So, how did I make it?

Well, I made it the old fashioned way!  Many hours of designing and then a huge number of hours hand embroidering and assembling the dress.  The technique used is not new, it is called reverse applique and is a traditional quilting technique.  What makes it current is the choice of materials and incorporating my own design aesthetic.

First I had to decide what color and style of dress I wanted to make.  Black was my choice because it would not conflict with any of the bridal party colors and every woman needs a little black dress and I didn't own one.  Next decision was type of pattern.  Anyone who knows me, knows that I always wear solid color clothing, so pattern is a real stretch for me. I wanted an all over pattern, so the scale needed to be appropriate to the size and design of the dress and the choice of two layers of black fabric and black thread solved my fear of pattern issue.  Once I finally settled on the image, I cut a stencil.  Using a white pencil, I traced the image onto my fabric (it was two layers basted together) and then using black thread, I stitched around the traced design and then cut out the center of the stitching.  This happened over and over again, while sitting in airports, on planes, during a power outage (wearing a headlamp so I could see what I was sewing), while watching the summer Olympics, and on and on.  The easy part was the final assembly of the dress!  That was a breeze after all of the hand embroidery.

2016 Mother of the Bride Dress

In September, I was the mother of the bride for a second time.  It was a beautiful day.  The wedding ceremony took place in the Reading Room of the library at Sweet Briar College and the book themed reception also took place in the new addition to the library.  Once again I made my dress, this time it was black and completely covered with stitching!


M.o.B. dress - Part 1

I have started working on my mother of the bride dress!  I finally found some cotton knit jersey in a color that I like.  I am using a total of 4 thermofax screens to print a pattern onto the fabric.  This is a huge stretch for me since I normally only wear solid colored clothing!


I printed with white paint and have cut all of the pattern pieces for the dress and bolero.  Now I am working on the hand sewing and this will take quite a while!  I am stitching around the interior of all of the shapes in the pattern.

thermofax screens


I bought a thermofax machine from my friend Martha several years ago and I hadn't used it lately so I decided to experiment with it.  I ordered some new screen material and designed these screens.  My weekly quilt has several screens layered in blue and green then the background color was added.  I also practiced printing on one of the shirts that I wear in the studio.  I am pretty pleased with the results.

Passion vs. Commitment

I have been thinking about this topic lately.  Earlier this month a fundraiser for Riverviews Artspace here in Lynchburg honored a remarkable woman, Rosel Schewel.  She is 85 years young and continues her philanthropic work.  She is clearly committed and passionate about women's issues, education and the arts.  I was very fortunate that a piece of my art was purchased and given as a gift to Rosel.

Watching the Olympics has been a part of my day this last week.  The commentators talk about how the athletes perform with such passion and they are clearly committed to their chosen sport.  This got me to thinking about passion and commitment, how they are different and how they are intertwined.

I looked up the definitions of passion and commitment and they didn't seem quite strong enough to me.

"Passion: a strong feeling of enthusiasm or excitement for something or about doing something."  I think of passion as more than enthusiasm but rather a willingness to make sacrifices for a belief or cause.  It seems to me that many people who succeed in the arts or sports or any field for that matter are willing to make sacrifices and seem to have a singular focus on their goal.

"Commitment: the attitude of someone who works very hard to do or support something."  I do think of commitment as hard work and dedication to their vision.

I was talking to my friend Terri about this topic.  Something that came up was the matter of balance in a person's life.  How do you pursue your goal and yet maintain healthy relationships, find time for recreation, exercise and gainful employment,  It seems to me that many successful artists don't maintain a balance in their lives.  They have a singular focus on their creative process and are willing to sacrifice other aspects of their lives.

I think of commitment as determination or head and passion as heart.  St. Francis of Assisi said "He who works with his hands is a laborer.  He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman.  He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist."

Truly for me it is all three: hands, head and heart, which also can be called commitment and passion.


he who works with his hands

Happy New Year

Out with the old and in with the new.  2013 was the year of the fish for my weekly quilts.  I had to pick a new shape for 2013.  For several years I have been thinking about using a pentagon and now it seemed right.  I decided to do a house shaped pentagon instead of the pure geometric form.  You might notice that I used the same printing plate for the last quilt of 2013 and the first quilt of the new year.  Happy New Year!

More Yellowstone

Lots of colors in the rock formations, plants and of course the geysers and hot springs. 


Recent trip to Yellowstone

The end of May, I went to Yellowstone National Park with my daughter EV.  I was not prepared for the incredible colors that we would see.  This is a photo of the Morning Glory Geyser. 

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New Website

I have been fortunate to have an intern this summer.  Shoshana Lin has been working on setting up a new website for me.  I hope you can stop by and check it out.