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.

Chicago show on Friday

Posted in General on June 8th, 2011

Sorry for the short notice, but in case you are in the Chicago area I will have an exhibit in downtown Chicago this month, with the opening on Friday evening. No, it’s not textiles, but it is beadwork, and I am thrilled to have been given this opportunity. I’ll be at the opening, so please stop in if you can. I’d love to see you! Here’s the release from the gallery:

Finestra logo


an installation by
Larkin Jean Van Horn

Creating a thing of beauty out of the merely ordinary, nationally recognized fiber artist Larkin Van Horn applies a skin of woven beadwork and embellishments to the humble driftwood. Reminiscent to the reliquaries of old, these intimate artworks are richly decorated on the outside, plain and ordinary on the inside.

Beaded Driftwood

Beaded Driftwood


Beaded Driftwood

The opening reception is a part of the monthly “Second Fridays at the Fine Arts Building” when the building’s galleries will be open, along with many studios of artists, musicians, singers, yoga instructors, massage therapists & more! So come for our reception and stay for the rest!

June 9 – 30, 2011

Opening Reception
Friday, June 10th
5:00 – 9:00 PM

Gallery Hours:
Fridays & Saturdays, 2:00 – 6:00 PM
and by appointment, 847-977-0526

Finestra Art Space
410 S. Michigan Ave.
Suite 516
Chicago, IL 60605


Solo/Small Group Show Planning

Posted in General on June 4th, 2011

Once upon a time, I ran into a list that someone had written up about planning for an exhibition for one person or a small group. I tweaked it to better suit me, and it has served me well. Then a lovely lady on the QuiltArt list asked for advice on planning for a solo show, and I sent it on to her. It has been suggested that I might like to publish the list so others could make use of it, so, here it is. Some items may apply to your show and others may not. Tweak it to suit yourself, and use it in good health. And have a great show!

Exhibition Time Line – Individual/Small Group

At least three months before the show
– find exhibition space (may need to be booked much earlier)
– decide on show dates (may need to be booked much earlier)
– decide on reception date
– decide on show title
– delegate tasks (if group show)
– photograph sample artwork for press release
– telephone local papers and magazines to find out press release lead times
– find out if papers/magazines want color or B&W photos
– measure the space
– determine how many pieces may be included or allocated space per artist

Ten weeks before the show
– write the press release

Eight weeks before the show
– mail the press release (may need to be mailed slightly earlier or later depending on the publication)
– design announcement

Six weeks before the show
– take announcement to printer
– update mailing list

One month before the show
– make final decisions about which art to include
– frame the art (as needed)
– buy stamps, labels, and other supplies for mailing announcements
– assemble binder with bio, statement, and photos for each artist in the show

Two weeks before the show
– mail announcements
– send email to digital list
– plan and order food for the reception
– decide what you are going to wear
– line up helpers to take care of food and sales at the reception
– make a description label for each piece in the show
– write price list

Several days before the show
– hang work
– round up non-perishable reception supplies and a reception book for visitors to sign
– make last-minute changes in labels and price list

Before the reception
– purchase perishable foods
– set up refreshment table
– set up guest book and photo book

At the reception
– make visitors feel welcome
– have fun

During the run of the exhibition
– arrange private tours

After the show
– take down the art
– deliver pieces to people who bought them
– repair and paint gallery walls
– send thank-you notes

A House in the Woods

Posted in General on September 29th, 2010

For the past 14 years or so, I have taught for a week or two every summer at the Grunewald Guild, an organization dedicated to finding the connections between art and faith. They have lovely facilities in the Cascade mountains in Washington state – the original Grange hall for the Plain Valley (now their meeting hall and dining room), the delightful old one room schoolhouse (now the guild library, classroom, and dormitory), several other old buildings and a couple that were built by the guild. They are now celebrating their 30th year.

Gruenewald Guild Fiber Art Studio

Grünewald Guild Fiber Art Studio

About a year ago, I was offered an artist residency at Grunewald, in the newest building on campus – the Fiber Arts Studio. We settled on September of 2010 and I walked around on air for several months in anticipation of a large chunk of time to actually work on my art without the distractions of my usual melodrama-type life. And then reality set in. I drive an old Volvo sedan, and there was no way I was going to be able to transport my studio, or even a substantial portion of it, up the mountain to the guild. I would have to do some planning and scheming to figure out how much stuff I could cram into the car. Which meant I would have to have some idea of what I wanted to work on while I was there. More planning. I must have changed my mind several hundred times, but then I decided to let some exhibition deadlines be my guide, and pack accordingly. At the last moment, with a little space to spare, I decided to toss in some Timtex and perle cotton, just in case.

I arrived at the guild mid-afternoon, got myself unpacked and moved into the studio. Part of the building is guest rooms, and I moved into the one right across the hall from the bathroom. (Everyone who knows why, raise your hand. I thought so.) By that evening, I was set up and ready to get to work. I was also exhausted, so I crawled into bed with a book, instead. I should probably say a word about books. I love them. And it’s very easy for me to get sucked into an easy chair with a cup of tea and a stack of books and not be heard from until the next year! I was there to work, but I also brought a stack of books in case I needed to take a break.

Those of you who work with sewing machines know that they can have a serious attitude problem, and will break down or just get cranky on you at the least convenient moment. Which, of course, is just what my machine did. Get cranky, that is. It would still sew, but only on certain combinations of materials. Not, of course, the combination of materials I needed it to sew on for the exhibition pieces I brought to work on.

Tree House I

Tree House I

After a couple of very frustrating days, I surrendered, and dug into my materials to see what else I could find to do. And that’s where the Timtex and perle cotton came in. I decided to spend my time exploring three dimensional structures with fabric, starting with some basic boxes, moving on to a shrine, and a couple of houses. I’ve done this before, but wanted to work out some more of the technical issues I’d run into. I learned a lot about what it takes to make these things stable, as well as how hard on your hands it can be to stitch through so many layers if you don’t have some needle nose pliers handy!

I also learned a bit about myself and how I generally respond to sound and motion. I have always had trouble being a student in a classroom full of sewing machines and people, and generally sit by the back door so I don’t bother anyone. I always thought it was the noise that was giving me trouble. But in the fiber arts building, there was noise that didn’t bother me at all. Staff people were coming and going, running the laundry equipment, moving things around, all of it usually out of my sight. But as soon as someone walked into the room, or stood outside one of the windows or doors (did I mention that the studio is 3/4 glass?) and into my peripheral vision, my motions got jerky – I’d move my head slightly and my hands would also move slightly. I got some really garbage-level quilting stitches if anyone else was in the room that I could see. It took me awhile to figure out to just stop everything instead of trying to keep going. Very instructive.

Over the course of 2-1/2 weeks, I managed to complete six 3-D structures, get some 12″X12″ collages quilted, finish a necklace which will be a gift, and figure out a few things about how I work and the difference between working in my own familiar surroundings where everything I need is at my fingertips, and working in a beautiful, but unfamiliar space, with limited access to materials. The limitations certainly spark some creative thinking, and that’s a very good thing. But there were things I had left at home that would have come in very handy while I was away.

Treasure Box III

Treasure Box III

A residency is probably not for everyone. You need to be able to start yourself up every morning, focus on the task at hand, concentrate on the reason you are there, buckle down and get some work done. On the other hand, a retreat might well be for everyone. Take some time for yourself, check into a motel for a weekend with a stack of books, walk on the beach or in the woods (take a bell – there are bears about!), eat and sleep well. Either way, you’ll return to your regularly scheduled life with a different outlook and a lighter step.

Be well, my little chickadees!

Words for Wednesday: Love and Roses

Posted in Words for Wednesday on June 16th, 2010

A very long time ago, I heard this poem sung by a sweet young tenor. It was beautiful and sad and made my heart sigh. It took a couple of hearings to understand all the words, but it still makes me smile whenever I hear or read it.

A Red, Red Rose
by Robert Burns

O my luve’s like a red, red rose,
That’s newly sprung in June;
O my luve’s like the melodie
That’s sweetly played in tune.

As fair art thou, my bonnie lass,
So deep in luve am I;
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
Till a’ the seas gang dry.

Till a’ the seas gang dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt wi’ the sun:
O I will luve thee still, my dear,
When the sands o’ life shall run.

And fare thee weel, my only luve,
And fare thee weel awhile!
And I will come again, my luve,
Though it were ten thousand mile.

Words for Wednesday: Peace

Posted in Words for Wednesday on June 9th, 2010

The Peace of Wild Things
by Wendell Berry

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.