Endings & Beginnings

Wrapped and burned Tulle, found bolts and washers, wire

Wrapped and burned Tulle, found bolts and washers, wire

After over a year spent working on the Foundations: Textiles course from OCA, I’ve realized that it isn’t taking me where I want to go. This is a mixed media art course, rather than a purely textiles course, with minimal teacher/tutor support. While this may be perfect for many students, personally I need a bit more guidance, a more hands-on, textile-based practice. I’m withdrawing from the course, though I plan to finish the last assignments independently, but without the time & expense of submission and the lengthy analytical posts. (What, you’re not sorry to be denied my artistic navel-gazing?!)


I’ve learned a great deal this past year, been introduced to amazing artists and found some wonderful resources that I will continue to use. Understanding the important role research and sketchbook work can play is probably the most valuable thing I’ll take away from this experience. However, weaving is the area I really want to focus on, and am looking forward to Rebecca Mezoff‘s Tapestry Weaving course, starting in September!

Burnt edges

Burnt edges


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!

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.


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.

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).