Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Art Cards - Happiness!

Wow! Who knew so many folks liked these little Art Cards so much?! Thank you! Virginia actually put up the photos from a digital I sent her because she hasn’t even received my cards in the mail yet – and two are already sold within hours of going up on her web-site!

Please visit: Virginia A. Spiegel
Until July 31 - American Cancer Society Fundraiser - Fiber Art Postcards at:

With all this positive feedback, I have continued making the Art Cards and have even made a few more Trading Cards – although I find that small format rather challenging. Here are some of my latest efforts – all machine quilted on my hand-dyed chiffon:

Top: GO WITH THE FLOW - 2 ½” x 3 ½”
Bottom: SPRING SPROUTS - 2 ½” x 3 ½”

Top: SUMMER SUN - 2 ½” x 3 ½”
Middle: OCEAN WAVES - 2 ½” x 3 ½”
Bottom: FUNKY BANANAS - 2 ½” x 3 ½”

And here is another piece done on the left-over scraps of the hand-dyed chiffon. So far, it has no titles. Suggestions are welcome! This piece measures 5 ½” wide by 10 ½” long.

I’ve also done some quilting on a piece that I put up last month that I’m calling FLIGHTS OF FANCY. It measures 10” x 14” and began with hand-painting Lutradur. After the paint dried, I decided to try painting fusible webbing, to which I added some feathers, Angelina Fibers and some fancy funky yarn. The quilting does not show up as well as I would have liked so I may go back into it and add more quilting with darker threads.

Several of you have asked about Lutradur. I first read about it in CLOTH, PAPER, SCISSORS, Winter 2004. Lutradur is the name of a polyester/fiber/fabric that is made + sold in 60” widths. It is sold by the yard and can be quite expensive to have shipped – unless you stipulate that it’s OK for the shipper to fold + box it. It is similar to a heavy weight interfacing and I like to use it as the base to support other items from paint to Angelina Fibers to bits of thread and yarn to transfer prints, stamping, etc. I suspect it is nasty to use for hand-sewing or hand-beading simply because of its heavy consistency.

Anyway, here is FLIGHTS OF FANCY (10” x 14”):

As with the other images, you can click on any photo to get a closer view. All pieces are 'for sale,' just in case anyone is interested!

Sunday, June 26, 2005

FIBER ART CARDS - A New Convert!

These are the 5 cards going to Virginia’s ACS fundraising site. All are now SOLD

The American Cancer Society fund-raising event sponsored by Virginia Spiegel on her web-site is totally responsible for getting me hooked on Fiber Art Cards. Or maybe it’s Virginia herself who offered an opportunity for anyone to purchase her FACs for $30.00 with the proceeds from this sale, continuing through July 31, going to the ACS. Either way, I am most grateful for the guiding impetus to begin such a wonder-filled and playful journey into a new dimension (for me) of art. (See the Fiber Art Cards for sale with all proceeds going to the American Cancer Society through July 31, 2005 at:

Today’s completed art cards!

I have totally fallen in love with the 4x6” format and find that size the perfect inducement for me to experiment with techniques, colors, and materials in my work. As noted in the last posting, I’ve even taken to cutting apart unsatisfactory quilts and creating new Art Cards from them. Here are a few I made last night from a small quilt-let – what had already been bound, but not really living up to my satisfaction. I created 4 Art Cards (4x6”) and 4 Artist Trading Cards (2 ½” x 3 ½”).

Mini-cards – which I find much more difficult to do than the 4x6 format cards.

One thing that I notice occurring is my leanings toward including paper in my work. I suppose that could signal my expansion into mixed media art from fiber art… yet they are very closely aligned in my work at this time. Still, I can see a time when there may be very little fabric in my work, but lots of different kinds of fibers embedded with any number of other objects, found or otherwise.

SOMBER 4x6” Copyright: Pat Dolan
Here I’ve sewn hand-dyed paper into the mini-quilt. The paper is the pale yellow gold in the upper-center. I also have layered sheers + cottons on the surface.

Needless to say, I’m having a wonderful time living in the state of high-intensity creativity/productivity. Time totally disappears. Meals are forgotten. Housekeeping is unheard of! Only physical therapy takes me out of the creative mode and into physical time-space reality. The creative mode, next to meditation, is where both time and space seem to vanish in favor of imagination, insight, inspiration, and total absorption. Neither creating or meditation is ‘better’ than the other – they seem more like sisterly states of being. Both step outside the confines of physical reality and into the realm of essence… Both call for total immersion in the “now” moment. And both provide a new sense of joy following that immersion.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Transforming Old Art Into New Art!

OWL 4x6” Fiber Art Postcard
SOLD to Karey Bresenhan for the Collection of Quilt Festival - Houston and Chicago

Allison Schwabe was absolutely right when she wrote on our QuiltArt mailing list that not every piece we create is worthy of being exhibited. In MHO, some are not even worthy of being completed! Yet all do have some redeeming characteristics, along with their flaws - just like people.

In 2003, I made an art quilt entitled "Autumn Owl" and was 28”w x 32”l. I had attempted to depict an owl partially hidden in the autumn foliage, peeking out as though to say, “See me now. See me not.” He is heavily machine embroidered over my hand-painting, and was reverse appliquéd to the foreground. Various other fabrics dance across the surface of the quilt to mimic the leaves dancing in the breeze at sunset. The dark evening sky was also reverse appliquéd. Alas, the quilt never really lived up to my hopes, vision, or expectation. Part of it were very pleasing, but the whole of it was simply NOT working for me. It’s been in the bottom of the bottom drawer ever since. Until now.

CREATION 4x6” Fiber Art Postcard
SOLD to benefit the American Cancer Society

This week an unsatisfactory quilt was cut it apart to become a marvelous set of Fiber Art Postcards plus a couple of ACTs. First, I cut a mat with a 4 x 6" opening so I could locate the best composition and create the maximum number of Fiber Art Postcards as possible. Using a white chalk pencil, I marked the best placement for the creation of each 4x6. And then I whacked away with my rotary cutter to form a total of 13 Fiber Art Postcards and 1 Artist Trading Card – with very little extra that was discarded.

ANCIENT MAPPING… 4x6” Fiber Art Postcard

Then began the work of making sure each card was appropriately quilted within the much smaller format, and creating tension and balance in each card with stitching, color, form, shape and harmony. So far, only one card is actually fully completed, while the others all need the zig-zag edging applied. A few might benefit from just a tiny touch of foil, as well.

It's been great fun experimenting with the smaller scale required for Artist's Trading Cards (ATCs which are 2.5" x 3.5") and Fiber Art Postcards (which are 4" x 6"). More tomorrow! Now that I’m into cutting up the old to create the new, I sliced one UFO into several ACTs and Fiber Art Postcards. Tomorrow!

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

And Art Card #3: Medicine Wheel South 4x6." This card also uses Lutradur for the surface; it is hand-painted, machine-quilted; and embellished with colored pencils. Donated + SOLD on Virginia Spiegel's website to the American Cancer Society fund raiser.
copyright Pat Dolan
"Summer Growth" 4x6" Art Card - my 2nd ever art card. Donated and SOLD on Virginia Spiegel's American Cancer Society fund-raising event at her website. This card was made using Lutradur, batting & cotton batting. It is hand-painted, machine quilted, with colored pencil for added high-lights.

copyright Pat Dolan

"Sea Mist" 4x6" art card for American Cancer Society. My very first art card.
copyright Pat Dolan
Donated to and SOLD on Virginia Spiegel's website fundraiser for the American Cancer Society.

ART CARDS - My Very First Ones

I'm having so much fun! I went to Virginia Spiegel's website to check out the American Cancer Society fund raising event she is sponsoring. I ended up buying two art cards and decided I'd donate a few cards of my own. Mind you, I've never made an Art Card before - they are 4x6" large, postcard-sized, mini-quilts that can actually be mailed via the US Post Office. I've heard of the ACT's - the Artist Trading Cards - those cards are 2.5" x 3.5" and it seemed to me to be such a tiny format within which to pack in a lot of stitching. Now that I've been playing around with the 4x6" size, you can bet I'll try the smaller format, too! I've had fun and the cards will help earn money for cancer research. Thanks Virginia! All is well in the world tonight!

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

"Orange Delight" - 8 1/4" x 9 1/4" One more completed UFO!!!
copyright Pat Dolan

One Longstanding UFO Completed!

The little piece above has been around for two+ years and I've never quite had the time or interest to complete it. It was a fun piece to make - trying several different weights/brands of threads with my circular machine quilting. The addition of a gently folded strip of gorgeous silk made it really interesting, but not done. I added some foiling, but still wasn't satisfied. I saw the potential... just never made it a priority. After all, it began as a mini-sampler and still was very "mini." So it was put in the UFO pile for a later day. Now, since I've been confined to sitting much of the time, it has become the "later day" for this quiltlet! All my beads were out and it seemed a good idea to spark this little gem up with some beading. It was a stroke of mini-genious to sew on a string of beads to the edging of the silk in that one spot on the lower left. The little mirror worked well. The colors of beads harmonized with the shifting colors in the silk. And, it was easy, it was fun. And now it's DONE!!!

Monday, June 20, 2005

As requested: here is a detail shot of "Going In Circles" showing reverse applique edges - heavily quilted trhough all 6 layers, with a bit of foil, here + there, to add sparkle. The foil extends into the quilted circles on the black, further uniting the 'blackwork' with the inserted applique work.
copyright Pat Dolan

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Possible/Probable Solution...

Thanks to each of you who responded on list or privately to my critique request. I found something of value in each comment and very much appreciate your time and interest.

The probable solution I’ve been mulling over in my head for a few days now is this: create a single large fern image on deep blue fabric which will then be reverse appliquéd to the quilt (a la David Walker) slightly off- center. Then I will add a thin layer batting and another backing to the entire piece. Finally, using vibrant/sparkly threads and machine quilting, bring out the enlarged fern design with the quilting.

Once before I reverse appliqued a previously quilted piece and had good results. In fact, that quilt, Going In Circles, will be included in the upcoming exhibit Fiber Revolution: A Survey of Styles, at the New England Quilt Museum. Here's a before shot

copyright Pat Dolan

and an after shot of this quilt, completed.
copyright Pat Dolan
The black portions of the ‘before’ were quilted with black rayon threads in the same circle motif. This piece disturbed me in much the same way “Ferns and Feathers” has bothered me. The solution was to cut out the quilted black holes and place hand and commercially-dyed fabric behind the quilt top & reverse appliqué. The quilting in these areas is gently curving lines to add some contrast to the circular quilting throughout the rest of the piece. Then I added some foil in certain areas to add sparkle and a slightly different texture. This piece was accepted in the 2004 Pennsylvania Extravaganza show last fall.

I’ll let you know how it all turns out – once it is completed! Thanks again, one and all!

Friday, June 17, 2005

Critiquing - Round 2 - continued from yesterday...

Below you'll find some potential options following various suggestions made to my query of how to create a strong focal point for Ferns + Feathers. Some suggestions included cutting the piece apart to create one or more pieces from it - using it as a background for other work. Since the piece is already quilted, there are some restrictions, but not a lot. I could always cut it up and use part of it for a Journal quilt - in which case none of you have seen this, right?! And I could make a whole series of ACTs!!! I'd still have to create a focal point for each, however...

After some feedback from the group - and some time for a new idea to percolate more fully - I'll share what it is that I'm planning somewhere in the recesses of my mind. It may take a few days to crystalize and another day or so for me to verbalize what I'm half thinking. But it will be worth the wait. I hope... :)

Thanks in advance for any and all comments, suggestions, critiques, and compliments. I've thoroughly enjoyed this process and am inspired to reach deeper to find a wonderful solution. SO, read on - make your thoughts public, don't just sit on them at home lurking. I'm asking for help here, and I'm not known for good design skills. Good ideas, maybe. But composition and design - those I'm still learning. I look forward to pros and cons, wild notions and tame ones. Lets get creative together for round 2 of Ferns + Feathers critiquing!

Butterfly half
copyright Pat Dolan

Feather half
copyright Pat Dolan

Several others suggested cutting the piece apart in a number of different ways. This option resonates with my inner sensings right now, but that is in competition with something else. Meanwhile, here is FF with butterflies and un-painted, natural feathers scattered (lightly pinned!) on the surface.
copyright Pat Dolan

Several suggested using the colors in the border to help create a focal point while maintaining integrity with the border. Thus next is a 3-item add-on: 2 feather-butterflies plus violet feather�

copyright Pat Dolan

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Critiquing - Round 2

A big thank you to everyone for the great ideas! All of your suggestions have potential and I’ve experimented with some of them below. Not everyone was aware that Ferns + Feathers is already machine quilted… making some suggestions mute, for the moment anyway. Metallic threads could be added – maybe once I’ve completed Quilt U’s class that starts on Saturday dealing with such things as difficult threads… Here is a close-up shot showing the quilting.

copyright Pat Dolan
Most suggested bringing a focal point to the piece, which I know is desperately needed. Somehow or other, that’s the part that has me stymied. I’ve pinned several different things to the surface of said quilt. None of these options especially stir me into delight, but here is the first trial. Tomorrow I'll post a few more.

A single hand-painted-feather Monarch butterfly with one decent sized violet ostrich (?) feather. I realize that adding 2 things is not smart – odd numbers would be better. But this is the first choice with decorative focal points. Meanwhile, another suggestion was to turn the quilt to the vertical position – so here it is with 2 add-ons and placed vertically:

FF - vertical position - with bindings and 2 potential add-ons.
copyright Pat Dolan

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Organic Cellular Structure from a Pine Tree - work in progress. Any ideas for finishing?
copyright Pat Dolan

Opinion Please - #3

Finally, here is a small piece (8x15) that I'd like to finish off in STYLE. I've considered mounting it on foam core and having it matted and framed - without glass. But nothing specific comes to mind about HOW it should be matted/framed.... What ideas are out there in this world of creative bloggers? Opinons/suggestions/ideas please!

Ferns + Feathers - work in progress (22x36). HELP!
copyright Pat Dolan

Opinions Please - #2

This is another of my feather prints - ferns and feathers were the 'stamping' tools. This piece is machine quilted & has binding on the two short sides... and it's been hanging on the design wall for over a month - mostly because I am very dissatisfied with it as it is. It's lacking "punch" - for lack of a better word. There's no real composition... and it reminds me of wallpaper!
My present thoughts are along the lines of placing thin strips of black + white geometric fabric in some sort of smashing, eye-catching design... It seems to need some masculine energy, what with all the gentle curves everywhere...
As you can see, this one really, REALLY needs your suggestions! Once again, HELP!

Opinions Please - #1

I have several "works in progress" that I'd like to see progress to completion. "Flaming Feathers" began as a printing experiment using various bird feathers to create basic images. They sat in a drawer for 2 years and recently were rediscovered following a class from Rayna Gillman on various types of printmaking on fabric. I've machine pieced the background together and have loosely placed some geometric + flame-type shapes on the surface to see how it might look. Now I'd like your ideas and suggestions please. I'm interested in learning from this amazingly talented group of artists, so go for it everyone!

Flaming Feathers (22x47). This is another work in progress - none of the smaller shapes are permanently in place + can easily be moved or removed. opinions please!
copyright Pat Dolan

Monday, June 13, 2005

The Doctor Visit

Well, I'm very relieved after having met with the physiatrist about my knee. His diagnosis: Sprained Left Knee + Lateral Muscle Strain. As anticipated, he has prescribed physical therapy 3 times/week for four weeks, which I begin on Thursday. I'm also happy to report that I've been doing all the 'right' things (other than the two separate original injuries, of course) these past two weeks to take care of myself! From an empty calendar to a busy calendar with one short office visit...

Since I'm still supposed to stay off my feet as much as possible, I'm finding all sorts of things I can do sitting down - some more pleasant than others. I'm discovering that I really do NOT like itsy bitsy hand sewing projects...but I remember really enjoying creative embroidery. Maybe I'll play around with that theme a little differently...

I have also discovered that I really don't like finishing things! And that is somewhat of a surprise, since I generally thrive on doing a job well, and getting it done right! However, the hand-sewing required for bindings & quilt sleeves is a real drag of time, eyesight, and energy. Yes, I know there's not a lot of physical energy involved, but it takes a bit of mental gymnastics to get me sitting down to do it! The best incentive is generally a due date! Without that, I can forget it entirely...

Well, it's time for me to try the artist ACT's - how much can go wrong in such a tiny format? Well, there's the composition, of course...

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Quilted, printed, painted Lutradur with various items placed & ready to be sewn or otherwise adhered to the surface.
copyright Pat Dolan

My mom's family when she was 8 years old...about 1918. The 2 other photos are of my mom's mom: one when she was around 6 in the late 1880's, and the other taken in 1906 by my grandfather - an amateur photographer. The printed Lutradur has now been quilted and I've photographed the additional memorabilia for proper placement as I adhere each piece to the print.
copyright Pat Dolan

Antique Photo Prints - Stage II

Since I’m still house-bound with an injured knee, I’ve had plenty of time to play around with various projects. Today I quilted two of the prints I made on Lutradur. The Lutradur is rather stiff as compared to most fabrics, so the quilting proved to be a small challenge because it didn’t want to bend easily or fold over, up and out of the way as I was machine quilting. That made for slower, steadier quilting – a mirror of the slower, although steady pace of living I’ve been experiencing since I twisted my knee…

The quilting is done, but I have yet to attach the other bits and pieces of memorabilia that will really complete the pieces. I laid everything out tonight and took pictures so I can remember the proper placement when I come to sewing each piece down.

One other piece I began in Rayna’s class simply did not satisfy me. Using white on white for my background material, I had expected to like the contrast between the printed images and the background. Not so! The painted Lutradur prints came out ever so much more pleasing to me – so I decided to over-dye the offending white. Wow, what a difference! The white on white pattern is in the design of wood grain, which now stands out because of the many shades of brown/blue/beige that I used in over-painting the piece. It’s presently drying, but here’s a shot of that one, too!

I’m really enjoying the experimentation, can you tell?

Antique photo transfer print over-dyed to bring cohesion to the piece.
copyright Pat Dolan

Thursday, June 09, 2005

This print was done on hand-painted Lutradur and the images all seemed to come off rather well. There's a small map, post cards, a Lake Elmo, MN graduation list, and a recipe along with a photo of my grandparents, mother & uncle.
copyright Pat Dolan

This inkjet photo transfer was somewhat less successful, in my opinion. It was printed on cotton fabric, which I thought would take the transfers better than Lutradur, but I seemed less capable at getting the full images as I would have liked. Still, it has a 'rustic' feel to it!
copyright Pat Dolan


After taking a workshop with Rayna Gillman on various types of printmaking, I've been playing around with the concept of ink jet tranfers applied to fabric. As the family historian/genealogist, I have many, many old photographs, documents, old letters, even my grandmother's hand-written cook book from which to choose for subject matter.

Today I experimented some more - I'll post photos for you all to see. Two were printed on hand-painted Lutradur fabric, the 3rd is printed on a white on white cotton. At this point, I have no clue how I will proceed with them - although they seem ideal for scrapbooking. But I'm really NOT into scrapbooking so it remains to be seen what will evolve from these little experiments of mine.

I'm still gimping around, but now, at least, I'm not in so much pain that I can't create!

This was my class experiment - done on previously hand-painted Lutradur fabric. There are photos of my grandmother, an almond cookie recipe from her cookbook, a MN map, where she lived her entire life, and other memorabilia.
copyright Pat Dolan

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

R + R

It's a hot summer day but I'm inside enjoying the blessings of air conditioning. Actually, I'm virtually house-bound so I may as well enjoy it! As a 'mover, goer, doer,' rest and relaxation are almost punitive - at least until one decides to simply BE with what is. The knee constantly reminds me that I've over-done and I must rest. So I have an instant pain-scale that monitors my willingness to rest and my restlessness, as well.

There are all sorts of projects almost within reach that I could throw myself into... Yet I am not. Another thing about pain, it's very exhausting! I'm now rather careful about what I consider spending my precious energy on doing. I COULD sew the binding on one of my quilts, or work on the free-standing butterfly that will be attached to it. I COULD work on my silk scarf - or not. I can read, spend short spurts of time/energy on the computer, nap, and draw in my journal - and I do. These few things I do.

Meanwhile, I was to have had 6 quilts in the State Quilt Guild of NJ show scheduled June 9-11, but it was not to be. Two of the 6 were sold to FabriQuilt at the Kansas Quilt Market. And the remaining 4 I could not get to the drop-off point so they sit here in pillow cases...waiting to be put back in the quilt drawers for another time. Am I disappointed? A little, perhaps - but not as much as I would have thought. It's OK. I'll miss the show and that's OK, too. Right now, resting seems like the best option. There will be time enough for other shows, other quilts, other festivities.

And now it's time to rest...again!

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Detail: HYDRANGEAS showing some of the beading and the petal appliques. Machine pieced, machine quilted.
copyright Pat Dolan

Hydrangeas c2005 completed for the State Quilt Guild of NJ show next weekend.
copyright Pat Dolan

Saturday, June 04, 2005

PINK LADY'S SLIPPER found in the game lands near State College, PA. There were numerous clumps of them - I hadn't seen so many of these wonderful wildflowers since my childhood summer vacations in Northern Minnesota! Our son-in-law, a biologist & teacher at Penn State, discovered them along an old railroad bed. All pictures were taken Memorial Day weekend.
copyright Pat Dolan

PINK LADY'S SLIPPER - front view. They are such delicate flowers - having both masculine and feminine attributes. These were found near State College, PA, where we were visiting our daughter & son-in-law last weekend.
copyright Pat Dolan

PINK LADY'S SLIPPER from the back. This is the Minnesota (my 'home') state flower.
copyright Pat Dolan

Down (temporarily) But Not Out!

Several weeks ago I twisted my left knee while pulling everything out from under the kitchen sink. And no, that’s not a joke! We had a plumbing leak spilling out onto the hardwood kitchen floor. At first, the knee-cap popped out of place – but I could push it right back in, and so I did. However, in compensating for the pulled muscle popping my knee-cap, I managed to strain some other muscles in my leg – some of which are now in a constant state of spasm. One doctor visit, a set of x-rays, and several days of total rest and I’m still somewhat limited.

There were 6 quilts (almost) ready to be dropped off for the State Quilt Guilt of NJ show next weekend in Edison – but they never made it to the drop off site. I hadn’t yet made all the appropriately marked pillow cases, nor finished the binding on one of them… Dear husband would have delivered them, but alas, they were not ready.

Sometimes when I think I know what I’m doing and I think I recognize what is intrinsically important, I am brought to the awareness of the absurdity of the concept of “knowing.” I can feel so certain, stand so firm, and even do what ‘must be done,’ only to discover that other plans are silently materializing and inviting me into a totally different understanding of the present moment.

So today I enjoyed listening to the bird songs – I counted 11 different bird species singing to me from the woodlands. I heard the warning ‘huff’ of the deer in the forest, the first cricket and the first bull frog of the season – all of which I would have missed had I been busily sewing in my studio. I basked in the warm sunshine and cool breezes coming out of the forest, and I was grateful for my honey, my girlfriends, the telephone, a good book, and the heating pad – among so many other things.

Do I regret not having finished the two quilts? Of course. But they will be completed in good time – just not in the timing I had planned. Do I regret that none of my quilts will hang in our state quilt show? Yes, but I will have one in the Fiber Revolution Special Exhibit there because that one was mailed out a week ago. It’s an older one, but of the garden theme requested by the show. Actually, it’s called “Summer Goldfinches.” Maybe I’ll attach the photo as it represents the beauty of the woodlands behind our home.

The weekend remains full of promise. And although tomorrows particular ‘promises’ remain hidden from me, I’m sure I’ll discover them along the way. I found them all today - or at least some of them. I'm sure I'll find more tomorrow!

Summer Goldfinches c2003 Hand-dyed background + guaze, machine embroidered birds, machine embroidered and painted flowers, machine quilted.
copyright Pat Dolan