form style but seem to retreat to the safety of official stitches that have names and a heritage.

Three Apricots, mixed media textile collage, detail-b

Adding beads is second nature. I had the perfect yellow-orange color, and they just invite the eye to mosey around to the softly frayed edges of the chiffon. My pictures here don't show that this is mounted on plain cotton dry brushed with white gesso. That's my go to background these days - creates a buffer zone to make the picture pop and adds a little texture as well.

"Three Apricots" and other original artwork listed in my Etsy shop:

Also available on Amazon Handmade:

Enjoy the picture show at Instagram:

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Crossed Purposes

Cross, textile collage

Thought this piece wanted to be something else - an "abstract study" so the rage with artists I admire - yet after hours of peaceful yet tentative stitching it goaded me to reveal its true nature. Turning it upside down or to the light just so wasn't sparking any recognition on my part. Out came the seam ripper, the scissors, and the twisting & pinching fingers.

No Choice. As a business trip tag-along, I packed light - no other fabrics, threads, or buttons to run away with. It was a perfect opp to sew to my heart's content. I  n e e d e d  this. Besides, that combination of bronze, browns, golds, and ochres was irresistible. A low-key luxe.

Cross, textile collage, detail-a

Fairy dust shower. My frustration gave way to inspiration like puzzle pieces falling into place. A cross materialized, and it mirrored a positive and affirmative outlook I'd been trying to practice more consistently. I felt a certainty I wish to hell would happen more often.

I was excited to go to sleep so I could wake up that much sooner, fresh and ready to stitch. But of course we so rarely get to have big blocks of time to visit with our "project-friends", and it took the next several weeks of slipping in for a good chat here and there to finish up.

Cross, textile collage, detail-b

I am quite pleased whether or not it finds an adoring audience (though I hope it does!) That the process worked out when it didn't seem likely despite good intentions was a gift. Maybe in some way that comes through? What an honor that would be.

"Cross" and other original artwork listed in my Etsy shop:

Also available on Amazon Handmade:

Enjoy the picture show at Instagram:

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Age Seduces Beauty

Age Seduces Beauty, art journal page

The sentiment of Age Seduces Beauty came to mind when I came across this photo of an antique pocket watch casing. Such an exquisite and suggestive picture on so tiny a surface! Some leering old man whispering sweet nothings to a lovely lass of creamy bosom. Pretty sure we're in Metaphor Territory though and not Zone #metoo. Consciousness-raising didn't run along those lines back then. Too impertinent. Now of course I can pull up any manner of classic tableaux on my smart phone "timepiece" and even register my outrages at will.

Age Seduces Beauty, art journal page, detail-a

I started off with a book jacket photo, gave it a little distressing and then a coat of "crazing" medium. The patches of hairline craquelure don't show up very well but at least the surface looks aged and mysterious. I highlighted the casing ornamentation with metallic powders and beads.

Then the layering - an old lace tablecloth scrap atop a shiny pale synthetic. I embroidered roses in variegated cotton perle (or do you say pearl?) and subtle tiny loops in some metallic thread. Just a hint of glitz.

Age Seduces Beauty, art journal page, detail-b

As my art journal is an altered book , it was quite handy to decoupage a patterned napkin directly onto the page and leave it at that. It's a personal victory to finally use one of these lovely patterned serviettes. I have stash issues.

This piece has been a good exercise for between projects. I like the challenge of bringing paper and fabric together with some stitchery to keep my restless fingers satisfied.

Eager to acquire one of a kind art? Come visit my Etsy shop:

Also available on Amazon Handmade:

Just wanna look? Climb aboard at Instagram: