Sunday, May 29, 2011


Before leaving on vacation, I picked up a novel to take along with me.  The title is 'Isabel's Daughter' by Judith Ryan Hendricks.  The book is set in the New Mexico desert and the fact that I would be in the desert while reading it added to its appeal. 

The book centers around a young woman trying to discover her past and her mother who had abandoned her.  Her mother was a mixed media artist creating fabric collages.  One of the descriptions of her work included several techniques including photo transfer, beadwork, silk ribbon embroidery and loop-pile embroidery.  As I read the words 'loop-pile embroidery' I wondered if that couldn't be another name for punchneedle work.  I jumped onto the computer and found a listing for Missy Stevens wherein she describes her work as 'loop-pile embroidery' done with a punchneedle. 

Missy Stevens

How I love this description - so much better than punchneedle.  Loop-pile embroidery paints a picture in my mind of what I'm doing - the word punchneedle is more a word for the tool I use. 

I love it when something randomly wonderful comes my way - like a used book, which contains a new-to-me description of what I do, that leads to finding the lovely work of another artist.  Serendipity at its best!

"Serendipity - the faculty for making desirable but unsought-for discoveries by accident."

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

"Spring Garden"

This spring has brought a riot of color to our yard.  It seems that nature determined to give us a spring in which everything bloomed at the same time.  It is almost difficult to keep track of each new bloom as I walk out the door every morning.

Of course, I had to put this into loop-pile embroidery form.  The colors of the azalea, rhododendron, columbine, irises, roses, dahlias, lupine have all become part of this mix-up of spring color.
Working on this piece is not only a study in color but in loop heights.  I went as high in some places as level 5.  What fun this was - to transfer what I was seeing outside to something tangible inside.
"Everything is blooming most recklessly; if it were voices instead of colors, there would be an unbelievable shrieking into the heart of the night". ~Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters of Rainer Maria Rilke

Monday, May 23, 2011

Spring Send Off!

All wrapped up and ready to go!  The winner is: Christi of Sweetpea Path.

Christi your spring present will be winging its way to you.  Hope you enjoy.

Thanks to all of you who put your names in the hat (literally).  And thanks to all who take time out of their busy lives to visit my blog.

"I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver". - Maya Angelou

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Sample Stitches

Front side of sampler levels 2, 3, 4 and 5

After experimenting a little bit with various loop levels I decided that I needed to prepare a sampler of the various loop heights when punched with different needle levels.  The levels on my punchneedle go from 1 to 12.  I had gone up as high as 5 on the 'Pathways' abstract and wondered what would happen if I ventured even further from my comfort zone of 1, 2 and 3.

Front side of sampler - levels 7 and 8

I made a series of squares and started punching with level 1 - slowly moving up the range until I finished level 8.  At level 8 I decided to stop because the loops were so large that I didn't quite see myself going any higher on the range in my normal work.  After looking at these sample squares however, I'm thinking that I might add a level 12 because it could give me long, loopy loops from which I could dangle something.  I love learning new-to-me things about my craft.

backside of sampler stitches

I'll keep this sampler close by as I work on future pieces and we'll see how much additional texture I can create by varying the depth of the loops from section to section, stitch to stitch.

"The combination of experience and experimentation will ultimately yield a personal sound". - Mark White

Monday, May 16, 2011

Spring Giveaway

With spring in mind I created another 'give away' ditty bag - this time using spirals in shades of purple, lavender and green against an aqua blue background.  I've filled it with some fibers that I have hanging around.

The back is identical to the front and there is a handmade cord to hang the bag if you wish.

Just leave a comment to this post - it doesn't even have to be anything more than 'hello'!  Hope to hear from you -- I'll draw the winner's name on Monday, May 23rd.

"Growth is a spiral process, doubling back on itself, reassessing and regrouping". - Julia Margaret Cameron

Friday, May 13, 2011

Flowers in the Desert

This is the time of year when the desert blooms.  I'm sure there are many people who think that a desert is an arid wasteland - and if you drive through only looking out the windows of the car that would seem to be the case.

Stopping along the road - walking down a trail in the early morning - looking very carefully, there are many flowering plants to see.  Truly, desert walking fulfills the phrase 'stop and smell the roses' - however in this case it would be 'stop and see the flowers'.

I loved hunting out these small, colorful spots along the trail.  It was almost like hunting for Easter eggs -- looking for a bit of color in amongst the green, brown, rust and other desert shades.

Don't you admire these hardy plants that survive on little water, bending with the wind, blooming in spite of what looks like a non-flower area? 

And then there are those stickery, prickery cacti that say 'stay away from me'!

"The desert has a beauty all its own,
A rustic scene of something to behold.
As you look into what the winds have blown,
Extend it further out, it does unfold".
Lady Kathleen

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Arizona Dreaming - Sedona

How do I begin to describe this area?  I am awestruck by the grandeur of the huge, red stone fortresses which surround this valley.  Rocks the size of mountains loom up against a clear blue sky.  Rocks which are orange and rust and red with spots of green where tenacious high desert plants cling to the red soil.

These mammoth 'structures' have been carved by wind and water and weather.  Some of them look like huge sentinels guarding the valley below.  If I look closely I see features, shapes, castles, doorways - only my imagination limits what I see.

As I look out and up at these rock formations I am filled with gratitude that I can stand in the presence of such rough hewn beauty and natural grandness.

"The finest quality of this stone, these plants and animals, this desert landscape is the indifference to our presence, our absence, our coming, our staying or our going. Whether we live or die is a matter of absolutely no concern to the desert". –Desert Solitaire - Edwart Abbey

Monday, May 9, 2011

Art Lessons

[Note:  We got back from our trip to Arizona late last night. Today my brain is on jet lag and I have 'tons' of photo's to go through.  I had prepared this post before we went and it is my 'fill-in' until I can get back to you with all the trip stuff.  Thanks for stopping by.]

With my interest in the more abstract aspects of art creation I've begun a new-to-me learning process.  I have never formally had art lessons (if you don't count my eighth grade class where I was more involved in what I was wearing than what I was creating).  While I've been 'arting' for years and years it has all been by the seat of the pants - if it looked good to me it was okay.  But as I've begun trying to create my own abstract punchneedle art I realized that I might need some help.

I have turned to a book entitled "The New Creative Artist".  It is written by a painter Nita Leland but this book is geared to more than those armed with a paint brush.  She addresses collage and fabric also.  My main reason for starting with this book is that she has a good sized section on abstract art.  Kindly however, she begins with the basics of art in general and as I read through it I realize how little I truly know. 

So here I am immersed in words and concepts such as: elements of design, principles of design, line, shape, value, harmony, gradation, balance - ah the list goes on and on.  Thank heaven for artists who are willing to share their knowledge with the rest of us.

 "During your whole life as an artist, learn through painstaking experimentation, exercise, and practice how to acquire a masterly knowledge of your craft". - Paul Jacques Grillo

Monday, May 2, 2011

Flying to Sedona

We're off to spend a week in the desert community of Sedona, Arizona.  I can hardly wait!  In all the years that we lived in the west I never once got to see the Grand Canyon -- so that will be one of our side trips. 

I am imagining the red rocks around Sedona, the deep blue skies and the clear air.  In my mind I am already walking along paths that take me into the quiet, vast desert.  I'll have a sketch book in hand and my camera by my side and hopefully my mind will be filled with pictures and designs and inspiring thoughts. 

If only I could climb aboard an accommodating bird - instead of a big metal one that is not always that accommodating -- this would truly be a trip of a lifetime!

"For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return". - Leonardo da Vinci


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