Art Doll / Wallhanging

I finished my new fabric art piece today — a sort of combination doll, quilt and wallhanging.   I often see a figure in the pattern of a fabric — in this case a kind of blurred birch bark print — I don’t really know why.  I also often “see” patterns of color when I look at people.  When I was younger, I had epilepsy and used to think I had second sight and could see people’s auras.  Now I just think I have a visual blip that’s kind of cool.  You should see the characters in my dreams.

I’ve made a series of pieces where figures emerge out of the fabric.   They are very hard to photograph, but I hope you can see this one well enough.  This one is called “Not Out of the Woods Yet.”

We’re often in situations where we’ve struggled to recreate or recover some aspect of ourselves.  We struggle with our health.  We struggle with our relationships.  This piece speaks to that urge to move forward, even when we are still intimately tied to our situations.  When I first envisioned this piece, I thought I would embellish it with lots of floral embroidery and beading — vines, leaves, and lots of representation of the forest.  Instead, as I created it, I settled for more subtle stitches with perle cotton embroidery thread.  I used painted fabric for the few leaves, embellished with gold gel ink.

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I love the way the fabric flutes around the figure.  I originally mounted it on a piece of foam board but it looked too flat for me.  I think leaving it to hang “naturally” makes it more inviting to the touch, too.  What do you think?

This unique work is for sale in Etsy shop for $200.  Click here for a link:


Work of Heart in Progres Day Five – whew!

Things went well today and I got her finished!

I finished the base last night.  I really love it when it gets to this stage and I can stop being careful and constructive.  I can start really being creative, draping fabrics, letting seams show and adding found objects.

wire for the vine
wrapping the wire in fabric

Okay, I got the wire wrapped and used embroidery thread to secure it and then I really got into it and stopped taking pictures.  I added hand painted fabric leaves.  I repeated the motif of the butterfly heart and added a butterfly broach I found at a thrift shop.    I sewed and tacked down things.  I used big visible stitches and thought about how much it helped me, as a young girl, when kind people helped me stitch together the various parts of my broken life.  The kindness people did for me kept me from despair and helped me blossom.  I hope that sense of repair and renewal comes through in this piece — Spring From The Heart.

Spring from the Heart
Growth starts in the heart
The base
Heart side
spring from the side
growth close-up

I took the following photo on my husband’s dresser.  It’s the last thing I see every night when I go to sleep.  Do you think my dreams influenced this piece?

among the plants
Joy and her Art Doll

Tomorrow off she goes from Portland to Memphis to be part of the 19th Annual Works of Heart Art Auction on February 12th.  I miss her already!  For more information on the auction please follow this link:

A New Work of Heart In Progress

Each year, the Memphis Child Advocacy Center has a wonderful Valentine’s  fundraiser called “Works of Heart.”  It’s a juried show and each artist is given a wooden heart to turn into an original work of art.  It’s pretty cool because these works are made specifically for the show.  You can’t get much more unique than that.  And generally, since it’s an auction, you get to buy great art for a great price.  I love that it happens at Valentine’s Day.  It’s a great way to honor love.

The Memphis Child Advocacy Center is dear to my heart, since I grew up in a fractured family in Memphis and witnessed many of the harsh realities children face in our society.   The MCAC has helped heal many children’s hearts and minds.  They keep child safety at the forefront of Memphis political and cultural dialog.   I lived most of my life in Memphis, so while I love my home in Portland, Oregon, Memphis owns a large piece of my heart.

Here’s the MCAC mission statement:

“Helping victims become children again. That’s why we’re here.

The mission of the Memphis Child Advocacy Center is to serve children who are victims of sexual and severe physical abuse through prevention, education and intervention.

Our vision is a community where children are safe, families are strong and victims become children again.”

I love that – they do a great job.  One of the charming and insightful things they do is give each child who comes through the center a new teddy bear.  A soft, touchable gift — a toy that lets them know they are loved and valued by the community.


I’ve been fortunate enough to donate art work to this event several times.  Here are two of my past Works of Heart.

Warrior Girl

It’s been several years since I’ve been able to contribute, but this year, I’m in.  I just started this new piece.  I have this great wood pattern print fabric.  I may make the doll’s heart from this lovely silk butterfly brocade.  I have some ideas of spring and renewal being rooted in the heart.  I’ve been pondering these things during the past chaotic month of moving, holidays and other art deadlines.

I have the week-end dedicated to this piece.  I have made some plans but I’ll be letting the piece speak to me as I work on it.  It will be all hand-stitched and crafted from an original design.  I thought I’d post the beginnings and make some regular posts on its progress over the next few days.

Wooden heart, wood fabric & perhaps heart material
Rooted heart sketch

For more information on the 19th Annual Works of Heart Auction, please follow this link.  You can also explore the website for more information on the Memphis Child Advocacy Center.

And do something nice for a child this Valentine’s day!

New Doll

I got to give my friend Joanne her commissioned doll yesterday.  In the post holiday meal blur, I was unable to get a good picture of the two of them together but I hope to sometime in the next month.  Here is the doll from start to finish — you’ll recognize the start from the Potential post earlier this week.

This is an original hand-stitched doll is made from cotton cloth and mixed fiber hair.  It’s about 20″ tall with custom made clothes.  You can commission one through this website or through my Etsy shop for $75.