Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Making quilts with hand-stamped fabrics is pretty entertaining. I've been using them for quite a while, but as I'm working on one quilt, another idea will occur to me, and then I've got to try yet another new way to integrate my stamped fabrics into a fun quilt. These photos show "Susuwe" 46" x 32" . This quilt is named after an island in the Kwando River, in the Caprivi Strip, which is a long narrow finger of land in northeastern Namibia. There you can see hippos, elephants, exotic birds and lots of other wildlife. It's the greenest part of Namibia, which boasts starkly beautiful deserts in most of the rest of the country. Most of the African prints in this quilt came from the markets in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, where I used to live, but I also used some great pieces I bought from , a wonderful place to shop for African fabrics!
Once again, my thanks to Annaliese Moyer of for the photos of my work, and to the folks at Oshiwa Designs for the printing blocks that I use to stamp my fabrics.

Earlier this month I had the very great pleasure of visiting Val Hearder in Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia. I was lucky enough to have a chance to visit friends in Halifax, and discovered that Mahone Bay wasn't a long drive, so a road trip was born. Besides making beautiful quilts, Val does wonderful work supporting women in South Africa who support their grandchildren after their children have died of AIDS. In many cases, these women have very few resources, but they embroider vividly colorful panels and do gorgeous beadwork, which Val then brings into Canada and sells on her website In this photo, you can see us wearing necklaces from Val's shop---terrific, aren't they? How fun to know that you're supporting such a good cause while shopping!

I was also very happy to meet Laurie Swim in her studio in Lunenberg, NS. Laurie makes textured landscape quilts that reveal intense threadwork close-up, and look like paintings from a distance. All this talent, and she's nice, too! Later that evening, I was able to attend the Mahone Bay Quilt Guild meeting, where the members impressed me by their great show-and-tell and their very welcoming warmth. I hope to have a chance to make a return visit!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Time for more photos! I now have professional shots of my work taken by Annaliese Moyer, who can be found at . Annaliese works out of Portland, OR, but travels, especially to interesting places like Namibia!

This piece is Okapuka, named for a game ranch near Windhoek, Namibia, where we could go to see giraffes, oryx, kudu, rhinos and lots of other animals, all living on a huge stretch of land just 20 minutes from our house.

In this piece I've used African prints and some images I hand-stamped with Oshiwa blocks. The Oshiwa carvers make wonderfully vivid and lifelike animal blocks and geometric blocks that intrigue me with their bold, graphic designs.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

This is "Mowani", a small piece named for a starkly beautiful camp in western Namibia that we visited several times during our three years there ( This area of the country is home to the elusive desert-adapted elephants who live in a wild, extremely dry environment. They're free, but mankind presses in on their world.
The fabrics in this piece are African prints and an elephant I hand-stamped with an Oshiwa block carved by artisans in Windhoek. I just love the beautiful blocks they make, and I've been hooked on fabric stamping with them since the very first time I did it!

This is a detail of "Mowani" showing the threadwork around the block print Oshiwa elephant.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

As I go through my photos, I'll put a few into the blog to show what I've been making with my hand-stamped fabrics. Here are four postcards I made this spring, two of which were sold in an auction benefitting the Wendy's Wish Foundation, a cancer charity supported by the Stitchin' Post in Sisters, OR. All of the teachers at the Quilter's Affair were asked to contribute postcards, and I was happy to send them the crocodile and the bird. The whole collection of beautiful postcards can be seen at

The Quilter's Affair is a week-long orgy of classes taught by some of the best quilting teachers around, like Libby Lehman, Lura Schwarz Smith, Sharon Pederson, Barbara Shapel, Gwen Marston and Freddy Moran. The talented mother-daughter team of Jean and Valori Wells runs the Stitchin' Post quilt store that organizes the Quilter's Affair every year, and they top off the week with the biggest outdoor quilt show in the world. Their whole town is given over to the display of something over 1200 quilts, and thousands of people descend on Sisters, Oregon for the thrill of seeing the show and being part of the quilter's equivalent of Woodstock! OK, there's far less use of illegal substances in Sisters, but the show provides us with a real quilter's high nonetheless! The show is always on the second Saturday in July, so next year's is on July 10, 2010. It's not too early to start planning your trip! Check out the details at And in case you're wondering, I don't own stock in the store, but I wish I did!

I'll post photos from the workshops I taught in Sisters this year soon. The students did some terrific work!


Thursday, July 30, 2009

Jumping In!

Well, here's the new blog ready to go, though it will undoubtedly undergo more changes before too long.... I hope to post a bit about the fiber art pieces I have underway, and about the stunning hand-carved wood printing blocks from Oshiwa Designs ( that have been the inspiration for much of my work over the last couple of years. I would never have described myself as an artist before I started working with textiles, but since I found my medium, I find that I have a voice and lots to say! For now, I will post a couple of photos of some of my Oshiwa-inspired pieces, and get back to work.