Joy of Making: Knots

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Custom work filled many summer days at the studio this year.  Completed projects are now delivered. Before I completely shift into next season’s work, my hands and mind are revisiting techniques and tools: a bit like a family reunion.

Grandma Alice showed me how to tie quilts when I was a teenager.  My fingers readily repeat the old motions. I enjoy adding this simple bit of thread into textile art. Seen here, knots added to wall hanging  used in the worship space of The Legacy, Staunton, VA.

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Create A Space For Creating

My fabric career spans decades, serving clients from Hawaii to Puerto Rico.  I have worked on the dining table, in a spacious bedroom, down in the basement, and from the kitchen counter. Soon I will practice in a studio made just for me! 
Originally a two-part wooden door opened to the work bench / potting shed of my garage. I like the above view of layered solutions. The craftsmen who integrated the block wall were a delight to watch. Photograph below shows the new door and windows.  The mammoth piece of equipment signals that soon water will be piped in and out of the space.

 Each one of the spaces in which I have worked has evolved my skill and craftsmanship.  Clients have evoked ever-widening artistry.  It is my goal that the new studio will support larger inventory, more complex work patterns, and greater focus on increasingly authentic art.

Hone: Knowing And Maintaining A Tool

I use different scissors for different tasks in the studio just as I use a variety of knives in the kitchen. Practice informs me which tool works best for a particular task.  Experimentation increases the scope of usefulness for each tool I own.

Recently, I have begun to regard my screen images as tools.  This set of little suns was designed for a custom project.  Before I use it for its intended purpose, I want to know more about how it works when repeated, when worked in multiple colors, when overlapped or spaced irregularly on the background.

A morning’s play with screen and paint introduced the potential of this simple design; I think I would like it in multiple sizes.

Bring On The Heat


The sewing machine or a pair of scissors are often the tools first associated with my art practice.  But it is the iron that is used most frequently and consistently. When I am working well, focused on what is before me and its purpose, it is the iron that guides me into good evaluation.

Fabric new to inventory is often washed, and always pressed. The sole plate glides over the surface.  My eyes check for flaws.  My hands absorb the quality of the texture.

After dyeing and painting, during applique and piecing projects return to press board. Heat smooths out the rough places.  The iron’s point leads my eyes to fresh views of the work.  I prefer to schedule this work early in the day.  The closer scrutiny frequently suggests next steps for the fabric.

When the work is complete, each project gets a final press with the iron. Seams are checked and hems measured. Labels are attached and small threads are snipped clear. Bring the heat.  Begin and end.

Traveling in Spirals: Working Small

I found this forgotten treasure of 5″ by 7″ mats, painted fabric backgrounds matched and in place, in a supply closet last week.  A few days later my sister shared information about CreativeSprint.  I am blending the two together for an April visit into working small.

I first used this format three years ago.  I added cut, fused fabric shapes to the painted background. Stitched accents created a third step to the process.

I will share daily the results of the Sprint.  I am curious what the cumulative gallery and process will be.  I plan to enjoy this visit to small dimensions.

Shibori Scarves: Working in a Series

Explore shibori in 2014.  I wrote that in my goals last January.  This week five silk scarves became a series, as part of that exploration.  I stitched in designs.stitches

I pulled up the stitches and tied them tight.

shibori 002 Black dye and then the big reveal. Now for input from viewers and readers: is this the finish point or do I add color?shibori 007

Listening Together

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The Terpening siblings met face to face in this month; we usually meet monthly via video calls. We talked about work environments.  We visited in Paul’s workshop.  We discussed Beth’s stand up desk.

We are confident that for all of our days we will share creative chat, that we will listen to each others’ creative journey.  We rejoice in good company.

Who keeps you company on your journey?  What can you do to enhance the listening?

September Study

The studio has been inactive for about two weeks.  As I packed my bags for a holiday in the woods, I included design materials and a book on Gustav Klimt’s landscapes.  New pencils and a beckoning topic recharge my creativity: the goal is to improve my composition within a square.  Cropping photos is one of the techniques. 2014-08-28 16.10.50-1

Ease for the Journey

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This stack of drawers on wheels accompanies me to craft shows and art demonstrations.  The new straps serve two purposes; they keep the drawers in place and create a carrying handle.  The virgin voyage is this evening.  Not all creativity in the studio is artistic.

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There is a new designation for this production drawer: quick completion.  Projects that need an obvious and speedy finish are here for warm up and cool down action in the studio schedule.