Friday, November 30, 2007


Hey!! For all you non-blogspot or non-google members who want to leave comments without being anonymous, try this: log in as anonymous but just sign your name at the end of your comment. That way, they can't getcha and they can't keep you out. And I,who HATES anon. comments, will be happy when I see who came to visit!

the joys of working in layers

Yesterday was another day spent doing the chores of life: paying bills, running errands; spending 3 hours helping my mother shop for clothes, which have a way of disappearing when you live in one of those places. But the day before, I had spent a joyful day puttering in the studio, going back into some of the cloth I had too much of and changing the surface one again. I tore this fabric in half; kept a piece and went to work on the other half. Don't ask me what I did, but here is how it turned out after a few more layers. Today, back to the studio! Rachel Cochran is coming over to play and will no doubt be working again on her red blob piece. It will be fun to have company and I think that one day Rachel and I should collaborate on a piece of fabric and see what happens - oops.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

in case you missed it

I posted this morning to QA about a fascinating article on the evolution of art in the NY Times science section. If you missed my post, here is the url to the article.

There were a few comments and then the conversation went on to talk about important things like quilt patterns and fleece. What does it take to get an intelligent conversation going on that list?

Packing and making some headway - when I teach I always bring more than I will need, but that's the packrat syndrome. It's ok - I'm driving and have the luxury of space. Once again, I never got to the studio today. Busy with packing supplies and taking care of paperwork and supply lists for next year's Art Quit Tahoe workshop. Everything has to be done so far in advance! I'm already booking for 2009!

Also was on the phone with the contractor and the soapstone guy, trying to get my head around kitchen logistics. Eeeeek.
Cherry cabinets, soapstone counters, stainless appliances, probably white oak floors. I shall have to do something very funky with warm colors on backsplash and walls. But not yet.
I am up too late and need to go to work tomorrow.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Case Histories

by Kate Atkinson. Have you read it? I took it with me this afternoon when we went to the doctor but only got a few pages into it. Now I am too tired to read. I am staring at the latest permutation of yesterday's posted piece-in-progress and will leave it there for a while. Had a long conversation with the contractor tonight - I think I have finally decided on wood floors for the kitchen - what I have always wanted and damn the torpedoes. Tomorrow, back to the studio with a fist full of fabric I brought home the other day to steam. I am making up for lost time this week - but I do have to pack supplies and get organized for my 5 day workshop at the Greenville Arms in the Hudson Valley.

wasting time

Well, I was going to blog about this subject this morning while I am home doing just that - but Susie Monday has a good post on her blog about getting organized, so you can go read that. 43 folders, indeed!

Have you ever noticed how much time we waste getting organized? It is so much more fruitful to spend your time on important things and leaving the organizing to when it becomes urgent. Then, working under pressure, it is amazing how organized you can become in no time flat! Isn't that efficient? You realize, of course, that nobody ever needs to hire a consultant or read a book to help them become cluttered and disorganized.

- so back to wasting time. I was going to the studio today for a few hours, but came home from my early meeting and I'm still here. Have to accompany Marty to the doctor this afternoon anyway, so there was no point in going for an hour or two, was there? Yesterday, I spent the entire afternoon there - in peace and quiet - not another soul around - and I accomplished a lot.
1) put a piece ready to be trimmed on my 12' design wall and measured/trimmed it so it is reasonably on-kilter. Came home and cut/sewed on the facing, which has to be hand-sewn to the back.
2) ironed and sorted a bit.
3) auditioned fabrics for a new piece. Here is the first of many rejected versions; I won't bore you with the rest. But after having reviewed them in jpg form, I now know what the piece is about -- if I ever make it.
Now that I have wasted the entire morning (well, I did leave a message for the contractor and I did post to my blog - both big accomplishments) it is time for lunch. Oh, I also made a big pot of stone soup, which I am going to dig into. Today - rainy and slightly chilly. A soup day!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Once we all had the same last name

I couldn't resist posting this. Whatever possessed us all to pose together after all these years, I can't imagine. I guess we had all had imbibed enough to make us silly - and when the kids said "c'mon, Ma" I joined them. One for posterity.Hope your Thanksgiving was fun, too.

L-R Jeremy, yrs truly, Hilary, Stanley, Jessica.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

the $1000 + faucet

Terry Grant and I have been commiserating about the prices of kitchen faucets and I told her that I am considering buying lottery tickets in the hope I can hit the jackpot and buy this faucet. Not only is it elegant, it feels so comfortable in my hand. But alas, I shall have to settle for something more pedestrian. (This should be my worst problem). Hardwood floor in the kitchen or tile? Sidespray or pull-out? Glass or tile backsplash? I suspect these questions will all resolve themselves eventually, although we do have to decide on the floor since that goes down first.

In the meantime, I continue to print fabric, which makes me happier than almost anything else I do. What is it that makes you the happiest of all the things you do? And why?

When I was doing career transition counseling, I learned to ask my clients not only what they liked/disliked about their previous jobs, but what it was about those things that specifically made them happy/unhappy. It's amazing what you can learn about yourself when you ask/answer that question. My favorite part of the job when I was director of sales promotion for a magazine, was working with the graphic designers and printers. What was it I loved about it? Color splitting -- that is, deciding what Pantone colors to use - and where to use them in the printed materials. Color and printing still make me happy -- but in a very different form. This fabric... became this after a few deletions, additions, and corrections.And the one below also used to look different. Printed another layer, then discharged. It is getting there (wherever there is).

I never did get to the studio today. Faucets, you remember. But tomorrow, the plumbing supply places are closed - so I will go to work. Even just ironing and moving things around on the wall will qualify.

Friday, November 23, 2007


I sit here tonight, finally tasting the bits left from the pecan and cranberry apple pies I had baked for yesterday's festivities. Feet up, cup of tea at hand, I am finally unwinding after a busy and hectic two weeks.

Why do I feel I need to apologize for not having posted? I have been consumed with major projects, deadlines, and general chaos - but that's nothing new. You know how it feels when your head wants do do something but your body doesn't? That's the way it's been. Every night I am going to post and every night I go to bed instead.

I haven't had time to be in the studio - but I will spend tomorrow there - or a good part of tomorrow, anyway. I am almost hoping nobody else will be there so I can work in peace and concentrate on the design wall.

We have ordered our cabinets and appliances; I have put the contractor on notice that I would like him to do our job - and now, the hard part: wood or tile for the floor? And what shall I do for a backsplash? Tile=grout=stains from fiber reactive dyes or paint splashed while I wash out my fabrics and screens in my future kitchen sink. So far, no answers.

Can i find a kitchen faucet that doesn't cost a king's ransom? You wouldn't belive that it took me less time to pick out my cabinets! This is crazy.

In between visiting every plumbing supply and tile store in a 10 mile radius, I actually printed a few pieces at the museum on Fridays. Some of them may be usable. The others will go back for another round or two. In any case, I will bring them to my studio tomorrow to audition them.
And on that note, off to bed to sleep off the exhaustion of looking at tile and faucets all day. STOP LAUGHING - it is hard work!

Sunday, November 11, 2007


Yesterday's mail brought the news that my piece, "Lost," had been juried into Form Not Function at the Carnegie Center in New Albany, IN. The full list has not been published, but so far I am in good company.
On another subject...Catching up on blog-reading tonight, I came across
Deb Roby's post on growth and change and on what I would paraphrase as getting sidetracked: distracted, interrupted, putting up our own roadblocks to working. Some of us are better at getting sidetracked than others - I'm right up there with the champs. I announced yesterday to Marty that I was going to the studio to work most of the day; he was happy because he had brought home his own work and was planning to sit at the kitchen table and do it.

BUT FIRST, I had to answer my e-mail. Then, I needed to write up the description for the new workshop I will be teaching at Art Quilt Tahoe next year. These two things took most of the morning. Then my son called; the boys had birthday presents for me and they wanted to come over this afternoon. Great! Haven't seen my son, DIL, and grandsons for eons and was certainly not going to the studio to work when I could see THEM. We spent a delightful couple of hours catching up and then when they left, I had to finish the workshop information. By then, it was time to go visit my mother at the assisted living place and spring her for a while.
We ordered in Chinese food and brought her home with us for dinner. By the time we took her back and got her settled, it was too late for anything else but staring into space.

Somehow, I managed to get distracted/sidetracked/whatever you want to call it/ for the entire day. Tomorrow, then. After I go to the doctor and the gym and before I meet with the kitchen designer and the cabinet guy. Really, tomorrow! I will do creative work! I promise!!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

bits and pieces

I admit it, I am obsessed with steaming. After I've spent the day in the studio printing fabric, I spend part of the evening in the kitchen wrapping little bundles and steaming the dry fabric, then soaking it in cold, washing it in hot water and detergent, and finally, ironing it to see what it really looks like. I love the smell of the paper and opening the packages is like receiving little gifts from the studio gods.
I've just unwrapped this and haven 't put in the cold water yet. You can't see the olive green and yellow background in this harsh kitchen light.

And here is what it looks like now that it is finally dry and ironed. The colors are somewhat different,aren't they? I couldn't get the olive green right without changing every other color in the picture, but this is essentially it. I am happy. I have not been doing anything but printing, trying to get an inventory so I can make new pieces. This is one of those fallow periods we all go through and I know that eventually, it will end - but not for a while. My days are mostly cut up into bits and pieces and not enough time to unwind and concentrate in a big block of time. The result is that I don't have any new work - and that is a problem.

The one bright spot is that I now not only have a copy machine in the studio (fortunately thre was a strong man around to lug it up all those hundreds of factory stairs) but yesterday I took my Thermofax over there. Hooray! I discovered, when the first screen came out with holes, that the electric current there is stronger than in my house so I had to adjust the setting - but it was so exciting to be able to make screens while I was working. Now I feel as though I am really settled in. I have the equipment I need - and backup equipment at home for bad weather or nights when I feel like working.

Today, off to the museum to print and to go back into the fabric in process.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

but first, this breaking news...

Now New Jersey Has Driving Bears

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Add this stranger-than-fiction story to the annals of Weird NJ. From The Star Ledger:

A bruin with a sweet tooth smashed its way into a minivan in Vernon early this morning to gobble up a bag of Halloween candy inside, then took the vehicle for a "joyride," police said.

An officer patrolling Highland Lakes at 2 a.m. found a 2004 Mazda minivan parked on a road shoulder with a front passenger side window smashed out.

The "obvious signs" that this was a bear burglary included paw prints, gobs of drool, claw marks and a large quantity of black bear hair, police said.

But this was no typical bear break-in.
The van was a stickshift, and the bear apparently dislodged the parking brake while noshing on leftover Halloween treats. The vehicle rolled out of a driveway and about 40 feet down the road before stopping, police said.

Aside from drool and hair, all that was left were a bunch of empty candy wrappers inside and outside the van.

In a tongue-in-cheek press release titled, "Black Bear Goes For a Joyride," police also said that the patrolman "followed the candy wrapper trail into the woods, but was unable to locate the defendant black bear."

Not nearly as interesting... In the past few weeks I have put aside my Pro Fab paints and have been painting and screening with thickened dyes. Today I had a few hours in the studio and played with some resists. Here is the fabric just after I printed it with my new favorite MX color - butterscotch. Mmmm.It looked yummy, but after I had steamed and washed it, the color had become less vivid. Well, this just means I need to go back in and add another layer. Do I need an excuse? In my last post I talked about discharging by throwing the fabric into the steamer. Here is a piece that was so dark, you couldn't see the writing. Now, of course, it is too pale. Monday, when I was discharging, I had only one of my screens in the studio so I used it on everything. Well, at least there will be some underlying family resemblance - LOL. I won't bore you with the rest of them.
Tomorrow I hope to spend most of the day in the studio again. I now have a copy machine over there, which I found on Craig's List for a song. Next is my Thermofax.

The good news is that more artists are moving into our building. Tom Nussbaum, a sculptor and printmaker, is taking the space and subdividing it - so across the hall, there will ultimately be 4 or 5 more artists. Hooray!

Vinny, the guy in the other space on our floor, was evicted for non-payment of rent. Sidebar: he told us he had a video business. Once he was leaving, we found out what kinds of videos he was making in there -- and I have to say, we all got a big chuckle out of it, after the fact. No wonder he was always there working late at night! You should see some of the items that came out of there - LOL.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Monday and Tuesday

I thought I would reply here to Linda's comment about facing a quilt because some others may have the same questions: Do you bother with a backing layer or just stitch/glue it down in the back and devil take the hindmost? I put batting, backing, and hand-stitch down the facing. This is pretty small, but you can click and maybe see it bigger. And how/why do you stitch the interior of a whole-cloth piece? The stitching gives it texture, which I like. If I were stretching this, I might treat it differently - but I'm not sure.

Monday I took the day off because it was h.b.2 me. Judy, Diane, Rachel, Joan, Joanie and I met with a gallery curator who was picking work for a group show for next March. Then I went to the studio for a few hours of screening with discharge paste. It is too nasty for me to iron, especially indoors and with other artists around. So I took the fabric home, wrapped it and threw it into the steampot. The up-side is that you don't get the smell in a covered pot; the down-side is that you have no control over the process -- it all discharges to the max. Then, of course, you have to go back in and paint dye into the fabric, but that is work for another day.

It finally feels like November, which is not necessarily a good thing. Cold and rainy till late morning, when the sun finally decided to poke its head around the clouds. My woods looked so vivid in the grey, that I took a picture. Doesn't really do it justice, though.

Nature is the best colorist.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

nice weekend

Today was a real treat! We had a visit from Russ Little and Dan, who had come up from Maryland to visit family and detoured to Chez Gillman for lunch on their way home. Not only was their company a delight, Russ brought a bag of artwork for me to see: some of his wonderful surface design - some of it already stitched, some in process, and some art cloth. I'm not posting pictures because someday he may want to enter them into an important juried exhibit and I don't want to publish his work on my blog. Meantime, check his blog to see what he is doing.

Time with a kindred spirit is a great stimulus to work and tonight I was determined to finish up a small whole cloth piece that has been sitting around for too long. All I had to do was put on the facing. Dreary work but it really doesn't take long to do. Someone told me years ago to "lose the binding" and that's what I've done. I face, instead. Amazing that I can do this at all, since I flunked 7th grade sewing.

The turquoise strip at the top is the facing. I've sewn it on the way I would sew on a regular binding. Then, I have simply turned it all the way to the back and pinned it so it doesn't show on the front (I hope). End of story.

Friday night I dropped a bunch of art off at an art show in which I had been invited to participate, along with painters, sculptors, printmakers and photographers. The opening was not heavily attended, but evidently the rest of the weekend was busy there. When I went to pick up my work late this afternoon I found that one of my mixed media pieces had sold: a pleasant end to a lovely weekend.

Friday, November 02, 2007


It's been that kind of week. I actually had three deadlines; two huge projects and an art exhibit which opened tonight. Don't know how I did it - but I managed to get it all in on time, delivering the art this morning and then going to the museum to print. I've been keeping my copy machine and my thermofax busy making screens so I could do some things that were different from previous work.

Today was a combination of printing new fabric and going back into what I call the piece from hell. Last week, I took a gorgeous piece of chartreuse and printed it with black. The black was so strong I couldn't stand it. See what I mean? Overwhelming.So today, in desperation, I printed with this week's new favorite screen and tried to obliterate those horrid black lines. As you can see, to no avail. You can still see the black lines. Now what?"Aha," I thought, "I'll discharge and maybe the lines will disappear." Ok, I admit it - I was hoping they would disappear. So i put discharge paste through the same screen and tonight i steamed the fabric.Well, it is getting more intreresting - but the black lines are not going away. i guess i'm stuck with them - but i am not giving up yet and i'll get back to this to put down another layer.
in the meantime, I printed two more pieces. One might be done; the other still needs more.
Stay tuned.

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 ...