Sewing Potholders and Meredith Monk

sewing potholders

I’m sewing my potholders together today.  I have 10 Minnie and 10 Red Sneaker.  Don’t know If I’ll get them all done.  I usually give them to Kim to assemble, but she’s working on assembling  some Vintage Hankie Scarves.  I have about 20 more Red Sneaker Potholders orders to fill.  Listened to an interview with Musician Meredith Monk.  I never heard of her or her music before, but since hearing the interview and watching a video of one of her performance collaborations with Artist Ann Hamilton, I’m going to check out her music on itunes.

Here’s the video…


Creative Rush

A Vintage Hankie scarf, wrapped and ready for the envelope.
A Vintage Hankie scarf, wrapped and ready for the envelope.

Sometimes I come up with an idea and it just works for a lot of people.  My Heart of Scraps potholders, My Vintage Hankie Scarves and now the Pink Sneaker Potholders. It’s always wonderful when this happens, and each time it sends me into a whirlwind.  First, I get excited about the idea and my energy level rises.  Then I make one of whatever it happens to be and post it on my blog.  And I wait.  I’m already excited, but I never know how it will be received.  I keep checking my email and facebook  and my comments to see what kind of response I’ll get.   Yesterday, Sandra was the first to leave a comment on my blog wanting one of my Pink Sneaker potholders.  I hadn’t even made any yet, but idea of it was enough for her.   By 3pm the ten potholders I made were all sold and I had orders for more.  By now, I’m jumping out of my skin, in a good way.  I’m excited and really busy.  There’s the back and forth with emails, setting up payments, and finishing up the work and shipping.

When It’s something brand new, like the Vintage Hankie Scarves, I have to figure out a way to package and mail them.  This is always fun to figure out.  And like learning how to draw a pink sneaker, the more I do it, the better it gets and the more fun I have. (I don’t have so much volume that it becomes akin to doing Laundry).  I finally got the scarves down.  I wrap a piece of cardboard in tissue paper (Just last week I figured out the best way to wrap the tissue paper around the cardboard.  Believe it or not, there are many different ways to do it and I tried a lot of them) then wrap the scarf around the cardboard then wrap the whole thing in two different colors of tissue paper and tie it with a pretty piece of yarn or string with my business card.  Then it’s ready to be slipped into a padded envelope and off to the post office where Wendy or Martha make sure it gets delivered to the right address.

This afternoon, after a morning of coming down from yesterday’s rush, I’m cleaning up the loose ends, getting my orders straightened out, and planning the next week of finishing up what I started this week (My Butterfly Quilt, a batch of Minnie Potholders and the Pink Sneaker Potholders) and filling potholder orders.  It’s feels like being in retail for the holiday season, except it only lasts a week or so.  It’s exciting when it happens and a relief when things settle down again.  Until the next time…..

Open House On Line Gallery. Some of My Art For Sale


Butterfly Potholders
Butterfly Potholders  $15 each +shipping  Only One Potholder Still Available.

I have a few pieces of art  for sale from the Open House.   If you see something you like, you can let me know by emailing me at [email protected] I take checks and paypal.

My Butterfly Potholders are $15 each + $5 shipping for 1-2 and $7 shipping for 3 or more.

Vintage Hankie Scarf $45 + shipping
Vintage Hankie Scarf $45 + shipping

This is the last Vintage Hankie Scarf I’ll have available for a while.  I only have white hankies left and I’m trying to figure out how to use them to make more scarves.  I’m playing with dying them.  I used up the last of my printed hankies making this scarf.

My  Vintage Hankie Scarf is  $45 + $8 shipping.

Whisper My Name
Whisper My Name  $100 + $10 shipping Sold

I also have a wall hanging for sale.  It’s called Whisper My Name and is filled with mystical images of goddesses and nature.  One animal flows into another evoking the sequence often present in dream states.

Among other symbolic animals and images it has a Sheela na gig in it.  She’s  the ancient goddess found on churches mostly  in Ireland. She has her legs open and is showing her vulva.  And although her origin is still not completely known it seems obvious to me that she’s about fertility.  In this case creative fertility.

The title Whisper My Name refers to the times when I’ve heard my name whispered in a room that only I was in.  I know I’m not alone in  experiencing this and I now believe it to be a call to the self.  A reminder that I Am.

Whisper My Name is $100 + $10 shipping.

Coexisting with the Holidays

xmas s carf

Last night I had a dream that I was walking in the woods and something was following me.  It wasn’t walking behind me, but along side me.  I couldn’t see it, because it was off the path in the thick woods, but I knew it was a bear.   When I ran, it ran, when I walked, it slowed down.   I didn’t feel threatened by the bear, but it didn’t feel good either.

When I looked up the meaning of being chased by a bear in a dream, I found it meant I was avoiding something that I needed to confront.

That’s when I thought of the holidays.  How they’re beginning to loom over me.  How I wish they would just go away.  Then Jon suggested that  we don’t celebrate  Christmas.  And the holidays started to feel a little bit better.  It’s been a dream of mine for a long time to do just that.  But Jon always seemed to want to try to make the day special and I didn’t want to take that away from him.

So this year we’re thinking differently about the holidays.  Not running from them, but making them what we want them to be.  And Christmas, as a day of being together with Jon, and the animals, reading, walking, taking it easy, that feels really good to me.

So when I went into my studio this morning and was looking through my vintage hankies to make more scarves, I found the stash of Christmas hankies.  I could have left them in my box, but then I knew they’d be there for at least another year.

So I decided to put them together and make them into a Christmas Scarf.  Just the opposite of what I want from my holidays.  But, while I know I’m not alone in my distress this time of year, I also know there are so many people who genuinely enjoy the season.  It has meaning for them that I’ve never been able to grasp.  So I like the idea of sending these Christmas hankies, some of them soft with wear and others stiff with having been kept safe for years, back out into the world.

They’ll bring someone some Christmas joy, not something that would happen if I left them in my hankie box.  And I have to say, I like the way the design of this scarf came out.

Also, I’m tired of running from the bear.   Maybe this year we can just coexist.

Birch Tree Scarf For Sale

Birch Tree Scarf
Birch Tree Scarf

I was thinking of the birch tree, the one I took a video of the other day.  On that same day I saw a burly old tree, all bumpy and swirling, and to me the bark looked like lace.  I imagined making a tree, on one of the old quilts, made of lace and doilies and the embroidery from linens and hankies.   All that monochromatic texture.

But this morning I had the urge to make a scarf.  My plan was to use some of the special hankies I’ve been saving and figure out  what to do with them.

When I make my scarves, I have a way I sew them together.  It’s become a system, something I don’t even usually do myself.  I usually give them to Kim to sew.

But I felt like doing something different and as I was going through the hankies I got the idea to just start sewing some of the white and off-white ones together.  Not using my system, but haphazardly.  I wanted to make something layered where the hankies draped  and hung in unexpected ways.  Like the peeling  bark on the birch tree.   I sewed some doilies in for more texture.   I wanted it thick, to have substance, and be wispy at the same time.

And I wanted the bottoms to know they were the bottom.  I wanted them to have drag, something for the rest of the hankies to push up against.  So I sewed gathered hankies and doilies at their center,  and trimmed the bottoms with hand crocheted lace and vintage buttons.

Birch tree scarf bottom

My Birch Tree Scarf is Sold for sale.  It’s about 80″ long and is $60 + $8 shipping.    If you’re interested in it you can email me here at [email protected].  I take checks and paypal.


Finishing Up My Kickstarter Project

kickstarterIt’s the other end of the Open House.  The part that takes place upstairs in the Guest Room/Office where I do my shipping and book-keeping etc.   By yesterday I had all the money and commissions figured out and checks mailed to the artists who showed their work in my gallery.

Today, I’m sending off the last of the pledges to my Kickstarter Backers.  These are the people who pledged money for “Reclaiming Vintage Hankies”.   Part of that money went to buying a new sewing machine and part of it to make my notecards.  It turns out I got my new machine just in time.   The feed dogs on my  “old” machine (really just a few years old) have stopped working.  Jackie at Heirloom sewing said I might try taking it to Albany to a Brother dealer to see if they can fix it, but she can’t.  It just won’t feed the fabric through anymore.  But I can still use it for free motion sewing, so for now, that’s what I’ll do.  One machine for straight stitching and one for free motion.  It will work out fine.

The last Kickstarter rewards to go out were the single note cards.  Each card is signed on the back, but I didn’t want to write in the card.  So I  slipped a small  thank you note on a piece of card stock with one of my business cards  into the notecard.  It’s satisfying to know that the project is complete.   I still have tons of Vintage Hankies to make scarves and potholders from and will keep the project going in that way.   But it feels like something has ended and it’s time for something new to begin.  I wonder what will come next…….

Fully Funded, Thank You!

hankies on line

Just 3 more minutes I yelled to Jon from the living room.  He was at his computer in his office.  It’s counting down he yelled back.  I watched the numbers run backwards 83…82…81…  I went into Jon’s office  so we could watch the count down together and he was getting out of his chair thinking the same thing. 10…9…8…  and then 0.  My Kickstarter project Reclaiming Vintage Hankies was fully funded and then some.  Thanks to all of you I got a total of $5,315.00, the last pledge coming in just minutes before it ended.   Wow!  Thank You!

Next week Jon and I will make a trip to Heirloom Sewing in Glens Falls to buy my new sewing machine.  I’ll drop my old machine off to be cleaned (which it needs badly).  I think we’ll have a celebration dinner out too.

Then it’s to work.  Kim just let me know she’s ready to start sewing scarves again, healing nicely from her shoulder surgery.   I’ll be making 17 scarves, 25 potholders (using pieces of torn hankies )  and  printing up a bunch of note cards.  I’ll also finish washing and ironing (with Jon’s help, of course) and sorting the rest of the hankies.

I want to thank everyone for your support, weather in pledges, hankies, or good wishes.  I’ll be writing about it all here on my blog and in my Kickstarter updates.   Hope you’ll continue following along.

Breathing Space, Reaching My Kickstarter Goal

Hankies that Uta gave me
Some wonderful Vintage Hankies that Uta gave me

Early this morning, I reached my goal for my Kickstarter Project Reclaiming Vintage Hankies.     I now have over $4000 pledged.   When I started the project, I didn’t really know what to expect.  It could have gone so many different ways.  So I want to thank you all for your support.

Thank you all so very much!

It’s an interesting and emotional  thing to have so many people give me money to reach this goal.  It shows a belief in my work and in me.  The idea of Kickstarter itself shows how many people want art, in some form, in their lives.

And I was thinking about all the practical uses of the money I’ll receive.  Like allowing me to buy a new sewing machine and buy hankies and other supplies and pay Kim to help me assemble scarves and potholders.

But it does something else too.  Something that traditionally was the role of government grants.  It gives me the time and space to create.   Suddenly, I felt the pressure of having to make money every day lift for a while.    I actually saw an emptiness full of possibility.  A vast light filled space without devoid of the restrictions of time.    Like taking a conscious breath during a really stressful moment.

Since I started doing my work six years ago, I’ve never even dreamed of such a situation, where the edge of necessity was replaced with desire.  And it’s not just about the money, but about knowing and experiencing a different reality.   And I’m ready for it.  I no longer want “need” to push me and guide my creativity.  Not any need outside of myself anyway.  I now know I  have enough drive to keep me creating for the rest of my life.  And having some breathing space to do it fills me with the joy of having landed in my creative life.


Snow Day (kinda)

Frieda outside my studio
Frieda outside my studio

Snow Day!  We lost our electricity last night for just a few hours.  But for that time it made me think of everyone who has been without and will be without for days.   I was immediately grateful for our wood stoves and that we have a stream in the back yard to get water for the animals and the toilet.  We thought of our friends and neighbors that didn’t have wood stoves.   And  I thought about not being able to work and blog.  I was thinking I’d do a ton of drawings and rely on facebook for blogging.   Then there’s all the stuff I luckily didn’t have to think of because  the lights came back on sometime when we were asleep .

So it’s a snow day, with a big chunk of the morning spent shoveling paths to the barns and feeders, digging out gates and doors.  But it’s pretty easy for me to get to work, so there no excuse to stay in.  However, I will take the morning to start working on a Kickstarter project.  When Jon decided to do a Kickstarter project he got on his computer that day and had it done in under a week.  Me, well, I take a while to get going with something new.  I have to procrastinate for a good long time before I actually get to it.  But it seems my time has come.

I’m going to do a Vintage hankie Scarf and Pillow  project.   I’ve looked at some of the projects where people are selling scarves and mine seem pretty unique.  And I believe they have a lot of appeal.  Since I first came up with the idea I could picture them around the necks of tall, skinny, somber faced  models in catalogues. (not that I want to be spending all my time making scarves! I know I don’t want to go that route).Most of these types of projects are asking for money for production and marketing.  I’ll do that, but also try to raise money for a new sewing machine.  It would be wonderful to have two sewing machines set up in my studio. One for straight sewing and one for free motion sewing.  This way,  when I’m working on a project, I can go back and forth easily.  Or easily work on more that one project at once.  I love the idea of Kickstarter potentially bringing me another audience too.

So I’m off, onto something new.  I wonder what will happen…..



Full Moon Fiber Art