Jilly Edwards

The ATA (American Tapestry Alliance)  released their biennial publication, CODA recently. This one is available to everyone, not just members, and featured one of my favorite tapestry artists, Jilly Edwards. I first saw her work in issue #246 (Jan/Feb 2014) of Crafts magazine (article here), including some of this series:

Ms. Edwards wrote a fascinating piece about preparing a show for gallery display and how she creates:

My “work has an element of the landscape, whether I am walking to the corner shop, or on the beach, or travelling through unfamiliar countryside, by train. However, it’s not about the landscape, it’s about my feelings, thoughts, memories that the sights, words, and sounds evoke in me.”*

Well worth a read, and a visit to her website for a closer look at her work!


*Jilly Edwards from CODA: A Biennial Celebration of Tapestry Art Today 2015. p. 23. Dorothy Clews, editor.


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!

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.



While researching images for this part of my course, I discovered so many interesting, talented textile artists. As weaving is my main textile-related interest, I found these three inspiring:

Machiko Agano, born in Kobe, Japan, started out in textiles as a weaver. She studied at Kyoto City University of Arts in Japan in the 1970’s, and is a professor at Kyoto Seiko University. Her large scale installations are designed specifically for the space in which they will be shown. Agano uses a broad selection of materials, ranging from fishing line and wire to fabric and bamboo to inkjet printing and mirrors. Agano’s work has been shown throughout Japan and the UK. In 2001, she participated in Transition & Influence‘s Textural Space project, with her well-reviewed installation at Fabrica, and again in 2003’s Through The Surface. The Fabrica piece, a large scale installation composed of nylon filament, silk thread and handmade Japanese paper, is a beautiful example of her work, with an organic, almost ethereal feel, and a strong sense of movement. This piece certainly achieves her goal of wanting the “viewer to feel enveloped by the mysteries of nature when they see my work.”

Jo McDonald is a Scottish tapestry weaver. Her work is visually almost the opposite of Agano’s, more solid and earthy. She uses old books and other found papers, layered and rolled, woven or held together with monofilament, to form installations that create a new purpose for theses items. McDonald considers herself the “editor in the recycling of this material.” With an MFA in Tapestry from the Edinburgh College of Art, McDonald’s work has been shown throughout Europe, as well as Australia and the United States.

Amie Adelman, an Associate Professor and Fibers Coordinator in the College of Visual Arts and Design at the University of North Texas, has taken her weaving knowledge to create large-scale line installations. Her work makes me think of Spirograph, in 3D form. Though her work feels mathematically based, Adelman says she “didn’t set out to be a mathematician. I became more interested in math as my artwork developed.” [FiberArtNow, Winter 2014/15] The layering of the thread combined with her use of color create dazzling, energetic pieces. Even though only seen in pictures (unfortunately), the installations seem to glow and shimmer. Deflection, 2014 conveys the energy of the sun’s rays through the use of color in high contrasts and more subtle shifts, as well as the increasing/decreasing sett of the threads.

I hope someday I can view some (all!) of these works in person. It would be interesting to compare my impressions then with now.

Mia Cullin

Mia Cullin is a freelance designer and interior architect from Stockholm. On her website, she lists handicraft, folding and origami as inspirations, and that is beautifully reflected in her home designs. The Tyvek room dividers displayed in the 2007 Casa Cor exhibition are composed of hundreds of pieces that can be assembled in different ways, and have a playful, ’60’s feel. Loop, a loose interpretation of a curtain, is made from strips of wool felt, and evokes a similar style. Her room divider, Button Hexagonal, is another example of a multi-pieced, re-configurable textile with a practical application. Cullin is obviously inspired by geometric shapes, and expresses these in solid colors, frequently white, which adds to their bold, clean feel. In addition to textiles, her work includes furniture (such as these charming piano stool inspired benches), lighting fixtures and more, and can be found in a wide range of outlets.


Reiko Sudo

Japanese textile designer Reiko Sudo, b. 1958, is one of the founders of Nuno Corporation. Nuno is Japanese for cloth or fabric, and the company, which started in 1984, works with Japanese weavers and dyers to create beautiful and original textiles. One of the most iconic pieces is Origami Pleats. In this video, Reiko talks about how they came up with the process for making the scarf, by visiting one of the oldest printmaking factories in Japan and seeing the molds they used there.

Reiko Sudo’s own work can be seen at MOMA, Philadelphia Museum of Art, BMA and more. The fabrics in those collections are innovative and varied in material and execution. There are copper and brass-based fabrics that have movement and a liquid-like surface. Some are more like lace, made from nylon, or even packing tape! Cracked Cloth was created by using an acid to burn the rayon, but not the polyester parts of the fabric. My favorite is Jelly Fish Fabric (polyester), a theme that Sudo returns to repeatedly.

[Internet]. Nuno Corporation. Available from: http://www.nuno.com/en/ (Accessed 28 January, 2015).
Collection. [Internet]. MOMA. Available from: http://www.moma.org/collection/artist.php?artist_id=7045 (Accessed 28 January, 2015).
Collection. [Internet]. Philadelphia Museum of Art. Available from: http://philamuseum.org/collections/permanent/318888.html?mulR=1426651540|2 (Accessed 28 January, 2015).
Collection. [Internet]. The Baltimore Museum of Art. Available from: http://collection.artbma.org/emuseum/view/objects/asitem/search@/0?t:state:flow=bc052bb0-b117-4e04-8499-d06cbd1d8d48 (Accessed 28 January, 2015).
A Close Up on Some of the World’s Most Innovative Textiles. [Internet]. GW Today. Available from: http://gwtoday.gwu.edu/close-some-world%E2%80%99s-most-innovative-textiles (Accessed 29 January, 2015). 
Reiko Sudo on Origami Textiles. [Internet]. Cooper Hewitt. Available from: http://www.cooperhewitt.org/2013/03/20/reiko-sudo-on-origami-textiles/ (Acessed 29 January, 2015).

Looking Back

Exercise 2.4, Reflection

Did the process of working in collage bring new challenges in terms of observation?

Absolutely! Collage is so very different from sketching an item. The choice of paper is so important. Solid or print? Which combinations? White, solid color pr print background? Layering small pieces, or larger pieces cut into definite shapes?


Whether block silhouette or line, I felt trying to accurately depict an object would be near impossible, and not the correct approach for me.

Did it affect the way you observed?

It moved me away from attempting to recreate the objects realistically, and opened many other possibilities. What could the object represent? How could the scene unfold? Would the object’s true purpose be important to the scene:

Part Two, Ex. 2.2

Part Two, Ex. 2.2

or would it simply be part of an overall design:

Part Two, Exercise 2.3

Were there unexpected qualities or effects?

Yes, the way an object could disappear into the scene, almost to the point of not being noticeable as itself:


Part Two, Exercise 2.3

Part Two, Exercise 2.3

Or the way the shape, which I thought meaningful, really didn’t bring much to the table.

For example, the landscape in a bottle could have been in any shape:


And the bottle shape that seemed to represent the ‘good life’, would have worked just as well, perhaps better, in a traditional snow-globe shape:




Moving on to the final collage!

Mary Delany

Mary Granville Pendarves Delany

(May 14, 1700-April 15, 1788)

Portrait of Mary Delany by John Opie, 1782.
Mary Delany, born in England, practiced the traditional crafts of her time, such as needlework and silhouettes. It wasn’t until the age of 72, four years after the death of her second husband, that she tried a new technique that was the beginning of collage as we know it today. Delany called it a ‘flower mosaick’, and went on to produce close to a thousand of them, which can be seen at The British Museum.
Pancratium Maritinum (Hexandria Monogynia), formerly in an album (Vol.VII, 45); Sea Daffodil. 1778 Collage of coloured papers, with bodycolour and watercolour, on black ink background

Gloriosa Superba (Hexandria Monogynia), formerly in an album (Vol.IV, 96) Collage of coloured papers, with bodycolour and watercolour, on black ink background

Delany made almost all her collages against a background of black, creating a striking effect quite different from most botanical drawings. She used layers of watercolor to create the background papers, as well as most of the paper used for the flowers. Delany meticulously layered small pieces to create shapes, shading and colors that are very realistic and still admired by botanists today.

Phlomis Leonorus (Didynam: Gymnos:), formerly in an album (Vol.VII, 62); Lion’s Tail. 1777 Collage of coloured papers, with bodycolour and watercolour, on black ink background

Not only is Delany’s work breathtakingly beautiful, I was also (as a 53 year-old art student) drawn to the fact that she started so late in life. Her attention to detail, the subtle shading and painstaking nature of her work all impress me greatly. Mary Delany created a body of work, as well as an art form that lives on today.

Peacock, Molly. (2011) The Paper Garden: An Artist [Begins Her Life’s Work] At 72. New York: Bloomsbury
Collection Online. [Internet]. The British Museum. Available from: http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/search.aspx?searchText=mary+delany [Accsessed 18 November, 2014).
Explore/Articles. [Internet]. The British Museum. Available from: http://www.britishmuseum.org/explore/highlights/articles/m/mary_delany_1700-88.aspx [Accessed 18 November, 2014]

Romare Bearden (Part Two: Collage, Ex. 2.1)

Romare Bearden

Romare Bearden (1911-1988) was a versatile American artist, exploring many different media. Painting, printmaking and collage, caricature, set design, writing and songwriting were all part of his work.

Bearden grew up in Harlem, and his family home “became a meeting place for Harlem Renaissance luminaries” ¹, including writers, painters and Jazz musicians. He also was a social worker in New York City, even after he achieved artistic success². These influences can be seen in his collages, as many portray daily life in Harlem, or Jazz club scenes:


Empress of the Blues

1974 acrylic and pencil on paper and printed paper on paperboard 36 x 48 in. (91.4 x 121.9 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Museum purchase in part through the Luisita L. and Franz H. Denghausen Endowment 1996.71 Not currently on view

As Biography.com said, “his works depict aspects of family culture in a semiabstract (sic) collage and Cubist style³. Spring Way is a good example of this, with its contrast of dark realism seen in the black and white street photos, versus the pops of brightly colored shapes:


Spring Way

1964 collage on paperboard sheet and image: 6 5/8 x 9 3/8 in. (16.8 x 23.8 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Bequest of Henry Ward Ranger through the National Academy of Design 1999.9 Not currently on view


The Block is one of Beaden’s most famous works, currently residing, though not on view, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC. I can’t reproduce the image here, due to licensing restrictions, but the Met has an inter-active site, Let’s Walk the Block,  that allows for close examination of the whole work.

It is a fascinating, beautiful piece, from 1971, a large collage, on six panels, measuring 4×18′. Each panel shows a different aspect of city life, as Bearden saw it from a friend’s window, though he moved away from a literal interpretation, to a more imaginative one (http://metmuseum.org/content/interactives/the_block/foot5.html).

I find the range of street life represented fascinating. At the beginning, there are families and well-dressed people outside a neighborhood liquor store, while upstairs you see children in a room with a mousetrap for a window shade. The third panel depicts a funeral, complete with angels helping the soul to heaven. More religious imagery can be seen in the fourth panel, where an angel is blessing an unborn child, contrasting the primary colors and simple shapes of the next building.

There is an ironic touch of having a church in the fourth panel, while homeless people are being frowned upon in front of the next building. The windows above the barber shop contain slightly disturbing images, perhaps representing the darker side of the city, and conveyed by Bearden’s use of muddier colors and less crisp lines. The use of different panels disrupts the flow of the scene, perhaps to add the chaotic feel of city life.

Bearden was a strong voice for African-American artists and culture, as well as being an incredibly diverse artist, though I chose to focus only on his collages. I found his life very interesting and his work fascinating and inspiring.


Corlett, M.L. (2009) From Process to Print: Graphic Works by Romare Bearden. New York: Romare Bearden Foundation/ California: Pomegranite Communications

Romare Bearden. [Internet]. Available from http://www.romare-bearden.com/ [Accessed 07 Oct 2014].

Romare Bearden Foundation. [Internet]. The Bearden Foundation. Available from: http://www.beardenfoundation.org/index2.shtml [Accessed 07 Oct 2014].

Let’s Walk the Block. [Internet]. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Available from: http://metmuseum.org/metmedia/interactives/art-trek/romare-bearden-lets-walk-the-block  [Accessed 07 Oct 2014].

Spring Way. [Internet]. Available from: http://americanart.si.edu/collections/search/artwork/?id=37393 [Accessed 07 Oct 2014].

The Art of Romare Bearden. [Internet]. National Gallery of Art. Available from: http://www.nga.gov/feature/bearden/index.shtm [Accessed 07 Oct 2014].

Romare Howard Bearden. [Internet]. 2014. The Biography.com website. Available from: http://www.biography.com/people/romare-bearden-40540 [Accessed 07 Oct 2014].

Robert Rauschenberg (Part Two: Collage, Ex 2.1)

Robert Rauschenberg

Robert Rauschenberg (1925-2008) was an American artist whose works, using traditional and found materials, forged a path for the pop-art movement of the ’60s (Lancher, 2009).

Born in Port Arthur, Texas, Rauschenberg studied at Kansas City Art Institute, then at Academie Julien Paris. In 1948, he attended Black Mountain College in North Carolina, where he studied under Josef Albers, and befriended fellow artist Jasper Johns (Tompkins, 2005).

The works I find most interesting are from the mid-1950s, when Rauschenberg began using non-traditional items in works he called ‘combines’ (Tompkins, 2005).

Bed (1955)

Combine: oil and pencil on pillow, quilt, and sheet, mounted on wood support 75 1/4 x 31 1/2 x 8 inches (191.1 x 80 x 20.3 cm) The Museum of Modern Art, New York Gift of Leo Castelli in honor of Alfred H. Barr Jr.

While Rauschenberg himself claimed to worry people would “want to crawl in it” (Lancher, 2009, p.14), the work is actually very violent. The pillow and sheets have agitated pencil marks, with  bold, splattered oil paint dripping down the quilt. It leaves me feeling unsettled, as though something horrific occurred.

Bantam (1955)

Combine: oil, paper, printed reproductions, cardboard, fabric, and graphite on canvas 11 5/8 x 14 5/8 inches (29.5 x 37.1 cm) The Eli and Edythe L. Broad Collection, Los Angeles

The contrast between the NY Yankees across the bottom of the work and the feminine references on the top half are divided by cardboard. The photo of Judy Garland is covered by sheer white gauze, and the reclining woman, by red gauze (a reference to the fact that she’s posing nude?). The slashes of yellow and red paint drips to combine or link the masculine and feminine images.

Rebus (1955)

Combine: oil, synthetic polymer paint, pencil, crayon, pastel, cut-and-pasted printed and painted papers, including a drawing by Cy Twombly, and fabric on canvas mounted and stapled to fabric Three panels: 96 x 131 1/8 x 1 3/4 inches (243.8 x 333.1 x 4.4 cm) overall The Museum of Modern Art, New York Partial and promised gift of Jo Carole and Ronald S. Lauder and purchase

This is perhaps my favorite work of those I’ve seen. The division between the three panels form vertical lines, while the image forms a horizontal line, enforced and supported by a shelf-like row of small colored squares. Near each end are photos of runners. Are they in the same race, and do the pictures and colors in between represent obstacles they must over come? It reminds me of graffiti on a city wall, with the bold, dripping colors and partial printed papers. “THAT REPRE” in the upper left is intriguing. That represents? Represses?

I chose Rauschenberg to research because his works fascinates me and he had such an impact on modern art, but also because he’s a fellow Texan. He was a very prolific and diverse artist: a painter, sculpture, printer, as well as his combines using photography, print and found objects. It’s very difficult to assess art in books and online. I look forward to our NYC visit in October, when I can go to MOMA and see some of Rauschenberg’s works in person.

ETA 9/28/17: Be sure to check out the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s exhibit!


Lancher, C. (2009) Robert Rauschenberg. New York: The Museum of Modern Art
Tompkins, C. (2005) Off the wall. New York: Picador