Category Archives: surface design

A New Challenge

Man’s mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions. ~Oliver Wendell Holmes

I recently purchased a new book, “Painted Applique: A New Approach” by Linda M Poole, published by AQS.  I had also purchased some Derwent Inktense pencils after seeing what some people are doing with surface design on fabric.  Linda has a great section with clear directions on how to use the pencils.  These designs are from her book and the squares are from her book also.

painted appliqueThis is a small piece, approximately 20 x 42″.  The background fabric is commercially manufactured batik.  The birds and dragonfly are painted on plain fabric and appliqued to the squares.  I really appreciated Linda’s clear directions and her patterns are fun too!  I will definitely add these tools to my arsenal!

Finished Mar 2014, hand and machine appliqued, hand quilted



Filed under applique, hand applique, hand quilting, Inktense pencils, machine applique, quilting, surface design

Crouching tiger, hidden dragon

“But I’ll always love you, and I’ll always miss you and I’ll never forget that It’s okay to put dragons in the jungle and tears on a tiger”
Sharon M. Draper, Tears of a Tiger

tigerdragonThis is a commissioned piece  for a friend.  The request was for a piece with their astrological signs and the yin and yang.

Machine applique, hand quilted,

Shiva paint stiks used to stencil the stripes on the tiger, chinese symbols and details on the dragon.

Size – 47″x35″

Finished 2013

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Filed under applique, art quilt, batiks, hand quilting, inspired by other design, machine applique, quilting, quilting design, shiva paint stiks, stencil, surface design, wall quilt

Approaching the final passage

I’ve been thinking a lot about life and death lately. Sitting beside a beloved sister and watching and feeling her gradually lose her grip on life is painful. Last November we shared this view over the Atlantic ocean on the occasion of my daughter’s wedding. (Venus is the small dot to the right of the moon.)


This photo is reflected in this quilt.


The top segment represents the crane, or bird of the sun. The crane represents immortality and can use its powerful wings to provide transport to the isle of immortals and provide aide to weary travelers on their journey. I think my sister was trying to say farewell to her daughter and husband today. She is so weak and yet isn’t quite ready to leave them.

The central portion of the quilt represents the sea of life that we are all traveling through and the various transports we take throughout life to enrich our journey. Water is also symbolic of the divine the flows beneath and undergirds us on our journey.

The fish at the bottom are symbolic of change and transformation that take place within the context of the divine. All anchored by compasses/stars in the corners to guide our way.

I have to believe that there is better and brighter waiting for my sister and her transformation will be glorious. I hope that there is a little left over for the ones of us that haven’t experienced that final transformation yet and are left to deal with the abyss of loss that we face.

Size: 60×60
Finished : 2012
Hand appliqué, stenciling using shiva paint sticks on boats, shadows and waves, hand piecing, machine piecing, hand quilting


Filed under applique, art quilt, batiks, dying with cancer, hand applique, hand quilting, shiva paint stiks, surface design

Dreaming of Spring

My sister continues her struggle with cancer, right now we’re working on trying to find the right balance for more effective pain control. This has meant giving up some decision making on her part because of the fuzziness caused by the pain control drugs. We did have a wonderful couple of day visit from her niece- my daughter and grandson. It was wonderful to see my sister light up and laugh and share good memories! This seemed to me like a little springtime in the midst of some ugly weather on our journey. Here is my interpretation of springtime.


If I am recalling correctly, I think the blocks are called railroad tracks. I love Jinny Beyer’s. Quilters album of Patchwork Patterns
and always turn to that resource for inspiration. I arranged the blocks to go from lighter to darker top corner to bottom corner. Then I stenciled a feathery plant with purple berries onto the upper left corner. Well actually, the berries weren’t stenciled but put on with a pencil eraser! On top of the feathery plant, I the appliquéd tulips.


Today, I needed a little spring in my life. So this was it!

Finished: 2000
Size: 60×72
Hand appliquéd, hand quilted, additional surface design


Filed under applique, art quilt, cancer, dying with cancer, inspired by other design, quilting, shiva paint stiks, stencil, surface design, traditional block


Tesselations are repeating designs frequently used by quilters. One of the most common ones is the apple core. Jinny Beyer Jinny Beyer uses tesselations in her designs frequently. She takes the basic tesselating shapes and breaks those up into shaded pieces. She also describes how to make a tessellation by taking a basic shape, for example, an equilateral triangle, cutting a portion out of one side and attaching it to the other side. That creates a unique tesselating shape. My first experiment with creating a tesselation was using a triangle.


I appliquéd the tesselations to a plain top because I didn’t have a clue how to finish the edges!
Each shape was further subdivided into shaded colors.

Size: 45×60
Finished: 2011
Hand appliquéd and hand quilted

I tried my hand at a triangle again using a slightly different cut.


To this I added a stenciled dragon using shiva paintstiks.


Size: 22×22
Finished: 2011
Hand quilted

I really liked the effect that this tesselation gave , so decided to make it into a larger quilt.


Someone asked me at my quilt guild what I was going to do with it. I guess it wasn’t shaped to fit on a bed. That really hadn’t occurred to me, I just made it to make it!

Size: 54×54
Finished: 2011
Hand and machine quilted
Hand appliqué in center.

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Filed under art quilt, original designs, quilting, surface design, tesselations

Fish Bones

The fish bones batik fabric was purchased at the Sante Fe Quilting, in Sante Fe, New Mexico. The large outside border was done in French Braid style. The dark brown triangles in the French Braid are open on the long side which give an airier feel to the quilt. On the four corners the fish fabric was fussy cut to form circles or inverted circles. The T squares in the center are joined to form a large square. On the large square a fish is stenciled in metallic coppers and olive greens. The piece is hand quilted.
Size: 54″x54″

Finished: 2011

Materials: Shiva paintstiks, Superior King Tut variagated thread for hand quilting

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Filed under art quilt, batiks, hand quilting, original designs, surface design

Phoenix Rising

The suns in the opposite corners and the curvy strips are commercially made batiks that were purchased at Fabric Hut in Norfolk, VA ; ; . I thought that the way the star began to look as I pieced it looked like a huge burning fire. It made me think of the legend of the Phoenix, that when it comes to the end of its life lays its egg in the burning fire to be reborn into the firebird. In the center of the fire, I painted a mesoamerican image of an embryo firebird. In the four corners of the star are stenciled images of the phoenix. In the corners opposite the sun are hand quilted aztec sun designs.

Size: 70″x70″

Finished: 2010

Hand quilted by NSturgill

Materials: Shiva paintstiks, Superior Threads – King Tut #945 (variegated dark reds)

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Filed under art quilt, batiks, original designs, shiva paint stiks, surface design, traditional block