It's a Wonderment!

I have always be intrigued with creativity. What makes one person a writer, another a painter? A novelist? A musician? I think it comes down to what that little voice whispers in your ear. Then of course, are you listening?

Call that Voice what you will - God, Universal Energy, Goddess , the Flow. Whatever, for me, creativity is sacred work

So I try never to be without paper and pencil to capture an inspiration, should I hear it at, say, the gym. Or in the grocery store. And I read about creativity and famous artists. And being in Asheville, there is a tremendous amount of creative energy. The artists I know love to share their knowledge and thoughts. But here’s what happened this week:

In 1992, Julia Cameron published “The Artist’s Way”. Since then, millions of people have read that book, done the exercises and daily pages, taken the workshops. It is a well-known guide to creativity. But, try as I might, I have never been able to finish the first chapter in all this time. But a few nights ago I knew I had to read the book,and knew right where it was!

I have finished that first chapter. The book is speaking to me now. And now I keep seeing other references to this work here and there.

I don’t know what the lesson I’m to learn from this is. But I’m listening, for sure!

What a Fun Saturday!

Little did I know when I got this “honey “ of an idea that it would by fun to do an installation, that September is National Honey Month. I got the okay from Shelley Schenker, the owner of EcoDepot Marketplace in Asheville’s famous River Arts District. Then I upended the studio. It’s a tiny studio, and a large installation, so many fiber piece in progress had to be stored. And I got going

I set to work cutting rectangles from repurposed cardboard and painting them a nice honey-like color. Then my trusty sidekick (that would be Patrick) started turning the rectangles into individual hexagons, which were then attached together. Now the tricky part: attaching the whole piece to unused garden stakes. It did look like a honeycomb! It held together, and off we went to the Gallery!

We mounted the honeycomb in the front window, and that’s when the fun began! To make honey, we need bees, so I utilized the bees created by @ClaudiaMooreField. They are made from screen, of all things, and are just darling!

I delved further into the gallery to get other pieces. Paintings of nature by @SusanHanning, @RickSelf. and @SondraDora. Butterfly jewelry by @LeeMiller. Scarves represent nature by @PamGrangerGale and @LyndaSondles. There’s even a huge bee that’s perfect for the garden by @MattWalker. Added a bit of “bing” with a purple dragonfly by @LindaMartin!

So please come by next Saturday and have a beverage with us and help celebrate our Planet’s pollinators. Shelley has invited a beekeeper come, and @MarkSondals will be showing us how to make bee “hotels”. EcoDepot is a wonderful place to view a wide variety of art inspired by nature. I could also say it’s a “honey” of a place to shop!

And me? Learned so much in this process, and want to do it again!


Homage to Woolworth Walk

I am smitten with Asheville and enamored with the old architecture found in our Downtown.   Our stunning Basilica, the elegant Grove Arcade, the Masonic Temple, the Kress Building. To me, those beautiful buildings are “part of our charm”.

One of my favs is the Woolworth Building.  Located on Haywood Street, it was once an actual “5 and 10 cents” store!  The first Woolworth Store was opened in Utica, New York in 1878. Woolworth opened in Asheville in 1938.  

The Art Deco faced building was designed by  Henry Irven Gaines. and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.   Mr. Gaines came to Asheville from South Carolina and was a successful architect in his adopted City. He also designed many of the homes in Biltmore Forest, the 1930 Coca-Cola Bottling Company Plant, and was the Campus architect for Mars Hills College

The Woolworth Building was restored in 200l, and is now Asheville’s famous Woolworth Walk.  It is an art gallery with the work of over 170 local artists. You can see outstanding paintings and photography, huge metal sculptures, glass creations.  Elegant jewelry. Creative furniture. Over the years I’ve strolled through numerous times, and am always impressed with quality of the art displayed in the building.  It is a great venue to see the commitment to quality, and the passion of so many creative beings! The volume of this creative community is breathtaking.

And great news!  There is a Soda Fountain!  It is in the actual space where the original Lunch Counter was. The milkshakes are to die for, and I love the Reuben sandwich Looks just like something out of the 1950s!  I know, because I’ve eaten at a 1950’s Woolworth Lunch Counter!

Erin, the Manager,  shared some history with me the other day:   

The Building has a ghost, named “Mary”.  She appears to be a benevolent spirit, moving breakables off the walls, and setting them “squared up” on the floor in the aisles.   She also messes with the lights!

Generally, a Woolworth store would open in a city, with Kress Department Store following in a few years. In Asheville, just the opposite happened.

And, here’s a newsflash for you:  The third floor is under construction right now.  There will be loft-style Airbnb units! What a treat to spend the night there.

And now my fiber art is in this wonderful building, surrounded by such a creative community.  I find my own history circling back around. As a little girl I shopped at a Woolworth’s, and had after school malts.   Bought my “Seventeen” magazines there, and of course Yardley perfume! My first job was as a hostess at Woolworth Lunch Counter.  And now, my fiber art is in the Woolworth Walk in Downtown Asheville. I feel honored to be included!

Fiber and More Fiber has always been about fiber for me.  From the time when I was little, I have sewed pieces of fabric together.  Then I learned how to embellish fabric with buttons, embroidery floss and needlepoint yarn.  Learned how to do needlepoint, and at one time taught it

At one time, we  raised a herd of Angora goat:  we had about 150! We bred the goats to produce fabulous fiber for hand spinners.  Let me tell you, I miss those goats and that abundance of fiber now!

When I began creating vessels and then window pieces here in Asheville, I used wool and mohair.  Then, I started exploring using a wider range of fibers. The pieces now include: silk, bamboo, tencel as well as mohair and wool.

I’m really excited that 2019 will see the use of hemp fibers!  Also this year I’m hoping to begin to study the history and use of fiber.

Magic is Afoot!

Along with goblins, ghouls and ghosts; spooks, slime and slithery things, another kind of magic is afoot in Asheville!  Asheville is famous for its River Arts District.

The RADA member are working long and late to create a magical treasure trove of art for you to enjoy during our annual Studio Stroll this November 10the and 11th.  There’s fiber/textile art, pottery bowl and plates, sculpture, basketry. There are paintings. There is jewelry and woodworking.

On November 10th and 11th, the magic will be on full display at our annual Studio Stroll!  Studios and galleries will be open, with many artist doing the actual work of “magical making”  And we love seeing you all, and telling you about how we create our myriad of pieces.   

Please make a date to treat yourself to a day in the RAD!


”Nebula” made from wool, silk and mohair.

Thoughts from my Husband....

Patrick said the kindest words the other day! He had always supported my artistic inclinations and endeavors. He’s a master craftsman, and makes the frames for the custom, commissioned window panels I make.

He came into the studio yesterday while I was arranging all these colors for a new piece. Wool, mohair, and a smidge of silk. Patrick remarked that I used many of the same colors in my work. But then he continued with “but you could arrange the same colors in the same pattern and make the same size vessel, but no two would look alike”. How kind is that comment?

So I got to thinking about that, and he’s right. Absolutely spot on. Two colors next to each other “blend” into each other as I sew, the machine pushing then into each other. Then there’s no way I could place layers of paint in the exact way over and over again and have the same result in different pieces.

I suppose this is one of the joys of being a “maker”, of taking an idea and transforming it into a tangible object.

“Floaty” rainbow sherbert silk!

“Floaty” rainbow sherbert silk!

It's not what you think it is!

Recently I answered a question on a group site.  The question was:  tell us something we don't know about yourself".  My answer was that my 2nd grade teacher took my box of crayons away because I kept coloring outside the lines.  And that now I'm an artist here in Asheville.   I included a pic of one of my fiber vessels...the first one I ever created.  This is the one I saw whilst having radiation therapy.  It set me on my path when we moved to Asheville!

best vessel!!.jpg

The comments humbled me, to say the least.  One comment was "I love glass".  BUT it's not glass!  It is colored wool, silk, and mohair sewn together, cast into shape.  Then there layers of paint and epoxy resin!   

So, things aren't always as they seem!

Opening at Asheville Area Arts Council Tonight!

Years ago, before I lived here, the Asheville Area Arts Council did a fundraiser for Our Voice.  I donated a quilt about shattered/mended hearts.  It was so big we had to build a shipping box!  Someone bought that quilt, and I've always been glad I donated it.  Through the years, I've visited the AAAC so many times, referred so many friends and visitors to see the excellent exhibits they have had.  

And now, tonight is the opening of a show there, and I'm one of the artists.  I think that is pretty amazing.  I am so full of gratitude!

Swing by tonight (5-8), or visit through July 27th!





Yesterday I used four different colors of wool to create a sample piece.   Whilst the picture below shows the piece as flat, it will be a standing piece, representing the element "Fire".  It has not been painted, embellished or resined.  But when I put it up to the light, I really like it, especially how the light passes through it.  


I like it so much flat, that the next step will be cutting it up!   The finished piece looks good in my head, so I'm excited to try this!

A Perfect Day!

It is so Spring today!  Spent the morning in the studio working on a commission piece, and then joined other River Arts District artists for breakfast. 

When I got home, I cut back some of our hydrangeas.  Mind you, these bushes are at least 25 years old.  We brought them to Asheville when we moved.   I saved ooooodles of the dried flowers for embellishing future vessels and window panels!  Loved using dried flowers, leaves and seeds from our little garden in my art!


2nd Saturday in the River Arts District

What a blast!  The artists of Asheville's famed River Arts District decided to have "2nd Saturdays", meaning the galleries and studios will be busy!   There will be shows, demonstrations, workshops, and of course, artists working and sharing "why they do what they do".  

I was at Eco-Depot Marketplace.  My plan was to paint a new vessel titled "Sea Glass".  Named because the fibers (Alpaca and wool) look just like sea glass.  I also took a "re-claimed" denim jacket to embellish with embroidery stitches.  Here's what really happened:

Not one bit of painting, nor one French knot!   Just hours of talking with the many people who stopped by!  People from Asheville and people from far away.  People that stopped by because they are interested in art.  Also, they love to hear an artist talk about their creative process and vision.   


There was live music and great eats, too. Mark your calendars...see you on April 14th

Please come and see me!

This Saturday.  Yes, this Saturday.  It's Second Saturday in Asheville's River Arts District.  Ill be joining many of the RADA artist who will be working and demonstrating in the District's many studios and galleries.  And we love talking about what we do.  

I'll be at Eco Depot Marketplace (408 Depot Street) starting at 2:00 p.m., working on a couple of spring vessels.  Here's a pic of the fibers I used.  My first use of Alpaca fibers and they are amazing to work with.   And maybe a piece that is a "whole new thing"!

There will be live music starting at 7:OO, so it will be a great time.  Hope to see you!


A Stroke and broken bones....

I love the start of the new year...a clean slate, and all those possibilities.  In December, while working on the last commission piece of the year,  I outlined 2018.  So excited about a new exhibit, and several new techniques to use in the studio. Also a new vessel with lots of parts and pieces. I even did a little preliminary work on the armature for that vessel.

And then January happened! On the 8th,  I see Patrick walking across the kitchen, his body and face listing to one side, and his face going gray.  I realized he is having a stroke and call the squad.  Off we go to the hospital.   

By the time Katherine and I got there, they diagnosed a stroke.   They gave him a marvelous drug:  TPA.   Darling daughter and I sat there as the color came back to his face and all the “droop” went from his face and body.  He looked so much better by the time Christopher arrived.

This is the important part folks:  if you suspect a stroke, don't wait.   Get help right away. TPA works in about 30% of the population, but here's the important part,  TPA has to be given within a narrow time window of onset of symptoms.   

Patrick was really lucky. We were all really lucky.  It is not fun to sit with your children seeing your spouse like that.   But he walked out of the Neuro ICU unit a few days later, perfectly fine. He has to make some lifestyle adjustments, but he has a life to adjust.

And then January continued. The following Monday I fell and broke my arm. The kind of break where the bones come popping out through the skin.  This leads to being in the hospital for a few day getting IV antibiotics and this really horrible cast.  My cast is better now, but it was a battle persuading the doctor that it was too tight.  My fingers were turning purple and I couldn't move a couple of them!

So I'm not getting a lot done in the studio right now, which is hard because I'm so excited about these new ideas.   But I’m learning patience which is always a good thing, right? And it is okay to ask for help... thank you, Katharine, for tying my shoes. I also learned how to dictate on the Mac (My left hand can't do a darn thing) and that's why I can finally get this out there!

Here's to a marvelous rest of 2018….. a healthy 2018.

Wonderment Wednesday!

"Wonderment Wednesday" is the day I try to get out of the studio and visit Asheville.  Sometimes it is a hike to gather inspiration from Mother Nature.   Sometimes, it is going Downtown and feasting on the Art Deco influences in our City.   

But today, I went to the Wedge Studio in the River Arts District to see the transformational work of Frances Domingues.  She owns FD Design Studio and Gallery.

Now I love transformation!  For example, I take loose fiber, "floaty" as a cloud and transform them into hard vessels that look like glass.  Frances takes flat metal and creates magic.  She  calls it "Vibrational Oxidized Painting"  I've put a pic of one of the pieces I saw today, and a close up of the texture on one painting.  Frances' work mesmerized me.   


There is an opening reception at the Wedge Foundation Cloud Room is on September 21,  2017, from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm.  I cant wait!  

The only down side to my visit was that Frances wasn't there, so "Hello, Frances"!

But What Does Art Have To Do With Football?

Last Saturday, I was in Downtown Asheville at Mountain Made Gallery, demonstrating how I create my fiber art.  This is something I love doing.  And I meet the most marvelous people.  Locals, people on vacation, people in town for a wedding, people "stopping by Asheville" on the way home from dropping a child off at Wake Forrest.  

This time I met a couple.  Long talk with the wife and her friend, and they were such engaging women.  He is an NFL ref.  I've seen him for years, and remembering some of those calls so clearly, especially the San Francisco- Ravens Super Bowl.  Oh, do I remember that.  So there was that football moment.

Then, when I checked my Twitter feed, there is the Dallas Cowboys following along with my artistic journey.

But mainly, it was just about art.  About seeing a vision in the moment of a bad place (radiation treatment for a brain tumor) and transforming that vision into art. And to being a working artist in Asheville.  


I'm really blessed, and full of Gratitude.  And can't wait for the NFL to kick off!

What I learned from a wedding and a garden...

Our son got married last month at a local vineyard.  We love her so much, and are so happy for them.  It was quite a celebration....happy families and friends, beautiful venue.  I slept for two days!  

I did some quilting for the event, and realized how much I'd missed that medium.  Last week, I was working in our garden and was struck dumb by the variety of flowers we grow.  Sweet william, lantana, marigolds, morning glories, and my bold and brassy zinnias.  All different, but a part of the overall garden.  

I began thinking "what if my art included quilting?  The vessels, lamps and window panels are made from fiber, and fabric is too.  No?  And I love making these "petite" quilts - only 3x3.  They come with a wee easel, and are great for shelves, desks, and....wherever!   And by "quilts", I don't mean the kind you snuggle in!   Art quilts....full of beading.  

Some of the petites and the art quilts are in Asheville's River Arts District at Eco-Depot Marketplace.  Stop by and see the new additions and other pieces of fiber art!

Asheville Skies

Just finished the final bronze "gilding" on this sweet vessel.  Visitors continually remark about the glorious skies in Asheville.  From early morning dawn to our spectacular sunsets, we are blessed each day with this incredible blue, white clouds scudding by.  Beautiful golds and purple caressing our mountains.  

So this vessel with the brown mountains on the bottom and spilling up the sides and the blue, white and gold in the skies is a tribute to Asheville's beauty.


...or embellishments.  Before the final coat on a window panel, vessel or lamp, I use organic material to add a bit of intrest.  I usually head to The Villagers on Haywood Road in West Asheville.  Bits of beeswax for flowers in a field, chopped oat straw strewn across a pasture, dried rhodiola branches for light dirt.  

But I was stumped on this large commission piece.  The clients wanted fall leaves and a path (needing "darker" dirt.  And that's the fun of doing commission work....listening to the clients and capturing their vision in fiber.

Then one morning I'm out in our garden, deadheading, and voila!  Strawflowers and marigolds for the leaves and magnolia leaves for the dirt!  Pick a passel of those and dried them on my years old drying screen and they are perfect.

I feel like Dorthy, "...there's no place like home."!


Talking Art...A Follow Up

Another day of "talking art"  and demonstrating what I do is in the books.  Saturday at Mountain Made Gallery in the Grove Arcade, I was painting a sunrise and talking to people all the different fibers I use in my, wool, mohair, and bamboo, to name a few.

Downtown Asheville is quite the place for people to visit when coming to our City. I talked to folks from Fort Meyers on vacation.  A couple from South Carolina try out their new motor home.  People from Arizona in town for a nephew's wedding.  A lady from Austin here for a conference.  People from Winston-Salem, PA, MA, VA.  All over the place.

My two favorites, though, were the ladies from Charleston, who were there as "Art Appreciators" and the high school junior from MA who proudly showed me here collaborative entry into a state-wide competition.  It was a very remarkable portrayal of the Cliff Dwellers.  The kids signed that piece with their handprints, much like the artists of long ago.

So a big thanks to all the people who stopped by.  And if you are visiting our City, or if you live here, when you see a working artist, feel free to step up and chat! 

Below is a close up of a smidge of sky in one of my vessels.