Friday, December 31, 2010

wishing for peace and simplicity

All I want for 2011 is a more simple life. I wish to pare down and live uncluttered and sparse. I want my children to always be happy, and love to be easy and pure. I want open spaces and fresh air, home cooked meals, friendship, and laughter. I want to create my art for the pleasure of making. I wish for no more wants, or musts, or needs.

But life is never that uncomplicated. Cars break down, the milk runs out, and there is always dust bunnies in the corners. And then even worse – someone you love gets sick, the teenager rebels, and passions become lost among demands.

I promise to try. Try to slow down, reach out, and care more about things that really matter. I will share my abundance, and open my heart, and find that simplicity from within.

Thank you for being here, sharing your thoughts, and for your support! I hope the new year brings peace, happiness, health, and much creativity to all of you!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

the pomegranate story

Amidst stitching up sachets, pressing towels, and filling orders, I had time for a little dye experiment this past week. Pomegranates left over from our thanksgiving festivities were chopped up, and put to simmer for a few hours. The concoction turned into an interesting shade of grayish, pink-purple, but the cloth placed within came out a beautiful golden greenish tan, pending on the type of fabric.

I love to try new things so before submerging some of the fabric I covered them with leaf prints, using whipped up egg as my "ink" and a leatherleaf viburnum leaf as my printing plate. Once placed in the dye bath the parts printed with the egg mixture reacted stronger to the dye in those places. Quite beautiful and amazing to me...

white silk leaf printed with egg mixture before pomegranate dye

 egg mordant prints on linen after pomegranate dye

egg mordant prints on silk after pomegranate dye

I may not be able to post again before Christmas, so I'll leave you with my warmest wishes for a light filled, peaceful, and joyous holiday season!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

from my hands to yours

These are the hands that make everything around here. They pick the leaves, mix the inks, cut the linen, make the folds, and thread the needles. They type these lines, tie the bows, and carry packages to the post man.

I encourage you to choose handmade gifts this season. There are still some goodies left in my shop or you can find other makers nearby or faraway. Explore the multitude of talented sellers on etsy, and big cartel. Visit your local holiday craft markets and shop in the small stores in your neighborhood. Choose something beautiful, alluring, and unique.

I will be at the Holiday Craftacular downtown Charlottesville this weekend, along with 15 other artists – all with hands similar to mine. Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

maple magic

Do you remember my friend Lily's Japanese maple tree, and the beautiful prints made from its fresh summer leaves? Well Lily's maple continue to marvel. This time of year the leaves are turning a spectacular shade of red, slowly letting go, dancing towards the ground. Thankfully I gathered a few bagfulls of these treasures for some happy dye pot experiments. I am enthralled with the results.

The cotton tunic started out ia drab, uncomplimentary beige color. Now it is covered in blue, green, and gold maple leaf imprints. I can't wait to wear it with my favorite pair of jeans! The eco-prints on silk are equally amazing. I especially love the effect on the thin organza, shown at the top of this post. A mere whisper of impressions, still clear and powerful held up against a white background. Magical.

Friday, November 26, 2010


It is time for my annual appreciation holiday sale. Everything in the etsy store and the big cartel store is 15% off from November 26 to November 29. Just enter the discount code HOLIDAY2010 during check-out. Thank you for your support and for considering handmade gifts this season!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

giving thanks

There is much to be thankful for in my life. My boys, health, love, happiness, passion, friendship, dog kisses, creativity, and majestic trees in my back yard... all gifts of enormous magnitude. I'm looking forward to tomorrow's feast, with my beloved family. I wish all of you the best of times this holiday season. Happy thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


A few birds landed in my mailbox, along with a sweet note from their creator Elaine. A simple message and a gift, that caused me to pause, smile, and think in the midst of the frantic work activities that dominate my life. Thank you!

I have been dreadfully absent on my favorite blogs lately. There has been no time for visits, and even less time for comments. I will return. I promise. Staying in touch with my creative friends, and sharing your experiences feed my soul. I miss you.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

time to tour

The Artisans Studio Tour is coming up this weekend. 16 studios in the Charlottesville, Virginia area will showcase 33 artists and their work. This is a fun event, a great chance to support handmade and find gifts for the holidays. I will be at the Barn Swallow, along with my dear friends Mary Ann Burk, Janice Arone, and Enid Adams. I love this video made by local photographer Billy Hunt. We hope to see you on the Tour.

My new website launched this week. Much of the content is the same, but with more focus on my art pieces. Check it out if you have a chance – I would love to hear what you think.

Monday, November 1, 2010

international fame – part two

I am normally don't like tooting my own horn, but I have to let you know of another international publication featuring my work. Chinese Kaka Life, a craft and do-it-yourself magazine, published an interview with me and several photos of my work. I am grateful to Antonia Chan, who wrote the article and invited me to partake. Now if I only had brushed up on my Chinese...

My recent eco-prints have been incorporated into some new pieces, currently listed in the etsy shop. I am intrigued by the beauty of the prints, and love how they immediately become focal points, enhancing the plain unbleached linen fabric they were combined with.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

fall color

Brightly colored leaves are starting to cover the ground in the garden and along the city streets in our part of the world. Intrigued by their beautiful hues and how they might might work as eco-prints, I have collected bunches of them during recent walks in our neighborhood.

This weekend I bundled them up, trying to be somewhat scientific by adding nothing but pure water and a couple of pieces of copper piping to the dye pot. The results were amazing, but not in the way I imagined. I was thinking I would get leaf impressions in red, burgundy, maybe orange based on the colors I started with. Instead the imprints on the linen fabric were vivid green, yellow, soft bluish gray, brown, or tan pending on the species. On silk the same leaves printed pale pink, peach, and mauve... I am totally infatuated with this dyeing method. Unwrapping the bundles is like unwrapping a treasure, always with surprising results. And each time I recall the wonderful time spend learning during India Flint's workshop this summer and the friendships that were forged in the process. Bliss.

I have listed the leaves I used, and the stunning pieces of cloth that resulted below.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

international fame

Many thanks to Lucia Tosolini and the rest of the editorial staff at Italian architecture and interior design magazine VistaCasa for featuring my work in their October issue. I am honored.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

white work

White is my latest obsession, especially stitching white on white with a bit of color thrown in for contrast. There is something refreshing and restful about white even as we head into the cosy winter months. These new pieces are part of an upcoming show at Gallery 45 in Richmond, a wonderful collaborate effort with hundreds of artists participating. The show opens this Wednesday and runs through next weekend.

Friday, October 8, 2010

soft hues and gratitude

This past week I finally did some more dye pot experiments. I simmered black walnuts, in various stages of decay, and added pieces of whole cloth linen as well as some bundles. One of the bundles incorporated architectural iron stars that I have collected over the years, another included large mimosa leaves. The overall result did not yield the dark brown color I had anticipated, but I am still pleased. The softness of the hues achieved with natural dyes is fascinating.

My work was featured in three different blogs this week. I am grateful for the attention. Thank you Illana for the interview (don't miss the giveaway), and Jenya for the beautiful photo collage and kind words, and last but not least Erin for including my towel in her Canadian Thanksgiving inspiration.  Happy weekend everyone!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

daily inspiration

A picture says more than a 1000 words. The saying may seem cliche, but it often holds true. Almost every day this year artist and photographer Elaine Kean has published one photo and one word on her blog red or gray black and white. The black and white images are random reflections of her life, small beautiful glimpses that inspire pause and contemplation. It is a lovely place to visit. Elaine is a talented multi media artists and you can fine her wonderful collages, mobiles, and garlands in her etsy shop.

Photos courtesy of Elaine Kean. All rights reserved.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

new work

Another week just swished by. A lot of things were accomplished, including stocking the etsy shop with new work. More production is in store, as I am preparing for some exciting fall events including gallery 45 and craft + design, two fun shows in Richmond, Virginia. I am also gearing up for the Artisans Studio Tour in November, were local artists open their studio doors to showcase their work, give demonstrations, and share delicious food. Busy but fun times ahead.

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