Monday, October 26, 2009


It's time for some awesome book recommendations. I've been finding several amazing books lately that are just too inspiring not to share.

Weekend Sewing: More than 40 Projects and Ideas for Inspired Stitching, by Heather Ross
I usually get my craft books from the library first, to make sure I want to splurge on buying them. This one is definitely worth paying for. There are so many great ideas for projects in here and they range from beginner to advanced. The amazing thing is, even the beginner projects caught my interest. There are just too many cool ideas to pass this one up. I even liked her suggestions for setting up a sewing space, which I finally have room for now!

Woven Treasures: One of a Kind Bags with Folk Weaving Techniques, by Sara Lamb

If you are interested in weaving, this is the book for you! She has some amazing projects to try all different types of weaving. There are two reasons the projects in this book are so great: 1) They are all bags, so they're useful, giftable, and straightforward to make. 2) Every project is done on the same loom: a rigid heddle loom. This is the perfect starter loom, very inexpensive and easy to use but with a wide variety of potential projects. I can't wait to try some of these bags!

Carefree Clothes for Girls, by Junko Okawa
Okay, so I haven't actually seen the inside of this one (or the next one) yet. But they just came out in English, and what I have seen of this one looks so fun to make! I'm expecting my first girl and I just can't wait to make her some dresses.

Felting for Baby, by Saori Yamazaki
How cool is this? I just love felting, and what better way to satisfy the urge to felt than a nice small project for baby! I'm sure the gifting possibilities are endless with these projects too.

Happy reading!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Gallery Show

Sorry I haven't posted in a while, but I've been moving into a new house and getting ready for this:

I am so excited to have a gallery show! The silk paintings I made are very large and it just doesn't seem right for them to only hang in my house. If you are in the KC area, come check out the gallery for First Fridays in November!
Here is another of my panels and the write up for the show.

Suspended Narrative
Stories in Silk and Oil

Delicate silk paintings flowing with soft lines contrast with hard edged oil paintings and prints with intense color combinations. On the surface, the artwork created by Christy L. Berry and Steph Toth Kates seems curiously dissimilar at first glance. But dig a little deeper and the connection becomes clear. Both artists collect visual imagery from familiar stories and guide the viewer into a reflection of their personal connection with these tales.

Kates draws her imagery from fairytale and myth. Like myth, her paintings seek answers from a confusing universe, but on a more intimate level. They are interior landscapes – delving into remote inner corners where body and conciousness combine, exploring ideas of the body as a universe and a home. Inhabiting this inner expanse are animals familiar from children's storybooks along with cells, veins and neurons lifted from medical diagrams.

Berry’s silk paintings also reinterpret familiar stories. She draws her inspiration from Biblical passages – capturing fleeting moments in dream-like condensed images on voluminous silk panels. The women in her silks are both a self-portrait and a universal figure forming metaphors concerning the soul. Colors and lines flow and evoke the sense of an unexpected memory.

Stories twine throughout this exhibit – sometimes recognizable, sometimes just touching on a familiar cord but always inviting viewers to explore and impart their own memory, dream or experience into the narrative.

Friday, October 9, 2009


It was such a busy day at Missouri Town that this is the only picture I got of the weaving project. Unfortunately, you can't see the front where the pattern is. It was really fun demonstrating; there were so many people interested in the weaving process. The hard part was remembering where I was in the pattern sequence while talking to people. Needless to say, I had to unweave several times! I only got half way done, but when I finish and take it off the loom I will post more pictures. (Note the shawl and arm-warmers, it was chilly!)

Last week, my younger students felted balls and sticks and sewed them together to make little animals. This one is still getting its face stitched on. They had a lot of fun with it and were surprisingly good at the sewing part.

Here are students needle-felting. If you are looking for a super easy way to embellish, try needle-felting. It's instant gratification and no mess. The kids loved the "stabbing" motion, and thankfully only one needle was broken!

Close-up of a face in progress. She's felting very safely: foam underneath the project, pencil to hold in place (not fingers), and stabbing straight up and down.

And lastly, we spent all day Tuesday making apple butter. If my husband wasn't so motivated, I don't know if I would do it every year, but the end result is always worth it. This year we actually made twice as much as usual, which means more to share with friends!