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Sweeter Than Honey

Sweeter Than Honey

Sweeter Than Honey – 22″ x 22″ – hand-made paper, dyed, marbled, and altered papers, tyvek, plaster, pigment, dried flower petals, cottonwood pods.


I started with the title to this piece, and then went looking through my studio for honey-colored papers and appropriate objects.  The golden honeycomb paper at the bottom was specifically made for this piece; while the paper pulp was wet on the screen, I used a flat stick to make holes in it and push them into hexagonal shapes.  That one piece of paper took nearly half an hour to make!  One of my other favorite parts of this piece is the cottonwood pods, which are flying in a circle around the whole piece.   I’ve been around cottonwood trees my whole life, and always see the fluff flying around, but this summer is the first time I really noticed the pods that enclose the fluff on the tree.  They split open into these pretty little shapes; mostly with three petals, but you can see a few four-petaled ones near the center.

Foundations of the Earth

Foundations of the Earth

Foundations of the Earth – 24″ x 24′ – hand-painted, dyed, altered, and eco-printed papers, dyed linen thread, on roofing paper.


This piece was intended to be quite different than the way it turned out.  I wanted to make a piece to fit in this frame, with the pattern stitched with thread across a solid-color texture background.  I made a big sheet of lovely teal-colored texture with melted duplicator paper, and when it was finished, the paint peeled off one section right in the middle.  Darn!  So I looked around my studio for something else I could stitch over, and ended up making these concentric circles with many different pieces of hand-painted, dyed, marbled, and altered paper.  The linen thread started out brilliant white, which was too stark against the colors, so I dyed it a pale golden color, then stitched the pattern with the outer points arranged around an octagon.  It is one of my favorite pieces I’ve made this year, and was very popular with visitors to the 2016 Longmont Studio Tour.

Field of Dreams

Field of Dreams

Field of Dreams – hand-dyed papers, wax – 16″ x 20″

The papers in this piece were dyed using onion skins (light yellow and dark green) and rust (dark red.)  Layering onion skins and paper sheets in a pot, weighting them, and then steaming them for an hour or so makes the most wonderful patterns on the paper!    Field of Dreams is one of the names for this quilt pattern.

Square Dancing to the Blues

Square Dancing to the Blues

Square Dancing to the Blues – 16″ x 20″ – wall texture, watercolor, acrylic, buttons.

The first version of this piece was a very cool collage made with magazine pages and wax, and I ruined it by leaving it too close to a window on a sunny day, which melted about a third of it.  I scraped it off and recycled the board to become another piece of art, but the title was too fun to let go of, so I made this version with wall-texturing plaster, watercolor, and tiny green buttons.

Not All Who Meander Are Lost

Not All Who Meander Are Lost

Not All Who Meander Are Lost – 12″ x 36″ – hand-dyed paper, colored pencil, coated wire, wax.

I started drawing the meander patterns that show up in the background of this piece one day as I was testing out some new colored pencils, and it was so much fun that I dyed some paper, laid it out in squares, and covered the whole thing with the meander.  Those squiggles reminded me of the little wire shapes I had made a few years before for the piece of art, so I pulled out some wire and made more.  They looked like crazy little figures, no two alike, and they started out lined up neatly each in the center of it’s own square, but somehow the wanderlust took hold, and they started moving around on the piece.  The little one at the bottom right seems like he’d like to join them, but hasn’t gotten up the nerve.

Here’s a detail, in which you can sort of see the background pattern.  The wax makes it tricky to get a clear photo.

Meander - detail

Not All Who Meander Are Lost – detail.



Cloister – 8″ x 8″ – altered and hand-marbled papers, wax.

This is a study for a future larger piece, which will be called She Turned the Cloister On Its Ear.  The title refers to the geometry; the ratio of the larger square to the one that is set inside it is a proportion often used in constructing the cloister (enclosed courtyard) of a monastery.  The darker papers are altered magazine pages, and the lighter ones are hand-marbled paper.

Dot Dot Dot and Diamonds in the Rough

Dots and Squares

Dot Dot Dot and Diamonds in the Rough – each 5″ x 7″ – ink and altered magazine pages

These two little pieces were made with pages from an old National Geographic magazine,  altered by spraying them with citrus solvent, which dissolves the ink and allows the colors to blend and move around on the page.  Then the patterns were drawn in ink.  I think the circles turned out better than the squares, but they’re both intriguing to look at.



FireFlower – silk flower petals, glue, on board – 36″ x 36″

This exuberant piece is based on the tradition in India of making rangoli, beautiful geometric patterns created on the ground for special festivals.  Sometimes they are made with colored chalk or rice powder, but often with flower petals.  It was surprisingly challenging to make.  I make various kinds of mandala patterns often, and feel like I ought to be able to do it with my eyes closed, but I realized that I usually start in the center and work my way out, and things just fall into place without a lot of planning ahead.  But because of the way the petals overlap, this piece had to be made from the outside in, and I had to think several steps ahead.  I was also limited by the components of the flowers I had, and how many of each petal there were.  But it was also very fun to make, and it’s fun to look at!

The Point of Exploration

The Point of Exploration

The Point of Exploration – reclaimed and recycled materials, – 23″ x 23″

This piece is made almost entirely of recycled and reclaimed materials.  The papers on the surface are pictures from old magazines, modified with Citrasolv, a citrus cleaner that dissolves the ink.  The tiles are cut from old wood-laminate flooring, salvaged from a remodel project in my neighborhood.  Papers are adhered to the tiles, and the surface coated, with encaustic wax made from the leftover stubs of church candles.  The backing is an old cabinet door, and the sides of the frame are made from scrap lumber, stained with vinegar and steel wool, and sealed with beeswax and olive oil.

Here is a detail, so you can see the wonderful texture that develops in these papers:

The Point of Exploration - detail

The Point of Exploration – detail

The pictures I used were all from old National Geographic magazines, so my original idea for a title was just to call it Exploration, and then I decided on the arrangement of the tiles, which is a weaving pattern called point twill, so it became the Point of Exploration.

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