Scorched Earth: Part VII of Trajectory: Escape Velocity


Here I’ve created a slice of a cityscape (most likely in the United States). It is so full of people, they can’t all fit in the buildings any more. They are pushing out the tops, like little pieces of popcorn bursting forth.

The panel is called “Scorched Earth” because it hints at global warming.  It’s done on red background, which is mostly obscured by the buildings, but you can see a few glimpsed between a couple of them.

(I know part VI got skipped. I’m working on it and hope to have it done in the next day or so.)


Complexity: Part V of Trajectory: Escape Velocity


In this panel, I’ve put dinosaurs with shadows on a background of green, leafy plants set against a branching structure. I’m hoping to convey the complexity in evolution, as time passed. The outlines represent extinction.

The Oceans are Teeming: Part IV of Trajectory: Escape Velocity


I know some time has elapsed since I posted about the last panel, but fear not, I have been working away! I finished panel IV this week. I’m calling it “The Oceans are Teeming.”

This is a story told in stroboscopic post hole moments.  I hope the leaps I’m making aren’t too grand.  In this panel, there are some small fish at the bottom, but as your gaze travels upwards, the number and complexity of organisms increases.  Note that the fish don’t fit tidily. They are pushing out of the boundaries of the space they are allotted.

Most of the fish on this panel were cut out (during my daughter’s swim lessons, which I found rather apropos), but I did create a trio of jellyfish, one lone octopus, and a little squad of cuttlefish.  A treat for someone who stays to linger a moment or two extra.

Next up: dinosaurs and an abstract allusion to evolution. Hopefully that will be done much more quickly.

Black Smokers: Part III of Trajectory: Escape Velocity


I was reminded the other day that I had not posted this yet. Sorry! Family life overtook me for a while there and I forgot to blog.

This panel represents black smokers, where early life was thought to have originated. I felted roving on top of silk to create the black smokers which I then appliqued onto the background. Then there was white silk sticking out, so I painted around the edges with a metallic blue fabric paint.  I also put a big plume of smoke in the middle, its base hidden.

The ribbon that is couched on represents streams of smoke or bubbles.  I fused some very small metallic pieces I picked up at Scrap DC to represent those early single celled organisms.  They start out small in number, but as they rise to the top, they become much more numerous. Look for this theme in future panels, as populations rise and create tension over habitat space.

These are tweets of the black smoker in progress:

Beth’s Garden (Dragon)

A dragon in the style of a crop circle in a garden.

A dragon in the style of a crop circle in a garden.

When Juan first approached me about the dragon quilt I finally finished this year, I was surprised that someone was interested in such a highly personal piece for themself. In fact, I asked him what it was he was interested in.  He told me that dragons were really significant for him and his wife, who died two years ago. He was also interested in the spirals.

So, I told him that I could probably modify the design and put it in an affordable price range and off we went! This was truly a co-mission. Juan gave me lots of personal details and I tried to weave them into this piece.

At the beginning, I was thinking of this as Beth’s dragon, but as time went on, I realized it was Beth’s garden.  Beth was a gardener (and quilter), and I wanted the base to be produce prints.  I checked with Juan to make sure there were none she hated or if there were any that needed to be included. Beth loved potatoes (and Juan still does), so I had to include those. I didn’t have any in my stash, but when I asked around in the quilting community, someone generously sent me more than I needed so I was able to make the back with potatoes too.

I used the same stencil for the dragon, but arranged it differently. You can see that I started with a more similar layout in the first tweet, but felt the second layout was much better.  Juan’s dragon is in a garden, not a field.  It’s much more intimate than mine.  

I am pretty sure the dragon comprises both Juan and Beth. It is gold for the sun because Beth was Juan’s sun, but the tail is all Juan, with the sharp, glittery black band and dots. The head is Beth, with the circlet of stars and all the bejeweled flowers (that she probably grew in her garden). Also, Juan told me they met because she lived across a field from him. There is already wheat and flowers in the background, but I wanted to bring the feeling of the field more to the forefront.

I wanted to include a yin yang in this dragon and when I went to put it together, I placed the two pieces separated. To me, they represent Juan’s broken heart. He carries her in his belly. But also, I think she’s in his throat (the bejeweled flowered piece).
Although there are many spirals in this quilt, the three central spirals represent their children. The youngest is the shiny spiral at the bottom and the two on top of that are his sons.

I feel honored to have been chosen to bring this dragon to life.  It was pure joy to work on and helped me find my mojo again.

Between the stars and sand

Sometimes you just need to go back to the basics. April and May have been incredibly busy and incredibly stressful. I was able to finish projects that just needed grunt work, but the creative part of me was inaccessible. That’s when I remembered “strip therapy.” At this point, I can’t remember who talked about it, but I’m pretty sure it was one of my internet quilting friends. I thought to myself, I can’t organize my thoughts around anything, but I can sew strips together. Furthermore, I was recently inspired by Carolyn Friedlander and Mark Lipinski to try Modern Quilting and focus on “Slow Stitching.”

Strips sewn in pairs and arranged for inspection

So, I dug into my scrap drawer of strips I’d already cut and sorted them by color and then by size since I don’t always use the same width. Then I started sewing colors together that I liked. I paired strips and arranged and dragged some more strips out and sewed them together and voila, I had a quilt top big enough for a baby (which I told my friend I’d make last year).

So, I’ve made my first practical quilt in two years. And it helped me break that block to some extent as I have started phase three of Trajectory: Escape Velocity.

Baby quilt done in the Modern Quilting style

What do you do when you have a creative block? How do you get back to work when your mind is just spinning?

Dragon Crop Circle Quilt


In 2011, my local quilt guild ran a challenge based on food. I got bread. I thought bread was awfully pedestrian and asked if I could do some free associating. I was told yes and off I went.

Bread, I reasoned, is made from wheat. Wheat is a crop and there are these things called crop circles (I was thinking corn mazes), so I went home and googled crop circles. Boy was I blown away. They were awesome. I found a great serpent one and that got me thinking about my favorite lizards: dragons! I have yet to learn how to draw, so I asked around and a friend offered to draw me a crop circle inspired dragon.


This is what I had to work with. I figured out how to get it the size I wanted and set to work making it into a stencil. Because of the way it was designed, I figured I would adapt it some for fabric and embellish with beads.  I didn’t realize what I was committing to when I started this project, which is why it took so long to complete.

So, the dragon is in the middle, surrounded by fields (made with the Bargello method, for those who know what that is).  There are flowers at the edges because you find flowers at the boundaries. The binding is blue for the sky.  The last touch is the glittering red spirals at the corners because what’s a dragon without a little magic?

Primordial Soup: Phase II of Trajectory: Escape Velocity


Last month I brought you the Big Bang. The next phase in my story is a little quieter, but equally as dramatic. Primordial Soup is where elements appear and combine and DNA pops out! The DNA is made of wire and beads and really does stand out from the quilt base. All the crystals represent different elements and some molecules. I lost count of how many crystals I used, but I’m pretty sure it’s over 400.

Trajectory: Escape Velocity

I have started a new project I’m calling Trajectory: Escape Velocity.  It is a story of evolution, beginning at the very beginning (let’s ignore what quantum physics tells us in favor of telling a more linear story for now) and ending with people leaving the planet. I don’t know all the steps in between. I won’t know until I’ve created them.  I post pictures of things in progress, if you are interested in those.  I am going to attempt to post as each phase is completed. So, here is phase 1.

In the beginning, there was darkness:

This is a little one inch black square.

This is a little one inch black square.

And then there was light:


Starburst (19X19 inches)

Next up: The Primordial Soup. See a teaser DNA picture on Twitter.