Wednesday, September 30


Tomorrow night is the Inliquid benefit at the Crane building 7-10 pm (ticketed event). See if you can find and buy my embroidery! All participating artists created a 10x10 inch work of art.
Inliquid is the organization that hosts my website, sends out a weekly newsletter on events and opportunities in Philadelphia, and is a major supporter of the art scene in this city. check it out.

Tuesday, September 29

New directions

Good crit today. The found object slow cloth idea was a hit as well as the daily travel calendar idea. My fellow fiber grads felt they were the richest areas for exploration and appeared more personal in nature. Again, I feel I've been given permission to do something I wanted to do anyway, but wasn't sure about. So the question of the day is how to make a calendar that isn't a calendar?
In other areas, I've done enough research into articles to feel ready to propose my pilot study for art ed- focussing on the levels of teacher training in community arts and its impact on classroom experience. Let's see if that goes over well.. I've also been working on an Art History research project and I think I'll be exploring the intersection between traditional samplers and contemporary art appropriations.
Sorry no pics today- but go look at this. Reminds me of Charlene's stuff I posted before and the grittiness I'd like to achieve with my slow cloths.

Monday, September 28


Last Saturday night was the 3rd and I think final installment of FluxTask at Fluxspace. The project was organized by artist Oliver Herring and involved lots of people, lots of materials, and the open spirit of creativity most people tend to lose at about age 13.

The object was to write a task that could be completed using whatever materials were available without causing damage to property or persons, place it in the TASK box and retrieve a task for yourself to complete. After accomplishing the task you were to write a new task to add to the box and start a new one. This could go on ad finitum. The photo above was near the beginning of the evening while there were still pristine piles of materials- like going into ACMoore and being allowed to use whatever you found to make art on site!Things started getting a little crazier. Above you can see the pillars wrapped in saran wrap- someone actually was able to use it as a hammock! It eventually became a volleyball net with a blown-up plastic bag as ball.I turned around and suddenly there was a life-size unicorn behind me! I should have gotten a side view- the whole thing was quite anatomically accurate (don't think dirty, now).Next thing you know there's an iceberg island in the corner. Or maybe a boat...The best part was when my usually non-participating husband FINALLY added a task to the box ("Draw a Mermaid") which not one minute later was pulled out of the box by a 5-year-old boy who drew the image above. His mother tore the image off the roll of paper and kept the task paper to take home as a souvenir, creating some magic for my love.

Throughout the evening I created a pipe cleaner car, drew a hopscotch board, ruffled someone's hair, helped build a fairy house, created an invisible dog leash, had my feet traced, and had my legs hugged.

Thanks to Oliver Herring and the people of Fluxspace for creating an unforgettable experience!

found objects

Playing with compositions of objects found on my daily travels- picking things up magpie-like. I'd like to do an abstract slow-cloth using these as beads/shisha. Mapping the area in a way. Not sure if I should do lots of small ones or one big one. Crit tomorrow!!!

Friday, September 25

No original ideas

Oh Crap

On the walls and in the halls at Tyler

I love art school- you get to see some crazy stuff. Yesterday these urban trash monsters greeted us in the main hall at Tyler. I'm not sure what class is doing it, possibly a 3D foundations class, or maybe a public sculpture class. The week before were various kinds of habitats in the hallway. These remind me of "Where the Wild Things Are" -speaking of which, I really want to go see the movie!

This was the last week for "Artists as Educators" in the Stella Elkins Student Gallery of which I took part. There was no particular theme, but some interesting work. It's nice to see the work of my fellow grads and find out what we have in common.
Here are 2 installation shots. My work is in the center of the first one.
Here's a closer view of my work next to my classmate Charlene Melhorn's. I was very pleased to see our work together as we were following similar themes of beauty in decay in the urban environment.
Charlene's piece above is a collection of stacked, burnt, and shellacked paper with a texture that reminded me of matchbooks and the detritus of the streets. Accompanying her assemblage were a pencil drawing of a stand-alone rowhome with electrical or telephone wire and small stacks of burnt and shellacked paper with text.I also really like the sparse cityscape below by Liza Dolmetsch, my extremely helpful department grad assistant/advisor (I don't really know her exact title). The show comes down on Monday unfortunately, but I'm sure there will be more interesting things to share in the future.

Thursday, September 24

foreign languages

I'm fascinated by grafitti. I can barely read any of it, and so the bit I can't read is endlessly intriguing...
I like the mix of texture and how in these 2 there are arrows- what are they pointing to?

So, I'm thinking of having these enlarged and printed on fabric, and then embroidering over the graffiti. Maybe then I'll figure it out.

Tuesday, September 22

Studio progress

At my individual crit last week my advisor recommended I NOT MAKE anything, but generate a lot of source material. Sketches, drawings, mock-ups, found images, etc. to work out my ideas and establish possible paths of exploration. So here's a shot of the studio right now. Not much fiber, but lots of paper, photocopies, and drawings.
The photograph on the right side sparked a lot of material. I photoshopped it to get a repeat and explored what I could do with that.I was thinking about city life being in a neighborhood that seemingly never changes and yet is always changing. People moving in an out, celebrating, fires, trash, vacant lots, etc. I might make a zootrope animation with it. I also thought I could make a flipbook animation. So here's a storyboard with a swooping flock of starlings. And my stack of paper frames for the flipbook on the corner.Last but not least there's the map drawing I did today. I'm thinking of returning to the daily travel maps like I was doing for the Litle Berlin Collaboration. This time making a calendar out of them, and stitching over a screenprint, not drawing on mylar!

Wednesday, September 16

Peters Valley Part Deux

Here are my ladies at Peters Valley last weekend! There was one more, but she was off in the back studio at the machine when I grabbed these shots. The lady in the pink shirt with the bemused expression is my lovely mother who taught me all I know and graciously lets me teach her back. This is her first piece from the weekend. It's one of the first times she's ever ventured into abstract imagery, and I was very glad she took my suggestion about putting in the large loopy cable chain element.The following 3 images were from a series of four that one prolific artist made. She seemed worried at first that she wasn't following my directions, but she seemed to have a clear vision of what she wanted to achieve and she was being wonderfully experimental, so there was no way I was going to stop that!
She was using painted backgrounds, layering them with snippets of fabrics for color and texture, and it made sense for her to use the machine as a tool for incorporating everything.

This one below is my favorite cause she used just a few layers of this very open white netting.
It's very subtle and fits the misty look of her painting She also produced this great book cover for the stitching handout I gave everyone!
The work below is by a woman who had a trip to England and Wales over the summer. She brought a postcard of an etching back and really wanted to use it for her piece. An experienced quilter, she was hoping to get away from piecing, but the image really called for it. She tried a watercolor version of her image first and then started the ambitiously large embroidery.

Here is May, my studio assistant! She was a wonderful, helpful companion to have in the class, making it easy for everyone there to use the space and find whatever was needed. She got really into the piecing of her background. While at first I was surprised at the length, really it perfectly portrays the experience of seeing the pine trees across the street from the studio!

The woman who produced the piece below came to her composition after lots of drawing outside. I'm fascinated at how people can witness the same landscape but come away with such different interpretations. Her stitching is exquisite, and I wish I could see the final finished piece!
The last piece here was created by a potter- thus the fascination with texture and the earthy colors perhaps! I enjoyed watching her work, for each piece was thought out and selected for its contribution to the harmony of the whole. We went back and forth quite a bit about the color choices. It's almost too good to change by stitching over!
It was an amazing weekend, but very tiring. I'm not used to 8-hour long classes! However, the students were intensely engaged and produced quite a bit considering our short timeframe. Hopefully they came away with the confidence to continue developing their own imagery in embroidery.

Fugit Hora

When my time is filled with activity I don't sense it passing. Suddenly life feels very sped up as it's filled with so much more! Today's first Stitch and Surface class at Fleisher, a lengthy 3 hours, went by in a breath. Two former students came back for more and I have my first male embroidery student (hooray!). Expect to see plenty of pictures in the near future- we've already decided on velvet embossing as our surface design technique, and I'm expecting them to do a project on a non-fabric surface at some point.
On my ride home tonight I saw people putting out their trash and was shocked that Thursday is already here. The more deadlines you have, the quicker the time flies, too!
The worst "time Flies" moment was tonight when my daughter compared the breadth of her hand to mine. Our hands are now exactly the same size... which brought tears to my eyes, cause I remember when she could barely curl her hand around my pinky.
Speaking of passing time, I meant to share the work of my students at Peters Valley....

Monday, September 14

Peters Valley: Inspired by Nature Part 1

I just finished up the weekend teaching Inspired by Nature: Stitching the Landscape at Peters Valley Craft Center in Layton, NJ in the Delaware Water Gap National Park. Here I am on the road up Thunder Mountain to go see the Fibers Surface Design studios. Had to stop and check out the swamp on the way. It's a 1.5 mile drive up a gravel road to get to the studios, and you really need a car to get around the area. For the most part, though, I stayed near the main campus down the hill where my cottage, the weaving studio, and the dining hall were located.
So in this post I'll just shared the Inspired by Nature aspect. I took lots of photos of the landscape there. The view above is the meadow behind the Structural Fibers studio-- I like the bands of color and texture in this shot.

There was a stump behind the building covered in fungi with salamanders, ants, grasshoppers, and myriad crickets. I'm impressed with my focus trick as my camera wanted to switch focus to the background instead of the foreground.

There's a giant yarn ball on the lawn of the studio, with a sign in the vestibule requesting people add to it. So for our parting activity I had the students bring a piece of thread out, which we knotted into one long strand to wind around the ball.

This is the view out the front of the studio, and several of us felt strongly about the image, and included it in our projects. It was a wonderful stand of pine trees moving up a hill at the edge of a very still, algae-covered pond. At the edge of the pond was a table and adirondack chair, perfect for sitting and drawing the view, or would have been if it hadn't been such a wet start to the weekend!
In my next post I'll share the artwork my students produced.

Thursday, September 10


The cornucopia of good things keeps rolling and I keep knocking on doors and tables and floors. I'd better get a big nazar boncuk to wear all the time to ward off the evil eye or something!

  • These two pieces were dropped off this afternoon for an exhibit at the Stella Elkins Student Gallery at Tyler for the Artist as Educator show opening on the 17th I believe.

  • I'll be in the upcoming Works on Paper show at Art in City Hall as my collaborator Michelle Wilson submitted our book!
  • There was a check in the mail this afternoon for some art that got sold from Square Peg!
  • Another letter came in the mail today to say that I've been accepted as a Roster Artist with Philadelphia Art Education Partnership!
  • I'm headed up to Peter's Valley Craft Center tomorrow for Stitching in the Landscape! I promise lots of pictures!

Tuesday, September 8

In the "New" studio

Welcome to my new studio! I'm not sure how much work will actually be done here yet, but I've started to claim my space by bringing in some source material and pinning up the Trenton Ave project. Now that the school year has started I'm free to spend extra time at Tyler after dropping my daughter off for her day.
Here's the view from the studio overlooking Diamond St. I'm fascinated that the left window view looks really urban and the right window view looks more natural....
Yesterday I pulled together the fabrics for the top 3 compositions on the Trenton Ave piece, and today inbetween classes I managed to get the left 2 appliques stitched. One more to go and then it's a flurry of embroidery time. I really need to get this thing finished. It's dragging and has taken too long. But that's what I get for being ambitious.
My presentation of work to the Craft grads went well this afternoon. There are a lot of us dealing with issues of urban life vs natural life. It's in the air, I think. How much of the commonalities in our group are due to the interest areas of the professors? I'm looking forward to some true critique this semester, some challenges, some clarity of thought, some push to a new level.
Here are some of the Craft grads whose work really resonated with me:

Sunday, September 6

Oh boy, this is going to be one crazy week!

So, here's everything that has to get done this week:
  • finish tiling my entranceway
  • write three 2-page papers in response to articles
  • attend classes
  • get my daughter off to school
  • prepare a powerpoint presentation of my past work
  • get some work started in the new studio
  • frame 2 pieces for M.ED exhibition at Tyler
  • attend a faculty meeting at Fleisher and hand in curriculum page
  • run a WCA meeting
  • exchange artwork in the Art Shop
  • create handouts and presentation for Peter's Valley Workshop
  • Pack for Peter's Valley
  • sleep, cook, do laundry, and clean and all that jazz

The sleep bit is the hardest cause my brain is buzzing.

Saturday, September 5

Woodford Piece complete?

Okay, Here's the hardest part of being an artist. Is it done? The staircase stitching is done now, and I've had one critique saying that the staircase by itself was elegant. But it it enough? Just the pieced map and the stitched staircase? My original plan included robins and eagles superimposed, but I have very little time left for that (a little under 2 weeks). So option 1: stretch and frame as is
option 2: go for the stitched robins and eagle
option 3: create robin and eagle silhouettes in black felt to place behind the piece and hope there's enough transparency for them to be readable.
option 4: create a diptych with the robins and eagle in another stretched piece, possibly using screenprint or image transfer for it. or make them on a transparent layer to put over top the piece.

Any thoughts out there?

Friday, September 4

Sampler Heaven

I'm not a huge fan of cross-stitch, but you must, must, must visit this link and see the most beautiful sampler ever!
It's on the Tennessee Sampler Survey , a compendium of needlework from Tennessee made prior to 1900. If anyone knows of more such sites, let me know!

Urban Archives

I'm slowly discovering the treasure trove which is Temple University. Yesterday between classes I went to the Paley Library in search of maps. A few helpful librarians later I was down in the basement in the Urban Archives with an archive librarian pulling out folios of old Philadelphia street maps and getting my camera attached to a copy stand. It was thrilling! (I'm a total library and artifact geek)
These two images show my neighborhood circa 1880. My house is on there!
I'm not sure yet what I'll do with these, but something will happen. The piecing I did for the Woodford piece comes to mind.
I'm kind of glad I'm only doing 3 courses this semester. I've already had to read 3 lengthy articles for which I still need to write 2 pages each by Thursday.