Artist Gifts

Seems like a good time to share with you some gifts I have received this season.

First is a little book made by two book artists in the Ottawa Valley chapter of CBBAG (aka “Cabbage” or the Canadian Bookbinders' and Book Artists' Guild ).

Stephen and Gayle Quick own Weathervane Press. This year, as in years past, they have presented their CBBAG colleagues with the gift of a tiny book as a Christmas Keepsake.


This year, the book is a collection of Aesop's Fables. Stephen created the linocuts and set the type:


The last few pages tell about the making of the book:

The paper used to cover the book is from Lee Valley Tools in Ottawa.

See the Weathervane Press at

A second gift I am sharing is news about the work of friend and colleague, artist and teacher, Karen Goetzinger. Readers in Australia and New Zealand, this is to let you know that Karen will be offering classes in your neck of the woods in 2013. Karen is an award winning artist and teacher, also an SDA and SAQA member.

Karen's info: – Australia – New Zealand

Next post:

I will have details of my show in the U.K. In March 2013 – I will be in the Cotswolds near Stroud, Cirencester

and Cheltenham for an international show of printmaking. I will be showing eco prints and offering a Master

Class in making prints like this:

I will also have details of an art residency I will be doing in 2013, also related to eco prints.

Have a blessed Christmas!




Midwinter Eco-printed Scrolls


In just a few days, the darkest days will be over and light will stay with us longer! This post, I had been hoping to share some pics of illuminated MSS on loan from the Bodleian to the Jewish Museum in NY…unfortunately, I seem to have lost them somewhere in cyberspace.( I learned from “The Art of the Saint John's Bible” by Susan Sink that the term “illuminated” refers to the gold used for illustrations in the manuscripts. ) So instead, I offer some images of my dye garden in midsummer and midwinter as illumination to your imagination!

Midsummer past:

Midwinter present:

The harvest of that garden keeps me close to summer all year. Besides the dye flowers you see in the summer garden ( coreopsis, tagetes, amaranthus, baptisia australis, borage, basil, viola ticolor) nearby are Red Maple (acer rubrum), Sugar Maple (acer saccharum), Silver Maple (acer saccharinum) Chokecherry (prunus virginiana) and from the kitchen, tea (camellia sinensis).

In the fall I eco-printed watercolour papers with tree leaves as content for another series of botanical scrolls (suite to my textile scrolls exhibited in July), artist books entitled “New World Scroll” . Some images:

Rust and leaf eco prints provide form and content of the New World Scroll. as does the book's accordion structure. The first books were in scroll form, flat or pleated or slatted (depending on its culture of origin). I am using paper to recall ancient form and marking it with plant dyes as a contemporary take on ancient practice, and also as a comment on disappearing traditional natural dyeing knowledge and skills, a loss now connected with disappearing plant diversity and ecological imbalance.

I have handwritten the names of the plants in Latin and English as is proper to a botanical document but in pleated scroll style. I have to say I was hesitating to use my own hand ….dreamed of perfect type from an elegant letterpress…but concept and earthiness won out. Hands on, the powerful presence of a maker in the lettering.

The plants recorded on the scroll are both native and immigrant, a witness to the ideal of a global sharing of knowledge and skill for the benefit of all. A blog, kind of.

Each double spread is inserted inside a fold in the accordion spine and presents four different prints. There are twenty-four eco- printed pages, two eco-printed end papers and a set of eco- printed and embroidered linen covers.

Some closer looks:

The embroidered and printed covers refer to traditional skills and knowledge that have faded away but which are being recovered gradually in textile circles – women's work, mainly…and with new appreciation for the artistry in the ancient practices.

Chokecherry and Red Maple pages in the scroll

Chokecherry pages

Simple pamphlet stitch spine

Opening the scroll

Next time:

More book arts!

And more NYC because that is where I will be spending Christmas. I wish you all the blessings of this holy season



Upcycled textiles…all the way to the Brooklyn Museum!

“Eco” in my lexicon includes more than printing with natural dyes. Vintage textiles repurposed as art media is a major interest for me. So this post's topic is the vintage textile and textile-inspired work by Mickalene Thomas whose work was on recent exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum. What charmed me greatly was this:

The artist had sewn patchwork covers for the viewing benches in the exhibition area. I understand she sewed them with her own hands. What a concept!

Just to make the point, here is another image. I love the daring idea that artists sew. And find ways to include viewers in their art beyond eyeballing it.

I believe Thomas' point with the patchwork-covered brenches was not to be cutesy or (that dread, dead term) “inclusive”.

Using a variety of vigourously patterned cottons and polyester fabrics (and many African printed cottons), and rugs and wallpapers besides, she covered not only gallery benches for viewers like me but whole display rooms – couches, chairs, floors, walls, art on the walls…She created IKEA diplays gone maximal and mental and stay-away with prints of every colour and scale, of chaotic value association, no cowardly beiges or whiteys here. Was the patchwork-covered bench outside the display her invitation to bring me as a viewer into museum “rooms” I was otherwise forbidden by guard and cordon to enter? Or was her patchwork gallery bench simply my seat at the back of the bus? Or was I truly welcome to sit where I wanted not only to view the art but to participate in it, feel at home in it? Was she telling me how bloody-well exclusive the Big Art world is still for her and for me? Go Big because you can't go Home here…

Love the Big Stitch

A second area of work was devoted to enormous canvases, collaged or “patched” with patterned fabrics and pieces of painted canvas in characteristic vibrant colours and larger than life forms intended to recall classic art landscapes or works with female subjects and (Thomas is an art historian as well as a practising artist.) Some examples:




Loads of loud textured glitz on this one as on many others

Note the scale of Thomas' paintings.

Finally: An important fashion note. The tall young lady on the extreme left closest to the wall is my hostess and Newly Wed Daughter who asked me to note that the folks in the gallery are wearing the NYC uniform of black from head to toe..the one in the white shirt is a tourist. O, we could learn a thing or two from Mickalene!

Next post:

More eco prints on paper and some books by medieval authors. And maybe in between an update on my dye plant page!