Archive for the 'General' Category

Rituals Abound

Posted in General on April 26th, 2012

Today I have the pleasure to unveil an artwork that I created for an exhibit called “Rituals”, which is curated by Jamie Fingal and Leslie Tucker Jenison, both very talented ladies, which will open at the International Quilt Festival in Long Beach, California this summer, and then travel to the International Quilt Market and Festival in Houston, Texas in the fall.  As part of the production, they are featuring short profiles of participating artists at their blog,  Let me just say that I am honored to be in such august company, and I urge you to wander on over to read about the other artists in this exhibit.

When I received the invitation to create something to submit for jurying into the show, I had some immediate ideas about various rituals to work with.  A close reading of the rules, however, eliminated most of them from consideration, as religious themes were not permitted.  I can understand that, from a curator’s perspective.  What remained was a theme I had long thought about pursuing, so I set about assembling materials.

Solvitur Ambulando

The title of this piece is “Solvitur Ambulando”, which is a Latin phrase that translates to “It is solved by walking.” which is cited as a quote from St. Augustine.  And I have found the truth of this sentiment in my own life.  When there is a question to be answered, a problem to be solved, some serious thinking to do, or just some stress to be worked out, I head down to the beach for a walk in the sand.  There is something very meditative about wandering down the beach – the soft crunch underfoot, the sound of the waves, the breeze in my face – that makes it easy to get lost in thought and turn over in my mind whatever it is that is needing my attention.

Though I do not walk a prescribed labyrinth as such, I chose that as the symbol for my walking meditation.  Labyrinths have been used by many cultures in many different formats, for millennia.  While a maze is designed to confuse and trick the walker, in a labyrinth, you will always be led in and out without confusion.  Knowing that, it is easy to forget the actual path, and just keep moving while you think, much like my walks on the beach.  When my feet get wet, it’s time to pay attention to the path again!

As curators, Jamie and Leslie have put a lot of work into this exhibit, and it will continue to be a lot of work as it travels.  They have been fortunate in finding sponsors to help with the financial aspects of getting the show up, and I am happy to give them a thank you shout-out:  in Long Beach – Moore’s Sewing Centers, and in Houston – Havel’s Sewing.  Having seen the list of participants, I know it will be well worth it to go see the exhibit, and I encourage you all to do so.

Be well, my little chickadees!

Huntsville, Finally!

Posted in General on March 27th, 2012

Back in January, I was scheduled to travel to Huntsville, Texas for the opening reception for the Deep Spaces exhibit at the Sam Houston Memorial Museum, and to teach a beading class for a lovely group of ladies in Conroe.  Well, Mother Nature had other plans, and sent a short blizzard our way, closing the airport and clogging the roads, and generally creating the type of chaos that only she can inflict.  After much fussing and fuming, it was finally arranged for me to travel to Huntsville to see the exhibit on its last day in mid-March.  The class was rescheduled, and everything was timed so that it was part of a longer trip that included teaching for the Glendale Quilt Show in Beautiful Downtown Burbank.  (More on that later.)

I was very impressed with the museum in Huntsville, and even more so when I walked into the gallery space where the exhibit was hung.  They have a large, spacious room, and it felt like the exhibit was hung “in the round”, making it easy to get both a view from some distance and some up-close-and-personal inspection of the work.

My hostess for this portion of the trip was Bobbe Nolan, one of the artists with work in the exhibit, and the woman who first suggested that this might be a good space to hang the show.  Bobbe and Patrick, her dear late husband, were very involved in getting the show into the museum and providing such a wonderful opportunity for all the artists.

Accompanying us on my viewing of the show was Hope Wilmarth, another artist with work in the show, whom I had met at dinner on a previous evening.  Her studio was so neat and tidy compared to mine, which really ought to have a sign on the door that says:  Hurricane Larkin was here!

Listening to these ladies talk about not only their work, but the rest of the show was fascinating, and an interesting look into their thought processes, likes and dislikes.

I also got to meet Casey Roon and Megan Buro, who were responsible for getting the show up and looking beautiful, and with whom I had been working out all the details via email over the past several months.  I would love to have been able to bottle some of their enthusiasm for the show to share with you!

Bobbe also took me on a tour of Huntsville (which was having a rain storm while I was there, which was a good thing considering the drought conditions over the past year), and a Bead Orgy in Spring, TX.  Three bead shops in one day – almost too much to take in!

Then it was off to Burbank to teach for some very lovely ladies at the Glendale Quilt Show.  Apart from the airline losing track of my suitcase full of teaching materials for 24 hours, this was a very fun event: quilts, vendors, classes, all in the Marriott convention center.  I had wonderful students, and felt well cared for by Corinne and Rasa and everyone from the organizing committee.  And once again, it was raining and blowing like crazy while I was there.  If I didn’t know better, I’d say the storm was following me!

But Spring has officially arrived, which in this corner of the world means:  if you don’t like the weather, wait 20 minutes!

Be well, my little chickadees, and create with reckless abandon!

Spring Isn’t Here, but …

Posted in General on January 24th, 2012

Several months ago, I was invited to participate in a challenge for a magazine called “Bead Design Studio”.  I agreed, even though my major beef with the current flock of beading magazines is that they tend to be “all jewelry all the time”.  But the timing was right, and a challenge from time to time is a good thing that forces me to think in different ways about my materials and processes.

The magazine is now on the newsstands, so I can finally post pictures.  We were each provided with a ceramic “cabochon” and four coordinating “lentils” as the start of our project.  The “cabochon” had two holes in it, which made it possible to use it as a pendant, and the four “lentils” had good sized holes the length of the bead rather than through the depth of the bead at one edge, which is what I have come to expect from “lentils”.  As I said, a good challenge.

Since this was for a magazine mostly about jewelry, I decided to make a box to keep the jewelry in, allowing me to use my fabric collage, free motion quilting, and embellishment skills to decorate the sides of the box, while devoting my bead embroidery to the lid.

The colors and flowers on the “cabochon” felt like a breath of spring, when in fact, it was raining and blowing all the leaves off the trees right outside my window.  I decided that a walk in the spring woods would feel good right about then, when the first of the crocus and snowdrops were coming up.

I had a great time creating this jewelry box for the challenge, but I have to admit that I initially had my doubts.  The pale blue, cream and yellow color scheme is not one I would normally work with.  (That’s why they call it a challenge!!)  But I gradually warmed up to it.

And what happened to those four “lentils”, you ask?  Take another look at the first picture.  I decided to use them as the feet for the box.

Even if you don’t usually participate in challenges, I encourage you to do one from time to time.  It will freshen up your outlook, force you to re-evaluate whatever is “normal” in your studio work, and may surprise you by being a joy to work on.

Be well, my little chickadees!

Deep Spaces opens at Edmonds

Posted in General on November 3rd, 2011

I am on my way to Tillamook, Oregon to take down the first part of the Deep Spaces exhibit.  Part Two is currently hanging at the Edmonds (Washington) Conference Center, where it is getting a lot of traffic as various groups hold meetings in the building.  The artworks are hung in the hallways, up the stairways, and all around the entry.  I had to miss the first opening (there are two) as I was in Fort Worth to teach.  But Van was able to attend with his camera, and I wanted to get these pictures up before I left town again.  The first one is the view up the stairway.

Three Deep Spaces pieces at Edmonds Conference Center

This next one is Sherri Spangler standing in front of her quilt “Other Worlds”, with David Jones, the local poet who wrote about her quilt.  More on the poets in a moment.

Artist and Poet in front of "their" quilt

This is as good a picture as Van could get from his vantage point at the poetry reading at the opening.  The poets were in a conference room and a photo of the quilt they were reading about was projected during the reading.  The poet is Terry Johnson, and the quilt is “Eighteen Moons” by Linda McLaughlin.

Poet reading while one of the quilts is on screen

About six weeks before the opening, I sent a disk with photos of the 22 quilts that were to be hung at the Edmonds location to the poets, so they had plenty of time to write.  With any luck at all, we will be able to entice them back for a repeat performance at the second opening reception for the November 17th art walk in downtown Edmonds.

Be well, and stay warm, my little chickadees!

October Awareness

Posted in General on October 24th, 2011

Unless you live in a hut on a mountaintop with no satellite access, you know that October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, and the world has turned pink.  Runs and fundraisers abound, and the Komen Foundation logo is everywhere.  In connection with Raven Rocks Gallery here on the island, we decided on a slightly different approach.  I made up a bunch of these little bracelets, complete with a pink ribbon bead and magnetic clasp (no cheesy stretch elastic for me!), and we are selling them at the gallery for $15.00.
September fund raiser at Raven Rock
All the money we raise from this little endeavor will go to a local organization – Friends for Friends Medical Assistance Fund.  These good folks help low income, uninsured women pay for their mammograms, in addition to a wide range of other assistance.

Until I run out of the pink ribbon beads, I am offering these bracelets here as well.  Just send me $17 via PayPal (that extra $2 will cover PayPal fees and shipping costs) using my email address:   In the body of the message, include your wrist measurement.  Wrap a measuring tape around your wrist – snug, but not tight.  The addition of the clasp will provide the ease for comfortable wear.

If we manage to sell all 50 bracelets, we’ll be able to send a nice $750 check to the fund.  Not bad for a little place like Whidbey Island!

Be well, my little chickadees!

An old school gal writes for a new fangled magazine

Posted in General on October 11th, 2011

The request came out of the blue.  Would I be willing to write an article for an online magazine?  Now, I’ve written articles for magazines in the past, and have written a book and published patterns.  But this was a new one.  I would submit text and pictures, and it would be organized and arranged by other hands with no input from me.  No galley pages to review, no proofing – just write the thing and send it.  Okay, I admit, readily, that I am not the most techno-savvy gal on the block.  That’s why I have my most dearly beloved down the hall to handle all these digital matters for me.  I work with needles and threads and fabrics and beads – old fashioned materials, to say the least.

So, I dutifully did my writing and arranged for the photos and sent them off to the capable hands of Jane Davila.  When I got my advance copy of the online magazine a few days ago, my reaction to what had been done with my words and pictures could be summed up in one word:  WOW!  The colors are vibrant, the text is easy to read.  There’s even a really swoopy pop-up sidebar!  It’s almost enough to make me want to spend more time at my computer instead of in the studio.  And where is all this gorgeousness?  In the newest issue of Quilting Arts “In Stitches”.  You can get your own copy at the Interweave Press online store at or from iTunes on your iPad.  (Look for In Stitches, Volume 5.)

And what, you are no doubt wondering, did I write about?  Well, for some time now I’ve been playing around with ways to use fabric and embellishments and beads in 3-D – vases, boxes, shrines, etc.  The article I wrote describes my processes for making cube shaped boxes, which are not only beautiful storage for personal treasures, but also make wonderful gifts (or gift boxes).

Treasure Box IV

Jane has arranged a blog tour with the artists who contributed to this issue of the magazine.  I am honored to be in such company, and know that you will enjoy reading both the magazine and the blog posts from these very talented ladies!

Tour Schedule:
Monday 10/10 Lindsey Murray
Tuesday 10/11 Larkin Van Horn
Wednesday 10/12 Cheryl Sleboda
Thursday 10/13 Alma Stoller
Friday 10/14  Therese May
Monday 10/17  Barb Forrister
Tuesday 10/18  Carol Ann Waugh
Wednesday 10/19  Jane Davila

Be well, my little chickadees!


And The Winner Is . . .

Posted in General on September 19th, 2011

This morning, I reached into a bowl with the names of everyone who had left a comment about the strangest things to be used as beads. And out came the name Lou Roos! Congratulations! I know you are going to enjoy this DVD, and find it helpful on your beading journey! (Lou – I have sent email privately about shipping.)

Now I need to get back to my own beading project. I’m under deadline for a magazine challenge. No pictures until the magazine comes out, but then I’ll post them here.

Be well, my little chickadees!

Bead It Like You Mean It

Posted in General on September 15th, 2011

Greetings, My Little Chickadees!

I’m always happy to have a chance to talk beads, so I was deeply honored when Lyric Kinard asked if I would write a bit about her new adventure – an instructional DVD about beading on fabric, specifically quilts.  I’ve known Lyric for some time, and consider her to be a bright shining light on the contemporary quilt scene – full of talent and enthusiasm.  But more importantly, I consider her a friend.  And one of the things we have in common is a love of beading.

DVD cover

Ask any room full of beaders any question, and you’ll get lots of different answers.  What thread do they like?  Which needles do they use?  What tools do they like to have handy?  Lyric’s DVD starts out with a discussion of the things she likes to use, including why she likes them.  And then she gets to the fun stuff – the stitches.  Her instructions are clear, and easy to understand and follow.  Even a complete novice would be able to work along with her and complete the stitches.  She covers such things as single beads, back stitching straight lines and curves, dealing with bugles and big chunky beads, stacks and fringe, and a bezel technique for securing cabochons to the surface of a quilt.   She also takes the viewers through one of my personal favorites, which she calls “scrumbles” (I call it “mossing” – vive la difference!).

After she covers the stitches, Lyric moves on to discussing the technical aspects of beading a completed quilt (as opposed to beading before the back is applied), giving a nod to the quilt police, who love a neat and tidy quilt back.  And then – dare I say it? – actually gluing beads onto the quilt!  (I first ran into this particular aberration from another friend, Jenny Raymond, who glues beads onto garments.)  Okay, so not something I will be trying anytime soon, but Lyric makes a compelling case for the time saving benefits of glue.

I want to be sure to give a shout out to Bonnie McCaffrey, who was the videographer for this project, and to congratulate both Bonnie and Lyric on a job well done.  Both the audio and video were clear and easy to watch and listen to.  And I really appreciate the scene selection feature, so that viewers can easily go back to review a particular stitch.

And now for the giveaway part:  Someone is going to get a free copy of this DVD, and it could be you!  To qualify for the drawing, you need to leave a comment.  But not just any old comment.  You need to answer this question:  If it’s true that anything that has a hole in it is a bead, what is the strangest “bead” you can imagine attaching to a quilt?   I’ll draw the winner on Monday, Sept. 19th, and announce it here.

The giveaway will continue through the next few weeks, so if you don’t win here, you can follow the bouncing blogs and keep trying.  Here’s the rest of the schedule:

Sept 16 Susan Sorell
Sept 19 Kelli Nina Perkins
Sept 21  Sharon Chapman
Sept 23 Leslie Jennison
Sept 26 Carla Sonheim
Sept 28 Gloria Hansen
Sept 30 Laura Wasilowski
Oct 3  Carol Sloane
Oct 5 Sue Bleiweiss
Oct 7  Jill Berry
Oct 10 Jane LaFazio
Oct 12 Tracie Lynn Huskamp

Or, you can just dash over to Lyric’s website and order your very own copy here:



Deep Spaces at the Latimer Quilt & Textile Center

Posted in General on September 14th, 2011

This past Sunday, the Deep Spaces exhibit had it’s initial showing, with a nice reception (red velvet cake – YUMM!), and a good turnout.  Several of the artists represented in the exhibit traveled to Tillamook, Oregon for the event, and it was wonderful to be able to spend some time with them, while we all viewed the artworks.

For the first part of this exhibit, we had to split everything up for two different venues.  At the Latimer, we hung 28 of the wall pieces, and the other 22 will hang in Edmonds, Washington starting in mid-October.  (See the August 25th blog post for dates and venues.)  There is also a display case at this venue, which we will not have at any of the others, so I badgered my friends to make or loan pieces to me that went with the theme.  I was delighted with the results!

Below you will find some pictures from the show.  We have produced a catalog, if you’d like to see all the artwork.  You’ll be able to order the catalog by the weekend by visiting  (We are anxiously awaiting the FedEx truck with the boxes of disks.)   All proceeds from the sale of the catalog will be donated to Doctors Without Borders.

Image from Latimer show

Image from Latimer show

Image from Latimer show

Image from Latimer show

Image from Latimer show

Deep Spaces Exhibit

Posted in General on August 25th, 2011

Front of Deep Spaces postcard

Deep Spaces
A Textile and Mixed Media Exhibit

Curator Larkin Jean Van Horn selected the theme “Deep Spaces” following a conversation with friends about the limits of space and the photography from the Hubble telescope. While it was clear that textile art dealing with the cosmos would be an appealing exhibit, the title implied so much more. Artists interested in participating in the exhibit were encouraged to interpret the theme in any manner that suited them, and the entries were outstanding. The artists went deep into space, deep underground, deep under water, deep into the woods, canyons and prairies, and deep into the mysteries of the heart. Each artist worked in her own style, whether photorealism or pure abstraction or something in between. Holding all this wide variety together is a common size (18 inches wide by 45 inches long).

The task of choosing the fifty pieces in the exhibit from the hundred-plus submitted fell to Larkin and two other highly experienced textile artists, Debra Calkins and Anne Niles Davenport. For one of the venues (Latimer), Larkin also invited several artist friends to create three-dimensional works for an existing display case. In the final total, we have 58 works from 19 states and two international entries.

In line with Larkin’s desire to do good in the world wherever possible, a catalog has been created for this exhibit, and will be for sale in disk format, either at the exhibit venues or from the Deep Spaces website:, or in book form from Blurb: (A direct link will be available on when it is ready.) All proceeds from the sale of the catalogs will go to Doctors Without Borders.

Dates and venues:

September 5 to November 6, 2011
Latimer Quilt and Textile Center
2105 Wilson River Loop Road – Tillamook, Oregon
Opening Reception: Sept. 11, 2011,  Noon to 4:00 pm
28 textile art and 8 special 3D pieces

October 20 to November 30, 2011
Edmonds Conference Center
201 Fourth Ave. N. – Edmonds, Washington
ArtsCrush Opening: Oct. 20, 2011, 5:00 to 8:00 pm
Art Walk Opening: Nov. 17, 2011, 5:00 to 8:00 pm
22 textile art

January 10 to March 12, 2012
Sam Houston Memorial Museum
1402 19th Street, Huntsville, Texas
Opening Reception:  January 19, 2012, 5:30 to 7:30 pm

March 28 to June 24, 2012
LaConner Quilt and Textile Museum
700 Second Street, La Conner, Washington
Opening Reception:  March 31, 2012, 2:00 to 4:00 pm

Due to the limits of space, 28 of the fifty pieces, plus eight 3D pieces will be shown at the Latimer while the remaining 22 will hang in Edmonds. The full fifty pieces will be shown at the other venues.