Life Forms at the Art and Design Center

Here’s an update on Life Forms, my solo exhibit, at UC Berkeley Extension’s Art and Design Center:


I installed the show a day early, so it’s up and available for viewing.  I’m pleased with how great it looks in this space.  I chose work from my portfolio created for the Post-Baccalaurate Certificate in Visual Arts plus a couple newer pieces.  The show is at

UC Berkeley Extension

Art and Design Center
95 Third St.
San Francisco, CA
Aug 7-21, 2014


Gallery hours:

Mon – Thu 9am-9pm
Fri – Sat 9am-4pm


I’ll be there for the artist reception on Saturday, Aug 16, 2 -4 pm and also on Thursday, August 21, 5 – 8 pm for the Yerba Buena Third Thursday event.



Life-forms-show-1See photos of my entire portfolio here:


Life Forms

Solo show postcard designLife Forms, my first solo exhibit, will be at UC Berkeley Extension, Art and Design Center, 95 Third St., San Francisco, Aug 7-21.  Artist Reception – Saturday, Aug 16, 2 -4 pm.

Includes work from my portfolio completed for the UC Berkeley Extension Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Visual Arts which I completed in Feb 2014.  Learn more about it here.

Northern California Inspirations

I am thrilled that an image from my quilt Rain Dance is featured on the postcard for the SAQA Regional Show  Northern California Inspirations at the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles.  I haven’t had a chance to see the show, but I hear it is beautiful.

Northern CA Inspirations

From left to right, images on the postcard front are by artists Kathy Grady, Denise Oyama Miller, Wendi Bucey, Ann Sanderson, Priscilla Read, and Giny Dixon.

I’m looking forward to seeing the show at the SAQA Regional Meeting on Wednesday, May 14 from 11AM-2PM at the San Jose Quilt and Textile Museum.  The program will include gallery talks by selected artists about their work and inspiration.

Our reception will be on Sunday June 8, 2014 3-5 PM at the museum where we will have light refreshments and hear a panel discussion regarding the 48 quilts from Quilt National `13 also featured at the museum.  Fiber Talks! tickets available are here; the reception is open to all museum visitors.

Visitors are welcome at both events. To learn more about the show, click this link. 

Two new prints

A few weeks ago I completed a silk screening class at San Francisco Art Institute with artist Jonathan Palmer.  I was inspired by some of his prints where he combined silk screening and relief printing and decided to create my own series using these techniques.  I posted about it here.

I created three related prints with a background nest-like structure, plus bird elements, such as feathers, wings, and birds. Then I printed linocut body parts over this.  The project is still in progress, but I’ve completed all the prints and machine quilting for two of the pieces. I did some experimenting with the stitching and found that adding some thin batting added depth and texture.  Without that, the stitching didn’t seem to add much.  After completing the quilting, I mounted the pieces onto 18″ x 24″ stretcher bars.

18″ x 24″


Read_-Cor-ValuesCor Values
18″ x 24″

SkullsSkull Prints
Need to dry about 6 weeks.

Rain Dance

Here’s an update on the printed piece started during a quilting retreat in Healdsburg.   I finished it today and titled it Rain Dance.

I was inspired to create a California themed linoleum block print on a background pieced from yellow and white scraps (more here).  The colors and silhouetted dry seedpods represent our current too dry weather in California.  I accented the printed background texture with metallic threads to represent rain.  RainDance

Rain Dance 24″ x 20″

RainDanceDetailRain Dance (Detail)

Update: Mar 13, 2014 – This piece will be included in Northern California Inspirations at the San Jose Museum of Quilts  from May 6 – July 16, 2014.

WWII Nurses

I just learned that my quilt, WWII Nurses, has been accepted as part of the WWII Home Front Quilt Challenge that will be shown at a special exhibit at the Voices in Cloth quit show.   The quilts will also be displayed on an online exhibit and other Bay Area venues. The quilts in this exhibit honor civilian efforts on the home front during WWII and will help promote the Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historical Park, located in Richmond, California.


WWII Nurses, 24″ x 16″, Hand Quilted, 2014

For this little 24″ x 16″ quilt, I superimposed this photo of my mom (lower left) with her nurse friends over the image of a US flag, then printed it onto fabric and added a border and hand quilting.


Life Forms – A Portfolio of Work

A major component for completion of the Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Visual Arts at UC Berkeley Extension is to  develop a portfolio of work suitable for application to a Masters of Fine Arts program.  I’ve been developing this portfolio for over a year and studying at UCBX for over three years. Yesterday  I presented my  portfolio to a committee of professors from the art department at UC Berkeley Extension.  The reviewers looked at my photographed portfolio packet, my artist statement, and all the pieces installed in one of the classrooms.  Additionally they interviewed me about the work, my processes, my inspirations, and my future plans.  The most surprising aspect was the feeling of excitement that I had talking about it.  This has all been such a marvelous adventure – both getting to this point and exciting options for further study and work.  I’m thrilled to say that I passed the review!

Here are some highlights from my portfolio.  See all portfolio images at my website.

First Do No Harm, DetailFirst Do No Harm, Detail

I am a fiber artist using the unique qualities of hand-printed imagery on fabric to represent both the fragility and preciousness of the natural world.  The imagery used sometimes represents the human body, such as the heart or pelvis, and sometimes it is abstracted from cellular and other biological forms to convey the idea that humans and other living beings are all very similar and dependent on each other.

12-Read_11-2013smlArial View

As I worked to find my voice as an artist, I learned that my most authentic work comes from my own life experiences, including those as a nurse and a person concerned with protecting the environment. I used the bioethical precept primum non nocere (first do no harm) as a starting point for my current series, Life Forms. The first piece, The World Needs More, shows printed images of the pelvis that are degraded and unclear, and the additional collage materials are ominous; the upside down heart and the Latin text show us that something is wrong. Usually nature gets it right, but not always. Damage can occur resulting in mutations.  This piece suggested further pieces using imagery of the circle of life and interconnectedness, death and renewal.

The World Needs MoreThe World Needs More

Just as nature uses replication to change things or to generate new life, printmaking is a way to replicate and alter images. I print the images onto whole cloth or pieces of fabric with silkscreen or linocut to create a unique fabric that can be further manipulated by cutting it up and combining it in a variety of ways.  Printmaking also provides the opportunity to make multiples of the same images that can be used within a single piece or across work in a series.


Beyond the images, the meaning of my work is deeply intertwined with quiltmaking.  I have a strong connection to quilt making going back to my childhood when I learned handcrafts such as sewing and knitting at my mother’s knee.   Each piece in Life Forms either incorporates the layering and stitching seen in quilts, or references it in some way. As an active member of the local and international art quilt community, I have been exploring ways to help redefine the quilt as a relevant contemporary art form in the 21st century.

All photography by Sabila Savage.

Piece, Print, Quilt

When Katie’s Luminous Linocuts class started up again a couple weeks ago, I decided to create a large print on a  background pieced from yellow and white scraps from a recent quilting retreat at Bishop’s Ranch in Healdsburg, CA.  I wanted the background to create a landscape feeling with a darker silhouette of plants in the foreground.  I considered appliquéing the silhouettes onto the background, but thought it might be fun to try printing it onto the fabric.  I drew the design onto a large 24″ x 20 piece of lino, dividing it into sections so it would be easier to ink up with a 12 inch roller.  Then I carved the lino for about a week.

Pod Lino

I did some test prints on paper, then printed the design onto two different pieced tops.  The first, shown below, was a test, just to make sure my idea would work before printing on the yellow and white fabric.

Pod lino print IOnce I was satisfied with the result, I printed it onto my yellow and white fabric.  I like the interesting effects achieved by printing on fabric, especially areas where the seams or the fabric created resists in areas. (Click on the photos to see the detail.)  Next step – add stitching. Pod lino print II

Reader Challenge

Back in August 2013, I saw this reader’s challenge in Cloth Paper Scissors magazine and decided to give it a whirl. The challenge was to use our favorite techniques to create a six inch mixed media square with some kind of stitching.

I used one of my linocut prints on fabric as the starting point, then I accented the print  with acrylic ink and oil pastel.  I didn’t spend too much effort on it, and basically just considered it a little experiment where I give equal weight to the positive and negative space in a composition.  I liked the result and decided to submit it to the magazine.  The first step was to submit a .jpg of the piece. Later, I heard back from them and sent it in to be photographed, still not knowing if it would actually be included in the magazine.  Today I was pleased to see that it was included in the January/February 2014 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors!!!

Linocut, acrylic ink, and oil pastel. Machine stitched. 6″x 6″

Readers-challengeCloth Paper Scissors Jan/Feb 2014


In October I attended a two day workshop with Kerr Grabowski learning her deconstructed silk screen printing techniques.  Her methods include creating designs and textures on fabric using thickened fiber reactive dyes, then printing the designs onto fabric.  I created a good “stash” of fabric during the two days and some more when I got home, then spend some time considering how I could use the fabric in my current series, Life Forms. I created the following two pieces.

The first is an instillation piece with shards of the silkscreened fabric sewn onto three long sections of silk organza.  I added additional stitching and text using oil pastel.  This morning, I auditioned it in one the windows at the UC Berkeley Art and Design Center in San Francisco to see if I had achieved my desired effect.  I was particularly pleased to see how striking it looked with a view of the Museum of the African Diaspora (MOAD) through the transparent pieces.


I am working on a second piece based on these fabrics. I plan to make three panels from whole cloth deconstructed prints. By whole cloth, I mean that the cloth is presented exactly as printed, without any piecing.  I’ve completed two of the panels so far, and the third panel is still in progress.  The circles on the fabric are echoed with machine stitching using contrasting thread.