a Gallery

“Grand Reflections: Downtown LA”

Last year we made three trips to Los Angeles in pursuit of, installing, and de-installing Lou’s show at the LA Center for Digital Art, and we did quite a bit of walking around the downtown area near Pershing Square and up to the Museum of Contemporary Art on Grand Avenue. Being a flatlander from Tiny Town, I was intrigued with the skyscrapers which are not just towering blocks of concrete, but rather sculptural structures of glass that mirror the sky and buildings around them. From the sidewalk the windows looked like many little abstract paintings.

These are my two quilts completed this year, 2015.

Many buildings suggest a quilt that consists of pieced strips of fabric with windows contrasting with the gray structural concrete.

"The International Jewelry Center: Downtown LA" - cotton, Thermore: Spoonflower digital print, hand embroidery,hand and machine quilting 34.5” h x 43”w

“The International Jewelry Center: Downtown LA” –  cotton, Thermore: Spoonflower digital print, hand embroidery, hand and machine quilting   (2015)  34.5” h x 43”w


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Here is an image of the curved surface of a building on Grand Avenue in downtown Los Angeles which I had printed on satin so it reflects the light like glass.

“Grand Reflections: Downtown LA” - polyester satin, cotton, Thermore: Spoonflower digital print, machine quilting (9/2015) 51” h x 37.5” w

“Grand Reflections: Downtown LA” –  polyester satin, cotton, Thermore: Spoonflower digital print, machine quilting         (2015)     51” h x 37.5” w


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“333 Wacker Drive”

In August, 2014 I finished my quilt for the year.

333 Wacker Drive (45” h x 39” w)

This image is what you would see if you were on a boat on the Chicago River, looking at a fragment of the curved glass façade of 333 Wacker Drive that faces the river. You would see the sky mirrored and the buildings across from it distorted in its grid of windows.  The structure of the skyscraper suggested a quilt to me, with all of the windows forming many little abstract paintings.

I took the photo and had it printed by Spoonflower on their Kona® Cotton in March of 2013. Over the following year-and-a-half I did lots of hand embroidery, followed by machine and hand quilting.



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In the summer of 2011 I did a drawing of stitch lines made by laying a piece of Asian paper on a plate that had been inked with Daniel Smith water soluble relief ink.  Earlier this year (2012) I began stitching that paper onto a silk handkerchief.  I was essentially creating a quilt, since nowadays quilting refers to the technique of joining at least two fabric layers together by stitches. However, to give the piece some substance I layered the paper and silk onto black cotton and made stitches with black quilting thread. I was actually making a quilt!

It is so much quicker to make stitches with the stroke of a pen than to go up and down with a needle.  With a needle your aim has to be a lot more accurate to make sure the line is going in the direction you want it to go!  And then make thousands more.



how it looked in Sept 2012
how it looked in Sept 2012

"Passage" - silk handkerchief, Asian paper, relief ink, cotton: monoprint, hand stitching; 33.5" x 33.5" (2013)

“Passage” – silk handkerchief, Asian paper, relief ink, cotton: monoprint, hand stitching;           33.5″ x 33.5″ (2013)

Finally finished  !

added some red grid lines

added some red grid lines

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Had this notion that I would hand paint a “whole cloth” using fabric paint so the cloth would be soft. Then I would hand embroider and hand quilt the details. My inspiration was from flying over France and Italy in 2010 on our trip to Florence and from riding in the careening tourist buses over the Tuscan hills of olive groves and vineyards.

a detail of some of my fields, taken at the end of October, 2010

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three months later…end of January, 2011

later; end of January, 2011

It takes a long time to grow crops.

and so little time to destroy them…

Working on my fields, I can’t help but think of the devastating tsunami in Japan (March 11, 2011).

(Compare before and after the tsunami at



April 11, 2011 or so…finished my Fields quilt.  It has since been accepted in the show

The Artist as Quiltmaker XV, a biennial exhibition of Contemporary Quilts at  Firelands Association for the Arts in Oberlin, Ohio  May 13 – July 29, 2012


This piece is roughly based on the configuration of the Snellen Eye Chart with rows of symbols and letters that increase in number (yet, in this case, remain the same size).  How do we interpret the stimulus to our eyes including the daily barrage of media ads and spam emails proclaiming “Katie Holmes has a Rolex”?  (I’m talking 2005 which is now outdated, no longer hot! new!  no matter…) We are being made to desire things that are far more exciting or glamorous than the stuff already in our ordinary lives.

Test your visual acuity!  Can you find the letters/message ?

“Modern Eyechart: Katie Holmes Has a Rolex” – cotton, images from magazines, vinyl, sequins, beads: batik, discharge, hand and machine quilting. 35 1/2″h x 27″ (2006)


The previous quilt, in addition to containing magazine pictures, also involves drawing with wax (BATIK) on black fabric and then bleaching (DISCHARGE).  Here are some more examples of that drawing and bleaching technique . . .

“Pathos” – cotton, fabric paint, Thermore: batik, discharge, applique, machine and hand quilting, embroidery. 60″ h x 50″ (2006)


This piece dealt with the devastation of New Orleans as a result of Hurricane Katrina.

This next piece spanned two wars in Iraq.

“Pro Patria” – cotton, beads, fabric paint, Thermore: batik, discharge, embroidery, image transfer, hand and machine quilting. 69″h x 62″ (2005)


For the back of the quilt I made my own camo.

“Waiting for a Miracle” – cotton, Thermore, beads: batik, discharge, embroidery, image transfer, quilting, applique 12 3/4″ x 20″ (2003)

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based on the best advice my Mom ever gave me …

“Never Try to Change Anyone” – felt, discharged cotton: batik, embroidery. 21 x 21″ (2002)

This next piece won me the Emerging Artist award at QUILT NATIONAL 2009 at The Dairy Barn in Athens, OH.

It is about falling for various societal myths regarding Power, Fame, Beauty, Luck, Money, Love – the things we, as women, wish for; our great expectations. It includes tiny images from Mexican lottery cards, female celebrities from the entertainment section of the newspaper, and fruit from seed catalogues.  Look at it and infer the psychological and political pressure put on today’s women.

Rose swallowing involves a lot of physical and emotional preparation!

“Swallowing Roses” – cotton, fabric paint, Thermore: batik, discharge, image transfer, applique, embroidery, hand and machine quilting. 41″ x 30 1/2″ (2007)


detail_Katie, Oprah, Hillary, Martha

The little windows contain reverse appliqued images that were printed on fabric using the computer.

Other works that also use IMAGE TRANSFER onto cloth. . .

“Driving Dreams: Into a Deep Body of Water (on left) and Up a Steep Hill” (on right). Batik, image transfer, embroidery, hand quilting. 10″ x 10″ each. (2005)

“Trailers on the Trail” – cotton, satin, fabric paint, Thermore, beads: digital image transfer, discharge, embroidery, hand and machine quilting. 25″h x 13″ w (2009)


“Can Opener” – cotton, satin, Thermore: batik, discharge, digital image transfer, embroidery, applique, hand and machine quilting. 22″ h x 12″ w (2009)

“Feed People and Cars” – cotton, Thermore, magazine images, vinyl; discharge, embroidery, hand and machine quilting 37 x 28.5” (2008)

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It has been said that creating art is a symptom of  a psychological disorder. That may very well be.    To me there is something compelling and attractive about the compulsive accumulation of thousands of marks made with a needle and single or double strands of colored thread.  At the same time it is maddeningly slow.  It is simultaneously meditative and boring.

“View” – cotton, satin, Thermore: digital image transfer, hand embroidery, reverse applique, quilting. 16.5″h x 18.5″ . (2009)


“Guilt Quilt” – cotton, satin, gauze bandage, rose petals: batik, discharge, image transfer, embroidery, applique, hand and machine quilting. 68″ h x 45″w (2010)

detail of hand embroidery

among the throwing knives are a steak knife from Lou’s mom       and a butter knife from my Dad’s mom

satin wounds

detail of petals. The originals were actual rose petals, but some galleries do not allow organic substances that can decay or spread mold or whatever. So I created these petals from paper pulp and colored them to look like the real thing.


7 thoughts on “a Gallery

  1. Love the “View” as I think that the need to “create” (wheather I am creating art is anyones opinion) may be a disorder. I know I can’t help myself- so maybe it’s an addiction too? Anyway, now you have me curious about “Can Opener”??? What are we women capable of?

  2. sue – these quilts are all so beautiful! i’m so taken by the rose petals – they look remarkably real. i’m also struck by the “pathos” piece – the details and the movement are astounding. you were really able to capture the unique, almost european quality of new orleans architecture – but also the idea of this great city floating in total chaos. i would love to see all these pieces in person one day! in other news i am about to start reading a book by a french author called “enough about love” – i will keep you updated about whether it’s any good!

  3. Natalie, thanks for looking at my work and for your comments. I like your take on the city floating in chaos, totally isolated like an island. It’s always exciting to hear what someone is able to ‘read’ in another’s artwork!

  4. Susan — this work is stunning! I got here by googling “guilt quilt” under images and then following the bread crumbs. A few of these I have seen but many not. The detail and texture you get with these materials is just amazing — especially in “the view”– incredible. (Of course you know I smiled at the driving dreams.). Thanks for posting these.– Sally

    • Thank *you* for viewing, Sally ! I’m glad you followed the trail. My computer does not give me any pertinent images when I google “guilt quilt”, BTW. The driving dream image I did for your book is still my favorite…

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