Archive for the ‘Inspiration’Category

2017 – Off to a good start!



It’s the start of my studio season with hardly any snow, but temps in the single digits.  It’s such a joy to be once again inspired and working in the studio every day.

Above is an artwork I just started for the Studio Art Quilter’s Spotlight Auction at their annual conference.  It’s two layers of Lutradur stitched together and burned.  The inserted fabric is hand painted and I added ink highlights.  Now on to hand-stitching!  Title: December 21.

I also have in the works two new Boundary Waters – one of which I am sure to bring to completion, the other is a bit shaky at the moment.  Onward!


01 2017

Creating An Inspiration/Meditation Book Using Gelli® Prints


If you follow me on Facebook, you know I have been taking my new Gelli® Printing Plate out for a spin, including trying out different printing materials.  Above are rice paper, copy paper, non-woven fabric, and tissue paper. My first run of printing was exclusively on watercolor paper (below):


What to do with all these lovelies? I had a 5×8″ Moleskine journal from which I had ripped a page since I found I didn’t like the yellowish cast to the paper for drawing. Not a good idea on sewn signatures, so I decided to use the falling-apart journal to make an inspiration/meditation book using these new papers. My focus was on circles – always beautiful, always calming.


I started out (as a sort of warm-up) with some almost-squares cut from printed watercolor paper.  On each layout throughout the book, I added pen and ink which may or may not be the last drawing, sketching, writing I do on each layout.


Prints on copy paper.


Main prints on rice paper with additions of non-woven fabric and copy paper.


Rice paper prints with the blue edge carried over from the previous page (not shown) with one square in watercolor paper. Creating an abstract book is the same process as any other type of book – building rhythm and continuity through the book in order to draw you forward and into the book.


Contrast is always good.  Copy paper and non-woven fabric.


Both on tissue paper.  I love how the tissue paper wrinkled in printing and glueing.


The background is one sheet of rice paper with additions of non-woven fabric.

This is just the start of this book as the process is as important as the product and there are many pages yet to be filled.


09 2016

Inspiration Overload – Boundary Waters Adventure #23

June28VPaddleUp400Photo by Nancy J. Spiegel Rosman

Trip #23!  My sister, Nancy J. Spiegel Rosman, and I could never imagine 14 years ago that our first trip would inspire such an ongoing passion for wilderness canoeing.

OutPhotobyCarl400Photo by Carl of Rockwood Lodge and Outfitters
We always bunkhouse here before setting out – highly recommended!


Even after almost 200 days total in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, it is never any less of a thrill to be out on the water for hours on end, adventuring and seeing what there is to see.


You always pay a price to experience the Boundary Waters – muddy portages, bugs (WAY better though than last year’s horde), storms, cold (we wore shirts, windwall fleece, rain jackets, and fleece hats more than we would have wished), wind, rain. You have to be certain you have plenty of arm, plenty of leg.  But every effort pays off in huge dividends of peace, inspiration, relaxation, and just FUN.

VBananabreadmocha400Photo by Nancy J. Spiegel Rosman

Life is reduced to simple pleasures.  Such as Coffee Break! What could be better than my beloved mocha and a mini-loaf of homemade banana bread while sitting on the rock overlooking the lake after a morning of exploring in the canoe?


Photo by Nancy J. Spiegel Rosman

Of course we saw moose – 11 total, including three Moms with twins and one with a solo calf. Our record of seeing moose every trip in the BW holds!  We also saw otters with babies, eagles, beavers, loons, many, many gorgeous warblers, and so much more.


We were up at dawn and out of tent in our jammies to shoot the sunrise and mist from shore and one morning ventured out in the boat at dawn before I had coffee (a true sacrifice, but so worth it).  We also shot all day in the boat and had a daily photo challenge on shore (5 photos on themes such as texture, up close, threes, etc.).  I have over 500 photos of my own plus 300 from Nancy to sort through.  My mind is already overwhelmed with ideas for new textile work and paintings.

These are things I really looked at this trip (deja vu if you have read more than one of these trip reports or seen my artwork :)):

InspirBark400The texture of bark.

InspirGrasseshallows400Grasses in shallow water and the patterns of rock, sun, water.

InspirLilyPads400 Water lilies, lily pads, and the marks on the lily pads.

Rocks!  Nancy spent a lot of time piloting the boat backward and forward until I had just the right shot (And I did for her the same for her with the wily loon.)  This photo is from the top of the big rock that is slowly splitting in half. I told Nancy that it feels like my personal Stonehenge as I keep re-visiting it in person and in my artwork.


It’s always hard to give up sleeping in a tent next to water, power paddling, and having such a wonderful (laughter-filled) time with my sister.  As we say, “Until next year.”



07 2016

A delightful journey full of inspiration!


Just back from a delightful journey full of relaxation and inspiration.  After four days in London we were off via the Chunnel to Brussels.  Thanks to the sage advice of Linda Colsh, we based there for four days.  Above is from the day we spent in Brugge, a very, very beautiful 11th-century town that was splendid along its canals decked out in Fall colors.


We hit all the Belgian foodie highlights in Brugge – a brewery tour, traditional food,


and a stop at Mary’s chocolates:



The main reason for our Brussel’s detour was to visit the Open European Quilt Championships in Maastricht, Netherlands.


My artworks, Shagbark 3 and 4, were being shown there as part of the Studio Art Quilt Associates’ juried exhibit, Two by Twenty. (GREAT to see the exhibit in person, but if you can’t do that I would urge you to purchase the catalog – its detail photos are superb.)


I made a special effort to make it to this more traditional quilt show because of an exhibit, Eye-Talk by Jette Clove (Belgium) and Katriina Flensburg (Sweden).  I “met” Jette through Fiberart for a Cause and have have long admired her graphic and typographic artwork.


It was a thrill to meet Jette and see so many of her artworks in person.  There was also an exhibit of artwork on the theme of windows from a Masterclass taught by Jette.  I found this the most innovative exhibit at the show with 3-D artworks, artworks using transparency and translucency in new ways, and all the artworks showing great thought.



When we returned to London, the weather has turned to what Joe called the “London-iest” – foggy, a little cold, and rainy. We used our remaining four days to tube here and there and look at exhibits ranging from cosmonauts to bark cloth . . .


to astronomy photos of the year to an unfinished Mark Rothko. In the end, we managed to visit Tate Britain, Tate Modern, Southbank Gallery, Serpentine Gallery (see more on the Jimmie Durham: Various Items and Complaints here.  I veered from liking this exhibit the best to just finding it all too obvious.), Sackler Gallery, the V&A, the British Museum, the Museum of Science, and the Royal Observatory in Greenwich.

With, of course, our mandatory tea breaks.


I’m always glad to be home, but also feel as if I’m the luckiest person in the world when I can travel to see and experience new things.


11 2015

Boundary Waters #22 – Challenge, Inspiration, Fun!


A six-mile lake all to ourselves!

Just back from trip #22 wilderness canoeing in the Boundary Waters along the Canadian/Minnesota border with my sister, Nancy J. Spiegel Rosman.

As always, it was ten days of challenges, sublime beauty, and a whole lot of laughter (calling in the rare java bird is a story in itself as is the truly giant spider).  We paddled 50 miles through 13 lakes and portaged seven miles.  Our journals say rain every day, but we just remember the many sunny hours and the GREAT cloud formations

To start us out with a reminder of what the Boundary Waters is all about, here are two of the best portages going in:

Day3NJUnderCanoewebThis was such a bottomless sink hole that Nancy had to back up and start again several times to find enough rocks to make it through.  Not an easy task with a 17.5′ canoe over your head.


When not traveling and portaging, we went on day trips (always taking our water jugs to be filled along – the water was nice and cold) from our four different camps to check out beautiful sights:


We saw beavers, otters, eagles, ospreys, a loon swimming underwater, and so much more including five moose. Our record holds of seeing moose every year in the Boundary Waters. These sturdy twins waited patiently for over an hour as their Mom ate water lilies:


Nancy and I were both hugely inspired this trip to draw, create and document ephemeral sculptures,


and of course, take many photos. My Coolpix was highly erratic, so almost all these gorgeous photos are by Nancy. Thanks, Seester!

I was especially inspired this trip by the giant (and, obviously, very old) white pine trees:


Their bark patterns were repeated again and again in rock formations, in wave patterns, in rocks under water along the shoreline, and in cracks in the granite that covers all the BWCAW.

A storm or two never bothers us as we use it for Q.T.T. (Quality Tent Time).  The many “BW B&Ws” I created will definitely be influencing my larger artwork:


We both felt it was our best trip ever!  As I said one evening at twilight, “One day like this might last me for a year.”


We feel very lucky to once again journey in such a unique place that reminds us of the power and beauty of nature, the calmness that can be ours, and the joy of being sisters.


As always, we can’t wait to do it again.

PLEASE NOTE:  I’ll be sharing more inspiration from the Boundary Waters in my July/August Art Friends newsletter.  Drop me a note if you would like to subscribe – it’s free!



07 2015