Sunday, August 15, 2010


Not only do I love fabric, I am fascinated by the making of fabric throughout history: spinning, weaving, dying. In doing genealogical research, I came across the lace makers of northern France and Belgium. I am impressed with the detail, beauty and delicacy of the pieces, and I always think of the women who made them in the days before machine made lace. When people who are not quilters look at my work common comments are, " I would never have the patience!", "How many hours did that take?". For me it is not a question of patience for that implies that I would rather be doing something else, or that the goal is the final product. Frankly,the result is very often a surprise as the threads seem to lead me down a path of their own design. Making art is more of a meditation. Today's expression might be "being in the zone". I imagine the lace makers of France and Belgium being in the zone with their work. Here is a piece of Antique Valenciennes lace I purchased from Em's Heart:
This lace was hand made in the town where many of my ancestors are from. It is made from very finely spun linen. Lace making became a lucrative industry for the region and there was much competition to make the finest, most intricate designs.  The lace makers of Valenciennes claimed that it was the unique climate of the town that kept the flax at just the right texture to allow the lace makers to achieve such fine detail. Hmmmm.   Stay tuned to see how I work this into a new art piece.
For more information on lace and lace making, check out the Lace Fairy:

Sunday, August 8, 2010

for Madeleine

 A friend visiting my art show in May told me she would be turning 50 in September and would love to have a small piece of my work. This was an uncharacteristically bold request on her part and I gladly agreed to make something for her newly redecorated house. She even gave me a paint chip

Somehow I can't make something until it feels ready to be born. I spent some months letting the idea be there and bringing to mind how I feel in her presence. A while ago I collected some photos of lotuses. Two of the pink ones floated to the surface of my mind when I thought about her so I began with that. It took a while to get them printed to my satisfaction. I think I now have  about 20 pink lotuses of various sizes and shades printed on various kinds of fabric. NEW PROJECT! Egg shape or ovals seem  like a comfortable space to work in so I started with the lotus printed on silk in an egg shape and added other shapes and colours to fill the space. I loved the way this piece of hand dyed turquoise and yellow silk looked with the lotus.
  It took a while before the right shapes and colours found themselves together and there was of course the moment when I hated it.

After a day or 2 the moment passed as it always does and I started to enjoy myself again. As you can tell, I am not a fast worker. It all needs to simmer for whatever time it takes. The finished piece  is 12"X16", photo printed on silk, hand dyed silk, lamé, commercial and hand dyed and batik cotton. I haven't thought of a name for this piece yet. Any ideas?