I’ve been reading The Art of Abstract Painting, by Rolina van Vliet. It’s an interesting book, and guides you through a few different ways of taking an image as a starting point and working it in the abstract. It seems like an interesting technique to use for designing tapestries. (Just in time for the class!)

I started with this watercolor:



Quick sketch of basic shapes


Watercolor & ink, primary colors


Ink sketch, less details


Mostly monochromatic watercolor


Moving the shapes around

None of the quick studies I did are anything I particularly like, which is fine, as that isn’t the point. Rather, it’s the difference between the last image, and the original watercolor, the way there seems to be almost no connection between them, that really interests me:


Pastels, softening the shapes


Morris & Warhol

The latest issue of Through Our Hands magazine has an interesting review of an exhibit at the Birmingham Museum and Art gallery, Love Is Enough. Artist Jeremy Deller, a Turner Prize winner, has put together an unlikely combo, William Morris and Andy Warhol.


Cover of the Socialist League’s manifesto of 1885 featuring art by Morris


I was unaware that Warhol did tapestries (did everyone else know that?), you can see the tapestry version of his famous Monroe here.

 Too bad it’s so far away, I would love to see the Holy Grail Tapestries in person!

Do check out the issue, it’s free and has quite a few articles worth reading!

I Don’t Know Where to Begin

It’s been two months since my last post, and that was titled ‘Catching Up’! So here I am, behind again, and so much ground to cover. Let’s work backwards, shall we?

Last Sunday, in Oxford, MD, the Bayside Quilter’s of the Eastern Shore held their semi-annual show. A Garden of Quilts showcased older quilts from private collections:

Sue Bonnet Sue variation circa 1930-40s Hand appliqué and embroidery, hand quilted. Collection of Catherine Spence.

Sue Bonnet Sue variation
circa 1930-40s
Hand appliqué and embroidery, hand quilted.
Collection of Catherine Spence.

Fox and Geese, circa 1880-90 Collection of Catherine Spence

Fox and Geese, circa 1880-90
Collection of Catherine Spence

The quilts displayed by the guild ranged from traditional to modern

Falling Triangles Ann Clayton

Falling Triangles
Ann Clayton

Love the scrolled stitching!

Love the scrolled stitching!

The B&W color scheme makes for a very striking quilt:

Zena's Quilt Gail Benjamin

Zena’s Quilt
Gail Benjamin

and included a few mixed media art quilts as well:

Time Jeanne Hechmer

Jeanne Hechmer

Clever use of old watches

Clever use of old watches

This was my favorite, not only executed beautifully, but a clever design and visually so interesting:

Blue Print Nita Brayton

Blue Print
Nita Brayton

All in all, a lovely show. I think I had a very narrow view of what a constitutes a quilt, and seeing so many different examples definitely opened my eyes. Hard to say where craft ends and art begins. When does a quilt move from a textile for the home, to artwork to a mixed media piece? Is it defined by the design process? Even if a pattern (new or traditional) has been followed, there are still so many design choices, so much time and talent involved. The care with which these quilts were made was very evident. They all, even the ones that I didn’t care for, seemed like a form of art to me!

As someone who has never quilted, and has minimal sewing machine skills, I can’t explain why this came home with me:


I blame the cute jar!

Catching Up

Catching up a bit here, let’s start with baking. I haven’t abandoned The Baking Bible project, though it would have been a far better idea when I had all four boys living at home! Now, I have to figure out who I’m going to feed, I can’t very well expect my husband to eat an entire cake. Note to self: Get to know the group of dudes who live next door in B’more…

Mango Bango-less Cheesecake

Mango Bango-less Cheesecake

This is the Mango Bango Cheesecake, minus the mango topping (long, boring story of my own stupidity there). Following Rose‘s instructions, I ordered the mango pulp from Amazon (what don’t they have?).


This was possibly the creamiest cheesecake I’ve ever had, much less made. I swapped the sponge cake crust for a crunchier vanilla cookie crust from another recipe in the book. Even without the topping, there was plenty of mango flavor, though I think the extra would have been better.

Has anyone ever taken any courses from Roubxe.com? One of my favorite food bloggers, Olives For Dinner, is in their Plant-Based Professional Certification Course. They also have a boatload of courses designed for the home cook. You can get a free 7-day trial, so of course, I did. Despite a slight wheat allergy, I started with the Wheat & Gluten course. (On top of the Baking Bible Project. Perhaps not my smartest move). We were forced to eat pancakes (best ever) and pizza (four different ways) in one day.


I also did part of a couple of other courses before running out of time. Might join this in the future…

A bit of art,  mid-March, son #2 and I went to the National Gallery. We visited the Vermeer’s, always my first priority, so lovely, and got lost in the maze that is the Main Floor galleries. I took a few very bad photos, only this is worth sharing:

Oddly, if you follow the link, the picture on the website is reversed.

It was interesting to see so many tapestries and modern mixed-media textile pieces now, after doing so much research for the OCA course. I feel I have a deeper understanding of influences and techniques, as well as a better appreciation for the skill involved. It is a bit intimidating, however.

After, Dan took me out for a belated birthday/Mother’s Day lunch at Oyamel. The Col de bruselas estilo San Quintín (Crispy brussels sprouts with a chile de árbol sauce, pumpkin seeds, peanuts and lime), Papas al Mole, and Ceviche con citricos (Striped bass in a pineapple-habanero marinade with citrus, jicama and fresno chiles) were especially good. And, of course, a cold Dos Equis in a frozen glass. Good food, even better company, it doesn’t get much better than that!

And last, but certainly not least, thanks to everyone for their kind words about my beloved big dog, I miss him so much.


Chestertown River Arts

I recently went to Chestertown River Arts, a small, community arts center on Maryland’s beautiful Eastern Shore (I may be prejudiced…) that hosts a monthly rotating art exhibit in their gallery. August features two fiber related exhibits, Fiber Finesse and Fabrications 2014.

Fiber Finesse, in the main gallery, featured mainly handmade items for wear and home, such as knitted sweaters, shawls and blankets, needlepoint and cross-stitch hangings and quilts.

Shibori Scarf, by Lesley Campana

Shibori Scarf, by Lesley Campana


This scarf, was handwoven of Tencel, then hand-dyed (type of dye was not listed). The Shibori dyeing technique Ms. Campana used resulted in beautiful, softened geometric shapes. I also liked the shift of color prominence, anchored by the matching fringe.







Supplemental Warp Scarf, by Lesley Campana

Supplemental Warp Scarf, by Lesley Campana

The Supplemental Warp Scarf was handwoven using rayon, nylon and mohair. This is a weaving technique I’m very interested trying, and I think she uses it for a lovely effect here.






I found Fabrications 2014 a fascinating exhibit. There were offerings in pottery, wood & mirror, and kiln-formed glass & steel. My favorite artist there was Joyce Murrin, whose works of fabric used color and contrasting prints to create evocative nature pictures.

Moving Water, by Joyce Murrin

Moving Water, by Joyce Murrin

by Joyce Murrin

Winter Coming On, by Joyce Murrin

Deep Forest, by Joyce Murrin

Deep Forest, by Joyce Murrin



In Moving Water, her use of not only curved pieces of fabric, but the tonal shades gives the piece fluidity. Winter Coming On uses cotton print, paint and pen, and tucking of the fabric for the Birch trees . Deep Forest also utilized machine stitching, and unexpected flashes of color throughout the bottom half of the work.




In Fabric Interpretations of Photos, Ms. Murrin gives us a side-by-side view of the original photo and her fiber version. While it’s very impressive how accurately a photo can be reproduced with fabric, I find the more abstract interpretations to have a greater impact.

Fabric Interpretations of Photos, by Joyce Murrin

Fabric Interpretations of Photos, by Joyce Murrin

Fabric Interpretations, by Joyce Murrin (detail)

Fabric Interpretations, by Joyce Murrin (detail)



(Lesley Campana, of The Celtic Knot Studio, can be reached at lcampana99@verizon.net)