Summer is Over

I suppose that Labor Day is still officially the end of summer, but nowadays the kids go back to school in August, so that is when it feels like it’s over to me. I started substitute teaching last school year, and I’ve already been called up this month. So here is what I did over the summer….

Metta Prayer Flag, 2017

The theme for the June 1st First Friday show at Stoneworks Studios and Gallery (Ventura, California) was Things That Fly. I created this Metta Prayer Flag, which sold.

In June, I also started crocheting a long dress to wear to the Saturday night banquet at the Crochet Guild of American (CGOA) in Chicago, which I attended during the last week of July. The dress pattern is the Coogee Bay Dress by designer Jenny King.

Beginning of Coogee Bay Dress

The July 7th First Friday Stoneworks show theme was Art With Text. I put text on my art quite often, and I had so much fun making the prayer flag that I made another banner. This is titled Wave That Flag, which is a line from the Grateful Dead song, U.S. Blues. It’s now hanging in my home.

Wave That Flag, 2017

I flew to Chicago from LAX to O’Hare airport on July 26th for the CGOA conference in Itasca, Illinois. I shared a room with my friend Zann at the Westin Chicago Northwest, which hosted the conference. I had a great time visiting with my crochet friends from all over the country and beyond. We received more free stuff this year than at any other conference I’ve attended in over 10 years; I had to ship a big box home and I still received more free yarn that I squished into my small carry-on suitcase. I mean, who can give up free yarn, amirite?

I took an all-day class in freeform crochet on Friday, taught by my friend Margaret Hubert. We started on a freeform crochet clutch bag, and here is what mine looked like at the end of the day:

Beginning of freeform crochet clutch, 2017

Coogee Bay Dress, 2017

I finished crocheting my dress with time to spare. It is made up of 40 squares, and I added crocheted trim on the sleeves and hem. It’s heavy and I’m short, so it did touch the floor a little bit when I wore it to the banquet on Saturday night. Designer Jenny King was there, all the way from Australia, and she took a photo of me in the dress. There were three other women there wearing their versions of the dress, all in solid colors. Mine was the only multicolored one, as it started with my desire to use up some of the jewel tone #10 crochet cotton in my stash. I modeled my freeform shawl California Wildflowers in the fashion show, and it received many compliments, which was nice.

Wearing Coogee Bay Dress at 2017 CGOA banquet in Chicago

My flight back to SoCal didn’t leave until 8:00 p.m. on Sunday, so I got up early and took the hotel shuttle to the local train station, and then took the train into downtown Chicago so I could take in The Art Institute of Chicago, which is world-renowned for its magnificent collection. I got there before they opened at 10:00 a.m. and I didn’t leave until about 3:30 p.m. to walk back to the train station. It was fantastic! I took hundreds of photos, and it was such a delight to see so many famous paintings up close. It felt like seeing old friends.

The Art Institute of Chicago

I arrived home from Chicago on Sunday night, July 30th. I rested for a few days and got ready for the next adventure…hosting visiting grandchildren for a week and numerous activities. I hope to see more of Chicago someday!



21st Century Cinderella art shoes

The theme for the monthly First Friday art show at Stoneworks Studios and Gallery on May 6, 2016 was Head Over Heels, art in any media relating to hats and/or shoes. I recalled the art shoes created by mixed media artist Gaza Bowen in the ’90s…in fact, I once saw a few pair at an exhibit, including the shoes that inspired me, Shoes For The Little Woman. I knew what I was going to do.

21CC Ph1

I found the size 7 Charlotte Russe high heeled platform shoes at my local Goodwill on 50% off day, paying $2.00. I went to a dollar store and found the cleaning supplies, and I had the platinum acrylic paint.

21CC Ph2

One coat of platinum paint was a good undercoat, but it wasn’t the right color, so I got out some silver textile paint for another coat, and then topped it off with a clear sparkle coat. I made a paper pattern for covering the heels with the tinsel-like scrubby pads. I traced the pattern on the back of the pads with a fine line Sharpie, and cut them out with my dollar store paper scissors. (Don’t use your good sewing scissors on stuff like this because it will dull them.) I created labels for the inside of the shoes on my computer, printed them out on office paper, and glued them inside with spray adhesive so they would lay flat and smooth.

21CC Ph3

I used a hot glue gun to glue the cut out cleaning pads to the heels and the metallic scrubbers to the toes of the shoes. As a way to cover up the rough edges of the cut cleaning pads, I used aluminum foil on the inside and outer heels, also attached with hot glue. You have to work quickly and confidently with hot glue and aluminum foil!

21CC Ph4

These art shoes (21st Century Cinderella) were a lot of fun to make, as they were an experiment all the way. I hope you enjoyed my “show and tell”.

Altered Denim Challenge

Altered Denim Challenge collage text


I moderate the Altered Artwear group on Facebook, and recently we had an Altered Denim Challenge. I took a pair of size 8 child’s jean shorts and turned them into a small shoulder bag. I lined it with the purple cotton fabric from the dress I altered a little while back, and I made the straps from the cut off legs. The outer side of the flap features a batik of a scorpion, patched with other commercially batiked fabrics, which were outlined with hand embroidery. The inner side of the flap is lined with fabric I hand dyed several years ago. I added an inside pocket and magnetic snaps. The original front pockets are very handy for holding my keys, and the bag is just the right size for everyday use. It was a fun project that didn’t take that long to create.

Discharge Dyeing and Magnetic Poetry

The theme for the February First Friday show at Stoneworks Studio and Gallery was “From the Bottom of My Art…art about what you LOVE”. I thought and thought for the longest time about what new work I would create for this show. I started to think about ideas that I’ve had in the past which I have not yet explored.

I got out a spiral notepad of little poems I had written years ago by using Magnetic Poetry. I love wordplay…it’s been a common theme throughout my life. I’ve been a freelance writer and a memoir writing instructor. I noticed long ago that I like to include text in my fiber art. I love Magnetic Poetry sets, and have several scattered on a new clean cookie sheet.

I haven’t done discharge dyeing for a long time. It’s like dyeing in reverse…you remove the dye from fabric using an agent such as bleach. I first did a test on the fabric I thought I’d use. I liked how it looked, so I cut up some 2.5″ strips of black fabric. I wrote each line of the poem on a strip with a Clorox gel bleach pen that I got at the 99 Cents Only store. Here are the strips after a water bath to remove the gel.

poem quilt


Then the fun part: auditioning fabrics. I decided to go with a commercially tie dyed fabric cut in strips for the front, hand dyed (by me) fabric for the binding, and a commercially printed fabric for the backing. As quilts go, it was pretty easy and straightforward. The machine quilting was minimal, only “stitch in the ditch” along the pieced strips.

Magnetic Poetry #1

Magnetic Poetry #1

I was pleased with the end result, and titled it Magnetic Poetry #1. I am now inspired to write more poetry with my little word magnet collection and incorporate it in my fiber art, with an eye to an ongoing series.

(If you would like to see the entire art show, here is the link to my public Facebook photo album.)

Her Roots Go Down

When the “Mother Earth” theme for the 2013 International Free Form Fiberarts Guild Challenge was voted on by the members, I knew that I wanted to come up with something big. A big freeform crochet project. Every year the Yahoo group hosts a virtual challenge, and all 2000+ members are welcome to suggest themes and enter the challenge, which is posted online and books-on-demand are available for order. I would never get any new work done if it wasn’t for show deadlines and challenges. I always create a new freeform garment for each year’s challenge.

So I began to contemplate the idea of Mother Earth. For me, the immediate impression I got was of Mother Earth as a nurturing tree. This is the blurb I wrote to accompany the photo of my piece Her Roots Go Down on the website and in the book:

I have felt a special affinity for trees since I was a child. I picture Mother Earth as a stoic, nurturing tree with strong roots to ground her, and branches to embrace the wind, provide cooling shade, and a safe home for wildlife. My entry this year is my homage to the funky pictorial and organic freeform crochet of the 1970s and to expressions of native folk art. With just a crochet hook, I can create anything my imagination dreams up.

The name was inspired by a Sarah Pirtle song titled “My Roots Go Down”, which I remembered from when my children were small. I found a version of this song on YouTube by The Seedy Seeds, and it’s rather nice. It’s folky and sweet, and you should listen to it.

I entered Her Roots Go Down in the juried Ventura County Arts Council art exhibit, Tactile: Art to Be Touched – GentlyThe reception for the exhibit was on Friday evening, June 14, 2013. Awards were given for first, second, and third places, as well as three honorable mentions. I won Third Place, which also included a monetary award.

Here are photos of the piece: one of me modeling it, and the rest are of the display at the art exhibit. (I purchased the armless artsy mannequin from my friends at Green Art People in Ventura, and I spray painted her with hammered silver finish paint.)