Thursday, August 20, 2009


"Lee's Journey"


I've been doing some silk ribbon embroidery again lately and it's made me nostalgic for the textile arts. The picture above is an extreme closeup of some roses I embroidered in the center of a dollhouse bed. The whole sensory experience of using silk ribbon, silk embroidery floss and silk fabric is like an addiction to me. I love the way it feels and the way it looks, even the soft whisper as I draw the silk ribbon thru the fabric. Yep, I'm a textile junkie. I've been embroidering since I was 4 years old. My mother had to thread my needles for me.

I started back on the textile path recently by doing the Lady Pierce bed as a prototype and then did the Chateau bed and crib. I have a few more custom orders for dressed beds using silk ribbon embroidery and have put out the word that I'm accepting more custom orders for these types of beds specifically. (Want one? Visit my website, and click on the link to email me. ) There are lots of other things on the table like some wild jungle prints and some 1800s repro styles and some delightful white wicker patio furniture, but the ones I'm looking forward to the most are the embroidered beds. I'm combining hand appliqued lace with the embroidery so it's twice as much fun. Oooh! And there's another new line that I'm getting ready to launch. I'd love to tell you what it is, but there's a nasty little person who keeps stealing my designs and, well, let's just say that I'll keep it a surprise til I release the new stuff. LOL!

It's hard to describe what it feels like to combine my passions for miniatures with textile arts. I was talking to my dear friend and lil' sister, Tracy Topps, today about how much of ourselves we put into our art. Our creations are heart and soul to us. Tracy brought up the concept of how much of our emotions physically show in each piece we do and it really got me to thinking about how my art has changed and grown with me over the years. So I dug out some of my old pictures from the years when I was heavily involved in the art quilt community and looked thru them to see how they charted my personal growth during that time. There were quite a few pieces that were entered in art shows and to be honest, I never entered a piece that didn't take Best of Show. The ribbons and awards are stuck in a drawer somewhere. They didn't mean nearly as much to me as being able to create. I can't even count how many art quilts I did during those years and like my miniatures, they were extremely diverse. That hasn't changed! I get bored easily and was always trying something new.

My art quilts showed a lot more of my emotions than my miniatures do. Part of it is because I was coming out of a very emotional time back then and I'm a much happier person now. Most of my art quilts were happy pieces that I created just for the joy of creating but others were a way of working thru things.

I thought I'd share some of the pictures with you of a few of the art quilts. These are old pictures so the resolution isn't very good, but they're still good eye candy.

This one is almost 5 feet tall and took almost six months to complete.

There are twelve individual panels and each one is hand embroidered. Most of the embroidery is free hand, as is all my work. There's a ton of beads on this wall hanging too. If you look closely at the geisha's fan and the samurai's sword, they're completely made of beads.

This piece is titled, "Till Death Do Us Part". It's mixed media with a huge variety of fibers, beads, applique, and embellishments. There's a white silk rose with a single drop of blood, roses twined around barbed wire and even a padlock tied up in a red ribbon. Not a very pretty piece, is it? I was asked to allow this and it's partner piece, "Learning to Fly" to be placed on display in the governor's mansion in Kentucky for a year during the governor's campaign to stop domestic violence.

I was reeeeeeeeally into beading when I did this series. This one is titled "A Mid-Winter Night's Dream" and it won best of show at the KFWC's show, I think. The tree is hand embroidered using six different shades of silver and grey thread. I didn't even try to keep track of the number of beads. The art quilt is 24x24 which gives you an idea of how many there might be. Each branch has layers of crystal beaded fringes that swing freely. This piece was so popular that I did a series, one for each season.

Here's the fall tree. I think it was my favorite. Spring and Summer got put in a closet until recently and I think they're still available on my Etsy store.

I was really into fringe for awhile and somewhere I have pictures of my Salute to Tiffany series.........five needle turned applique lamps, each with hand beaded fringes on the lamp shades. Those were really cool.
The art quilt at the very top is titled "Lee's Journey". It's done in needle turn applique and hand beaded. I made that one for our adopted son when he was struggling thru the last stages of AIDS.
There are tons more art quilts and some of them were landscapes, some were seascapes (I can make really cool free hand fish with silk ribbons), some were abstract and some were still life. All of them had a little part of me in every stitch.
As much as I loved the art quilts, I love combining textiles with miniatures even more. I seem to have moved out of the phase in my life where my art was trying to say something or work thru issues. Now it's just for the pure, sheer joy of the creation process. I like that better. Tracy, you're right. As I looked thru my albums today, I followed the path of my life over the past 20 years and the emotions that show in my work are a lot happier now.
**pondering** Of course, there is that "Death Takes a Holiday" houseboat with the Grim Reaper partying with a bunch of skeletons, a bunch of tipsy mice and a drunk skunk. **cackle** I don't think I want to know what that one says about me.


  1. Beautiful work- thank you for sharing them with us. I am really in love with the fall tree...they are all amazing.

  2. Deb, your textile arts are truly inspirational and amazing! I love the journey you've been on and I'm happy you are where you are now! I love those ribbon roses . . . whenever I see them I wonder why I don't have something with them on it? What's up with that? Hmm . . . perhaps a future commission?! LOL!

    I have to go play with my clock shop now!