Looking Back...

Shroud No. 1
Cotton Fabric
Natural Dyes

I started out with several yards of white cotton fabric that I wrapped around a pile of leaves, twigs, stones, etc. into what looked like a swaddled child.

And there it sat, for a couple of months, in a rusty wheel barrow filled with rain water and vinegar.

And then it lived on my concrete driveway for a couple of months.  

The fabric bundle unwrapped.

Detail of the marks, stains, etc. 

Artists Yard Sale Haul

Scored four LeClerc Boat Shuttles this afternoon at a local Artist Yard Sale for all of $32.00, to say that I'm elated would be the understatement of the week.  The best part is now that  I'm cleaning my studio, for tomorrows Studio Tour, I'll now have room to pull out my loom, which is also a LeClerc, and start weaving again!

When I bought my Nautilus loom about eight years ago I forgot to purchase the boat shuttles along with the loom.  So it's sat folded up in a corner holding my art quilts for the past eight or so years. well this ends starting this weekend.

I also picked up some India inks in various colors, bead boxes, and some really old sequins.  I only wish I had known about the sale earlier in the day as she had an easel, etc., that I would have loved to have purchased for my studio.

Art Crawl Iowa Virutal Studio Tour Update!

What you will need to participate in this years
Art Crawl Iowa Virtual Studio Tour:

  1. Currently live in Iowa
  2. A blog and/or a website where you will post creative photos of your studio(s)
  3. Brief artist statement and bio about yourself and your work.
  4. A couple of images of your artwork.
  5. List of galleries, etc., where we can see and/or purchase your artwork.
  6. Contact email
  7. Send me a link to your website/blog/page and I will add it to the list of participating artists here on this blog next Friday at
If you would like to participate in Art Crawl Iowa 2013 email me at

Artist Interview with Brenda Backman

Brenda Backman 

I began my current series, Lines Threads Connections,  working within the parameters of a challenge which limited the size of the piece.  While stitching the felt and seeing the stitches interlock and connect with one another, I thought of how we are all connected.  The connection of living on our planet and being from our beautiful Earth, and the connection of our DNA and being made of stardust, all draw us together.  I’ve enjoyed exploring the different aspects of this idea with different colors and textures.

I’ve been making art and stitching since I was twelve and started making my own needlepoint designs.  I’ve been hooked ever since.  In 2000 I graduated from Iowa State University with a BFA and began my professional art career.  I’ve shown my work all over the US and internationally as well.  My work is characterized by a lively use of color and a heavily detailed surface which gives an intimate quality to the pieces.

Lines Threads Pebbles
Q. How did you get your start as a professional artist?

Brenda:   I've been working on my art since I was a teenager, and have been sewing since I was a child.  I developed a love of embroidery and fibers from my mother and grandmother who both sewed.  I further developed my skills at Iowa State University and have been working as an artist since graduating.

Q. How long have you been working as a professional artist?

Brenda: I've been working as a professional artist since 2002.

Q. What are you currently working on?

Brenda: Currently I'm working on my Lines Threads Connections embroidery series.  The series explores how we are connected to each other and our environment.

Q. Your current body of work depicts?  

Brenda:  My current body of work is abstract and uses color and shape to depict connections.

Q. What materials do you work with and why?

Lines Threads Ripples
Brenda:  I'm a fiber artist.  I work mainly with embroidery threads, felt, cotton and silk fabric, and beads.

Q. What excites you about using the materials you work with?

Brenda:  I love the textures my materials can create.  They seem endless!  Fabric is so versatile, it can be soft or stiff, the beads give shimmer, and threads have so many textures to work with.

Q. Tell us about some of the processes you do in your work

Brenda:  I work in machine and hand embroidery, combining the two to create a dense textured surface.

Q. When you make a piece where does the inspiration come from?

Brenda:  I take inspiration from my materials and sometimes from dreams.  I find the textures and colors of the fabric, threads, and beads to be inspiring.

Q. Do you make art every day?

Brenda:  No I don't make art every day.

Q. What other artistic interests do you have?

 Brenda:  I'm also interested in painting

Q. Tell us something that most people dont know about you thatthey would find interesting.

I enjoy cooking and creating new dishes.

You can see more of Brenda's work here.

Quilt National and Well That's Life

I missed the deadline for QN again!  I know I know the actual deadline is tomorrow but in order for my entry to make it there tomorrow I would have had to have shipped it, overnight no less, yesterday!  How about that for logic!

Sandstone No. 4 WIP

Anyway, because I was busy plugging away on my latest body of work, for my solo show, I fell behind way behind.  Absolutely no one's fault but my own, that and I'm seriously in a cow and field encuastic painting mode, the need to switch gears back to fiber just wasn't happening.  So the above piece is STILL in progress, I have three more pieces in my Sandstone series in various stages of progression, waiting on the fabrics to rust and compost to the desired level of doneness is also taking forever with this summers crazier than ever weather.

Five Year Silk Fibers

Originally my wool bundles were in the basket atop the silk fibers, sometime last summer I removed the bundes as the silk fibers were still in prestine condition.  Now the fibers have started to decompose and in a really interesting manner.  The silk cocoons have been dyed with natural dyes.

May's Fibery Giveaway

May's fibery giveaway (found out it wasn't spelled give away) consists of natural dyed cotton and silk fabrics, acid dyed silk carrier rods, the hot pink carrier rod fibers were dyed with cochineal, and hand dyed yarn bundle and cotton pearl cotton threads. What you don't see are some extra goodies I'm tucking in with this bundle, in the same color palette of course.

What you have to do is post a comment AND you MUST have an email addy so that I can contact you! No I won't use your email addy for anything other than this giveaway! You can sign in as anonymous but please leave your addy in your comment ~

Names will be drawn out of a hat, I'll have John do that part, and tomorrow I will announce the winner and contact the winner via email at Noon Central Time (gives you time to comment and me time to go to garage sales).

New Wool and Silk Batts

I posted some new batts to my store tonight, here's a group photo that turned out quite nice. I didn't get far I have morels on the brain again!!! I have a lot of blues, reds, and yellows with green, not sure why they didn't get photographed tonight - but there is always tomorrow!

I hand dyed the fibers myself, the batts are a blend of merino, lincoln locks, some romney, silk bombyx, and angelina fibers. These will be wonderful for spinning or needle felting.

I have an progress felted piece called Moss on my art blog, I needlefelted it with the Janome Expression and am now hand stitching the surface.