The Waiting is the Hardest Part


Thank You Tom Petty for the perfect blog post title!

Well after nearly 20 hours, of patiently asking Siri how much longer*, I was finally able to remove the cooled mold and glass quilt from the kiln.  The mold must be broken off of the glass (carefully), which is a lot like a being an archaeologist, although most of the time I wasn’t gently brushing away dirt.


Because the mold material expands in water, most of it must come off dry, or risk the expansion breaking the glass.


After about an hour, I unearthed the glass quilt!

Then I put it in a shallow water bath and scrubbed with a toothbrush to get the mold mix out of all the fine detail areas.IMG_3938

Although in most of these pictures it looks glassy, the quilt is still a little wet.  When it dries, it has a dull finish.  This has to do with the mold material.  I can’t sand it, or I’d take away all of the details.  So I asked a few other glass artists for tips.  I am going to try a RUBBER polishing tip on my Dremel.  Fingers crossed!

Oh, and isn’t this the most intriguing color – it’s not your eyes or my camera!  The main glass is called Rhubarb – it changes from green to that’s pinkish rhubarb color depending on what light it is in!

And this is the original piece of the quilt (6″ square roughly)


*Just for fun, here’s the Cookie Monster Outtake video:

Going Glass

This week I’m exploring turning art quilts into glass quilts.  I took a class a couple years ago, but have not had a chance to put into practice what I learned.

There’s quite a bit to the process – learning how to mix my own mold material (I get to use a power drill!!) making sure all the edges are secure to avoid weird bubbles, and decorating the mold with the colors needed to highlight the quilting.

IMG_3920Safety First!  No need to breath this stuff in or get it in my eyes.  So I’m donning a very fashionable mask and glasses today in the studio.

Yesterday I prepared the quilt surface (which was treated last week with Stiffy) by securing it with hot glue.  I forgot to take pictures of that process.  Needless to say, the quilt piece is useless as a piece of fabric, but potentially reusable.

Then I built walls around the piece to hold in the mold material.  Today after mixing the material, I poured and waited for it to settle and cure to a point where I could pull out the quilt.


Not terribly pretty, but at this stage that’s not what I’m going for.  I’m just hopeful I left enough room around the art quilt to make the mold strong enough for the casting stage.

After about 1/2 hour, the material was ready to monkey with.  I pulled off the sides, and carefully pulled the quilt off of the styro base it was glued to.  And VOILA!  A mold of an art quilt:


Interesting how the color from the red material leeched into the mold mix!  At this point I can add the glass and pop it into the kiln.  But the kiln has a plate in it, so I’m not in a big rush.  I’ll start filling in the glass this afternoon and maybe tomorrow I can cast it.

Stay tuned, cross your fingers!

Ta-Da… Vinci

IMG_3847After a much more productive Thursday, DaVinci is done!  I spent much of the morning finishing up his fur and then pinned him to the design wall to figure out what to do with those ghostly eyes.

When I went back tonight, Theresa Rhodus and I talked about the eyes.  We both agreed they needed to be darker, but not necessarily black. I also wanted to make sure the eyes didn’t recede, which happens very easily with heavy stitching, since the fabric is physically more flat.

I decided to color the eyes in… I didn’t have my Derwent Inks at the studio, which I love using on fabric.  They’re very colorfast and great for layering both shadows and highlights.  So, I opted to use Tee Juice in gray to help pop the eyes.  Tee Juice is also colorfast, but less forgiving, or so I thought.

After coloring the eyes, I went back to the sewing machine and added a few more touches, including my signature.  By the time I was finished, the Tee Juice was dry, and the eyes seemed to have faded.  I popped the piece in the frame, and asked Theresa about the eyes.  She agreed.  So I added another layer of gray.

I still need to finish the back of the frame and take a good photo so I can have a print made for DaVinci’s mama, Jodi.



“Salvadore Doggie” 26×24

DaVinci, in stitches

Making some great progress on DaVinci Doggie.  Today I pinned the batting and started in on his schnoz…


Thanks to my friend Shea Wilkinson, my free-motion “quilting” skills allow me to thread paint pieces like DaVinci.  A few years back she held a class and gave us the basics – but it is really all about practice.  I keep thinking I need a better foot for the machine though, because it’s very hard for me to see where I’m going when I drive backwards.


Oh, doah, I didn’t realize this picture was so blurry.  It’s a little hard to see, but I started with the nose because it’s pretty much the center of the piece, allowing me to anchor the batting and fabric.  In person, his nose is smooth and puffy, although not cold and wet.

After the nose was finished, I started in on the fur around the nose.  I’m working to capture the lights and darks in DaVinci’s fur, and decided to continue on with the purple threads to add more interest.

IMG_3845Tomorrow, I’ll start with the moustache, and work my way up into to the top of his head and ear.  If it’s quiet at the studio, I think I can get all of DaVinci finished!

DaVinci, part 2

IMG_3818Last week I posted about DaVinci, the dog who is lending his image to become an art quilt for the Nebraska Humane Society Black Tie and Tails auction.  After getting his image sketched and blown up to what might be life size, I then started on the next part of my process – cutting out fabrics.

This is almost cartoon-like.  I approach the fabrics by looking for light and dark areas in the original picture.  With DaVinci, this was a bit harder because the original photo does not have a lot of contrast.

With the background having strong reds and browns, I am choosing to make DaVinci mostly greens and blues with purple as an accent color.

After all of the pieces are cut out, then I work on laying them out in the same placement as the paper image.  I prepared the fabric with Steam-a-Seam, and once I’m satisfied with placement, I peel the backing off and iron the pieces in place.

Tonight I finished off all of the fabric sections (I say that now, I’ll probably make some additions later) by complimenting the bold cartoon-like pieces with thin “hair” pieces on top.  If you look closely, you’ll notice I used artistic license on DaVinci’s moustache. He’s now a Salvadore Doggie…

The next few days I will spend thread painting all of DaVinci’s features to make him pop off the background.  Stay tuned!

DaVinci in Progress

davinciorigI am working on a donation piece for the Humane Society’s Black Tie and Tails Auction.  I decided that it needed to be an animal – and should be a “generic” animal to get the most attention.  I’ve always loved the style of colorists, instead of using the natural given color of an object, choosing colors in the same shades, like pink and purple houses instead of grey and brown.  So, the pet couldn’t be too serious, right?

I reached out on Facebook for FUNNY dog pictures.  I received a lot of dog pictures, most were pretty straight forward, not necessarily funny.  I did get some GREAT photos with “flying doxies” (dachshunds with their ears in the air while running), but not quite non-breed specific enough for bidding wars.  Although I’m sure all doxie owners would recognize the very look!

Then there’s DaVinci, Jodi Sangster‘s pup.  DaVinci is the PERFECT generic dog for one of my textile pieces – furry, big nose, just that look that every dog owner knows, regardless of breed.

My first steps to this piece are to edit the photograph to have stronger lines and contrast to help pick out the right fabrics.

IMG_3811 DaVinci, edited into greyscale and “sketchbook” with
Sharpie Markers to better define edges.

Then, after tracing with Sharpie, I flipped the picture over and had it copied and enlarged to fit the frame I picked out.


Now that the basic lines are done, I can work on cutting up fabrics.  I altered some traditional Christmas fabric (it was part of another challenge), as well as a big piece of black for the background.  Next post will be the fabric process building DaVinci Doggie…

It’s been 16 months…

Holy Cow, where does time go?  It’s been 16 months since I last posted.

I’m just taking a quick moment to update you on Funky Dori activities for 2016.

  1.  Starting today, I’m going to blog more often, even weekly!  vna
  2. On February 21st,  I’ll be at Art & Soup for the VNA Fundraiser, over the next 6 weeks I’ll be working on new paintings for this event.  You’ll see regular photos of the work, hopefully to tempt you into joining me at the fundraiser.gsusa
  3. I’m working with 16 or so sessions of Girl Scouts for artVenture on April 2nd.  I’ll post pictures here and there as we meet and create.  This will conclude the end of February.
  4. I’m cleaning out my art supplies and encouraging others to do the same.  In March, we’ll have a “garage” sale at Smiling Turtle in hopes of finding new homes for the supplies!ocilogo
  5. In April, I’m teaching my last class for 2016 through Omaha Creative Institute.  It’s Mixed Media with a huge twist.  You can only register through OCI – be sure to check it out.
  6. In May/June, Erin and I are heading to France and England.
  7. July will most likely bring a Family Reunion trip to somewhere.
  8. August through December I’ll be working on new ornaments.
  9. And in December, I plan to attend Aksarben Holiday Market with those ornaments!

Been a Busy Summer!

Hello World!  This is my first post in 2 whole months.  Happy Labor Day!

So what’s been going on this summer?  A lot of gallery work and not as much Funky Dori work as I’d have wished.  Although the creative team has come together on a few occasions to work on the next Village Pointe installation -yes we will be covering Peggy’s sculpture again.  This time, it will be less of a quilt, more like a big afgan.

We’re keeping the details on the down low, but it’s going to be a very warm covering, and hopefully when the installation is taken down we can use the pieces to finish blankets to donate to local shelters.

IMG_0933 I’ve also been playing with a new medium – ink, alcohol ink to be specific.  I have found more of my creative time with that than fabric or glass.  It’s like the best of both worlds – tons of texture, and lots of gloss and “melting”.  IMG_0935

I’m currently working on pieces for two themed shows, Ancestral Connections, which is with the Omaha Artists Inc and will be at the Hot Shops in November.  The other is Architexture, with the Nebraska SAQA, and will travel to various galleries in Nebraska throughout 2015 and 2016.

Soon, I’ll have several pieces going to Columbus for a show with fellow artists, Shea Wilkinson and Jane Marie.  Opening Reception will be Sunday Sept 28th from 2-4 at the Columbus Art Gallery.  I hope some of you can make it to the reception!  If not,  the show will run until November 15th.



“You use a glass mirror to see your face; you use works of art to see your soul”
~ George Bernard Shaw

Tang in the Mirror

Tang in the Mirror

The quote seems so appropriate for the picture (taken at the HDZ Aquarium.  Love those little Tangs!)

I didn’t realize how long it had been since I posted on the blog.  I had updated the website (so it doesn’t seem so out of date), but neglected to get back out here to share what’s up!

I’m studying to improve my skills with Alcohol Inks; the lessons have been with both June Rollins and Karen Walker, and I must admit, it’s become a wee bit of an addiction.  If you’re following me on Facebook, you’ve seen some of the work as a result of these classes.  They’re small, so I’m turning the creations into hand-built greeting cards.  My next piece will be bigger, I just haven’t decided on a topic.

It’s almost 4th of July!  That means fresh corn, fireworks and family reunions.  I hope you all have a fantastic fourth.

Waterfall I

Waterfall I

Waterfall I

It’s been about 2 weeks since I started on the Waterfall. I wish I had taken a photo before I painted so you could see what it looked like with just the fabric pieced in place. Pretty boring and abstract. In fact, it was a little hard to tackle until I decided to paint.

I’m very proud of this piece. I feel like I’ve grown a lot in working on it. First, it’s very realistic. Being close to the work, I don’t know that I would have said that, except that I’ve received some very strong feedback from people who have seen it in person. One even commented she could hear the water!

Secondly, I worked very hard to finish this in a highly professional manner, barring a frame. Well the frame is a story in “you get what you pay for”. I was so excited to find a frame for $8 (the plexiglass was broken). Low and behold, when I attempted to take out the plexi, which was factory glued in, ugh, the frame snapped in two corners and pieces went flying.

The upside, I determined the frame would have looked horrible and moved on. With encouragement that my gut was right, I finished the piece with rock edges rather than straightlines, and used a lot of interfacing to stabilize the material so it could float on a canvas.

The “canvas” is hidden under the piece, making it an odd size. 20×32. Do you know that they don’t make 20×32″ canvas? Nor do they make 32″ stretcher bars (they do, but they are special order). So I picked up 20 and 30 stretcherbars and made my own canvas for the piece to float on.

The full size of Waterfall I is 24″ x 36″. It is wired for hanging, and ready to go to the Omaha Artists Inc selection show tomorrow. Fingers crossed!

I’m going to take a break from 2 dimensional work and begin purses this week.  I have loads of great custom dyed and painted fabric begging to accessorize!  Until next time,

It is life, I think, to watch the water. A man can learn so many things.”
~ Nicholas Sparks