31 March 2011

“Artifact: Telephone” Complete


The second in the Artifact series, “Telephone” is now quilted and showing a lot more personality.

The numbers are pretty sketchy but they were fun to do.  I always learn something about an object when I draw it, because I have to observe it very closely, breaking it down into shapes then details. 

I guess that’s why I choose maybe mundane items for my subjects so often.  I always think I’ll find something new about them. 

I forgot (or I never knew) that there is no “Q” or “Z” on a phone dial.  (see detail image below).  And the letters start at 2 instead of 1.  Why do I care about this stuff?  I don’t know.  Like I said, I like seeing things I never noticed before. 

Then I started wondering, “Why do they even have letters at all?”  I really can’t figure out what their purpose could be.  If you know, please leave a comment.



29 March 2011

Work in Progress – Artifact: Telephone

Next up in the Artifact series… the good ol’ telephone. 

I remember using this exact model “back in the day” only ours was the color of wood putty.  It weighed about 5 pounds and did nothing but ring and make phone calls.  No call waiting, no voicemail, no caller ID.  You never thought about where you left it.  It was always in the same place.  You had to go TO the phone to use it.


We had one phone in the house; the springy cord gave you about a 6 foot walking radius if you stretched it out… not quite enough to talk alone in my room.   I don’t know how many times the phone fell off its stand because someone stretched the cord too far.  That thing would dent the floor before it suffered a scratch – it was indestructible.  God forbid it ever fell on your foot!

This was back when phones had one purpose – for people to talk to each other.  Dial a number and see if anyone picked up the other end.  If you called someone and they were already on the phone you got a busy signal and had to call back later.  If they didn’t answer, again you had to call back later to try your luck.  If you left your house to live your life, you couldn’t call anyone or get any calls.  These are quaint stories of the past. 

The photo shown here is Artifact: Telephone at the end of “Phase 1”.  That means all the fabrics are in place and it’s ready to stitch.  Stay tuned for updates & photos of the finished piece soon.

27 March 2011

New Work, New Series: So Long, Light Bulb. I’ll miss you.


My latest piece “Artifact: Light bulb” (finished size 8x10) was inspired by the news that the incandescent light bulb will be phased out of US markets. First one to go is the 100 Watt bulb, gone by the end of this year. For a long time this thing has been the symbol of ideas and invention. So what will replace this icon… a squiggly corkscrew florescent? Sigh.

I agree that the incandescent bulb is inefficient and wasteful and makes no sense to keep since there are much more efficient bulbs out there. But I’ll miss them. I’ll miss the warm light of incandescent bulbs probably the way people missed oil lamps when electric lights became the norm.

The idea of seeing this technology become outdated made me think of all the things I’ve grown up with, not to mention owned and used myself, that are already a thing of the past. Some of the technology I was so impressed with as a kid leaves my own kids bewildered.
Contemplating the revolutionary Commodore 64 home computer –64 KB of memory? HUH? As in kilobytes? You can get an iPod with 64 GIGA-bytes. So that’s what, a million billion times more powerful than this so-called computer?
Atari joysticks - Why did they only have ONE button? How did you jump and shoot at the same time?
I'm thinking, what Jump and shoot... We were playing Pac Man! You go around a maze and eat dots.
Unbelievable, and yet we still survived and enjoyed life.

Vinyl records, typewriters, cassette tapes, film cameras… Sure, people still use them sometimes.  Like they use a wood fire to cook or a horse and buggy to ride around for fun.  You can choose to go “retro” and do silver print photography.  But no one depends on these things anymore.

So I’ve decided to document some of the “oldies but goodies” of my own archaic technological past.  Some people will recognize what they are right away.  Other things like the rotary phone might take some explaining.  As my youngest asked me, “what’s the round thing for?” (the dial) and “what’s this big part?”  (the phone’s body, attached with wire to the earpiece).  Of course, every phone he’s ever seen or used basically looks like an earpiece alone.  Why would anyone make a phone so heavy? 

I do miss the ability to slam a nice big, indestructible phone down on the handle and hang up in a huff.  Pressing “END” just doesn’t give me the same satisfaction.  Especially when I’m stuck on hold for an hour, usually with tech services, trying to figure out why my computer thinks my iPad is a digital camera…  


21 March 2011

A Look into my Home Studio

Today was the last day to enter the FiberArts Readers’ Choice Studio Contest, so it was a great motivation to finally clean up my studio! I’m stuck inside today anyway so might as well do something useful.

Ahhh…. I love an organized room…. I better enjoy it while it lasts!

Since I needed to take photos for the contest, I thought I’d share some of them with anyone who’s interested. So here’s where the magic happens….

Themel_sewingarea_SMThe first photo is my sewing area, where I spend the greatest amount of time. When we converted our basement into a playroom and studio, I made sure to keep at least one window.. even if it is tiny. I just like being able to see a bit of the world outside.

I really love my studio, or as my kids call it “Mom’s Playroom”. All the desks & tables are on castor wheels, so I can customize the space depending on the project. Although I still end up doing a lot of work on the floor.


This gigantic shelf system is from IKEA. It is over 6ft x 6ft and weighs a ton!! Luckily its supported by a concrete floor. The full spectrum florescent lights are essential for choosing colors and putting compositions together. But I have 3 incandescent lights hanging over my sewing machine. I just find the warmer, softer light is easier on my eyes when I’m working on the detail stitching for hours on end.



Here’s the work sink that was in the basement when we started (very convenient!) and laundry area. I added a little curtain to hide the pipes and storage area under the sink. On top of the rolling desk (right side of sink) is a big portable ironing surface, about 26” x 36”. I have the iron out all day while I’m working on a project but somehow I never seem to get our clothes pressed. :-) Gee, must have slipped my mind…

I hope you’ve enjoyed this brief tour of my fiber art studio. Feel free to leave a comment or question, if you are thinking about building a home studio.

If you’re interested in entering the FiberArts Studio contest, it's easy and free to enter. Hurry, the deadline is TODAY! Just upload a few images of your studio and fill out the simple online entry form at

05 March 2011

New Work for SAQA Auction: “GottaHavaCuppa”


This 12” square is my contribution for SAQA’s 2011 Benefit Auction.  The idea for “GottaHavaCuppa” (thanks Debbie Bein for the title!) was inspired by something my 6 yr old said recently.  He told my husband “Don’t ask Mommy to play when she just wakes up.  You have to wait until after she drinks her coffee.”  HA HA!  Funny, and yet completely accurate.

I’m sort of making fun of myself by creating an intimate portrait of my morning coffee.  There’s really no deep emotional meaning to it, other than my love of fresh coffee and the familiar white dishes and blue & brown color scheme of my kitchen.  It makes me feel happy, so hopefully it will appeal to auction buyers too.

I had a bit of silk organza left over from “Onions” so I used it for the steam.  And the fabrics for the cup & saucer are scraps from “After the Wake”.  I just have to add a binding and hanging sleeve and it will be ready to ship – I might even make it by the Early Bird Deadline, which would be a first!!

GottaHavaCuppa_SMDetail (Detail, “GottaHavaCuppa”)