End of Season shop update, UPDATED

All fabrics on sale at 40% off for end of season! I’ll be adding as the shop empties, but if you see something you like, grab it now. 

Because the Canadian to US dollar is around 80cents US, that means you save a BIG chunk of coin!

EDIT March 18/15: Shop is rather empty–will be adding to it next week after workshop!

This is a “sticky” post–scroll down for current blog entries ;)

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Posted by on November 30, 2014 in FybreSpace, hand dyes and ecoprints


Making Spring

No leaves here yet, no growth of any sort, but i can Make Spring–rusted cotton, hand embroidered.  The bulb pattern is courtesy of Mr Finch via Selvedge magazine. Normally my readers know that i don’t use other people’s patterns, but this was just too perfect for a small project, and my spin is definitely on it!


Bulb C

Bulb CcI may make a few more :) Though the embroidery took slightly over an hour, the assembly is easy and was done in 20 minutes. Wouldn’t a bowl of these be wonderful?


Posted by on March 25, 2015 in Jam Days


Stitch Combo Extreme workshop, wrap-up

Intense workshop!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! My brain is both exhilarated and exhausted upon completion of the three-day workshop taught by Karin Millson and myself. My own machine skills have been tightened and added to, my hand embroidery takes on new meaning, knowledge has been imparted to other artists to carry their take on the subjects, and we are both thrilled that it went so well, for us *and* the participants. Thank you SO much for the faith and trust you put in us, the attentive listening and sharp questioning, and the joy you all brought to the table. You are/were a wonderful, talented, explorative and amazing bunch of artists to work with and to teach!!!!!!!!!!


Where do i start? Our venue was in North Glenmore Park at the Canoe Club, with spectacular views of the park and right over the reservoir, a huge many-windowed room with plenty of elbow and table space. The eleven of us were able to spread out comfortably on large tables, with a separate paint area easily accessible to the kitchen for clean ups.


empty room SCE workshop

not so empty

The only problem we had was that it was COLD, and the light was bad, even with all the windows, because it was grey and miserable outside! We made up for it *inside* though :)

room with a view

The focus of this dual workshop was technique, not “project”, so Karin started the weekend for us by teaching us how to “abuse” our machines! If you’ve ever really read your machine’s manual, you’ll note there is never anywhere noted that you can circumvent certain controls, especially on the bobbin case. In fact, a lot of times if you tell your tuner-upper/repair guy what you’ve been doing with your machine other than that tidy hem stitch with perfectly matched tensions top and bottom, they will tell you that voids the warranty!!! (Don’t tell them that, tell them a grandchild *may* have touched it ;) )

k worktable

Now, long time readers may remember that i have hated my machine, not so affectionately named Lalage (not mine above, that’s Karin’s trusty Bernina), because she is bluntly put, a Bad machine, lazy, unresponsive, clunky and bitchy. She’s not a top of the line expensive too-many-features Prima Dona, but a reputable “home use” brand with a few extra features (more than half of which i don’t really use or care about). I’ve fought with her for almost 5 years, wanted to throw her out the window, replace her and have barely touched her in the last year and a bit. Really, we’ve been rarely on even semi-polite speaking terms!

Under Karin’s expert guidance, i may come to like her, if not get to the point of loving or admiring her. (The machine i mean, not Karin, whom i have the utmost respect and admiration!)  I must admit too that i have not a lot of photos for this section of the workshop, as i was learning as well! Karin taught the first day and a half, i the second half and third day, with all of us doing a bit of overlap on the machine as people added to fabric to react to. (And Karin learned from me during my teaching portion so it worked well for everyone :) )

I won’t go into detail about how we adjusted tensions, as that’s Karin’s purview and she wants to teach this again–as students we have to remember that this is part of a teacher’s lesson plan and earnings, so don’t share “How’s” after a workshop, show your results! Another point to mention is that it is Bad Form to enter something you have made in a workshop in an exhibition–this is simply “not done” if you wish to be respected as an artist who while you have taken the technique lesson, doesn’t mean you have mastered it yet. Make it your own FIRST. Whatever you made in that workshop is the direct influence and under guidance of the teacher–*you* are not an artist yet with the technique! Not being nasty here, just truthful. Also, workshops don’t get listed on CV’s: anyone can take a workshop, (anyone can teach them too!), it does not mean you are good at it, or that it will automatically give you any more cachet, particularly/even if it’s a “name” teacher. I’ve seem examples of this and i shudder—sometimes i want to ask “Really? Then what did you learn, because i don’t see skill or development resulting!” Workshops are about individuality, adding to your skills, not copying the Teach, or taking for granted what you have learned. I say that even as a teacher, and certainly i say it as a student.

Ahem, i digress.

So, i have always been afraid to mess with the tension on my machine(s). Yes, i knew you could do it, but without actual physical-right-there help, i didn’t want to mess up things and not be able to take it back to regular settings. What if i broke something? What if i snarled things so badly the machine never worked “properly” again? What if i let all the smoke out and couldn’t get it back in???? Karin knew i was afraid of doing this–she’s heard me bitch about it often- but under her expert guidance and compassionate listening to my whining, encouraged me to try. So i did. HA! I spit now on my fear!

my machine sampling

my machine sampling b

my machine sampling c

my machine sampling d

my machine sampling e

These above are samplings of the technique, nothing exotic or awe inspiring (except for those last two!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!), but very very very Useful. You can’t see what i see in them :)

Already i’ve had a epiphany and since i have been wanting to get back to a bit of machine work, i know how and where it will work for me. Plans afoot! Future work! Part of my issue with hand embroidery THOUGH I LOVE IT DEARLY< TREASURE IT< AM PROUD OF IT< I WANT TO MARRY IT, is the time issue. My goal in learning from Karin was learning to use my machine in a more organic fashion, emulating but not imitating the freeness, gestural qualities and texture that hand embroidery has. And it IS possible. More practice is needed, but i know what, how and why now–the machined can be the base i work from. As purist as i may be sometimes, it’s a tool that does speed things up. Adding machine work back to my arsenal is not a compromise, but another level of communication and depth.


Part of the combined experience in this workshop was doing some wet work on cloth, creating designs that the students could then respond to, by machine and by hand, and by combining them as well.


paint2Nothing like a bunch of grown women playing “Vroom-vroom” on a table!

I think i converted a few to hand embroidery as being as (or more, bias speaking here, chortle) important, as technique and translation/expression of intent in textile work. I showed them samples, demonstrated some basic stitches and away we went. I had the pleasure of teaching a few who had minimal to no hand embroidery skills, and then admiring stitching done by more experienced participants. First i had them try the stitches on a piece.

paint and stitch k

paint and stitch wk

paint and stitch wp

paint and stitch c


Since part of this part of the workshop was about “dimension” with the hand technique, i had them do a series of circles, that when done, would be attached together.

paint and stitch d

paint and stitch circles v

At the end of the class, we had a wide range of looks and interpretations, using the painted cloth, and hand and machine embroidery.

the gamut

circle a

circle c

circle d

circle j

circle v

circle wk

circle wp

circles vn

circles k

(Note: though all photos are taken myself hence the copyright, not all is *my* work, but no names attached as though i had permission to share the results, i will not name students for privacy reasons.)

From the feedback we got at the end while everyone showed their samples, it was a resounding success, speaking both as teacher and as student!!!!!!!!!!!!! I look forward to seeing more work from these students, and from myself :)




I missed the first day of spring due to the workshop this weekend (there is a post coming about that, a long one!), and due to the fact that it sure as hell didn’t look or act like spring!

I had agreed to a mini”Challenge” on FB to post March 21st, and missed that, but i promise i have started it.

b start

Maybe by the time it’s done, spring WILL be here.

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Posted by on March 23, 2015 in hand embroidery


“How the Light Bends” done donedy done

I must have appeared demonic at this week’s SDA meeting as i madly stitched for the entire 2 hours, completing the two bottom cellwings. Next day my thumb joint was in agony!!!!!

I decided there should be a fifth bee after all, just had to place it properly so it wasn’t appearing to fly up her bum!

Pictures will be posted next week, as i have no time right now!!!!!!!!!! Busy, busy, busy.

It was interesting to me too, that someone who has never met me before, knows nothing of my process, practice or intent, would pass by at the end of that meeting and with no other prefacing comment or introduction, make a fangy remark about rust on fabrics not being “archival”. So what? I’ve talked about this before here and here. I was truly shocked, given the place and circumstances, and only managed to get out “I don’t make “archival’, i make art” before she walked away. i must say that 99.9% of the time, the people/artists at these meetings are supportive, curious and open to what might be different or even not to their taste, with constructive and tactfully spoken critiques if requested, but that one just blew me away. Ah well, if we all liked or did the same things, it would be a damned boring world, wouldn’t it? Take a chance, honey.

Without going out the door,
Know the world.
Without looking out the window,
See the Way of Heaven.

Tao Te Ching, Verse 47

I’m quoting these bits of poetry, not because i have suddenly Found the Way, but because the words and meanings are beautiful. I’ve loved poetry for all my life, even wanting to be a poet when i was a child. Words and phrases still have power in me, for me, and in and for my work.


And now i’m gearing up for the “Stitch Combo Extreme” workshop that Karin and i are teaching March 20-22. There are piles of notes, fabrics, threads, tools and machines waiting to be transported to the venue Friday morning. I’m looking for that pesky spare five minutes too so i can develop more samples that teach the technique, but not a project!

I’m also at an impasse with what i want to do next. Time for some Jam Days, playing and experimenting, trifles and knock off samples, no finished “projects” or art, just spending time in the stoodio trying new old things, old new things.


Posted by on March 15, 2015 in "Art, fear and permission"


it goes

action shot

The softest things of the world
Override the hardest things of the world.
That which has no substance
Enters into that which has no openings.
From this I know the benefits of unattached actions,
The teaching without words,
The benefits of actions without attachment
Are rarely matched in the world.

Chapter 43 Tao Te Ching


sometimes i still cry

Calgary often gets slammed for its choice of public art, and on too many occasions, rightly so. We have a lot of talented artists here, in Calgary and in Canada, but no, oh nope, we get (over priced) work from other countries, and often the “art” is speciously labelled as art to begin with. The big blue “cock ring” comes to mind, both a joke and a shame! There are however, no matter their provenance, some wonderful pieces as well, but that’s for another post. (Actually, no doubt every city on earth has its public art critics…)

As you know Calgary had a big big bad flood in June of 2013. It affected me personally, on too many levels. I still feel incredibly sad on my walks, avoiding certain areas now that used to be my favourite areas to meander on any day, sunny, snowy, wet, cold or hot.

…while i took to heart all these painful things, i and my small family were extremely lucky, *much* luckier than a lot of Calgarians. Most of what *i* “lost” was my sense of grounding, my connection to the area on a physical and spiritual level, and a soul wrenching feeling of smallness and powerlessness when whole areas of my beloved neighbourhood were literally washed away. That can be as painful or more so, than Losing Things….   Feb 27/2104 (8 months after the flood)

So much of it is barren now, and will be for years. Mother Nature will need a lot of time to rebuild levels of soil, drop seeds by bird and wind, soften rock and dumped boulder with a bit of clinging green.

Why do i mention this all again and what does it have to do with public art? In December, the DogFaced Girl and i were wandering the other way, away from my disappeared path, and rounding the bend at the bottom of Pearce Estate Park, came upon the art that had been completed after the flood, at the Harvie Passage. It stopped me in my tracks as my chest heaved and i burst out howling. I dragged the Nessie girl away and we came home, too upset to see anything more than the first impression of what looked to be a pile of debris, still laden oddly by high water and rushing horror.

Today, i decided to be brave, and with warm temps of 16C, we made our way back to that point. It still bumps my heart to see this, but i could walk through it and think about my feelings and the way things have changed since.

River PassageYes, that is art, not a pile of construction debris, yes that is Art. Scattered stone plinths piled and pushed, maybe by design and by hand, but saying what i feel and see and know. No other piece of art has ever made me feel this way, NONE.

River Passage 2

Inside, i felt as if it was my Mother’s House. Some vandal came in and tore everything apart and left the pieces to fall where they would. Leaks and cracks, rubble and standing support beams all tossed like broken sticks.

River Passage 3

River Passage 4

Someone closed her in though, carefully fitting rock and pebble to shield from the winds. Doors still beckon. The sun in the summer will warm this stoney place and i hope to see bits of moss, and tenacious dandelion slipping into the spaces between.

River Passage 5

River Passage 6

Whole, complete, seeming order and peace from the entrance. Things are not always inside what they are outside.

River Passage 7

River Passage 8

It’s fitting that i was in before i was out. I know there will be times again when i will cry, heart broken always here, and others when i will breathe in the river and be calm, grateful. Would this piece been as powerful for me if i hadn’t experienced the flood? Probably not, but the point of art that does affect you is that it does resonate somewhere with you because of some definable moment.

The e/motionless name of this piece doesn’t tell much, but i’m so glad it wasn’t any esoteric “statement” gobbledygook, simply “River Passage” designed by Lorna Jordan, a Seattle-based artist (sigh). That title is what it is/was/will be.


Posted by on March 9, 2015 in journal


six days to go

march 8 htlbGetting the final sense of this now.

I think another bee might be in order at the bottom left on top of another cellwing. I won’t be sure until that part is filled in though.

This is going to be a beeyotch to square up–i never use a hoop and the heavier areas have drawn in the edges just enough to throw lines off. Or maybe that will be part of it, irregular edges and unstraight lines definitely part of me.

I have also been struggling with the maple leaves sent to me in the fall by generous souls–unfortunately, they are not working well as ecoprinting material. Maybe late-gathered, dried, then frozen does not work for me. C’est la vie.


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