Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Looking Forward to A New Year....

Here are a couple more sketches I did through the holidays from #Sktchy photos. You can only see them on Sktchy if you have the  app, but I usually post them on Instagram, so don't post them all here.

I am not getting weaving time, as that really requires several uninterrupted hours to be satisfying (rather than frustrating) to me. But these little sketches (all about 5 x 6 inches) just take minutes here and there. So, by doing them, I feel like I am still keeping my creative brain fed, though on a bit of a diet!

This sketch (also from a Sktchy photo) was done this morning. It is on behalf of all the little girls who wanted to be Princess Leia, and as a tribute to the one who got to actually be her. May the Force be with you, Carrie Fisher.

Gus and I say Happy New Year to you all. May the Force be with all of us in the coming year.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Ho, ho, ho....

Like every other Ms. Claus, I have been doing holiday stuff: shopping, making, and performing holiday songs for various audiences. Busy, in other words. 

And a bit grumpy, I guess, too.

But one of the things that has kept me sane (or as sane as I get at this time of year) has been to sit down almost every evening for 20-30 minutes to do a little sketch in my sketchbook. They are not complex. They are not great ART. But they are pretty fun, and the practice helps dump my brain-busy-ness.
I have been sketching photos I get from the Sktchy app. People upload their photos there for artists to use. It has also become a lovely supportive community of artists who encourage each other. 

The sketches I've been doing the past week or so have mostly been holiday related.

Fun. I hope you have a practice that keeps you sane and enjoying the holidays, as well.
 Ho, ho, ho.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016


I finished the small "Graffiti" tapestry. It is a sampler for a larger tapestry I want to do. I haven't been feeling great the past few days, and haven't finished sewing slits, etc. on this piece, but it's small enough that I could just scan it into the computer without having to do a photo set-up (which usually requires that the piece be finished and mounted in some way.) It is about 8x10".

I don't know that I regard this as a great work of art, or Art, in any sense of the word. Visually, I don't think it is all that appealing, except that it truly expresses my emotions while creating it, as true graffiti should do. Because it is a tapestry, I did pre-plan some shapes, but the colors were chosen as I went along, based strictly on my mood, which has alternated between small moments of hope, and larger periods of frustration and rage. A few unplanned things showed up along the way, as well, like the pink wings on the peace symbol and the little 'escaping man' in the upper left corner.

The larger tapestry that this will lead to is still 'fermenting' in the mind of my muse, but it is definitely working it's way towards the loom!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Still weaving graffiti...

We went to the mountains for a couple of days, but are back now and I am still working on the small graffiti tapestry. These are not 'my colors' and I am uncomfortable working with them, but I think maybe part of the point of graffiti is to make us uncomfortable. So... achieving success, I guess!

Thursday, November 17, 2016


I am never sure where my inspirations and ideas come from, but I have learned to recognize when one percolates to the top of my consciousness, and to see it as something that has been struggling for my attention for some time. 

This happened to me a few days ago. I suddenly found myself interested in, and wanting to create, graffiti. There are a number things  about graffiti that appeal to me. First, the artist has an 'urgent' message to share, and is willing to take risks to share it. Also, it is usually done in primary, in-your-face colors, to be seen. 

Well, I have some 'urgent' messages to share. But I am not a graffiti artist; I do not really know how to handle a can of spray paint. And I am really not the type to sneak out in the dark to make art on some blank wall. My night vision is not all that great, for one thing.

Besides, I am a tapestry weaver. That is my medium, I know how to 'handle' a bit of yarn. So I have begun a small graffiti 'sample' on my small loom. I have a partial cartoon, of sorts, but haven't chosen color ahead of time, except to gather a basket of primary colored wool to choose from. I am also 'winging it' on the background areas.

The differences between spray can graffiti and woven graffiti are, I am finding, pretty big. The biggest difference is that, if you paint something you don't like, you can just paint over it. So pre-planning is not really a big necessity in traditional graffiti.  Also, weaving as I am on this piece, on a small scale, the necessary outlining and shading to get that distinctive 'graffiti look' is a bit of a challenge on the woven grid.

But I am going to keep going. In my head is a large tapestry of woven graffiti. As I weave this small piece, I am learning the things I will need to know to create the larger work. Because I have some big things to say right now, and I want them to be very visible. 

Friday, November 11, 2016

November 11, 2016

My sketchbook seems to be filling with expressions of grief this week. Today, with all passion spent, I can't bring myself to add color to my sketch.

Leonard Cohen's music has a pretty big playlist in my heart. When I was in high school, my best friend and debate colleague and I would go to the local college to study. We would go, not to the library, but to the basement of the Student Union. There, beyond the pool and ping pong tables, was a small, almost always empty 'music room.' It had a console stereo and a stack of records. The record I always looked for was "Wildflowers" by Judy Collins. On it, she sings Leonard Cohen songs. 

I was heartbroken when we went one day and the album was gone, taken, no doubt, by a poor student thief with great musical taste. I worked to save, and after awhile I earned enough to buy my own album. Since then, I have listened to (over and over) Judy, and Joan, and Bob, and Jeff, and Jennifer, KD, and Roberta, and Leonard himself sing songs that express the times of my life. The songs of a Canadian singer-songwriter, who left us yesterday, at a time when we really need his take on this crazy world.

Thank you for leaving your music for us, Mr. Cohen. Thank you from a young girl trying to make sense of her world in the 60's, and thank you from this woman, who is still looking for sanity in this crazy world, but who will have to be happy to settle for 'dancing to the end,' loving your music.

Hey, I know 'that's no way to say goodbye,' but it's all I have today. Hallelujah.

Thursday, November 10, 2016


Thursday, November 10, 2016

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Monday, November 7, 2016

On Exhibit!

Last week, my husband and I went to Topeka, Kansas, where his family still lives, and where we both grew up, went to school through undergraduate school, met, and got married. I had helped arrange to have both the American Tapestry Biennial 11 exhibit and a smaller invitational tapestry exhibit shown there. 

The smaller exhibit was of the time related works of Tommye Scanlin, Janet Austin, Janette Meetze, Geri Forker, and myself. The exhibit is called "Time Warp... and Weft" and it is open now at the NOTO Art Center in the NOTO (North Topeka) Arts District. Janette Meetze, my husband, and I spent last Tuesday hanging the exhibit. 

The Art Center is a refurbished old Post Office building. This was at the end of the day - which is why I look so tired!

My Calendar Series tapestries have never been shown publicly all together, so this is pretty exciting for me! They look small, in comparison to some of my work, but they represent eight years of weaving!

At the right of this photo is one of Janette Meetze's pieces. (I was so busy both when we were hanging and later, I did not get a good set of photos, so apologize for some of these images.)

Above; Janette Meetze, and below, Tommye Scanlin's piece on the left, and Janet Austin's on the two right walls.

Tommy Scanlin, the two left walls, Janet Austin on the right wall in the background.

Geri Forkner's piece, with my Calendar Tapestries in background.

The ATB11 exhibit at the Mulvane Art Museum on the Washburn University campus was also stunning! I would love to post all the photos I took there, but will just tell you that you can get a catalog of that exhibit on the ATA website. The Mulvane is a beautiful space, perfect for this exhibit!

The exhibits both had opening receptions on the First Friday. They will have First Friday receptions in December, as well. They were well attended, and I got to see a lot of friends and family and art lovers there... and to meet a few new friends, as well!

The artists who could be at the NOTO reception, Janette Meetze, Janet Austin, and myself, even got to meet Topeka's mayor!

But the sun set over our Kansas trip, and we headed back home, where a taut warp and a pile of lovely weft wool is ready for me to begin a new tapestry....... perhaps even a new series. (I think there is one percolating up there right now!)

Friday, October 21, 2016

Calendar Tapestries Open House

Welcome to my Open House/Studio! Well, it actually was a few days ago, and it was a wonderful success! I had a lovely crowd here! I tried to do a video of the tapestries all hanging in my home to share here, but I just can't get a decent one! Part of the reason is my lack of videography skills, and the other part is that I live in an old Arts and Crafts home, with lots of windows, but they all have deep eaves, so interior lighting is lovely, but difficult to capture in a photograph (to say the least.) I will do a video of all the Calendar Series tapestries when they are on exhibit in a well-lit gallery setting. (Or, more likely, I will have someone more skilled do one for me.)

Anyway, here's a bit of a tour! As you walk in, you first see the "July" tapestry, of my granddaughter, in the entryway.

Hanging in the living room were the Summer and Spring tapestries, plus the two appropriate larger tapestries from the Four Seasons Series. Above the old sofa is the "Summer" tapestry, and the "June" and "August" tapestries.

Above the fireplace are the "March," "April," and "May" tapestries form the Calendar Series. I just couldn't get a decent photo of the "Spring" tapestry, as it was always a bit backlit, where it was hanging.

In the dining room, I hung the winter and fall tapestries. In this photo, you can see the "January" and "February" tapestries, then the large "Winter" tapestry, the "December" tapestry, and the "November" tapestry, which doesn't show up well here, so I've added a closer shot of it below.

The "September" and "October" tapestries were both side-lit, but I have very little wall space, so I had to hang them where I could! They were really both lovely in their spaces, just hard to photograph well.

The "Fall" tapestry hung in the spot in the dining room that I always save for the appropriate Seasons Series tapestry. I almost feel like that one wall was just made for such a tapestry to hang there!

This week I will be taking all the tapestries down off my walls and packing them to take to Kansas, where they will be on exhibit in the NOTO Art Center, in Topeka through the months of November and December. They will be in an invitational traveling exhibit called "Time Warp... and Weft" with the beautiful works of Tommye Scanlin, Janet Austin, Janette Meetze, and Geri Forker. This will coincide with the ATB11 exhibit, in the Mulvane Gallery in Topeka, so if you go see ATB11, be sure to get over to our exhibit, as well! The exhibit will then be in Athens, GA for the summer months. I'm excited!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

You are invited.....

You are invited to an Open Studio
at my home studio 
on Sunday, October 16
1-4 p.m.
to celebrate and share the completion of the 
Calendar and Four Seasons tapestry series,
before they travel on exhibition. 

(If you need address or directions, leave a comment and I'll contact you.)

Friday, September 16, 2016

"I'm so excited, and I just can't hide it! I'm about to lose control and I think I like it ..."

So. My loom is empty. I haven't had an empty loom, with no plans for another tapestry, for a long time, even though I have not been able to work steadily for several years.

I pretty much took a 'sabbatical' last year, while my Mother was facing the end of her life. I had more important things to do than work in the studio. At the same time, my husband retired from his 40-year career. So, more folks around = less solitary studio time. In fact, I finished the last two Calendar Series tapestries in tiny bits of time,  pretty much with the idea in mind that I would probably need to sell my large loom, and retire myself from weaving when the series was complete. I have already made the choice to retire from teaching. It was probably that attitude that has kept any tapestry ideas at bay. I have sketched, but I have not painted, and I have not designed for tapestry. In other words, I have let my creative life shut down (which does make me grumpy, and more.)

But the past week or so, there has been a nagging little image that keeps cropping up in my head. I have stuffed it back into the closet of my mind several times, but it just keeps coming out. And I haven't been able to go into my studio, even to clean it (which I always do after I finish a tapestry.) That empty loom, and the prospect of leaving it empty...... Just couldn't deal with that.

This morning I woke up very early, because that nagging little image jumped out of that closet, and flat out refused to go back in! And I recognized it immediately as a tapestry. And I have to weave it! It's more or less a self-portrait, so who else would weave it?

It has been creating itself in my mind and heart long enough that it took me about 20 minutes to come up with the cartoon and maquette. It has designed itself, while I resisted. I don't think it will weave itself, though. So.... I need to get in there and clean the studio, re-tie the warp on, find the proper yarns, and get busy!

This one is for me. I'm saying that up front. This one. Is for Me!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

An announcement, and another announcement! (And maybe another, for good measure...)

I have been looking forward for a loooong time to making this announcement: My Calendar Series Tapestries, all twelve of them, will finally be shown all together! Not only that, but they will be in the very good company of the diary tapestries of some of my favorite tapestry artists: Tommye Scanlin, Janet Austin, Janette Meetze, and Geri Forkner.

We will be exhibiting together in an exhibit entitled  "Time Warp... and Weft" an Exhibition of Handwoven Tapestries.  The exhibit will begin in the NOTO Art Center, in Topeka, Kansas, for the months of November and December, 2016. It will be at the same time that ATB11 is in the Mulvane Art Center in Topeka, on the campus of my alma mater, Washburn University.  I am pretty excited about having my work shown in the place where I grew up!

Also, I will be having an Open Studio here in Grand Junction on Sunday, October 16th, from 1-4 p.m. so folks here can see all twelve of the tapestries before they leave the area.

And finally, to mark the completion of these twelve pieces, plus the Four Seasons tapestries, I have had a 2017 calendar printed, with images of all the tapestries. I began the Four Seasons series in 2003, and it led into the Calendar series, so I've put a bit of my life into these works! If anyone is interested in the calendar, they'll be available at my Open Studio, and at the "Time Warp... and Weft" exhibit. I'll also have a few for sale on my Etsy shop (link at right.) Or you can contact me (in the comments or on Facebook or Instagram.)

Happy Days.... and Months.... and even Years! Behind us and before us.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

From my sketchbook....

I have been doing small (about 4"x6") sketches almost daily. The half-hour it takes me to do one of these rejuvenates me, so I usually do one in the evening, when I'm too tired to do anything else. All of these, except the hummingbirds, are from photos people have posted on the Sktchy app, for artists to paint and sketch from. At first, I was not sure how I felt about that: it felt like folks were asking for 'free art,' and that artists were too lazy and uncreative to create from their own images. But, as I've been using the app more and more, I have come to enjoy and appreciate sketching from images that I have no personal ties to, and that don't have to please anyone but myself. It is a truly relaxing way to sketch, and, (dare I say it?) it is FUN! I find myself looking forward to my Sktchy time, and I somehow have accumulated 550 'followers' on the app! Sktchy has allowed some of the artists to have their original work (not prints) for sale, including me, so I have a few sketches offered on the link on the right. They are all watercolor and either ink or permanent marker. I seem to have developed a 'style' using those materials.

Anyway, here are some of my sketches from the past several weeks. I have accomplished a few other creative things, but I will post about those things in the next few days.