Sketchbook Work

This is my starting image, from our recent trip to Ireland:


Collage, image cut into strips

Collage, found papers

Collage, found papers


Collage, image cut into random shapes

Watercolor, painted and rolled on

Watercolor, painted and rolled on

I like the last one best, but the others give me more ideas to work from in the samples I’m working on for the Fabric Manipulation section of the course. Especially when they’re all viewed at once:

IMG_2916 Describing the relationship between the arches and the view, framing was the obvious choice, but also limiting, revealing/concealing, focusing, obstructing. One of the themes I’ve chosen for my samples is Stacked & Layered, and my material is tulle. How, or even if these images will inform those samples, I’m not yet sure!

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 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.


Ex. 3.2, Preliminary Testing

Due to the tactile nature of the samples for this section of the course, I’m going to be sending my work to my tutor, including my learning log. The blog won’t have much detail for this section. Maybe I’ll have to bake more…

Preliminary samples ready for book

Preliminary samples ready for book

A few of my favorites-

These were inspired by Rubber Band Scatter, Reiko Sudo:

Rubber bands melted between (clockwise from top L): Poly lace, vinyl, netting, solid poly

Rubber bands melted between (clockwise from top L): Poly lace, vinyl, netting, solid poly

Vaguely reminds me of Jellyfish

Vaguely reminds me of Jellyfish

I'd like to try a long strand of something like this to use as weft.

I’d like to try a long strand of something like this to use as weft.

Playing with denim

Playing with denim


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.

BlueRhu Pie

Luckily, bad lattice work does not affect taste!

Obviously need to work on my lattice skills. Luckily, it does not affect taste!


Looks much prettier cut…

I used frozen blueberries and rhubarb, more than called for just to use up the whole bags. Worked out fine. The Perfect and Flaky Cream Cheese Pie Crust lives up to its (rather long) name!


And just for fun, my RLB collection. The top one is The Cake Bible, my first Rose cookbook and brave dog-attack survivor. It’s still in use over 25 years later!

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.

More Baking

More recipes from The Baking Bible.

Two weeks ago, I made the Heavenly Chocolate Mousse Cake:


First, you make a sponge cake, very lovely and light, which is used to line a loaf pan. Then a chocolate custard (seriously, I could have stopped right there and just eaten that), cooled and folded into stiff egg white for the mousse. Fill the pan, and a layer of cake to seal, and voila!


Very good, though I think if I made it again, I’d layer the cake and mousse. I’d like a higher ratio of cake and think it would look prettier.

This morning, Irish Cream Scones:


I’m not a huge scone fan, but these are quite good and make me look forward to baking the other scone recipe, especially as it has a raspberry butterscotch sauce.

Non-baking related, but fun, my Meyer Lemon Tree only produced three lemons this year, so I didn’t want to waste them. I used the peel to infuse olive oil  (the Dragon Blood) and the juice to make a simple syrup for cocktails (the Snake Oil):


A Christmas gift from #4 (and youngest) son, I absolutely love these fabulous bottles!