studio: before and after


For those of you who might think that my neat little stitches come from a tidy person, these photos tell otherwise. During a project, I never clean up. One thing leads to another, so it can be a year or more before I feel the need to start with a clean slate.


I recently finished Slow Work… Fine Work, which you can see and read about here. It seemed like a good time to pack away all of the floss, beads and little do-dads that are pulled out of hiding while I’m working. This year I’ll be making some things that I can’t talk about or show yet. So, I’ll have to come up with other ideas for this blog for a while.


My work area is pretty small and I usually lay out parts on an ironing board within reach. Whatever I’m sewing is in my hands and the table fills up with materials.  There are still piles of stuff which I can’t figure out how to organize, so they are pushed aside.


This is where I paint faces on wooden beads and carve wooden shapes. It won’t be clear for long. One thing’s for sure– I’m horizontally challenged!




Detail from the “Jumping Joan” illustration from Pocketful of Posies.

As a former Facebook-phobic member of our modern society, I must admit that I “like” tending my page and hearing from people from all over the world. It’s been about 3 1/2 months since I became a part of this phenomenon and somehow (I still don’t understand how it all works) 1,000 people have found my Facebook page and clicked the “Like” button.

Last fall, a group of Brazilians turned around my resistance to Facebook, when this blog’s statistics suddenly showed a huge surge coming from a Facebook post from Brazil that showed a photo of mine. I found out that this little wren from Birds of Beebe Woods (pictured below) brought 5 thousand hits in one day! Now that I have a Facebook page of my own, the Brazilians are finding me again. When mile-long names like Angela Maria Izabel Ferreira Gonzalez Souza show up, I smile. Not to mention the Russians, Australians, Turks, and Canadians who frequent my page. Thank you for making my introduction to Facebook an enjoyable experience!


Slow Work… Fine Work


In art school, I began as a print-maker, working in etching, engraving and lithography. Printmaking is all about lines, dots and dashes, which all combine to create an image. It’s very different from watercolor painting, for instance, where color can merge and fade gradually. Embroidery uses distinct lines, dots and dashes, too. They show up in my artwork as chained-stitched doodles, french knots and felt-covered and thread-wrapped wire.

My newest fabric relief is a kind of contemporary sampler, which celebrates the Chinese proverb Slow Work… Fine Work, which appealed to me for obvious reasons. The finished piece is available as a print in my Etsy Shop.

slowworksketch2WM copy

I decided to incorporate an old wooden frame that has been sitting around for years, waiting to be useful. I wrote out the words in felt-covered wire. This is a new technique that I’ve been developing over the past few years, starting as part of the border in Rabbitat and later featured extensively in Birds of Beebe Woods. I’m pretty open about how to make a lot of things on this blog, but this new process is a personal artistic expression that I wish to keep private.



I pieced together small scraps of felt with a feather stitch and chain-stitched a free-form pattern on top.


I spent the hours on the train trip to New York last January stitching this back ground piece.


By the time we were at the hotel, I had finished half! The other half was completed on the way home.



I covered the embroidered felt background outside edges with a rounded outline of brown felt. Next came the thorny vine, made with wire and black embroidery floss.



I strung some beads to go around the double oval word sections and made some spider’s webs with wire and metallic thread.


Then, I drilled holes in the inside corners of the frame to sew the spider’s web’s in place.


I made a blue felt-covered wire border and sewed it to the frame’s top two inside corners. No glue, just stitches, through more drilled holes.


The two lower corners are finished off with a scalloped-edged triangular felt shape, decorated with a bead in each corner. I couldn’t resist adding more blue wavy lines with thread wrapped wire, too.



The center double oval section needed more definition, so I added another border of hot pink scalloped felt. I like to represent something alive in my artwork, so I made a spider of buttons and thread wrapped wire legs. The original piece is 15″ x 13″. My husband Rob took a photograph of it on the stairway, which gets nice natural light.

slowworkphotoAnd this is the photo we used to make the print, without the watermark, of course.


Signed and dated prints of Slow Work… Fine Work are available in my Etsy Shop. The copyright watermark will not appear on the print. I’m hoping the embellished proverb will be inspirational to artists, quilters, embroiderers, and anyone who loves fine meticulous work. The last photo shows how the PRINT can be displayed in a standard 8.5 x 11 document frame.


Slow Work... Fine Work, 8.5" x 11" Print

Slow Work… Fine Work, 8.5″ x 11″ Print

my motto


Slow Work… Fine Work, framed 8.5″ x 11″ Print

During this cold and snowy winter, I’ve been holed up in my studio, stitching a new piece. I’ve adopted the Chinese proverb, Slow Work… Fine Work as my new motto, which is featured in this modern-day sampler. Soon, I will show detailed photos of how I made it (here) and give information about buying this 8.5″ x 11″ signed print (now available in my Etsy Shop). The photo above shows the PRINT displayed in a standard document frame. It’s perfect fro a studio or sewing room. I think that artists, quilters, embroiderers, and other people who do slow, meticulous work are a special breed in our modern technical era. This piece is for us!

early morning snow cover


This has been a snowy winter. Last week, a few inches of new powder fell overnight. When I woke up and looked outside, the sun was just beginning to light the sky, showing off a fine coating of powdered sugar over every surface. It was the kind of snow that sticks to every branch, like it was sprayed on. I grabbed my camera and headed out, to try to capture the magic of the early morning before it melted away.

snowhouseQuissett harbor looked ethereal.


The village green in Falmouth was as picturesque as ever. I walked around the green and took more photographs of snow-covered houses, walls and St. Barnabas Church.






Woods Hole: snowy doorways


If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you will have noticed that I have a thing for doorways. Some of these Woods Hole houses have been shown before, but in other seasons. I took these photos after last weekend’s snow storm. The summer houses were undisturbed, but the year ’round ones had shoveled paths.  Enjoy!









Russian video of my artwork

This YouTube video was pointed out to me a couple of days ago. Russian, Aleksandr Smolyaninov has taken images of my artwork from this blog (I presume) and blended them together to the sounds of a bouncy polka played by Larry Cheskey and his Orchestra. This explains why my blog and Facebook stats have been showing a lot of visitors from Russia and other countries from the former Soviet Union. I think Aleksandr has done a good job, although the video’s bursting title letters aren’t to my taste. Rollicking music and moving photos make it active and enjoyable to watch. Should I be concerned that a video was made without my permission? I don’t think so — it’s a good way for lots of people to see my artwork. Anyways, I have sent a message that I would like him to ask permission to use my images.

Birds flying to Paducah!


Great News! I just found out that Birds of Beebe Woods will be part of the international exhibit, Fantastic Fibers 2013 at the Yeiser Art Center in Paducah, Kentucky this spring. The exhibit will be April 6 – May 4, 2013. I’m pleased that my fabric relief piece will be shown along with other contemporary and innovative works created with fiber as the primary medium.

The American Quilter’s Society Annual Show and Contest will be held in Paducah from April 24th-27th, 2013, so I’m hoping that many of the quilters in town will go to the Yeiser Art Center and see the Fantastic Fibers show as well.

Birds will have to be sent down to Kentucky soon, so Rob is going to whip up a shipping crate right away! Won’t be in Paducah to see the real piece this spring? Here’s the next best thing — I have 2 different note cards and a poster of Birds of Beebe Woods for sale in my Etsy Shop.


After the snow storm


Last weekend’s storm brought about 10 inches of snow to our end of Cape Cod, but other parts of New England had 2 to 3 feet! The public was instructed to stay off the roads during the storm. On Sunday, we went out in the early morning sunshine and took photographs.


We headed down Sippewissett Rd. toward Woods Hole. The houses along the road had a story book look to them.snowfeb13d

We then turned onto Quissett Harbor Rd., passing this house on our way to the water.




At Quissett harbor, everything was covered with snow.


In the village, we stopped in front of the Woods Hole School, which I attended in the 60′s. It’s no longer a public elementary school, but houses head start and a day care in the winter and the Children’s School of Science in the summer.


Further down Water St., I stood in the cold wind to get this shot of the draw bridge and Woods Hole Community Hall.



Even in winter, there are boats and house boats in the sheltered Eel Pond. Some summer houses are boarded up and still…


while other houses show evidence of people at play.


Posies is traveling to Illinois!

from "Pocketful of Posies"

from “Pocketful of Posies”

“Pussy cat, pussy cat, where have you been? I’ve been to Mount Vernon to see the Queen.” The Pocketful of Posies Traveling Exhibit will be on display from Feb. 23 – May 5, 2013 at the Cedarhurst Center for the Arts in Mount Vernon, Illinois. The collection of 50 original embroidered illustrations from the book are divided into two groups of 25. One group is currently being shown until Feb. 22, 2013 at the Foothills Arts Council, Elkin, North Carolina.

from "Pocketful of Posies" 2010

from “Pocketful of Posies” 2010

We took the six boxes to the UPS Store in the truck and they are right now traveling west, half way across the country to Illinois. I hope that some of you have a chance to see the show in either North Carolina or Illinois. Next stop: Fresno, California!