Hot silk dyes, cool results

Experimenting with new processes in color makes for a really fun collection of spring scarves!


16 April 2010 at 3:57 pm Leave a comment

Teaching what you know

  If you be a lover of instruction, you will be well instructed.

When I insisted on attending art school instead of a traditional university, my mother balked.  She kept insisting that I at least study teaching art, so I’d have something to “fall back on.”  However well intentioned and practical her advice was, I determined never to be a teacher.  So — how odd to find myself teaching now that I’m in my 50s and have much less patience than when I was younger.  I tend to be less than organized, to be polite about it, and often can’t see the forest for the trees, but I’m learning.  It never dawned on me that a grown person wouldn’t know you had to rinse your brush periodically, until a student asked me why her entire painting was brown. 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         Instruction does not prevent waste of time or mistakes; and mistakes themselves are often the best teachers of all.
         — James Anthony Froude

I thought it was lip service when I heard teachers say they learned as much from their students as the students learned from them.  It’s true!  Preparing lessons forces one to really think through their process, and watching others come up with solutions for their ideas can lead you in all kinds of new directions.  Creating ways to teach what you do in a limited time frame is also a great exercise. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         I’ve been silk painting for over 20 years and was stumped when Jerry’s Artarama asked me to teach a two-hour class.  After wandering around the store with my hands in my pockets for a while, I came up with a short project idea that would whet students’ appetites.  It came off quite well and each student’s project was completely different from mine or anyone else’s. 

Sharing knowledge does not diminish one’s talent.
— Me

Which leads me to a point often brought up by artists and crafters:  why teach someone else to do the thing you’re trying to make your living at?  Aren’t they just out to steal your ideas?  Am I shooting myself in the foot by sharing my ideas?  No, no and no!  Teaching a person to read doesn’t mean they can write your story, does it?  Teaching someone a skill can often make them appreciate more fully what goes into the making of your art.  Altruism pays!          

+Isocrates the orator, not Socrates the philosopher, in case you were worried about that.

9 April 2010 at 3:17 am Leave a comment

A Culturally Wealthy Group of Women


The OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         most recent silk painting group at Pullen Art Center was an especially great class, since the group included women whose countries of origin ranged from Denmark, Greece, Israel, Poland, France, and Russia.   It was a culturally wealthy, not to mention very talented group of women!  They hit the ground running, so eager to get started, and made wonderful things in and out of class.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         It’s always mesmerizing to me to watch the way color floats across the silk.  It was such a gift to watch each of these women get hooked on the process.  I’m always tempted to say, “the first one’s free,” at the initial class, as if I’m offering something illicit.

I really hope you all keep up the good work – you’re all so talented!  You’ve encouraged me to work on proposals for continuing and advanced classes at Pullen Arts! 

(You can see more class photos on my Flickr site.)

27 March 2010 at 8:32 am 1 comment

My get-up-and-go got up and went . . .

in regard to promotion efforts.  I’ve had such a great few weeks travelling and visiting museums that all I want to do is get into my studio and sort out all the ideas rampaging through my brain.  That coupled with the fact that my new computer had to be sent back to the manufacturer has got me out of the blog habit.

Hub and I took the train the New York this month, and it’s a good thing he loves museums as much as I do.  The crowds were amazing considering it was January and frigid.  The city is so outrageous, I think we could spend each visit just people watching.   

guggenheim The Guggenheim‘s Kandinsky retrospective was the biggest draw in getting us to New York.  We spent hours going through it, mostly on the early and transitional work.  Considering the Spiritual in Art and the phenomenon of synesthesia have contributed more than anything else to my art journey.

Georgia O’Keeffe at the Whitney didn’t do much for me, but the Roni Horn show was mesmerizing.  I was also looking forward to visiting NYU’s Center for Ancient Studies.  The exhibit was great, but the signage was irritating.

rubinHub is the greatest travel agent, researching everything beforehand and taking me to sites previously unknown (to me, anyway).  The Rubin Museum was such a treat — a beautiful museum and each show on its six floors was fascinating and beautifully presented.  They’ve got a terrific web application so you can build your own mandala.

deszo We were both smitten by Andrea Dezso’s tunnel books at the Museum of Art and Design.   If you can’t make it to the museum for Slash: Paper Under The Knife, visit the website.

From Klimt to Klee at the Neue Gallery celebrates the museum’s founder more than the artists, but it’s always worth it to see Klee’s work.  (And they’ve got a terrific book shop.)

tresriche Now I need to get to the Cloisters to see The Art of IlluminationThe Belles Heures of Jean de France, Duc de Berry is unbound for the first time in many years.  I’ll have to convince Hub that this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. 

25 January 2010 at 8:29 pm Leave a comment

Paper Cutting Treasury of Art

This is just a small sample of the incredibly paper cutting artists on Etsy.  Search paper cutting, kirigami,or scherenschnitte for even more. papercutstreasury copy

3 December 2009 at 10:35 pm Leave a comment

It’s here! I’m published!


Well, my advance copy is here . . . although the book won’t be available until January.  It’s called Paper Cuts and it’s a beautiful how-to book with project photos, directions, and patterns for 35 paper cutting projects.  Four of them are mine!
Publisher: Lark
Published: January 2010
128 pages
ISBN: 1-60059-512-X
ISBN13: 9781600595127
$17.95 US, $23.50 Canadian

I’m really humbled to be in the company img662of these designers, ‘cause all of the projects are beautiful and some of them are just incredible.  My submissions are relatively simple.  Hopefully, they’ll help get beginners started!  Here’s a sample page from the book, showing one of the projects I submitted.



I’ve also got lots of Scherenschnitte decorations and ornaments in my Etsy shop if you’re not ready to make your own.

27 November 2009 at 8:15 am 4 comments

Craftland 2009

If you haven’t been to the Scrap Exchange in Durham, this would be a great time to visit. In addition to all the cool stuff that’s there, you can take in the Craftland Show — all art and crafts made from repurposed, recycled materials.

Craftland 2009

Craftland 2009

25 October 2009 at 8:44 pm Leave a comment

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