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Thursday, April 06, 2023


Our daughter-in-love, Michele McPhee Duke, designs and prints the best fabric using Spoonflower and creates all kinds of magic with her designs, so I go the idea from her to try Spoonflower.

My friend, Judy Warren, mentioned that the print I made while taking Jane Dunnewold's Heat Press Botanical Printing class would look great on fabric so that's why I was searching for a company that printed on silk. I haven't really been able to find one that does what I want exactly and while Spoonflower doesn't carry silk, they do carry very fine cotton. I need a lot of practice although it does seem simple, I ordered 1 yard, and while I thought it would have repeats, I got one large print in the center of the yard! Truly a learning experience!

However, the good news is that I've been looking for some artwork to hang over our bed that would tie together our sage leather recliners and rug which has a range of pinks with touches of aqua/sage.

!  Voila!  
the print will be perfect for a quilted wall hanging and I couldn't be more excited or happy.     (I visualize some stitching in gold and beads! - yes beads, oh yes and velvet!) 
Serendipity indeed!

Tuesday, March 21, 2023


 I've been busy working on samples for FAB (Fiber Artists of Beaufort) - Japanese Rice Bags - each of us teaches a program and January was my turn!

The bags can be any size you like and can be plain or fancy.  I chose to make one from a quite gorgeous piece of Indigo-dyed Japanese shibori gifted to me by a friend.  I lined it with red reclaimed silk.  I love saving textiles and use them whenever possible.

The other was created using scraps from a felted/stitched garment and had Liberty Tara Lawn for its lining.

Then I needed some sample bags for the Savannah Guild workshop.  It always helps to refresh your memory with regard to materials and supplies required if it has been a while since you made one.  The bag advertised for the workshop was one that was made in a Jorie Johnson workshop that I took after my teaching venue in Scotland.  
We also learned how to make soy milk and how to use it to paint on fabric.  It had been a while since I did this so I had to practice,  The pieces I painted on silk (to use for felting) took forever to dry so I wasn't too happy with them but after doing a bit of research, I found that adding textile medium rather than soy it worked really well.   Because the textile medium thinned the sumi ink out, it dried much faster, and then I added touches of a lovely gold fabric paint just purchased recently at Dick Blick.  I will use this technique again and share my findings with my students.  It's also fun to use objects to paint such as small branches.

My sample bags.

Complete with silk lining and handle

work in progress . . . . 

We had nine students, one of which brought her homeschooled daughter and they were all happy with their bags - I was so busy that I completely forgot to take pictures!  I usually ask for a volunteer but we were all so immersed that I didn't.  Fortunately, Celia, did take some during the process which was a lovely surprise.  The bags were all felted when class was over, but students had to add lining and handle at home.  I'm hoping to get pictures of the finished bags soon!

As soon as this event was over, I had to meet a deadline for FACE (FACE of Fibe in the Rockies 2023  “Invitational-Juried“ Exhibit & Sale)

I entered photographs of three garments and the jury will select what to send.

The timing was really great because right after that, I received the draft of the Zero Waste Vest workshop for SEFAA in Atlanta in July.  

. . . . Also, simultaneously I was invited by Spring Gardens in Okatai, Bluffton, SC, to do a scarf workshop in November so life is good since I love sharing my techniques! 

(But now that I have my new pc, I must update my blog more often as it took way too long to update it this time and keeps me away from my passions - life is too short to spend on the computer!)


I really had intended to finish up my blog posts a couple of days ago but with the new pc, I'm finding it quite a learning curve because my former Photo Plus 8 no longer works on Windows 11 so I was forced to install a new program and I think it will be fine once I get used to it; however, I made a giant error while getting pictures from my i-pad to my pc and changed the icon so I was unable to see what was in the folders.  Suffice it to say that it took hours but I finally figured it out so here we are - a learning experience

Now on to the important things!  The Fiber Guild of the Savannahs had their Golden Anniversary a few weeks ago and the members banded together to make it special and it was!  I was inspired by the Queen's Jubilee after I saw some women create a huge bed of textile flowers as a tribute to her.  Of course, it probably took them a couple of years to do as many as they had and we had only a couple of weeks.  The guild meets at Oatlands Museum in Savannah and they kindly give them a room and allow them to meet there as well.  In return, the guild makes things for their gift store to help them out as it is mainly staffed by volunteers.  The person in charge of the event loved the idea of the flowers and we had several discussions on how to accomplish something worthy in such a short time frame.   

I offered to create a wet felted background that was to be attached to a movable frame since we are in a shared situation.  I used a green wool background with brown branches and leaves that were stitched as well as a few sheep's locks to add interest.     

Cecilia Ridge who is also a guild member painted the top banner on silk and it is quite lovely.  Just the finishing touch that it needed.

Another event that Oatland has planned will take place, on April 29 from 10-2 is the Fairy and Gnome Festival so members have been diligently working towards this popular event.  All proceeds go toward feeding the animals!
Faerie Antoinette
Zelda Fae
Our daughter, Andi, and I had a fairy day - rare for us to play together since she has a full-time job on Hilton Head Island and feeds her horses before and after work.  We had a wonderful time and here are the results!  I would love to make more but I've been working on deadlines.  

Saturday, March 18, 2023


I really quite don't know where to begin!  Since the last post, I've been working on some projects for entries.  First, I was invited to enter the Hilton Head Library Garden Club poster contest.  I had a piece I'd been working on and off between other things, so I decided that "Early Bird" would be the entry.  When I read the criteria, I read that the piece should be a rectangle and my piece was mostly square at that point.  I decided that it needed more interest at the top and I wasn't so crazy about the flower either.  
It always helps me at least to just keep works in process close by until it usually tells me what it needs.  It became clear that it needed more attention at the top and I wanted the flower to look more like a camelia since they are in bloom in coastal SC at this time of year.  I also wanted to frame it to give it more of a presence so this is what transpired and I was really pleased with it as it had just the leafy garden effect I was after.


The changes made were mainly to the top portion, adding a felted branch, stitching on some silk velvet leaves, changing the flower, and enhancing the embroidery a bit all around.  Then I had to figure out how best to frame it. I really liked this frame for its rustic look but it is a bit heavy and placing it in the center since it had a dip would be a problem, so the answer came in a purchased canvas that was 14", the exact size of the inside square and I covered it with the same shade of green silk.  This allowed the garden piece to sit on top and be secured using double-sided sticky tape.  I didn't win anything; however, an artist friend fell in love with it so we bartered for one of her gorgeous paintings - a win-win situation!  I'm trying to collect original art for friends for what will eventually be a gallery for our small carriage house.  


Wednesday, January 04, 2023


Although I don't post often, writing here serves as a reminder of everything that has transpired and is so useful when looking back. I'm happy to update this blog occasionally, but not as often as I was hoping.  Who knew retirement would be so busy! 

This summer really whizzed by so quickly and it was so hot and humid, that I barely was able to work outside in my dye tent experimenting with printing botanicals and natural dyeing.  Thank goodness that I have a wonderful studio filled with silk and wool and that kept me busy indoors.   I was so enthralled building a stash for our new Maye River Gallery opening - of course, this includes experiments (such fun!) such as heat setting polyester that I haven't done before. The first pleated scarf I made and posted on Facebook sold immediately!  Who knew polyester would be so popular - maybe it was the color or the cool  pleated texture!  I had purchased a shibori tutorial from Ana Lisa Hedstrom years ago that I had never viewed and at the very end, she used a pleating machine and polyester so, of course, I just had to try it! Then on Pinterest, I saw a bubble necklace so I had to try that too!  If you treat silk or wool the same way, they will lose the effect when they get wet but not the poly!

I do have quite a few felted and botanical printed pieces all ready.  Alas, although the beautiful new space in the desired location was selected and all the details ALMOST finalized, disappointingly it didn't work out as we had hoped. However, I do believe that can be a blessing in disguise and other wonderful things are just waiting. The gallery sisters were all so excited and our gallery mom, Judy, and her helpers had worked so hard all summer with endless meetings to ensure that things would go perfectly smooth.  Our grand opening was planned for the Bluffton Art Festival which would have been just perfect, and had excited to display a billboard created by my Beaufort Fiber Guild (FAB)  It's a spectacular work of art in which each guild member played a part. 

Monet's painting was divided up into sections with members each given a piece with a number.  We created our individual piece using our own expertise - we have a very talented group - weavers, silk painters, a basket weaver (who created the bridge!), and both needle and wet feltmakers.  It was then pieced to a backing and framed and we are very proud of it!  Since that didn't work out, "Monet Medley' will be auctioned off as a fundraiser in April 2023 to benefit Hopeful Horizons, which is a children's advocacy, domestic violence, and rape crisis center with a starting bid of $500.  Guild members hope to represent FAB at the auction!  The picture doesn't really do it justice!  I must be seen in person to appreciate the color and texture - we were really able to capture the essence of Monet's painting and we are quite proud!

Additionally, I was invited once again to enter the Hilton Head Garden Poster Contest and I have been working on a piece, Early Bird, for my entry.  I had finished this felted picture but I decided to modify it quit a bit to add a bit more interest and for it to meet the criterea of a rectangle and to frame it as well to give it more of a presence!

It is actually a frame inside a frame and it took quite a bit to figure out how to do it properly.  Our two cats loved this piece and I found them more than once wanting to sit on it while I worked on it on my table, even though I gave them their own wooly piece nearby - they love this one.  So one day last week, my husband found it on the floor near the outside door where they had dragged it!  as though they were trying to take it away and make it one of their own!  Needless to say I was horrified, although no damage done. Of course, neither one owned up!  I had made a point to close my door but forgot that one time.  Needless to say it has since been moved as my orange cat begs to go in my studio (to help!)

On another exciting note!  My husband and I are going to be great grandparents!  Our eldest granddaughter, Meg (Margaret McLeod) and her husband, Josh, are expecting a baby boy to be born in March.  To know me, is to know that I adore babies and I can't keep my hands off them!  We are so so thrilled!

            I have a couple of exciting teaching a showing opportunities in 2023 that I will share next time!!!





Sunday, July 10, 2022


 While the weather was nice, I spent lots of time experimenting with dyeing, and botanical printing outside in my dye tent.  I started to panic when I realized that The Maye River Gallery's new space would be opening earlier than anticipated and that I need stock!  

Just in time, the weather shifted to very hot so I didn't feel guilty at all being inside and finishing and creating new work. 

What next?  I've had this super beautiful embroidered Indian Dupatta for several years waiting for the right time and project.  I purchased it on eBay as 100% pure silk but to my disappointment when I did the burn test, it was polyester but I like a challenge and it was so pretty that I forged ahead anyway to Nuno felt it - no easy task to get those wool fibers to migrate through the fabric but it did turn out better than ever and very puckery!  A simple jacket with the perfect blush merino wool and Uzbek silk for the lining.

I had a large piece of botanical printed wool that I wanted to make a cocoon jacket with - I didn't want to cut into the lovely print too much and spent some time searching for just the right pattern - I read that Issy Miyake had one published by Vogue some time ago but I couldn't find it and if I had, probably couldn't afford it anyway!  I did manage to find and sew one and added some luscious silk velvet in a lovely aqua green along the neck edge.  It bothered me though because it looked so old-fashioned - much like those cloaks in the 1920s and wasn't satisfied with it so off to the drawing board again and this time, the result is shorter and much more modern and wearable.

There was another botanical print using eucalyptus in yellows and orange that I had made into a duster, again something didn't please me.  Adding an organza Nuno felted collar was just what it needed.

And of course, the silk yardage that was discharged and overdyed before we moved had been sitting waiting for its turn.  I also dyed some smaller pieces in the same colorway but experimented with different designs and again, I didn't want to cut this lovely pattern too much so I decided to Nuno felt it using the experimental offcuts as the lining. It is the perfect vest/jacket that shows the best of the design and has a lovely puckery texture.

There have been a few other projects as well - this was a green and pink vest that I designed last year, but I thought it would be more suitable to wear with casual clothes if it were dipped in indigo.

Love it!

Then there is this window pane scarf that is such fun!

Saturday, June 18, 2022


Google tells me that there are several problems with my Blog, but honestly, I don't quite understand - they tell me that the font is too small but I usually choose medium.  Anyway so much to cover that this will be long.

Anyway, since it has been a while since I posted, it's a good record to post on here so I thought I'd post a few pictures of what I've been up to lately.  

I'm sort of in a dither because our new location of The Maye River Gallery is going to open in September in a beautiful new location on the same Calhoun Street but down a bit closer to the river across from the Montessori school, and during the nice weather I confess I wanted to be outside and spent a bit of time experimenting and doing botanic printing.

At the same time, I was asked to help with a project for our Savannah Fiber Guild's 50th Anniversary celebrations so have been collaborating on that as well.  It is going to be such a special catered party that we are all excited about and everyone is putting in so much effort for it to be a success.  I'll post more about that as we go along but my part is creating a flower display - felted, stitched and other ideas that are going to be beautifully displayed on a botanically printed swag using a large moveable frame

  Since we moved, my new dye space is in a tent and it has taken quite a bit of time for me to get organized because there are no shelves but I think I'm finally able to find things fairly quickly.  I enjoy natural dyeing as well as synthetic dyeing and as you can imagine there is a lot that is needed - a myriad of dyes - chemicals, measuring devices, scale, pots (lots of them) including an electric turkey roaster, and a fish poacher that sits on 2 electric plates.  Additionally, there are lots of wrapping rods and fabric to use for blankets (covering botanical prints to steam).  I read a great tip on my FB group to use a large toolbox on a propane stove for larger pieces and my husband fit a way for me to load the pole for steaming - I have tried it and it really works well (my husband had to modify it so the steam wouldn't burn me) but have yet to try really large pieces.  It will be given a test when I print the large piece for our guild's party in November.  The weather will have cooled down by then.

One of the things I had neglected to do earlier was make up some synthetic dye and dye a small piece to identify the exact color on the lid - this is only the beginning but it's an amazing help since I can see the shade without testing each one - there are so many shades of just blues!

Now I need to get felting so that I will have enough supply for our new gallery!  Before we moved, I had dyed a piece of silk that I fell in love with and had made a couple of smaller companion pieces in the same colorway.  I didn't know what I'd do with them so kept them to just look at it until I decided.  I wanted something that would work without cutting into the design too much.  I love the challenge of using all of the cutoffs and I did just that by using them for the edges of sleeves, lapels and front.  The companion pieces were used for the lining and, of course, I needed to add more in the appropriate colors.  I posted these pictures a while back on FB but didn't include the lining which is quite interesting.

Lining - silk organza, habotai, silk fiber and cotton.

Another piece of hand-dyed silk was created into a windowpane scarf

Alas, there is so much more, but that will have to wait for another day!