Win a Rachel Barlow, Original Drawing- in The Common Thread Give-a-way

October 6th, 2014
"Hibernate" by Rachel Barlow

“Hibernate” by Rachel Barlow

Okay, tell me this isn’t a cozy place to be with the winter coming on.  And it’s the real thing.  Writer and artist, Rachel Barlow is living off the grid with her family in Vermont.  I’ve been to her home and that wood stove heats the whole place as well as cooking their meals.  So Rachel knows about cozy….and the difficulties of choosing to try to live a sustainable life.  You can read all about it and the rest of her adventures  on her blog Picking my Battles.

But this week you have a chance of winning this original 5×7  pen and ink, water-color pencil drawing.  All you have to do is leave a comment on Rachel’s blog.  She’ll randomly pick a winner and announce who it is on Thursday Morning.

And don’t forget, the first Monday of every month one of the Common Thread Give-a-way artists give away a piece of their work.  In the coming months you’ll have the chance to win something from Jane McMillan, Kim Gifford, Jon Katz, me and some of our surprise artists, to be announced!


Carol Way Wood’s Small World Paintings at the Saving Simon Bedlam Farm Open House October 11th and 12th

October 5th, 2014

Carol Way Wood’s Small  boxes

This weekend, at the Saving Simon Open House, my sister Fran will not be showing and selling her mini-gardens.  She was busy making gardens to give away to a bunch of her friends this summer, but she’ll be back with her mini-gardens at next June’s  Open House.

So instead of mini-gardens, Carol Way Wood will be selling her small drawings of small things.  There’s something miniature about Carol’s work even though some of it is human sized.  Her work is about the little lives that live under leaves and in between blades of grass.  Rabbits and birds, mice and flowers. The natural world fit into small spaces.

 One of Carol Way Wood's Greeting Cards.

One of Carol Way Wood’s Greeting Cards.

From a family of artists, (her mother  was a painter and her  grandfather the well known illustrator Frank Godwin) Carol has been creating since she was 8 years old.  She’s been a free lance artist for 50 years creating paintings and prints, illustrating books and greeting cards and selling her work around the world.  And next weekend  Carol’s work will be for sale  in my School House Gallery at Bedlam Farm.

 A close up of Carol Way Wood's  "E is for Elephant"

A close up of Carol Way Wood’s “E is for Elephant”

I’ll have some of her small boxes, framed prints, books and greeting cards.  And Carol will be at the farm so you can meet her and talk to her about her work.  I loved Carol’s work since I first saw it on her website a year or so ago and I’m thrilled to have her work in my gallery.   So, have a look at more of her paintings on her website  Lucky Bunny Graphics.  And if you’re in the area, come see it all, in person, at the Bedlam Farm Open House this weekend.

“My Message To The World Potholders” -For Sale

October 3rd, 2014
"I like what I see"

“I like what I see” SOLD

My potholders are my messages to the world.  They speak of where I am in my life.  Last week I sat down and made a bunch of them.  I didn’t have anything particular ideas in mind, I just made what I felt like.   The first one I made was “I like what I see”.  Words Jon spoke when he looked in the mirror one day.  Words I never heard him say before.  Finally, I thought, he can see the truth about what he really looks like and not the idea of himself he has in his head.  I could definitely relate.

Something's Different

Something’s Different SOLD

A couple of years ago I made a bunch of Umbrella Girl Potholders.  They were girls holding umbrella’s.  For most of my life I felt like I needed protecting.  Like the world around me was filled with dangers and I was unsafe.  I was afraid of everything from walking alone at night to using a computer to getting my mail.  When I made the Umbrella Girl Potholders I was finally feeling like I didn’t need to be afraid anymore, that I could protect and take care of myself.

Last week I made a bunch of Ascension Girl Potholders.  The idea started with the image of a girl living in a clear glass bottle.  A place where she could see the world around her but was separate from it.  Her only way out was the small opening at the top.  The girl is in the bottle reaching up to the opening through which she can only see the smallest piece of a tree and its leaves, reaching down towards her and  encouraging her to leave her “safe place”.

My Ascension Girls come from the “reaching girl” but now she is out of the bottle and moving up using her own powers.


Inspiring Leaves

Inspiring Leaves

Earth and Sky

Earth and Sky SOLD


Clouds SOLD

These last two potholders come from poems I wrote.  “Sleeping Seed” is the whole poem. Short as it is I could fit all of it on the potholder.

Sleeping Seed

Sleeping Seed Sold


Cupcake Sold

Today I will have a Cupcake come from my poem of the same name, which you can read  here.

All my potholders are for sale.   They are $20 each + $5 shipping for 1-2 and $10 shipping for 3 or more (a bit more for shipping outside the US)

If you see one that speaks to you, and would like to hang it and/or use it (all my potholders are working potholders) in your kitchen,   just email me at  I take checks and paypal.



Weeping Willow Girl

October 2nd, 2014

weeping willow girl

I posted a drawing of Weeping Willow Girl a week or so ago.  I got some nice responses to it and decided to try and draw it in stitches.

In the pencil drawing I had little drops of water coming from the hearts.  I tried to stitch the drops, but it didn’t look right and suddenly knew I need some tiny glistening blue beads.  Now most  Upstate NY  small towns don’t have a bead store in them,  but Cambridge is not your average Upstate NY small town.  And right next to our fabulous bookstore is a fabulous bead store.

I was there and back to my studio with my tiny blue glistening beads in 15 minutes.  I stitched them on and they were perfect.

I think she’ll make a nice pillow.  But I stitched close to the fabric edge, so some of the image would get lost in the curve of a pillow.  I might be able to add some fabric to it, like a border, but then the pillow may be too big.    I can picture a smaller Weeping Willow Girl in the center of a pillow with a lot of space around her.  So this one may be a wall hanging and a pillow may come next.

Coyote Howls and Orion Watches

October 2nd, 2014


Coyote howls and Orion watches
three more steps and they’d both be in my bedroom.

I wonder what the sheep think
is Zelda finally glad for the fences
even under Orion’s watchful eye.

Now I know what bone chilling means
not some horror movie hand popping out from the grave

Coyote’s cries play up and down my spine
from sacrum to reptile brain
and back again
Like someone tickling the ivories in a Rebel Yell.

This is something we all know
sheep, chicken, donkey, barn cat, dog, human
Even in the safety of our bedroom
Even under the dependable and comforting eye of the stars.


I woke up to the eerie calls of the coyotes last night.  They’ve been closer and louder than usual this week.  The closer they are the scarier they sound.  I couldn’t go back to sleep until I wrote down the poem that was running in my head.

The Rebel Yell

South Dakota Journal- Talking to Pamela

October 1st, 2014
doodling while on the phone

Doodling while on the phone with Pamela

Last night I sat on my couch, sketch pad on my lap and phone to my ear.  I was talking to Pamela Rickenbach from Blue Star Equiculture, the Working Horse Sanctuary in MA.  It was Pamela who asked me to make the wall hanging for Blue Star to use as their logo.  She had a dream, she told me, and I was supposed to make it for them.  So I did, trusting her and her dream.  And Pamela loved the piece, saw meaning in the imagery and every choice of fabric including the piece I put on the back.  And I was happy and she was happy and I thought that was that.

Then Pamela sent me a link to a movie called Dakata 38.  She said I had to watch it.  It’s the story of a Native American man who has a dream that he must go on a healing ride from his reservation to Mankato Minnesota, to the site of the mass execution of 38 Souix/Dakota by the United States government in 1862.  He is also Vietnam Veteran who killed 38 men in the war.   So, in 2012,  he gathered a group of people and they rode on horseback for weeks through December blizzards to reach their destination on the anniversary of the hanging.  It’s a powerful movie filled with emotion and personal healing as well as healing between Native Americans and Whites and communities.  They have been making the trip every year since.   And I was moved by it for sure, but wondered what it had to do with me and my wall hanging.

A few weeks later Pamela messaged me on facebook saying that she was going to gather all the horse supplies that had been donated to Blue Star Equiculture, that she couldn’t use, and bring them to the Reservation in  South Dakota and donate it all  for the annual Dakota 38 ride.  Then she told me she was making t-shirts with the logo I had designed for them and was going to give them to the people to wear during the ride.

And suddenly, I understood that my work had made a connection to this group of people taking this healing ride.  That although I have no connection to the Native American community and have only recently become interested in horses,  through my work, without meaning to,  I touched the place in me and them that connect.  It was then I realized that even without my work, the ride  has something to do with me, as it has to do with all of us.  Because we all have it in us to hurt and even destroy life and the ability to heal and forgive.

So when Pamela asked me and Jon to go on the trip to South Dakota with her to help deliver the horse gear, I knew I wanted to go.  It wasn’t a practical decision, it just felt right.  It appeals to my sense of adventure, but it also seems to be a part of this new path that I’m on.  One I’m trying to better understand.  The path that has to do with horses and their connections to human and to me personally.  And about a different way to think.  One that is less linear and not based in reason, one that treats dreams and visions as important as waking life.

I wasn’t really sure if the trip was actually going to happen, I hadn’t heard from Pamela about it in weeks.  And I didn’t feel comfortable writing about it, it was all so new and close.  But talking to Pamela last night I was reassured and excited all over again about the trip to South Dakota.  Pamela talks in circular stories and dreams and my communications with her are as much about feeling as hearing what she is saying.  Last night when I got off the phone, my mind was swirling with pictures  from her stories about the horses that have recently come to Blue Star, to her story about living in the Amazon and the beginnings of the plans for the trip to South Dakota.  Now I don’t doubt that it will happen.  And like my trip to Gee’s Bend, Alabama,  I don’t know what it will bring, but I know it’s something that’s important for me to do.

The wall hanging I made for Blue Star Equiculture

The wall hanging I made for Blue Star Equiculture

“Alligator and Thunderbird”, Linen Napkin Notebook- For Sale

September 30th, 2014

“Alligator and Thunderbird”

I saw this vision during my massage this morning.  A girl standing on an alligator  holding an orange candle, the smoke from the candle turning into Thunderbird.  During the massage I was focusing on fire and smoke and using it to clear some old ways of behaving that had come back to me in the past few days.

After my massage, I went to my studio and started to draw what I saw and as I did, a poem came to me.  They seemed to want to go together, the vision and the words.  The Alligator, orange candle  and Thunderbird are all symbols of strength and have shown up in other dreams and visions I’ve had in the past.  But they’ve never all shown up together.   This is the poem:

Alligator swims behind my brain
telling me stories of another existence

You slip into my soul

No reason to wonder
the story is the same again and again

Wisdom like swamp water settles into my skin.

This piece is about personal strength and knowing my true self.  It’s about tapping into and connecting to the ancient wisdom that is a part of us and every living thing.

Alligator and Thunderbird is for sale.  It’s 18″x 20″ and is $100 + $10 shipping.  If you’re interested in it you can email me at




Introducing “The Ugly Quiltling”….For Sale

September 29th, 2014
"The Ugly Quiltling"

“The Ugly Quiltling”

As a kid, I remember hearing the story of the “Ugly Duckling” and thinking there was something wrong with it. It didn’t make sense to me because the duckling was never really a duck, it was always a swan so it could never have fit into the duck family.  In my mind the story would have made more sense if the “ugly duckling” was really a duck that just didn’t fit in with the rest of the ducks. And then it grew, not to be a swan, but to be an interesting and creative duck who accomplishes, well, something special in her life. Apparently I took the whole story too literally.  For obvious reasons.

So even though I didn’t quite get the story, it stayed with me.  As did the idea of “ugly”.

I can still see in my mind a skit from Sesame Street.  The little boy (a puppet of course) was looking for his mother.  When people asked what she looked like so they could help him find her, he told them she was the most beautiful woman in the world.  When he finally finds her, it turns out she looks like an old hag.  That message I easily understood and it stayed with me.  For obvious reasons.

I guess for a long time I’ve been looking for the beauty in what others might see as ugly.   And that’s how this quilt began.  Actually, its how I began quilting.  Looking for the piece of fabric that, because its out of fashion, has become “ugly”.  Then trying to use it in a way that brings out its beauty.  The beauty that made someone create it to begin with.  And we know how fashion works, when its “in” it looks great and when it’s no longer fashionable it becomes ugly, until it comes back into fashion again.

This quilt,  my Ugly Quiltling,  began with a piece of fabric that I recognized as ugly, but was also able to see as kinda neat.  It’s a maroon, blue, green and gray plaid wool.  Maybe something someone made a skirt out of thirty years ago.  I actually tried to give it away twice, but both times it came back to me.  That’s when I knew had to use it.

And the perfect opportunity came along when I checker-boarded the small green and flowered squares that I got from Laura Israel (an artist who died about 10 years ago.  Her son’s friend thought of me when they were looking to give her fabric away.)  When I laid them out on that “ugly” piece of wool, they worked off each other almost as if the green and flowered squares were the pattern on the “ugly” wool if you were to enlarge it.  Beauty showing itself, if you just took some time to look a little closer.

Ugly, like beauty is subjective, in art, in people and in ducklings.  My Ugly Quiltling, like it’s namesake, the Ugly Duckling, isn’t really ugly at all.  In my eyes anyway, it’s beautiful.

Most of the fabric on this The Ugly Quiltling is vintage.  The flowered squares, and the red flowers on blue are from 1974. (the year stamped on the edge of the fabric).  It’s all a mix of wool, cotton, cotton/polyester, corduroy and something velvety.  The fruit and corn are from a table napkin and the farm scene was once used as a curtain by someone’s mother.

Ugly Quiltling is  Sold for sale. It’s 70″x83″ and is $300 + $20 Shipping.  If you can see it’s beauty and would like to own it, you can email me at  I take checks and paypal.

ugly quiltling detail first

The green and flowered squares and “ugly” wool.




The back of "The Ugly Quiltling"

The back of “The Ugly Quiltling”


Dreaming to be known

September 28th, 2014
Weeping Willow Girl

Weeping Willow Girl


Half finished images fill my head
whispering words, song without pause

What did I know, myths of family

Ugly Duckling, Changeling, Blacksheep
simple stories misunderstood




to be known.

I Didn’t Cut It Up

September 26th, 2014

new quilt 1

So I didn’t up cutting of the quilt piece that I started yesterday. (thanks for all your encouragement)   I just started adding pieces on, one at a time and this is as far as I got today.  By the time I got to this point, I was tired and starting  making mistakes. Like sewing the pieces of fabric on backwards.  But it bugged me leaving it looking so unfinished,  and I knew I was close and didn’t want to lose my rhythm.   So I played around with if for a while, laying out some pieces of fabric,  and this is what happened:

new quilt 2


new quilt 3

A little bit too much blue on top, so I finished for the day with something like this…

new quilt 4

and I’ll be back at it on Monday.