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.






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.