Cleaning the Closet (Refrigerator, Studio, BookShelf, Shed)

I am often heard saying “Use what you have.”  I am pretty good at practicing what I preach. I design new garden beds with easy to move perennials in mind, those already in other beds and ready to thin. I take pleasure in finding a wonderful way to use three leftovers in the refrigerator. At the end of the week, when the refrigerator and pantry are nearly bare, I love figuring out something to make with what I DO have. I even have a policy of using most perishable food before going to the store again. I don’t want to waste anything.

This “use what you have” approach is strongly aligned with the quilting tradition. As an art quilter I ask myself how I can say what I want to say AND use what I have. I have many ways of altering and reusing fabrics.  I usually add textile paints, pastels or markers, and sometimes embroidery floss or thread.

Every so often someone else is cleaning out a closet and offers their bags and boxes of fabric to me. I recently was given a small mountain of stuff – notions & novelties, shears & fleece, and lots of non cotton fabric. My challenge was to use what I inherited rather than what I selected. I was very surprised that the small mountain had almost nothing that I liked!  There was one thing that felt like a gift – a 60″ wide bolt of upholstery fabric. I liked it. This gave me a four day project of making slip covers in the sweet week between Christmas and New Years. There is also some novelty flame fabric that I will use to cover a child’s chair (Hot Seat) that will be auctioned for a good cause. Last week I  used an embroidered shear fabric in combination with old fashioned quilt fabrics to create a layered piece I titled Genealogy.

I have cleaned the dusty book case and given many magazines and journals to friends. Recycled goods that flow, take on a new life. Tomorrow a friend will remove the last of the fabric pile that three other artists did not want. Use what you have, unless you will never use it. Best to weed the closet and really look at what is left. It might make an excellent meal.

Entering the Studio

This week it will be easy to descend into my basement studio, because I am enjoying hand stitching on a large abstract piece. It covers about 1/3 of a ping pong tale and I am exited about the process and the results. I can already see the piece complete, so I am excited to finish… Read more »

Repeating Myself – in a good way

I have recently chosen to create two art quilts comprised of multiple images of wonderful exciting shadows! How many times have I already been drawn to this subject matter? Cosmic Bicycle, Magic Wall, Purple Stroller. Only three times? It seems like way more than this. So… after reviewing my inventory list back to 2003 I… Read more »

Seasonal Artist and Late Bloomer

When are you most productive? I love to work in the garden, specializing in Xeric landscaping, but also growing food crops and tending public places that receive water. Each season has it’s own challenges and delights, that I find enormously and creatively entertaining. Thank goodness I live in Wyoming – a place that really does… Read more »

Creating Abstract Art

For several years now, I have been pushing my art in the abstract direction, even when the image is about a person (and possibly a dog). It is a challenge to retain just enough detail and definition in a snap shot story to give the viewer something to hang on to, and not give them… Read more »

Quilts are cozy

I am a contemporary artist that chooses to work with fabric and present my pieces as art quilts that are hung on the wall. Fabric is tactile, nurturing and comforting; it’s the perfect medium to express themes that are also tactile, nurturing and comforting. My representational pieces are often based around themes of being outside… Read more »


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