Ginkgos in the Round Fini

I have made it a practice not to begin something new until I have completed the current project and most of the time I stick to that habit. I’m very glad that I broke from my routine and created Ginkgos in the Round.  It was a very satisfying project which I think could yield a fun series.

Ginkgos in the Round, 12" x 12", 2014, For SaleIt measures 12″ x 12″. I used a fat quarter of hand-dyed fabric and more than a full spool (164 yards to the spool) of 50-weight silk-finish cotton thread. And yes, I opened the spool for this project and had to go to the store to buy another spool to complete the thread painting.

A  detail

Ginkgos in the Round, detailYou can read about my shaky beginning here.

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Ginkgos in the Round

I’m in the midst of a couple large projects and seem to be moving slowly on them. In the course of working, though, ideas keep crowding my mind. I truly believe that the more one creates, the more ideas come to mind — sometimes, though, it’s a bit overwhelming. One of the ideas I was contemplating called very loudly to me so I decided to listen to myself and take a little detour.

I haven’t designed with ginkgo leaves in a while, but the images seem to float in my subconscious all the time. I was thinking about a class I took with Libby Lehman many years ago. One of her exercises was to sketch simple shapes on paper — rectangle, square, triangle, for instance — then create designs within the shapes. I thought it would be fun to use a circle and fill it with ginkgo leaves.

I chose a hand-dyed fabric and started drawing. The blue lines (a little difficult to see here) will disappear with a spritz of water when I’m done thread painting. I like the variation in colors of the fabric and decided to create a bold contrast with a 50-weight, solid gray-blue thread.

Ginkgos marked, thread selectedI cleaned and oiled my machine and replaced the needle. Yes,  I make a habit of doing this after 8 hours of stitching and/or at the start of a new project. After all, I expect my hard-working machine to be there for me and I feel that this is my way of meeting it half way. Next I did a test drive of the design on a fabric sandwich with the same weight fabric and batting I’m using for my project. And, boy, was I ever glad I had! I’ve been using 60- and 100-weight threads recently and the settings on my machine didn’t work for the 50-weight thread at all. Whew. Bullet dodged.

I stitched 2 leaves, tied them off and began on the third leaf. Almost immediately I felt a drag on the machine and was having difficulty moving the fabric sandwich. Naturally, I stopped to check the bobbin. Here’s what I found:

Stitched to the SliderAs my sister says, there are those who have and those who will. Clearly it was time that I stitched my Supreme Slider into a project. And now that the experience is behind me I view it as a simple reminder to pay attention. It is so easy to become focused on moving ahead and forget that what’s going on under the needle right now is worth your full attention.

With the Slider removed and the tiny leaf stitched, it’s time to get back into the rhythm of thread painting.

Slider removed, small leaf stitched

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Blog Hop

I was invited to participate in a World Blog Hop by my friend and fellow quilt artist, Carol Larson. The agreement was to answer four questions and invite other bloggers I know to join in on the fun.  See Carol’s work and her responses to the questions at

On Monday, October 20 check out the fine work of Gurli Gregersen at

and Suzanne Kistler at

And the questions are:

What am I working on?

A series focusing on native California plants is demanding my attention for the foreseeable future. I have a number of art quilts completed which fall into this category: Sunflower Scrap I – V, Woodwardia Wonder, Nature’s Fractal, Woodwardia Fern, and Black Oak II. These pieces can be seen on my Art Quilt Gallery page. I have the top of Black Oak completed but not quilted — yet. I’m still working on completing Sunflower Scrap VI and I’ll turn my focus back to Black Oak when it is finished.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I am best known for my work with nature prints — many think of me working with ginkgo leaves — which I did for quite some time — but I think my new series will steer thinking in new directions.

Why do I write/create what I do?

I create the work I do because I simply love working with fabric, stitch and embellishments to capture the beauty and grace of nature. I enjoy the process of creating, including all the challenges I meet along the way. It’s really wonderful to have an idea, begin the work and, in the ‘doing’ process, see the work change and become something better than originally envisioned. I fought the changes when I first came to this art form, then I realized that it was inevitable and relaxed into it.

I started writing about what I do to record what I’m doing. If I don’t, details can slip away so easily. I share my work in the hope of inspiring others to try something new.

How does my writing/creating process work?

An idea for a piece or a series is the germ for beginning the creating. Once I’m creating new work, the writing flows.

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Wordless Wednesday

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Shari's bird

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Wordless Wednesday

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Mendelssohn, 8 weeks old

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Wordless Wednesday

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09-20 magnolia 09-23 Western Swallowtail butterfly larva

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This sketch was inspired by a notecard that I received which bears Hannah Borger Overbeck’s (United States, 1870-1931) rendition of the blood root (Sanguimaria canadensis), a somewhat rare woodland plant once used by Native Americans to dye their baskets orange-red.

Blood RootMy challenge for this sketch was to be able to match the colors she had used. This meant being patient and experimenting with my blue and yellow selections until I achieved at least the sensibility that she created.  I started with a color wash on the page and then I did the sketch. My wash color is cooler than hers was — that’s another challenge I can take up. I was able to get the tones of green and brown that I was looking for rather quickly. The final job was the white petals. There was simply no way around it, I had to buy some white watercolor paint.

Overbeck created her piece using watercolor and pastel. I used a Faber-Castell PITT artist pen and watercolor.

This posting has been shared with Off the Wall Friday. Go over and check out what’s happening with those artists.

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Eastern Span Bay Bridge Anniversary

Yikes, it was a year ago this month that I shared photos of the new Eastern span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay bridge. The progress on taking down the old Eastern span is significant. Here’s a reminder of what the old span looked like with both levels of traffic lanes still intact. Click on an image for a larger view.


And here is what it looks like today

08-16-Demolition-continueswith the top level completely gone and three huge gaps in the bridge. We are getting real glimpses of what the unobstructed view to the south will be like. The original estimate for completion of the demolition was three years. At this pace I wouldn’t be surprised if they complete the job ahead of schedule.

Click on the link above to view my original postings about the new span.

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Quick Sketch

The beautiful vegetables and fruit we receive in our weekly box is truly inspirational. I thoroughly enjoy cooking and appreciate the opportunity to try new recipes as the contents of the box change. This week brought our first delicata squashes. What a grand vegetable they are!

delicata squash

They are not only easy to prepare — just wash, cut lengthwise, scoop out seeds, then cut 1/2″ slices (no need to peel!); toss with good olive oil, salt and pepper; bake at 400 degrees — and deliciously sweet, but they are sketch worthy. Their arrival portends the gourds and pumpkins that will grace our tables and porches soon.

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First Aide

Last week I was thinking about what I have in my medicine cabinet (perhaps I had a headache?) and what I would like to have there. My mind immediately began racing with possibility. I grabbed a Tombow pen and my watercolors and started sketching. Click on image for larger view.

First Aide

While I was working on this sketch I was thinking about phrases we use with each other that are metaphorical.

Humble PieHow do you cure what ails you?

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