Reception at the Art Center in Fayetteville

Saturday, June 27, 2009

I had a great time last night at the opening reception for the new exhibition, Art Lives, at the Art Center in Fayetteville, NC. It's a group show for the North Carolina Regional Artist Grant recipients. I was exhibiting brand new work: the encaustic pieces that I received the grant to do. I was especially pleased to see my nest sculpture in the gallery after it has been setting on my studio floor for so long. What a difference it made to have it well lit and on a pedestal. Best of all, my time lapse video was featured next to the piece and it drew a cluster of people around my work the entire night. It was a lot of fun to step up behind people and listen to their comments as they mused about the materials and processes I used. Then I would say, "no...she did it this way or that way" and we would banter on for awhile before I finally confessed that I was indeed the artist. Having the time lapse video to accompany the artwork was such an excellent conversation starter. I absolutely loved it.

Embroidery - not just for old ladies

Friday, June 26, 2009

I'm still working on my new piece called Nasar, and I will be working on it for quite awhile. After I screenprinted my images on the surface, I knew it needed another layer of dimension so I decided to embroider it. That's 8 feet of needle work! Needless to say, after the first few hours my fingertips looked like hamburger, so now I'm taping them up with duct tape. How do little old ladies do this without so much as a chipped nail?

Toward Wholeness

Sunday, June 21, 2009

I recently finished up this piece titled "Toward Wholeness". It was an ambitious project for me because I don't really know much about sewing yet. Experience is the best teacher I guess. Anyway, the size is 45" x 90". A major component in the work is made up from the journal entries I kept when I was in Army bootcamp and the months right after it while I was in advanced training studying to be a photojournalist at the Defense Information School in Maryland. My journal entries are written as prayers to God. When I'm writing, I can really just pour it all out...the good, the bad, and the ugly.
As I was transferring the entries onto the fabric, I reread them and was reminded of how faithful God has been to me. The journal is nearly 7 years old and in hindsight, I see how God's hand was holding mine the whole time.

I guess that's what this series is about. Remembering. Trusting in God's faithfulness, surrendering myself, seeking Him. It's not always easy though. Everyone struggles with doubt, fears, and insecurities at times. When those kind of feelings come up inside of me, I'm comforted by a verse in Psalm 91, "He shall cover you with His feathers and under His wings you shall take refuge". There's safety in abiding in the presence of God.

The nest-like image that's screenprinted onto the fabric represents a spiritual source to me. I drew the design over and over again one day while on an airplane. I didn't realize it at the time, but the shape is like a Mandala, a circular pattern that is used as an aid in meditation. The psychoanalyst Carl Jung saw the mandala as a representation of the unconscious self.

Process is a key component to my work. I like the tedious aspects of a project. The little, time consuming things that make up the whole of a piece is meditative to me, it’s a way for me to let my mind go while my body works.

I should get the "mother-of-the-year award" for my abilities in multi-tasking!

One of the things I didn't take into consideration when I started working with fabric is that my dogs would think of my project as another cushy thing for them to curl up in. I could NOT keep them off of my lap the whole time I was stitching. They love this new direction I'm taking in my work.

Lastly, I made a time lapse video while I worked on the piece. I find that this is the best way for me to step back and review the process and the work itself. Enjoy the YouTube video. Adjust your volume as necessary and, if you have a high speed internet connection please watch it in the High Quality (HQ) setting.

Nasar - stage 5

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


I just finished the second piece in a new series. One of the major componants in the design of it is over 80 journal entries I wrote while I was in Army basic training and the months right after that. Journaling has always been a part of my life. I write out my prayers to God. It's in these prayer journals that I can be vulnerable and honest.
Part of the process of making this new piece has been to reread the journal pages (which are nearly 7 years old). As I do this, I am in awe of Gods faithfulness to me. In hindsight, I can see how He has protected me, provided for me, comforted me, loved me, and answered my prayers in so many ways.

Type Drawing

Sunday, June 14, 2009

I just downloaded a cool app for my iPhone called Type Drawing. You can type in a word or phrase, select one of their background or choose one of your own, then draw on the screen with your finger and save it. Pretty neat.

Nasar - stage 2

Thursday, June 11, 2009

After the instant coffee dried on my new project which I'm calling Nasar, I added additional depth by rubbing it with various colors of ink. Now, the texture of the vinyl is more apparent. I'm enjoying the experiment nature of this process.

Number 3

I'm working on about four new pieces of artwork this summer (not to
mention the leather masks, leather journal covers, and leather
jewelry). I like to work on multiple projects at once so if I need to
think something through on one piece, I can just move on to another
one and so forth. These pieces are all fairly large, ambitious, and
experimental. So I'm trying things I've never tried before - some
work as planned, others - not so much. But I'm loving the new
challenges. A few days ago I started this third one by pouring instant
coffee onto an 8 ft piece of white vinyl. At this point, I'm calling
it "Nasar", the Hebrew word for "keep"(guard, protect). Stay tuned...

Imperfect things are more beautiful

Monday, June 8, 2009

Today I started a new project in a series I'm working on. I'm using
sheer fabric that I bought years ago and used as curtains. I love
simple window treatments that do nothing more than diffuse the
daylight and easily move with a slight breeze.
I also love to reuse and repurpose things. I've taken these delicate
fabrics from their hiding place under the bed, and i'm giving them a
new life as a work of art. The first part of this process was to stain
the fabric with instant coffee crystals. As I sprayed, sprinkled, and
shook the coffee on using my fingers, I saw the fabric change into
something even more beautiful than before. The unpredictable splotches
and drips bring out something poetic in the fabric. Years ago, I
remember ironing and steaming the fabric with such care; I cringed
when a tiny spot got on an edge. Today I just surrendered to the
intuitive process of making this new piece. I'll be posting images as
I go.

Batiking Workshop

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Today my friend September Kruger came to my studio at ACME to do a batiking demonstration. We had a great time experimenting with her new soy wax. This was my first time trying anything like this but I love my results. As for the process, I used a wooden batiking stamp and dipped it into hot wax, then stamped my organic cotton fabric. I also used another tool that I dipped into wax and made little dots where ever I wanted some. This gave me a design on the fabric. Then we mixed up several earth toned dyes and painted it onto the fabric. The wax resisted the dye. I dried the fabric using a hair dryer to speed up the process so I could go onto the next step. I added a second layer of wax to the fabric around the edges. When it dried I crumbled it up and broke the wax. Then I added a brown dye in those areas. The dye went into the cracks only. A very cool effect. Then I ironed the fabric between layers of newspaper and newsprint paper to lift the wax off. That was the most time consuming thing about the process. It took a lot of ironing to get all the wax off.

The first coat of wax

After adding the dye

The finished product

A detail showing the crackle effect

September will be giving a batiking workshop this summer. See the info below for more details.

Basic Batik Workshop at Wabi Sabi Warehouse!

Saturday, July 18, 2009
$70 includes all supplies
Contact: Dixon Stetler

Whether or not you consider yourself artistic, experimenting with batik will lead you to new discoveries about yourself and your creative process. With an understanding of the basic techniques of batik, you can explore a contemporary interpretation of this ancient medium. Layers of color will be created through successive steps of waxing and dyeing, using traditional tjanting tools, brushes and sponges. Prepare to play with the unpredictable, and work intensively on several pieces of batik. Students will complete either an apron or canvas tote.

Class size is limited to 12 adults
For registration and information:

Leather Journal #2

Yesterday I finished up this second leather journal cover. This one was more of a challenge than I thought it would be, mainly because I had to set so many rivets and the back wasn't totally flat. I also had to drill a lot of holes into the metal radio piece. I used some found objects to create the front piece and had to think things through carefully in order to allow the knob to continue to move from "on" to "off".

I also hand stitched to whole cover again using an awl and waxed thread. A rough job on the ol' hands. I broke about 6 needles in the project, but luckily, no animals were harmed...ha ha, unless you count the cow that yielded the leather. But I digress...

On the back I burnt in (like branding) a radio tower radiating frequency. I can't wait to get some leather tooling equipment. Hopefully, I'll be making a trip to the Tandy Leather store in the next week or two.

I'm interested to hear some suggestions for other journal covers.