Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays!

Just in the nick of time for St. Nick!
Finally got the tree decorated a couple days ago and this afternoon I set up my old Christmas houses inherited from my mom.  Some of the ornaments on the tree were hers too so they are older than I am.  
Let's just say they are decades old and leave it at that, lol.  

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Long ago transitions

I seem to be looking backward a lot these days when it comes to my art. I pulled this piece out of storage tonight and pressed it and rephotographed it.  It is hard to believe that I was in the midst of panic over my thesis work this time a decade ago.  This piece was not part of my thesis show but done prior to my first experiment with composting.  It was however one of the key transitions from printing to fibers using imagery I'd been developing.

Town and Country c2001  
Hand dyed and printed/painted silk, vintage silk, viscose rayon, silk organza

The design was repeated in etchings as well as collages (scroll down this page to see some examples) and comes from my fascination with township maps and plats.  I have long been attracted to square things.  This piece is also one of my first attempts at layering fabrics.  This one is pretty complex in that regard and includes some vintage silk that had been in my mom's stash (the orange) but everything else was hand dyed or printed (fiber reactive dyes of course).  But some of the fabric (solid color squares and the multi color rectangle lower down) was dyed back in summer 1976 in that very first fibers workshop I took with Judy Millis at SIUE.  I was just talking about that red fabric in this post.

Where my mom acquired the orange silk I have no idea.  I left the fabric exactly as I found it.  It is only 20" wide with selvedge edges.  In the lower right corner is a written mark as well as a tied resist and there is an open weave structure across the bottom.  A layer behind the orange is purple, visible here from the side with a layer of organza over the top.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

My Constant Companion

I acquired Darcy in 1997 1996. Good grief she is 15 16! She was abandoned in Collinsville and rescued by my niece and given to me when she was only 5 inches long. She had grown quite a bit when this picture was taken.  Because she was weaned so early, she still drools to this day when she is purring.

Related to the early weaning is her propensity to knead and suckle, especially if the surface is furry. This weekend she took to this faux fur like a kitten to her momma.

Darcy wants to be wherever I am. She keeps me company in the outdoor and indoor studios, but never has been one to get in the way. She doesn't jump on the tables (usually). But she does like attention. So periodically I have to stop and play with her, rub her head and talk to her. Many a project has been discussed with Darcy.

UPDATE:  Less than a month after I wrote this post, Darcy required a trip to the vet for an infected wound and it was then that my vet called up earlier records that put her age at one year older than I thought. Now as I write this on April 2, 2013 Darcy is asleep under my computer table while I work (fully recovered from the infection) and is on the verge of her 17th birthday. I recently was shown a chart that estimates a cat's age in cat years--whatever that means. Because she is indoors and outdoors her age is increased rapidly. The chart says she is 144! What the'd think she'd be comatose all the time. But she can still run around like the house is on fire when she has her night time crazies.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Early Days

I've been printing cloth organically for well over a decade the beginning with composting, then adding rust to composted cloth as well as traditional printing (see here and here). In 2006 I discovered Lois Jarvis, a quilter from Wisconsin I've mentioned before and I began to do more and more rusting. I haven't composted since 2007 because the rusting gives me such satisfaction both in imagery and use of time.

These are the very first samples made in 2006 on scraps of silk using Lois's guidelines. And for once, I actually documented what I did (rare occurrence!)

In early days I also worked on cotton and these are some of those experiments. I cannot get the same depth of color I do with the silk-at least in my experiments. Lois gets great results on cotton that she uses in her quilts.  Needless to say, I haven't done much else with cotton except for some very well worn dishtowels that belonged to my mom and that I incorporated into a few quilted pieces, including the newest little quilt that is hanging in the Jacoby Arts Center right now.

One of my goals is to do more quilting. Several people have urged me on after seeing the Collaboration show last year for Innovations. I promise I will--I just have to be in the mood and it also takes a special piece of fabric and lots of staring!

In 2007, I took parts of the sample silk pieces above to create a 12" log cabin patch-my very favorite quilt pattern.  The patch was combined with quilted pieces from several fiber artists to give as a gift to Laura Strand who is head of fibers at SIUE and my former professor.

The red hearth center is a piece of viscose rayon I dyed way back one summer in 1976!!! in a fibers workshop at SIUE with Judy Millis.  No one I know has any idea where Ms. Millis went to.  I'd sure like to know what she is up to nowadays.  I learned a lot that summer.  I think it was the first workshop I took after I started teaching high school art.  Wow that was a LONG time ago.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Cold weather scarves

Wrapped these scarves on a warm sunny day and then the temperature dropped that evening.  The next day I had to wait till night to unwrap because they took longer to rust. It was colder still.

Handling wet silk and rinsing with cold water in 40 degree weather had my hands numb in no time. So I worked in spurts--2 scarves at a time, then I'd go warm up inside.  

Detail of a shawl.

Like these streaky marks.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Blast from the Past

Last weekend at ARTEAST someone asked me about the logo on my hangtags for wearables. I've been using an old photo of my mom and her twin sister for the logo, but long before that image was incorporated into a number of pieces I made during grad school and beyond. I made etchings in copper plate, photo polymer plates and silkscreen images. I worked on both paper and fabric. This piece is a collage made in 2005 (after grad school).

The Frogtown Girls Came from Ambitious Seed 
c2005 Patricia Vivod
composted silk, vintage cotton print fabric, screen printed imagery, walnut ink, on paper

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Beautiful weekend at ARTEAST

Photo courtesy Kunido Robeen
Quite a few of the visitors to the Arteast event are artists themselves like my friend Kuniko Robeen who makes jewelry and mixed media work.

Photo by Valerie Goldston

Ginny French and her husband came 90 miles to visit!  I first met her several years ago at another Arteast venue but never kept in touch. Recently I discovered that the woman on India Flint's found, stitched, dyed facebook page that I'd been trading comments with for months was the same Ginny! She does nuno felting and now is experimenting with eco-dyeing. I'm still procrastinating on that front...having only done a handful of experiments. Ginny bought my only eco-dyed piece.

I have no illusions about selling my large work at a venue like this but I still like to showcase some of them. This venue had a wonderful old staircase that I took advantage of. Plowed Ground suspended in the stairwell is 120 inches long.  

A small selection of scarves here. The center one contains a print from an old sewing machine treadle. The one with the tag was printed with bed springs. The others are shibori rust.

One of my visitors was a past customer who bought a deep blue violet elderberry and rust scarf in 2010. I think this is the one. She assured me the color has not faded. I lost my elderberry crop to the drought this year. The berries I sought to save from birds had dried to a powder when I harvested. So no blue scarves for a while.  
This is my larger scarf rack. The venue was great--just enough room to fit everything in a nice display.

I even had a gorgeous red velvet sofa in the room where I could sit and rest. I brought yardage (on the sofa) and my dress form to display a blouse and shawl.

I brought a screen/scarf display where I put one of my quilts and found room to hang one of my very large pieces on a banner stand I had made a few years ago to display work where I could not mount on walls.

It's always a goal of mine to make sales at Arteast and this year went quite well for me. Thanks to all who came by to see my work and chat and a special thanks to all my customers. One of the first in the door was MJ Larson from Alton, IL who told me she'd found my blog some time ago and excitedly shared the news with a long time friend of hers who is also a fiber artist.  Turns out that the friend who lives in Texas now-Rosemary Malbin-is already a friend of mine on facebook!  The world is getting smaller.  It is nice to make these connections. 

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Circle of Life

Trying to find walnuts on the ground after leaves have started to fall is a challenge as the nuts are ever changing color from the lime green on the tree, to yellow, to amber, to speckled, to brown blotches and finally deep brown/black oozing juice.  I have maple, oak, sassafras, sweetgum all contributing to the black walnut leaf litter on the ground as well as gigantic cottonwood leaves blowing in from a neighbor's tree.

Thursday, October 11, 2012


It's that time of year again!  I've been working for several months on Shibori Rust Scarves to sell at the event coming up next weekend October 20/21. Visit

You saw in a previous post what I'll be showing in Small Works Show that opens Friday, Oct 12 at Jacoby Arts Center. 5-8p if you are in the area. Hope you can stop in and see this work which will remain on display through Nov 4.  The Small Works show features many of the 140 artists who will be participating next weekend in the ARTEAST event on Oct 20/21.  

The work I'll be showing at Location #24 -- 618 St. Louis Street, Edwardsville, IL -- will include at least 50 scarves and shawls of various sizes, some of my larger textile pieces and a few smaller quilted pieces and an assemblage pictured on the postcard above, upper left.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Rambling Memories and a Plea for Help

Mom and Dad home on the farm around 1980 maybe
I was reminiscing tonight on FB about the very first time my mom and dad saw my work exhibited publicly. The occasion was SIUE's 25th Anniversary Alumni Exhibition in 1982. A photograph of mine had been juried into the show. I'd been teaching about 9 years by then and in those days I was a teacher first. The thought of calling myself an artist hadn't even entered my vocabulary.  My dad was about as excited as I'd ever seen him.  He and mom just smiled and smiled. Dad passed away the following year.

The exhibit was held in the Morris University Center Gallery which served as the only gallery for the art department which in those days barely had a presence on campus. The art department started out in the basement of the Science Building and then studios eventually moved piece by piece uptown to Edwardsville (a few miles away) to the Wagner Complex an old factory site that art ended up occupying for 25 years. Art Ed and Art History stayed on campus so while I was pursuing my teaching degree I did quite a lot of traveling back and forth. Years later when I began taking workshops they were held at Wagner.

Over the years I've been in a few more exhibits at the MUC Gallery--a summer printmaking workshop exhibit, a textile club invitational and a few years ago I'm proud to say I was juried into the 50th Anniversary Alumni Exhibit. The MUC has seen hundreds of exhibits overseen first by the University Museum and then taken over by the art department a few years ago. It serves an important function being in the center of campus and accessible to the entire student body while the art department's gallery is on the southwest fringe of the main campus well away from the hubbub. Now the MUC Gallery is in danger of being closed!

The art department moved into new digs on campus 20 years ago. Now those "new" digs are being renovated extensively and the (formerly) New Wagner Gallery in that building has been demolished. A new addition to the art department will house painting and drawing, a lecture room, a new larger gallery, and for the first time art history, art education and art therapy are moving in from across campus. It is exciting but awfully frustrating right now as none of the construction/renovation is actually finished yet and teachers and students are trying to carry on classes. What a mess.

I suspect that the MUC administration has decided that since the art department is getting a new gallery there will be no need of the gallery in MUC. They have announced the closure will take place in Spring 2013. What they have not considered is that there is great demand for gallery space, not only by art students, visiting artists, etc. but that other departments and entities on campus depend on that gallery space for exhibiting research. The art department has launched a petition drive in hopes of stopping the closure. If you are a student or alumni of SIUE, or a resident of Madison County/Southern Illinois who has visited the campus in past, please help the art department fight this closure by following this link and signing the petition.  Many thanks!  (SIUE is Southern Illinois University Edwardsville for those of you not from this area.)

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Decision and Delivery

You might guess I changed my mind again.  Not much time to think about which way should be up as I had about 20 minutes to spare when I walked into Jacoby Center today to deliver the piece.  Decided on the original format.

Stippling in the rusted cotton which used to be a dishtowel of my mom's and meandering in the area below to define the elderberry impressions left during composting the silk.  The lighter silk in the picture above was composted at a different time and once again I found  rivers and topography in the walnut stains.

The finished piece with machine free motion stitching, some metallic threads, some rayon or silk thread and bead embellishment.  The blue area is walnut composted sueded rayon that was indigo dyed this summer.  The orange dress fabric also belonged to my mom.  I think it is cotton, but it is very crisp.

Friday, September 28, 2012


I stitched the gold down last night and stippled over the rusted cotton. Tonight I continued with the blue thread. Have quite a bit more stitching to do, but my machine keeps popping the feed dogs up which has slowed me down and annoyed me no end as the free motion isn't so free that way. Time to get the machine cleaned and serviced.  I stopped for a bit and drug out my beads as I'm thinking of embellishing.

When I brought the piece to the scanner I had to rotate it to capture the detail I wanted to show here and surprise surprise I was taken with the upside down view. I've been designing the piece to be shown the other way as you can see in the previous post, but now I'm thinking I like it better this way.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Who Does She Think She Is?

Today I played the documentary Who Does She Think She Is? and it was just what I needed to get started on a new project.  Wonderful film.

In the center top is the work in progress surrounded by two older quilted pieces along with scraps of compost and rust fabric. The original idea soon took a new form when I decided to use a piece from the indigo sample.  I'm stitching in place onto a felt back, not piecing.

Not sure what other fabrics will end up in this piece.  But I just have to remark on the little yellow things--my new favorite quilting tool.  Unfortunately not cheap. They are made of self healing foam that you stick on the end of pins. I always use those double pronged silk pins and I have stuck myself on those sharp points more times than I care to count. Quilters' safety pins leave holes in my silk not to mention they are a pain in the butt to open and close when you are sewing.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Straight off the clothesline

...and onto the scanner.  Not washed or neutralized yet.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Past and Present

Look what's growing in the walnut pile. Actually it's not a pile anymore.

Here's what it looked like nearly a year ago when all the walnuts had been harvested. If I recall the pile was almost 5 feet tall and 16 feet across.

Here's the same view now. During the heat wave this is where Elizabeth Adams Marks laid out her shawl for rusting. After the plastic sheet was spread on top we used walnuts to weigh down the rust objects underneath.

Actually there were many more mushrooms a couple days ago, but when I took the camera out yesterday, I found many of them shriveled and beaten down by the heavy rain that came in the night.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Fibers at Lindenwood

Friday I got to see the Contemporary Fiber Arts show at Lindenwood University for the first time. Curator John Troy did a wonderful job in arranging the four artists' works. My big silks look good in the space I think, though John told me that this was the largest work displayed there and adjusting the lighting was a challenge. One of the lights had sagged a bit before the reception leaving The Rain Dancers Ball too dark at the top.
Three of my big new silks made during the heat wave hang next to the smaller dark one finished last year for Fiber Focus.

I met artists Leandra Spangler (pictured) and Carol Zeman for the first time at the reception. Leandra's work involves basketry overlaid with handmade paper which is embossed and painted and occasionally embellished. Both artists are from Missouri.

Two more of Leandra's pieces.

Leandra's tall beaded piece Andromeda (reed, artist made cotton paper, knitted steel, metal and glass beads) next to Carol Zeman's art. In the background is one of my silks, Maze of Life.

Several of Carol's works involve found wood and handmade paper with non-traditional basketry techniques.

Bookshelf: Book of the Future is made of bamboo and palm frond paper, recycled paper, artificial sinew  coptic binding. It is only about 8 inches wide.

The fourth artist is Jessica Forys-Cameron from Illinois. Jessica included sculptural pieces (collectively referred to as Unmades) as well as Vignettes which include painting and sculpture. They all have a fairytale quality.

Lots of students came to the opening, among them two classes of fashion design students who had a lot of interest in my silk.  I spoke to one of the classes and was also interviewed by LUTV.  Besides the Boyle Family Gallery, the arts center houses a large theater, a black box theater, graphic design, and the television studio.

The stunning J. Scheidegger Arts Center at Lindenwood University.  The Contemporary Fiber Arts show will be up through September 30.


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Coming Event: Contemporary Fiber Arts @ Lindenwood University

I was invited to participate in Contemporary Fiber Arts with 3 outstanding regional artists at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, MO @ the Boyle Family Gallery. Ten of my pieces will be exhibited. I have been working all summer to get several new big pieces done that will complement some of my other work. The piece featured on the card (which went into production before I could get any new work done) is Topographia a quilted piece made in 2011.  If you live in the area, I hope you'll come to the reception on Thursday, August 30, 4-7 pm.  Directions can be found at the link above.  

Monday, August 13, 2012

Fun in the Shade

Elizabeth Adams Marks returned the favor of the rust party at my house by setting up an indigo vat in her garden. I haven't worked with indigo since grad school and then I did little more than a couple of experiments. We played for a few hours on Saturday before we attended an opening at Art Saint Louis where she has a gorgeous paper piece in the Texture show.

The big shawl that Elizabeth rusted in my previous post, has now been transformed with indigo. Quite a striking change don't you think?  Actually, just realized I didn't post a pic of the finished rusted shawl.  The post only shows her sprinkling tea on the rotary hoe pieces.

Elizabeth's shawl just after rusting.

The other large piece is also Elizabeth's.  I was working small.  A couple of scarves, one of which had been previously rusted, a scrap of cotton, a t-shirt and a small piece of rayon that I composted several years ago.

This is a piece of cotton previously (but lightly) rusted.  Did a little popsicle stick clamping to get this pattern. For those of you who have worked with indigo this may seem like small potatoes to you, but I got a little thrill out of the magic that was made when the color oxidized and when I unbound the goodies.

Arashi shibori scarf -- just pure indigo on a new scarf.  Love the color variation resulting from the folded layers.

This my favorite piece however. Just a small sueded rayon scrap about 15" big that had previously been composted with walnuts.  There was a lot of light creamy areas left in the design which allowed the pure indigo to shine through.  I preserved some of the brown with rubberbanded circles, other parts of the walnut turned very dark.  The fabric is translucent.   Very much would like to do more indigo with some of my old compost experiments.  But it will have to wait till after I get several pieces done for an upcoming show.
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