Accelerate Results

Who wants to create more in the time allotted?

How can that happen?

Running With Scissors
My friend Cathy Stark photographed me in this pose that illustrates, “Runs With Scissors.” When the cutting begins, I am in the creative zone. And while I am more of a risk taker than my high school teachers could have ever imagined, I usually stand still with scissors. However, I do have them strategically placed throughout the house.

My siblings and I, creative, entrepreneurial beings, have discussed this. Paul is making things in multiples. I have been repurposing design components to new projects. Beth, owner of Spencer Grace—a creative communications agency, offers this terrific technique on her blog: make a fast mess. Please read her complete perspective at


Paradox, not Comfort

pall and science 001

I wanted the funeral pall to have the message of comfort.  I chose to make a quilt of soft white cotton, adding a cross, gold leaves, and words from Marty Haugen’s hymn “All Are Welcome.”  I planned and schemed over logistics of how to make this 6′ by 10′ piece in my small studio.  But action was slow, often blocked.

Then I worshipped with the congregation at The Village at Orchard Ridge, where the pall would be used.  We were celebrating The Transfiguration, what I personally term the 4th white Sunday.  It is the best day of mystery in the liturgical year!  Joseph A. Robinson’s hymn lyrics “How good Lord to be here……come with us to the plain.” float through my head for days afterwards.  I know that comfort is not the message.

The pall is completed: a quilted center deeply bordered of sheer fabric adorned with hand printed gold leaves and bound in gold silk.  It is light, both physically and visually.  It speaks of celebration, of victory.  The words from Haugen’s hymn, inscribed on the quilt, “where all are named, their songs and visions heard and loved….as words within the Word,” return me to the prologue of the gospel of John, “In the beginning was the Word….The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.”

pall and science 003

A Year of Listening, Week 9

The usefulness of a pot comes from its emptiness. –Lao-tau

Snowbound again in the Shenandoah Valley.
The snow fills up the landscape and empties my calendar.
Today wears a fresh usefulness.

A Year of Listening, Week 7

Winter solitude
In a world of one color
The sound of wind.

This recalls winter on the farm as a child, hiking the pasture alone.
I am grateful for the memory, and the listening it taught me.
This week’s hours of moving snow to create a way to the road were solitary but not so poetic.

Creative company


I am a better artist when I have the company of other artists. I currently participate in four different small groups that nurture the practice of art and the exercise of creativity.

My siblings and I meet monthly via the internet, each from our own studio or workshop. My sister is a writer, my brother a wood carver, and I am a poet who switched to fabric. This year we are focusing on productivity in our discussions. We talk about time, space, resources.

Yesterday we agreed there was a need for some inner peace. My sister wants to spend a month playing with markers. The idea caught on immediately. We choose an interesting path to productivity.

A Year of Listening, Week 5

Here in the stillness of snow falling on snow. –Taneda Santoka

I chose this beautiful image weeks ago; today snow is falling in the Shenandoah Valley. It is a good day for listening.

The dryer is rotating, soon the kettle will whistle. I am listening for assurance.

I switched metaphorical directions in the autumn, from an adventurous Westward Ho! to a barely imagined True North. I am listening for signs that I am holding to the new course.

The stillness will tell me; I only need to listen.

Evolve in the Land of Little Bits

Big drama wears me out. Big bites overwhelm me. I often choose a “little bit,” a phrase my father often used and now so does my son.
Both Studio Three 17 and its division fibergig experienced significant growth spurts in 2013. We grew, we learned, and now we are intentionally building on those experiences. This week I am painting on new scarf prototypes, a circular cotton knit and a large rectangle rayon number with fringed ends.
Exploration is in the early stages. Fabric, wet or dry. Paint application with brush, with tip top bottle. Fabric flat or scrunched. More paint? Time to print with ink? I am happy in this Land of Little Bits.

flat scarfpainted scarfscruched scarf





A Year of Listening, Week 2

A schedule defends from chaos and whim. It is a net for catching days. It is a scaffolding on which a worker can stand and labor with both hands at sections of time. –Annie Dillard
photo (7)
section of Dancing at Midnight, textile wall hanging by Norma Colman

Hit the refresh button and head to comfort zone!


Hit the refresh button and head to comfort zone!

Mid-week there was a great amount of reverse stitching (also known as ripping) in the studio. Neither design nor construction technique was working. When I rip many stitches one of two things happen: either I repeat the sewing step with more care, a different thread, a new machine setting, or I have an aha moment to a new approach.

Thursday I picked up some of Emily’s hand dyed yarn, which is available at our fibergig shop on Etsy, and began to couch it to the chasuble. I love to couch yarn, and using Emily’s is true joy. I am on a path to completion.

2014, A Year of Listening

I like shoveling snow when no one else is stirring, except the snow plow coming up the highway.
Everything is muffled, except the scrapping of the shovel against asphalt, worked out in a rhythm that mirrors the movement of arms, feet, lungs.
I am hoping not to fuel up the snow blower this year, but to work my way through the snow with a shovel. Slowly. Sensibly.

I usually have three focus words for each year. This year I am choosing an activity for my focus. I am listening. My sister asked me “for what?” She needs to ask that later.
To what? Collected words.
Here, every Monday, I am posting a quotation from my collection. I will be listening to those words. The words will be accompanied by one of my art pieces or a sketch, a response to the words.

Come listen with me. Tell me what you hear.