Monday, December 20, 2010

spinning time

My student days are with me again and I'm consumed by all the new information that I gather and try and make into myself.  It's taken months for me to return to some sense of normalcy, and my second project feels centered and clear.  Yes I dyed and printed all these fabrics--some velvet, linen, cotton and silk,  sewn in time for the release of Aung San Suu Kyi.  This brave and wonderful woman has resisted a vicious and cruel regime and still retains gentle grace and forgiveness for those who oppress her and her country.  As I sew and weave my tapestries, I have sensed myself on a different time to that around me.  Slow and steady, like the heartbeat of the earth, I shape space with colours and build slowly into my images.  Here, I have time to think, to feel the changes around us with reason and calm.  Yet the act of creation is itself fraught with tension, the choices, the placement, the desire for more, to do more. Perhaps I haven't achieved the perfect balance, but as I stitch it all together, a project that remains unfinished, the scales shift.
May everyone have a blessed season of family and friends-love and good food.  May the light shine upon us and bring us peace.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

crisp finishes

I already feel the signifiers of autumn, the shifts of colours and the coolness of the dawn-and soon we are all back at school.  I have followed my dream and enter into a fantastic textile arts program this fall so I suspect that I will have little time for my little blog although hopefully many new art projects and the creation of my own fabrics for my quilts.  We have slowly begun de-cluttering the house of all the detritus that accumulates from a year of bills, school, and information overload.

I completed my tribute to my grandmother and I believe that it's rather wonderful if I say so myself.  I even worked silk with machine quilting and I love the result. I would love to know what you think and hope that it inspires others to make their own memorial quilts during times of sadness as I found that it really helped me focus and understand my grief and my grieving process.

 I also made this pillow which was to become a gift, but I couldn't part with it and now have it on my bed scenting my pillows with the dried rose buds, lavender and rose geranium that I stuffed inside a muslin pillow with all my oh-too-small scraps.  I love not wasting a scrap, not even a silk thread.

I would love to hear from others who love
crazy quilting and see what they have done with their pieces. This one is called "Do unto others" as I embroidered the aphorism (my personal favorite) on the black velvet.
Many blessings for the next week.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Sad Stitches for Belle

     My summer reverberates with the loss of my beloved grandmother, who through her strong and idiosyncratic beliefs, taught us all about health, manners, gestures, elegance, kindness and strength of will. As a family, we have lost our lodestone and our cornerstone and feel bereft of her presence and I have lost my greatest mentor, friend and champion.

I have spent many hours piecing together my quilt tops and finishing them off as best I could in my temporary set-up in the mountains.


 Here, I grow my beds of vegetable and herbs for the winter, watch lazuli buntings if I'm lucky enough, frighten off the coyotes and bears that occupy the woods around us.  Gluey with life, the air nourished my soul, mind and body and opens me to the purest pleasures.

Les Fraises Parfait.

one patch of wild french strawberries
two nearly clean fingers
one greedy mouth.
divine and glorious.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

yogaquilt: Encroachment

yogaquilt: Encroachment


I have always hated being copied by others whether in clothes, taste, style, or just being.  I've had some crazy people with fixations on me and I've had to hold myself strong to flow through these relationships and leave fairly unscarred.  In quilting, sharing is the name of the game whether it's patterns, ideas, or even material. I have found that this world relishes collaboration among women instead of the competitiveness that we normally find in our relationships-who has the better house, car, kid, stove, etc and on it goes, but in this world, my world, a gift of a scrap of this or that makes all our lives sweeter.  As the summer nears its end, I find myself with an oddly pieced and deeply scarred journal-it holds the bitterness and the sweetness of these sultry months.  As I strengthen my seams, I make beauty from all the pieces of my life and I learn to lose without grasping for control, but with the ability to ruthlessly cut the threads in one place and slowly undo them in another.

I finally finished my fleur-de-lys from my on-line Nancy Chong class.  She's a great resource for patterns and easy instructions for something that looks complicated.  I used a vintage fabric for the center and a more south pacific inspired material for the backing and binding.  I love practicing my hand quilting and practice I need, so I have another one waiting for more attention. For the next few weeks I will be off-line while I fabricate more textile stories. Have a wonderful summer with many blessings.


Monday, July 26, 2010

yogaquilt: Jewel Tree

yogaquilt: Jewel Tree

Jewel Tree

This week my grandmother has faced her mortality without all the usual mechanisms of numbing that most women of ninety six utilize-no medications as her body stayed fit and strong after years of yoga, walking and eating mainly vegetarian food-lots of salads, bran and water for my grandmother.  Her mind remains acute and active although now it's only too aware of the process of dying.  As we are all fairly ignorant of such a state, I want to call in a Lama to help her regain her equilibrium as she comes to terms with her situation.  As I have no Lamas around at the moment, I'll give her my Jewel Tree as it also belongs to her.  This tree refers to all my/our ancestors who protect and cherish us as we exist on this plane of beingness.  One day, my grandmother will be in my tree too with all her loved ones, safe and serene.  May she have many blessings on this journey.  I love you Granny and wish that we had far more time together.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


My newest project involves baskets. I have found my inner country-girl and love using old patterns in modern settings.  I'm working with Gwen Marston's liberated quilting technique which are indeed very freeing yet demand some precision sewing and piecing.  I love using up all my scraps, especially the florals, so while I work on other things, I can make little baskets with the leftovers. I punctuate  my unbleached muslin background with pieces that I have tea-dyed in various substances-chamomile being one of my favorites-a fairly rich yellow.  I made small binding for the handles.  This shows the rough beginnings.

Friday, July 16, 2010

London Journal

       After my workshop with Kaffe Fassett, I had cut fabric left over, and pieces that I had found at the V&A.  I nearly went on a wild goosechase  for pure nostalgia and realized how dangerous our memories can be.  The complexity of history, the complicity that goes into maintaining it and the domestic undoing of those constraints were all amply discussed in the show, but seemed to play out within my own life as well-isn't life amazing.
       My family also felt like wild Canadian Geese let loose in civilization so my triangles flowed out around this quilt taking us to the river as well as Abbey Rd. Studios and beyond.  My sense of the city, the flow of movement and time compressed between monuments.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

family quilt/summer quilts

My darling daughter asked me to make a family quilt to wrap us all inside.  I found myself drawn to Sunbonnet Sue because I'm an old Holly Hobby fan, and loved the idea of using her old favorite dresses as the skirts and bonnets for Sue.  I hand-dyed the yellow background(with turmeric) and used old shirting as the borders-beautiful piece of hemp fabric as the backing and organic wadding.  All the other fabrics are vintage.  I have more work on the quilt since this picture-lots of embroidery around the girls-butterflies and balloons.  It has become one of my favorite objects around.

Connecting seasons to colors through my fabrics-pale purples for the lavender surrounding my garden, pinks for the rambling roses and sprays of sweet peas and bleeding hearts that just began to fade. My board holds two such creatures-one, a brightly floral snowball arrangement;  the other, another drunkard's path that curls around to a jockey-cap centre-dark at the moment, but I plan to move it in other directions with some applique and embroidery.  Also making a forgiveness journal quilt that encourages me to forgive those who condescend, annoy or distract me from my serenity.  I add pieces gradually, some with only raw emotion, others more labor intensive-I plan to add a few more to the list as it's such an amazing release of energy.
enjoy your quilts, gardens and children!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Pillow cases for my beautiful nieces' new bedrooms.  Love, fairies, applique and some stumpwork though
it's not that visible in the image.  An early work, but my early lesson in making to give away-so pleasing and a tangible and nearly permanent sense of presence, each stitch has my love in it-and all that singing that only my machine hears-but I find myself in praise of creation while I make my quilts and quilted goods. I wonder how many quilters belt it out to the humming of their machines.  After London and our visit to

 this wonderful show,  I have new material for my material madness.  Piece Out!

Monday, July 12, 2010

five rites

Remember spinning in circles as a child?  Well, all that practice finally has purpose.  For the last few months, I have added the five tibetan rites to my yoga practice.  They work on restoring balance to the vortexes within our bodies.  The rituals take only ten minutes, but I feel as though it's ten cups of a clean coffee buzz for the rest of the day.  Information and instructions are easily found through books and internet--Look for the original book,  Ancient Secret of the The Fountain of Youth by Peter Kelder for images of the poses and the very interesting story of how these secret rites became public knowledge.  As I'm always looking for wonderfully flakey titles--
As the Flower Sheds It's Fragrance-has to be one of the best so far.  Actually it's a fascinating account of Mataji, who had a strong following during WWII.  May we all lead our lives shedding our fragrances.
With Blessings.

Sunday, July 11, 2010


bee balm to attract the hummingbirds and bees
watch the pollination at play within my gardens,
change my template to increase my size, my sense
of wonder and fulfillment, all that I am and all that
I will be-held back only by those old images of me

so unglued from the pages of old manuscript,
cleared out by grace and others need, it all makes sense
in our electronic age, to start over and over again,
we skip over time, and come back to some place similar
only as mom says, never look back, never want what
you never wanted in the first place.

So as lady of the lavender beds, within some
certain peace, I watch the world fly.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

red strings

tied around the wrist-something as simple as knots
to stable the rabid emotions that play with us as we
assemble and finish our quilts.  Piecing the curves
together in reminder that nothing lies straight
and only I make this in this way, the light greens
against the violets and purples-a movement of the
goose against the grain of history and along
Great Father Thames with locks and tides
and the rasta with his coconuts.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

London Days

Memory and time travelling here as I walk around knightsbridge with my two children. I lived here as a child,stayed intermittently as a teen,and roamed it in my wilder twenties. I'm now in my prime and it's all about the quilt show at the V@A. My single-mothered children are so fabulous, giving me time for my fabric passion. The show demands a few visits as each quilt reveals history and artistry through the domestic lens. The therapy of needle and thread,color and texture. I feel secure on my path, the healing of time, my artist eye will prevail and only lovers in my life--including myself, so to remember to keep my thoughts and actions pure, I gave the family protective strings from the kabbalah bookstore.

Thursday, June 10, 2010


of our making, with our blessing, so we build them
to keep it all in and all out, all the bits and pieces
that make us call this breath and life
so the love that mingles, and our illusions
of other that turns to disillusion and pain,
the loss of our dreams that wash us back
against those damn walls again,

and it's no use wavering over whether
we suffer or not, for the water boils
over with the misery of our failures as one
and as whole, whatever you drive and whomever
you fuck, it all comes back to that moment
of how we chose it, how we lifted ourselves
higher or drifted into the lesser of all evils

to see the choices, the freedoms of ours
crashed into the bricks of decision
and so we live these ways, accustomed to our
failures, certain in our beliefs, assured of entrance
somewhere if we tuck it all in right and walk
the boards with a turned up chin.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

sip the nectar

to stay in touch with myself
i traverse my open spaces,
filling my grace with the hills
that crest our waters and find

myself a park with rocks
flat enough to stretch me
to the daisies until only

my breath mingles with
the hummingbird and this
could be any day, any where
with anyone.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Ocean Waves

Within the line, the curve
within the curve, the line,
balanced on four points,
carried with the tide.

Awash upon these shores
with eagle, seal and ship,
salt on my lips, my hands
within my child's hands,

we will dance here again
she whispers as I place the
flannel panels over her
sleepy body, we will, we will.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Going Home

Flow with these stitches
made with such love
my mother inside her garden
with light and art within her
bright walls.  I walk back
to this world with my silence
and my own garden in bloom
my luck holds, my dreams unfold
slowly, layer over layer, to
deepen into more substance
to know that a return signifies
no more or less than an action
to bear this love.

Friday, March 5, 2010

attic windows

They build up, these concerns and issues, flies in the ointment, at the wrong time and place.  I scratch at them and pull them apart until I'm raw, but until they flow away under the drum of my machine or the pricking of my needle, nothing releases the pressure.  The language of yoga undoes some of it, but the step of sewing, the interplay of hand and needle, change under hand, accessed immediately, the solidity of a quilted piece of fabric, the sudden strengthening and inside too, my resolve stretches and I feel the possibilities open to me, nourishing me, but it's my own creative juice flowing through and making something happen.  What would you place in your windows?  In mine the wonders of the magical mystery carney, monkeys ride elephants to the loud beating of the band, share views with peter pan and the children of never-neverland--old french fabrics unlike anything I've seen before. The vivid colors will hang on my child's wall.  Everything gifted and blessed.

Monday, March 1, 2010


Count them everyday-the small to the large, especially the cherishing of the children.  The journey to mexico showed me that boundaries support love, that we need them to hold us together both as adults and children.  Those who have confusion over them, suffer and make others suffer too.  I just keep making my quilt with love, commitment and hard labor--emphasis on manners too.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Everyone wants a little piece of the power, but we have to watch our backs and our teachers.  Are they trained, are they watching us or their interpretation of who and what we should be, projecting all their delusions onto their students and wondering why they injure themselves.  Yoga should do no harm--first ahimsa--no violence to self or to others, but until it stops with yourself, the interaction with others is marred by all the junk of the past attached to our actions like messenger cells repeating the same operation despite our desire for the contrary.  I have been so many different teachers with so many different faces and facets exposed, but now I retreat, regroup and learn where and how my energy to expend itself.