Thursday, February 28, 2019

Hello Everyone!

I have asked junior Luc Garcia O'Leary,
computer whiz kid extraordinaire,
 to share why so many of your comments are not making it thru to be published here.
It truly boggles my mind how these young ones know for much
so they can break it down for us old folks!
Thank you Luc

This is a notice regarding the site and the shutdown of Google Plus(+) earlier this month.
 If you have found yourself unable to post comments on ARTISUN on any of my recent posts, 
this is why.
 To make sure that you are able to continue making comments on the site,
 you must make sure that within Blogger you are signed in with your Blogger/Gmail Account
 and not with your old Google Plus Account. 
To ensure this,
 please go into your Blogger Settings by clicking on the icon in the top left hand corner of your screen with the Blogger logo, then navigate to the "Settings" tab and click on it.
 A new list of tabs will appear; click on "User Settings".
 What will appear is a small menu on your screen with two headers,
 "General" and "Language". 
Beneath the "General" header,
 there should be two sub-headers, "User Profile" and "Use Blogger Draft". 
To the right of "User Profile",
 you will see two options, "Blogger" and "Google+".
 If you have "Google+" selected, please instead select "Blogger". 
 click on the orange "Save Settings" tab in the top right corner of the screen. 
Now your issues should be resolved. 
 this means added widgets and functions through Google Plus(+)
 such as the +1 utility will no longer be available. 
You should now be able to comment on my website anonymously,
 using a name, 
or with your blogger/google email. 
For more information as to why Google Plus(+) was shutdown earlier this month,
 along with additional information regarding the effect on Blogger, 
please check out these attached links.
Thank You!
And a special shout out to Blogger Liz from I'm Going To Texas who brought this to my attention.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019


Our cabin is almost buried alive...LOL.
These are from Friday morning after the last snow storm we had on Thursday.
More pix coming in from our neighbor Chris who is still snowbound.
He told us nobody is driving up our little hill,
everyone is having to park at his house and walk the rest of the way up.
I told him we'd see him in July . 
Ha ha!

Monday, February 25, 2019


Driving home from school this past Thursday nite at 5:30 p.m. getting onto the 91 Fwy.
To the west towards Palos Verdes I see the most amazing sunset,
and then making the curve onto the 91 Fwy. heading east,
On our Santa Ana mountains that we live next to.
I have only ever seen the teeny tiniest bit of snow on this Saddleback Ridge before,
 ever this much and dropping so dang low.
What a site to see!

Sunday, February 24, 2019


clay, glaze & oxides

Here is one more beauty from last years beginning students.
Found it hiding in my pix.
The only bummer is I can't remember who made,
but I will try to find out.

Saturday, February 23, 2019


After using this demo for the teaching of the Liberated Quiltmaking unit
to my 2nd year Intermediate 3-D girls,
I actually finished it.
A rare occurrence for me as you probably know by now.
This year's class wanted to learn a Ricky Tim's liberated heart.
I had seen Ricky's heart in a national quilt magazine in the late 1990's,
and played with the design several times in the past.
In the early 2000's I actually took 2 courses with him,
both at the Road to California Quilt Show,
and found him to be a self-taught quilting genius
and so much fun to learn from.
In the second class he was selling his colorful tye-dyed fabrics,
so I bought several pieces and taught his heart pattern to my quilting group.
I showed these to my youngsters and they wanted to try it as well.
This year I have 2 groups of Intermediate 3-D kids,
and the 2nd group wanted to learn Gwen Marston's Liberated Houses and Trees.
In the process I also taught both groups Strip Pieced Borders, 
Hand Turned Applique,
Machine & Hand Quilting,
and Hand Tyed Quilting Knots.
I can't wait to show you their results.
They are all so very different.
As always I dedicate these quilts to my current group of seniors who I adore!

It's crazy,
I have at least 10 or more of these demos,
(each year a completely different design),
that I haven't finished.
My to-do list when I retire is getting bigger and bigger.

Thursday, February 21, 2019


For the past couple of years I've asked select students to go to town 
and transform my teaching Frontals & Profiles on the chalkboard into someone recognizable.
Last year senior Jesica Mones & junior Manishka Ranjit did the honors
and the young woman on the board turned out to be a fellow senior and classmate lookalike
senior Alyson Tam.
I was thrilled with the results and so were the girls!

Wednesday, February 20, 2019


Over this past Xmas break,
I pushed myself to try and finish a few quilting projects.
I was able to get three done.

In the mid and late 1990's I belonged to two different quilting groups,
one with my cousins,
 and one with a dynamic group of women that I had friended thru my son's sports teams.
A few of these woman had been quilting for years
and I was a newbie to the craft.
I learned a lot from them over the 5 or so years we quilted together.

This is one of two Xmas quilts I finally finished 20 years later.
They both needed tube casings for hanging display purposes
and I was able to go back into my stash and find fabric to work with.
I'm planning on giving this one as a gift next Xmas to my son and his new bride.
There were 8 women in this group,
one coming from as far away as Utah.
Each of us made Xmas themed blocks for the whole group,
including one for ourselves.
Then everyone put them together in different ways.
There were no two the same which I loved.
I wish I had pictures of the others to share.
I loved the challenge of arranging them into a pleasing and balanced design
because each of the blocks were a different scale.
These 3 close-ups were my favorite blocks in the quilt,
made by the three pros in the group.
But sadly after 20 years,
 I can't seem to remember who made which one.
All the quilting techniques were represented;
both hand and machine piecing & quilting,
hand turned applique,
blanket stitch applique,
as well as many tradition patterns like Log Cabin, Bear Paw and Four & Nine Patches.
To put it all together I had to build several more pieces to fill in spaces.
I did some strip piecing and Gwen Marston trees,
and a couple other made up blocks.
I thoroughly enjoyed the process and the critical thinking involved in balancing the top.
Right up my alley.
Here are the gals in the group on the backside label.
I sent the piece out to be professionally basted and machine quilted
cuz I didn't want to mess it up,
but also because after the designing was done I had kind of lost interest in finishing it.
I wanted to move on to the next quilt design.
I really enjoy putting on the binding edges
 and the meditative process of turning  and hand stitching them down.
Looks like it took me 5 years to put it all together and send it out for quilting
then back to me for the bound edges.
I know,
I'm really slow
and have too many projects going on at the same time,
as well as all the demos I have going on at school.
Currently I'm enrolled in 3 India Flint classes
and completely behind in each.

Monday, February 18, 2019


Our little poochy Sophie Jean 
got into my school basket when I got home from school on Valentine' Day 
and swiped my Valentine bear that was given to me by 8th grader Itzel Huerta.
She carried it around all night long and wouldn't give it back.
I think she thought it was her long lost child   Ha!
She slept with it that nite and has been keeping it near since she pulled it out of my basket.
And she keeps pushing on its belly thinking there might be a squeaker inside.
Love at first sight.
Sorry Itsel.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019


oil pastel on black charcoal paper

Senior Samantha Tun,
the lone ranger in this 3rd year level class last year,
had to find a gorgeous photo of a landscape and blow it up onto an 14" by 17"paper,
then draw/paint it in oil pastel.
She did a glorious job with her color choices and transitional areas.
I especially enjoyed her rendering of the wood pier.
Here is Sam below checking proportions and balance as she builds the piece.
All my 2-D kids are required to do this before they turn in a composition.
Do they all do it?
But I encourage them to.
Your gut never lies.
It will tell you from a distance if something feels off.
They have to learn to trust their inner artist.

Here is the proud creator showing off her work.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019


wool batting, colored wool rovings, perle cottons, wool handspun yarns, needles for dry felting,
hot plates & pans, and a washing machine

Teachers Beware!
This is an especially messy, soapy adventure but well worth the prep, effort and cleanup.
Also involved is the use of your home washing machine,
and lots of counter space both in your classroom and at your home.
I use the floor under the classroom cabinets,
 as well as on top of them for the various stages of storage.
This year will be really tough in that I have more students doing this at one time then ever,

There are many YouTube videos showing how to make felt on a 2-D surface,
which is how we begin this project,
 and even more on Needle Felting.
When the felt is shrunk and dried,
 the kids are required to use their critical thinking skills to cut out pieces
 and reassemble them into a 3-D piece.
No glue is allowed,
only Needle Felting or stitching or both to assemble them.
The results are quite remarkable.

We start with 8th grader Annie Nguyen.
The color movement going thru her design is so lovely.
She figured out how to put in her own zipper using You Tube
 (I haven't put in a zipper since the 7th grade).
She also brought in a bit of embroidery as well.
And her mom allowed her to use her sewing machine to put in the diagonal quilting lines
which I feel add so much interest to the overall piece..

Next up is 8th grader Shivani Kedila.
She transformed her flat piece of felt into this intricate box with a woven top.
I was speechless when I saw her finished product.
These kids are really incredible!
You can see how her sides are hand stitched up
plus she added a bit of embroidery as well.
Check out the top below.
I loved that she brought weaving into this piece!

This amazing pillow was the work of senior Inna Sikar.
Occasionally the kids work their flat flt a bit too aggressively when they begin the felting process 
and end up with a few holes or see thru patches.
Inna had both.
So she critically thought out to inlay a bit of fabric under those openings
for a very cool effect.
And we all were so impressed with her embroidered toucan!
She invested a ton of hours in this piece  as you can see.

We all loved the flowers that 8th grader Sophia Oporto needle felted on top of her purse form
along with her embroidered areas.
The colors flow so well together!

We totally didn't expect this clever solution.
Junior Rachel Tibayan knocked this assignment out of the park with her unique idea,
a complete outfit for her bear.
I just adore it all!
So well fitted and embellished.
Bravo young woman!!

And sweet 8th grader Yusuf Karan
 made this adorable kitty face pillow using his own handspun yarn for the whiskers.
Wonderful job Yusuf!

But it was senior Sophie Yang
 who really blew us out of the water with this elegant crafted pillow form.
Her 2-d felt piece was gorgeous from the get go,
then she cut it and inlaid the white wool felt.
The embroidery finished it off so beautifully.
And we loved how she alternated the design on each side.
Another brilliant piece to share with all.

Monday, February 11, 2019


Over the Thanksgiving holiday I spent the weekend with my son and his fiance'.
They asked me where I'd like to visit and I immediately said French General,
a fabulous French based arts, crafts & antique store in downtown L.A.
It was my second visit to this impressive store,
and to really see everything it would take at least an hour.
But I tried really hard to not make the kids wait that long.
I spotted this very cool Boro Tote kit.
It came in Indigo or French Reds.
I asked Zach's fiance' Nicole if she liked the look of the finished tote on the package
and which color she preferred.
She chose the Indigo Blue.
I was actually buying it for her mother as a Xmas gift.
Her mother Mary is an outstanding stitcher/quilter/knitter,
but after I brought it home to wrap I just couldn't seem to part with it.
It seemed to be calling to me.
So I ended up getting Mary something else just as nice.
I've been interested in Japanese Boro for about the past 5 years,
researching the techniques,
even looking for an original antique piece to buy to teach with from Japan.
But I've never used the technique myself.
It's a mending process,
used for hundreds of years to patch clothing with.
I rationalized this was my big chance to try it out.
So I kept the kit for myself and worked on it my entire Xmas break and beyond.
I have to be honest,
at first I wasn't a fan,
but the more I stitched the better I liked it.
Hundreds of stitches go into it, 
and I was sewing thru 3 layers of cloth;
the indigo fabrics, many of them overlapped,
a piece of cotton batting and the linen tote,
so sometimes 4 where the overlaps were.
What was really great was that there were leftover Indigo fabrics,
so I used them to make a pocket on the inside (above).
which wasn't part of the original kit instructions.
I also didn't use the stitch patterns they suggested.
In addition,
I wanted the bag to have more structure so I sewed up the bottom corners,
(something else that wasn't in the instructions),
used a piece of Indigo Shibori fabric I had in my stash,
and a piece of plastic netting material,
and made a bottom to support the bag.
All hand sewn and appliqued.
A 7th grader last year had given me an Indigo dyed velvet button he made as a gift.
I saved it and used in on the front along with an antique crochet covered button from my stash.

This Wednesday I'll be attending the courthouse wedding of my son Zach to Nicole,
and it will be one of their many wedding gifts I have planned.
I'm super excited and just can't believe this day is finally here.
We will be flying to Hawaii for their actual destination family/friend ceremony 
so I'm hoping they can use it as their beach/travel bag.
The courthouse wedding is just a technicality 
because the state of California requires it if you are getting married out of state.
This is news to me.
But two celebrations are better than one!

P.S.  I gave the bag a good washing to help fray many of the cloth edges
Look closely at the third photo.

Sunday, February 10, 2019


Hazel Montes of Handstories blog fame 
stitches the most delicate and lovely stories onto tiny pieces of cloth.
These delicious works are no more than 3 inches by 3 inches
and come wrapped in their own lovely piece of indigo dyed cloth
encased in a handwritten note card that Hazel has printed her stitchery on.
Absolutely delightful to open and enjoy.
When I open one of these
(I have bought several over the past couple of years to teach with)
I gasp with awe at her fine stitching with the tiniest of thread.
She sells select works in her shop,
but you've got to be quick as they sell out extremely fast.
I have been trying to scoop up one of her trees for a couple of months now and I recently scored!
My 3-D student where in awe the other day when I brought in this piece to share with them.
They couldn't believe how small it was and how she manages to do such fine work.
Incredible Hazel,
we love you!

Thursday, February 7, 2019


white glue & oil pastels on black construction paper

Once my beginning drawers learn to draw each other in a realistic way 
in their Before & After Portraits,
I partner them up again to draw each other in an abstracted way 
using exaggeration & distortion .
One way to do that is by only allowing the kids to draw with the tip of a glue bottle
which distorts all the features right off the bat. 
After the glue dries for 24 hours they go back in with oil pastels
and light and shadow.
I encourage them to try using colors other than what they really see
for additional abstraction.
These are colorful and so much fun.
The kids giggle and have a blast doing them.

This first beauty,
 which reminds me of a Modigliani Masterpiece, 
was done by 8th grader Andrew Lee of 8th grader Ashley Lee.
I love how he elongated the face and neck,
put in necklaces and completely changed up all the realistic colors.
Bravo young Andrew!

And this one totally reminds me of a Picasso when he first started to abstract his own work.
This wonderful piece was done by senior David Tung of 8th grader Siddhant Watwani.

Junior Esther Ahn made 2 pieces (above and below).
Her model was junior Kiana Sanchez,
and I adore both pieces.
It's amazing to me how much creativity comes out of these kids.
Such talent!

Next we see the work of junior Manishka Ranjit.
She was partnered with 8th grader Tin Pham.
She definitely brought her own unique twist to the piece with her signature hat tipped to the side,
and the wonderful hatcher strokes moving the pastels from light to dark.

And we end with 8th grader Madison Plotkin who constructed this gorgeous work of art.
Love her color choices and how she moves them thru their value ranges,
the zentangled line work on the skull mask,
and all the extra flowers she made,
cut out and glued down.
This portrait was of 11th grader Ellya Gholmieh.
Fabulous work Madison.
I'm so proud of all of you!!

Wednesday, February 6, 2019


looks like we have a good foot of snow at the cabin.
Our dear friend and neighbor Chris who lives next to us took pix and sent them today.
I can tell how deep it is by how high it comes up on the bottom of the wishing well on the left.
Here is the antique wooden door Chris installed this past summer.
Loving how it looks all snowed over. 

Here is the other side of the well looking down at my art studio.
I bet it's so cold inside.

And here's a shot of the creek that runs alongside the cabin to our left.
Can't wait for the snow to start melting so we can hear the water running by.
Before the snow came
 my husband cut down some branches from our pines that were tangling in the powerlines,
and I dragged them to the top of the creek bank that I had installed chicken wire over 
to hold the dirt back,
then hung those branches over the top of the bank to hide the wire.
It looks so pretty with the snow over and thru them.

And here is the road and driveway leading to the main cabin.
Last year it took Jim and I two hours to shovel all that snow so we could park in our driveway.
I think I'll call Chris and hire him to do that for this weekend
so we can just go up and enjoy the snow.
Can't wait!