Max was the consummate rust collector. For as long as I can remember my Uncle collected rusted objects from his island in Maine and brought some of  them to his stone courtyard in NYC. I’ve gotten the bug too, always looking down on city streets or in junk piles hoping to find the coolest rusted shape buried and thought of as trash. Thus the reason for some of my embroideries embellished with rusted bottle caps and other chunks of oxidized metal. Here is only one out of hundreds of pieces in the courtyard. Not only is the piece itself engaging but the rust running down the white makes for a complete story of texture, color and shape. I’ll post more one at a time….:

Coils Against Brick

Art Opening = fear/excitement/on the defensive.

It’s a frightening thing for an shy introvert artist to show off what’s inside of her, what makes her tick, relax or find comfort. I can’t believe I’ve been talked into doing this again. Am I ready, is my stuff mainstream acceptable enough….Do I want my stuff to be mainstream acceptable? Do I have enough to warrant making the trip into the city? Jeesh…..I can’t think about it any more. I’m in it now and there’s no turning back….so here’s the link….if you’re in the Washington DC area. 

A Powerful Meditation

Something different. I have used meditation to survive daily stresses but for many years I  have had some profound experiences with it. This is one of those experiences:

Indian Summer – 11/20/2000

 Surrounded by six elderly Native American women, I am in the middle, nestled, safe and protected by two powerful elements – age and wisdom, yet no one speaks, there is no need, we just drift in silence. Staring beyond the many miles of wrinkles, sun browned skin and snowy white hair, a tunnel of trees brush by us as our canoe is expertly guided downstream. The sun is behind clouds and we are all wrapped in faded wool blankets. It must be early in the morning but I am not told why I am here or where I am going. The trees still have leaves but I can see my breath and my cheeks feel the cold air. Continue reading

fluid movement

fluid movement

color play sorry about the flash, I will take a better picture later. I’d love to hear any thoughts. 24″ x30″

2012 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner can carry about 250 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,000 times in 2012. If it were a Dreamliner, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.


I had no idea that’s sort of the style that I’ve created until my daughter said something:


Close up

a closer view of the previous post:

Is this finished?

I like taking things to the bottom line, the uncomplicated version of an image or story but then I have the age old artists dilemma wondering when to stop. And then its been said to never finish a painting completely. Create tension by leaving some space or less a bit of shadow or whatever it happens to be. That’s kind of what I think about this piece.


Naked Lady Fairies

Continuing on with my embroidery obsession I’ve also gotten into making femo fairies. More and more I want to incorporate embroidery with other materials. Paper, metal especially rusty metal, photographs and other materials like I did in this piece. Straw and pillow stuffing was used in this but I have already started using other materials but those will be done later.

In the meantime here are the naked lady fairies. Wing free!   Why do they need wings right now while no one is looking? Maybe they can fly by thinking about it…Peter Pan style! This is the large view.


and here is the closer look:

Vintage Penny Design

1971 very trippie/hippie embroidery design. I was about 15 at the time doing an internship for  a high school program (free school/school without walls type thing) for a very hip little clothing store in Coconut Grove, Fla. We had to convert old jeans into long denim skirts or jean shorts into skirts. There was a lot of plain old mending of old Hawaiian shirts,  creating pocket books and bags from jeans and although it was a bit of a sweat shop, I enjoyed it. There were just a few of us sewing and it was a very  shabby chic atmosphere enough so that I was inspired to design this embroidery.  What intrigues me most is that I was going to undertake such an elaborate design. I think the original intent was to sew it to the back of a denim jacket and who knows what happened. Why did I stop? In some way I kind of like it half finished.

Kind of hip and groovy huh? Notice the hookah to the right? What was I thinking???

Bermuda and NYC

Early morning at the twin tower Mall in Bermuda.

Finally a rainy day to take a break.

On St.George, why bother with a permanent traffic light. Off season must be pretty slow.

Back to NYC. Early morning arrival by ship on the Hudson.

NYC horizon….early morning in July.

Fuana Shui

Paula Quinn came up with the title!

Sumi Became A Tree

Sumi was becoming a tree. She already had as many branches as an old southern oak and was as bushy as any thicket in mid summer. She stretched her leafy fingers towards the sun and could feel it’s powerful force surge through her, strengthening her boughs and nourishing her leaves. As she grew and strengthened, faces bloomed with-in her leafy fronds, popping out like so many flowers. At first they were people she knew, family and friends. Then friends and family that knew the first blooms began to show up so that the population exploded. Soon other species came; bugs, quadrupeds, bipeds, birds and fish. Each found a place in and around her every expanding canopy. Both animal and humans, budded at junctures meant for leaves. The people and animals flourished as they felt the security of her ever broadening shoulders.

Sumi could hold millions of people in her arms and even more animals. It was a never-ending cycle, the more she held the more she grew. By holding them suspended in her new growth, she could protect them from any direct contact with the elements. Their tender feet could step on nothing sharp and the sun, wind and rain could barely reach them through her dense foliage. Because of this protection it was fast becoming shelter to many. The growing number of inhabitants had lives of their own as they nested on her limbs but they all relied on Sumi’s wisdom to abate their fears.  Words were never needed; her silent existence was all that seemed to be necessary.

The more life scurried and played around her, snuggling deep into her arms, the deeper her roots slipped through the earth so that she could support them all. Her spine felt unbreakable as it thickened and strained. Her neck was now as thick as her waist and her ears flattened against her head. When she tried to feel her legs, she became aware of how they pointed, digging deep into the soil. They lengthened as she wiggled and twisted. It was a slow process for each time her legs reached a little further she could feel them sucking at the rich earthy nourishment and moisture. Worms wrapped themselves around her long, skinny toes, while other earthy bugs tickled and crawled close to her elongating feet.

The permutation was almost complete. She felt solid, real and permanent. To be a tree was a potent and powerful position that she reveled and immersed herself in. In this unique position she seemed to be giving birth continuously. She held death in her bows as well. She loved them both equally and began to see no difference in the two states of being. No one in her care minded death. Death was inevitable and in fact a cherished. Life and death buzzed through Sumi like a fruit fly. They were on equal footing with her and if she felt that it was natural and normal.

Life and death traveled quickly and beautifully when viewed from the time orientation of a tree. It was like a continuous comet sprinkling life in Sumi’s branches and then taking it away in a ball of fire. From the slow vantage point of a tree, this cycle sped by like so many lightning bugs. She was alive and sparkling. Giving life and letting it go. The cycle to Sumi was magical and the only ones that didn’t seem effected by it or at least in the same time frame as the people and animals, were other spirits, like the one she was becoming. The rain had it’s own spirit, as did the rocks, the sky, the sun and the earth, and each one came to visit Sumi and to give her the gifts they could afford. In turn she made her contribution to each of her visitors.

Her world twinkled with light and it felt balanced and safe. The time that passed was indistinguishable from the time that didn’t pass. Ego and self were non-existent, as were past and present. The only thing that mattered was the other spirits and the support she gave to life and death. Sumi was almost no longer, she was fast becoming Tree, and as such she no longer cared about self or time. She had no thought of how long she had been a tree or how long she would continue to be one. She simply enjoyed the light show twinkling around her, the sun, rain, wind and the rich earth.

One of the little fireflies of life and death began to tug at Sumi, the question was whether to ignore it or not. If she stared too long at the flickering light she knew she might get lost in it. Instinctively she knew this little buzzing light would pull her away from her motionless life and deep inside she knew that it would one day have to be. This new rooted position was fertile, productive and so firm, it was unthinkable that she might have to leave. The thought made her sad. All memory of self had begun to disappear. Yet with the appearance of this tiny spark it was making it difficult to be rational. With the advent of emotions, she felt her ego sneak in and make it’s grab for her. The ego is a strong adversary and it began to reappear bit by bit.

As a spirit, light was always meant as a good thing, even as a human, light has always been preferred over darkness. But now the spark of ‘thought’ had snagged her. With desperation she tried to go back to the process of “treeing” but her eye couldn’t leave the flickering spot. Thought, like ego, was a powerful deterrent from pure existence. It was difficult for Sumi to rein it in and now she found it even more difficult to hold on to her roots.

The light grew a little larger and offered a jewel to refract itself by. Like any animal and apparently like any plant she found herself drawn to the little beacon, which was now the size of a pebble. She became like a deer mesmerized by headlights and her own curiosity drove her enough to take the fatal second look. Spreading her boughs to the side she created a whole large enough to see the light coming from the jewel. Ego had won and taken it’s hold on her as she delighted in the lights glitter and gleam. A smoky topaz diffused the shiny blaze sending soft beams of buttery light to all the remote corners of Sumi’s mind. It felt good, as good as the earth between her toes or the sun dancing on her greenery. She was coming home to something familiar, something else as solid as the tree only not quite as in touch with the balance of nature. In any case her sadness at leaving her new shape was replaced with a deep peace and satisfaction.

For the first time in a long time, she began to feel other things like the coldness of the rock she was sitting on or that she was apart of another world and not the leafy one she had been so absorbed in. Details emerged, like the simple fact that she had ears and a mouth. Her identity was coming back to her. She was becoming Sumi once again, an elderly woman meditating on a granite slab, high above a salty cove that was filled with mussels and seals.

Was it her leaves still tickling her nose or her long, black hair being blown by a briny wind? The internal trek back to reality would take some time. Her neck thinned and shortened as did her waist and her legs. Coming back was difficult; at times she wasn’t sure what was reality and what was dream. It happened slowly and methodically. Reluctantly she let go of her tree family, sadly letting the faces pop back to where ever they had come from. Her majestic trunk shrunk back to her own slender spine, the branches that held the elements from her people, gently folded to rest lightly in her lap and the roots that nourished, retracted to they’re rightful position, tucked beneath her. Though her concentration was on the slow return to normalcy she sensed the presence of a figure, some one stood very close by – waiting. With out opening her eyes she knew exactly who had come to visit. She stayed at ease; some things could not be rushed. Still inside her own world she managed to greet the intruder.

With roots and leaves now a distant memory she opened her eyes, breathed in the ocean air and felt the chill of the late afternoon just beginning to set in.  Sumi had returned, no longer a tree, now a complete woman, with a friend waiting patiently to bring her inside for tea.

Sea Living

At the edge of the ocean was life. Ya know, like everyday life, people and animals. It is where we live, what we see when we wake up in the morning, that kind of life. But we all, all of humanity lived right where the waves broke, right at the shore. Millions of people doing their thing, washing dishes, doing the laundry, writing checks and doing other business things that people do all the time. The waves would come and crash over us, our papers would float nearby, our dishes hovered just below the surface and we’d all brace ourselves for the under current. It keeps us from the shore, no one ever goes on dry land. The waves crash at us making us tumble onto stinging sand and scratchy pieces of coral and shell getting us close but never close enough to grab onto anything. Even if we got to the beach, I’m not sure we would know what to do with it. Stand up, Sit down? There was no information about it and we never saw onto the coast much beyond the highest tide. In any case, getting ashore didn’t seem to be anyone’s goal. Continue reading

Cabin In The Woods

There’s a place I go to live some times, way deep in the woods. It’s easy enough to get to when the weathers good, but when it snows, there’s no way in but on foot or one of those atvs. Can’t afford no fancy buggy like that, so I just take the short cut. It takes maybe an hour or two walking, depending on the weather and who’s about. I carry a gun for just those occasions, for the bob cats and bears. I never did kill anything, just scared them to death. They take off running in one direction soon as they hear the shot while I tear off  in the other. I wonder if their heart is thumpin’ as loud as mine. One time I tripped over a rock only to come face to face with a fox. I thought he’d bite my nose off but he just growled ‘till I was out’ a there. Once again my heart was pounding so loud and I didn’t even think about using the gun that time, guess all I wanted to do was disappear.

Every time I go out though, something happens, that’s why I keep going. I had to go by this skinny part of the path where the creek comes right up to a steep bluff. I’ve tried pulling logs and rocks over to build it up, but it don’t work for very long. The minute the creek floods just a little, every thing washes away and I got to start all over again. This one day, the snow was up to my chin, I swear it seemed like, and everything was white and frosty lookin’. The air smelled like ice and the sun was just streaming through branches casting long, blue shadows. That however was the problem. I had started out way too late to make this walk alone. I had my gun but still when it gets dark out there, it’s damn dark and it comes on quick.

I was just getting to the skinny part of the creek as the sun was inches from the horizon and realized something or someone was following me. They must’ve smelled my knapsack full of food. Sunset is when everybody’s tummy starts to rumble, ‘specially raccoons, and those kinds. They’re all looking for dinner and it was either me or what was in my sack. Even so I stopped solid and listened. My feet were freezing up, there in the snow but nothing else moved and I heard only some chickadees.

Then, there I saw it, jumpin’ right at me at full speed only the fool thing didn’t realize there was a creek between me and it. She flew through the air like a jet, landing on one of the twigs from the mess a stuff I kept building up to make the side of the creek wider. The log was a good thick one but the twig attached was thin, dry and about to crack.

Her little feet were a scrambling to get up on the log and the harder she fought the weaker the stick became. It threw down my knapsack and hat and climbed out on the log to snatch her up before she fell into the creek. Just as I neared she plopped right into that freezing ice cold water. She swam towards me hard and fast and it took me two steps into that same icy water to catch up to her. I never did see a little bobcat kit up close but no sooner did I pick her up did she sink her little claws into my sweater and snuggle up deep under my down jacket. Sloppy wet and with the sun going down fast, we climbed our way out of that creek and headed towards home fast as we could before we both froze. I watched my back the whole time lookin’ for ‘mama’ but never saw her. I named the little kit Jet and she and I have been together ever since. Wild as she is, she won’t leave my side and I have to tell ya, that was the fastest I ever made it up that mountain.

Another time, it was late fall and only an inch or two or maybe three of snow lie on the ground. My road was still drivable so my friend Dave came to pick me up. He was a crazy man that Dave was. We eventually were married but back then he was a long tall drink ‘a water, smart and crazy like a loon. We went out on that snowy night, driving into town just for the fun of it. Dave had an old station wagon that might’ve been for a family wagon once upon a time but he used it to haul firewood, furniture or anything people would pay to have brought from one place to another. This time the back was dead empty, and so were our pockets. We didn’t have a stitch ‘a money, not for a beer or not even a cup of coffee. It didn’t make no difference, we were off to see what trouble we’d get into.

Coming into town there’s a straightaway before the road takes a dip downhill into the village. It was just on that part of the road that crazy Dave jumped out of the car while it was still moving and he was the driver! I screamed bloody murder, which didn’t help a lick but got me out of my seat fast as can be. I slid over to the driver’s side and wanted with all my heart to just stomp on that brake, only that’d send me spinnin’ in a hundred circles. Instead, I shifted down to first gear and decided I wouldn’t stop at all until I got to the village square.

Sure enough a minute or two later there comes Dave runnin’ alongside the car hangin’ on to a piece of stove pipe. “Turn around!” he hollered. “I know somebody that wants one of these.”

Sitting on the side of the road was an old fashioned pot bellied stove with all the scrolly edges and everything. “How we gonna get that thing into the car?” My hands were on my hips and my foot was tappin’. I knew he’d figure something out; he was an inventor after all. He invented all kinds of things only then they’d show up on TV a month or two later before he was done drawing them down on paper. That didn’t stop him though, he kept on with his creations just like he was gonna do tonight. He’d figure a way to get that one ton thing in the car, no problem.

Darn if that stove wasn’t into the back of that wagon in under an hour. I knew just where we were headed with that thing too. It had to be to Doc’s house. He was a doctor of antiques and knew everything there was to know on the subject.

Dave  jumped into the driver’s seat already planning on how we  would spend the money Doc would give us for that old stove. Only we never did spend the money, ‘cause we never did see any of it. Doc said the stove wasn’t worth the work it would take to haul the thing around even if Dave did all the haulin’ work. It wasn’t a total loss though; in fact Doc fell in love with Dave that night. Not real love but admiration love and from then on that boy found antiques hidden in the darnedest places. He learned how to restore them, guess their worth and how to sell them. It was a new beginning for my friend and made a whole life time of adventures for us.

All I remember from that night, was the next morning. Jet and I were all snuggled in between the sheets, deep under the great patchwork quilt. The sun was pourin’ in the bedroom window, all warm and buttery, and the rich, thick smell of coffee was coming from our new pot belly.

The Bull In The Sky Blue Moo Moo

A bull was dressed in a sky blue moo-moo and came charging angrily around my family – we were having a picnic by the pool. When the people ran and scattered, he caught sight of the swimming pool and decided he just had to go in.

As the people trembled behind trees and hid under tables, he stepped in the cool water, gingerly at first, getting just one hoof wet at a time. It was a slow process for a beast and with each step he took it was completed by a low, throaty rumble. When he got up to his tummy he flopped the rest of the way in and sat at the bottom of the shallow end, his sky blue moo-moo floated around him so that he looked like the center of a tropical flower.

Swimming Bull

I wondered how long he could stay down there, it seemed way too long. When he did finally come up, he was a changed bull. A smile spread across his full face and joy twinkled in his eye.

The children among us came out from hiding and slowly approached him. He smiled and allowed them to pet him and feed him crackers. He loved the crackers, especially the peanut butter ones in the little cellophane packages. He ate delicately, nibbling each cracker and savoring the salty coating.

The pool party resumed, everyone came out from behind their hiding places and had a merry time. The bull got out of the pool refreshed, well fed, and ready to go on his way. One of the children straightened out the sky blue moo-moo and off the bull trotted, cool, happy and content.