Monday, February 27, 2017


go to Whitney Alumni Brian Kesinger and his story crew at Disney Animation 
for picking up an Oscar last night at the awards ceremony in Los Angeles
for their work on both Zootopia and Moana.
Wooo Hooo,
way to go Brian!
This is the big time my man!!

Saturday, February 25, 2017


various pieces of cotton, linens & silks, windfall, spices, fruits & vegetables
with lots of string, hot plates & large pots for steaming

I'm hoping you enjoyed the banners in part one,
these next ones in part two are just as fabulous!
I hope your eyes will be delighted as mine were.

We start off with super star junior Rachel Kannampuzha.
Rachel is a deep critical thinker who always goes beyond the minimum requirements,
coming up with unique, original ideas for all her assignments.
I know for a fact that Rachel was inspired by the work of fiber artist Grace Forrest
when I suggested to the kids they check out Grace under Artists I Follow on my blog.
Rachel created two figures with her eco dyed pieces
and all of us were in awe.
Grace found out that Rachel was following her blog 
and they've now become friends thru the magic of the internet.
And if you remember the post from earlier this year called Garden Diva,
Grace sent my class a piece of hers to enjoy at Xmas time.
I love this close up of the woman against that rich turquoise backdrop.
So exquisite Rachel!

Youngster Margaret Yiu, 
with her gorgeous craftsmanship and her beautiful sense of design
created this next one.
She chose to work symmetrically (the kids had a choice),
and nailed it!
I adore her fabric rose she created,
and how she tyed each side together with the burnt orange chain stitches.
And check out how perfectly she couched down her string.

Junior Jillian Morris blew us all out of the water with this next piece.
It measures about 36" long,
2 -3 times longer than all the others.
Notice how she stripped many of her fabrics to help elongate her banner,
creating a lot of rhythmic negative spaces.
Also notice additional rhythm she achieved because of her numerous stacks.
And the balance made by her three perfectly placed polymer buttons.
Great work Jillian!

Now we go back to one of my sweet 8th grader's,
 Palmer Patel.
Palmer is the young man accompanied everyday by paraeducator Coach Milan,
and this is his second year with me.
He loves art and works very hard in my class.
We are all so proud of this beautiful piece he made
because fine motor skills do not come easy for him.
Bravo Palmer!!

Another 8th grader,
 Loren Kim,
created this next incredible work of art.
Loren was with me last year as well and is one of my top students.
Many of her works were featured last year on the blog with more to come this year.
One of the requirements that she made the most use of that I love is the fraying of her edges.
Notice how she frayed all the 4 major squares,
and how it brings so much softness to her piece.

In fact,
 I like this piece so much that I want to show off these two main sections up close-up.

And we end part two with 8th grader Dana Ahmad.
Dana also loves art and takes it very seriously.
I'm pretty sure Dana went into 3 different bundle pots to get her exterior edge colorways
which brings so much interest to this lovely piece.
And look at all the fraying she did along this bottom edge
which adds so much softness.
And my favorite part of this very pretty piece is the rose she created below.
Brilliant work young lady!

Thank  you all for working so hard for me,
jumping thru endless hoops,
and finishing on time so I can post and exhibit your work.

Thursday, February 23, 2017


various pieces of cotton, linens & silks, windfall, spices, fruits & vegetables
with lots of string, hot plates & large pots for steaming

I love teaching this assignment and dedicate it every year to mentors
who continue to inspire me on a daily basis.

We start by talking about where all natural dye stuffs come from
and the kids go home and the search is on.
They bring back so much good stuff to use and have fun showing it off and sharing;
some goodies coming in with ants, worms and spiders as well.  
ha ha.
Some of the student bundles after emerging from the dye pots.
Notice how the color is seeping into the paper?
So lovely.

I save a lot of tidbits from garage and estate sales,
many pieces of laces, doilies, linens and such,
and cut them up into smaller pieces for the kids to choose from
(at least 20 varieties this year).
I also purchase at least 5 silk varieties off the bolt from Dharma Trading Company 
and rip banner size pieces for the students main foundation.
They can make as many as 3 bundles, 
and this year I had 4 pots of dyestuff to choose from to steam their bundles in.
I was able to find windfall from Ornamental Plum,
Eucalyptus, and Walnuts,
plus I made a cheater pot of Rit Turquoise this year. 
When the Rit mixes with the windfall it tones and softens the color to make it look like a natural dye.
I also made a pot of clear water to steam in 
which turned out many beautiful results
because of the rich source of dyestuff's the kids brought in.

These pieces above are from two bundles that I demoed with.
Loved how the doll bloomers turned out.
Included in each child's bundles are at least 2-4 butterflies of pearle cottons 
that pick up the color as well.
They use these to sew with on their banners.

After all the bundles are opened,
I have the kids gather round a table.
 They have to donate at least 2 of their pieces they don't care for or think they will not use.
Then we go round and round and they pick something new 
they might be able to incorporate into their designs.
I believe we made it around the table 3 times this year with 29 kids and 2 adults.
That's right, 
we also have English teacher Donna Hall and Coach Milan taking the class as well.
In the photo above Donna is the tall blond on the left,
and Coach Milan is middle right with hat on backwards 
standing next to our red head Assistant Principal,
 Rose Ellen Shea,
 who heard about the process and wanted to watch the excitement.
So let's see how these banners turned out this year.
There were so many outstanding ones that I've had to break this post into 2 parts.

I wanted to start with Ms. Hall's banner because the kids and I loved it so much.
The reason I want each kid to use at least 2 dye pots
 is so that they have two contrasting colors to work with.
I believe Donna used the walnut and turquoise pots.

Starting on their foundation,
students are required to stack fabrics 3 layers deep in at least one area,
and to use at least 5 of their 12 embroidery stitches they learned to tack them down with.
Also required were to incorporate at least one of their polymer beads you saw in an earlier post, 
and to figure out a clever way to hang their banner from a twig they've sourced.
Ms. Hall also found an additional embellishment (required) with the carved wooden button,
plus she sewed down lots of complimenting seed beads to catch the eye.
Most of the feathers you will see came from around my cabin this summer. 

This next beauty was made by junior Lynette Lee 
whom I'm finding is an incredible designer and craftswoman.
Check out these close-ups of her work.
My favorite part of hers are the woven fabrics ala Jude Hill with the eco-dyed thread X's over top.

The yellows in this dynamic piece were made from the spice Turmeric.
And here is a close-up so you can see senior Sarah Woo's handwork.
I'm hoping you are also noticing that each piece has threads
 that are being couched down in random patterns,
another requirement.

These are probably too earthy to be called adorable, 
but this one by senior Alexis Bilas-Imperial is pretty darn close.
The clever girl turned hers into a landscape.
Do you see it,
The clouds & flowers?
And if you look really close you will also see the clever use of safety pins
 to hold bead embellishments on top of pieces of eyelet.

In this next beauty you can really see the gorgeous turquoise that senior Crystal Lai-Ton-Nu was able to achieve in one of her bundles.
I believe her second bundle went into eucalyptus.
Two close-ups of her impeccable craftsmanship in her embroidery stitches,
and look how perfectly she couched down her thread.
So lovely Crystal!

And this last piece in part one was created by 8th grader Leanne Alcoy.
Every year I've been blessed with amazing 8th graders,
and Leanne is no exception.
 It looks like Leanne's two bundles went into the Ornamental Plum and Eucalyptus.
This is beautifully crafted,
and I love the dimensional effect she created with the overlapping of doilies. 
And then sewing on a dried flower in it's center is the perfect focal point.

Thank you all for bringing such beauty and inspiration into our lives. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2017


paper collage, text, Modge Podge & various embellishments

These self portrait collages may be small but they are mighty in content.
Coming in at 4 1/2" by 4 1/2" with a piece of white Bristol paper as a border,
these pieces pack a punch.
The kids were required to bring in all 3 parts of a work of art:
subject matter (themselves), form (design elements & principals) & content (message).
So basically everything they've learned from day one.
Let's take a close-up look see.

We are starting with 8th grader Ashley Gong
and her phenomenal piece above called "Get Ready for Rain".
So appealing to the eye for so many reasons.
The pattern & texture, the value change in the color, the fun embellishments,
just an absolute delight for the eye.

Love the color scheme junior Mary Kim picked to work in.
When I was in college the secondary colors were my first choice for many of my assignments.
She is calling this "I'm in Control",
and is reminding herself to Breathe,
good advice for all of us.

"Hidden Dreams" by junior Tiffany Chen evokes such gentleness yet strength at the same time,
just like it's maker.
Tiffany also has chosen a secondary color scheme,
while senior Deborah Harris below is limiting herself to only neutrals in "Forward".
It makes for a very striking, stark & effective composition.

This next super playful & colorful piece "The Entertainer" was made by junior Nara Chai.
It was one of the class favorites.
Nara put so much extra time and effort into it,
and the text she brought has great meaning
"I love all my friends but I hate when their eyes are on me" 

"Wilted Roses" by junior Sarah Oh was a very powerful piece as well.
So critically thought out,
so well executed,
we all gravitated towards it with it's complimentary color scheme,
organic shaped edges,
dimensional embellishments,
and exceptional drawing skills.
Brilliant job Sarah!

Friday, February 17, 2017


Whitney High School's 1996 Alum,
 Brian Kesinger,
 star just got one notch higher
 as he is recognized and interviewed for his work in Disney's Twenty-Three Magazine Publication. 

This magazine is all Disney,
a place to discover the magic of Disney's past,
present & future.

Congrats again Brian,
we are all so very proud of you here at Whitney!!!

On Instagram Brian says,
"This is the closest I've ever been to Walt."
So cool Brian!!!
You've got your Dream Job.
Mom, dad and brother Allan must be glowing with pride,
as are your wife and the kids I'm sure.
I know I am! 

Thursday, February 16, 2017



I just adore when my ex art students stay in touch 
and let me know they are still using their art skills in their lives.
Especially when they aren't majoring in art,
just keeping it in their lives because it makes them feel good.

As is the case with Alumni Borah Lim,
Class of 2012.

Borah is in her senior year at Williams College in Williamstown , Mass.
It is a small, highly selective liberal arts college
where Borah is majoring in Biology.
 Borah is taking a quiltmaking class for winter studies
(a special January term period between their fall and spring semester)
where she is working on different kinds of quilt patterns.

She recently sent me these two pictures of two of the patterns she is learning:
a pieced cube and an applique heart in yummy Batik fabric tones.

And then today she sent me pictures of two of her almost finished pieces.
This gorgeous sampler above,
and below an Irish Chain.

Bravo Borah!!!
So very proud and pleased that you are using your many gifts.
These quilts are beautiful!
To see more of Borah's work when she was here at Whitney, 
simply put her name in the blog search engine .