New Shelves

When things feel out of control, my favorite antidote: Organize.
I wish I had taken a before picture, it didn’t even occur to me. You’ll have to imagine, shelves balanced on top of other shelves. Piles of kimono silk leaning precariously, ready to tumble onto the floor any minute. No room for even a skinny slip of a remnant.
I imagined being crushed by the weight of falling fabric, nothing but a foot sticking out to show that I had been there.
New Shelves
Thank you Ikea!
After installation, I spent a lovely day folding and straightening.
The best part? Besides the order that is.
Do you see them?
Those empty places. Ahhhhh, breathing room.

Posted in misc | 5 Comments

Randall Darwall, A Prince Among Men

My heart is breaking. My mentor and friend, Randall Darwall passed away this Friday, January 13th. Randy, hand-weaver extraordinaire, teacher and craft world advocate. He was, to the core, a genuinely kind and good man.
For over 30 years he has graciously and generously guided me through my career in the craft show world.
Randall Darwall 1
In the mid-80’s, in a workshop he was teaching, he encouraged me to enter and exhibit at a thing I didn’t know about, craft shows. I am ever grateful for his advice. There after, he’d always stop by my booth to say hi, drop words of wisdom, encourage, advise and joke around. One time, he came by to borrow a needle and thread to make a little repair. I grabbed a friend and insisted they take pictures. Randy dutifully trying to finish his project, me laughing.
I was over the moon when he suggested we collaborate. He handed me an armload of his hand-woven scarves and wished me well. Step one, I had to get over my reticence of cutting into them! After that hurdle, I was off. It was an amazing opportunity to use his beautiful fabrics in my jackets, coats and tops.
He and his life long partner, Brian Murphy, were the perfect pair. Brian funny, joking and teasing, Randy playing the straight man.
Below, with Heidi Austreng, administrator of the Smithsonian and Craft2Wear shows.
They worked hard and relentlessly, but always with humor and delight.
He was a prince among men.
Randy, I can’t even begin to say how much I will miss you.

Posted in misc | 14 Comments

Cranes for the New Year

A jacket pieced from beautiful kimono silks, highlighted with cranes silhouetted against gold clouds.
Symbols of good luck and eternal youth, cranes are the perfect theme for the beginning of 2017.
Can you see them?
Even closer for a better look.
Beads along the seam lines between the pieced sections.
I’m sending wishes of good luck and eternal youth to each and everyone of you!
Happy 2017!

Posted in beading, jackets, kimono silk, piecing | 6 Comments

Christmas Party at the White House!

At the White House, under the portrait of George Washington and standing right next to our First Lady, Michelle Obama, it’s Judy Fardig, volunteer extraordinaire and chapter leader of Organizing for America.
She’s wearing the dress I made just for this occasion.
President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama greet Sen. Merkley's family, Mary Sortenberg and Judith Fairdig in the Diplomatic Reception Room during the Congressional Ball at the White House, Dec. 7, 2016. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy) This photograph is provided by THE WHITE HOUSE as a courtesy and may be printed by the subject(s) in the photograph for personal use only. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way and may not otherwise be reproduced, disseminated or broadcast, without the written permission of the White House Photo Office. This photograph may not be used in any commercial or political materials, advertisements, emails, products, promotions that in any way suggests approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House.
Next to Michelle is Mary Sorteberg, wife of Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkely. At Judy’s wedding 45 years ago, a 5 year old Mary was the flower girl.
Next to Mary, you know him, but I’ll say it anyway, our President, Barack Obama.
Beautiful Judy in a close up so you can see the dress.
Piecing, applique and beading, each and every stitch sewn with love and appreciation for our 44th president and first lady.
The White House was decked out in full Christmas regalia, the Marine Corps Band was in attendance. Beautiful!
Needless to say, I am over the moon!
Thank you Judy, it’s been such a thrill to have been part of such a wonderful event.
And to all of you who take the time to read my blog, thank you!
I send wishes for the happiest of holidays and a most wonderful 2017.

Posted in beading, kimono silk, misc, Scarves | 13 Comments

Holiday Show 2016

The day before our show, I set up and carefully arranged everything to look its very best.
Ready to go, everything in place, I turned out the lights.
You’ve heard this one? How do you make God laugh?
Tell him your plans.
The next morning,…
Ice! Covering everything!
My fingers crossed that it would melt enough.
And it did, at least off of the streets and sidewalks.
But ice or not, people found their way to the show.
They looked,
And tried things on,
And found things to take home.
Karen checking the fit on a jacket.
A special visitor, Junko in one of her gorgeous kimonos.
She’s showing off her obi.
From the back, can you see? A volcano, space aliens and a tyrannosaurus rex!
Despite a bit of drama,…
We had a wonderful time! Really!
Plenty of friends old and new, lots of laughing and fun.
Next year! We’ll do it a again, only without, you know, ice.

Posted in shows | 1 Comment

Almost Ready for the 2016 Holiday Show

A new jacket and skirt for the annual Holiday Show here in beautiful Portland, Oregon.
The jacket’s close, there are just a few more things to do, the buttonholes and buttons, hem the linings and add belt loops.
But the pieced and appliquéd skirt.
It has a way to go….
It’s next Weekend!!! December 10 and 11.
See you there!

Posted in piecing, shows | 4 Comments

Holiday Show 2016

It’s our annual Holiday Show right here in beautiful Portland Oregon.

We’ll have two clothing artists:
shibori artist supreme: Elisabeth Gillem
And me! Brand new work, plus super deals on selected pieces

Two jewelry artists:
Melissa Stiles, with her bold graphic designs
Betsy Bensen’s jewelry incorporates gorgeous jaspers, agates, pearls and semi-stones

And the oh so cool Carol Risley and her fantastic leather bags

December 10 and 11
Saturday 10am – 6pm
Sunday 11am – 5pm
4334 NE Davis St
Portland Oregon

See You There!!!

Posted in misc, shows | Leave a comment

Some Good Stuff

Ava, my neighbor’s serious little dog, came to visit for an afternoon.
She knows but isn’t saying.
A giant box of beautiful kimono silks arrived.
Gorgeous stuff! I can’t wait to get into these.
My big project! Here, in mid process, it’s all but complete now.
For the White House Christmas party [Yes!].
Too much fun working on this one. I promise, more pictures to follow.
It’s Thanksgiving this week, I send wishes for a very happy one.

Posted in applique, beading, kimono silk, misc, piecing | 3 Comments

Go High


Writing a few sentences each week, adding pictures, this blog has been my way to look back and and make sense of the things I’ve done and seen, the people I’ve been with, the time I’ve spent. Bad things do happen, I’m tired or angry or even bored, but each week, no matter what else has been happening, I’ve always been able to sit down, look back and find the good.

I won’t lie to you, the election did not go the way I had hoped. And even though it wasn’t all black, still, I’m having trouble finding the light. So this week, instead of looking back I’m going to look forward.

I believe this with all my heart, that we are our government. It may not always feel that way, we have to compromise with so many, but in the end we can, if we want, be part of the process, inch ourselves forward and find a path for all of us.

If we can all agree to pay attention and if we see something we can’t support, we’ll say something. If no one is listening, we’ll write letters. If that’s not enough, we’ll volunteer where it is needed. And when we’re not able to, so that others can continue the work, we’ll send money. We’ll do all that, in whatever way we can to fight to find our way to the good.

Leonard Cohen:

I did my best, it wasn’t much
I couldn’t feel, so I tried to touch
I’ve told the truth, I didn’t come to fool you
And even though
It all went wrong
I’ll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah

From the man himself
Or this beautiful version from Pentatonix

Posted in misc | 15 Comments

In the Middle

It’s where I am right now.
I’m past the beginning, but far from the end. I’m right in the middle.
This is how it works for me. My project is chosen, I know what the end will be.
I think about it, decide on the direction and then figure out how to get there.
Finally, I gather the ingredients.
For example, this top. The piecing is complete, the strips have been sewn and are ready to be arranged.
Final step, appliqué them in place.
Does this look like a vest yet?
All the fabrics chosen and ready to be pieced.
This one much further along, a beaded jacket.
The beading on the front is finished,
But the back,….
I have a ways to go.
Stay tuned.

Posted in applique, beading, piecing | 2 Comments
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