Friday, February 28, 2014


It's Carnaval time here in Mazatlan...parties, music, late nights, events and festivities. With the opening of the new road from Durango,  the crowd is sure to swell this year. And of course all the Mexicans (and maybe a gringo or two) want to take selfies of themselves in front of the Miramar Condominiums, where drug kingpin El Chapo Guzman was arrested and taken into custody last Saturday.  Mazatlan is a happening place these days.
And my studio is a happening place these days too. I am close to departing so I'm trying to get in as many dye days as possible. My friends come with so many ideas they want to try. Today I had Vicky who wanted to create a Carnaval scene to sew onto a teeshirt (but maybe it will be incorporated into a bag...see above) and Emma who wanted to make curtains for the change room in her daughter's boutique dress shop.
What a big job that was...and fun!
For me,  I find snippets of time to create new pieces to add to my stash. I have been into flag folds (with thanks to my friend, Ellen Russel, who makes the MOST BEAUTIFUL folded pieces) and also cheesecloth prints. These are so delicate...I love them!

There is definitely an art to getting the best prints...the cheesecloth shoud be barely wet and one should press ever so lightly on the fabric with a dry rag to achieve that lovely mesh look. I know I'll be using these in many future pieces.
I finally got around to creating a piece for my quilt journal group using fabrics from these two techniques.  The topic was "unfolding" so I wanted to feature my hand-dyes, both a folded piece (which are so beautiful to UNFOLD) and a cheesecloth print. I know, another bird! I just can't help myself!

Monday, February 24, 2014


Yes, life is busy these days. Between three days of dye groups, our Monday session with the Sewing Ladies, trying to get a few projects of my own done, and living life, I'm running at full speed these days. There's way too much to go into, so for now I'll just focus on the Sewing Ladies. This year they've been spending a few hours every Wednesday dyeing fabric with me in my studio. I've been showing them miscellaneous simple yet effective techniques for dyeing local manta. Later they use this cloth to make beautiful bags, aprons and similar objects to sell.
They love these spiral tie-dyes!
One of their favorites is a tie-dye spiral, and they have created some amazing items with these dramatic pieces of fabric.  They have been able to charge almost twice the price of products using standard local cloth, and they have been SELLING these items.
Dora (center) is a fantastic sewer. She created all of these beautiful items and sold them the very first day they were displayed for twice the price of other products.
A couple years ago, I showed them how to do raw edge appliqué,  focusing on the form of a butterfly as a starter. They produced beautiful little pieces that they later embellished their products with. Now the butterfly motif is still lovely but a bit overused and their clients have been looking for new items to purchase. Last week I brought in small packages of hand-dyed scraps and we all sat around working on freeform birds. We only had time for cutting them out but many of the women went home and directly began sewing. I was SO VERY HAPPY to see a flock of fabric birds this morning.
We had such fun making our little birds.
Look what they brought to show me this morning.
Close-up of one of their sweet little birds.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014


At the end of my quiet, dead end (calle cerrada) street (calle Nicaragua) is our home and my studio. Perhaps you wandered down last Friday night for Mazatlan's monthly Artwalk. If so, you were welcomed at the door by my homemade sign.
Hanging from a rather makeshift clothesline stretched across our entrance/living area were the first of my small journal quilts in my Signs of Life project.

The rest were displayed in my studio on two large boards, along with other works. 

You had your favorite, didn't you? You wanted to buy one, but I just couldn't bear to split up this collection. Perhaps it was the Seahawks one, made for my son Ben. Oh, those Seahawks, they always get lots of attention, even on a little quilt!

Or perhaps "B-15" was a favorite of's one of mine too!

I hope you had a chance to enjoy a glass of wine or jamaica water in my patio.

As much as you enjoyed my display, you weren't able to read all the stories that went along with these pieces. That's what makes them extra special! I have just made my Signs of Life book public on and you can preview the WHOLE book there. You can read EVERY STORY! Do it, you'll love it!
And thanks so much for stopping by last week! I hope to see you next month.
Grateful every day! Mary

Saturday, February 8, 2014


There she stands
ever vigilant,
watching over my sink,
my dyes, my chemicals, my creations,
protecting me from spills, stains and splashes,
overzealous rinsing.

Oh Lady of the Dyebath,
continue your strength, presence and inspiration in my daily adventures at the sink.