Monthly Archives: February 2011

And now, for my next trick . . .

original Cotyledon designs

original Cotyledon designs

I’m in the process of finishing up the last of the Blades. I should be done with the sewing by the end of this week. So now what? The Cotyledons. They’ve been part of the plan for this show from the beginning. And they’re in my Artist Statement for the show so I have to make them.

So I’ve been drawing, thinking, and patterning. I’ve got 8 designs up and running. But can I get eight more pieces done in approximately six weeks? We shall see . . .

drawings of new designs

drawings of new designs

more drawings

more drawings

Looking Deeply, Seeing Clearly


I’ve been sewing the last few days. It’s the last step in making my fiber sculptures and it’s a meditative process. It’s actually the fastest and easiest of all the steps in some ways, which amazes the non-sewers. But it’s also one of the places with the least margin for error. There’s not much tolerance for mistakes.

As I sew I’m looking very closely at my pieces and I’m making decisions all the time, some are small–a fraction to the right or left. Some are medium–which color to choose.  And some are big–what pattern am I making? Which area of the fabric am I emphasizing? What does this piece need to finish it?


Blade Nine in process

And so I’ve been thinking about how we, as artists, look at our work and how we see it. Sometimes when I’m working closely, like I do when I’m sewing, that focus needs to be laser sharp to not miss a detail. The eye and the hand are joined, the attention cannot falter.

Then there is the time to take a break and step back, to look from farther away, to consider what the hand is doing from a greater distance. See it as part of the whole. Is it right? Now what?

We need to step back further to consider the piece as a whole. We need to look critically and we need to see it holistically. Is it missing something? Does is need more contrast? Is it finished?

And then there is the furthest step back–time. How does this piece fit into a body of work? How does this body of work fit into our career? We need to look into our future and see where we are headed. We need to ask questions of ourselves and seek directions.

The work of the artist is to ask all of those questions and to make all of those decisions. Each decision is a step, looking deeply and seeing clearly, in our artist’s journey.

Blade Nine, finished

Blade Nine, finished

Making Progress


fabrics for the Blades ready to be glued up

Along with getting the show together for Phinney I keep moving forward on the Blades series. I am almost to the sewing stage, just a few more check marks to go. The fabrics are all cut and ready to be glued up and trimmed out. Pretty soon I’ll transition from working at the studio to working at home where I do all my sewing. I’m feeling a little less stressed and a little more optimistic about finishing everything I want to get done in time for the April Foster/White show.


just look at all those check marks!

Easelstan 5 @ 10 Artist Statement


Easelstan Studio and my relationships with the other artists there has had a huge impact on the development of my artwork. The space is like a blank canvas, ready to reflect back what I put into it. My studio-mates sustain me, providing honest feedback and encouragement to take risks.

My work is informed by surface design on fabric. I begin with white natural fiber cloth which is dyed, overdyed, discharged, resisted, printed. Form and stitch are equally essential elements in the final artwork. Each piece in Easelstan 5 @ 10 represents a transition in my work over the last decade.

The earliest work here, postCARDS: 52 weeks, 52 cards, was created in 2006. The postcard quilts are sketches on a theme, each composition an amalgam of materials, techniques, and experiences. The playing cards provide rich inspiration for design and color as well as the structure for the series, a full deck in 52 weeks. The small format encourages experimentation with surface design and quilting techniques, and is also a yearlong journal in images and words traveling through the mail both away from and back to me.

Epithelium, Coral Vessel, and Discharge Vessel, 2008, show my deepening explorations into surface design: Binding, stripping away, and rebuilding. The pieces, pushing into three dimensions, are some of the first I constructed using  sculptural techniques I developed. Organic shapes suggest the natural world and become forms with a cultural meaning.

Earth Forms, 2009, and Artifacts, 2010 are from a body of work inspired by the landscape that surrounds us and the touch of human hands upon it. Each form is a document of the passage of time. The Earth Forms are a direct response to my experience of nature. The Artifacts interpret natural forms and textures through the lens of culture.

Can I Help You? is part of a larger installation, The Act of Becoming, from 2009. The figure is used to explore that which is seen and that which is kept close to the skin. The Waitress, the Mother, the Lover: all of these roles play a part in a woman’s life, fragmentary and coexisting.

The newest work, Grasses, extrapolates on the idea of the quilt. It is a beginning, featuring the print on fabric as a stand alone element and emphasizing it with stitch. Grasses shows my continuing interest in natural forms and textures contextualized through our agrarian past. We can focus on a single blade of grass in the expanse of a field for just a moment before it is lost among the many. The cycles of sowing and reaping sustain us as we work in balance with the Earth.

Each work in this show is a snapshot of my development as an artist, from the refining of my craft to the leap from two dimensions into three. So much of our work as artists is mundane, putting in the hours at the studio so that we are there, ready, when inspiration strikes. Easelstan has provided a place where Anna, Paul, Pam, Anne, and I can do that work. We come together in our daily meditations and experimentations, learn from each other, and share our trials and successes. When Anne moved to Los Angeles this Fall it was a loss to our small community. We miss her greatly, but working together on this anniversary show has brought the four of us closer. Looking into the past gives us a chance to reflect and reassess our work, ready for the next ten years.


10 Years and Counting

artwork all boxed up and ready to go

artwork all boxed up and ready to go

I delivered the art for Easelstan 5 @ 10 today to the Phinney Neighborhood Center Gallery. The show is celebrating our studio’s tenth anniversary. Anna and Paul converted an empty and unloved house into artist’s studios in 2001. I’ve been at the studio about eight years, more or less. Pam and Anne moved in about three years ago.

Pam, Paul, and I met with the art coordinator at Phinney this morning to come up with a layout for the show. After some art tetris we found spots for everything and I think it will be an interesting show. I’m looking forward to seeing it all hung and seeing how our art works together and the connections between pieces. Anne sent her pieces through the mail from her new home in Los Angeles much like I sent my postcards through the mail to the studio. The postcards also echo the grids that Paul uses in his work.

I realized that although Anna, Paul, and I have all been in many group shows, we’ve never been in one together. Working on this show has brought us all closer and I think cemented us as a group. Anna helped me with framing. Anna, Paul, and I helped Pam with pricing. Pam and I helped Anna pick out the art to show. Paul took the group photo which Pam made into the fabulous postcard. I still miss Anne, but am excited for her as she has recently found a new and dynamic studio space in LA.

It’s been an interesting process to look back at my work over time and see the progression. All the pieces in the show mark transitions in my work. I chose them to work together visually, but also tell a story of my art journey as I have deepened my practice and found my voice. And now on to the next 10 years.

setting up the show

setting up the show