Thursday, November 21, 2013


A few posts ago I wrote about my experiments with red onion skins and the different mineral spring waters in my town. The photo below shows the red onion skin results on the right. Big change in color except for one of the springs. The top two swatches are rain water and tap water (left to right). Only one spring kept the mauve color. All others saddened the color. The left side shows results from my recent experiment with yellow onion skins.
 I expected the same results--all of the waters saddening the color from the skins. But much to my surprise I got some awesome color range. I used silk fabric just as I did with the red skins. Tap water resulted in a medium apricot color (top left swatch). Other springs gave a range from pale gold to variations of what I am going to  call a squash color. The one spring that has a significant amount of iron in it shifted the color to the golden khaki (second swatch on the right).
So it seems the pigments in the red onion skins reacted more to the minerals in the water than the pigments in the yellow skins. Interesting. I wish I understood more about what is happening. More research needed.

A big thank you to India Flint  for starting me off on this journey.

Thursday, October 31, 2013


American Elm planted in 1907
I have continued my research on native trees in the Colorado Springs/Manitou Springs area. I actually found a reference for a walking tour of notable historic trees. I printed out the map and set out on this tour one day last week. So few of the original trees planted by General Palmer (founder of Colorado Springs) have survived so when you come across one of these magnificent trees it is awe inspiring. Not so much because of the size of the tree, but that they have survived this long planted in this climate. I am a native of New Orleans. There are oak trees there dating back 400 years so, relatively speaking, these Colorado trees aren't that old. It's the fact that they have survived amidst harsh conditions that is fascinating to me.

As I walked along I gathered fallen leaves from the ground underneath these trees. I collected Cottonwood,  American Elm, Willow, Green Ash and Maple leaves. They feel special to me because of their history and I am looking forward to seeing what kind of contact prints I get from them.
Cottonwood Leaves  from tree planted in 1872. Leaves are 6-7" in diameter. Norm is 2-3"

Thursday, September 19, 2013


Tucked into the base of Pikes Peak, Manitou Springs, Colorado (the  city where I live) has been a tourist town since the late 1870's  when visitors discovered the sacred waters that native Americans had been drinking for years. The founder of Manitou, Dr. William Bell, envisioned a  spa town with fresh mountain air and healing waters. Many of these effervescent springs still function today, and there are those who still swear by their healing powers. Me, I think the water tastes gross. As a 22 year resident of the city, I have yet to acquire a taste for it.
This summer I finally have gotten around to using it with my natural dyeing experiments. For my first experiment I used red onion skins and water from six of the functioning springs and the solar dyeing technique. I used equal amounts of skins and water and left the jars for an equal amount of time out in the sun. Then I removed the skins and added a small swatch of white silk fabric to the dye and let it sit for 24 hours. See the photograph for my results.
Water from the 7 Minute spring yielded results close to tap water. (Tap is top upper right hand corner, 7 Minute spring is below it. All the other waters yielded a khaki color with slight variations probably not visible in this photo. Two of the swatches have a slight greenish tinge. Water from these two springs contain copper and calcium which I think is the reason for the green. The spring with the most amount of iron (3rd one down on the right) yielded the most neutral khaki. Next one down has a rosy tint to it.

All of the springs are alkaline and  contain varying amounts of calcium, chloride, copper, fluoride, iron, lithium, magnesium, manganese, potassium, silica, sodium, sulfate and zinc. I know that calcium, copper and iron will affect my dye results but I'm not sure about any of the other minerals. Any information, thoughts or ideas would be greatly appreciated.

Thursday, August 1, 2013


I started eco-dyeing in the summer of 2011 purely for the fun of it. Reading India Flint's Book, ECO COLOUR, I learned that silk and wool were the easiest to work with because no mordant was really needed to set the color obtained. I found a white silk shirt in my closet I hadn't worn for at least 10 years so I ripped every seam and used every last scrap of that shirt for dyeing and printing. I WAS HOOKED and spent the rest of the summer and the summer of 2012 experimenting with India's techniques. I used whatever leaf, flower, scrap of fabric I could find. The joy was in the pure fun of being outside, gathering botanicals and bringing them in to cook up a witch's brew of nature.
This summer I have found myself more interested in using native plants of the area I live in. What I have learned is that way back when the  city of Colorado springs was founded it was a treeless and barren area. Considered a high desert. there was not a lot of botanical beauty that would make anyone want to found a city here. But there were other reasons why General Palmer decided to go ahead and found the city of Colorado Springs. I won't go into that here. Suffice is to say he made a good decision. Here is a picture of the young city with newly planted trees to help shade the young city. (picture  taken from Wellsprings, A History of the Pikes Peak Region, edited by Jan Mowle.)
 Those trees were imported and reported to be Cottonwoods. Supposedly thousands were planted to make the growing city more habitable. Many of them died and were replaced by Maple, Elm and Ash. I've read that these trees as well as the Cottonwoods were trees that would remind the people of their east coast home. I've also been told that they used whatever was available since, of  course, there weren't many tree nurseries at that time.

Today I live in Manitou Springs. About 5 miles down the road due west from Colorado Springs, it was founded at about the same time. A little higher in elevation at 6200 feet, it is a foothills climate with more evergreen trees and a variety of deciduous trees along the creeks, but still a pretty barren area especially since a fire had come through the area in the 1850's. Here's a picture of early Manitou, compliment of Historic Manitou Inc. published in the Wellspring book noted above.
 Manitou also planted many trees to shade the main street but because of floods, widening of streets, widening of sidewalks, and just plain development, there are few trees that are historical to the area along the main street. There are  old willows and cottonwoods along the creeks in town which is quite wonderful to have at least a few trees of historical significance.

There is so much more to research, but for now I am having fun eco-printing with cottonwood leaves which mean so much more to me now that I know their history in the area. Here's a journal I made presently listed in my etsy shop

Wednesday, May 1, 2013


This is what it looks like today. Although it is not unusual for us to have snow in May, it is unusual for it to be  this cold and the trees to still be so bare. I guess we won't have a Spring this year and will go directly into Summer.  I'm taking the month of May off from blogging to concentrate on changing some things with my Etsy shop. See ya when it warms up.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


After a winter of no snow we seem to be getting a storm to come through on a weekly basis. Today's storm gave me time to work on an old quilt. I started this quilt about 5 years ago but got bored with it . Recently I've had the urge to quilt again so I pulled this out. It's made from scraps and as many different fabrics as I had on hand that would go with the feel I wanted the quilt to have. All of the  fabrics are from the early 1990's when I was quilting a lot. I finished the top a few days ago and today I basted it together so it is ready to hand quilt. Hopefully it won't take me 5 years to quilt.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


Yesterday we were supposed to have a blizzard. Well, we had wind, we had January like temperatures but no snow. Schools and many businesses closed in anticipation of the  big event so I cancelled all my errands and stayed home. Put on a pot of potato leek soup, stitched on a quilt that I started years ago and never finished and made this.
I think I'll put it in my etsy shop as over the next few months I will be transitioning my shop to include more items made with vintage linens. This little pin cushion is made with a vintage jello mold, old feedsack cloth and some vintage trim and thread.

Hopefully, this is the last of winterlike weather for us.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013


Spring doesn't seem to want to come to Colorado so I decided to make my own. These sure were fun to make on a cloudy cold day.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


I made several of these many years ago when my children were young. Brings back lots of wonderful Easter memories.

Thursday, March 21, 2013


SENSELESS BEAUTY is the title of an article I read recently in Notre Dame's alumni magazine. The article became the inspiration for my cigar box project which I have finally finished. For years I have collected interesting bits and pieces of nature that I find on my daily walks. They have sat on windowsills, in baskets or tucked away in boxes for years. Many of them have found a home in this project. So happy to use these senseless bits of beauty for a good cause, YOUTH VISION, an arts program for at risk youthl.

"What do you make of a universe saturated with an extravagance of beauty? ...I will let the philosophers define what beauty is. But I think I understand some of what beauty does. It calls us out of ourselves. It feeds our senses. It provides standards for art and science, for language and literature. It inspires affection and gratitude. How then should we live in a world overflowing with such beauty? Rejoice in it, care for it, and strive to add our own mite of beauty, with whatever power and talent we possess."--Scott Russell Sanders

Saturday, March 9, 2013


Thought I would be farther along on this cigar box project by now, but 2 migraine headaches this week, end of the winter blues and a general lack of interest in stepping any further into this project has kept me from doing much of anything this week. Need some sunshine and warm weather to get me going.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Art For A Cause

This weekend I am working on altering a cigar box for an organization called Young Vision, which provides art opportunities for at risk youth. All cigar boxes will be auctioned off to raise money for the kids. Looking forward to messing with paint and papers this weekend.

Friday, February 22, 2013


This is the third piece in a series I have been working on for the last couple of years. I don't want to say too much about it other than each piece deals with growing up in the South during the sixties--the way things were, the way things weren't and the way things might have been. Here are links to the two other pieces: and

Happy Weekend!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Random Hearts

It's a good day


some random acts of kindness.
Happy Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


Yesterday I was going through all my ecoprinted fabrics and was struck by the variety of textural prints a leaf can leave on fabric. There are these flat, but definite prints that look like they were made with a rubber stamp.

Or there are more colorful prints that have a look of being layered with color.

Then there are ghost prints, leaving barely an image.

  Ghost prints with veins. Probably more of a resist print here but the vein printed. Amazing!

 Two color pigments in one leaf that each printed instead of combining together and producing a muddy print.

 Prints that look like they were made with pigment on a pin-head. Reminds me of stitching.

Prints made from the mingling of dye pigments and the folds of fabric.

Watercolor like images

and those defined by iron in the dye bath.

Awesome veining.

Resist prints with a iron outlline.
 Mirror images with texture provided by the fold in the fabric and string binding.

  The magic of iron

A three dimensional print

and the difference between a print using the top of the leaf and the under side.

This is what I love about ecoprinting. You never know what you are going to get. You can't MAKE something happen and no two prints will ever be the same.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Red Cabbage and Sage

Been scrounging around for printing materials. Not much outside, but inside the refrigerator veggie drawer, I found some
beyond the edible stage sage leaves and a little red cabbage. With alum mordanted watercolor paper, linen and cotton I sandwiched it all together and steamed it between a couple of ceramic tiles. The fabric barely printed, but the paper gave me this lovely watercolory print. Love the blue and yellow green.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Value of a Photograph

I know one is not supposed to post anything but perfectly beautiful work, but where's the learning experience in that? So here'e a little stitching I did this morning. I liked all the stitching until I saw the cropped photo. Will be ripping this afternoon.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Gray Skies Are Going To Clear Up

Gray skies are going to clear up, but in  the meantime, head on over to the blogs of some of my favorite artists and let them inspire you on how to make the most of winter's favorite color.


Monday, January 7, 2013

Where have all the honest people gone?

I'm not one to rant publicly but this really bugs me. Today I went to pick up artwork left over from a gallery here in town that hosts a holiday market every year. It is a juried event in which they invite local artist to sell their art at a gallery that has a fair amount of traffic. Supposedly it is a win-win situation for the artists and the gallery. The artists get a 60% commission (Not so great but it's the going rate.) and they get to show their work in this well known gallery. The gallery makes money because they are offering art from 30 area artists who are not part of the coop. So there is far more high qualilty art available than on a regulary basis.

So back to this morning. I pick up my items and realize that one item is not accounted for. Stolen. Then I realize this gallery does not inventory the items that come in nor do they insure any items damaged, lost or stolen. Yep, it was in the fine print and I missed it. LESSON LEARNED. LESSON LEARNED. LESSON LEARNED.  I've had art work stolen before at another gallery, but it was insured and I received reimbursement for it. In my mind I'm thinking this can't happen again, but IT DID. It's not a huge amount of money. But it is the time, effort, meticulous attention to detail that I put into my work that is the big loss and the big hurt. I do what I do because I love to do it, and I put it out into the world with good faith that someone will value it and appreciate it. I guess not.

Even with this, the biggest hurt is that this gallery that SUPPOSEDLY has such a good name and reputation treats artists who are not in their coop so poorly by not caring insurance. Artist are regularly undervalued by the general public. I find being undervalued by your peers pathetic and only adding to the issue of artist not being able to make a living at what they love to do, or anything close to that, impossible.

A fellow artist shared this with me. "I once read an intro to a beautiful book by a photographer who in the intro said something like 'if you are poor and you steal this book, you will rob me and the shop owner of our rightful compensation. But I will also take it as a compliment that you would risk jail time because you love my book so much." That helps some but I do wish there were more honest people in the world and more of an atmosphere of  artist helping other artist.


Tuesday, January 1, 2013


Turning over a new leaf
in order to see both sides of the story