Saturday, April 30, 2005


A quick post before I run off to teach day #1. Yesterday afternoon, as I wandered around downtown Springfield, MA, I noticed some wonderful architectural elements on the old buildings they are in the midst of restoring. This one appears
everywhere: below, one with stripes below it - a bank building, no doubt.
IMG_1081 Originally uploaded by raynag.
And this one - on a wonderful building they are restoring as a hotel. I was lookng for inspiration -- have I found it?

Friday, April 29, 2005

out of the frying pan

out of the frying pan Originally uploaded by raynag.
actually, out of the steamer and the washing machine. My first experiment - here's a section of the silk scarf I did with wax. I may have to go back in and do some more work so it looks like MINE. Ditto the second one. Stay tuned.
wax2 Originally uploaded by raynag.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Have a little fun with this...

I must be getting soft in my old age -- but this one's fun. Please let me know in the comment section how your "Inner European" turns out. Anybody who knows me could have predicted this. I started life as a French teacher, don'tcha know?

My Inner European is French!

Smart and sophisticated. You have the best of everything - at least, *you* think so.

Who cares?

I can't believe I'm bothering to answer these or than anybody will really read the answers, but what the hell...while I am deciding what not to make for dinner. This is what comes of reading Lisa-the-Procrastinator's site. 1.What time did you get up this morning? 1:00, 3:00, 5:25, 7:30 2. Diamonds or pearls? I love my pearls but diamonds are the winners hands-down! I will never have enough. 3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema? Woody Allen's new film - he ain't up to his old standard. 4. What is your favorite TV show? I don't watch TV 5. What did you have for breakfast? Strawberries, nonfat organic plain yogurt. and a big pot of espresso. 6. What is your middle name? We won't go there. 7. What is your favorite food? Anything Indian. 8. What foods do you dislike? BANANAS - eeewww - even the smell makes me sick. 9. What is your favorite chip flavor? Spicy Red Hot Blue organic corn chips. 10. What is your favorite CD at the moment? All of the chamber music I own. 11. What type of car do you drive? A Nissan Altima but I really want a station wagon. NOT AN SUV, not a van - a station wagon! 12. Favorite sandwich? a fried oyster po'boy -- but you can't find 'em in New Jersey 13. If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation, where would you go? Greece, 'cause I haven't been there. Italy because I love Italy. But we keep returning to Paris and London because we have friends and family there. Not that I'm complaining, mind you! 14. What color is your bathroom? Almond. 15. Favorite brand of clothing? eileen fisher !16. Where would you retire to? Boulder, CO in summer;West Palm Beach Fla. in winter.17. Favorite time of the day? after dinner. 18. What was your most memorable birthday? my 50th. The two of my kids who were away at college & law school flew in and surprised me. 19. Montclair & Glen Ridge, New Jersey. I have 2 birth certificates.. The hospital is in Montclair but the delivery room was in Glen Ridge. 20. Favorite sport to watch? I hate sports. But if it were a matter of life and death, tennis. For about 3 minutes. I once fell asleep at a NY Rangers hockey game. 21. Milk chocolate or dark chocolate? The darker the better: Valharona or Scharrfenberger 70% cocoa. I never eat milk chocolate. 22. Mountains or beach? Mountains. Not climbing them, looking at them. 23. What fabric detergent do you use? Supermarket brand free & clear - no scent, no color. 24. Coke or Pepsi? I never, ever drink soda or any other sweet drink. 25. Are you a morning person or a night owl? Morning. Unless I'm in the middle of making art and it's going well 26. What is your shoe size? Technically, 8. But the crappy shoes made who-knows-where are always too small. 27. Do you have any pets? No. Luckily, I am allergic to animals! 28. Any exciting news you'd like to share with your family & friends? Huh? 29. What did you want to be when you were little ? an archaelogist or a social worker. 30. What book are you currently reading if any? none, although Reading Lolita in Teheran is sitting on the table waiting for me. Now, dealing with dinner...

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

silk road

scarf3 Originally uploaded by raynag.

In between packing supplies for my workshop at the Springfield (MA) art museum (still not finished) and everything else, I screened some scarves the other day. Tonight, I am finally steaming them in my big spaghetti pot. I need to get a bunch of them done to take to QSDS with me, so a few at a time should get them all done by the end of May. If you have steamed silk, you know the process. If you haven't - just know it's one of my favorite things because I love the smell of the wet newspaper. First I lay the scarf out on layers of the New York Times. It's my favorite steaming newspaper - not the snob factor, but because it is larger than other newspapers so I can use less of it. The other picture shows you the scarves all nicely rolled up and ready to cook. I can never figure out why, even though the scarves are the same size, every package comes out a different size. One of life's little wonders. While they are steaming, I will go do a little more packing. I will be back later.

Monday, April 25, 2005

scenic route

gillman-garbage Originally uploaded by raynag.
I live in a condo development and walking around here is very pretty, but boring. However, today is garbage & recycling day and as I walked, I had more to look at than just pavement and lawns. When I got home I took my Fosamax and had 1/2 hour to waste before I ate breakfast. So I took my camera and went back out to record what I had observed. Was I embarrassed to be caught by the handyman,taking a picture of my neighbor's trash? Nah. I just told him it was for an art project. (My standard line whenever I do anything weird.) Obviously, the leading photo is of our excessively neat garbage. (you can tell that my husband is in charge of this). We read a lot of newspapers: we get 2 daily and 3 additional weekly papers. I had to rescue a few this morning because I plan to print & steam silk scarves this afternoon. But I digress. Following are some of the other garbage piles I saw this morning, including 3 empty cases of wine from the neighbor whose garbage always ends up on my lawn. Notice some of the chic designer garbage bags and one nicely color-coordinated garbage, in addition to the spring cleaning types. And my favorite - the neighbor who wants to keep her garbage warm and cozy in this 40 degree, almost-May, weather.

spring-cleaning spring-cleaning2designer-bag2designer-bag1color-coordinated-gargage74-redux89-sullivan

Sunday, April 24, 2005


Originally uploaded by raynag.
Another piece I can't decide about: to keep intact or cut and send part of it to SDA while I add the rest to my random pile of odd-sized fragments...?
I think I need to keep it - it is a happy piece of fabric.


swatch-#1 Originally uploaded by raynag.
Tonight's blog and these swatches shall remain nameless. I'm getting these ready to send off to the Surface Design Association's swatch library and thought I should photgraph them before they go. Swatch #2(not here)is a piece from my first January blog entry, and #3 is a piece I made while demonstrating printing with found objects. SDA requires 12" square swatches, which is not easy for me because I have so many itsy bitsy or odd-sized pieces around. I cut these out from yardage and now I have odd sized pieces of these sitting around. I need to just do something with them. swatch-#3 Do you have a hard time using fabrics you printed? Do you let the fabric guide you or do you have an idea first and then rummage through your hand-printed fabrics to find appropriate pieces? This is something I will be discussing with one of my classes, so I'm taking an informal poll.

Friday, April 22, 2005


Originally uploaded by raynag.
I can pretend it's really Spring if I look at this picture hard enough. I watered them this morning, trying to make myself feel summery again. Wednesday I had the air conditioning on in the car; today, the heat. Typical NJ spring, but this year, very very late indeed. The woods behind my house are still brown. I guess I shouldn't complain -- I heard there is snow in Indiana. or is it just a nasty rumor?

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

club sandwich

Originally uploaded by raynag.
I unearthed this piece, made in 1999 and it made me smile. It was my version of the primal scream about being a member of the 'sandwich' generation - no doubt a way to process a particularly frustrating day! It was going to be a quilt, but never made it to that stage. Maybe someday. Looks like I did it in water-soluble markers and then spilled water on it. Or maybe they were tears.

As I read the membership requirements for Club Sandwich, here they are (amended for 2005). Please feel free to add your own in the comments section.
1. Members must have at least one parent and one child. and no reliable siblings.
2. Parent no longer drives.
3. Child is a daughter who is employed.
4. There is a grandchild under 5.

another version

Originally uploaded by raynag.
The gray fabric was something I had rusted and it seemed appropriate for the subject. I gelatin plate printed on it and then screened with paint. But previously, I had played (more spontaneously, I think) with the same concept on a brighter piece of fabric on which I had originally used thickened dyes. to print with. I'm leaning toward the gray, but I don't know. Your two cents??

Meantime, I am off to bed - it's 1:am and I have to drive my husband to work at 7. I have one more piece on a different subject, but that can wait till morning.

breasts & stuff

Originally uploaded by raynag.
It's been a long time since I've been up late working and it feels GOOD. The piece for the breast cancer exhibit in October is coming along, as I print fabric. I've had a couple of breast cancer scares. They've turnd out to be benign, thank heavens. But I have been through chemotherapy and the ugly hair loss thing, so I decided to focus on that experience. It's hardly a humorous subject, but lo and behold, as I started screening and writing, it had a lighthearted feel about it. I realize I can be lighthearted about it because it was, in retrospect, really not important compared to health and recovery. And my hair is back, as thick as ever.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

not my kitchen

kitchen1 Originally uploaded by raynag.

This smidgen of a sunny galley kitchen in a spacious-feeling 800 sq. ft Brooklyn apartment will, I hope, belong to my daughter and son-in-law. Their bid has been accepted and all that remains is the red tape to buy this 1.5 bedroom co-op(do not ask what a half-bedroom is in NY real estate language)in a pre-war building. They can grow herbs on the fire escape outside -- a true luxury! And the building has an elevator! Do I wish I were 30 years younger and moving into this funky urban neighborhood near Prospect Park? You bet! Ironically, so many kids are moving back into the very neighborhoods their parents and grandparents couldn't wait to leave.

My husband grew up nearby and paid $110/mo rent when he left for the 'burbs 40 years ago. Today, we stopped into an open house on our way to brunch. The apartment had one (count'em - ONE) bathroom, a postage stamp kitchen, 3 bedrooms carved out of one space and divided by french doors (privacy, anyone??) & an admittedly good sized living room. The bidding started at $689,000. Welcome to NY City, folks.

my favorite room

Answering Diane Perrin Hock's question 'what's your favorite room in the house and why?' is a no-brainer. My studio. Small (about 10x14), cluttered (pictures in earlier posts) , with my classical music, art books, surface design magazines,files, slides, and a comfy chair with ottoman catty-corner to the design wall and a wall full of art. Some of the work is mine, other pieces are by laura cater-woods, Claire Fenton, Nikki Bonnett, Jette Clover, Marlene Cohen from the U.K., and Helene Davis. Google them and check out their work. A feast for the eyes and for the soul. My sewing macine is here, a bookcase loaded with fabric & books, as well as a trunk full of antique blocks I should probably sell on e-bay. And my cutting table, usually piled high with STUFF. Sometimes I actually work on that table. If I'm home, chances are 2:1 you'll find me here. And now that I have a laptop, I practically don't have to leave the room.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

pigskin, cowhide & collagen

No, I'm not talking about sports, fashion items, or skin care. I'm talking about gelatin. That's right: the stuff jello is made from. The stuff that is supposed to give you healthy nails. And the stuff that is supposedly good for arthritic joints because it's full of collagen. I havaen't heard anyone suggest injecting gelatin into wrinkled skin -- but that seems preferable to eating it. You do not want to know how it is made or what it is made from. Yecccch. I am glad I only use it to print with. The fragment here was printed on a gelatin plate (at least the first layer). I'm waiting for my gelatin to gel so I can get on with some more experiments. But I probably won't get to it till Monday.

Friday, April 15, 2005

low tech

my-steamer Originally uploaded by raynag.
I am waiting for the fabric I took out of this very fancy piece of equipment to go through the wash. While technically, you don't need to steam MX dyes on cotton, I do it anyway after I have written or screened with thickened dyes because i swear it makes a difference. Also, I love the smell of the steaming newspaper. Ok, so I'm nuts. I added some more text and writing to yesterday's fabric...which may or may not go into the breast cancer piece I am making. As soon as it is out of the wash and I've ironed it, I'll take a picture. adjust-o-matic-detail Meantime, I have this wonderful Adjust-o-matic sitting around. My sister-in-law is the yard sale queen and always keeps me in mind when she sees something. She brought me a nice wooden tjap she found, and about a year ago she brought me this wonderful Adjust-o-matic item. It has been sitting here because I can't decide what to do with it. I can't throw it out, it's too flimsy for display, so I have to make it into a piece of art. But what???adjust-o-matic Well, I've drifted from the steamer topic but I will come back to it in the next post.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

today's activity

Originally uploaded by raynag.
here's a fragment of the fabric I printed today. Not quite sure whether I'm going to cut it, or what I am going to do with it.

I am very good at giving people ideas for jump-starting their creativity,but like the proverbial shoemaker's child --
it is a different story when it comes to my own work.

Also spent some lovely, relaxing time with a friend this afternon. She knitted, I sewed the facing onto a quilt, and we chatted and caught up with each others' lives. What a luxury it was just to sit and do hand work with a good friend - in the middle of the day. Maybe I should make this my answer to the 'guilty pleasure' question. It was, at least, a pleasure.

I have been going to bed unduly early this week. Was in bed by 9:10 last night and am ready to turn in only slightly later tonight. Is it the walking I've started doing again that is doing me in?

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

guilty pleasures

I was on another planet when Diane Perrin Hock's question came through, asking "what is your guilty pleasure?" So I'm a few days late in posting my answer: I never feel guilty about any pleasure. I once had a boyfriend who used to say "guilt is non-functional." Meaning, I suppose, useless. I think he was right. Then again, if you're talking about plain ordinary, super-duper pleasures -- happiness is sitting in my studio chair at night, feet up on ottoman, reading a can't-put-it-down book while I listen to chamber music. (notice that working on my art doesn't come into this super-duper category) Otherwise, (not necessarily in ranked order -- that changes from day to day) 1) a long hot shower 2) a good cup of coffee 3) a good laugh 4) a good fill-in-the-blank 5) a good strong hug I would say a good night's sleep, but I don't know what that feels like.

what did it used to be?

Originally uploaded by raynag.
Should I bronze it and call it a fiber sculpture? Is this a piece of artwork, or what? This was waiting to welcome me home from my trip. I couldn't resist capturing it on film. On a more serious note, I am in my studio printing fabric that I might or might not use in a piece to be exhibited in an exhibit to raise money for breast cancer research. I'm screening with thickened dyes that have been sitting around for yonks and I have no idea how this fabric will turn out. The GOOD thing is that since I work in layers, I can always go back in and add more. I will not add the above photo.

more fun!

Betty-Ford-Nimble-Fingers4- Originally uploaded by raynag.
Betty is exclaiming about the fabric she is printing in my workshop -- what a fun and creative group of people from Nimble Fingers in Potomac, MD! The workshop was like a big play day, only we all learned something. They learned how to tape a screen; I learned that I am a lousy screen-stretcher and I should buy them already done. They learned they could do imaginative printing with 'found objects'; I learned where to buy sequin waste in Bethesda. The day after the workshop, I drove to the Torpedo Factory in Alexandria. It used to be an actual torpedo factory and 30 years ago they made it into artists' studios and galleries. I interviewed the staff and some of the artists and took a few pictures. My dream - to have a studio in such a place, where I can work happily alone in my studio but as part of an artists' community, so to speak. I'm working on it. Meantime, all this traveling and problems with Internet connection has kept me away from my blog. I promise to be better about posting now that I'm back home for a while.

Monday, April 04, 2005

blue glue

I did some screenprinting with textile paints today, using blue glue as a resist. Interesting, for a first experiment.

This was after having spent the afternoon at an art opening where I had 14 pieces in an exhibit. My friend Diane and I were the fiber artists in a show with photography, sculpture, mixed media, painting, and collage. The screen with the blue glue had been sitting around for a week or so and as I am packing supplies to take to Maryland for a workshop I'm giving, I figured I'd experiment and see if the resist worked. It did, I washed out the screen, and will experiment some more next week.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

through the screen door

The miserable weather might as well look romantic, don't you think? Anyway, these photos can be fodder for my next creative effort. It's hard to tell, looking at the leftover dead leaves in the woods behind the house, that it is April and not November. But we know, don't we?
screen-door Originally uploaded by raynag.


  1. Captured in the blink of an eye. Can you identify the surface and the dark stripe? No cheating,now!

signs of spring

flowers-4 Originally uploaded by raynag.
I swore I wasn't going to post pictures of my garden. But even in the rain, I couldn't resist snapping my postage-stamp garden. Doesn't nature have the best color combinations? Those purple guys poked their heads through the snow last week and perked me right up! Now, combined with the yellow, green, and almost-black soil, it looks rich to me. And is that an earthworm....?

soup weather in June and a little more

DISCLAIMER: Blogger is giving me grief tonight, which you will see by the varying sizes of the type. Ye p, soup weather and it's ...