Tag Archive | stitching

Severed Synapse

nuclear brain s

I wear myself inside out. My mask is hidden; my thoughts scriven mysteriously in code.  Sleep returns me to my origins.  I fall, resisting, afraid to let go.

I get up and it’s yesterday, dreary and inexact. Memories come together and instantly fall apart.  I am unbuttoned from the brain down.

All those rituals, the names and places, surrounding me lost and confused. No one can count them.  No one can say when or how they disappeared.

completely unfilled,
outlines stand centered between
never and not now

living vanished s

For Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday, a haibun using synonyms for sad and write. The top artwork is actually part of the stitching for a totally different project.  It’s done on iridescent plastic paper, and the scan makes it look brain-like I think.  The collage above I did awhile ago, but it also seemed to fit.

The mind is a delicate balancing act, always.

If It’s Magic

magician scan s

if its magic magnetic

I did this little magician stitched collage for Rochester Contemporary Art Center’s (RoCo) 6 x 6 fundraiser.  I can’t remember where I first heard about it, but I’ve been sending them a piece of art to sell for a few years.  The opening is tonight, so if you are in the neighborhood…

magic growls liquid
breezes haunted by secrets
foolish wild wet stars

night is bleeding vast desire
day embraces naked sky

The Magnetic Oracle made me think of Stevie Wonder today.

If it’s magic
Then why can’t it be everlasting
Like the sun that always shines
Like the poets in this rhyme
Like the galaxies in time
It holds the key to every heart
Throughout the universe
It fills you up without a bite
And quenches every thirst


15 years


My brother wanted to go to the 9/11 Museum.

We paid our money and waited in a long line of tourists for our timed entry to the steel and concrete underground crypt, complete with a gift shop (which we steered well clear of) and endless tape loops replaying the day’s events.


The new glass and steel monuments to commerce surrounding the plaza, with its beautiful pools, enclosed the space above the museum.


I found this ad  from the NY Times of May 29, 2015, when I was cleaning a few weeks ago.  I must have saved it, intending to do a headline haiku, but it got lost in the shuffle.  Having visited the site, I knew exactly what I wanted to do.


There is nothing “free” about the Freedom Tower, or the museum.  Is this the best way to remember this day and those who died?

it lingers
in the dazzling morning sky
like air
surround this opening

remember to breathe


Let there be light, and air, and songs, and sky, and running water, and the living earth and new growing things.  That’s what I think.

Words courtesy of the Magnetic Poetry oracle, for the Elusive Trope’s Magnetic Poetry Saturday Challenge.

Magnetic Poetry Saturday: Hold Hope

hold hope nina s

The oracle was generous to us this week.  A three-way collaboration: O.N.K.

hold hope stitched words s

hold hope open
my promise to trust
a thousand worlds receive
this spirit
listen to the gifts
of your heart
where gentle rhapsodys live

What I Hold

what I hold close up s

Words surrounding my head

What I hold what I know
fingers that

Will my dreams ride me blue?
songs echo

File:Marc-little blue horses.jpg

I’m behind and out of synch.  I imagine that will last awhile.  Jane Dougherty’s inspiration painting by Franz Marc, above, also introduced me to a lovely new poetic form, the tilus:  lines with syllables of 6-3-1.  I was not the only one inspired to do more than one to make a sequence.

what I hold s


August 2016: Into the Sun

august 2016 grid s

steering into the sun
glittering jewel-road
shattered obsidian
–Gary Snyder

Gary Snyder is a poet, essayist, and environmental activist.  A Buddhist and an original member of the Beats, Snyder’s work is influenced by his love of the oral traditions of chants and songs, as well as his studies of Asian and Native American culture.  He lived for many years in Japan.

You can read more about Gary Snyder and find more of his poetry here.

July 2016: Masses of Green

masses of green s

It is summer and the sun loves a million green leaves, masses of green.
–Carl Sandburg, “Mask”

masses of green close up s

I’ve used Carl Sandburg before to illustrate grids.  A folklorist and singer as well as a writer, his verse catches the rhythms of ordinary speech in vivid juxtapositions of image and sound.  I could conjure illustrations for every line.

green comp

To celebrate the first day of World Watercolor Month, sponsored by Charlie at Doodlewash, I painted a ground of green before stitching lines and then collaging an irregular grid with foliage from magazines.  After I did the green wash, I folded the paper to form the lines for the stitching.  They showed up a lot better before the colors dried.  I think maybe the paper was too wet to start with, but part of the idea this month is to try things out and learn from them.

You can read all of Sandburg’s poem, “Mask”, here.  “Your toes are singing to meet the song of your arms:” –but that’s for another day.

Self Portrait #15: One More for Man Ray

self portrait 15 comp

Man Ray did not have Photoshop, so he constructed his images in the darkroom.  Amazing!  My Ray-inspired self portrait was produced in digital layers (then printed and stitched), something I did back in the day with frequency, but hardly ever now.  I enjoy it, and given time, would do more.

man ray 9 self portrait 1as

Although first I drew the components.  My daughter was luckily home and agreed to take some photos for me to work from.

hand comp

I think if I were doing this piece again, I would structure it differently, doing an abstract ground of greys first, instead of adding the solid areas later.  But it’s digital! so I can always go back and revisit the layers.  Also I would cut the hands and faces out before I scanned them, so I didn’t have to deal with “selecting” the part of the images I wanted.

face comp

I’m also not sure it’s done…I had thought to do stitching for the dark stripe at the bottom, but I’m undecided.  I could layer in a stripe, but I like the texture of the stitching.  I do think it needs the balance of dark in that area.  What do you think?

stitched close up 2s

So I’m also not sure it’s still selfie day…Teresa?  But the 25th is always a good deadline for me to complete the next in my series of 100 self portraits (you can see the ones I’ve done so far here).  I could keep going forever with Man Ray, but I think it’s time for a new artistic inspiration, plus I’m itching to do some painted portraits and compare them with my first attempts.

Stay tuned!

Anonymous Was a Woman

plate quilt s

” I would venture to guess that Anon, who wrote so many poems without signing them, was often a woman.”
–Virginia Woolf

This is often misquoted as “For most of history, Anonymous was a woman.”

days like wheels
turning into
plates  laundry  tasks
to gather and sort and
stitch into layers  comfort
warmth symmetry  anonymous
generations completing circles

crazy quilt painting s

Collage, to me, takes its inspiration from the fiber work of generations of anonymous women.  The women in my family knitted, crocheted, embroidered, quilted; they were milliners and seamstresses.  I have a legacy.  But their work is not signed nor was it ever hung in galleries.  Like much of the fiber work of history that provides me with so many ideas, it was made for use by family and friends, made with love and beauty as a way to provide color and warmth to everyday lives.

3 quilts s

When I saw the NaPoWriMo prompt from day 3 to write a fan letter, I went through names of people in history that I admired.  But really, the largest influence on my life comes from these women who for the most part are known by one name: Anonymous.  That Virginia Woolf spoke of the writers who claim that same name adds another dimension to this inheritance.

mosai quilt collage s

still anonymous
patterning comfort  who was
hand eye  this woman

plate quilt close up s

Day 2: a quote in answer to Elusive Trope’s 3-day quote challenge.

About the artwork:
The top stitched piece and the crazy quilt painting were done for a print rep I worked with for a short time in the early 1990s.  We had an idea that we could sell print patterns based on traditional fiber arts.  The idea did not prove successful in terms of sales, but I ended up with some interesting artwork

The quilts were made by my great aunt Del, sister-in-law to my grandmother, inherited from my mother and aunt.

The collage is from a sketchbook of work based on quilts done in the early 1980s.

poetry month

Tortoise Shell

 turtle rorschach stitched s

Reading between the lines:
story or history?
Ancient tongues disguise words.

Who will translate the words?
Who will reveal the lines
inside the history?

Is the myth history?
Behind forgotten words,
shadows of missing lines.

Lines in reverse, tangle of words, unwinding history.

turtle rorschach orig sm

This is a Rorschach painting where I not only dripped the paint onto the paper, but did a little deliberate painting too before I folded it.  I thought it resembled a turtle/tortoise shell, so I embroidered an abstract one on top.

turtle rorschach stitched close up s

The poem is a tritina, from the day 7 prompt from NaPoWritMo.net.  Not too late this time.  Does it have anything to do with the illustration?  Good question.

poetry month