Featured Artists

Mixed Media Artist

 French born artist Sophie Truong moved to the city of Boston, Mass. in the 1990's.
There she discovered textiles and unconventional sewing techniques.
Her work involves combining various materials such as paper, 
and metal,
 using traditional and nontraditional sewing, 
and embroidery techniques.

She also became frustrated by not being able to find the perfect bag for herself,
so she handmakes leather bags and accessories under the label Stitch and Tickle.

The theme of a lot of her work revolves around hyper-consumerism
and the waste our society generates. 
Thus the works with recycled tea bags and their labels.

She combines both machine and hand stitching on the tea bags,
and she also weaves with them.

I love the simplicity of just the labels on display.
What a perfect piece of sculpture for a kitchen wall.

She also treats the bags in dimensional ways for wall sculptures.

I watched a very brief video on youtube about her process,
and she explained that she collects materials that are interesting to her
 both visually and in a tactile way.
Then she figures out how she can transform them together into something else.

When I first found Sophie a few years ago,
I contacted her at info@stitchandtickle.com
and bought the lovely and sensitive piece below.

It hangs in my home studio where I enjoy it everyday.

Mixed Media Fiber Art

I happened upon Alice this past year when I was visiting another fiber artist's blog.
I was immediately smitten with her and her work,
and have since been a devout follower.
You can find her here.
In fact, I loved her work with the ocean and rust so much 
that I purchased this catalogue below from her Tide Marks show in London.

I wanted to attach her Artist's Statement so that you will get a feel for her work:

I have always been fascinated by the natural world and the detail of organic things.  My practice brings together recording, collecting and interaction with the landscape.  The work that I produce celebrates and carries an essence of what I experience in the natural world. I aim to draw the viewer in, invite them to look closer and notice things they might otherwise have overlooked.
Much of my work is currently based on coastal landscapes and I was Artist in Residence at Spurn Point National Nature Reserve during 2012.
My starting point is usually walking, recording my experience through words, sketches and photographs. I notice lines, patterns, shapes, textures. I try to capture small changes: the way material is moved about by the elements. The beach and its hinterland can be the richest source of experience and discovery. Through the cycle of tides and weather it collects daily treasures and detritus by turn, providing a visual and tactile adventure. When I’m not by the sea I still take a beach-comber’s approach, found objects providing a tangible link to the places I’ve walked.
My work develops through layering up marks and textures, building up subtle surfaces that combine the textural qualities of textile and printmaking processes. I use found metal objects to make rust prints. I love the way these develop with a kind of alchemy: no two are the same. I set things up and watch them develop, responding to the marks that appear with further layers of print or the contoured lines of hand stitch. Found items, their identity often a mystery because of the action of the elements, are used in collagraph prints: specimens laid out for inspection. Marks are made on fabric; impressions are made on paper like imprints in wet sand.
I am concerned with embodiment of the landscape rather than direct representation. Each piece can be seen as a small record of a walk: a journey or moment from a journey. The works I produce are contemplative and quiet, but look closely and you’ll discover there is complex activity; patterns can appear both random and organised. Look again and there is something new to discover.
Of course I'm fascinated that she is eco-dyeing on paper,
and creating lovely books.

I'm also very impressed that she takes the time to draw, 
something that I should be doing on a daily basis, 
but that I haven't done in years.

But what really caught my attention recently was this cloth below.
She inserted bottle caps (recycling) between two layers of linen fabric, 
randomly stitched around them, 
wet the piece in tea water,
 and set it aside to see what developed.
Lovely, subtle, beautiful rust!


Her newest adventure is to get back to weaving where she is playing with some different weave structures.
Here she is above warping her inkle loom.

Alice also loves to share her processes and offers several workshops a year.

In fact, 
she is opening her studio below to show work in progress,
and to also see some pieces from her Tide Marks Gallery showing.
I find it fascinating to see the workings and organization of an artist's space.
Look at the wonderful natural light she has coming in thru her window.
What a cozy place to create!
Thank you Alice for letting me share you with my students and followers to my blog.
I hope one day to meet and learn from you.

Mixed Media Art, Art Dolls, Assemblages, and Prints

Last school year I discovered the art of Mixed Media Artist Carla Trujillo, and I sort of went nuts in her online shops and purchased 3 of her pieces to teach with.  Since then I've been showing off her work to my 3-D students to inspire them with what you can do with recycled items (after all, my budget here in the ABC District is slim pickens so we do a lot of re-purposed, up-cycled, and recycled art).

Carla's philosophy is this "Printmaking was the beginning of my love affair with the arts and through the years, I have expanded my talents into the world of mixed media art. My focus currently is in assemblages and art dolls, and when I find some spare time I will revisit my first love which is printmaking.

Let me show you some of her work.

These are some current pieces she is playing with right now, her Mixed Media Dolls.   She usually builds her faces from clay but with these new dolls she is trying out new kinds of faces.

To see more of her current work you can go to www.indiandollartworks.blogspot.com 

This is "Maggie", and Carla refers to these kinds of pieces as her Wooden Spindle Art Dolls.  
Isn't she fabulous?

This little cutie is "Game Boy", another of her Art Dolls. 

And this is "D-Boy, an Art Assemblage.  
For those of you my age, check out the tinker toy piece on top.  Haven't seen those in ages.  

And I'm really loving her Textile Works.  This piece is called "Fiber Abstract I". 

And my absolute favorite of her current pieces is "Lydia".   Carla calls her a Textile Art Piece, and I adore all that is going on with how she was created.  

You are a remarkable artist Carla, you inspire me with all that you are doing. 
Thank you for allowing me to share you and your work here on my blog.


Last school year I showed off Jen Mullen's remarkable encrusted embroidery piece that she sent me (below), but I also have been wanting to feature her other work as well.  She is such a versatile artist, working in so many different mediums, and she inspires me on a daily basis.  sShe is also an avid gardener and reader, and has other blogs as well.
I keep her handy under Artists I Follow at Bayou Quilts and Dolls.

My students just finished a spinning and weaving unit and I really wanted them to see Jen's work.

She also plays around with Eco-dyeing and stitch (right up my alley), but it's her dolls that I really wanted you to see.  So expressive and unique.  And look at the great pattern and texture she brings to her work.   So wonderful!
And this wire based cloth wrapped dog is adorable.  
I hope you will spend more time exploring Jen's art filled life.

Artists at Chemers Gallery
Through the summer, Chemer's Gallery in Tustin, Ca. features several of their resident artist's, usually on Thursday nights with a live band in the background.  So in the month of July,  Jim and I went to check it out; he for the music, Hound Dog Dave & The Meltones  LOL, myself for the art.  The band was actually pretty good and we got in a couple of dances, and the art was terrific.
Here oil painter Dana Cooper is showing us her latest work.  She told me she uses a photograph to work from.
I love her loose style, and really marveled at how she holds her paint brush.  I would love to own one of her pieces.

Next we have Pete Roberts, a watercolor artist.  This is the second time I've met him at Chemers and both times he's told me he's just learning.  Well, I think he's really good, not a newbie at all.  Great use of color and solid technique.
I think it's always interesting to me to see how an artist's palette is set up.  I also noticed that he pretty much does the entire piece in his sketchbook first before he attempts the real thing.  He could easily sell the pieces in his sketchbook, they are that good!
It's also interesting for me to note if the artist's like to paint standing up or seated,  and what kinds of equipment do they bring for an exhibition like this.

Here is Kay Flierl, and oil painter, just putting down her undercoat of paint.  You can see that she has sketched her work in charcoal first.  I think she may be working from a photo of Crystal Cove between Corona Del Mar and Laguna Beach. 

Her palette is set up in a very similar style to Frank's.

Deborah Harold was eatting her dinner so I wasn't really able to watch her work.  She is also painting in oil.

And Susan Horton, below, actually studied with the same weaving teacher as me, Elizabeth Serbel.  Elizabeth, deceased, had a wonderful old home in the foothills in Whittier, and taught a lot of us fiber folk how to use our looms.  I studied with her about 30 years ago, Susan more recently before her passing.  Elizabeth's home was one of the houses that almost completely went down during the Whittier Narrows Earthquake in the 1980's or was it the 1990's.  But Elizabeth was a tough old bird, and brought that house back to life, and whipped all of us into impeccable craftsmen.  :)
Anyways,  Susan is weaving here on her 4 harness tabletop loom, she has a larger floor loom at home.
She had a beautiful blue and purple warp on the loom and was weaving a chevron pattern when I was there.
These are some of her finished work on display and for sale.  The drape of her scarfs is to die for, so soft and dreamy.
So I hope some of you take the time to check out Chemers Gallery.  They also carry original illustrations from famous children's book and there is a ceramic artist there working in porcelain, and I love everything she makes.

Hello! My name is Carla Sonheim and I'm an illustrator, workshop instructor, and author of three drawing books. I also hold an assortment of drawing and painting online art workshops. I live in Seattle, WA, with my photographer husband, a game-playing teenager, and my blog.

Two years ago in my monthly scavenger hunt thru Barnes and Noble, I happened upon this marvelous book on Drawing by artist/illustrator Carla Sonheim.  Since that time I've purchased 3 of her books and frequently look at them for inspiration.
I love Carla's sense of whimsy and her spontinaity as she creates, and I especially am enjoying my latest purchase below, her book on Imaginary Animals.  In fact, I just tried her watercolor blog animal project with my 7th graders and they loved it!  I will be bringing it back into the curriculum again next year.

Carla and her husband just finished collaborating on this book below, and I can't wait to take a peek at it.  Alumni Rita Labib, check it out!
For more on Carla and her art please stop by her website and her blog.  Or just click on her name under Artist's I Follow.
Carla teaches a lot of on-line classes.  She's got the one above going on currently, and she also has many valuable tutorials, an informative newsletter, and this fun Book of Blobs below to work with.

I just finished up this fantastic class (her examples above and below) Junk Mail Artist's Book.  She had us making a book with recycled papers, gesso, watercolor, and ink.  Loved it, and I would highly recommend it.  You can see everyone's work from the class on her flicker site.  She is such an amazing teacher, explains things so well, demos. every aspect, and it's truly remarkable what she gets out of her students.
I also enrolled in her self-study class called 21 Days Towards Freeing Up Your Creative Self, which I thouorghly enjoyed.  It made drawing FUN!
These are examples of some of the exercises from her classes.  This graphite bear which could have originated by looking at and being inspired by a sidewalk crack...
Or these tape animals which I have yet to try.

This is a sensitive charcoal she's done, drawing with her eraser.  And below is one of her watercolor blob animals that my students so enjoyed doing. 
And this cutie below is a bit of mixed media. 
What I really like about all Carla's books and on-line classes is that she draws and paints lots of examples, like the expressive dogs below.  These were a study of different shaped eyes and how they effect the personality of the animal.

These next 3-d works are from her on-line class I took entitled Ragamuffin Scrap Animals.  In this class you use up all you odds and ends to create these whimsical creatures.  She even shows you how to sew and use your machine in case you've never used one before. 

Like I've mentioned several times, Carla is a remarkable artist and teacher, and I spend hours going thru her blog and tutorials so that I can be a better artist and teacher myself.  
I'm finding that there is still so much to learn, and that I've just barely touched the surface.

Thank you Carla for allowing me to use your images here, and for inspiring me everyday!

kristin shields

Kristin Profile Pic
Kristin Shields is a folk artist, quilter and teacher. She grew up in Massachusetts and has lived in four different US timezones, including Hawaii.  Currently, she lives in the high desert of Central Oregon.  Kristin's interests beyond textiles include travel, photography, reading, birding, hiking, mountain biking and cross country skiing. 
While her education is in the sciences, she started quilting in 1991.  Since then, her work has evolved from traditional piecing and applique to liberated piecing and original applique design.  Her current work features liberated quilting and original folk art designs often with animals, whimsy, rich color, and embroidery.
In addition to belonging to 4 local quilt guilds, Kristin is a member of The Undercover Quilters Book Club. This group is a traditional book club which reads a book every month for discussion, but once a year its members each create a quilt inspired by one of the books. Now, Kristin often finds quilt inspiration in the written word and has created many art quilts inspired by books.

When I first started perusing Kristin's blog, this is the first piece that really called out to me, and I just knew I needed to share her art with my students.   I encourage my students to dye their own fabrics and to reuse old linens.   Kristin is doing both in this piece, and I love that.   She also has brought in some lovely hand stitching that ties it all together.   Below is a shot of the piece as she was laying out her design.

What I also love about her work are the sweet faces she puts on her animals, as well as the sense of playfulness and whimsy each contains.

I adore the hand stitching she has brought into this work.

And again the sweet face, her fabric choices and handwork.

Kristin lives in a beautiful part of our country, Oregon, and she spends a lot of time outdoors enjoying nature and photographing it.   She also lets it inspire her artwork as in the works below.

Living in Oregon, Kristin gets a taste of all the seasons, and she shares them on her blog.   I really enjoyed her fall and winter scenes of her home.

She is also an exhibiting artist, and participates in many quilt shows.   Kristin takes classes with many of my favorite artist/teachers like Jude Hill and Gwen Marston and it's fun to see her results.

She has an online Etsy shop that you can access from her blog.  She sells many of her original pieces as well as prints of some of her favorite works like the card above.  And she loves to dye her own fabrics. 

You can see her work with indigo, and her work in color.   Whats really nice is she sells packets of her dyed fabrics thru her Etsy shop.

I hope you enjoyed a glimpse into Kristin Shields world and her love of fiber and stitch, and that you get a chance to visit her blog and shop at


  1. Wow! Loving all the quilting going on and the animal designs, as well as that cityscape. It's cool to see the different things you can do with appliquilting!

  2. Hi - I love your article, especially the section about one of my favourite artists, Alice Fox. However, a handmade book attributed to her is actually my original creation (shown on a white windowsill in my studio/gallery). Would you please correct this? Thanks in anticipation, Rita Summers - gonerustic.com

    1. Thank you Rita for letting me know. I've made the correction.