Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Kindred Spirits Down the Path - An Exhibit

It began with an invitation -
an exhibit of work by a family of artists
who are also lovers of nature
and good friends of mine.

It was a beautiful day Sunday.
When my husband, my friend Elaine (one of the artists), 
and I first arrived at the reception, we met up with 
Elaine's daughter, Karen, and Karen's daughters (here with Elaine).
Karen, of course, is the author of the beautiful blog Sew and Sow Life.
I met Karen through her mother in 2009, and we have been friends 
through our blogs and in person ever since.

The gallery space at North River Sanctuary was beautiful

and the artwork, nature inspired and thoughtfully rendered
was on display in two large rooms.
I'll share some of the work and try to explain the relationship of each
artist to my friend Elaine.

(I'll start by saying that photos were challenging because of the glare of the glass.)

These are pieces by Elaine, who has worked in pencil, pen and ink,
calligraphy and needlework. She has also done many posters and bulletin boards
for her local library and the school at which she worked for years.


Elaine's late husband, Alan Lowry, had created many beautiful works in watercolor


as well as the amazing pen and ink drawing below.

Alan's grandfather, Dr. Albert Billings, painted in gauche
and his work made me want to walk right into his paintings.


Elaine's son and Karen's brother, Doug, creates
 Beautiful serigraphs -

Elaine's youngest son Nelson, the first Lowry I met back in 
1982, when we worked together in an art and framing gallery, 
had some wonderful mixed media pieces in the show.
I couldn't seem to get good pictures of them, but they were made with tape
and paint. Nelson is also an Emmy winning TV and movie art director,
as well as an old friend.

Elaine's niece, Kristen Johnson, works in cut paper
and her work is elegantly clean and simple. 

And finally, artwork by Karen Lowry Reed, Elaine's daughter.
Her artwork appeals to me in a very special way, 
because I love fabric, fiber and texture,
In my mind, I compare Karen's work to poetry, because it is 
exquisitely serene and infused with meaning and symbolism.

Over 120 people came and, toward the end of the reception,
Elaine, Nelson, Doug, Karen and Kristen posed for a photo:
Kindred spirits down the path of nature and art!

A very lovely exhibit and an enjoyable afternoon!

You can read Karen's thoughts about the day here.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Sunday Stitches

I worked on my embroidered mandala today,
in the car, as my husband drove us to a wonderful
art exhibit in Marshfield, Massachusetts.

The exhibit was presented at the North River Wildlife Sanctuary
at the Massachusetts Audubon Center...

and included work by an artist who is a good friend of this blog.
This is a teaser - more tomorrow when I sort out my photos!

Hope you've had a great weekend!

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Friday Faces - (on Saturday!)

She lived in a time when women were silenced,
 docile and obedient,
 not allowed to vote.

She was a gentle soul, a hard worker, 
a dedicated mother and devoted wife.
She had opinions, but kept them to herself.
Her mind was filled with ideas, desires,
questions and resentments,
but these thoughts remained locked inside.

When I was making this picture, with machine and hand stitching and a scrap of
fabric, I was thinking about how wonderful it is that, these days, after years of struggle, women are able to express themselves, vote, protest and march for their beliefs. When I flipped the embroidery over, I realized how much more expressive the reverse side was. 
Women silenced.
Never again!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Work in Progress

Before the holidays I cut out a couple of windows from white fabric backed with fusible web, then added some landscape fabric in the background. Then they went into a drawer and were forgotten.
I just came across one of them and decided to put a woman and her cat in front of the window. I made a little sketch and tried it out.

I got my inspiration from this pretty vintage photo I found on the internet, which I modernized.

Then I wondered whether the figure in my first sketch was a bit small, so I enlarged it. Better, I think.

I think there needs to be a table with a lamp or flowers in front of the widow. We'll see!
 Fun to play!

This is how I do many of my appliqué pictures. Now to transfer the elements to fabric, cut out the small pieces, put them all back together and sew.  I'll share it when it's done.

Thanks for visiting.
Hope you're having a very good week!

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Sunday Stitches

My stitches for this week are also my words, or intention, for this year.

I've been under a lot of stress this past year, between having to put my sister in a nursing home to worrying about the election, with a few other concerns thrown in. I also put myself under a lot of pressure, needlessly, by being a perfectionist with my artwork - not that it's perfect by any means!

So, I've decided to lighten up in many areas of my life and work. Here are some of them:

AttitudeI tend to be pretty serious a lot of the time. I want to add more  humor, music and lightness to my everyday life.

Artwork - I want to try some new things, like collage, art dolls and another series of narrative portraits. I’ve decided not to show my work for a while, so that I can be free to experiment without the pressure of preparing for shows.

DeclutteringI want more space, less stuff. Clean space is a good thing!

De-stashing - I have collected an amazing amount of art and craft supplies, plus fabric, in the last 30 years. I’ve already begun to give away some of the excess, but have a long way to go. I have a nice studio which is currently more of a storage room and I’d like to make it an appealing and bright place to work in.
Eating Habits - I want to lighten up my eating and my weight. I have already cut out sugar and am researching some good eating plans. And I need to exercise and move more

Centering - I need to quiet my mind, concentrate on the moment, use the computer less, and meditate as I used to in the past. 

So there you have it - my personal "lighten up" project for 2017. I have already begun, which is good since we are already more than halfway through January! Can you believe it?
  • Thanks for "listening" to my goals.
  • As my daughter's 4th grade teacher used to say,
  • "Inch by inch, life's a cinch.
  • Yard by yard, life is hard."
Here's to taking things an inch at a time!!

Friday, January 20, 2017

Friday Faces

Today is a challenging day for me and for many Americans. I'm having a quiet day, reflecting on the need for peace and positive alignment in our country and the whole world. That said, I did this quick drawing to show my support of my daughter Kate, who will be joining the Women's March in Washington tomorrow. I pray that this will be an empowering and peaceful event.

Wishing all a very good weekend!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Sunday Stitches

During this second week of 1 Year of Stitches, I found that there is truth to the phrase "Stitching mends the soul". There is a rhythm to hand stitching that is calming and rewarding and provides a soothing background to conversation or listening to music. I haven't done any knitting for about 40 years, but I imagine that it can be similarly soothing. I remember my mother constantly working on some kind of needlework or other, and how calm she looked when she did it. I have so many pieces of her beautiful needlepoint, embroidery, crocket, knitting, wool rug hooking and other things, I really should do a post about her work sometime soon.

Here is my mandala and what I did during week 2 - the outer border of blue and green stitches and orange French knots. As it gets bigger, each row will take longer. I'm enjoying making it up as I go along and trying out new techniques.

I also got (unintentionally) involved in some intense hand embroidery when finishing the face I shared in my last post. I had started this months ago and did some rows of stitching in the hair, and felt that I had to fill in the whole space when I went back to it. A big job!! If I'm going to do a face each week, you can bet I'll find a simpler way to create hair!!

I hope you are enjoying a pleasant Sunday. It is 37 degrees and sunny here in Boston, with practically no snow on the ground. I know we'll be getting lots of snow in the next couple of months, so I'm enjoying unrestricted driving and walking outside while we have it!

Wishing you a wonderful week!
Thank you so much for visiting my blog!

Friday, January 13, 2017

Friday Faces - "Suzie"

Here's a hand embroidered piece I finished today.
I hope to add a new character with a little story every Friday.
Let's see how it goes!

She was a child of the 1940's.
Her mother was an immigrant  
who impressed upon her daughter the importance of education.
She heard the words "you are intelligent, strong and capable"
throughout her childhood, and she grew up believing them.
When she was an adult, with a successful career,
she was thankful that her mother's influence had shaped her life,
and she honored her memory by doing the same
for her own daughter.

Here's wishing you
a wonderful weekend!

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Sunday Stitches

I've just completed my first week of the challenge One Year of Stitches: 2017. I decided to make a mandala, choosing different embroidery stitches as I go along. I'm using a Pilot Frixion pen to keep the rings fairly symmetrical - the ink of this pen disappears when ironed.

The fabric I'm using is about 14" square, and of course the rings will get larger and larger, so it may just take a year to finish. I'll probably frame it when done, since a pillow would be far too tempting for curious cat claws! 

It's also something I can work on every Thursday morning at the stitchers group I belong to. This group is one of the joys of my week, and I consider myself so lucky to belong to it. I would love to show you the blog I created for this group of talented ladies to showcase their work. It is called 'Around the Creative Table' and you can link to it here, If you have a minute to check it out, please consider leaving a comment. Yours could be the first comment we get!!

I've also started another textile class with my favorite instructor, Amy Ropple. And I'm excited about some new books I received for Christmas. Here are two of them...

 So, onward and upward - new ideas to try and new things to learn in this coming year. I'm planning to have a new character to share every week, starting this week, in a category called 'Friday Faces'. And maybe some little stories to go along with them! Stay tuned and

Have a great week!

Thanks for visiting!!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

A Fresh New Year

There is something so wonderful about a new year -
a clean slate, a fresh start!
I'm looking forward to some new creative ventures -
more cut paper, machine sketching,

hand embroidery,

and character creating.

I'm excited, and I hope you are too,
as we enter a brand new year of hope and creativity.

I look forward to sharing and seeing what you are up to!
Let's go on this journey together!

Wishing you a very Happy New Year!