Stitching Stories




If you've ever had the impulse to tell a story through your art work, don't underestimate the power of stitch. While we textile artists often lose ourselves in the colors and shapes that make the bold statements in our work, the elements of stitch are no less important. I use machine and hand stitch both as textural lines on my work, but also as expressions of rhythm and energy and movement.


Stitching is the final layer of story that I try to tell. Think about it: do you strive for even regularity? For an all over even steven precision of stitch -- nothing wrong with that! Or do you let the speed of machine, the size of a by-hand seed stitch take on some of the emotional content and context for your art. I know that the second approach is mine. I gave up perfection long ago, and while I admire the skill that that kind of quilting requires, I don't even pretend to aspire to it -- I prefer my own rather higgledy pigglety kind of approach to stitching and it suits the kind of work I do.


If you'd like to know more about my approach to stitching, there's an article in the new issue of the electronic magazine In Stitches. Included is a short video interview and demo, as well as the step-by-step how-to of my process for making an art quilt. I can't share the link to the article, since that's the point of selling an e-zine, but I can share the links to the store for various platforms! If you do make the purchase (or subscribe -- I have found the e-mag full of great content) you'll find a variety of videos, step-outs, reviews and helpful and interesting stories. In this issue: articles by Janet Lasher, Carol Anne Grotrian, Jill Jensen, Norma Schlager, Cloth Paper Scissors editor and author Barbara Delaney, Carol Sloan, Kathyanne White, Eileen Lauterborn, and editor Jane Davila.


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In Print, New Porch, New Pooch

Gap in posting is to be expected. When Linda goes on break from teaching, I tend to forget my (self)employed status for a while  (well, until I look at my bank account) and revel in summer in the Hill Country. And a lovely one it is so far: cool in the mornings and evenings, spectacular thunder and lightning storms, clear skies and billowy clouds and sun during the day. The tierra has finally gotten enough rain to green up and the tomatoes in the garden are ripening!

There's a new pooch, a new porch and I'm back in print in the magazine world after a long sabatical from that strand of the tapestry -- My first piece in the quilt world is in Quilting Arts in the June/July issue: a profile of Alaskan artist Ree Nancarrow. I love writing and profiles of artists are a perfect genre for me -- I get to talk to artists whom I admire and then shape a story to communicate what I find special about their work. Thanks to Pokey Bolten (and Leslie Riley who introduced us at last year's International Quilt Festival). So run out and buy a copy, send a letter to Pokey about how much you like my writing (I'm sure), and lets keep that path open!

As to the Pooch. Linda picked up a dumped black-and-tan coon hound (we didn't know at first and thought she was a bloodhound) on the highway and its been a roller coaster ride ever since. You know those free dogs -- she had a bad abcess from a fight with something; she was going into heat; she had to be spayed and her very long nails groomed; the long beautiful ears where filled with bacteria and she and Rodeo, the resident alpha animal gentle spirited border collie, have spent many a testy moment posturing about status in the pack. Not to mention that Bandera (she's named for the highway, county and county seat up the road) seems to think resident cat is a coon. Not so good, since resident cat is fearless and loves to provoke said coon hound. And that a coon hound is mostly nose. So she can't be trusted to stay home guarding the resident sheep (us) as can border collie Rodeo. But, as things will have it, we love her. Find her fascinating and goofy, and are now walking 3 miles a day to give her the run time she needs. We are all looking much trimmer.

The new porch is a big hit with family  and friend visitors, as well as the residents, two and four legged, and I can't wait to use it for opening morning sessions (if it stays cool enough) for the next workshop (completely sold out, thanks to a final registrant who found me and the workshops due to the published profile!). What a sentence.

Our neighbor Bill (That's his house, which he and his wife also built, in the background) built the extension to an existing deck, making a sleeping/dining porch about 25 by 15 with an open porch 8 feet out and poised over the cliff side overlooking the cedars and water oaks. The roof is clear near the house, letting light into the kitchen and DR and metal on the part further out from the house. Three screen doors complete the picture.

So, what are you doing this summer, so far? It's a great time to dye, to sunprint and to rust, so we're dusting off the rust bucket and the dyepots and getting (back) to work!

 P.S. Here's Rodeo, so he won't be too jealous about Bandera's star role in this post.