Follow Me on Pinterest

Thursday, June 09, 2016



I was so impressed by the this fabulous event organized and hosted by Glenys Mann of Fibre Arts Australia, and I loved Australia.  From the moment I left the airport with Meg Lowry, a friend of Glenys who very kindly met me when I landed in Melbourne and hosted me for several days until we left for Ballarat which was about a 1 1/2 hour drive, I was in awe of the lush landscape - Eucalyptus trees everywhere!!!  Meg's garden was another story - she is quite the gardener and I wrote down two whole pages of fruit trees, vegetables, herbs, flowers and so many plants that I couldn't keep track; such a green thumb!!!   Meg is an artist who has such a flair for dyeing fabric and designing/sewing the most wonderful garments and was a fabulous hostess.  

Ballaret reminded me of the school in a Harry Potter movie - a lovely campus in the middle of town, within walking distance to shops although there wasn't a lot of time to go there.  I shared a house with four other teachers - two from the UK, one from Belgium and the other a Danish immigrant to Australia - what a wonderful creative group they were.  It was like being in college, taking turns with showers, eating in the dining room and going from building to building for various events.  I had the same eights students every day - They were all such a talented group of ladies - I could go on and on about how clever they were; included in the group was a mom and her two married daughters which was such a nice thing to share.  Several of the ladies did not have much felting or sewing experience but with a little direction, they created the most amazing designs!  The red, white and black coat was created by Peta Stuart, the green silk sari nuno on the far right is Zoe Fergusom's creation.  It was a lot of fun!

Port MacQuarie

When we were finished at Ballaret, I flew to Port MacQuarie, which is on the East Coast above Sydney to teach at the quilt shop 'Patchwork in Port' - Jennifer, the owner picked me up and took me to the Fergusons, Marilyn and Graham who had a very lovely home with a gorgeous view of the ocean; they were such generous and kind souls who took very good care of me - especially since I had some sort of stomach 'thingy' since I landed in Australia.  The view from my room looked over the loveliest garden and pool.  Jennifer took me out and about one day before class began and to dinner that evening.  We had 14 students (including 3 art teachers) and I admit I was a little worried what that many students could accomplish in just three days and how I could give them all special attention but all of them produced gorgeous vests.  Unfortunately, I don't have pictures of them (was too busy) but do have some in process - I hope this link to Facebook works

  This is 'rainbow Michelle' named because she had the prettiest rainbow dyed silk and wool.



2016 has been a whirled (as India Flint says) wind of a year beginning in January with "SATB" (Sewing at the Beach) -  held by the Stranded Smockers and Stitchers in Myrtle Beach since 1994.  The members do an outstanding job and the students I had were a joy; here are just a few of them showing how creative they were with the Baby Lock Embellisher, provided by Baby Lock USA.


In March, I conducted a two day eco printing workshop at Oatlands Museum in Savannah for the Fiber Guild of the Savannahs.  We were so fortunate to meet in the science lab and were able to do lots of experiments - the guild members were so enthusiastic and produced some fantastic results.  We used cochineal, osage orange and logwoodand an abundance of leaves, provided by the students.on paper, silk,cotton and wool.  The bundles were simmered or steamed and what fun to see what surprise awaits when opened

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Tessellations in Felt

In anticipation for my exciting Australia trip to teach at Ballarat at the end of March/beginning of April, I have been experimenting with some new work.  I became fascinated with tessellations because anyone who knows my work, knows I love to create felt, cut it up and put it all together again and, for months, I have been experimenting in how best to accomplish my tessellation ideas in felt.  

The first task was to understand how to make a proper tessellation and to practice with a wide variety of shapes without them being too busy (I even practiced by teaching our grandson, Win, who just turned 7, how to make the shapes with paper - we had fun!).   Next came the color and material challenge - the selected colors had to have enough contrast but I wanted soft and pleasing at the same time; I knew that I wanted to incorporate silk fabric as well.   After many experiments with materials and trying a variety of approaches - some not very successful or pleasing to me and learning tons along the way, I've finally completed a project that I'm pleased with; challenging myself is something that I enjoy doing from time to time.  It's a great way to learn new things and work out problems when you are on your own.  For example, shapes shift when they are felted (especially when they are fabric (this proved to be a  huge problem to solve and I didn't want to just use prefelt which would have been easier, but boring since I wanted lots of texture without it being too heavy or thick.
I learned even more while working on this project that will make it easy for my students to accomplish in a couple of days, what took me months to figure out.

I'll also be teaching my method at Artful Dimensions in Fredericksburg in October, 2016..

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Workshops Designed Just for You!

It appears that I'm not systematic in blogging (oh really? yep, I was shocked to find that my last post was in October - shame on me). 

Plans are to change this in 2016 and keep the record more up to date.  Truth is, it looks like I haven't done much and I've been more busy than ever, however, sitting down to document has been another story, as I'd much rather be doing than writing about it.  Facebook is good, because I can take a quick break and do a quick post or two.  This past month though I have been sick with a dastardly virus that began when I returned on December 5 from a very successful pop up show in Charleston, SC, that I was invited to participate in with a group of fun ladies (and now new friends) at a fabulous home.  Still today, three weeks later, I'm just beginning to feel more like myself but the congestion hasn't quite gone yet; it only makes me more grateful than ever for the good health I usually enjoy.

2016 promises to be the busiest and most creative year yet and I have been offered some fabulous opportunities; I finally feel as though there is a nitch for my felting in the Low Country.  I believe most people viewed felt making as more suited to those living in the North but once they were exposed to lovely light and airy nuno felting,  ideas of too hot and wooly changed so now a lot of interest in workshops has been generated and I can't wait to share my passion.  I have also been fortunate enough to meet some lovely people who are interested and are helping me reach a wide expanse of potential students locally - Beaufort, Charleston and Savannah.

So beginning in January, I will be joining SATB (Sewing At The Beach) in Myrtle Beach for a week of teaching.  I'm excited to be meeting up with like minded creative people all gathered together under one roof - the creative energy generated at these events is unsurpassed!  I'm teaching several classes using my trusty Baby Lock Embellisher combined with stitching/wet felting and so this week I will be making new samples - cuff, painting with wool, nuno fragments and my favorite, art flower felts.  It is so fun to get lost in your passion and I am so ready after being sick for so many weeks.  I love working tone on tone and creating lots of texture; working this way permits you to add punches of color if you feel it is necessary, but a lot of times, things that are too busy, do not appeal to me so it feel better to me if I approach it this way.  The great thing about the Embellisher is that there are tons of ways to fix it if you aren't happy at first - cover or remove are just two.

Either in January or February, I will be scheduling a workshop in Charleston so keep tuned for that update.

In February, I will begin teaching at ArtWorks newly named Mather school; we are hoping that this will be a regular venue.

Early March, I will be teaching my other passion, Eco Printing, for the Fiber Guild of the Savannahs.  Later in March, I am heading off to teach Tessellations in Felt at the Ballarat School in Australia and then later in April to Wilmington, NC, to teach Eco Printing.

In between, there will be more workshops for ArtWorks, the Fiber Guild of the Savannah's as well as in Fredericksburg, Virginia, in October.  November will be busy with our FAB (Fiber Artists of Beaufort) annual show and sale.

If you or your group are interested in developing a program, please be in touch and I will design a special project and workshop just for you, whether it be wet felting, machine needle felting, eco printing, silk fusion or joomchi (Korean papermaking)

I've had two drumcarders in the past - an Ashford that I really liked, but I sold the Ashford and purchased the large electric one as I thought I may create production batts  - I didn't enjoy it very much at all.  Thankfully, used drumcarders are in great demand so I had no trouble selling it - especially as I had used it only a handful of times.  My secret desire for a while was to have the Louet Junior because when embellishing, there are so many times that I want to gently blend silks, merino, curls for backgrounds - I really needed it and it works like a charm for my purposes!  I just LOVE it - simply and effective.  It is a dream to use, really.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

"Trying to Change The World One Sequin at a Time" - Lady Gaga

Experiments with Indigo FUN!!!

Indigo silk scarf
Silky merino wool and indigo cowl

Variety of silk scarves dyed with indigo
Indigo chiffon scarf
Chiffon botanical print scarf
Yesterday I was reading some artistic quotes for inspiration - amazing what energy that can produce and I spotted the quote by Lady Gaga "Trying to Change the World One Sequin at a Time" and I could relate to that right away because felt making, dyeing and all my other endeavors have permitted me to meet the most amazing, kind and inspirational souls and yes, I think when we create beauty and share, it does change the energy in the world.  From my lovely friend, Pat, who treats me like a Queen picking me up bearing gifts and taking me to and fro when I visit Maryland and need to catch up with my former world and former friends to all sorts of new people in my life (June who brings me silk!  Eileen and others who flood me with leaves and mushrooms) as well as all the lovely friends who support me as well as the opportunities in my new life.

I am so grateful for the support of my lovely husband and family who never hesitate to help me in my creative endeavors - suggestions, assistance, support, guidance and even more than I can list here.

Lots of pictures because I have been more busy than usual because our fiber group, FAB, Fiber Artists of Beaufort is having a show in November at ArtWorks.  The reception will be held on November 13 so, if you can make it, I would love to see you.  We are having all sorts of demos by some very talented artists in a variety of media on November 14 and 15.

A large botanical printed silk wrap
A wall hanging with a silk habotai botanical print,
 hand stitching and a silk fusion butterfly will complete it.
New felt work to be added to a vest in progress.

Thursday, May 28, 2015


I've been away most of May and prior to that I was so busy making samples, preparing handouts, for the three very different workshops and compiling information for the first eco printing workshop that I taught. 

I arrived in Washington, DC, on April 30, and was whisked to stay with my 91 year old Mom (soon to be 92) in Silver Spring.  Usually when you travel and teach, the host arranges accommodations but Artistic Artifacts, in Alexandria, Virginia, is so close to where my Mom lives, that I could not be so close and not stay with her.  I struggled with the arrangements as unless you've ever lived in the DC/MD/VA metro area, you really have no idea what you are dealing with when it comes to traffic and I wondered how on earth I'd get from point A (my Mom's) to point B (Alexendria, VA) for 5 days of workshops.   In any event, my friend Pat kindly came to my rescue (as she has done so often before) and transported me to and fro daily; we had such a great time in the car and had a chance to really catch up.

The eco printing workshop was fun and we had so many supplies to play and experiment with, but one day was not enough time to do it all especially when there are beginners so for the Fiber Guild of the Savannas, where I'll teach next March, the group agreed to two days.

Whenever I teach at Artistic Artifacts, it is a great joy - the owner Judy and her assistant Sharon could not be more accommodating and there are always friends, former students and new ones as well.    I will post pictures as soon as I get them from a friend/student who was good enough to offer to take them since I'm always so engrossed with helping students and don't remember; I have to work on that!

I had been searching for a used bullet steamer for a while and pounced on one that came up for sale on eBay and won - the day before my accident. The condition of purchase was that it had to be picked up in Asheville which is a distance away and as you can imagine, riding in a car was not possible with a broken back!  I'm so lucky to have wonderful friends! and my lovely and fun friend from Charleston, Judy, went to a wedding a couple of weeks later near there and brought it to me.  Since then, I haven't plucked up the courage to try it because I needed to wait until I was strong enough - so today was IT!!!  And it was even more thrilling than you can imagine.   

You have to start somewhere, so I just plunged in and used silk/wool blend that I had available and added some things from the garden and things stored in the freezer (even some previously used eucalyptus), sprayed with vinegar and steamed for a couple of hours.  I'm so very happy with the results!  They really look like an Asian print to me - very soft and flowing.  So now my mind is conjuring up more experiments.   As far as documenting, I'm planning to change my procedure from writing on tyvek and pinning it on the piece, to numbering each piece and documenting the process in a journal because sometimes more information is required for clarity and so I'm beginning that procedure as of today; while you think you will remember, after a while you forget without notes.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

War and Peace

Last September, I met up with some friends in Charleston to play with eco printing before we went off to an Indigo Retreat.  My darling friend Sharon, who quite suddenly and unexpectedly passed away on New Year's Eve, was one of them along with our friend Jeanne.  We met at another friend, Judy's, who lives in Charleston and who very graciously hosted us and provided her studio for us to use.  And what a wonderful time we had with a lot of laughs and learning.  We had absolutely no idea what was about to befall Sharon and were in such shock (still am) at what transpired.   Anyway, I'm so grateful that we had the opportunity to be together - that is how I will always remember her -- we giggled and laughed so much because she brought her enormous bullet steamer all the way from Washington and between all the supplies and materials they packed in, there was not much room for either Jeanne or Sharon; we really experimented a lot and one of my favorite pieces was this heavy silk that got a tiny bit singed along the fold; I named it War and Peace, since it is peace silk and looks like its been in a war ;-)      I've since seen someone online doing arashi shibori and purposely singeing some of it over an open flame.
I wasn't sure what the most effective way was to use it - first I thought wall-hanging, then I thought of cutting it up to sew a jacket and I'm so glad I waited.  It came to me that it should just be a simple rectangular wrap with slits for your arms and it has turned out just spectacular!  I turned the top part over as it was quite wide and it makes a stunning collar.   I still need to stitch the front edges and armholes by hand but it hangs so well and makes a very elegant statement.  Now I need to come up with a closure that will do it justice.
And then here are a couple of other pieces of chiffon that have been eco printed also.