Monday, October 31, 2011


This was the graffiti message that I saw on my recent drive from Refuge Cove to Oregon. Long hours of endless miles, passing streams of traffic, shopping malls galore, listening to NPR and my favorite music: the message of RETHINK EVERYTHING really jumped out at me.  My next quilt journal with the theme of “TEXT” had some content here.

What do I think needs rethinking? Our polarizing politics, overbearing religion, our endless consumption of stuff, stifling immigration policies, how we prioritize the environment, education, our out of control health care, are just a few items (not to mention the American tendency to get involved in way too many foreign situations). Even though I live in countries other than my own (United States), I still pay close attention and am very concerned about the activities of the US. Yes, Mexico and Canada certainly have their share of problems too, but the US just seems so CRAZY these days.  The problems we face are endless and I believe we need some major mind shifting, rather than the same-old, same-old ways of doing things, before we can make any sense out of our mess.

The bottom line for me is that this all seems so out of control, and I am once again reminded that my little world is all I have any impact on. My quilt journal for this month reminds ME of that message FOR MYSELF. Thus, my new favorite mantra is RETHINK EVERYTHING (rivaling my new favorite bumper sticker: DON’T BELIEVE EVERYHTING YOU THINK). On this personal level, it’s a call to challenge the beliefs that no longer serve me.

For construction, I chose to continue with a diamond pattern that I was using for a quilt, yet on a smaller scale. This diamond piece was certainly a thinking challenge for me, and I was hoping that making a small piece would help me with the larger quilt. When everything that is normally straightforward (90 degrees, etc.), is now cocked to a 60 degree angle, it can really mess up your mind (at least it did mine), so here was another situation where I had to rethink everything. I was hoping to have a full rectangle to work with, but my planning was poor and I ended up short. I added an oval frame which solved my problem. I then stitched in my words. I thought I had planned it well, but quickly ran out of room at the end and had to squeeze in my last letters. I bleached out my letters and the border and added tiny buttons for accent. I was hoping to find some in brown, beige or gray, but the store was out so, rethinking it, I settled for blue.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Now in Oregon, I have pick of activities to choose from: classes, groups, sessions and workshops, all fabric related of course. I'm like a kid in a candy store. Today's item on the agenda: screening with Christine. Once my neighbor in Alaska who I taught to dye, she now is my southern Oregon neighbor who has pursued this craft to the "nth" degree. She always has something new to show me.
This year it's screening. You know, like silk screening, but with a twist.

She set up the screens a few days ago with a thick layer of print paste and then imbedded all sorts of textured objects into the paste and let it dry. We pulled off the objects and were left with our screen for printing. The hardened paste was a dark color and I chose a ruddy brown as my printing color.

On the screen, the wet began to break down the dry and the pattern emerged onto my fabric as I sqee-jeed across the screen. I filled up my meter of soda-ashed cotton and set it aside to cure.

But there was more to show me. She pulled out her collection of textured goodies and high-density foam roller and set to demonstrating how to put these beautiful textures onto fabric. Not only could we place the texture under the fabric while rolling on top, but also roll over the texture with the high density foam and capture the pattern for a quick transfer. I loved every minute of this process and my mind started reeling with possibilities. I went on to try a few stencil transfers and of coursed watched Christine with her creations too.
At the end of our session we set up the screens with more print paste and a new texture design. They will take a day or two to harden and be ready for more printing.

Now curing, the fabrics will be ready for adding a background color in a day or two. For now, I am searching out online silkscreen frames to haul to Mexico to continue the fun down there. Muchas gracias, Christine.