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.


The Beginning is Not The Starting Point


In the beginning…….God created…….In the beginning……..was the Word……

In the beginning of 2016, I stalled out. In the midst of stacks of fabrics, committed projects, commissioned work, beckoning ideas, and pots of paint, I struggled to create a plan and to write a schedule that would contain and direct all these good things.  The elements of a blessed beginning were drowning me through my own inaction.

The inner coach screamed: cut, stitch, paint. Madeleine L’Engle’s words whispered in my head, “Inspiration come in the midst of work.”   Studio action created 31 little art tags this morning.  My happy hands cut, stitched, and painted,  completing one of the elements for a presentation next week.

Cleaning picture files yesterday, I discovered the included photograph of Genesis, a privately owned piece.  I like the swirling, undulating energy in it.  The contrast of the oranges and blues creates both friction and clarity.  It was made by cutting, stitching, and painting. Beginnings are complex. A starting point is not.



Tomatoes On The Plate

My father, a farmer, finished August dinners and suppers by filling his emptied plate with sliced tomatoes. He liberally sprinkled sugar over the juicy rounds, then ate them all. This is a clear childhood memory for me, and my brother shares it.

What I don’t know is if Daddy liked tomatoes or not.  Did he relish his sweet crop or was he eating because there was plenty more on the vine? I am asking too late; there is no one living to answer.

What I learned from my father is to use the resources at hand and to be seasonal.  There are seven bags of fabric, processing dye, out in the garage.  Today I harnessed the heat of early September to turn white yardage into the stuff of fabric art.  It is good work.

Traveling in Spirals: Repeated Shapes

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It’s time to have some fun in the studio.  I gathered supplies: a jar of Color Magnet by Jacquard, a solid white silk scarf, a foam brush, and a few simple stamps.  I carefully brushed the fluid onto the stamps and pressed the design onto the scarf.  Now I am waiting.

I like repeating the same shape onto the design field, considering the relationship with the other marks and the untouched areas.  It is easier to focus on composition when I use the same shape.  It reminds me of placing 8 identical chairs at a dining table:  4 on a side or 3 on each side and one at each end.

The scarf dries for 24 hours, then it will be dyed, rinsed, washed, dried, and ironed.  I’ll post the results when the process is complete.  Look for repeated shapes today.  Do you like them?

Advent Interlude 3

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Let every heart prepare him room.

Some years, preparing room is as simple as changing the sheets in the guest room.  Other years, the room has been renovated.  But this is a year that requires an empty space.

The tree is decorated.  Presents are wrapped.  Packages are shipped.

I need this empty little stable with its one wandering sheep as a vision of empty space.

Advent Interlude I

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Bare branches define short day skies.

Bring a lamp.  Be prepared for dark nights.

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Advent stole made on speculation and available for purchase at fibergig.

A Year of Listening: Week 40

blog and arboretum 023Joy in the universe, and keen curiosity about it all — that has been my religion. — John Burroughs

As a child I marveled over the shape of plants.  They continue to hold me in wonder.

Searching for the Way to Create Clerical Stoles for Smaller Budgets

Photo Sep 12, 8 59 30 AMSummer conversations with pastors presented me with a design challenge:  create hand crafted art stoles for  $75.  The stoles will conform to the studio’s standard craftsmanship.  Techniques will be simplified and limited, but the art will still have my signature look.

Emily, my daughter and partner, wants six ready for October 15.  I found fabric for all five liturgical colors in my inventory.  I intend to meet that goal.

A Year of Listening: Week 36

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Silence is not the absence of sound. Silence allows many sounds to reach awareness that otherwise would go unheard — the sounds of birds, water, wind, trees, frogs, insects, and chipmunks, as well as conscience, daydreams, intuitions, and wishes. — Thomas Moore

A Year of Listening: Week 20

I believe that we are offered up opportunities to practice and rewrite the places in our souls where we have not best served ourselves. — Norma Colman

Yes, I am quoting myself this morning. This was written a decade ago and I rediscovered the words this winter. My sister, Beth Nyland, and I discussed Sabbath and holiness last night.

What role does repentance serve in Sabbath experience? Do we rewrite because of Sabbath? Or do holy encounters shape our practice?