Monday, December 29, 2008

Check out my new assistant . . .

I realized that I haven't been giving enough credit for my work to my assistant, Doyle, who's been helping me in the studio for some time now.  He's responsible for a great many of the details that make up my creative process, especially when I'm sewing and pressing (a typical routine consists of stitching the pieces, stepping over Doyle to get to the ironing board, pressing the seams, stepping over Doyle to get to the design wall, and so forth). But his salary is very reasonable -- he works for cheese snacks and a few scratches behind his ear -- and he often cleans up the threads on the floor( by trying to ingest them).  All in all, I'd say it's a great partnership -- I even get fringe benefits, such as a wet nose in my ear and slobbering licks from time to time.  

Monday, December 15, 2008

Here's a great invitation from the people at the Guilderland Library, taken from a news release sent out today:

"It's the Sunday before Christmas.  You're up to your neck in holiday preparations.  The shopping's not done -- or maybe you haven't started it yet! -- and you're just a bit harried.  Guess what?  That's a great time to escape from the mall and mayhem, and take a little family time to go to a free holiday concert.

"Suburban Sounds, an outstanding local choral group,will perform many of your holiday favorites (and some you perhaps do not know) at a free concert at the Guilderland Public Library on Sunday, December 21, at 2 pm.  While you're enjoying the concert, please take a moment to look at the many lovely quilts on display courtesy of the Adirondack Regional Textile Artists' Alliance.  This concert will be a warm, seasonal event for all to enjoy."

Shown above is "One Yellow Leaf,", an art quilt by Joanna Monroe and one of the many beautiful pieces of art at the library that are available for sale.  Stop by for what promises to be a joyful and entertaining afternoon.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Were you there for the fun?

The Victorian Stroll in Troy last Sunday was a fun-filled spectacle.  I found myself smiling each time we turned a corner and took in a magical new scene.  Among the sights that captivated me was that of Father Christmas bending down to speak to all the children who walked up to him; he was the most patient of men, stopping to pose for all the cameras, and listening to all the questions from the littlest of strollers.  We stopped at the Fulton Street Gallery to listen to live music and browse the displays in the gallery shop.  There are some wonderful gifts available there for all the people on your holiday list, no matter the age.  Log onto for days and hours of business, and then stop in to do your shopping. 

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

More pics from Guilderland . . .

Make sure you add the Guilderland Library to your list of places to visit (and shop) before the end of the year. The following works, from the display by members of the Adirondack Regional Textile Artists Alliance, are pictured above:

Photo at top:  quilt by Tina Raggio

Photo at bottom:
Top shelf: stole by Karen Sturtevant, dolls by Barbara Vanselow
Middle shelf: collage by Francelise Dawkins, dolls by Barbara Vanselow, bowl by Lucille Makrin
Bottom shelf: dolls by Phyllis Scaringe, small quilt by Karen Sturtevant

These beautiful works of art would make wonderful gifts for special people on your holiday list -- and there's nothing wrong with treating yourself to a one-of-a-kind handmade creation.  Be sure to stop in to the library on Western Avenue in Guilderland and see the entire exhibit.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

A Feast for the Eyes . . .

Have you ever seen such luscious colors??  These are just a few of the yarns offered for sale at the Fulton Street Gallery by Pat Bohrer, owner of Eastside Weavers in Troy (  She sells hand-dyed yarns, roving, and beautiful hand-woven scarves and shawls, and they're available for your viewing pleasure at the gallery.  A great time to see them would be Sunday, December 7th, during Troy's Victorian Stroll, from 11:00 until 5:00.  Come in and enjoy the feast!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Stroll in to see a new gallery show!

If you're looking for a lovely, old-fashioned way to spend an afternoon, come to the 26th Annual Victorian Stroll in downtown Troy on Sunday, December  7th, from 11:00 until 5:00, and make your way to the Fulton Street Gallery Gift Shop at 408 Fulton Street.  You'll find beautiful paintings and prints, elegant hand-woven shawls, and sumptuous yarns by local artists, as well as my own quilted wall art.  (Pictured above is Harlequin, a 14" by 14" piece from my Spirals Squared series.) Throughout the downtown area, there will be musicians, dancers, magicians, rides, refreshments, and boutiques offering their finest holiday gifts; for a full schedule and a description of the day's events, log onto  Hope to see you there!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

More beautiful textile art . . .

As you enter the Guilderland Library, there are four display cases filled with wonderful pieces of art created by members of ARTAA.  Pictured above:
Top shelf: quilted stole and purse by Nancy DiDonato, small quilt by Georgia Bonesteel, painted collage by Joanna Monroe, lace jewelry by Barbara Vanselow
Middle shelf: dolls by Phyllis Scaringe
Bottom shelf: collage by Francelise Dawkins, dolls by Phyllis Scaringe

These pieces simply must be seen in person to truly appreciate the detail and workmanship, and one of them might just turn out to be a special addition to your holiday wish list.  Come see the show, now through January 1st, and delight in the creations presented by these talented women.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

More pictures from the show . . .

Here are more pictures of the beautiful pieces of art by members of ARTAA that are now being exhibited at the Guilderland Public Library.  The largest piece is from Pam Schafer, and was inspired by the artist William Morris; the four smaller works were created by (clockwise, from upper right) Eileen Donovan, Linda Shea, Karen Asherman, and Linda Shea.  Many of the pieces on display have won awards at art venues and quilt shows around the country.  Stop in the library on Western Avenue in Guilderland and see these exquisite works of textile art up close -- we're worth the trip!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Have you seen the show yet?

If you weren't able to make it to our artists' reception at the Guilderland Library on Sunday, November 9, here's hoping you'll have the opportunity to stop by and see the exhibit by the members of ARTAA.  I'm so honored to be part of such a talented and diverse group of artists.  Pictured here are works by two of our members: Linda Shea (single piece at left) and Kris Moss (both pieces at right).  We were all so pleased with the lovely setting provided for us by the library; our pieces are being displayed in beautifully-lit rooms and glass-enclosed cases near the entrance, and I plan to show you more of these works of art in future blogs. 

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Mark your calendar . . .

. . . for Sunday, November 9, from 2:00 to 4:00 PM.  You'll want to come to the Guilderland Library at 2228 Western Avenue in Guilderland to "Meet the Artists" from the Adirondack Regional Textile Artists Alliance who are exhibiting their fiber arts creations at the library from now through January 1, 2009.  I've said before that I'm deeply honored to be part of this group of extremely talented ladies, and you'll get to see a small portion of our collective works at this show.  (Shown at right is a detail from one of my pieces, "Leaves That Are Green.")  Refreshments will be served, and you may even find that perfect gift for someone on your holiday shopping list.  We'd love to see you there!

I'm finding new stitches . . .

 . . . on my sewing machine that I really like!  I have a Bernina artista 185, and I've been experimenting with different stitches to find those that can be used for machine applique.  The stitch pictured here has been the most fun to play with -- it covers the edge of the applique piece nicely and gives a whimsical dimension to the embroidery.  I plan to sew tiny beads at the points of the stitches (a little insane, you're thinking), and I think the effect is going to tickle me.  

Thursday, October 16, 2008

A New Show is Coming!

Mark your calendar for Sunday, November 2nd. That's the date on which my fiber arts group, ARTAA, will begin showing some of our collective works at the Guilderland Public Library on Western Avenue.  This very talented group of ladies will have many beautiful textile art pieces on display, including art quilts, jackets, fabric dolls, hand-made lace, and embroidered note cards.  The exhibit begins on November 2nd and will run through January 1st, 2009.  Shown here is one of my quilts, "Rhythm of the Night II," and I hope to give you a glimpse of more of the pieces that will be on display in future blogs.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

A Nice Surprise!

I had a lovely surprise recently: this quilt, "Leaves That Are Green," won a blue ribbon in its category at the Lowell Quilt Festival in Massachusetts.  The quilt is machine appliqued and machine quilted, and I used some of my own hand-painted fabric in the composition.  I had so much fun working on this piece, and I learned a great deal about color and value during the design stages.  I named the piece after a favorite song of mine by Simon and Garfunkel -- I find their music still inspires me, even after all these years.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

More Ornamentals

Here are the last three pieces 
in the series of Ornamentals.
It was really fun choosing the designs and the fabrics for each one of these little art quilts.  I experimented with threads and fell in love with a new 30-weight polyester thread designed by Caryl Fallert and produced by Superior Threads called Brites -- the stitch is a bit bolder than that of the 40-weight rayon I usually use, and the colors are brilliant.  I used these threads in the outline of the silhouettes and to attach the perle cotton to the edges.

Thursday, September 4, 2008


I'm very excited about my latest project -- I call these little works "Ornamentals."  Each measures 5" by 7", and each is a different framed silhouette fused to a background and bordered by a third colorful fabric.  They are then outline-quilted and edge-stitched, using Perle Cotton #5 to add color and presence to the edge. There will be five of these pieces in the series, and they can be purchased for $25 each (contact me at They will also be for sale at the Adirondack Museum Fabric and Fiber Festival on Saturday, September 13th, along with many other beautiful pieces of textile art by the women of ARTAA (Adirondack Regional Textile Artists' Alliance); I'm very fortunate to be a member of this group of very talented ladies.  Come to the show on the 13th and see what we do!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

A New Presentation

I wanted to find a way to present the quilts from my Notebook Series ( my weekly Journal Quilts) in a more prominent setting for the show at eba Art Gallery, since the pieces themselves were only 8" by 10".  I took artist canvas that measured 11" by 14" and wrapped it with hand-dyed fabric, stapled to the back.  I then framed each quilt with a fusible binding and mounted it to the canvas with a combination of decorative beads sewn at each corner.  The finished piece can be hung as is or placed inside a purchased frame to add even more dimension.  These quilts are shown on my website,, and are for sale at prices ranging from $75 to $90.  Be sure to visit the site!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Moving along!

The design progresses!  Working from the bottom layer upward, I've appliqued more pieces to the background (top photo).  Each time a layer is added, I've cut away the black interfaced fabric from behind it (bottom photo), so that there will be no more than one layer of fabric on any part of the quilt top once it's done.  I use my seam ripper to begin cutting away the background, and then I switch to small applique scissors.  Before I start the cutting, I say a prayer that I won't cut into the applique itself -- this is an important step in the process and seems to help greatly . . .

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

My Latest Project

This is the beginning of my newest quilt project; I had started it almost 2 years ago and then stalled in my progress because the design just wasn't working for me.  I brought it to Quilting By The Lake and received invaluable suggestions from Philippa Naylor, and my enthusiasm came rushing back.  

The image at top left left is the section of the quilt with which I started -- it's easier to applique small pieces to a portion of the quilt, rather than the entire quilt top, which I anticipate 
will measure about 40" by 60".  Fusible interfacing has been ironed to each of the flowers; these are then machine-appliqued to the black background, which has also been interfaced.  The circles have been fused to the background using WonderUnder.

Here's an image of the back of the quilt, showing where I've cut away the black background behind the pieces that were interfaced.  The purpose of this step is two-fold: it reduces bulk in the quilt, and it allows the appliqued piece to show its color more brightly, since there is no black fabric behind it.  This is a technique I learned from the very talented Jane Sassaman in one of her many workshops.  The threads from the applique are pulled to the back and woven into the stitching so they won't show through to the front or get in the way of future stitching.

More to come as I move forward in the days (make that weeks) ahead . . .

Friday, August 15, 2008

Quilting by the Lake

If you've been following my blog, I must first apologize for the 
l-o-o-o-o-n-g delay in my posts -- sometimes life gets in the way of all the other things you had planned.  But I did manage to get away for a week to Quilting by the Lake at Morrisville College, and had a terrific time.  This year, I took a Studio class with Philippa Naylor, an immensely talented and generous quilt artist who shared her ideas and techniques with us, and who was extremely helpful in giving me suggestions on how to proceed with my latest project (we're having one last laugh in the picture at left).  I'll be sharing my progress on this latest quilt in the blogs to come.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

"Not Your Mother's Quilts" at eba Gallery

They did a wonderful job installing the quilts at the eba Gallery -- here's a picture of the view as you enter the front door.  The smaller pieces are two of my Journal Quilts;  to give them more of a presence, I mounted each of them on artist's canvas that I had covered with a coordinating fabric, and I used multiple-sized beads to attach each quilt to the surface at the corners to give the appearance of rivets.  The effect added a nice dimension to each quilt, and I plan to use the idea on other small quilts as well.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

The opening night of the show was so much fun!  Approximately 150 people came through the gallery, munched on cheese and crackers and sipped wine on a warm night in June, and hopefully enjoyed the exhibit.  The quilt pictured at left, "Purple Rain," was a favorite of one young lady who joined us, and people were very gracious in their comments in general.  I'll have more pictures of the display coming soon; the art directors at the eba Gallery chose 23 pieces to exhibit, ranging from 11" x 14" to 50" square, so there's something for everyone.  Stop in to the gallery by August 1st and see the show!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Getting ready for the show!

This is one of the first quilts I made using paper piecing, and I decided to include it in the upcoming show at eba Art Gallery, starting June 6th.  Paper piecing involves printing out a pattern for each block and stitching the fabric directly onto the paper pattern.  This quilt was a wonderful exercise in value placement, and I learned a great deal about composing my own gradations of color so that the effect is one of smooth transition -- I didn't always succeed in accomplishing that goal within this piece, but I learned what not to do as well as what will work.  I'd love to make this quilt again and improve on the gradations -- I've already added it to my Life To-Do List.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Live and learn -- I sent this quilt to a show, and one of the judges commented that the binding was "shadowing": the polka dots from the back side were showing through to the front.  So I decided to increase the odds that the quilt would do better at the next show: I took the binding off, lined it, and sewed it back on.  I guess you could call that obsessive, but "experience is what you get when you don't get what you wanted."  That's a quote from Randy Pausch, a professor at Carnegie-Mellon, who wrote a book called "The Last Lecture."  I think they're wonderful words to live by.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

My Very Own Show is Coming!

I'm so excited!  The eba Visual Arts Gallery, located at 351 Hudson Street in Albany, will be showing a collection of my art quilts from June 6th through August 1st.  There will be a wine-and-cheese reception on both the opening and closing evenings, from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., in conjunction with Albany's First Friday celebrations, and I'll be there to answer questions and speak about my quilts.  I have been working with one of eba's directors, Jenn Newman, selecting more than 20 pieces to be exhibited, and it promises to be a wonderful collaboration.  At left is one of the works that will be shown -- this one is called "April, Come She Will," inspired by the Simon and Garfunkel song of the same name.   For directions to the gallery, you can log onto or send me a request via this blog or by email to:  Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

I LOVE using hand-dyed fabrics.  This piece was created in a workshop by Melody Johnson using hand-dyed and hand-painted fabrics and trying to create asymmetrical balance (a real challenge for us left-brained people).  All the pieces are fused to the batting, and the design is embellished with embroidery, both by hand and machine.  It's part of an on-going series -- check out my web site ( to see more of them in the Small Quilts Gallery.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

 This is what happened when I went dumpster-diving in my own trash basket.  I pulled out the strips that I had cut away from pieces of a quilt I was making, and I played with their direction and placement.  It was totally spontaneous -- a new concept for me.  This idea could go far in a larger quilt design.  I guess I feel the way many quilters do: that I'm not going to live long enough to make all the quilts I have in my head.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

One of my larger pieces -- this one measures 55 inches square.  Its genesis was a page of doodling on a sleepless night.  Following a technique by quilt designer Ricky Tims, I folded a square piece of paper into halves, then quarters, then eighths, and I drew a design on one of the folded eighths.  I opened up the piece of paper and reflected the drawing seven times onto each of the other sections.  After a bit of tweaking, the final design emerged, and I couldn't wait to play with color to give it life.  The process speaks to all my sensibilities -- I love the symmetry, the fluid movement, the balance of color.  There are more of these designs on the drawing board -- the possibilities intrigue me.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Another Journal Quilt -- this one explores the interplay of light and dark colors.  It's simple, but effective, I think.  I had loads of fun with the quilting -- this one brought out my sense of play.  I've read that if you can make your left-brained Coach learn to work effectively with your right-brained Child, you can produce amazing art.  I just need to get the Coach not to be so hard on the Child . . .

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

My Journal Quilts were begun about 2 years ago.  I decided to make one quilt each week.  The purpose was to try new techniques and to force myself to produce a piece of work in a short period of time so that there would be very little chance to edit myself as I was working.  It's been a very freeing process.

For this Journal Quilt, I took two pieces of the same fabric, sliced each one into equal-sized vertical strips, then sewed them back together, alternating strips from each of the original pieces.  The process was then repeated, slicing horizontally this time, and reversing the direction of every other strip before sewing them back together.  The result is a woven look without having to do any weaving.

Sunday, April 27, 2008


Welcome to my world of art quilts!  I enjoy designing and creating the pieces you see here, and I hope you'll come along on the journey with me.  I use hand-dyed and hand-painted fabrics as well as commercial fabrics with lots of texture and pattern.  Be sure to check out my web site,, for more of my designs.


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