Saturday, January 21, 2012

Gifts From the Snow

Here are a few of the threads, doilies and trims that the melted snow washed up on my shore: I prepared three different snow dye baths with the same items in each. The results are unpredictable - the same fabric in one bath absorbed alot of colour, while in another bath it came out virtually undyed and some fabrics are just one overall colour while others in the same bath are many. I have far too many samples to post but a few of my favourites will give you an idea of the range from one of the baths. This silk velvet is my favourite:

I prepared this fabric itajime shibori style, and interestingly, this one was meant to be snow moons but became moon butterflies:

And here are some fantasy mountains on linen - you may have to enlarge the photo to see what I mean:

I have other fabrics that are largely pink and some that are turquoise, avocado and reddish brown. The snow outside is all gone - but I do have a small bucket left in my freezer :) I also have partially sewn the ancient vesica piscis symbol onto Palace of the Soul, now.

To me, the snow dyed fabric it is on has the feel of an unfolding universe - a place of continuous birthing and emerging of the Divine Feminine. It is threshold, passage and chalice and maiden, mother and crone.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Pot Luck

I've added a few more bits to Palace of the Soul, keeping it growing little by little.

And I overdyed some wet felted wool I had previously dyed with maple leaves, this time using resists and a eucalyptus bath.

And I did a few pieces of silk, too.

Last night after being occupied with the felted book, I suddenly was shocked to realize there is that rare thing here, now - snow - and I had not even thought to do some snow dyeing! So I was determined to make that happen today and good thing, as the temperature has risen, rain is falling and the snow is rapidly disappearing.

Stay tuned for results - I've got three or four different colours of dye in each bucket and all kinds of fabrics, trims and threads prepared in a variety of ways.

Thursday, January 19, 2012


Snow changes the landscape, covering what's familiar and bringing potential navigation challenges. I have been puzzled over how difficult the studio move is proving to be. I had expected it to interrupt my work and to take awhile, but I had not expected to feel so lost. My old space in the basement, while tight, was densely packed and very organized - and - had developed over the course of a few years. I could find anything I thought of and not interrupt my creative flow for long. Now, between studios, I'm not sure where things are anymore, as it's too much to track and items aren't yet settled, and while I am content to allow how it will come together to unfold as I continue to work at it, I feel disoriented. And then I read a snippet of information that really hit home. In Canada's far north, where unbroken deep snow can make it nearly impossible to navigate - even with a map and GPS - the native people rely on internal mapping - a sense of the whole developed through their experience with the land, stories and descriptive landmarks passed along, and awareness of seasons and weather shifts. And - these cognitive maps are different for men and women. Men were the navigators across the land on the journey, but once complete, the women took over because they knew where to best place dwellings for safety and proximity to food sources. I realized that my internal map of the old studio has deep roads from frequent travel within and an accompanying comfortability with knowing the lay of its land. Somehow that mapping metaphor helped me understand and accept my lost feeling and also gave me renewed energy to create a new map. So with stacks of mess around all shouting to be put away and a tiny clear space on the cutting board, I rummaged up and down through my studios to find supplies and make more mess to do what I love. I used some of my dyed wet felted wool to stitch a book cover that I lined with a scrap of real suede and braided cords of hand dyed perle cotton to stitch pages into it.

It took me two days to figure out how to make it work, find the supplies and to complete.

I've learned along the way, having other ideas I might try next time and figuring out what not to repeat in future.

A small journal but a big step because I made a path in the open space of the map of my new studio.

One piece wrapped up, with lots more to come.

Monday, January 16, 2012


A cold day out today and the robins were eating berries off the holly tree. These sketches I did are based on wolverine cave art.

When I heard Douglas Chadwick was giving a presentation on wolverines last year, I was eager to go, as I have been curious to learn more about them. I came away amazed at the amount and type of terrain they move through with such great speed, their courage and ability to overcome adversity and their enduring family ties. Here is a youtube that will give you the gist: I have added one to Palace of the Soul,

along with a word my Finnish Grandmother told me about that encompasses the extraordinary endurance and tenacity I think characterizes wolverines and that aspect of soul drive to express itself no matter what.

Sunday, January 15, 2012


I didn't like the orange red colour of this silk shirt of mine, so I decided to overdye it, and toss a few other scraps into the bath while I was at it. The flower worked out well until I washed it with the other dyed fabrics and it lost its highlights. And the shirt didn't absorb much of the darker colour and ended up a mottled orange red. Oops. But fabrics are settling onto shelves in the studio and the design walls are up and ready to be covered with felt.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Bright Spots

This morning when I basted another block for Palace of the Soul, I included a bright spot of red, which is not really as bright as in this photo, but echoes the colour of another part of the cloth. And then I went to get the mail and experienced another bright spot in my day: the arrival of a bobbin lace pouch from Deanna that I won last month on her blog at: Thank you Deanna! I love the fine lace and the colour

matched the ocean today

where I saw more bright spots like this arbutus bark and a chartreuse golf ball in the sea froth

and then there was this creature buried and emerging from the sand,

which I missed at first, as I walked by, because it was covered with water, but then I went back for a look when several seagulls circled above me and one dived to inspect what it may have thought were crab legs but are actually rope. I was fooled, too.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Walking Between

I've added a personal symbol to the cornerstone of 'Palace of the Soul'. You may recognize the image based on a Chauvet cave bear that I stitched on nunofelt last October: Part of the bear is on topside fabric - representing more concrete reality - and part is on the fabric's underside - symbolizing another dimension. I have many meaningful associations with bears and love when I see one by chance in the wilds.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Small Steps

It's a new year and I am back to taking steps forward with 'Palace of the Soul', as well as with the studio move, after reviewing last year and deciding what's important for me to focus on, now. These unicorn hooves are not uniform in shape and size and all that blue stitching along the sides of the legs was meant to better define but ends up looking messy, up close. And - I am leaving it like that, as this cloth is an expression of soul - which is not about uniformity, conformity or so-called perfection - it's a process of learning. The studio move is at that overwhelming stage, with half my supplies remaining downstairs but not much room left for them in the new studio until I organize further. I probably need to put in some shelving. New ventures can feel like stepping out without knowing where or whether there will be support to land on. I think what's important is to keep moving - to pay attention and do the work.