Archive for the ‘Artists’ Category

I haven’t had a chance to blog much lately, but when I looked at my stats page this morning I found that I’ve been getting lots of traffic on my site, anyway.  It seems someone linked my tutorial on the Bow Tucks Tote Bag and I got something like 135 hits in one day on that one page alone. That’s pretty cool.

Speaking of tutorials Two Creative Studios has a great tutorial on getting started with soy wax batik.  I did some batik many, many years ago and really enjoyed it; and have often thought of trying it again.  Sue’s technique looks great, so I’ll have to add it to my summer project list.  Yes, I know, summer is already about half over and I haven’t gotten to any of those projects, yet.  But I am inspired anyway.  I need a bigger studio, though, for all the equipment and supplies I’m accumulating.  

Two Creative Studios is hosted by Sue and Terri, both great fiber artists, and they put some really interesting stuff on their site, as well as offering some wonderful classes.  I’ve taken some of Sue’s but haven’t had time to do any of Terri’s yet.  Anyway, if you sign up for their newsletter, you get up to date info on all this stuff and access to those great tutorials.  

In addition, they’re having a great giveaway this month, so if you sign up for the newsletter, you’re automatically entered.  

A little shameless promotion, I know, but Sue and Terri are doing a great job.  If you don’t already know them, you’ll find their work fascinating.  

I bought some gouache (opaque watercolor; rhymes with wash) paints yesterday, and drew up a small mandala last night that I’m going to try to get to this afternoon for some painting.  If I get anywhere on it, I’ll post something tomorrow.


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I have been working steadily to complete my preparations for my next D.Min. classes that start in just over a week.  While I was reading I decided to take a break and look at some of the artwork being referenced, rather than just reading about it.  I found this amazing 3D rendition of Picasso’s Guernica.  Since I don’t know how to insert videos into my blog, you’ll have to click on the link to see it.  It takes about 6 minutes to view, but is well worth the time.  


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One of my D.Min. (Doctor of Ministry) assignments was to interview a working artist about creativity and spirituality.  Rachel Collins, a watercolorist in Alexandria, VA was gracious enough to let me interview her yesterday, and I had a great time.  The two hours I had allotted for the interview flew by.  Rachel is an exciting, creative, and energetic painter and teacher who produces amazing work.  She describes herself as “a realistic painter of nature’s abstract form.”  You can see a gallery of Rachel’s work here.

I was able to take a few pictures of Rachel and her gallery:






   Rachel’s Studio/Gallery wall at the Torpedo  Factory Art Center in Alexandria (top).  Rachel    holding a piece of vertebrae that she uses as a model  for her bone paintings (left).  A work in progress,  from drawing to painting of the center of a hosta (bottom).




So now I’ve completed the paper and just have to get permission from Rachel to use pictures of her work in the paper.  Then I can print it out, get it sent, and have one more square checked off for the first semester.  Then all that will be left will be the BIG PROJECT as I’m coming to call it.  I’m gathering the materials and the courage to begin.  I completed the Drama Ministry assignments a couple of weeks ago.   On top of that is the reading I’ve already started for the May semester, along with work.  Oh yes, there is that.  

This may serve as explanation for why I have not been blogging, knitting, quilting, exercising, etc.

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If I thought my internet service was slow at home, I don’t now.  It’s way slower here at the seminary and I’m having a hard time getting anything posted.  I hope I’ll be able to keep the blog going this week with the promised retro quilt show.  So here goes as I see whether I’ll be able to upload any photos.


This first quilt is actually the second large quilt I made after learning to quilt in 1979.  I don’t have pictures of my first quilt which was a queen size sampler quilt now owned by my sister.  This quilt was completed around 1980 and was made from a pattern found in Quilters Newsletter Magazine.  It’s called North Carolina Flower Patch.  

I liked the medallion style which at the time was a fairly new style for quilt making.  I chose to do the main background in a print which was sort of unusual at the time, also.  As I evolved in my quilt making I found myself using a printed background a good deal of the time, so it sort of evolved as a part of my “style”.

The quilt is approximately 54″ x 54″ and completely hand pieced, appliqued, and quilted. For many years wherever we moved just wasn’t “home” until this quilt was on a wall somewhere in the house.  It’s now taking a break as it has become quite faded over the years.

I am through my first day of classes in my Doctor of Ministry program and I’m very excited.  The projects for the first class will involve actually doing a work of art and documenting the process from a technical and spiritual standpoint.  Another project will be a detailed interview with a contemporary artist about that person’s process and how spirituality figures into it.  I can already list three or four artists in New Mexico that I want to interview!  ‘Sounds like time to schedule a trip.  

One of the things I love about this course is that it includes field trips.  Today we visited the Dennis and Phillip Ratner Museum in Bethesda to view Phillip Ratner’s sculptures.  We had the rare privilege of meeting and talking with him and getting to visit his studio.  He invited us back to do a workshop with him, and we hope our professor will be able to arrange it for us.

Ratner’s works are found all over the world including at Ellis Island and the Vatican.  His museum in Bethesda and another in Israel feature sculptures depicting several stories from the Hebrew Bible.  We had to do a quick walk through so I hope to be able to go back soon.

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I’ve made quite a lot of progress on my “October” socks that I mentioned yesterday.  This is the first installment of yarn and pattern for the DC Walking Tour Sock Club from the Neighborhood Fiber Company.

OK, so I’m late getting started.  The next installment arrives next week.  But I now have a little time to sit back and enjoy this gorgeous yarn.  As usual the picture online doesn’t do the richness of the color justice.  

Karida’s inspiration for the color was a cockscomb blossom she found in a flower box on Q Street in Washington DC.  Thus the name “cockscomb on Q” for the colorway.  I love it, even though it’s somewhat close in color to two other pairs of socks I’ve made.

It’s a great color to be knitting with during this season:  a deep burgundy sort of color that’s great for both Advent and Christmas together.

I’ve gotten through the toe and into the foot, completing the first of three cables that will be on the sock.

This was not without some angst, though, because as I picked up the pattern and yarn to begin, having dpn’s in hand, I discovered that not only is this pattern toe-up, but it’s knit on two circs. Oh no!  I’ve only done one toe-up pair of socks and struggled mightily with those and the last time I tried knitting socks on circs I ended up with a jumble and resorted to adapting the pattern to dpn’s.

Undaunted, however, I proceeded to the internet and lo, and behold, I found Cat Bordhi’s instructional videos on knitting socks on circs.  I love her metaphor of milking goats and the “udder” needle.  You’ll have to watch her videos to see what I mean.  It’s helping me keep the needles straight, although I have to admit that twice I have knitted all the stitches onto one needle and found the other one falling onto the floor.  oops!

Once I saw how to do the circ thing, I discovered that I had to do a figure-eight cast on!  What next?  Typing in “figure eight cast on with circular needles” I found Kristi’s video showing me how to do it.  I did have to watch numerous times, though.  Not because her instructions aren’t great–they are–but because I’m a little slow on the up take.

But this is cool because I’ve now found two new (to me) knitting websites:  Cat’s and Kristi’s

And, Voila!  Here’s where I am.


If you look really closely at the middle top of the sock as knit so far, you can see the cable.  Very cute.

I get to knit a few inches and then I have to head into the short row heel.  This is territory I am anticipating with fear and trembling since the last toe-up pair had me throwing up my hands in despair at the heels.  

Karida’s instructions look a little more clear, though, so I’m holding out high hopes.  

Could it be that I could finish these socks before the December installment of the sock club arrives?  I rather doubt it, but maybe I’ll have one done and it won’t be February before I can get to the next pair.

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I visited my friend Carolyn’s Christmas Shop the other day and was so overwhelmed with the wonderful decorations she has for Christmas.  I came back to my house that still has no pictures on the walls and wondered what I could do to decorate for the upcoming holiday.  I’m still thinking.

In the meantime, I continue to work on Christmas presents that I cannot show, and since I’m not getting much else done, I don’t have much to put on the blog.  However, I will show a glimpse that hopefully will not reveal too much of something I’m currently working on.


I’m greatly enjoying the reading for my Doctor of Ministry classes but find myself wanting to constantly stop to look up the artists I’m learning aboutt.  I’m finding the internet both a blessing and curse in that respect. 

I googled David Ellsworth to look at his amazing work with wood that melds together his training in ceramics, talent with wood, and depth of spirituality.


While looking at his work I clicked onto Wendi Ellsworth’s gallery and found some amazing beadwork.  Her sea objects are astounding.


Then I looked at Nancy Chinn’s liturgical artwork.


Can you see why the reading is going slowly?  Each of these artist’s websites is a treasure trove.  Such inspiration!

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I know, I keep saying there is just enough time for everything we truly want and need to do, but I have to admit that at this time of year I always catch myself wondering where the time has gone.

Can it be that Advent is nearly here? It’s coming.  It’s coming.  It’s Advent, after all.

I’m also rapidly approaching my blogging one year anniversary in early December and I’m not even blogging as much as I want to.  To say nothing of not getting much fiber and textile work done.

But! I have been doing some oh, so, inspirational reading as I prepare for my first Doctor of Ministry classes. I’ve finished Van Gogh and God by Cliff Edwards.  I’ve picked this book up before and thought it looked boring.  No color pictures in a book about an artist?  But it is very interesting and has me now wanting a van Gogh to hang in my house.  Dream on… But there are some nice prints and reproductions available.

Then I read Catherine Kapikian’s Art in Service of the Sacred.  What fun it was to pop the accompanying DVD into my computer and look at some of Cathy’s amazing artwork.  The section on creative process is especially fascinating to me.  Cathy was one of my professors during my Master’s work and will be the professor for my first D.Min. class.  I’m really looking forward to working with her again.

She’s the professor who said we would all be able to draw self portraits at the end of her class, and she was right.  I should dig mine out and post it.  I think I still have it.

Now I’m reading Free Play: Improvisation in Life and Art by Stephen Nachmanovitch.  This book is jam packed with one liners of the type you would like to put after your e-mail signature.  The problem would be how to choose.  His elucidation of improvisation and play in the process of creativity makes me want to get together a group of people to improvise with.  He’s keeping my head popping with ideas, that I’ll probably forget before I get them down, but how exciting is that?

Tonight I went surfing looking for some artwork on the parable of the wise and foolish bridesmaids in Matthew 25, which I’ll be preaching on this Sunday and ran across an old friend.  I don’t actually know Jan Richardson, but one of her books was very formative for me when I was first entering ministry.  She now has a couple of websites, and one especially on Advent.  I will be checking the archives on that one as I think visually about the upcoming season.

‘Started a new project today that cannot be shown…..’tis the season!

Oh!  And I did something new and different yesterday. I worked the election polls; something I’ve wanted to do for a long time.  What fun it was watching people come to vote and helping them get checked in.  It was especially moving to see all the first-time voters.  Very gratifying, but I was definitely tired by the time we finished up and our precinct totals were recorded and reported.  

It felt like being a tiny part of making history.

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