weaving 101

Weaving on the Copper Loom
with Kat Allison
Newport News, Virginia

Terri, Julie and I headed up to Newport News in the rain for a new adventure. Kat Allison, fiber artist, educator and adjective lover,  invited us up (or did we invite ourselves??) for a fabulous day of weaving on the copper loom.

The day started with show-and-tell of Kat’s lovely studio and artwork. Then we jumped in and started warping our looms. When Kat asked us what size loom we wanted, we all said BIG ONES so that’s what we got! Terri and I got scarf-sized looms and Julie wanted one the size of a small rug. Each was lovingly made of shiny copper by Kat herself. Her looms are special– when you take off the weaving, the warp threads magically disappear, making your piece almost finished as soon as you remove it from your loom. Experts say it can’t be done, but it works, and it is fabulous.

Of course, weaving is not for folks craving immediate satisfaction. You have to put in the time, but it is worth it. On one of Kat’s looms, you can mix in fibers, beads, strips of hand dyed fabrics, paper, clay, wire and more– truly a mixed media adventure. I am starting with making a scarf of fibers, beads and fabric strips. It looks awesome so far, and feels yummy. I can’t wait to wear the finished product. When we get past the holidays it is the first project I will finish!

I hope the New Year finds you happy and healthy. I also hope you will find new artistic adventures in 2015!




Whiskey the studio dog

What I loved: Playing with Kat is always an artful adventure!

What I learned: Weaving takes time and patience, but the results are gorgeous! When weaving a scarf, I found it works better to warp the loom over every other peg. Also, the finished product is much softer and more scarf-like if you use yarns instead of fabrics.

TAP dancing!

CREATIVE IMAGE TRANSFER– Any Artist, Any Style, Any Surface
by Lesley Riley


Creative Image Transfer is finally available and I am so excited to be a part of it! The book includes 16 new mixed-media projects using TAP Transfer Artist Paper. My project uses TAP on  Faux Bone – a non-toxic, flat PVC plastic that can be cut and carved into any shape for beautiful, lightweight jewelry components. The book showcases 5 of my Faux Bone necklaces, each with a TAP transfer of my artwork.

To celebrate the event, Lesley is having a Creative Image Transfer book and TAP Give-away! Just head over to her blog anytime from Aug. 6-10, 2014 and enter to win!

Creative Image Transfer

oh so close to greatness…

Chrysler Museum
Norfolk, Va

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERAIt’s mind-boggling really… just how close you can get to greatness at the Chrysler Museum in Norfolk. Cassatt, Renoir, Gauguin, Warhol, all on display. No ropes or barriers — nothing to keep you from standing right where THEY were standing when THEY were creating their great works.

I stood mesmerized… breathing the same air, seeing the same brushstrokes, feeling the same awe as the artist must have felt as the work emerged from a blank canvas. It is hard to catch your breath when you see Cassatt’s beautiful, chubby baby in “The Family” or back away slowly from Paul Signac’s, “The Lagoon of Saint Mark, Venice” and watch as millions of colorful marks turn from chaos to masterpiece before your eyes.

We went to the Chrysler for Father’s Day. First a picnic on the grounds under an amazing tree. Then a tour of the newly renovated museum. A fabulous day with my parents, my sister, my brother-in-law and the many artists whose works grace these halls.


worn by time and tide

Tribal retreat – Cape Charles, Virginia


Some call beach glass “trash”… others call it “treasure”. I guess it just depends on your perspective. For years, I’ve been searching for tiny bits of sunshiny color on the beach. Finding the perfect shell is always a thrill, but finding a bright green or blue blob of beach glass,  just the right size for a wire-wrapped necklace, is like finding buried treasure! It has to be ripe too — worn down by the waves and sandy bottom until sugar coated and smooth.

The Chesapeake Bay is full of glass, I assume from years of dumping along it’s edges. Plenty of it washes up on the beaches of Cape Charles, some ripe and sanded and perfect for jewelry making, some still shiny and jagged and ready for the recycle bin. We gathered as much of both as we could on our weekend tribal adventure -12 gals in Paula’s cute little beach cottage in an even cuter little town on Virginia’s Eastern Shore. I will eventually sort thru my glass bag and cherry pick all the ripe pieces out for jewelry. Maybe I will keep the rest for a new “glass garden” to remind me of Paula’s place and her hospitality.

I’ve known some of the girls in my Tribe since I met them at a Bluegrass Festival in my early twenties. We’ve seen each other thru dating, marriages, jobs, children and now we are facing empty nests and (sooner-than-later) grandchildren together. Like sea glass, our friendship has been shaped by time and tide — 30 years of beach trips and working and loving and living. 30 years of slowly smoothing our jagged edges. The treasure lies in knowing that they are always there.


Charity the Mermaid, our weekend collaborative art project, is shown below. Sandy Boo headed up the project, a donation for a silent auction for a friend of a friend. Collaborative art projects can be difficult with so many opinions and personalities going into them, but I think this one turned out especially nice. It comes with much love and well wishes for the recipient.

Mermaid "Charity"

Mermaid “Charity”

WHAT I LEARNED: Artful adventures are right around the corner… or right over the bridge (which happens to be one of the Seven Engineering Wonders of the Modern World).

WHAT I LOVED: I loved spending time with my Tribe, and loved the little hamlets of the Eastern Shore — like stepping back in time. A long walk, wild golf cart rides thru every inch of Cape Charles, all of us in one SUV on the backroads from bay to ocean and back, lunch at the Exmore Diner, oddities at the antique stores, the beach glass honey hole, and Paula’s sweet little cottage.