December 30, 2013 11 comments

Skidding in...!

I took an unscheduled break for a few weeks (you may have noticed). My muse had fled - due, I think to a mild depression I was experiencing. Essentially, I was pre-mourning my future health issues.  I let myself have a wallow, but a few days before Christmas, said to myself "Self, that's enough now!Time to pick up the ball."

So, since then I got creative by making some new decorations for the Christmas tree, making SIX cozies for my new tablet  (because you never know what kind of mood you'll be in); but also, actually finishing "the boy".

I know it seemed like I only had a bit to do -  (I sure thought so!) - but it turned out, that the weight of this sucker was SO. MUCH. that after I put my usual envelope closing on, the  weight of it actually pulled the seams apart. So I had to re-quilt what I thought would be only the centre portion, but as that skewed the rest of it, I actually had to re-quilt the entire thing. (Augh!)

(original fabric, marked off for quilting, before painting.)

And then I had to make the small, but painstaking "repairs" (adding more feathers, fussing with the neckline, making the bat [that bat, as innocuous as it looks, took HOURS and HOURS which I will delineate in another post]).

But on to the actual piece!

It began its life as a piece about my son, Issac, who died 19 years ago. You may remember I started it in the spring - the start date was actually on what would have been his 21st birthday. But I didn't want to make a cherub, so I aged him using my face and those of my other sons at various ages to make him an older child.

But as I worked on the wings, I realized that I was not only grieving the death of my own son, but all of our sons, who are taken from us because of the world we live in - whether its an accident, a stray bullet, a predator, or a George Zimmerman.

And so I called it "Remembrance Day"
All alone I didn't like the feeling
All alone I sat and cried
All alone I had to find some meaning
In the center of the pain I felt inside

All alone I came into this world
All alone I will someday die
Solid stone is just sand and water, baby
Sand and water, and a million years gone by

I will see you in the light of a thousand suns
I will hear you in the sound of the waves
I will know you when I come, as we all will come
Through the doors beyond the grave
All alone I came into this world
All alone I will someday die
Solid stone is just sand and water, baby
Sand and water and a million years gone by 

I hope you enjoy your new year's eve celebrations if that's what you do - and if you take this time to reflect on the past year(s) or make plans for a new one - I hope you find much to celebrate and look forward to.

I'll see you on Wednesday with my annual "Year In Review".

'Till then!

Kit 120

*From Sand & Water by Beth Neilson Chapman"
December 6, 2013 4 comments

Week LInk Post - 2

First up, Cas Holmes - and an interview with her at World of Threads.  When I was experimenting with surface design, I made all these cool things - but then didn't know what to do with them. Ms Holmes certainly does!

If I were to be a surface designer, rather than whatever it is I am now (lol) I would hope that one day my art would be as incredible as hers.

This review called "Selected Secrets From A Disillusioned Generation" by Christine Shan Shan Hou, of a show called Rituals of Rented Island: Object Theater, Loft Performance, and The New Psychodrama—Manhattan, 1970–1980, at the Whitney Museum of Art, not only sounds like a "must see" show if you're in the area, but the review itself offers insight into contemporary art. Excellent writing on the part of Ms Shan Shan Hou.

And Terry Jarrard-Dimond talks about juried shows again. At this point in my career, juried shows are a must - later, hopefully not - but I always love reading about them, and Terry offers insight with her experience and whys and wherefores.

Hope you have a great weekend!

Kit 120
December 5, 2013 2 comments

Holiday sales...

Over on Facebook, I began offering some of my small works at special holiday prices, (which I will be doing throughout December).

It just occurred to me this morning, however, that I ought to let *you* in on the deals too!

So, this is what I have left for this week:

In The Wind - $100

Lake of Dreams - Quartet - $200

Paperwork No. 1 - $100

If you're interested in any of these, you can contact me at Cheers, Kit 120
December 4, 2013 4 comments

WIP Wednesday

I've been busy hand-painting and crush dyeing fabrics for the next big project!

Can you guess what these are going to be?

Kit 120
December 2, 2013 2 comments

Ten hours..

Two people. Ten hours.

What might two people, over the course of ten hours accomplish? Many things!

However, in this case - two people (myself and BSP), over the course of ten hours, managed to take a basket-full of seriously unruly embroidery floss - and turn it into the above. Approximately 120 little  skeins of lovely, colour sorted embroidery floss - ready, at a moment's  notice - to make (hopefully) beautiful things.

I can't believe it took us that long - and it's why I have nothing to show you today but this.

Not even a lovely, decorated cigar box - which started out at this:

A cigar box given to me by my friend, mixed media artist Linda Kittmer.

I could, but am not going to show you a lovely, decorated box, because I've done 3 versions and hate them all. lol  Apparently, I suck at this part - and I think I'm just going to cover it all with fabric.

Some fiber work on Wednesday.  Until then!
Kit 120
November 29, 2013 3 comments

Week Link Post - 2

First up - this article inspired a lot of talk around the water cooler: phew! Talk about mixed media!

Artist Anna Dumitriu makes storytelling quilts - out of superbugs!

"The quilt squares are made using natural and clinical antibiotics on Chromogenic (pigment-generating) agar in which the fabric has been embedded and inoculating the squares with bacteria, creating patterns that reflect the interaction between bacteria and antibiotics. The quilts are embroidered with thread dyed with saffron as well as with the antibiotic Vancomycin."
Check out the article and a video of the artist talking about her work in her own words, HERE


Next up, photographer Nicholas Alan Cope and creative director Dustin Edward Arnold have combined forces as well as painting, chemistry, sculpture, fashion and installation, to make extremely beautiful, thought-provoking art.

Gorgeous, decomposing still-lifes, discomfiting "fashion" shoots, abstracts that examine the internal world of an object, and a new, very unexpected twist on florals are just some of the series they explore. I am very grateful to for introducing me to these inspiring artists. 

Check out their digital retrospective HERE.  The article isn't new, but is one that is certainly timeless.

For this week's Material Matters link, here are "Three branding opportunities most artists miss" by Lezley Davidson.

In the "crazy-like-whoa" category - did you know that Francis Bacon's triptych of Lucien Freud studies broke the world record for art sold at auction a couple of weeks ago? Click HERE to find out the eye-watering price paid for Three Studies of Lucian Freud


And finally, Will Kemp writes an amusing article about a trip to see Cézanne's studio* in France that also gives you a bit more insight into the artist himself.  Check that out HERE in Will's article entitled "How to paint, sleep and nearly die like Cézanne". 

*By the way, have you actually ever seen pictures of it? I actually keep a picture of it in my "inspiration" folder on my desk top - it's my dream studio!

Kit 120

P.S. Remember a couple of weeks ago when I talked about re-arranging how I blog a bit? I think I've figured it out.

Life/health permitting, it will go as follows:

  1. Monday will be a process and/or talky post;
  2. Wednesday will be the WIP (wordless or otherwise - why break with tradition?); and 
  3. Fridays will be my Friday'S-linky post and the current week's finish of the lunchtime project. 

That seems workable for me at the current time and I hope will be entertaining for you.

Have a great weekend and see you on Monday!

November 27, 2013 4 comments

Next hand-work project - here I come!

When I was trying to get "just the right effect" with my rust dyeing over the summer to make the fabric for Erosion; well, need I say more? lol 

Those of you who have rust dyed, know that you have virtually no control over the finished product. Try as you may - things never turn out exactly how you had envisioned. So I had to rust dye a LOT of fabric - yards and yards - (about 7!) to get the piece I wanted for Erosion.

But then, what's a girl to do with 6 yards of rust-dyed fabric? 

One of the ideas I came up with was the above. Each of those is a 6.5 inch square - very manageable as a piece of portable work, and if I get tired of it after these first 12 blocks, I can stop. But my intent is to make eight or twelve of these sections  - so, 144 of those 6.5 inch squares (I know, right?), put them all together, and then use them as a background for a still larger piece. I imagine it will take approximately a year of lunches in total.

But who wants to think about that?!  So, I'm starting with one six and 1/2 inch square. 

Very manageable. 


Kit 120
November 25, 2013 9 comments


At long last, a finish! :)

This one is actually quite significant, not least because of the hours and hours of hand stitching in it.  Observe:
November 20, 2013 12 comments


I haven't been around for awhile - and this was one of the reasons. I gave myself a nasty steam burn, when the lid fell off of the tea kettle when I was making a pot of tea. Ouchie!

And then I had some really busy days (going in early and staying late) at my day job; and with my new limitations, I can't spend long days in the office and then also spend time in the studio - so the studio has had to wait. 

And this calendar is already radically behind, as that first one "someone" which was supposed to be finished the first weekend is November, is still not finished now -pushing back everything else. *ahem*

November 13, 2013 6 comments

It's my first Week Link post!

I think there's some great reading here – I hope you'll enjoy it!

This is a *very* interesting article by Kathleen Loomis about Anne Loveless winning the Art Prize (the world's biggest purse in the art world - $200,000!) with her beautiful textile art piece  Sleeping Bear Dune Lakeshore. But it's not what you think – it's about why this won't make any difference to the larger art world, and why it won't change how textile art is thought of (craft, women's work, not-art)>

This is an article from Matthew Schuler. He writes about how he believes creative people think – mean to be shared with the people in your life who just "don't get" you.  I recognized a lot of myself in it – perhaps you will too. :

This is a fantastic article – one of my favourites that I read quite often – about how the art gallery system works.  You may have read it before yourself (it's not new); but some of you may not have – and it bears reminding if you any interest in those kinds of shows. Good reading even for those who don't!

This is a fiber artist I "discovered" through this blog, Ana Teresa Barboza. Her work is incredible!

And these are a set of articles about using quilts to talk about words we are uncomfortable with. The accompanying interviews may be enlightening to those of you haven't considered the impact of the words on the people they are being spoken about.  Warning - the words are NSFW – but we're all big girls here, right?

Kit 120
November 11, 2013 1 comments

In case you were wondering...

I actually haven't forgotten about the lunch time project - but it's taking a lot longer than the last one did!

The repetitiveness of these particular stitches is hard to be motivated by, and I have to put it aside for long stretches of time and work on something else.

But I'm in the home-stretch now. This hooped portion is nearly all I have left to do.

November 8, 2013 9 comments

Sweetness and light...

Well, that's what we'll start with, anyway. 

I was in a park near work collecting leaves for a project, when I came upon this man feeding peanuts to the squirrels. I must have taken 20 or 30 pictures of this scene. I mean check out the squirrels! Those black blurs are squirrels coming and going - in the few minutes I stood there, snapping away, he must have individually fed 20 or 30 squirrels!  
I was really just trying to get a good picture of the squirrels, but when I got home, after looking at two or three of these pictures, I completely forgot about the squirrels. I kind of fell in love with this man as a subject. 
I mean, wow. 

There's a species of resignation in his face that reads as a quiet kind of sadness despite the fact that the squirrels were coming and taking the peanuts directly from his hands and the fact that he must find pleasure in this activity. Seeing the lush foliage around him that is nevertheless in an early stage of decay... as I looked at the photos, a story about him fell into place.  

I was quite taken with the aptness of it's being fall in this little scene - and suddenly, I realized, I'd captured something much more than I had intended. 

I think this will be one of the pieces I work on over the winter.

But back to what I'm working on right now...
November 6, 2013 7 comments

Back to business...

I am working on "The Boy" again.  

You may remember that I started him early in the summer and then sort of abandoned him when I lost the "feeling".  He was kind of a long shot anyway, as he was never a purposeful piece and came about as a result of a series of accidents, anyway.

I had been working on a piece for a show about Oseola McCarty for a call for entry - and I had a very clear idea about what it was I wanted to do. 

But then the problems started. I pieced, quilted and painted THREE backgrounds (all 65" by 40") and never actually came up with one that worked for my original concept.
November 4, 2013 17 comments

News Post

Fair warning: this is a talky-talky post, so if you have little tolerance for such things, skip to the end. 


It seems I am always thinking about time.  

I used to think about time in terms of how little time I had to spend in the studio, and though I overcame my resentment at time spent away from it; I still struggled with What To Do while I  was in it. The whole "make pretty, or make art?" debate consumed a large portion of my thought process, and recently, making art expressly for sale took up a lot of my studio time, much to my chagrin.

But over the past several months, I've been struggling with time in relation to my own failing health.
November 1, 2013 7 comments

Another bird for the series...

When I got to this point, I thought I was done, but as I looked at it, I realized that I didn't like the total sky  background. It was lifeless, and oddly drab in a way.  

Unfortunate in many ways, because I've already made up ten of these backgrounds in preparation for more birds. Alas - they'll have to be used for something else. But in the meantime, this bird needed to be cut out and put on a different background.

Shall we audition some? 
October 30, 2013 1 comments

A headless horseman

"Birdman"? for WIP Wednesday...

Progress is being made, slowly but surely!

See you Friday.

Kit 120
October 28, 2013 5 comments

It's a bird! It's a plane! No, actually - it's a bird...

I always start with a reference photo, and I always write the photographer and ask for permission*. 

In this case, the photographer did not give me permission (the first time that happened), so I am using the branch in the photo, but have put the bird in a different position - the head still in profile, but now we'll be looking at the bird from the back and to the side - rather than a straight on front view.
October 25, 2013 6 comments

Step by Step, Part Three

As I like to say when the piece is done, "it's time for the big finish!" But, continuing from part one and part two of my "how to" - there are a few more things to do before we can call it "done". 

October 23, 2013 12 comments

Step by Step - Part Two!

When I left you on Monday, we had finished the first set of background trees with painted leaves.  In looking at my layout of trees for the piece, above (which I had set aside for working as I go), I know it's time to start the next layer.

...and we're off!
October 21, 2013 11 comments

Step by Step - a week long tutorial.

Shockingly, I'm doing more trees this week. But I figure, how many times can you watch me throw up a few strips of fabric, throw a tree at it, and call it done?

So this,  week, I thought I'd do something slightly different. Rather than an overview, I'm going to do a full on, step by step.  A week-long tutorial, as it were.

So, ready?

Here goes! SERIOUSLY pic heavy post follows!)
October 18, 2013 12 comments

Winter Sunset

As mentioned on Wednesday, I was trying something new with this piece. I wanted to evoke an abstract representation of sunset on snow.
October 16, 2013 3 comments

Another small piece in the works...

This is a selection of papers and fabrics that I might use on any given background - but especially useful for sunsets and rises.

However, in this case, the pinks and purples aren't going in the sky...
October 14, 2013 5 comments

A Walk At Ashbridges Bay

I was asked to do a fashion show of all the outfits I've made over the past few weeks, and I said I would, but as the day was so beautiful, instead, we went for a walk.

These were all taken at Ashbridges Bay. literally five minutes from where live. I find so much inspiration there - the Red Bench pieces for instance were based on photos I took there in the winter. Here are some fall ones.


And since today is a holiday, both the fashion show and art, will have to wait. :)
Kit 120