Archive for the ‘embellishment’ Category


Sharing and Showing

July 18, 2010

Through VAE Window

Getting the work out there and getting noticed…that’s the challenge of being an artist in the current economy.  

If people don’t see your work, then how will they recognize your talent?  What can you do to bring more attention to your work? Invest in membership with active arts organizations, highlight current community concerns and combine your charitable passions with showing your work. Utilizing these three points, I had two great opportunities to share my work this month, and a lot of fun showing it.  

As a Feature Artist at the Visual Art Exchange Gallery (VAE) in Raleigh, NC, three new works are now showing in the front gallery, viewable through the window.  And with two new exhibits opening at the gallery, on First Friday, hundreds attended the reception.  The work will show at the gallery through July 29, 2010. 

In my conversations with patrons, I highlighted that these works use re-purposed light weight synthetic papers.  With a bit of paint, lots of stitching, and my trusty heat gun, I created these scroll-like works using materials that would be thrown out otherwise.  

2nd Saturday at Brunswick Town Historic Site was also a lot of fun.  This month, the site highlighted textile arts.  I really enjoyed explaining my process of creating fiber art, or should I say processes.  

Along with re-purposing materials, I’ve used a variety of techniques, from photo-transfer to mixed media in my work.  It is hard to limit the description to fiber art.  

I also demonstrated how easy it is to make an Operation Kid Comfort quilt, completing the quilt top for a little American hero during the four-hour event.  Operation Kid Comfort can always use volunteers, and with so many deployments now, we are in need of cotton fabrics suitable for juvenile quilts.  Brightly colored solids and cute prints for boys and girls would be wonderful!  Sending fabric in 4 1/2″ strips would be even better! 

Operation Kid Comfort
Armed Services YMCA
208 Thorncliff Drive
Fayetteville, NC  28303

Here’s the quilt top that I later finished at home after the show.  An experienced quilter can put together an Operation Kid Comfort quilt in 4-6 hours, and all by machine! 

Think about joining and volunteering at a local arts organization, incorporating social concerns into your work, and  including a charitable organization when showing your work.  It’s a win-win on for all!


White Heron Gallery, Dunn, NC now open

May 10, 2010

White Heron Gallery is now open! 

Along with magnificent art by more than thirty artists, the hard work of Ginger and Joe Gehres, and Adelaide ‘Nicky’ Page has paid off in a wonderful setting for the art.

I had the great pleasure of attending the opening, sharing my beading techniques with visitors.  The parlor is a wonderful spot to sit and chat.

If you are interested in fiber art, there are four or five of us represented at  White Heron Gallery alongside the talents of oil and watercolor artists, potters, jewelers, and more.

Please take a few moments to visit the artist pages of the gallery.  You will be amazed and impressed.  I’m sure you will find something of interest there.

If you make a visit to White Heron Gallery, let me know when.  If possible, I’d love to meet up with you.


Titled Recycled

April 26, 2010

Harmony 28.5" X 22"

Thanks to everyone who sent me title suggestions for the works in the earlier post.  With my brain stimulated, I had a title for each piece before bedtime, last night.

They went off to Kimberly-Clark Corporation this morning.  Each work shows how products that normally end up in the trash can be re-purposed into works of art.  I wish I had more time to properly photograph them.

Experimenting with different products and methods is great fun.  Perhaps, you’ll be inspired to think about what you can re-purpose.

Here’s the list:

Harmony (formerly ‘three beads’)

Fowl Play (formerly ‘chicken’)

A World Away (formerly ‘Walden planet’)

Global Effect (formerly ‘tree’)

As always, I hope you like the work and welcome your comments and suggestions.


My Personal Earth Day (Week)

April 25, 2010

Synchronicity continues to light my path.  Over the past few of months, I’ve been painting wrappers, waiting for inspiration and the weather to join forces allowing me a day to step outside with my heat gun and play.

The inspiration came in the form of a phone call from the company that makes the wrappers requesting work for an upcoming ‘green’ conference.  The weather has been delightful.   With my trigger finger ready, I stitched the layers of wrappers together, then zapped them with my heat gun.  Wha-la!

Check it out!  I love these little experiments and look forward to getting more of the material to create some bigger projects.  These will be shipping tomorrow, so I need to come up with some permanent titles.  Feel free to leave your suggestions in the comments.

Thank you Patti for helping me out with the painting of so many of these wrappers!

Walden Planet

After distressing with the heat gun, the results brought to mind a few sci-fi movies I’d seen.  I could title it:  “Where’s Charlton Heston Now?”

Walden detail


This one needed a bit of ‘umph’.  Why not a chicken?

Chicken detail

Three Beads

For Three Beads, I’m thinking of attaching the stick (rod) with clear thread, similar to a thin fishing line, creating the illusion of the piece hanging separately.  I’d better decide quickly!

Three Beads detail


There you have it…my Earth Day celebration in art.  Throughout the process, I contemplated more about my impact on our environment and what I can do to please Mother Earth.  Its been a great week!

Please leave comments and suggestions.  I would love to hear from you.


Check out these books

March 11, 2010

So, I was in Barnes & Noble of McAllen, TX waiting for our P.F. Chang’s order, and started browsing the quilting isle.  Check it out…on the shelf, right next to each other, are two books that my work is included in.  How cool is that!

art + quilt:  Design Principles and Creativity Exercises by Lyric Kinard is a wonderful book filled with inspiration.  Essays from fiber artists such as Hollis Chatelain and Janine LeBlanc motivate and impress on the reader the value of trusting the process of making art.  Lyric, who writes just as she speaks with a relaxed and no-nonsense approach, guides the artist through the necessary principles of design through fun, short exercises.  I love this book!  It is one I will refer back to again and again!  And see pages 90 and 93 for photos of sample exercises I made for the book.

Quilting for Peace by Katherine Bell (to the right of Lyric’s book) is filled with essays and projects that support communities across America.  Learn how to recycle materials to make sleeping bags for the homeless, or about Ami Simms’ Priority Alzheimer Quilts, or how to support Newborns in Need, or any of the other great projects highlighted in this book.

On pages 5-59 of Bell’s book, you will find a wonderful essay about Operation Kid Comfort, the Armed Services YMCA program I founded six years ago.  Since then, thousands of ‘America’s Littlest Heroes”, the children of our deployed service men and women have received FREE Operation Kid Comfort photo-transfer quilts to hang on to while their parents serve overseas.

Another great book that uses profits to fund programs that support military personnel and their families is Thanking Our Troops:  God Bless America Touring Quilts by Judy Howard.  Not only is this a great book with wonderful stories, quilts and projects, but the exhibit is available to communities and quilt shows.  See the website for the touring schedule.

I was honored to write the essay From One Act of Love (pg 14) for the book.  Additionally, I created a quilt that is included in the tour.  Both tell the story of Operation Kid Comfort, from that first quilt I made for my grandson to the many supporters and volunteers who understand there is no better way to support our troops than to care for their families while they are away.

Whatever your taste, traditional, contemporary or no-fear surface design, these books provide something for each of you.  Enjoy!


Busy as always . . .

December 6, 2009

Yes…I know, it’s been awhile.  With my fiber arts, exhibit work, workshops, Operation Kid Comfort, and let’s not forget the family, there’s just not enough hours in the day.  Perhaps it is time to enlist one of my many grandchildren to take on the reporting for me.  Well, on to the news . . .

Hollyhocks III

Hollyhocks III a commission piece that now hangs in the Admitting Waiting Room of the new UNC Cancer hospital in Chapel Hill, NC.   I got to see it hanging while at the hospital for my five year – AND LAST – checkup, and found ii in a spot where it will lighten the mood of many.  It is such an honor to be part of this great institution that has saved so many lives, my own included.

The base for the flower is photo-transfer from photos I took in the Ring family garden in Braintree, Massachusetts a few years back.  I added a bit of paint, and then heavily thread painted the blossom.  The background is a mottled orange commercial fabric that I bleached out a grid on using chicken wire for the ‘stamp’.  And then (of course), I embellished with beads, lots of beads, and some yarn.

Rabbit Moon is based on a Mayan hieroglyph that tells the story of the rabbit on the moon.  I grew up with the man on the moon and his cheese, Mayans see a rabbit.

Rabbit Moon

The background is commercial fabric that I rusted (see my earlier post).  I then traced, stitched and painted the hieroglyph, and fused the pots. It is finished off with machine quilting and again, lots of beads.

Red Woods, is not complete yet, but it is small enough to scan, so I thought I’d share my progress.  I’ll spend the next few evenings adding some white and red beads.  The black border is irregular.  I’m not sure I’ll leave it that way, or square it off.  When its done, I’ll post the finished product.

Red Woods in progress


Hot Textiles…What a Book!

December 16, 2008

hot-textiles-linkSteve bought me this great book for me a month or so ago (an early Christmas present).  Hot Textiles by Kim Thittachai is a phenomenal exploration in the use of your heat gun to create works of art in textiles.

Here is a recently created work, Remnants, that used Thittachai’s technique of painted fusible web distressed with heat.  The background fabric is a hand dyed and burnt out silk.Remnants ©Ann Flaherty 2008

Remnants ©Ann Flaherty 2008

For another experiment, Blaze, I used the inside of a Fedex envelope.  Painted with water based red and yellow paints, I then blasted it with my heat gun creating a dimensional synthetic cloth that can be easily stitched.

If you are not up for making your grandmother’s quilt, and love to experiment with the use of alternative items in

Blaze ©Ann Flaherty 2008

Blaze ©Ann Flaherty 2008

your work , such as Tyvek, vegetable mesh, synthetics, paints, dyes, seeds and so much more, Hot Textiles provides understandable instructions that beg you to try more.  Here are a set of skills that you can incorporate in other techniques.  Buy this book and set a play date soon!

One caution:  because of the use of heat on a variety of materials, you will need a well ventilated area.