OK so it is not Thursday – but here is my throwback thought for the week. It’s about community and how important it is as an artist to have a supportive tribe to rely on. I am thinking about this for many many reasons this week, but here are a few of them.

As many of my readers know I work part time with the Cattaraugus County Arts Council as a creativity consultant to their business program for artists ABLE. Last week was out last monthly meeting with this great group of creative people, and although our support for this group will continue on indefinitely, this intensive part of the program is coming to an end. As part of our wrap-up we talked about what we had learned from the program, and one of the artists said that something I had said at the very first meeting had profoundly changed the way he thought about his work. He had said he was reluctant to share his photography in case people didn’t like it, and I had said who cares? And I meant it – our work is our own given only to us, if we don’t do it it never manifests in the world. I really believe our job is just to do the work, not to make judgements about it, just to do it and put it out in the world. I was glad something I had said had encouraged a fellow artists to stay on the path and keep on working – that is such a great feeling! Bringing this program to a close made me think about my NYFA Mark experience, and how powerful it was to be acknowledged as an artist and be taken seriously. (If you are new to me and my blog you can read about that here). But also it is about seeing that others are in the same place as you – that even the most seasoned and accomplished veterans wrestle with the same problems.

The second incident was when a past student dropped by to visit – she has been in a bit of a bleak place in her life and wanted to reignite her creativity and work her way back to emotional health. I sent her off with a long list of recommended reading, and I hope that along with a chat over coffee I was able to help her a bit! I remember “beginning” as an artist, and I told her that right now I still struggle with the same thoughts as then. Doubt assails me less often, but doubt still comes, and that for me I have to remember to just keep working and wait for the work to find its own way. So many people support me when doubt creeps in, and my blog readers especially have become such an amazing support network of people, most of whom I only know through this cyber-space connection. It is good to be able to pay that feeling forward.

Also this week I read this post over at Tattered and Worn about balance – and I felt refreshed and reassured and able to get back to work with less concern about how out of whack my life has been lately – I just decided to drop the pie on the floor and eat it! (Now you will have to go read the post to see what on earth I am talking about!). I read this blog almost every day with my morning coffee – I hope you have time to read at least this one post this weekend – you will be glad you did!

This blog has been a catalyst for me in meeting and making my tribe. Through it I have met so many amazing generous artists willing to share their talents and advice. Being online and reading other blogs makes me feel less alone, inspires me to get up out of my rut and go back to work, fills my mind with the splendor of their work, and encourages my inner child to get up and go play again. So I am very happy to say that I was contacted this week by Jill Zaheer from Jazworks to be part of a blog-hop. Jill and I met as paper swap partners through LaWendula’s amazing and FREE paper swap. (I encourage you to go check it out and sign up – it is really FREE). So next weekend I will be posting my answers to her questions and linking to the next blogs in the hop. I hope you will go and visit Jill’s blog and look at her incredible work, which has such a unique signature style, and then backtrack along the hop and check out the other artists who are playing. Maybe on the way you will find a little something to help you today. Thanks for visiting – and I’ll be back with a new post in a few days. blogging it turns out is much like riding, when you fall off you just need to get back on and ride again!

Vintage love

A friend recently donated some vintage fabrics to me, so I have been experimenting with some fabric covered books. This one is almost finished, it features part of a bonnet or apron, along with some Victorian lace trim and a gorgeous button. It was super time consuming, but in my favorite way, needle in hand. It feels good to be working in the studio after last weeks hectic pace.


Binding view


Closure side


Close up of button closure


Deciding on a button!

wordless wednesday (laundry)

Well -  I am not doing very well on my resolution for posting, one week in and I am behind again already – but a new opportunity may be around the corner that would give me back more free time. In the meantime, here are today’s pictures – a new work on display through July 31st at the Dykeman Young Gallery in Jamestown, NY.

installation view - laundry (a servant's heart) at the Dykeman Young Gallery.

installation view – laundry (a servant’s heart) at the Dykeman Young Gallery.


Laundry detail – embroidery in sulky metallic thread on used dryer sheets

detail 2 - metallic cotton floss embroidery

detail 2 – metallic cotton floss embroidery

detail 3

detail 3 – metallic cotton floss embroidery


missing… the trials & triumphs of an art-filled life.

I haven’t been blogging much lately – not because I have nothing to say (never gonna happen!) but because I have been busy doing – living an art filled life. So many opportunities have come my way and I am finding it hard to fit everything in. And then when I sit down to blog, there is so much to fill you in on I find myself unable to start. So this week I decided to try and get back to three weekly posts – one about current goings-on, art & studio & life etc, a wordless Wednesday post from the studio, and then a “throwback” post where I attempt to document some things I have been up to in recent months. I hope this is really plausible, I miss my blog, which I really started as a way to create a document of my studio/life. To make a record of the trials and triumphs of an art-filled life.

So then – what am I up to THIS week. Well – that obsession with sewing on leaves has developed further – as everyone I (barely) know keeps sending me more & more examples of other artists who sew on leaves. Like this artist – Hillary Fayle or this one, or this one. What I have discovered is an intense love of “needle lace”, and I have been spending hours reading old embroidery manuals. So many of these are available online through digitized archives, like Project Gutenberg, which has a crafts bookshelf! – the only draw back is that the pictures are often hard to see clearly on the scans. I am a pretty intuitive embroiderer – I can figure things out better from the pictures than from the instructions sometimes. I find it easier to let my hands do the thinking! This interest in needle lace has sparked a whole slew of new project ideas – and I find realjob is really getting in the way of progress! Here are a few pictures, These are just experiments as I try out new techniques.


beginning a needle lace bar on a magnolia leaf

beginning a needle lace bar on a magnolia leaf

magnolia leaf with needle lace bars

magnolia leaf with needle lace bars

needle lace on a grape leaf - supported by hand made paper

needle lace on a grape leaf – supported by hand made paper

Also I am curating another show – woven, sewn & pressed. I will post more about that next week as I start to install the work, and tell you all about the artists in that show. in the meantime, thanks to everyone for your patience. And please come back later this week to catch up on the last few crazy months.

and now back to some sewing – tonight a book from antique fabric remnants – catch up to you all later in the week!


Spring cleaning.

Tis the season to put everything away and rediscover all the things you forgot you had. Here are a couple of pictures of tonights progress before


Where IS the floor?

And after


Ah ha here!

Hoping to finish clearing the decks and get back to making tomorrow. Hopefully the last of the grading will go smoothly and leave lots of playtime before the summer job juggling begins!