Monthly Archives: January 2015

New Ventures

IMG_3784I was approached last Fall by Side Tour, company that has had great success in NYC promoting “experiences” and is now expanding into other cities including Seattle. They specifically wanted me to teach hand-dyed silk scarf workshops. At the time there was just too much going on to take on another thing (holidays!) and I wasn’t sure I wanted to teach short-term workshops. I much prefer teaching three or more day workshops where students can delve deeply into media and materials.

Honestly, I was also unsure about what direction I was going. It has been discouraging that after I put time and energy into creating a series of workshops at my studio that there has been so little response. It seems that I can do just about everything to make workshops happen except promote them. That last push to put myself out there is really, really hard. I don’t think I’m alone in this.

I’ve been questioning everything about my practice lately. What am I doing? Why am I doing it? The usual existential crises. I had a really great visit with an artist friend a couple weeks ago. We met to talk specifics about how to present 2-d fiber works as finished products but ended up discussing much, much more. Why was I stopping myself from exploring new media? What feeds me creatively? What do I want to do/make? It was the kick in the butt I needed and I’ve been thinking long and hard since then.

At first I thought, “I need to stop everything else I’m doing and just dedicate myself to being in the studio.” No teaching. No sales. No self-imposed rules and regulations. Just me, the space, the time and materials to make something happen.

But the more I thought about it the more I realized that I am a social creature. I need to talk to people. I love to teach and am inspired by my students. And here was Side Tour asking to promote me! They take a cut, of course, but they are set up to do the part of the process that is so hard for me.

So, I agreed to do four workshops for Side Tour in early March and I’ve signed up to take a monotype class at Pratt! I’ll also be selling my hand-dyed fabrics and silk scarves at Stashfest, a benefit for the La Conner Quilt Museum in April. I’ll be promoting both the classes and the sale here and on Facebook as we get closer.

And I’ve started a series of new work! I guess that kick in the ass was what I needed to get me going!

Getting Past Resistance

IMG_3746Happy New Year!

I feel like I’ve been getting in my own way for months now. So I’m starting out the new year by visiting the past.

Since I haven’t known where to start, I’ve been looking at my old sketchbooks as a springboard for ideas. Some of the drawings are from as far back as 2009, but for whatever reason, never got developed. It’s reassuring that there’s plenty of richness there still. Many pages are now marked with a thicket of post-its, and once I started drawing from my old drawings, new ideas came bounding out of the end of my pencil.

I also wanted to get messy in the studio, to get my hands on materials. And, boy did I make a mess! I went through my stash of hand-dyes and pulled out some pieces that had only been dyed once, either low-water immersion or painted, that I thought could be improved by adding another layer. I slathered a thick paste of flour and water to create a resist on a dozen pieces, let them dry over a couple of days, and then applied thickened dye.

I haven’t had a chance to wash them out yet because I came down with a nasty head cold. After three brain-dead days in bed, I finally awoke this morning with a clear head. Tomorrow is laundry day, always a messy one when it comes to working with flour.

Check back for images of the newly dyed fabrics in the next couple days. I can’t wait to share them.


drawing into the wet flour paste on LWI unbleached muslin


applying thickened dye paste over the dried and cracked flour paste


lines of flour applied with a squeeze bottle on a silk crepe


fabric after application of thickened dye


flour paste applied and then picked up with a doily


after thickened dye application


wrinkles in the flour paste were made by the dragging of the silk crepe during paste application


the dried and crackled flour paste makes a distinctive pattern