Sunday, January 30, 2011


I have been in my studio for several hours. I just cannot design anymore.

The sun streaming in and the Miles Davis, Kind of Blue CD were too nice to leave.
I made myself a cup of tea...

...and folded fabric.

A nice Sunday afternoon.

Friday, January 28, 2011


I went to the Bata Shoe Museum this week. They had an exhibit on socks.

Northern Afghanistan, late 19th century
There is so much lovely hand embroidery on these leather socks. They were worn indoors as soft shoes and were covered with shoes when out-of-doors, hence making them socks.

My art piece below was made incorporating a hand embroidered square made by Farida from  Laghmani, Afghanistan, a farming village north of Kabul. It is the 8 cm square on the far right.

Farida's Garden, detail, 15 inches x 10 inches

By selling their embroidery work, the women contribute substantially to the maintenance of their family. In 2008, there were more than 200 embroiderers creating these squares. 

The DAI (Deutsch-Afghanische Initiative) started the idea of buying these squares and selling them in Europe to be integrated into textile work. Fourteen European countries recently participated in a DAI international project. The participants' textile works were voted on by the countries' public. The top pieces from each participating country were chosen to be part of a big exhibit of 220 pieces. 

My piece was one of 12 selected to represent Italy. It has been touring Europe for the last year and will be part of a smaller selection of 100 pieces extracted from the large exhibit to be seen during Verona Tessile, March 8 to 13, 2011.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

teaching tonight

Last year, I was invited by St. Joan of Arc School, Dufferin/Peel Catholic School Board, to lead a group of special needs teenagers in making a community quilt. They named the quilt, WE ARE. The students thought of words that would describe them and those were integrated in the patchwork.

They painted their fabric and sewed with such precision!

This quilt is going to be exhibited in the Students' Gallery, along with work from two italian high schools in Verona, during the international festival Verona Tessile, March 8 to 13.

community quilt, title: we are, 2010, 48" x72"

tiny stitches

The Toronto Public Library has hired me again. I will be teaching the same block. There are 18 people registered. FUN!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


It isn't the time of year to make relish but I made it anyway.
It made the kitchen smell nice.
I kept the jars on the counter for a few days so my eyes could enjoy them.

I made a quilt using a quilt-as-you-go technique incorporating T-shirts my children painted when they were younger. We cuddled under it this weekend while watching a french movie.

Preserving those precious memories.

Friday, January 21, 2011

her imponderable creative question of the day

Why do quilts turn out so different from what I originally intended, asks one of my students.

My answer: That happens in art! That is the fun of the creative process. You start with an idea. Your piece has been created in your mind. You have a picture of it there. To me the creative process is already done! The question is: Do you want to copy/reproduce that idea exactly?

I always start with an idea. My art work, even my quilts, never turn out the way I imagined them at the beginning. My mind image is a starting point. An idea is alive and grows. I have learned to go with the flow as I begin to create physically, with my fabrics and paint and thread.

Birth, 4"x6", 2006

So don't worry about what your work has become. Enjoy the creative process as it evolves and embrace your final product! It is beautiful!!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


                         holes in architecture,

colosseum, roma

pantheon, roma

                        holes in sculpture,

david general, 'a man turning into a fish'

                         holes in barriers,

brick fence, verona

metal railing underground parking, verona

                           holes in the ground,

manhole cover, verona

manhole cover, prague

metal grate, rimini
                         holes in the ceiling,

ceiling vent, hotel sporting, rimini

                         holes in wool,

my favorite merino wool sweater

                         holes in textile art,

marie teresa sansotta,

my postcard, 4" x 6", 'white hole'

                           holes in my work,

detail of my latest work in progress

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

looking for inspiration

                                                Henry Hartmann said,

                           "Success happens when preparation meets opportunity"

                      I am not prepared. Two exhibiting opportunities knocked this week.
                        I feel pressured to finish works that have been pushed aside.
                            My ideas aren't flowing as I panic through the process.


                                I spent the day at the Art Gallery of Ontario.

                        Volunteer Sue Dime gave me a tour. What a great presenter!
                                 I took a look at Henry Moore in a whole new way.

I wondered how he felt as he carved holes in his work.

I had a quilt that didn't say anything.
I decided to paint it and make holes in it.
I cut it up in pieces. 

Spring Thaw, 2008, 72.5cm x 78cm

I like how I put it back together. 

Friday, January 14, 2011


Who will remember me?...possible title for the piece I am working on. Having a title or a story helps me focus on what I want to say in my art work.

I transfered the image of the letter my grandmother wrote to me onto hand-dyed fabric.

                                          I had the letter with me all day.
                                                   I held it, she held it.

                                        It is the only letter she ever sent me.
                                         I read it once a year to remember.
                                                      I remember us.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


I received an email today informing me that my art piece was accepted in the international textile contest, Le Vie della Seta si incontrano a Verona,

The jury was made up of 5 european jurors: a textile artist, an architect, a goldsmith artist, a professional traditional quilter and a freelance journalist who covers textile art and quilt events and exhibits.

I will have to wait till Verona Tessile is over, March 8 to 13, 2011, before I can post it- contest rules. Here is the back view.

30% of the work had to be silk.
I used a discharge technique to get the effect you see on the black cotton fabric.

Having your art selected is extremely satisfying- someone "gets" your work and appreciates it.

Monday, January 10, 2011


                                      I started a new art piece last week.

I am using fabric I coloured using natural dyes. To dye this cotton piece, I used logwood, which is a bushy, tropical tree from Latin America. To make the extract, cover saw dust from the tree with water and boil vigorously for 2 minutes then strain......

                                         I used the packaged version!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

my day off


                                     Today, I hammered instead of sewed.

With the help of teacher and upholsterer, Erin Petry,, in three weeks it will look like this:

                                            ...only with a different fabric

Still creating on my day off.

Friday, January 7, 2011

don't despair

                                 Today, I had many obstacles to climb over.

                                 I had to remind myself to move forward and up.

I tried not to get myself down.

Blue Depression, 2008, third prize, Trame D'Arte, Verona, Italy, contemporary category

                                        Tomorrow, today will be gone.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

new and old

Four years ago when I was on my first trip to Italy without children, I started this hand project to do on train rides. I travelled from Milano to Lugano, Switzerland, back to Milano and off to Verona, Padova, Trevi, Foligno, Rome, Naples, Atrani and Sapri.

I am almost finished the top of this baby-sized hexagon quilt, all done by hand using cotton bits saved from other quilts I made over the 20 years I have been sewing.

Here is a beautiful queen-sized antique I found at a garage sale in Toronto's east end. It is hand pieced and hand quilted from the early 1940's. It cost me $10. To think of all the hours someone put into this quilt! Years of train travel....

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


a new thing to learn
a new way to think about something
a new idea to run with
a new opportunity to begin right

happy new

inspired by something old