Thursday, March 29, 2012

Moving On

I had my next punchneedle piece all laid out -- the design was drawn, the threads were ready and I was ready  -- or was I?  I kept feeling this sense of resistance even while I prepared for beginning a new project.

The next morning I woke up and said 'I'm not going to do it' - my fingers are itching to pick up a regular needle and thread and make a stitchery.  My mind is filled with images of collaged fabric, embroidery stitches, making order out of chaos (but not too much order mind you).

And so I've begun a completely new piece of work -- hope you'll join me in this new adventure, I think its going to be great fun!

"Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experience that reveals the human spirit." - e. e. cummings

Monday, March 26, 2012

Fiber Arts Alive and Well

If you live anywhere near Asheville, NC you know that it is 'fiber' heaven for those of us interested in any of the fiber arts.  This area has a long history of fiber work - beginning with hand weaving, which was, at one time, a thriving industry.  This entire section of the south was heavily 'into' textile mills.  Sadly the mills have gone elsewhere - but the arts are still alive and well.

Recently I went, with several of my fiber buddies, to see an exhibit being held on the UNCA campus. This exhibit featured members of the FAA (Fiber Arts Alliance) which is a large organization of fiber artists of all persuasions.  There are quilters and weavers, rug hookers and punchneedlers (is that a word?), felters and doll makers, embroiderers, knitters, crocheters and probably many other specialities I'm not listing.  

Here I share some of the lovely work shown at this latest exhibit.  And I salute these wonderfully creative artists whose hands, even while I write this, are busy creating new and beautiful pieces.

"It is art that makes life, makes interest, makes importance and I know of no substitute whatever for the force and beauty of its process." - Max Eastman

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Stepping Into Spring

I love the thought that the spring equinox brings balance -- day and night are poised and balanced and about to tip over on the side of light.  Isn't this a wonderful thought? 

To welcome Spring I'd like to share with you a poem by Alex Langstone

Spring Equinox Poetic Meditation
As the light finally catches
Its twin faced dark
A brief truce is called
As the balance of opposites
Merge and entwine

As new life approaches
From the cold dark earth
And the egg of creativity
Breaks at the crack of dawn
The leaping hare dance.
As the rain and wind swirls
Around the budding branches
The sunset approaches and equinoctial
Balance allows the suns rays
To burst through the bank of grey cloud
The illuminating rays of the equinox sun
Allow the daffodils to glow
As they dance in the whirling wind
Joyfully they nod to the descending fiery orb
Beyond the solitary ancient oak.

The winner of my spring giveaway is Penny at Tanglewood Threads.

Monday, March 19, 2012

"Canyon Wall"

Inspired by the red rock canyons of the southwestern deserts this piece has been growing over the past month or so.  A canyon wall shows the history of a place - much like the rings inside a tree.  Layer upon layer of sediment and rock form over eons.  Shaped by wind, rain, snow and ice -- pretty much all of the elements -- these canyons form over time in ways that we can't really witness.

This piece is 8-1/2" x 9".  Because of the size I made up three panels, stitching them together.  Stitching punchneedle together is pretty easy since the loops tend to disguise the seams. I used regular embroidery floss - plus Caron's Watercolours, Wildflowers and Waterlilies. Waterlilies being very fine silk thread I wanted to use it as a 'filament' between sections. 

This wasn't the easiest piece I've ever done but I did enjoy seeing it all come together in my own version of a "Canyon Wall".

"I speak now of that Grand Canyon which lies within each of us.  There are pre-Cambrian rocks at the center, the core, and talus from yesterday's fall; marble and granite grown hard from the pressure and heat of heartbreak and passion; crumbling sandstone, layer on layer of sediment, sentiment piled on over a lifetime's experience..." - Amil Quayle

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Almost Spring!!!

Its almost spring.  I know this has been a milder than usual winter for many of us -- but for some reason it seems like I've been waiting with bated breath for this winter to be over. 

So let's celebrate!  Here's a 'welcome spring' giveaway -- a petite pocket paired up with a bag filled with lavendar.  I'll announce the winner on Thursday the 22nd.

Meanwhile I'm sending you all wishes for sunny days ahead.

"Hello, sun in my face.  Hello you who made the morning and spread it over the fields...Watch, now, how I start the day in happiness, in kindness." - Mary Oliver

Monday, March 12, 2012


For me there is a joy in feeling insignificant.  How many times have I stood near the sea, watching the huge waves crash ashore, looking into a vast expanse of sea before me?

How many times have I stood in the desert looking at the vastness of land with raw, rough unfinished edges everywhere?  How many times have I seen the light as it changes throughout the day?

How many times have I touched the trunk of a huge, very old tree - taking some of its strength into my hands?

It is so easy for me to get mired in my everyday life - the one that demands control or busyness or ego.  So I like feeling insignificant - looking at the vastness of the dark sky, the moon and stars the only light.  I am a very, very teeny, tiny part of this universe and putting me into my small place somehow makes it all right.

"All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream." - Edgar Allen Poe

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Tea On Thursday

Recently Chris and I had a 'tea exchange'.  This is the delightful packet that I received from her. 

The names are sooo intriguing: 'jardin des sens'; 'ma diva with edible gold dust'; 'secret tibetan'; 'sencha green doucqur oriqntale' and more.  The scents coming out of the bag as I laid out all the teas were enough to make me swoon.  Immediately I was transported to far off, magical, enchanted lands (and I hadn't even taken a sip yet).

And as an added bonus she sent along some lovely threads with the yummiest of colors and one of her delightful cards.

Thank you Chris - as I take a sip of 'The Noir Caravane Aux Agrumes' this morning I'll be thinking of your generosity and our friendship.

"A friend is a gift you give yourself." - Robert Louis Stevenson

Monday, March 5, 2012

Felting - Oh My!

 Elynn Bernstein

It used to be the rule that you don't wash a wool sweater in hot water.  If you did, it was ruined as it had shrunk down to child size.  Those were the 'old days' -- these days we purposely pick up a 100% wool sweater (or skirt or anything), bring it home and shrink the dickens out of it.  After that  we cut it up and stitch pieces together.  We add pieces to mixed media artwork.  We create purses, hats, scarves and any number of wonderful things.   This is definitely a case where I don't long for the 'good old days'!!  As a side effect - what a wonderful recycling tool wool has become.

 Coat by Elynn Bernstein

Then there are those who make their own felt.  This is an arduous task - taking a lot of muscle because you literally have to 'beat' the wool into submission.  I take my hat (wool felted?) off to these creative and 'strong' women.  One of those women is Elynn Bernstein.  Elynn is a member of our InspiredArts Guild.  She dyes wool, felts it and creates beautiful and whimsical pieces of wearable art.

Hat by Elynn Bernstein

I love to use wool felt on the back of my punchneedle embroidery pieces.  It is malleable and yet strong.  The texture and colors are sooo perfect for stitcheries.  Here's to a new use for an old 'product'. 

"A woman is like a tea bag - you can't tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water." - Eleanor Roosevelt

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Texture, texture!

A big focus in my work for this year will be texture, texture, texture.  As I work each section of a piece I hope to incorporate as many levels of stitch as possible...

...as many 'new to me' stitches as possible.

Go ahead, ask me if I'm having fun!!! 

"Little moments can have a feeling and a texture that is very real." - Ralph Fiennes 


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