Lovely Littles Exhibit

I am pleased to say that my work will be among a group of artists showing small works of art, all for sale, at Creative Framing & Gallery in Oakland, CA. All works will be 12″ or less on any side. All media will be represented.

My works will include 14  fabric postcards, each mounted on 8″ x 10″ archival, museum-quality matt, ready to frame. Here are a few of the postcards that will be there:

In addition, I will have several 12″ x 12″ art quilts there including 3 of my newest pieces — Sumac, Oakleaf Hydrangea and Maples — created using botanical prints.  Here is Maples

Here are the details:

Lovely Littles
Holiday Group Art Exhibit
November 1 – December 23, 2017

Creative Framing & Gallery
Art Receptions:
November 3rd, 6 – 9 pm
December 1st, 6 – 9 pm
2700 Park Blvd.
Oakland, CA 94606

Check the website (above) for regular gallery hours. If you are in the area, I hope that you will plan to stop by to see the wonderful art that will be there.

Oregon Society of Artists

I have three pieces of art in 200 for under $200, the November juried exhibit at Oregon Society of Artists. All of the art in this exhibit will be on 12″ x 12″ pine cradle boards. I have mounted three of my fabric postcards, each already mounted on archival mat board, onto the cradle boards. One could hang these pieces as they are displayed at the exhibit or remove  the mat board and place it into a suitable frame for hanging. Here is a close up of the postcards (click on image for a larger view):

Maple, 4 x 6

Maple, 4 x 6


White Ginkgo, 4" x 6"

White Ginkgo, 4″ x 6″


Exotica II, 4" x 6"

Exotica II, 4″ x 6″

If you are thinking about holiday gift-giving, this is a good place to start. The art will be top quality in a variety of mediums.

200 for under $200
Oregon Society of Artists
2185 SW Park Place (corner of St. Claire)
Portland, OR 97205

November 4 – December 1, 2016
Gallery open Monday – Saturday, 1 pm – 4 pm
Artist’s Reception: Friday, November 4, 6 pm – 9 pm

I hope to see you there!



Fabric Postcards

I’ve just completed fabric postcards for the 20th round of trading with Postmark’d Art. The theme for the group I am trading with is handwork. I used Carol Ann Waugh‘s method for combining decorative and utility stitches on the sewing machine with simple hand stitches. You can see my first work using her techniques here.

I used a fat quarter of some yummy batik fabric I had in my stash and started pulling out thread. Here is a portion of the fabric after stitching by machine.

Portion of stitched fabricNext came another layer of fun, the hand stitching. I prepared the fabric by cutting it into 4″ x 6″ pieces and fusing them to fast2fuse, my favorite sturdy Pellon interfacing for postcards. Next I pulled out my hand stitching threads, some beads and a chenille needle and let the fun begin. And here are the postcards (click on an image for a larger view):

I finished the blue-grey postcards  and postcard 8 by stitching as close to the edge of the postcard as I could, then sealing the edge with Jacquard Lumiere paint. On postcards 9 and 10 I zigzagged some Oliver Twists hand-dyed thread. I like both of these finishing techniques.

These little treasures have been a personal obsession of mine since 2004 when Postmark’d Art was established and I became moderator of the group. My participation in the group has been a key ingredient in my artistic development, the motivation for writing fast, fun & easy Fabric Postcards, an incredible amount of Fun, and the reason for many new friendships that I enjoy today.   This will be my final trade with Postmark’d Art but it won’t be the last time I create fabric postcards.

If you haven’t created a fabric postcard yet, I ask why not? Click on the BOOK tab above to learn more about my book on the subject, contact me about scheduling a class for your group of fabric enthusiasts (see the CONTACT tab above),  visit the Postmark’d Art website by clicking on the link above and then click on the JOIN A NEW GROUP tab, and/or check out one of my projects here. Now is the time to learn something new and have fun at the same time. Consider this your personal invitation!


Notebook Cover and Postcards Embellished

I headed for Blue Door Beads — I just love the name and, yes, they have a blue door — this morning to find something special for the closure on the notebook cover just completed. I think I found just the right thing (click on image for larger view):

Notebook front

Notebook front

I had fun choosing the fabric for inside flaps

Notebook open

Notebook open

and the photo image on the inside cover of the notebook is from an old issue of Martha Stewart Living Magazine.

Notebook back

Full notebook cover

Here are 3 of the postcards that are embellished and ready to address and finish edges.

While I was completing the above project I decided to make use of a Mola that my sister gave me recently. (If you aren’t familiar with the origins of the Mola, be sure to visit the link above!) This one is particularly lovely and deserves to be useful.

Mola Notebook cover

Mola Notebook cover

Mola Notebook cover 2

Full Mola Notebook cover

I think Christy will be pleased that this lovely Mola is not going to languish in my stash.

To see the Genesis of all this, click here.

This post has been shared with Off the Wall Fridays.

French Knots and Finger Cots

I’ve completed the on-line course at Craftsy with Carol Waugh. I have thoroughly enjoyed working through her methods, constructing my own machine stitch reference and doing some needle work I haven’t done in many years — embroidery.

I used a fat quarter of fabric to create my surface design. There is extensive machine work in the form of couching, decorative stitching and quilting. When I completed that much, I cut the piece apart to create a notebook cover and (as always, click on an image for a larger view)

Franki Kohler,

Almost done with this notebook cover

some postcards.

Franki Kohler,

Almost done postcards

Then there is the hand embroidery. Carol took us through the techniques for stitching French Knots, running stitch and the lazy daisy stitch. That took me straight back to my childhood and learning those very stitches from my Grandmother. Whoosh! Nostalgia time.

Even though it’s been quite some time since I’ve done crewel embroidery, those stitches are still with me. I pulled Judith Baker Montano’s Elegant Stitches from my book shelf and looked through it. Her instructions are great and soon I was stitching a Squared Palestrina Knot — on the left, the ‘x’s’ with a knot in the middle– and combining buttonhole stitch with lazy daisy for a simple design.

Squared Palestrina Knot, left; Buttonhole with lazy daisy, right

Squared Palestrina Knot, left; Buttonhole with lazy daisy, right

Most of the embroidery has been done with pearl cotton. Let me tell you, it’s not easy getting pearl cotton through fast2fuse and a layer of fabric stabilized with shirt tailor. After struggling to pull the thread through, I dove into my supply of tools and pulled out some finger cots. I rolled one onto my thumb and — ta da! — the needle comes right through — even with very bold French Knots. Grandma taught me to wrap the thread around the needle three times for a French Knot but Carol has no hard and fast rules. So I thought, let’s go for it and I was wrapping the thread 4 and 5 times. I’m happy with the bold look it gave  the daisy and solo French Knots on the left.

Bold French Knots

Bold French Knots

I’m not quite done. I have some beads that are screaming to be stitched on and then there will be a trip to my local bead shop to find just the right ones to add to the closure for the notebook cover. Stay tuned, I’ll share the final results.

Here is where this adventure began.

White on White Done

The four designs I chose for the White-on-White theme with Postmark’d Art are done. Ta da! This has been especially satisfying for me because the inspiration for the 4 designs was immediate and all are completed before the official start date for the trade has begun. Believe me, it doesn’t always happen that way so I am celebrating.

Plus — and this is a BIG PLUS — thanks to Kalia, a reader who shared tips on getting better photographs of these postcards, I actually have images that are much truer to the actual postcards. Thank you, Kalia! To honor the time and effort you shared with me I looked into the resources you shared in your comment (see the comment here) and I had great success. (I’m looking forward to even more refinement with my next photo shoot because the recommended wattage for the light bulb was 100 but I had only a 75 watt bulb.) So here they are, all ready to stamp and drop in the nearest mail box. Click on an image for a larger view.

The metallic zing of the thread stitching here still does not show – – I need to do more research on how to achieve that with the camera. I chose an elegant silver rope-braid cording to finish the edge on this floral design.

Franki Kohler, White FloralThe ginkgo fairly begged to be finished with a traditional quilt binding. How could I refuse? Binding a postcard with fast2fuse™ in the middle is a challenge but I think it’s worth the effort.

Franki Kohler, White GinkgoWhite satin cording finishes the edge of the Maple

Franki Kohler, White Mapleand the sunflower.

Franki Kohler, White SunflowerNow, on to a larger project that is calling me.

This posting is shared with Off the Wall Fridays.

White on White 4

This is the final design I’ve created for the White-on-White trade with Postmark’d Art. For this design I pulled out my needle-felting machine. I felted the roving directly onto fast2fuse: the first layer of roving is a very light cream-colored wool; the second layer is a scrumptious Angora roving. The Angora is very white and ever-so soft — it was a real pleasure to work with.

Franki Kohler, White on White 4I drew a leaf design on the top and proceeded to embroider by hand with a very narrow white ribbon. Unfortunately, getting the needle through the fast2fuse and 2 layers of roving proved to be just too difficult. A change of strategy was necessary. I drew the leaf design on the reverse side, filled a bobbin with Ricky Tim’s Razzle Dazzle™ and popped a 90/14 topstitch needle in my machine. It worked like a charm. I haven’t done any felting or bobbin work in quite a while so this was a treat.

The design needed a little something else. Beads to the rescue! I have just a bit more beading to do on several other postcards, then I’ll be ready to trim and finish them all. Voilá! The end is in sight. Stay tuned.

See the first 3 designs in this mini series here, here and here.

White on White III

Inspiration comes from the darndest places. My friend Jenny Lyon pays attention to paper products and that’s where I found the design used here. Who knew that a box of tissues could fire the imagination?

Franki Kohler, White on White 3Even simplified, this design has plenty of detail. I tried new lighting to take this photograph and had some success, but not complete. After many attempts, I put this piece on the floor and had better results. The small white floral design on the fabric shows best at the right edge where the fabric extends beyond the fast2fuse. Metallic-wrapped white thread was used to stitch the floral design. The seed beads in the center of the flowers are #8 pearl finish; outer seed beads are #11 in pearl, clear, white and amber. It measures 5″ x 7″ now and will be trimmed to 4″ x 6″ when I’m ready to attach the address on the opposite side. As with the other postcards in this series, the edge finish will be determined when they are trimmed to size.

This series has been great fun! A 4th design is well on its way. See the first two here and here.

More White on White

The background fabric here is white with some hints of cream. I used metallic white thread for the leaves of the sunflower — though you cannot tell that from this photograph. And the beads are pearl finish, so they have a sparkle as well.

Franki Kohler, White on white #2The background fabric is fused to fast2fuse™, always my first choice for fabric postcards. This product is a heavy-weight pellon with fusible web on both sides. It cuts and stitches easily, has a great body which holds up to the US Postal Service and the fusible web makes it very convenient to use. The quilting thread is 12-weight cotton. I’m happy with the nice body it gives the design. The piece is 5″ x 7″ now and will be trimmed to 4″ x 6″ to finish it. I have some lovely white satin cord but I’m also toying with stitching on a traditional fabric binding. The final finishing decision won’t be made until I’m ready to apply the address side of the postcard.

White on white is tricky to photograph. I tried quite a few times and used 2 cameras, but the images were not satisfactory at all. I finally scanned the piece and, while this image is not completely true, it is closer to reality than my cameras allowed. The lessons just keep coming!

I’m eager to start work on a third design I have in mind for this white-on-white theme. Stay tuned. See the first white-on-white design I worked on here.

Fabric Postcards – White on White

The new round of trading has not yet begun for Postmark’d Art but the theme ideas that are being voted on are inspirational — particularly White on White. The trade (our 19th round!) will officially begin February 1 so I have time to play with some ideas that are bubbling up.

I couldn’t resist pulling out some ribbons to create a new fabric. Here I have used cream grosgrain and cotton ribbons along with a very white ribbon that decorated a box of chocolates. The gold lettering says Coco Délice and, I think, lends a little touch of sophistication.

Franki Kohler, White on WhiteI used 12-weight variegated cotton thread on the body of the ginkgo and outlined it with variegated metallic thread. I really like the pattern created by the textures of the woven ribbons and I think I’ll be forgiven for including cream colors — they provide contrast and punch.

I’m trying to decide if this needs more thread work or other embellishments before I cut it apart for two postcards. Meanwhile, I have a start on another idea.

This is an Off The Wall Friday posting.

Vintage Hawaiian Postcard

My friend Heather was in Hawaii for the Thanksgiving holiday and she mailed me a postcard made of wood with a vintage design. The design side:

Franki Kohler, Vintage Hawaiian PostcardAnd the address side:

Franki Kohler, address sideThe card is about 1/4″ thick so had no problem withstanding whatever the postal service dished out. I think the surfers on the address side are wonderful. Documentation on the bottom edge says it was made on Kauai and that the image is by Melinda Morey. I tried contacting both the manufacturer and the designer to get more information but was unsuccessful. I can only guess that the ocean view with the plane is the original — now vintage — design and that the surfers are by Melinda.

Heather knows that I am involved with Postmark’d Art, a group of artists from around the world who create and trade fabric postcards. The card is very charming but what is even more touching is that Heather thought of me while on vacation and mailed it!

Fabric Postcards

When I signed on to trade with two groups of Postmark’d Art, I thought I had a good idea about what I wanted to do. As so often happens, though, the ideas kept coming and the postcards I finally created are somewhat different — though I am very happy with them. They also turned out to be more challenging that I had anticipated. And so it goes.

Karen Musgrave suggested a Deck of Cards as a long-term trade idea and a well-spring of support followed. We decided to start with the Heart suit and formed several groups of eager artists. Each group has 7 participants, each being dealt 2 cards (King-Ace plus the Joker) as their inspiration. I drew the Jack and 8 of Hearts.

I have had a package of Artist Transfer Paper (ATP) for some time but had not used it. Now was the time. I did some internet surfing and settled on inspiration from Alice in Wonderland. The Knave of Hearts was quite a rascal and I couldn’t resist him.

Franki Kohler, Jack of HeartsFor the address side of the postcard I scanned a playing card back, converted it to black and white and lightened it. I quoted Lewis Carroll to complete the idea.

Franki Kohler, Jack of Hearts AddressI was happy to be dealt the 8 because I know that the number 8 and the color red are considered to be lucky in Chinese culture. With this idea I challenged myself to create a word cloud. Maureen Callahan wrote a very good tutorial for us on creating word clouds — I highly recommend it as a starting point to a fun adventure.

Franki Kohler, 8 of HeartsI used red acrylic paint to finish the edge of the postcard. Again I scanned the back of a playing card to use on the address side.

Franki Kohler, 8 of Hearts AddressAnd it was fun to have a project so perfect for using my chop. Read about the chop purchase here.

The other theme group is My Town (something symbolic, distinctive or map-ly about where you live).  There are many things to crow about in my town but the single item that rose to the top of the list is Lake Merritt, the Jewel of Oakland. It’s unique, it’s beautiful and it is very well-loved in this city. And it recently underwent a face lift that is attracting even more locals.  I used TAP again to transfer a scanned map onto fabric.

Franki Kohler, My TownGertrude Stein (1874-1946) famously said of Oakland, “There is no there there.” The much-quoted statement appears in Gertrude Stein, Everybody’s Autobiography (Random House 1937, p 289). Well, things have changed. Oakland boasts big metal letters that spell THERE. So there. And here they are.

Franki Kohler, ThereTo be fair, she said this in 1933 after coming to San Francisco on a book tour. She took a ferry to Oakland to visit the farm she grew up on, and the house she lived in near what is now 13th Avenue and E. 25th Street in Oakland. The house had been razed and the farmland had been developed with new housing. So, even though Paris had been Home since 1903, the complete erasure of what she remembered so well about her childhood in Oakland was gone. I can understand her waxing nostalgic.

I converted the above image to black and white, lightened it quite a bit and added the quote by Stein for the address side. There. All done.

Fabric Postcards and PayPal

I’ve updated the Fabric Postcard Gallery page. Please take a look to see the new postcards I have displayed. These small art pieces make ideal gifts.

The Book page is also updated and points out the newly added PayPal feature. With the click of a button you can own my book and catch the 4″ x 6″ fever!

Gray Landscape, 4 x 6

Gray Landscape, 4 x 6

Studio Tour with PIQF

The annual Pacific International Quilt Festival at the Santa Clara Convention Center was held October 17-20. One of their events this year was to provide a tour of local artist studios. I was honored to be asked to participate this year along with fellow artist Alice Beasley.

I thoroughly enjoyed having 45 visitors in my studio. It was a great opportunity to explain how I actually create my art. So my primary focus during the studio tour was education. The more visitors understand the techniques and materials I use to create my art, the more they will appreciate my work.

Small works using my favorite techniques — cyanotype and sunprints — opened the opportunity for discussion.

10-18-aSeveral examples of both types of printing were available for close inspection.

10-18-bThe possibility of creating fabric and using it as gift wrap intrigued visitors (see Furoshiki Fabric Wraps).

And the possibility of mailing fabric art in the form of postcards always creates a stir. Here they are displayed mounted on archival mat, ready to frame.

10-18-eVisitors had just 45 minutes to take in my studio. The conversation was lively and the time allotted sped by like a blink. Everyone seemed to learn something and share a laugh.

T is for Toile

Postmark’d Art is wrapping up a trade inspired by the alphabet.  It has taken us four rounds of trading to get through the alphabet — and what fun it has been!

For this round I selected the letter T. Along with a love of gardening, I thoroughly enjoy spotting birds in the backyard. We have feeders, nesting boxes and water features in our yard to attract them. And I have a collection of embroidery bird designs created in the toile manner. I knew you’d follow all this. Keeping toile fabrics used for home decorating in mind, I decided to stay simple and graphic with my design. I used seven different bird designs and the word toile. Hover your cursor over the image for more information. Click on an image for a larger view.


Rnd16-Toile-Nuthatch Rnd16-Toile-Downy-Woodpecker Rnd16-Toile-Chickadee Rnd16-Toile-BluebirdRnd16-Toile-CardinalRnd16-Toile-Scarlet-Tanager
Here is the fabric I used for the address side:


I had the letter N for inspiration in the last round.


See what I did for the first two rounds of alphabet trading here and here.

Unconditional Love

Can anyone have too much? I think not! Mendelssohn has once again inspired a design in fabric — this time for the postcard trade I’m doing with the Typography theme group of Postmark’d Art. (I shared two of the postcards I’ve already received from this trade here.)

Here is Mendelssohn digitized — that’s software speak for turning a graphic line — in this case, using a photograph image — into a line of stitching.


Using my digitizer software, I designed the lettering then combined the 2 designs into one on my embroidery machine. Pretty nifty stuff really. August 20, 2000 is the date that he came to live with us.

I looked through my stash of fabric to find something appropriate for the address side of the postcard. I don’t think it gets any better than this!

12-21 Address Fabric

Here is the postcard finished:


A simple line of stitching at the very edge of the postcard is the perfect thing to hold the edge and not distract from the design. The edges were then painted to hide the white fast2fuse filling and create a smooth edge in case the postcard is subjected to machine franking at the post office. (The post office charges 20 cents extra to mail them due to ‘special handling.’ Most often, though, they are put through the same machine as any paper postcard.)

And the address side — here I have blocked out the recipient’s information:

Franki Kohler, Typography, address side

The same photograph inspired the creation of a quilt. You can read about that here.


Postmark’d Art is in the midst of its 16th round of trading. One of the themes that I am trading in is Typography. I’ve received two that I can’t help but share here. Lynn Chinnis used a quote from Ellen Lupton to illustrate her point.

Franki Kohler, Typography by Lynn Chinnis

And Karen Musgrave clipped words from newspaper and magazines to create a ransom note.

Franki Kohler, Ransom Note by Karen Musgrave

It says: “We have your muse. You have 2 days to send 5 lbs. of dark, organic chocolate or we put her in a small simple wooden box without toys until our demands are met! No excuses! Go! Run! No coffee breaks. Thank you.”

And, yes, I did indeed send her some chocolate — wouldn’t you?

Happy Anniversary

Last year I was inspired to felt some dryer lint. When my friend Shari saw this she brought me some of her lint.  Initially I thought “Oh no!” I mean really, what if all my friends brought me dryer lint and expected something to be created from it? So I did the only thing I could face at the time — I wrapped it up and put it away.

Along came her anniversary and — violá! — inspiration hit.

Happy 23rd Anniversary Pete and Shari! xoxo