Monday, April 20, 2020


Creative Quilting and Japanese Textile Shop

Co-owners and designers,
 mother and daughter team Patricia Belyea and Victoria Stone run Okan Arts,
a delicious Quilt Shop in the Seattle,Washington area.
They specialize in importing vintage Japanese textiles and also leading fiber tours to Japan.
They also carry the coolest new machine on the market which gives a handquilted stitch look.
It's called a Sashiko 2 by Baby Lock.
I'm in love!

You might be familiar with Patricia's quilt book East-Meets-West.
I have just added her blog to my list of Artists I Follow.
I'm really enjoying perusing thru her blog and also doing a bit of shopping in the online store.
Patricia also holds a retreat every year to teach her East-Meets-West style
in a fabulous venue in Wisconsin.
I can't quite remember how I found this shop or perhaps it found me.
I do know I have loved Japanese Quilts for many years now,
especially the work of Yoko Saito.
Yoko is a quiltmaker famous for her taupe favored fabrics she uses.
I own two of her books and really enjoy watching her demos on YouTube.
But before I found Yoko I found the work of Contemporary Japanese Quiltmakers
which is super graphic in nature.
When I see it it's like an injection of pure joy and happiness.
Some of it can be quite minimal which I especially enjoy,
while other works are so incredibly complex you can't even imagine the time and skill 
it would take to create something so exceptional.
Check some out if you haven't had a chance to.
A good place is Patricia's blog,
a sampling:

The Tokyo Quilt Festival 2020

Friday, April 17, 2020


with the grand pups.
Miss Tatum loves her big brother and follows his every move. 
My heart swells when I see them or think about them. 
I can't even imagine the powerful love I'll feel when my own children start their families.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020


Having a little too much time on my hands recently,
I ran across an old photo album
from my first 10 years teaching at Whitney.
I was hired during the summer of 1980 and I was only 24 years old,
still wearing my hair in pigtails as you can plainly see in the photo above.  
I believe I remember 2 of these kids names,
Edward Chen and Koni Choi.
This was a Xmas fundraiser we had for several years to help support the Art Club.
The kids would meet in my room at lunch and after school to make Xmas related crafts to sell.

Wearing a Guatemalan huipil
 (that I can no longer get on but still hangs in my closest 
since I have high hopes to once again put it on),
here I am with an all-time favorite student Becky Carrillo.
I still have an incredible coil basket she gave to me when she graduated.
Since I haven't spoken with her in forever she didn't know how much I loved that basket
and taught with it as an outstanding example for all my years at Whitney.

I remember this students first name, Ricky,
and I want to say his last was Alvarez or Alvarado.
We had so much fun in the 1980's when it was ok to hug and dance with the kids,
before Political Correctness came onto the scene.

Math teacher Wes White and I chaperoning the Winter Formal Dance.
The kids adored him,
he made Math fun.

Sorry this is a bit blurry but note the outfit.
I was going thru Willy Nelson's Honeysuckle Rose Western Dancing era
where I had to buy a cowboy hat, boots, tight fitting skirts and western style shirts.
Line dancing was big back then, 
and on the weekends my cousin and I would go to a place next to Disneyland
called the Cowboy and dance our hearts out.

About the first 8 years at Whitney I had to share my room with an Adult School teacher 
who came in at night to teach Mold Pouring Ceramics.
So behind me you can see shelves and shelves of Molds that ran all the way around entire room.
There was not even one free wall to hang my students art.
We had to share 2 kilns between us for over a hundred kids and adults,
firing at different temps.  
It didn't go well and that's all I'll say about that.
Fortunately I complained enough that the molds were moved out of the room when she retired.

These were 3 random school pix from yearbooks in the early 1980's.

I feel so badly that I don't remember these 2 students names.
This was back when my classes were small 
and I had enough table looms so that each student had one to weave on.
Note the 1980's bangs!

And here I was fooling around with a clay whistle that I always taught with
 and a student took this silly picture.
I've always loved it!

And a special shout out to Edward Ho,
our very first Art Club President.
He was and still is a mover and a shaker.
Ed managed to talk our local motorcycle dealership into donating a scooter 
that we raffled off and I believe we raised over $800.
We have remained dear friends to this day.
For years he would come back to all my Open Houses 
and purchase Art Work from my students.
And I'd talk him up before he came
 so that the students would hope it would be their work he would purchase.
He had such a great eye, 
always scooping up the best and most expensive pieces and putting them in his Law Office
on display.

So many great memories.
If I find more pix from the 1980's this is where I will keep adding them to.

Monday, April 13, 2020


A long standing tradition in our home is to dye Easter Eggs,
each year trying to come up with a different artsy fartsy idea.
I had this seen and read about this one several years ago and tried with my son,
though it wasn't quite successful,
and always wanted to give it another go.

This year I'm in several online classes with Australian Artist India Flint,
having just enrolled in one more last week called 
in place:: sailing the armchair around village well.
She created this course to help us thru the isolation of the Corona Virus,
and I'm so enjoying it;
watching her and following her lead.
One of the projects were these Eco-bundled eggs
and I was so pleased how they turned out.
My daughter and I each made 6,
and this is how they looked before we hard-boiled them below.

We chose a 6 minute hard boil.
You can see here the lovely color from the onion skins,
I grabbed the nearest bowl to place them in to cool down before the big reveal.
This is a clay piece I made over 40 years ago at Cypress College under the tutelage of my mentor
Professor Robert Hardy.
After I threw the bowl on the wheel I added a slim throw neck to elevate it,
then allowed it to dry out a bit (leatherhard stage)
and Robert suggested I carve a design into it.
He was always pushing me harder then I would push myself.
Sadly he is gone now but I learned so very much from this wonderful man.
The first one Danielle opened was a big bust,
hardly any pigment in the shell,
so we were pretty disappointed but luckily all the rest looked lovely,
each one a bit different then it's neighbor depending on what we bundled it with.
I will definitely do this again with my grandbabies.

I was left with a very pretty selection of cotton and silk embroidery string to stitch with.
I think I might bundle resist some of it and put it into my indigo bucket.  
We'll see.
I just placed the threads a top another India Flint project I'm working on called
29 Days in February 2020,
only 2 months behind on this one.  :)

And below you can see what I did with the leftover dye liquid.
I tossed a faded out sweatshirt into it which shocked my fashion conscious daughter,
ha ha,
and hoping for the best.
If she only knew all the crazy shit I do.

Saturday, April 11, 2020


As I mentioned the other day,
many of my ex-students have been reaching out to check on my status in these crazy times,
and also to show me what they've been creating.

Today I want to feature 2012 Alumni Alyssa Olea.
I've spoken about her many times on the blog here,
as a ceramics students and T.A. in 2011  and 2012,
and then after graduation as my paid Technical Assistant 2012-2019
(loading kilns, mixing glazes, photographing art work, entering grades, etc.).

When Alyssa first started college she was focusing more on a Communications Major,
but after working with me and the students in the classroom decided she wanted to be an Art Teacher.
In fact,
she was one of the youngsters I was grooming to take over for me when I retired,
but we all know how that didn't work out.
she changed courses and began working on her Art Degree,
and now is in her last year of college.
Sadly all her classes have gone on line, 
yet she is thriving because she loves what she is doing.
These are pictures of a few of her pieces from her Booking Making class.
Each is a different kind of book,
some sculptural and some traditional,
all lovely.
It even looks like she was required to create surface design on the materials she used.
I see some marbleizing, watercolor, and paper cutouts.
Some materials thin some thicker.
What I told Alyssa was that I was really impressed with her outstanding design & color sense 
as well as her impeccable craftsmanship.
These gorgeous books required massive amounts of time, energy and patience,
and I'm as proud of her as I can be.
This last one below is my favorite because it's so unusual and so very complex.
Her choice of a monochromatic color scheme in these beautiful aquas 
as well as subject matter also pulls me in.
Bravo Alyssa!!!!

Friday, April 10, 2020


This wonderfully interesting video was sent to me by 2018 Alumni Sara Ryave.
I just now got a chance to watch it and it's so riveting if you are interested in trying your hand at clay.

It's from a series on the Internet called Primitive Technology 
and shows the digging, making and firing of clay vessels.
Below is it's Wikipedia explanation.
Primitive Technology is a YouTube channel run by John Plant. Based in Far North Queensland, Australia, the series demonstrates the process of making tools and buildings using only materials found in the wild.

Below is the great video.

Wednesday, April 8, 2020


I know I've probably lost quite a few of you in my blog audience 
because I haven't been posting much about my art students from the past two years.

I haven't quite figured out my rational for this yet,
other then I'm trying very hard to find a new path/journey in this new retirement phase of my life.
I was getting closer until this Corona Virus showed up.  
And now with all this time on my hands,
 I find I'm also having a hard time focusing and disciplining myself to post.
Mostly I've been outside,
 gardening and walking, 
then inside taking online classes in watercolor and eco-dyeing/slow stitch with India Flint.
At night I'm cooking (every nite which I thought I'd never do again),
 slow stitching and knitting.
And in between living vicariously thru you my blogger friends and the lovely work you are doing.

Many of my ex-students have been reaching out to me with work they are doing or had been doing
 in art school,
or the crafts they are getting back into during this pandemic
which makes me incredibly happy.

I was really excited when 2018 Alumni Sarah Oh sent me this link (below).
Grace, I think you will really enjoy seeing Sarah and what she's up to at Art Center in Pasadena.
She was interviewed by an LA magazine called Voyage LA.
I couldn't be more thrilled for her.
I hope Grace you get a chance to check it out.
I know you were one of her biggest fans.

Saturday, April 4, 2020