Sunday, December 26, 2010

Change... a peek...

I have been excited about this challenge since it was announced. Here is a peek..... hey... a 'change' is underway... hmmmm

Friday, December 3, 2010


This is not a very good picture. I will have to have it photographed professionally. There's some silk embroidery on the hands, and beads. After I had put it together, I did think the hands looked radioactive, given the colors I chose -- another thing with iconic meaning.

I came up with hands after stewing for a long time over the meaning of Icon. There are so many things one could do with that theme. I finally thought of hands because there are so many meanings with hands -- and we are artists and work with our hands. Some of the things from the Thesaurus that jumped out at me: applause, come to hand, give a hand, helping hand, hand and glove, hold hands, on the other hand, under hand and seal, with one hand tied behind your back, hand down, hand up, hands on, hand out, hand over, handbag, handcuffs, handicap, hand in hand, handiwork, handmade. And maybe that's enough.


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Next Word: Change

Those who know me well, know that my motto is:

Everything changes
Nothing stays the same
Make your peace with that
and all will be well.

I hope you all enjoy change as much as I do!

From the Houghton Mifflin Online Dictionary:


1. The act, process or result of altering or modifying: a change in facial expressions
2. The replacing of one thing for another; substitution
3. A transformation or transistion from one state to another; a change of seasons
4. Something different; variety; I ate early for a change
5. A different or fresh set of clothing
6. Money of a smaller denomination given in exchange for money of a larger denomination
7. The balance of money returned when more than due is given
8. Coin
9. In music; a patter or order in which bells are rung
10. In Jazz; a change of harmony, modulation
11. A market or exchange where business is transacted.

Lisa Kay

Icon - Worship from Afar

In an online discussion about the word Icon with our group, Susan Hendrickson said "What I am thinking of here is to move from the literal (a picture of an icon) to the personal." That statement got me thinking about not looking at the icon, but at the person "making" the icon. What I mean by that is that for something or someone to become an icon, someone has to worship it or them. How do they worship? In the case of a moviestar, singer, etc., the worshiper rarely, if ever has contact. That makes the only worship available to the worshiper "from afar."

The back ground walls are hand dyed cotton fabric, commercial cotton floor. I wanted the look of graffiti on the walls without it being words and I think that I accomplished it. The words Worship From Afar were first quilted but didn't show up enough so I also highlighted the words with fabric markers. The open doorway is also hand dyed cotton and acrylic paint outline and stamped word Icon. I didn't use an "O" but found a circle stamp in the right size.

The hands belong to a friend of mine. I took a picture, digitally altered it into black and white and printed it onto cotton fabric, and simply hand stitched around it with wool embroidery thread left over from a project from 28 years ago! I then "tacked" the hands onto the front down the middle (but not going through the hands) so that they stand out from the background. The piece is faced with the same hand dyed scrap as the walls.

It has been a busy day and I almost forgot to post! I had to get up after going to bed because all of a sudden I remembered!

Lisa Kay

An Icon of Prehistoric Art

I knew immediately what my image of an icon would be!

I took an art class this fall, and one of the things that just fascinated me was the story of the oldest known carving, called the Venus of Willendorf. She is a tiny (4.5") statue unearthed in an archeologic dig in Austria, in the town of Willendorf. She was created about 22,000 BCE, in an age when we were hunter-gatherers and Europe was essentially in an ice age. She is carved of non-native limestone (what does that tell us?) and tinted ochre red.
What is she? She has large breasts and hips and striking detail of the labia of the vulva. Her arms are small, shown resting on her breasts. She has no feet, and cannot stand erect. She has no face. Or is it covered by a woven cap? Or is that braided hair? Or is it the face that mustn't be seen?

What was it like for a woman in the cold climates, thousands of years ago, hunting and foraging for food. Imagine being pregnant, giving birth. How many women, how many babies survived the cold? Did the mothers have enough milk to keep the babies alive? In such devastating times, a woman built like the Venus -- wide-hipped, well-stocked breasts, and extra fat -- would be well provided to be a survivor and provider for her babies.

Is she an "earth mother"? A goddess? A fertility symbol? A work of Art? Or is she merely Paleolithic Pornography? They say that her most satisfactory and satisfying position is to be held in the hand: she becomes a remarkably sensuous object. For women? For men? For children?

These figures have been found from western France to the far reaches of Siberia. Isn't she fascinating?

Construction: I made the background first, hoping to suggest layers unearthed by the archeologists. The venus figure is made of two layers of red charmuse held together with misti-fuse. Her details are done with thread-painting; I hope they show up clearly enough. Then I printed some tidbits of information on Jaquard organza, and stitched them here and there on the front. The back tells the story of the Venus, printed on sticky-backed Pabric.

It's fun to google "the Venus of Willendorf."

"Simply An Icon" by Jan Girod-Icon

Have you ever fought within yourself over doing what first pops into your head, in a test it is called "second guessing" I used to do it all the time. The moment the new word was "unveiled" 2 months ago I pictured doing this piece, at least in some fashion. However, I spent the entire time trying to talk myself into doing another piece when all was said and done I found myself back at the first thought, the first image that had come to me.
Several years ago I had the opportunity to tour the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, Russia. When we found ourselves in the space with the Russian Icons, I was stopped in my tracks. Have you ever felt like your moving in slow motion? There I was standing in one spot, turning slowly, wondering how I was going to look at them all. They were exquisite! Some extremely ornate, some expertly painted, others were very primitive; but all were very beautiful. I could have stayed there all day; however I heard someone rather loudly instructing me to move on, move on. All I could think ....was oh no....please let me stay here...I swear I will be on the bus in time. Poor guide was afraid she would loose her job, I moved on, but have always felt like I missed out. Someday, maybe someday I will return.

icon reveal - ani difranco

Say It
Lynn Krawczyk

The word issued to us for this challenge was Icon. I had to give this one a little think. Its got a huge connotation to it, could go in so many different directions. I knew almost immediately that I wanted to do a person, a woman. An artist? A poet? A musician?

How about all three?

I chose Ani Difranco. She is a singer, song writer, activist, loud mouth, unabashed, tell-it-like-it-is, political woman. She says what she thinks and makes no apologies. I have been fascinated with her music for years now and often find myself playing her albums when I am in the studio, looking for the zone to sink into so I can get some serious work done.

She is the kind of brave that I hope to be someday.

You may not agree with her politics or what she has to say, but you have to admire that she stands up and says it without apology. She is an icon of the music industry.

I knew that I wanted to use a photo of Ani in the quilt but I didn't want it to be just plunked down and glaring. I wanted something that was scuffed up looking, rough around the edges - a prominent part of the composition but not bold all at the same time.

I found this photo on flickr and asked the photographer if I could make a thermofax screen out of it. I received a yes and was off and running.

I pulled brown fabric from the stash that was discharged in a folded pattern and some vibrant orange hand dyed cotton. Ani is not quiet with her lyrics and music and I didn't want to do a low volume piece.

I did three layers of thermofax screen printing. First up is a scuff print of the photo:

The second layer of printing was an all over text and then the third is an abstract coffee cup stain design.

I hand stitched the piece in a neon yellow perle cotton thread in bold graffiti like stitches.

I like the contrast, the push and pull of the colors against each other.

It was fun to explore a piece that expressed what I feel when I listen to Ani's music. I'm happy I got to honor her in this challenge.

Homage to Westwood and Balenciaga

In this piece I pay homage to two fashion icons - Vivienne Westwood (British) and Cristobal Balenciaga (Spanish.) When I saw the Westwood exhibit at the de Young Museum here in San Francisco, I was blown away by her vision and courage. (So much so, that I returned twice.) I was first introduced to Balenciaga on a trip to Spain in 2006.
Unable to get into the Picasso Museum due to crowds, I opted for the Textile Museum just across the street - what a treat! On the top floor I discovered an exhibit of Balenciaga's work decade by decade. His couture pieces were stunning.

The faux fur/leather was purchased in Santiago de Compostela (on that same 2006 trip.) The fabric shop was jaw-dropping beautiful. The snakeskin jersey was purchased there as well and yes, I made the gloves (mostly by hand) from a Vogue pattern and have a new respect for glove makers! That same fabric is echoed in the Dior roses. An old belt was sacrificed for the sake of art and the feather trim is from a store in Fort Bragg. I have had it for years waiting for the perfect project.

For those who know these two designers, it may seem odd to put them together in the same piece. The gloves and fur are for the wild Westwood. The Dior roses and hand stitching are in honor of Balenciaga.

It seems to me these two coexist quite nicely here. I had planned a series based on couture dressmaking techniques. Now that I have finished this piece, I find I want to go in a different direction with that series. Rather than reproduce techniques I rather like the idea of interpreting each in a more personal way. And I am quite sure there are more gloves in my future...

Susan in San Francisco


Do you know the Swiss chocolate Toblerone? It has the form of a trianlge. On the wrapping is one of our famous mountains, the Matterhorn.

My husband and me spend since 3 years in June or July a few days in Zermatt, at the foot of this unique mountain. We are every year impressed anew by the changes, that the sun and the light create on this huge triangle.

I printed one of my pictures onto fabric. In my stash, I had almost the same blue as the sky and some dark green for the trees. I bought two special fabrics for the left side (smile) and pieced it.

And the triangle at the bottom?
The preamble of the Swiss Federal Constitution of September 12,, 1848, starts with the words:
'In the name of Almighty God!'. I am glad, that this is the foundation of our beautiful country.

Toblerone and Matterhorn
Are Matterhorn and Toblerone icons?? I guess, because people all over the world know, recognize and love or hate them.


It was so hard to figure out the difference between 'Icon' and 'Logo' in the Nike 'check' and Marilyn Monroe.... especially to make something I wanted  [as in having to live with whatever I make]. I could have used the Canadian Maple Leaf... but do I want that on my wall? Not really..... then , while going through some of the maps in the car, the Saguaro on the Arizona map caught my eye. true... is the Saguaro not synonymous with the desert... particularly in Arizona? That is how I chose what I would do... and here it is....
Saguaro in bloom

I started with a piece of hand-painted fabric... somehow it seemed to have the right color and texture for both the background and the foreground.  Free motion stitching, some decorative stitch and hand stitching complete the 'feel'. The binding.. which this piece seemed to need was hand dyed commercial fabric using a tjapa from Indonesia. It had the prickly sense... so it worked. The flowers and the saguaro arm are painted and the 'prickles' are thread.
Here is a close-up shot of the flowers.... which were made using a soft polyester and rusted cotton interfacing... [nothing is sacred!]

I hope you enjoy this as much as I do . My neighbor... a retired florist said... 'I love everything about it! It has a wedding feel to it'....

Icon or Logo?

I pondered the word Icon for a long time and asked people what the word meant to them. I got answers like Marilyn Monroe or James Dean. So the next question do things become icons and ....when is a Logo considered and Icon?

I thought about the Nike Swoosh. Surely it is symbolic of athletics has it become an icon? I think so!

I have been doing a series of quilts with my own little creature who I call a "Dunderhogan". This seemed to be the perfect time to revisit him in all his confusion. I picked logos that most people can identify quickly and created a question mark "logo" over his head to express his and my confusion over the word. I played with felted wool on upholstery fabric and opted not to quilt the piece. I discovered that I love working with felted wool and am now creating a larger quilt with it.
Here is a close up of my Dunderhogan. He always has wide open eyes and a fuzz ball on his belly. You can see others at This one will join the gang soon.
This was a wonderful word to ponder. Looking forward to the next one.


Here it is.  When I first started to do art quilts and play with abstractions, I used the blue shape you see coming out of the rectangle on top to depict my spirit. I have done this many times, not to be confused with the leaves I also use frequently.  This image is a great comfort to me and fun to play with in compositions. When Icon was announced I knew I wanted to once again create a journey, my journey, the journey of all of us.
The piece is machine stitched, fused, tulle overlay(very frustrating to quilt over) and machine quilted.

This close up is of the bottom layers......the earth, where we are rooted, grounded.......

This close up is from higher up where I transitioned to lighter colors, showing how we break out of our boxes. This part of the quilt also has some of my hand dyed silks while most of the bottom is commercial fabric.
Thanks for a great challenge.