The purpose of this blog is share with others the processes involved in my favorite form of creativity- silk art quilts. The creative process itself is a fascinating thing. I am constantly amazed by it- both its simplicity and its complexity.

I feel strongly that I am a better person since I truly started following my dream. Because of collectors--those who actually buy original art-- I am able to live my dream. I thank you from the bottom of my heart. You can see more of my work at my website http://www.rebelquilter.com/.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Nekkid yoga part 2

There was some clamouring going on for detail shots of my gals. So here you go. Sadly, I shot them in a hurry and they don't all look squared up or flat. They are. I didn't measure yet but I think they are about 9" x 12".

If you click on each image I think you can blow them up so you can see the stitching around the bodies. I wish I had a good visual reference to be able to name these poses.

When I redrew these poses from Aubrey Beardsley's versions I plumped them up about 30 pounds, removed the high heels, pearls and earrings.

Don't know what that dark cloud is in the lower left corner- photographer error-- not the work.

I am looking for pricing feedback as well as any critiqueing you wish.

This is the back printed with my silkscreen. I haven't signed them yet. Not sure where would be best-- back, front, on a label?

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Nekkid yoga

This is a series I started based on Aubrey Beardsley's 1920s drawings. His yoga girls were all very very slender, often wearing high heels, pearls and earrings while posing. Sheesh! I have redrawn them much plumper and, hopefully, more realistic of today's female yoga participant.

Regarding their creation: the flesh tone fabric is hand-dyed silk. The major background fabric is a black linen to which I applied paint using a silk screen I created that is simply the text of many different yoga poses plus their Indian names. The polka dot fabric was purchased. The black edging is black linen. Actually the backs have been silk screened as well with a simple texture and the edges wrapped around to the front. Before the final wrap and application of fusible I trimmed the fabric using a wavy rotary tool. Then I went back and couched down a gray yarn to finish it. I am doing this in several color ways. I did hte black first simply because I used pigment instead of thicked dyes to print and it was therefore faster to get to a proto-type stage.

I am looking for feedback and pricing suggestions. They are each about 9" x 12".

I know that the detail is hard to see-- but each figure is outline stitched plus contour stitched to show som eof the plumpness. I'll shoot a detail shot later.

Friday, September 4, 2009


For the lst week I have been playing in the arena of Botanicals. Next month I have the pleasure of accepting an invitation to have a booth at the Best of Missouri Market at the Shaw Botanical Gardens. When I was doing shows regularly I would have given my eye teeth to get this invite.

I've been trying to develop a new series based on four trees that grow in our region--Post Oak, Southern Magnolia, Osage Orange ( Bois D'arc), and Dogwood. My concept-- should this prove marketable, is to choose four species every year and feature them for the year-- exploring their elements-- leaves, silhouette, wood grain, seed pods, flowers, medicinal, culinary and industrial uses and even unusal history that involves that tree.

The first tree I began with is the Post oak- because we lost our 200 yr old post oak that shaded our entire backyard in 2007. What you see here is a very simple wreath made from block prints created with meat packing trays. I then went back and free motion stitched to highlight the vein structure. I think you can click each image and it'll blow up larger so you can see better. I'm starting with wreaths because they can be something of a smapler for the variosu stamps I am creating.

This next grouping is on black linen. You can see the various elements-- oak leaves, oak acorns, osage orange fruit, dogwood leaf and dogwood berries, magnolia seed pod. It looks very flat, I know. But my plan is to outline stitch to bring out details. The white lines are just chalk to make sure I keep it even-ish.

The same bunch of elements on dyed silk noil. I added some smaller dogwood leaves.

This piece is probably the closest to completion- all the elements are there and I've included more of the dogwood berries.

This one you can see the two tones of the magnolia seed pod.

Where am I going with this? not sure. I'm sure they'll look quite different once I quilt them. But I could sure use some feedback. I don't wish to do boring, trite or cute.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Federal Marbles

Another piece that had been hanging unfinished on the wall for quite some time. Kitty Chrysalis and I were experimenting with marbling about 4 years ago. We came up with enough small pieces to make the 6" circles for this piece. In a time when it seems that all sorts of distortion of the facts are happening in the federal debate over healthcare reform.. perhaps it should be "Federal Lost-its Marbles". The quilting originates on the back where I had printed some large stars and strips of marks that resemble stripes... could have named it stars and stripes, also... but boring and cliche'. I'm just pleased to finally have this piece done as it has been hanging on the design wall for over a year awaiting quilting and finishing.

This piece is mostly silk.

Friday, August 14, 2009

And now for something REALLY different...

This small piece is a playful approach to texture. All the silks are hand dyed. some I used potato dextrin to create and under-texture. Some parts I used copper leaf scraps sprinkled over the base with tuille on top to hold in place. The silver fish were created using my fish stamp made with a glue gun outline then silver leaf was attached using matte medium. Then lots of stitching. The "flies" are beads made from metallic painted tyvek rolled and wrapped using mettalic threads and blasted with a heat gun. I attached them using silver embroidery floss.

Next to color as my favorite aspect of creating art is texture. This is a fun way to capture and create it. I think I'll be playing with this some more. What do you think? Should I spend time on exploring this?
It may seem I am cranking out the work lickety split these days. Well yes and no. This piece hung on the wall for a few weeks while I figured out what to do to complete it. I have a deadline of October 3rd for a high volume art festival where I'll need lots of smaller works. Crank crank crank.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Neon Cha Cha

This is another piece in my series I've decided to call my Serendipity Series. Each piece in the series is made up, primarily, of pieces leftover from previous quilt projects. This time I gathered up all the really bright colored scraps from cutting my 8" blocks and interspered them with solid black homespun. It hung on the wall for several weeks while I tried to figure out the quilting. Once that was decided the piece flew together.
This detail shot shows the variety of stitches as well as the neon colors used in the stitching. Once again I forgot to photograph the back- argh! It has a wonderful floral design printed using stamps that have been repurposed to make flowers. I love the way the bright colors come forward and the cool colors recede.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Severe Clear

I vividly remember hearing a meteorologist in Austin explain about the intense blue sky we were experiencing following a big storm. It is an indication of low humidity and seldom seen in mid summer in the Ozarks. But THIS July has sported several days like that with temps that invite one outside. Another feature of July are Surprise Lillies that seem to pop up from nowhere following a drenching rain, in almost no time at all. The leaves came up with the daffodils and are long gone. Now, too, I see the Rubekias--Black-eyed Susans and the roadside chickory-- that like the specimens here, almost disappear into the landscape.

This happy little piece is another in my Serendipity series to use up scraps from other projects. I couched down a blue yarn onto each piece before assembling the background. The flowers are all hand-dyed silk.
The approximate dimensions are 28" x 40".

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Red Rover, Red Rover!

I started this a few months ago utilizing leftover strips from my block building process. I had the columns built and they hung on the wall for a long time. I knew the concept of what I wanted to create. When I saw the the way the rows seems to be tied together with the couched yarn it reminded me of the school yard game. In planning my write up about this piece I decided to go to wikipedia to try to get more info. It seems that after the 70s the game lost its luster, replaced by more updated pursuits and because of its history of being relatively dangerous-- broken arms and "clotheslining" where your neck gets caught in the arms of the receiving team....for those of you who are very young, a clothesline is that outdoor device for drying ones clothes on a wire or cord stretched between 2 poles-- now often against the rules in deed restricted neighborhoods.

Here's a detail shot showing the couched yarn as well as the outlined figures in the quilting.

This is the back. If did the figures on silk organza. I made a stamp from plexiglas plus drawing using my glue gun. Each was cut out and fused to the foundation. Then I freemotion outline stitched from the back using the thicker metallic thread as bobbin work.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Sprung! finished

This is such a happy piece. It stayed on the design wall without being quilted for several weeks. Although I loved the color movement I couldn't seem to resolve the quilting. Then I realised I wanted a fairly realistic depiction of some flowers. I traced some clipart flowers onto tracing paper in a wreath design. Then laid the tracing paper on the quilt top and stitched through the tracing paper to get the detailed outlines. After doing the two inside wreaths I was again stuck and unable to resolve the outer corners nor the in-between sections. So again it hung on the design wall while I finished Sweeping Changes. Finally I had stared at it long enough that it started talking to me again. Another wreath of detailed flowers, this time apple blossoms, daffodils and daylily. Then I wanted to boost the visibility of the flowers I had made so much effort to create. So I got out my paints.
Here you can see the inner circle of daffodils as well as the in-between stitching and the apple blossoms and daylillies of the second wreath.

In addition to the flower detail, you can see where I switched to a metallic thread for the in-between quilting.
This was a sweet little piece to create. Its size is 35" x 35". I'll have it posted on my website shortly. I have entered it in Fiber Focus along with Slipstream Adventure and Freefall. Fiber Focus is a nine state textile exhibition presented by Art St. Louis. The competition is tough. I have only once been able to get my work in.
I was shooting it in my studio this morning. Completely forgot to shoot the back. I'll try to get at least a preview shot tomorrow so you can see the back. I had such fun creating it. I repurposed all sorts of stamps I had, to use them as elements in a big flower bouquet. You'll see..........

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Sweeping changes--DONE!!!!

I am delighted to have finished this new piece. It is the first "social conscience" piece I have done in quite a while. My last one was "Oh Martha! How can this be a good thing?". I realised going into the project that it would be unlikely to be easily marketable. So this is done purely from the heart without an eye toward what might be publicly popular. The "Sweeping Changes" are those policy changes that have gone into effect or are being addressed since President Obama took office. The bright copper is what is revealed when all the old policies are swept away. The dust stirred up are the old policies and ways of operating.

The stitching is quite tight in the "dust" as elaborate feathers. I have also stitched around all of the text. The bright metallic is copper leaf. I used most of 2 packs of 25 sheets of copper leaf.
The lower portion has all the text outlined-stitched in metallic thread.

Here's a close-up of a dust swirl with its text and stitching. You can see parts of 2 different text messages-- NAFTA & Religion = politics--- BTW these are outgoing attitudes.

Here's a close-up of the lower copper- clad portion. The x's are in copper leaf. The text is in copper acrylic pigment. The stitching around the text and x's is metallic thread. At the top you can see a portion of the broom.
The overall size is 70" x 70" in 2 panels.
I just submitted it to the show I had planned on entering it in along with Live Water.
My fingers are crossed. I'll know in about 2 weeks whether my work made it. Don't worry-- I'll let you know.
In the mean time it is now "crank it out" time to get ready for my brother and SIL to arrive for my Mom's 80th birthday. Yikes! Time to do all those little things that kept being put off until I had a moment. That moment has arrived!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Sweeping changes--progess

Ok. I lied. I had planned on showing you the back but I got more interested in the front first. This is where I left the piece today. I have cut apart the silk with the copper leaf, applied black misty fuse and attached. Then I stamped phrases that are timely with current events.
Here you can see the individual "islands" of copper leaf before I printed the phrases.
This is a detail shot showing a few of the phrases. Included in this shot are: corporate responsibility, home gardens, eco-friendly, stimulus, consensus building. There are about 15 in all. The paint used is a copper metallic acrylic. The copper leaf is real.

Friday, May 29, 2009

New work--at last!!!

This is my latest piece. Entitled "Sweeping Changes". You are seeing it after "magic time" when it has been pieced together but not yet layered or quilted. I have had a game going on this year and recent work-- not yet posted--has all been created using leftovers from previous projects. This one has 400 quadrants all made with leftover pieces... and I didn't even use half of them!
The concept here is the major changes we are currently experiencing in our government and economy-- much of it based on the new policies in place from the election of Barack Obama.
There is a vague black line of demarcation running northeast to southwest. Below that line will be what has been the result of sweeping. Above the line will be what has been swept away.

The area below the black has been swept and what is left are positive (+ signs) in real copper leaf. Here you can see the copper leaf in the process of being cleaned up. The sheets of copper leaf are being brushed to remove the unattached leaf from the silk organza. The color of the silk is too vibrant, I think, so I am over-dyeing using color-hue dyes to deepen it.

The area above the black line is the area that has what has been swept. The first indication is the spirals of "dust". These were created using freezer paper and paint sticks with a stencil brush.
What's next? Well you haven't seen the back yet. It has been dyed and I'll post that progress tomorrow. I have already done it.
The next new step for me will be attaching the silk organza with the copper leaf. I screwed up and applied the copper to the wrong side of the left piece. So I have to work out a solution-- that doesn't involve starting over. The copper leaf had to be ordered online from an art supply and I DON'T have that kind of time-- so time to improvise. I think I'll probbly cut the silk into smaller pieces and attach via black misty fuse in small groupings. There will be much writing/ text on the piece. The bottom will contain things that have changed in a positive way since Obama's election. Above the line will be things that have been or are in the process of being modified or eradiciated. DEEP!!!! Well for me, anyway.
I am finally highly motivated. There is a particular exhibition I am creating this for. I have a July 1 deadline to get images in. Pedal to the metal!!!!!!!!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Energy of Hope

I created this piece as a whole cloth quilt. It is actually 2 top layers-- silk broadcloth covered by silk organza. Some of the imagery is printed on the organza and some on the broadcloth. It is very intensively quilted. The images are created using a variety of my own stamps, silk screens, plus the spool ends of many of my threads. The gold is actual gold leaf using Jane Dunnewald's method of using matte medium as a bonding agent applied via silk screen.
Here you can see how tightly it is stitched. I forgot to measure this before posting but it is approximately 4ft x 3 ft.
The name comes from how I felt going into the election and aftermath. With the economy in the tank, it is amazing how one's outlook affects one's energy.

Ice Storm

The beautiful, the desolate destruction, the times together--

The beautiful-- Here is one of our maple trees covered in about 3/4" of ice. The freezing rain fell most of the night. We could hear the trees breaking all night long.

For nine long days and nights we cuddled around the candles and the small propane heater. I had bought the heater at an auction for Best of Missouri Hands with the idea of using it in my booth on chilly days. I didn't expect to use it to keep warm in my own house. This is my mother all bundled up to play cards.

My husband, Jon, was utterly frustrated trying to practice. It was so cold his fingers just weren't working. But we got reacquainted with the card game Kings in a Corner which I hadn't played since my kids were little-- 20+ years ago. We tried other games but this was the one my mom could recall.

This is typical of the destruction we found. Our maples were just devastated. Several of the branches still attached in this photo ( below) didn't make it until the thaw.

Thankfully this is now all behind us-- except the clean-up. When the ice fell from the trees it added about 4" of ice to the snow and ice already on the ground. Moving along......

Next post will have new work and a return to normalcy. Aah! Precious normalcy--warm toilet seats, TV, water pressure sufficient to shower, no need to wear a knit hat to bed, but alas, the cats no longer want to snuggle under the covers.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Where I have been/ where I am off to

What a shock to discover it had been 2 months since my last post. In early November I had to go to Florida unexpectedly while my son's body figured out how to settle down on blood pressure medications. As a Mom, let me tell you, it is scary to see your kid hooked up to IVs and monitors in ICU. Fortunately things have settled down and he is respecting his body and treating it with care.

In the mean time I came home and realized we had been living in crisis mode on some level ever since my parents had moved in 2 years ago. The result had been that the partly remodeled kitchen had never been finished. While still not completely done it is now much closer to the ideal. From my chair in the breakfast area I no longer have to look at open cabinets and shelves. It may look great in a restaurant kitchen but in my very full shelves it does not! All the cabinets now are stained and varnished in a cherry finish, have doors and new hardware. The peeling ceiling is now smooth and painted. The 1968 ivy trellis wallpaper is now finally gone and the walls painted a dusty mid-range teal. We still have circa 1968 carpet on our kitchen floor in a "lovely" avocado medallion. As soon as I sell my next piece of artwork the floor will get replaced with a ceramic that mimics slate. It all blends nicely with the granite tile we used for the counter and back splash. The under counter lights have been enjoyed every day as well as the ceramic black sink and copper faucets. Progress! What a great way to start the new year!

In a rampage, I also finally got the upstairs bathroom up to a tolerable state. We still need to re-tile the shower. But no more peeling ceiling or woodwork. Civilized!!!!

I am finishing the piece I started awhile back-- The Energy of Hope. It'll be the image on my annual New Year's Card. Ok... I'm a week behind.

But hope is where I have planted myself this season. For the first time in several years I don't feel hopeless about the direction our country is moving. Even though we hear daily reports of lingering financial crisis ahead I personally believe the worst is over and that brighter days lie ahead. I think that the belt tightening most of us have been doing has been a good practice that is often overlooked with complacency. Never the less, income production MUST occur.

As a possible income source I am sending out a few letters to offer my services as a personal chef-- available to provide a delicious meal as a part of a private dinner party or cook a week's worth of meals for a busy family. While I have no plans to make this a full time gig I am hopeful that it will take some of the financial strain off our household.

Cooking for me has always been a source of creative joy. Over the years I have developed a reputation for putting on spectacular meals. I have resisted "going professional" simply because I haven't wanted to be pulled from creating my art. Now is the time.

This year I am already committed to create lots of new work. My art quilt group is producing a coffin quilt for use by our members. Last one to die gets to keep the quilt!!! Actually it'll probably go to the quilt study center. We all felt like being an artquilter was a major part of who we are. The idea that perhaps that wouldn't be represented at our memorials was not acceptable. None of us are getting any younger and having one "ready to go" seemed like a smart project.

In April our group is having a show at the Springfield Nature Center and I'll be making special piece for that-- I'm thinking Cleome!!!

In last August I have a show in Dallas at Cerulean Gallery and plan to produce quite a few new pieces for that. Then in September is Fiber Focus in St. Louis. I am planning to help produce a regional show of SAQA members work for that.

I have also been invited to create a work for an internationally traveling exhibition of quilts that celebrate various holidays. My father's favorite holiday was the Chinese New Year. He loved all the traditional foods served as well as dragon dances and kites. I'm sure I'll incorporate all those in to the piece somehow.

So here is to prosperity! Here is to new beginnings! All hail the hope for the future.