I have written on this subject before but I have been having some very vivid dreams lately. I know most would consider this “normal” for artists but I honestly don’t recall a lot of them. The dream was disturbing but as I write this I see that my mind is telling me to not forget my family as I move closer to my dream of an art career. Or it might just be that the stormy, humid weather we have had lately got into my dreams. I then ran across this quote that made it all better.

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

Eleanor Roosevelt

The beauty of dreams is a wonderful thought. I see images either live or online and if I hone in on the beauty of even just part of that image I begin to imagine what I could do to create a piece of art work. So I guess you could say I am always dreaming, dreaming of art, dreaming of colors and how I can translate this into a piece of art. I am day dreaming, something I got into trouble for doing as a child in school. Yet it was this habit of finding something from nature and seeing how I could show that beauty to others that makes me who I am.

All art is some form of communication. Sometimes I want to show the viewer what I was feeling at that exact moment. Sometimes it is to show the viewer what the wonder of nature really can be if they were to take the time to look. I am an open book most times so I am not good at hiding the meaning of my work. I do believe that the wonder of nature is closest way I can feel one with the universe. I know that other artists see landscapes and nature as passé’ for subject matter. I on the other hand think the more modern we become the more we need to seek out nature. To slow down, just breath and see natures beauty and wonder.

As a child I did a lot of exploring outside. I know that this was the root of my love for nature and landscapes. I would spend hours running thru the lower bramble of the blackberry patch as a child. It must have been at least 5 foot high and had been on that hill for many years. I would see if I could catch a baby rabbit who lived there, then get frightened by a screeching crow above the bramble. I would stop in my tracks then search above the twisted limbs to find the crow. I almost always got distracted by a spider web or two. The interlacing strands would be stretched out with such beauty of precision, yet there was always a line or segment out of place, not even or attached. I know many don’t like spiders but I didn’t consider the spider an issue. I was more fascinated by the pattern, the beauty of the spider web.

There is a tradition with Victorian crazy quilts that you include a spider web. They loved anything exotic and ornate.  They had a great love for nature.  Not only that, they considered spiders in their homes to be a sign of good luck. This has continued on to modern times for crazy quilters though not sure it is for the same reasons other than tradition. My latest crazy quilt block does include a spider web in a dusty pink. I used it like a trellis to hold a vine of green leaves and small pink flowers. Then came the spider using a pink bead and the same dusty pink silk thread as the web I added the legs. Honestly those eight legs were pulled out a couple of times so I could get the angle right. I was free hand stitching them and kept getting them off. Should have penciled them in first.

I do believe it finally worked out but I should remember that there is nothing exact about nature and just stop worrying about getting it perfect. Here is the final crazy quilt block for your review. I do hope you enjoy my creation.


P.S. A good friend of mine likes the wonder of spider webs and took this picture. Thanks Michele for this wonderful picture taken right before the night rain crashed it down. I love the reflection of the water coming down and the spooky glowing spider.





Have you ever gone to an art exhibit and left wild-eyed and amazed? I had just that reaction at the Metropolitan museum in New York City recently. The show was Manus X Machina: Fashion in the Age of Technology. 

This show included more than 170 examples of haute-couture and avant-garde ready to wear from the 20th century to the present. It was an intriguing exploration of the ways in which designers are reconciling handmade and machine-made in their creations. 

This first dress has insets of silver-blue silk and metal lame with machine-picot edging. The hand appliqued white silk tulle and silk ribbon flowers just sing to me. It is French made in 1928. 

In fact this picture was what enticed me to see the show in person. I have taken a few classes from ribbon artist Candace Kling to learn how to make those large roses. I have lots more practice to even get close to these beauties. 

Here is a detail of a Christian Dior dress from 1953. It is hand embroidered on silk organza using what looks like silk thread in green for the clover and grasses. As I looked closely I see the purple and pink flowers in silk floss are the bullion knot. I can do that stitch but it is masterful here. 

As I wandered thru all the displays of masterful stitching I see something completely different. It is almost a piece of sculpture all on it’s own. This is a 3D pleated piece made of white polyamide. 

Polyamide is a type of synthetic fabric that contains sweat-wicking and water-repelling properties that make it an ideal material for outerwear and sports clothing.  For this use the strength and flexibility of this fiber shines in the machine pleating and manulipuation of the fabric. 

This last dress definitely has a look of hours spent creating it. From the Alexander McQueen collection designed by Sarah Burton. It is hand and machine sewn nude silk organdy with hand embroidered red orange glass beads, freshwater pearls, pieces of coral and dyed shells. 

I took so many pictures from this show, it really was one of the best I have seen in a long while. I can see using several of these techniques but to see the attention to detail and use of new methods and technology has my mind swimming with possibilities. I left with a smile on my face that will last for years. What a way to get energized! 

Summer Dreaming

We all love the long lazy days of summer, well except when they are too hot to even touch the car door handle.  I have been stifled by the heat and humidity lately making it hard to do much more than sleep and eat. This has led to a habit of napping each afternoon. A luxury of being retired I do enjoy. You get tired, you lay down and nap for a bit.

One recent nap had me dreaming, no really remembering in a dream a wonderful summer evening spent years ago. My large family did a lot of camping during the summer in my early years.  I find that my connection with nature is where I believe I am connected to that higher power and feel at peace. This began without conscious thought as a young child, thanks mom and dad.  Nature also was when we had a lot of fun and adventure, got our feet wet and enjoyed ourselves as a family.

With seven children my folks were hard pressed to make time for each child as we were wandering thru life. I may have said this before but I do remember asking to learn to draw from my mom at an early age. Mom being an artist and teacher this gave me “extra” time that some of my siblings did not get. My parents also made a tradition of making each of our birthdays special. On that day the birthday kid got to pick out what the family would eat for dinner. We of course chose our favorite flavor for the home made cake too. I do recall that one sister always wanted strawberry flovored cake. Mine was and still is chocolate. However I do short cut and buy the most luxurious chocolate cake I can find.

My dream had me remembering a summer camping trip along the shore of a beautiful lake. We set up camp on the day of my birthday and no I don’t recall what we had for dinner that night. However I do recall the taste of the wonderful chocolate cake my mom made in the camp oven on our Coleman stove. I was amazed that the two layers came out so high and even. The sun was just beginning to set with bright yellow and reds in the sky. My dad asked if I wanted to join him and my mom for a short canoe trip on the lake.

I jumped at the chance to have special time with the two of them. I also knew we had to wait for the cake to cool before any icing. As we got away from shore the sky seemed to just light up with brighter and brighter colors, yellow, peach and stark red here and there. I was fascinated with the change of colors reflected in the water of the lake too. Then all of sudden music, a carillon from a distance shore was playing from a tower. This is one of my most powerful memories with both my parents one that I have treasured.

A few years ago as part of a crazy quilt round robin a member of this group asked each of us to recall a family memory to use in our block for her quilt. I had to replicate this wonderful memory. I started the block with the sky, using hand dyed silk in crazy patch. I used a variegated dyed cotton thread to emphasize the searing bright colors of the sunset. I then placed strips of batik fabric for the lake at the  bottom. I machine quilted the strips leaving raw edges in flowing shapes to mimic the light waves of the lake. Green spruce trees were then done in layers of feather stitch on the shore line. Last I added the canoe, a bright yellow one. My dad made two canoes in this bright yellow fiberglass. I had to have that to complete this memory.  Yet I see I forgot the bell tower.

As I look at this picture I am transported back to that moment, remembering the wonder and connection to nature that moment was in my life. I hold to the memory, it did come back to me in my dream and I find myself just as happy as I was floating on that lake.