Sunday, October 14, 2012

and sew it goes ...

You win some and ... well you know the saying.  I'm not completely thrilled with the piece I just finished. I did finish it by the deadline. That's a good thing. It will be on display at Houston's upcoming International Quilt Festival. That's a very good thing. I accomplished my goals in this piece and met the challenges I set for myself, but something is lacking in the finished product. I'm not sure what it is. It will come to me one day. Or maybe you can see what's lacking. Please let me know if you do.

Here's a little bit of how my thinking developed on this piece, a piece which is completely out of the box for me. Texas Association of Original Doll Artists is priveleged to mount a display each year at Houston's quilt festival. For this year's exhibit, we were challenged to create dolls with a quilting theme. I wanted to participate and started thinking about the quilting element. I don't make quilts, but I admire those who do. I didn't want to create a doll such as a lady making a quilt. Too ho-hum for me though the concept would make a meaningful doll for some. Ruled that out. I observe quilts are often studies in precise geometry. Such precision in sewing is really daunting to me on a personal level ... but I digress. As I thought about geometry, I was struck with the idea of creating a geometric shape ... should it be a square, cone, rectangle, pyramid? I toyed with the title 'Celebrate Geometry.' Many quilts already do celebrate geometry. The term 'isosceles' came into focus ... I remembered it from high school geometry class. Loving a play on words, I coined 'I*SEW*sceles,' and selected some fabrics from my stash of quilt prints. They were blue. 'I*SEW*sceles Blue' came to be.

Once my concept was set, it was a bumpy path from start to finish.  Early in the process I remembered why it is I do not make cloth dolls. Big 'aha' moment, and I had flashbacks to struggling with stitching and turning tiny fingers. Face and hands are sculpted of paper clay.  My method and material of choice, now.  How would I attach them to this cloth structure? I wouldn't trust glue. Mechanical connections needed to be secured before the pyramid sides were sewn together ... that meant all the breakable parts would be connected to the fabric as it went through the sewing machine ... a daunting prospect for me, but it worked okay. I had to move my sewing table away from the wall to make room for this awkward, stiff assemblage to pass under the presser foot. I don't think I'll be making another solid geometry project any time soon.   But I won't say 'never' ...

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


"Hypocrisy in anything whatever may deceive the cleverest and most penetrating man, but the least wide-awake of children recognizes it, however ingeniously it maybe disguised." ~ Leo Tolstoy
My gallery page now shows my piece titled "Hypocrisy." Please click on gallery above to view him.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

blog progress

My artist statement is now published. Please click 'artist statement' above to read it. Please also consider it a work in progress ...

Monday, September 10, 2012


Y'all bear with me, please. I want to add a couple of pages to my blog that the viewer can access via tabs at the top of the main page. I've added the pages, which are still empty of content, but can't figure out the tabs yet. I'll keep working on it and you'll hear a 'yippee' when I make it work. In the mean time, let's make a doll! (elapsed time, a few hours ...) Yippee! They're not showing exactly as folder tabs but the pages show at the top now ... 'home' ... 'artist statement' ... 'gallery.' Next step will be to add content. Whew ...

Monday, August 13, 2012


Introducing my treasure: my mom's old Pfaff 130!  I learned to sew on it when I was a teen.

Purchased new in the early 1950s, it came to my house after my mom passed away last year and I recently found a man nearby who could get her tuned up and in running order. You should have seen his eyes light up when he saw her in the back of my car. He couldn't stop telling me what a treasure I had and how good a sewing machine it is. He put a new foot controller on her, too. She was originally a cabinet model with a knee controller.  I never liked the knee controller, preferring to work with my toes! I don't think my mom would mind that I made the change. 

This machine had not been used for years, although the cabinet had been placed in my mom's office to hold her Merlin vision enhancing device at a comfortable height for her to use for bill paying and other reading. Right now the Pfaff is resting on top of the closed cabinet, in the garage, until I can get machine and cabinet up the stairs and into my studio. It is really heavy!  I can't wait to get it set up and sewing up a storm.  I'll post another picture here when the studio setup is ready to go ... without cardboard boxes in the background.

You may have read in an earlier post that my other sewing machine, a Simplicity portable, has a name.  She is Lucille. The Pfaff needs a name,too, don't you think.

Thank you again for visiting. Please leave a comment or your suggestion for a name for my treasure. And stop in again soon!

Thursday, August 9, 2012


I love a play on words and this next project is just that, and will be figurative, with a nod to geometry and a little bit of quilting thrown in for good measure. There's a deadline. I sure hope I can pull it off. Here's a picture of some of the major components as they stand today.

She's going to be a 20" or so tall pyramid standing on a 6" base. Her face is a Creative Paper Clay casting from a mold of one of my sculpted faces, tea dyed and glazed. I may add more coloring as the piece progresses. Her torso and limbs will be appliqued and quilted and free-motion stitched on the front triangle. Will she wear clothing or be nude. I don't know. What do you think. I'm not sure about her hair yet. Maybe it should be piled high to complete the peak of the triangle. Beading and other embellishments are sure to be added.

The deadline? She's slated to be part of the TAODA exhibit at Houston's International Quilt Festival in a couple of months.

I+SEW+Sceles? Isosceles. Get it?

Thank you for stopping by. Please come back to follow my progress.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

taking stock

Today I'll be straightening my studio, putting up the clutter left from the mad dash to finish 'a masked ball' before the ODACA Day meeting and luncheon. I'll set up my newly-repaired sewing machine. I'm so glad she's in good operating condition again. I missed her a lot even though I don't sew every day.  She deserves a name, don't you think? Lucille ... she'll be Lucille from now on. She was my mom's machine before she came to me. Mother probably didn't name her. If she knew that I have named her now, Mother would look at me like I'm nuts. Maybe I am ... I still play with dolls.

That photo should be cropped.  I'll do better next time. Titled 'a masked ball,' he served as a centerpiece at the ODACA Day Luncheon on July 23 in New Orleans. He was won by one of ODACA's new artist members in a drawing to select winners of all the centerpieces. He has a fine new home. I am pleased.

I should talk a bit about this blog's title: shreds and tatters.  It's really just my philosophy, if you will, for costuming my figures. I love to see raw and frayed fabric edges in a figure's costume. They add texture and life and sometimes just a touch of the unexpected. I'm not opposed to hemmed or faced edges and I use them too, juxtaposing the frayed edges for effect. In recent years, 'shreds and tatters' has been descriptive of my life and emotions. Readers who are acquainted with me personally know why this is so. It is life. Life changes, life moves ahead. I promise not to dwell on this aspect here on the blog. I will resume my original intent here and bring you glimpses into the mind and heart of an artist, figurative assemblage and beyond. 

I'll talk more about 'figurative assemblage' soon. But for now, I'll leave you with a teaser: I.SEW.SCELES!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

WooHoooooo .... I'm back!

Getting shredsandtatters restarted has been on my to-do list for some time now. You'll note the LONG gap between my previous post and this one. Many changes have come into my life in the intervening 3 years. Many have been difficult. "Shredsandtatters" takes on more meaning than I ever envisioned when I thought it up so long ago. I'm about to get back into art and I hope to post some artful things here. Artist-made jewelry is coming soon. Please check back. I look forward to sharing my journey with you.