Friday, January 20, 2023



Create Naturally:  Go Outside and Rediscover Nature with 15 Artists

This blog post will tell a bit about how an interview and my work became part of the recently published book Create Naturally: Go Outside and Rediscover Nature with 15 Artists. It includes interviews and work by a variety of artists including, Alice Fox,  Meredith Woolnough, Kaffe Fassett,  Judith Content and others. The book is available through Schiffer, on Amazon and in bookstores.

Three years ago I created a series Observations: Walking in Wonder that consisted of hand stitched interpretations of the 37 conservation areas in Mchenry County IL. It was exhibited as part of the 50th anniversary of the founding of the conservation district. After the exhibit was over, I wrote to several galleries, organizations and magazines looking for opportunities to continue to show the series.  One of the people I wrote to was Marcia Young who at the time was the Editor in Chief of Fiber Art Now magazine. I heard back that she would like to include my work in a new book she was planning that would feature 12-15 artists in depth and explore their work based on nature. I, of course, said I would love to be included. 

A few months later during the height of Covid we did a lengthy phone interview in which she asked me many questions about the development of my work and what influenced me.  We did a subsequent interview a couple of months later.  Based on the interviews Marcia then asked for imagery and specifics about the artwork.

A few months after that she sent me a first draft of my interview to review as to specifics, tone and her interpretation of what I had told her. And a few months after that I got to review the second draft.

After that there was a long period in which the book was in production and then in the fall of 2022 I was contacted again about possible reviewers, possible organizations to send copies to, and specific people I would like to have get information about the book.

And then, at last, I received a copy of the book in the mail! I am happy with the results; with the way the process went and about being included with a number of artists whose work I greatly admire.

One of the learnings from this experience was how far afield your original proposal and exhibit can take you.  When I sent out the information about Observations: Walking in Wonder I did not know how far afield and in how many ways it would lead to other opportunities.  This book, a solo exhibit opportunity this coming year, a catalog, a commission and contacts with galleries for potential exhibits like our upcoming Unfolding show at Bloomingdale Art Museum!

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

A few images from Emergence

 This is Deborah Weir's solo show up through January 2023 at the JCC Long Beach, CA atrium gallery.  Open 7 days/week from 6 am to 6 pm.   Swing by if you are in the neighborhood!

Saturday, December 24, 2022

End of year catch up by Deborah Weir


Just posting some various artwork done in the last 2 months.   I'm prepping for my solo show at the Alpert JCC in Long Beach, CA, but I've completed the following pieces as well.





Saturday, December 10, 2022

Meditation on Friendship by Barbara James

A close friend of 60+ years recently commissioned me to make a piece of art for her contemporary home. Her home’s bright primary colors, accented with lots of black, is not a palate I work in, so I was challenged. I made the work pictured here as a meditation on our friendship. I wove 82 hand-dyed and printed silk and cotton strips and added yellow “diamonds” to the piece to express our treasured relationship. Finally, I overlaid the piece with a black and metallic silver netting, an expression of the difficult and happy times we shared. The finished work measures 26” X 56” and is pictured here with a detail. 

Click here for Barbara's website

Saturday, December 3, 2022

Evolution of a Sculpture by Joan Diamond

 Working with a photographer can be a frustrating experience for me.  I've put all the effort and momentum into the actual making, and more thinking is required when dealing with a photographer, at least, when it comes to photographing a sculpture.  The photographer understands better than I what the camera sees, or can translate.  This is the surprising story of a piece I had photographed ... (gulp) ... three times.

I had worked for months on the dyeing techniques of this piece, called "Before".  Sidestepping logistics with mounting shaped this piece. An innocent comment early on began a cascade of rethinking.  "No gallery will put 12 holes in their walls to mount a piece from one artist" I was told.  I already had a carpenter cut wooden blocks, each with carved out spots for powerful magnets.  I had completed 3 of the "pods" with appropriately sewn in magnets to mount as initially conceived when the comment came.  Ouch.  So, no more individual wall mounted pods. Well the benefit of being liberated from the wall-as-anchor was that now the "pods" inherited a "back". They were re-designed to be in space.  "Not all galleries can offer a ceiling mount."  Oh dear.  I worked on different solutions, finally arriving at using an oval panel bolted to 2 wall mounted brackets (and from which the pods hang). 

 Oh no!  Wind chimes.  My pods look like wind chimes.  You would never know each of these are about 4 foot in length.  Worse, in a photo taken with the "visual anchor" of a "rug", the pods hung equidistant from rug and from oval, exaggerating a wind-chime effect.  Ugh.  Another photoshoot (gulp-another photo payment equal to the first) was needed.

So here is the visual anchor, the "rug".  The gray background seems so much nicer than the white:  makes the gold rims glow.  And pods are hanging lower to the "rug", relating to it better.  However, something feels wrong though.  It's all so ... constrained.  

I dragged my poor art critique group through weeks (and weeks) of torture contemplating the making of the oval, done by weaving strips of rust and tea stained fabric through perforations, and the "rug"  with hours and hours of work in its construction and thoughts about its color.  Now, both these supposed assets were not helping.  The pods seemed desperate for air.  

It took me several months to get comfortable with again spending another big chunk of change to photograph the same piece.  A third time?  Is this rational? (gulp) I tried someone new.  This time ahead of the shoot I sent him the artist statement and a couple of photos from Pinterest of other installation work so he could understand more the kind of space I was looking for.  Happy to say: the saga is over.  I think I can put this one to rest now.  Done.  Sigh of relief!!

Saturday, November 19, 2022

Mindful Mapping by Mary Ann Nailos


Mindful Mapping was my submission to the ACN exhibition Unfolding. It was inspired by two workshops presented by by Gwenn Hedley and Ali Ferguson. 

The process begins by making marks on a number of fabrics using a limited palette of black and one other color. I chose chartreuse because it is one of my favorite colors. I used all sorts of things to make the marks: foam brushes, the edges of a credit card, plastic straws, as well as paint drips and splatters.

Then I ripped the fabric up into smaller pieces and pinned them together, adding a few solid fabrics that I dyed. When I got the composition, I wanted I began to stitch everything together using a running stitch.

I added some trim and pops of color to represent different ideas that might pop into one’s head. Then I tied the pieces to each other using lots of different hand-stitching. The stitches repeat, define, interweave like thoughts in a mind map.

 The final cloth was fused to felt and some stitch in the ditch machine quilting was added mainly to hold everything to the felt.

Saturday, November 12, 2022

Starting a New Series, by Regina Marzlin

 I want to share a new piece that I made for our current call for entry "Layered". I print a lot of smallish fabric pieces on my gel printing plates. To assemble them into a larger piece is a challenge, but I'm happy with the outcome of my latest explorations and want to continue doing more work in that direction. Fingers crossed that the piece gets juried into our next show!

The piece is called "Late Night Conversations", w 25.5" x H 37.5".

My artist statement for this artwork is this: "Thoughts are swirling and deep philosophical questions are pondered in late night conversations. We jump from one topic to the next, sometimes without any logic, only guided by our semi-conscious trains of thought. The world around us disappears for a while."

Materials used are cotton fabric, acrylic paint, and India ink. The process of mono-printing is my favorite technique to apply paint in multiple layers. To unify the prints I overpainted them with black India ink with swooping gestural application before piecing them together. Here are some detailed pictures:

The machine stitching is very subtle and doesn't compete with the busyness of the fabrics.

One surprising discovery was that the reverse side looked really intriguing, I was seriously tempted to declare this the front side for a while! Another avenue to pursue, for sure.

Sunday, November 6, 2022

Wounded Sentinels Redux by Deborah Weir

 I started making Wounded Sentinels during Fire Season in California in 2020.  I have been making them with some regularly ever since building an expanding collection of about 20.   They range in height from 10" to 7'.   Fosshape is the primary medium.  It holds its shape when heated.  Each piece was created over a form from toilet paper rolls to giant tubes used to form cement.  

Recently, I have been going back into some of the earlier ones to add more "ashes" to their outsides.   All kinds of studio detritus serve as ashes which I hand stitch in place.  These will be on display in my solo exhibition, as yet untitled, in January in Long Beach, CA.  Stay tuned!!

From Deborah Weir

Monday, October 31, 2022

Decisions by Barbara Schneider

 It may be because its fall with the fading light and the increasing cold or any number of other reasons but I find myself in the throes of making decisions re my studio practice - yet again. I have been here before - when I question what is the purpose of creating more work? why does nothing seem interesting? why did I take that workshop, why am I holding on to these supplies, why, why, why.  

And I definitely know that the whole creative process is a series of ups and downs. But - this time it seems deeper. Maybe this time I will really decide that keeping the studio is not a good idea. That I  really should get rid of those supplies I don't use, that Sweet Sixteen handi quilter, those print making supplies, those old projects.

Maye it is really time to go to Palm Desert in a couple of months with NO projects.  Could I walk away for 3 months?  Could I walk away period?  

I would love to hear how others have made their decisions in this area - what helped you make a firm decision instead of waffling back and forth.

Barbara Schneider

Saturday, October 22, 2022

Work is Fun, by Barbara Matthews

Fantasy Footwear show at Clarke & Clarke Arts + Artifacts, Mercer Island, WA

Barbara Matthews

I spent over 40 years in a research career, which involved data gathering, information processing, statistics and modeling -- the opposite continuum from art.  I learned the value of working in teams that made the effort fun and synergistic. Now expressing myself artistically by producing shoes for the Fantasy Footwear show provided a way to honor my earlier occupation. Work boots seemed natural, but certainly not stuffy old practical boots, these needed to impart some levity. 


I work with wool roving to create felted fabric. I found the most luscious roving in a mixture of burgundy, gold and green.  First the roving is pulled in short tuffs and laid first one direction and then another in a square, sometimes in three layers.  The idea is to encourage the fibers to tangle together to such an extent as to form a piece of solid fabric. 

The process involves rolling the pile of roving into a roll within bubble wrap, rolling it back and forth, back and forth, hundreds and hundreds of times.  The process is meditative. Finally, after rolling, opening, repositioning the fabric, and re rolling the roving the piece begins to shrink, a half an inch with each turn of the fabric.  That is the felting process working.  This piece became the focus fabric for the boot. 

I repeated the process with complementary colors. Now with the fabric pieces in place, how do I make a boot?

Yes, it is possible to find a shoe pattern on online! This one on Etsy from TallerDeCalzado2 in Spain. My initial prototype helped me judge the final size of the piece.


Pieces cut from my felt and sewn together, the boots were taking shape.  Among my stash of my own work was a piece of hand dyed silk that would suit as lining  and a Kumihimo braided cord that could serve as the laces. Hand stitching on the sides brought the sense of levity into the pieces.  Grommets for the laces; sole and heels to finish.