Thursday, October 30, 2008

almost as good as dark chocolate

For me, bittersweet chocolate is a real upper: energizing and happiness-inducing at the same time. That's what today's visit to Marni Goldshlag's exhibit was like. Marni's work is spectacular and no one else is doing what she is doing. She works with sheers which she dyes and paints before she layers them, then hand stitches and floats them so they glow. I got there an hour before the opening, so was able to take pix and spend alone time with her before people started arriving. Here she is, greeting the first arrivals - fiber art appreciators from the Nutmeg Guild in CT. I never expected to see anyone else I knew, but lo and behold, in walked Judy Cuddihee, the SAQA rep from Connecticut. I hadn' t seen Judy in 3 or 4 years, since I dropped out of Fiber it was good to reconnect. She certainly does intriguing work, tongue firmly in cheek. Here she is, chatting with another guest at the opening.Not five minutes later, who should arrive but Benedicte Caneill! She had read my blog this morning, knew I was going to be there, and came over to say hello and see the exhibit. (Thank you, Benedicte - it is good to know that you're reading -- even if you don't leave a comment). It was great to see her, too! Benedicte had taken a class from me a couple of years ago when I taught at Northern Star Quilters in Somers, NY. That guild has so many talented artists and cool people in it: Natalya Aikens, Jeri Riggs, Elizabeth Rosenberg, Vivien Zepf, Elizabeth Poole, Jane Davila, Norma Schlager, and that's just the tip of the iceberg! Here is Marni in front of her newest and a top favorite in the show. I thought it was my favorite, but now I think this one is my favorite...although there were too many beauties to post them all - you really need to get yourself over there to see the exhibit if you are within a 2 hour drive. Approximately 20 pieces by fiber artist Marni Goldshlag. For more information about the artist, and to see many examples of her work, visit: For more information about the venu and for directions, visit

Oct. 27, 2008 - Dec. 19, 2008

The Cora E. McLaughlin Gallery

Convent of the Sacred Heart

1177 King St.

Greenwich, CT 06831

8:30-5pm, Monday-Friday

See? Almost as good as eating dark chocolate.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


I spent much of the past 24 hours trying to get rid of some nasty spyware on my laptop and finally, thanks to Spybot Search & Destroy (freeware with optional donation, which I made) my computer is clean. Now I want my money back for the other software that didn't find the culprits. I made the mistake of re-installing IE on my computer and all that junk came with it. This quilt has nothing to do with anything, except that it was the first quilt I ever had in print: in Margaret Miller's book, Smashing Sets. I was thrilled, of course. Margaret is one of the warmest, most engaging people in this business and I am always astounded that she remembers me when we run into each other (which is not all that often). The 9 patches are antique blocks and this quilt was what I called my "flat robin." That's a round robin done by yourself! Start in the middle, put it away and forget it, then take it out and add the next round. Put it away. Repeat the routine till it's done. I've been spending way too much time reading other peoples' blogs instead of doing what I am supposed to be doing. One of my favorites, because her work is SOOO gorgeous, is Connie Rose's blog. She spins, dyes yarn, weaves and does shibori and surface design. Her fabric and scarves are delicious: she's got an Etsy shop that is severly tempting...and I am not easily tempted....but there is one shibori'd woven scarf that is to die for. Tomorrow, I'm driving up to Greenwich, CT to see Marni Goldshlag. She has a show opening and I'm meeting her before the opening so we can spend an hour and I can get home without getting caught in rush hour on the Tappan Zee bridge. Marni lives in North Carolina, so an hour and a half drive to see her seems like a bargain! Her work is worth seeing if you are within driving distance of Greenwich. And if not, you can see it here.

Oct. 27, 2008 - Dec. 19, 2008 - solo show at

The Cora E. McLaughlin Gallery

Convent of the Sacred Heart

1177 King St.

Greenwich, CT 06831

8:30-5pm, Monday-Friday

Opening reception - Oct. 30, 3:30-5:30pm

Off to crawl into bed. The battery ran out on the upstairs thermostat, so it is a bit chillier than we would like. It's just such a hassle to unscrew the thing, find batteries that fit, and reset it that I couldn't deal with it today. Maybe on Friday.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

lost weekend?

The phone woke me at 10 am, I went back to sleep and finally dragged myself out of bed at 10:40. This NEVER happens....but it was pouring, as it had been all night. The perfect day to sleep late -- although I hadn't intended it. By the time I showered, dressed and put up the coffee, it was almost lunchtime. But before I had my coffee, I grabbed my camera. I've been watching the trees change from day to day and this morning, in the dismal gray weather, they were especially vibrant. If this were a painted scene it would be cornball. Look at that red on the left! With a sigh of relief, I decided I didn't need to go further than the mailbox today -- and since it felt like a soup day, it was the perfect day to try the recipe for Mulligatawny soup someone had posted on another list. I had all the ingredients: red lentils, hot peppers, fresh ginger, fresh cilantro, coconut milk, garlic, onions, cumin, coriander, turmeric, and even gram flour (chickpea flour), which I bought a while ago in case I ever had an urgent need for it. LOL. It pays to be prepared for all eventualities. While I was at it, I made the rest of dinner: ground lamb and pine nut-stuffed eggplant and kale salad. The soup was fragrant and delicious and so was the rest of the meal. The only thing I didn't do was bake - because I had to pay my mother's bills. Till that point, the day was lovely and relaxing. Then I had to take another picture. See those little white dots? Yep. snow. A little while earlier it had been so warm there was thunder. Go figure. I brought the plant in. But let's back up a bit... Last night was my collagraph class and yes, I was too tired to write about it when I got home at 9:30. Our homework was to carve into a plate so we could print intaglio and relief with two colors in one pass. WELL. First of all, I am not fond of sharp instruments. Second, I can carve into that soft rubber stuff with a speedball thing but have never carved into mat board with an exacto knife. So, my plate didn't look like anybody else's. All those other people carved gorgeous, detailed, recognizeable objects. I had lumps. Here is how the lumps printed. Afterwards, teacher gave me a carving lesson and I spent the rest of the evening practicing how to do it the right way. Not sure I really needed to know. Good thing we don't get grades.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

a gorgeous day for an art walk

This was the last day of Newark (NJ's) Annual Open Doors and Gallery crawl - and what a day it was! Glorious - sunny, warm but not too hot - perfect walking weather. The streets were quiet and there was time to wax nostalgic over this empty but gorgeous building that was the most elegant department store in Newark. For the carriage trade, built in 1901, It had crystal chandeliers and a 4-story atrium. It should become artists' lofts but I suppose it will be upscale condos at some point. Newark was once a beautiful city and a very historic one. The infamous Newark has quite a burgeoning art scene and this weekend there were exhibits all over downtown. Too many to get to on foot in one afternoon, but we saw quite a few exhibits. Unfortunately, we were not able to get to a couple of major places we would have wanted to see, like City Without Walls, but I can get down to see it another time, since they are an ongoing gallery. Many of the exhibits were in temporary spaces. We saw a fair amount of edgy work - installations and such, some excellent work, and a lot of crap. No matter! There was lots of energy -- all of it positive. One of the first places we stopped was Red Saw Gallery for their invitational. This is a piece by Colleen Gutwein, who is primarily a photographer. BUT - this is thread on canvas - one of four small pieces she had in the show. As it happened, she was gallery sitting today and when I asked if I could photograph the work, she came over and introduced herself. The pieces were self-portraits she did with pencil while not looking at the paper (blind drawing??) She transferred them to painted canvas and thread-painted by hand. She said it took a couple of hours just to sew because it was hard to get through the painted canvas. Very nice. I also liked these two works. There was a third but maybe I wasn't crazy about the third one - I don't remember. The artist is Jamie Allen, but when I googled the name, I got almost zip: there is an artist of that name who graduated from RISD and is teaching watercolor for kids and 2-D design at one of the county colleges. No website, nothing. Hmmm... And finally, these, acrylic on cut paper. This one, called Consumption, made me smile. And this is called Power. The artist is Anonda Bell At the next gallery, I must admit this piece and its ilk failed to communicate with me. What am I missing? We walked and walked and walked and finally, desperate to sit down, we went into 27 Mix -- a charming little restaurant with a fabulous looking menu, great reveiws, a bar, VERY NOISY customers and VERY LOUD music. We were tempted to stay, but couldn't take the din. Are we old and crochety, or what? On the way back to the Newark Museum, where we had parked, we saw this delicious piece of street art, which I hope is permanent. A recycled oil tank!Too exhausted to look at the Impressionist exhibit, we fell into the car and picked up Chinese takeout on the way home. What a lovely way to spend a Sunday.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

lost and found

My paints. In my studio, under something (big surprise there). So this afternoon, I went to work experimenting. On Monday, after the car ate my homework I took the substitute plate to class. That assignment had been to make a plate with fabric. I used silk, linen, ribbon, batting, and shelf liner (does rubber count as fabric?) What a pain, trying to get the stuff to stick. Instead of doing something abstract, I decided to see if I could do a familiar scene. I hated this print so much that I threw it in the trash. Then the teacher insisted I rescue it and overprint it with black. I still hate it, but not quite as much. Nevertheless, I added some layers to the plate today: silver tape, drywall tape, sequin waste. and printed a few more. I like this one the best. It's on gray paper and I think all that stuff I added gives it more texture and depth. But my friend Mona, who is a printmaker and teaches at Pratt, thought the first one was stronger. I have already begun to remove some of the additional stuff from this plate and will print again tomorrow. Honestly, surface design is easier. But I love the challenge of learning to work with new tools. On another subject, the local newspaper is doing a story on me because I have artwork in the show at the Carol Simon Cancer Center. They're sending a photographer tomorrow morning who wants to take a picture of quilts on my wall. So I have to get up early and find a wall to hang something because none of my work hangs in the house, except in the guest room. Never a dull...

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


OK - where are my printing inks???? They have to be around somewhere; I thought I had left them in my studio but couldn't find them today. And they don't seem to be at home. as Marty says, "they'll turn up." And my response is always "no, they won't." In any case, I've been prowling the Graphic Chemical & Ink website in search of Caligo oil-based, clean-up-with-soap and water, inks. Relief inks? Intaglio inks? What's the difference? I think either will do, so I'll get them all. Granddaughter of Carload Charlie carries on the family legacy... In the meantime, I followed some of the links on the Caligo ink website and ended up in some interesting places having to do with color (or colour). Check this out: If you've never taken the Luscher color test, you should. I have the book and remember taking it years ago, but on-line it is quicker and just as accurate. In fact, remarkably so-- at least for me. Well past midnight on the right coast, and I have a tough day tomorrow - another heartbreaking funeral in my extended family. I am a bit tired of all these losses - but that is part of the deal, isn't it? Makes it all the more important to have fun while we're able to. xo

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

back again

Yikes - another week without blogging! I suppose at this point I will be booted out of the bloggers' club for non-compliance. I skipped last week because, once again, life intervened and handed me a lot of stuff to deal with that had nothing to do with art. I did manage to print this scarf but was too tired to blog about it. If you're into lime green, purple, and fuchsia, you probably love it. Soy wax and dye on crepe de chine. I may overdye it - these are just not my colors. I dyed a couple of others but haven't had a chance to work on them yet. I also have some yardage I need to print: where does the time go?? At one point in the last week I took up a challenge from someone I met who works at a quilt shop. She sent me a piece of this fabric and dared me to improve it. I must admit it was not easy, but I finally managed to modify it by adding black with one of my screens of the trees behind my house. I don't know whether she likes it better, but I do! Friday, I dropped off 4 pieces of artwork for an exhibit at the Carole G. Simon Cancer Center of Morristown Memorial Hospital. On the way home, I stopped at Trader Joe's -- normally not in my locus -- and stocked up on good stuff. I was pretty restrained - and I am still experimenting with what's good and what isn't. I can see I will have to make a return trip in another few weeks. For those of you with Trader Joe's near you, what's your favorite stuff? Somebody already recommended the black bean salsa and it's yummy. I am hooked on their dark chocolate covered espresso beans and am still hoping to find a good, strong, flavorful English tea there. On Sunday, Marty and I went to Art in the Park especially to say hi to Wen Redmond, who had a booth there. While she lives in N.H., she grew up in N.J. and her dad still lives here. It was great to see her and meet her husband...and there were lots of customers coming in to look at her work while we were there. Unfortunately, I was too busy gabbing to remember to take a photo. Because last week was so full of family stuff, I could not do my printmaking homework till yesterday. That means I had to make a plate (fabric on masonite), glue the stuff on, put many coats of medium on it, blah blah blah. Spent all morning in the studio doing just that and it was almost dry when I went home for lunch. The weather was so gorgeous and the sun was so strong that I put it in the hood of my car to finish drying. Stop laughing! Spent the afternoon back in the studio, making a second plate. Needless to say, my print in last night's class was not a roaring success. THIS week I am going to do my homework tomorrow. Really! And with that, I am off to read my book on collagraphs.

Monday, October 13, 2008

printing and more printing

Tonight was session #2 of the printmaking class I'm taking on Monday nights. I've taken a couple of one-day monoprint workshops that were fine - but I am loving this 10 session course. The evenings are all-too-short, but enough to get a taste. People who are taking the class can come in and use their lovely big press during the week, but since I have my small press in the studio, I'm using my own Blick press, which has an 18"x36" bed. Good enough for what I do. Because of circumstances, I didn't have a chance to do my homework till today. So my plates were a bit random and done in a hurry. Here is the better part of a print done tonight from a plate I glued together this morning. I took last week's plate, made with a variety of tapes, and added more tape, drywall tape, and band-aids. This time, instead of black, I used several colors. This is the first print, followed by a ghost. All are printed on damp paper. The ghosts are more interesting and I pulled a number of them tonight. Ghost is the second print made without adding more ink to the plate. Here are some others. Addictive? You bet!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

tagged...a diversion

I came home from the funeral at 3:00 this afternoon and slept for 3 hours before I dragged myself awake so I wouldn't be up in the middle of the night. I'm waiting for my brother to call and tell me he arrived home safely: he drove to NJ from Pittsburgh last night, arriving at 5:30 this morning -- and left for home at 3:00 this afternoon.
In the meantime, being tagged seems as good a diversion and end to the long week as anything. I've been tagged so many times that I'm running out of random factoids about myself. The rules are as follows: 1. Link to the person who tagged you. 2. Post the rules on your blog. 3. Write six random things about yourself. 4. Tag six people at the end of your post. 5. Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog. 6.Let the tagger know your entry is up. This time, I've been tagged by TWO people. Argh. Here's the deal: they will remain anonymous; I'll try not to repeat the things from prior taggings and I will not tag anybody else. 1. I'll take salty over sweet and pungent over mild, every time. 2. Haagen Dazs is the only brand of ice cream I buy. 3. Dishes in the sink make me crazy. 4. My paper towel holder is 28 years old. 5. By the time I was 28 years old I had 2 kids and had owned a house for 4 years. 6. When I am engrossed in a book, I become deaf to the world. I meant to post last week about a wonderful book by Molly Bang, Picture This: How Pictures Work but got sidetracked. My friend Randy brought it to share at our crit group and it is being passed around. Since I prefer to own books (mostly because I will invariably spill something on a borrowed book).It is simple, direct, and has already caused me to change the orientation of a piece I was not happy with. Terrific book!
And with that, I am off to bed, with or without my brother's phone call. Tomorrow I must do my printmaking homework for tomorrow night's class.

Friday, October 10, 2008

up for air

Thanks for all your warm wishes of love and support. My favorite unk (everybody's favorite) died quietly this afternoon surrounded by the people he loved best. Happily, I had picked up my mother at her assisted living place this morning and taken her to the hospital to say her goodbyes to her favorite brother-in-law. I took her home and just as I was a block away from the hospital, he died. The last of my father's siblings, he was funny, handsome and generous. Tonight, five of us who were closest to him, went out to celebrate his life at his favorite Italian restaurant. We laughed,toasted him, and enjoyed the food and each other's company. A perfect tribute! The funeral is Sunday and we will have a party afterwards, as he would have wanted us to do. Tomorrow, a day of rest.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

taking a blog break

Thanks to all of you who commented about my prints on previous post. Tiedyejudy - I'll post a picture of my press whenever I finally get to my studio to take one. It is 2:am. I was at the hospital from 3:pm on with my cousins, my kids, and the people my uncle loves, sitting at his bedside as his body winds down over the next few hours or days. We laughed, cried, told stories, and all said our own personal goodbyes just in case he doesn't last the night. Taking a break for the next few days.

Monday, October 06, 2008

printmaking class

Tonight, Randy and I went to the first of ten printmaking classes on Monday nights and it was too much fun. We are doing collagraphs and tonight, using several varieties of tape to make the plate, we did some interesting work. Collagraphs are made when textured stuff is glued to a plate, inked, and put through a press. Here is my plate, which I love the look of all by itself. First print - inked the plate and didn't wipe it and here is the result. Hmmmm... Second print, added a little ink and did a lot of wiping. I like this one! We have homework for next week and you can imagine how I can't wait to get into my studio and get back to my press. Not today, though.

open studios

As usual, I was so busy talking to the hundreds of people who came through the studio today that I forgot to take pix during the afternoon. I did get this one shot before we opened the door, but there was another wall that I didn't get a picture of. I had a wonderful day! Lots of people asked questions about my processes and I explained that everything starts out WHITE. Three people were interested in one particular piece, but I told them it was reserved. It was the favorite of the show. And two other people saw one piece of fabric on my design wall and asked me to let them know when I had made it into a piece. Yikes! I had to tell the second person that there was someone in line ahead of him. Now THAT's motivation to finish it! Lots of people bought books - I don't have very many left. (so if you want a signed copy while I still have them, let me know). And I sold almost all the silk scarves I had brought with me -- I just got a shipment of white silk scarves in and needed to make room for the new ones I will be dyeing/printing, so I threw these in at the last minute and put them on sale. I think I have 5 left, and they have been reduced to $45 from $75. If I get to it, I will post them and if there are any you want, let me know. One of my customers asked to take my picture, so after she was done I asked her to take one with my camera. If you read the article in this month's Cloth Paper Scissors, you will recognize the background.See those snazzzzzy new red glasses?(now I match my metal shelving, background) They are my new el cheapo drugstore reading glasses!! I have always envied people who could use these things, but I had to have prescription reading glasses because I was plus in one eye and minus in the other. Blah. Now, since my cataracts are gone and I have new lenses, I have to throw away (no, give away) all my prescription glasses. I don't need anything for distance...and hopefully, when my eyes finally heal and get adjusted, it will remain this way. So - this is why I am smiling. Also because I made enough today to pay next month's rent. Tomorrow, I need to dye/print some scarves. Our granddaughter Rebecca, who lives in Bethesda, turns 13 in November and will be Bat Mitzvah'd four weeks from now. She has asked me to make her tallis and would prefer one in hot pink, lime green, and purple, so I need to get busy. Soy wax? stripes? dots? Oh, my - what fun it will be to experiment. I have not done scarves in quite a while.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

work in progress & other miscellany

My vision - LOL. Second cataract was demolished today, but I am sewing sleeves on various small pieces that have been sitting around waiting patiently. I have so many exhibits coming up that I need to be able to hang lots of work. I hope I can remember what goes where! exhibit #1 This coming Sunday, Oct 5 from 1-5, Open Studios at 66 Franklin St., where there are 10 artists participating. We are expecting a CROWD!! It's been a year and a half since our first open studio, so we are just hoping for good weather. exhibit #2 On Oct 17 I have four pieces juried into a show in the gallery at Morristown Memorial Hospital. The gallery space is in the cancer center so all of our work should get lots of exposure. The gallery director at the hospital is an art therapist.
semi-colon 22 x 22
exhibit #3 Then, Nov 1 I have four other pieces juried into a show with an interesting concept. The title of the exhibit is Bridging the Space Between and it examines the question of "is it art or is it craft?" -- a frustration that those of us who work in fiber,ceramics, collage, and other media, are alway dealing with. There will be a panel discussion somewhere along the line, which should be interesting. I mean, how many times have you seen calls for entry for art shows that say "all media except fiber or video."?? GRRRRRR This is a screenprint. If I had done it on paper, it would be considered a piece of art. But it is done on fabric. Craft.
Artist's Proof 24" x 18"
By the way, have you noticed that "quilt" show prospectii are the only ones on the planet to ask for sizes to be w x h instead of, like every other 2-d ART medium, h x w? This makes absolutely no sense and must be a leftover antiquated thing from bed quilts at the county fair. Don't tell me it is to estimate hanging space because every gallery, no matter what kind of art, needs dimensions for wall space estimates - and they still want h x w. Since I consider my work to be ART, I always label my work with the dimensions as they should be: height first.
On-line auctions worth checking out SDA has a fund-raiser that has just started. There is a variety of stuff and the prices are quite reasonable. There is work by yrs truly (and I donated a book for which the bidding starts at below wholesale); Patricia Malarcher, Natalya Aikens, and more. Go take a look. SAQA's One Foot Square auction has got pages and pages and pages and pages of wonderful 12" h x 12" w (notice the order of dimensions -LOL) works of art, including this one. It's a reverse auction and bidding doesn't open till Oct 10 (details on the SAQA auction page) - BUT you need to scope 'em out and decide ahead of time which ones you want because you just know the one you want will go fast and you have to be ready to jump in at the first minute or somebody else will. Is there anything else I wanted to say? Who knows? Pretty soon it will be time for my eye drops. In the meantime, I think I need to help get rid of that Haagen Dazs in my freezer - it is taking up too much space.

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 ...