Saturday, June 27, 2009

American Icon and Artist

Sometime in the early-mid 90s we vacationed on Edisto Island and toured Charleston.  On one of the tours we went to the home and iron mill of Mr. Philip Simmons.  A family member, maybe a great-nephew, was carrying on the art of forging iron he had learned from Mr. Simmons who happened to be there at the time the tour stopped (a rare occassion we were left to believe).  He talked at great length to the group and spoke of his humble beginnings, life with his then deceased wife, and the opportunities that catapulted him into noted fame of his art.  He spoke so movingly that it was the type of wisdom-story Peter and I dared not breath to fast or move in recognition of greatness speaking and the thankfulness of being in his presence.  He left an indelible mark on both of us and we have since then often reflected on the chance to have met him. Most of the money he earned he donated to organizations that worked with children opting not to live a lavish lifestyle. 

I've typed this while wiping away tears as I just learned this morning that he passed away. 

Philip Simmons

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Its A Miracle!!!!


Well, lookahere, lookahere, I can upload pictures!

This is another 6x12 completed (for the most part).  Do you think the fringe should stay...I was planning to trim it but looking at it here, I kinda like it.  I went through at least 7 bobbins as I experimented with thread painting.  I received Carol Shinn's book in free motion embroidery and decided to thread paint this one...she uses heavy canvas also which takes thread painting beautifully!


DSCN0281 These are just me auditioning possibilities at random.  The green fabric is my continued writing on cloth in readying fabrics to continue with the Poetry Series.  Writing on cloth is time consuming but I decided to do the writing on multiple pieces before doing successive layers.

Back in 2003 when I jump started this journey of quilting I saw myself doing picturesque quilts...human faces in fantasy/mysterious settings.  My attempts were not enjoyable...didn't enjoy the realism in applique.  The image on the left above was done using a stencil I cut from a picture of one of my great nieces...the one on the right was based on a free hand drawing in my journal of an artist whose name I can't recall but he uses found objects and old pressing irons in his work.  The stitched image was done using free motion drawing. 

Here are some images from some of my journals:


young man-child w/ dreadlocks


aborted pod from magnolia tree


art from others that I find appealing.

I found a video that Melanie Testa did (on YouTube) of her studio...I've been wanting to delve into doing short videos...I think I'll make it a goal for the month of July...with the first one being a view into my workshop.  Hopefully the learning curve will not be too deep.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Breath in, Breath out, Breath...

Ohhhhhhhmmmmmm, I once again ooohhhhhmmmmm, can't ooooohhhhhhmmmmmmm upload oooohhhmmmmmmmmm pictures ooooohhhhhhmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

Friday, June 19, 2009

Good vibrations are contagious!

Yesterday I attended the summer social for Louisville Area Fiber and Textile Artists (LAFTA).  This is my 3rd year having a membership.  Joining 3 years ago was a part of my plan to re-socialize and get out more after coming to grips with how my life had changed due to pulmonary hypertension.  Now slinging my portable o2 tank and breathing treatments are old hat and I think very little about it and my life is once again centered around my aspirations first and my limitations second. 

Anyways, I had a great time yesterday at the social and received fantastic feedback on the 3 6x12s and woke up this morning itching to return to my workshop today.  Good vibes are contagious! I'll go this evening for a few hours after some appointments that I hope will not take too much energy from me...there is a heat advisory warning today.  Louisville is situated in a regional valley and pollutions travel from afar and just settles...couple this with high heat and high humidity and it is matter how blue the sky looks and bright and beautiful from inside, it is not healthy. 

Looking into my basement workshop from outside:

View into Workshop

I keep promising myself to order a portable door screen to go over the doorway...I love to keep it open on cooler days for the light but then I find myself swatting at flies.  Its a great working space and I'm still trying to make it more efficient and supplies accessible.  After flipping through the art studio magazines, I feel this pressure to make it pretty...but I know that would last all of a hot minute.  When I walk into this space it says to me "are you ready to get down to work", it asks "do you have what it takes today? if not, you better go play somewhere else".  The space feels very purposeful.  Pretty would relax me and make me feel whimsical and detached from the reason I have the space in the first place.

Part of LAFTA membership is the availability of monthly workshops offered free and lead by other members.  Two months ago Joanne Weis, who just finished Jane Dunnewold's 2 year master program (YOU GO GIRL!), did a basic soy wax workshop.  Here are my samples using ink, paint, and dye and no, I didn't bother to mark which was which like I was instructed, so i can't tell you which piece received what.

Soy Wax

Soy Wax2

I do believe the one on the left was ink since it is black...the other two where black dye/dye paint.  I added a second layer of colour when I was testing out the old dye stock and here it is now:

Soy Wax3

Issac, my 6 yr old nephew is here for the summer from North Carolina and he and my great-niece Zaria took interests in watching me sew.  Issac wants to paint.  When I set up my workshop space I seriously considered having an area set-up for children.  From time to time on Craiglist, the old school children's desks and chairs can be found very cheap. (I do not want the bright coloured contemporary plastic ones, yuck!) I think I'm going to keep an eye out for 1 or 2 of them just for moments like this.  I'm just a hair short of being cramped but I don't want to regret not making space when a child in my life requests to share it.

If you've read this post, or stopped by to browse my blog, I hope your day is everything you need it to be! Peace,


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Hurricanes, Swamps, and Magnolias.


Yesterday I started with what I thought would be a few circles around the moon but I was really caught up in the building up of colour with the stitches that I did not stop and loved the ending result.  Peter saw a hurricane...I see a swamp at dusk.  The edging is hand stitched with thick linen thread.  See how flat it lays?  I wasn't expecting this either but if must be the acryllic felt as batting that is responsible for the flatness.  Behind the moon are 3 layers of felt which makes it rise up...its not visible in the photo but you can see it a little bit on the back-



A Huge Thank You to Dr. Paul Cappiello from Yew Dell Gardens!

He must flag the name of the gardens and I'm so happy he did!  He answered the question about the pods I picked up from the ground in the comments of the previous post.  Here is his reply:

The little "pod-like cones" are actually the fruiting structures from a magnolia. The specimens you picked up from the ground did not set any seed and that is why they were shed by the plant. The structure is actually an aggregate of follicles - if anyone cares.

Yew Dell

I care I care!  I've started drawing these pods and I'm watching them decay still.  They have turned to a blackish brown colour and have shrivelled in size.  Reminds me that 'one needs substance because beauty doesn't last and is often fleeting'.

If I'm understanding his answer correctly, they would have tunred into the flower if they had seeded? 

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Retrospective in Photos


First, a cuppa tea. 


Karoda's Workshop

My assignments from online workshop, Graffiti Chic with Alisa Burke.


And I thought it was finished.

Karoda's Workshop2

 Six by Twelves in the making.

The 5 images below summarize our staycation week activities.


Jefferson Memorial Forest


One of the many toys made by Marvin Finn for his children when they where young.


Another early Finn toy.


This is a small representation of what Finn is famour for.


Mr. Finn, I believe painted by his son, who carries on his legacy in wood.

 Vacation Week June 20092

Such an elegant shape in glass.  The five above images were taken at the Kentucky Musuem of Art & Craft.

Vacation Week June 2009  

Family Funny Business at Lynn's Paradise Cafe.

Vacation Week June 20091  

A day trek to the Columbus Zoo

And finally...what is this?  I picked them up from the ground at Yew Dell Gardens.  Some type of conifer?  I'm in love with the shape and colours.





Monday, June 8, 2009


The title is severe profanity in keyboard speak...I still can't upload photos!