Blog Hop

I was asked to join in on a Blog Hop by a fellow textile artist, Madalene Axford Murphy whose work I recently blogged about a couple of posts ago here.   I was given a list of questions for this post and have done my best to give some thoughtful answers. I might be lagging behind by a week but here’s to hopping now!

What am I working on?

For most of the summer I’ve been working outdoors in my “summer shop.”  It’s just a screened room that I cover with a tarp overnight and I’m all set up out there.  I started out doing a lot of sun printing, experimenting with different transparent paints and dyes. I used Speedball silk screen paints, Jacquard Solar Fast, and Pro-Chem transparent paints. For sun printing, I found that I had the best luck with the Solar Fast.

Then I also did up some large batches of dying, mostly shibori, both tied and clamped.  While I love the results, I can only handle so much at a time before my poor fingers refuse to do any more. Most recently, I’ve been painting and hand printing on my fabric. I carve my own blocks, mostly from soft block, an eraser like material that’s great for printing on fabric.

Although I’ll be using all of these in textile art over the fall and winter, I’ve already made quite a dent in the sun prints by incorporating them into a series of 12” X 12”mixed media art quilts that are stretched onto wide gallery stretcher strips. Nature inspires much of what I do and this series is all about appreciating our natural environment.

Here’s a couple of pieces I just did last week:

Apple Print web

Apple Print

Seeds 1. web


How does my work/writing differ from others in this genre?

Well, I’m certainly not the only fiber artist who uses her own photos or dyed, printed or painted textiles in mixed media collages, but of course, they are made from my own hands and these hands leave their unique marks all over the place.  Although I’ve only been seriously at this for about 3 or 4 years, I’ve begun to develop a visual language of my own. And while I do believe that the craftsmanship of a product should have its own sincere integrity, I suspect that what we do as artists comes straight from the heart or it doesn’t amount to much, so what you see is pretty much what you get, straight from my hands to yours.

Why do I do what I do?

It’s not so much a choice as it is a compulsion.  If I couldn’t do it now I’d be a lost soul. Art has always been a part of my life in some form or another.  Making things is the essence of who I am. I come to life in the creative process. The reason is simply because I have to do it!  I have to play with the pigments.  I have to solve a posed problem.  I have to get lost in the textures and colors of the fabric or paint.  I have to carve out the block and print what I have left.  I am urged to gather up the “stuff” – the toys and tools of art  and craft and arrange it into a composition that would speak to me and, perhaps, to you.

Winter Wonder. web

“Winter Wonder” 12″ X 12″ , a recent piece I did – another in the series: “Au Naturale”

How does my writing/working process work?

As an intuitive artist, I have to let go of too many external ideas about what I’m going to do.  My starting point varies from piece to piece.  Sometimes I have an idea and commence with some research on a subject, but at a given point I have to let go of the outcome and let whatever’s happening grow into itself. There are times when I just have to travel with the muse who leads the way and I go along for the ride. Sometimes I can plan a piece and it works well but that’s not the rule for me. It’s all about the inner journey, the brain probing and discovering, the emotional response and inner dialogue between myself and the materials and my responses to and ideas of the world around me.


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An Interview With Tarja Cockell

Exhibit of Tarja Cockell and Sus Iserbyt

At the Loading Dock GalleryCollaborative Exhibit web

I recently attended Texture & Terrain, Intertwining Perspectives, a collaboration of two artists, Tarja Cockell and Sus Iserbyt. Tarja is a textile artist and Sus is a painter. It’s the feature exhibit at the Western Avenue Studios in Lowell.




Tarja is a member of our small textile artists group called We Are Six and I want to share her art with you and let you in on who she is as an artist.




Janis: How did you come to be an artist?

Tarja: I always liked to work with colors and designs and that made me pursue the art field. I want to challenge myself as an artist with new things.

Janis: How would you describe your art process?

Tarja: Lot of times I work with layers, so the end result shows in the end, when images are merging together.

Tarja's Sculptural Fiber Art


Vessels. TC.


Janis: What can you tell us about your techniques and materials?

Tarja: In my current work I use traditional textile techniques, like weaving, applique and dyes with a contemporary twist. Linen is my main material for weaving and cotton for appliqued pieces. For warp painting I use acrylics.

Weaving and Sculpture web

Weaving by Tarj Cockell and Sculpture by Sus Iserbyt

Janis: This new work is something of a departure from your previous work.  Would you tell us about that?

Our theme “Texture and Terrain” for this show made me think dimensions and surfaces, so I chose to do these 3-dimensional weaves, some with double beam loom.

Sculptural textile art.

Detail of “Earth’s Crust.” Tarja Cockell

Southwest Influence by Targa Cockell.

“Southwest Influence.” Tarja Cockell

Janis: Please talk about the process of creating these sculptural textiles, both in terms of the technical component of devising them and the creative force that brought them into form.

Tarja: The pieces “Earth Crust” and “Ridges” I wove them with coated metal thread, which allowed me to to shape the texture of the work. That is some new material, I haven’t tried before, but I want to explore it further. I can see lot of exciting possibilities.

Sculptural Textile Art

Left: “Earth’s Crust.” Right, “Ridges.” Artist: Tarja Cockell

Janis: Where can people see your art in the coming months?

Tarja: We have Open Studios at The Loading on Western Avenue, Lowell, MA every first Saturday of the month from noon to 5pm.

Also my work can be seen at the  Loading Dock Gallery in Lowell, MA, on view through September 28. (More info here.)

Also at the Worcester Center for Crafts and Fruitland’s Museum Store in Harvard in the Gallery Store.

Tarja on left with a friend  at right.

Tarja on left with a friend at right.

Thanks Tarja!  I hope some of you can get to see this exhibit while it’s there.

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D Illusions Exhibit

Last night I went to the opening of the Abstract Artists Group of New England at the Newburyport Art Association.  There are some incredibly good paintings on exhibit, but for me the highlight was the vibrant fiber art of  Madalene Axford Murphy of Amesbury MA, a recent implant from PA. She’s a member of our “We Are Six” pod, a small private group of local textile artists who meet to critique and share our art.  Her art is a great mix of color, texture and technique in some lively compositions!

I didn’t get the titles because the place was teaming with people – a fabulous turnout.  This is the week of “Riverfest” in Newburyport so the streets were swarming with people, but I still easily found a parking spot!  The exhibit “D’illusions” will continue through September 6th.

 20140830_194844 copy 20140830_194644 20140830_194559 copy 20140830_194538 copy 20140830_195744 copy

 I couldn’t get a good shot of favorite one so you’ll have to check it out

yourself to see it!

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SAQA MA/RI Region at The Whistler


Besides Sue Colozzi, Sue Bleiwiess and me, our SAQA MA/RI Region was well represented at The Whistler with the addition of one special piece at The Whistler that got so much attention I couldn’t get near enough to a clear view of it for picture taking.  Every time I went to snap it, someone else was standing in front of it!  It’s Nancy Turbitt’s “Nancy’s Garden.”

It’s quite beautiful and sparkly and speaks to a special garden she has transported to each place she has lived and includes a family heirloom peony!

You can visit Nancy’s Blog here.

And don’t forget, the show is up until September 20th and you can see a recent FB post about it here.

I wish I had a great photo of it myself but perhaps I’ll just have to go back again and get a good shot of it!


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The Whistler, Part 2

More excellent textile quilts to finish up this exhibit:

After A Long Winter. Judi Ross. web

After A Long Winter by Judi Ross

Annabelle's Rose Garden web.

Annabelle’s Rose Garden by Ann Rebele

Secret Garden. Winter by Atara Halpern. web

Secret Garden. Winter by Atara Halpern

Secret Garden Detail 1. web

Secret Garden Detail 1

Cosmo Boogie web

Cosmo Boogie by Ellen Lindner

Bringing The Outside In. Wen Redmond.web

Bringing The Outside In by Wen Redmond

Tree Of Life by Marianne Williamson. web

Tree Of Life by Marianne Williamson

Echinoderm. Betty Busby. web

Echinoderm by Betty Busby

Bugs & Other Living Things. Pamela Allen.

Bugs & Other Living Things by Pamela Allen

Stand Your ground detail 1. web

Stand Your Ground Details by                         Maya SchonenbergerStand Your Ground. detail 3.j web Stand Your ground by Maya Schonenberger. detail. web

There were a couple of pics that didn’t come out well at all, so I’m linking to them for inclusion.

One of them is  Maya Schonenberg’s Stand Your Ground. I got the detail pics but not the whole quilt and hers was one of my favorites!

Another is Ruby Horansky’s Origins – definitely take a look!

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The Exhibit! Part 1.

Well, if you’ve never been to a fiber art exhibit, this would be an excellent pick!  It really is a striking show with a lot of diverse styles and lots of color.  Stitching expertise is high on the bar and construction techniques are many. While I’m sharing my pics, there is nothing like seeing in person and this show will run through September 30th, except they will close Saturday, August 30 – September 2, 2014.


Coleus Close Up.web

Coleus Close Up by Sue Colozzi

Ripening. Ellen Linder. web

Ripening by Ellen Linder


ye View by Wen Redmond

Bird’s Eye View by Wen Redmond

Hummingbird by Susan Bleiweiss

Hummingbird by Susan Bleiweiss

Phalaenopsis. Sandra Townsend Donabed.

Phalaenopsis by Sandra Townsend Donabed

Ti Plants A Glow Glow. Ellen Linder.web

Ti Plants A Glow Glow by Ellen Linder

Rose Garden. Phyllis Small.web

Rose Garden by Phyllis Small

Dappled. Nancy Bardach.web

Dappled by Nancy Bardach

At The Whistler. web

Me and My “Rosie” at The Whistler

Stay tuned for more….

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Art Quilts 2014 at the Whistler!

A closer venue for an exhibit:  the Whistler House Museum in Lowell   .  My quilt, “Rosie’s Meadow” is on exhibit.  I’ll be at the artist’s reception on Saturday, August 23rd from 1 PM to 3 PM. Come join us there!

Rosie's Meadow. web

Rosie’s Meadow

DSCN6861 web jpg

Detail, Rosie’s Meadow


Center close-up of Rosie’s Meadow

Rosie’s Meadow is a textile collage of a mixture of my painted and printed fabric and commercial cottons, fused onto a fiber substrate, along with some machine pieced sections.  All are free motion stitched as a means to quilt, applique and texturize the piece. Finally, it’s faced, rather than bound.  Hope to see some of you there!

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I Love NE Part 2

I took a few more pics of the I Love New England Exhibit of SAQA’s NH/VT/ME Region.  Enjoy!

Lobster Pot by Sharyn Raiche. web

Sharyn Lobster Pot by Sharyn Raiche

A Tidal Pool Tale by Sandra Betts. web

A Tidal Pool Tale by Sandra Betts

Tidal pool detail. Betts. web

Detail, Tidal Pool, Betts




Surf's Up by Sarah Carpenter. web

Surf’s Up by Sarah Carpenter

Detail. Surfs Up. Carpenter. web

Detail. Surfs Up. Carpenter.

Sarah Carpenter


 I have to say to any of you who have not been to a quilt show, there’s nothing like  seeing each one up close and in person!  Way better than what you can see online, so consider going to one!

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I Love New England, NH/ME/VT Region, SAQA Exhibit

Yesterday was a beautiful day in bumper to bumper traffic a good part of the way to the Raddison Hotel in Manchester NH but worth it when you get there.  Although there were gorgeous quilts from all over the world, I’m focusing in on our I Love New England Exhibit.  Not all my pics came out well enough to post but I’ll share with you a few of them today:

A Sense Of Place. The Wall by Sarah Ann Smith. web

A Sense Of Place: The Wall by Sarah Ann Smith

Sarah Ann

Coming Back by Wen Redmond.  web

Coming Back by Wen Redmond


Fog In The City by Lois Hooper. web

Fog In The City by Lois Hooper


Lobster Shack by Sandy Gregg. web

Lobster Shack by Sandy Gregg



This Bird's Eye View by Janis Doucette. web

This Bird’s Eye View by Janis Doucette

This Bird’s Eye View is a machine pieced collage of my digital photographs of New England transferred onto fabric.  I included hand embroidery, text, the names of our many beaches and names of our Native American tribes; commercial fabrics which include some that depict our indigenous berries and appliques of some of our native flowers.

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Come See My Quilt

Detail 2  web

Detail of “This Bird’s Eye View” by Janis Doucette

Come see my quilt at: THE WORLD QUILT SHOW – NEW ENGLAND XII The Radisson Center of New Hampshire Manchester, New Hampshire August 14-17, 2014 Our (NH/VT/ME Regional SAQA) exhibit is: I♥ New England!

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