Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Appreciating the Ordinary

Anyone who wants to can be surprised by the beauty or pain of the natural world, of the human mind and heart, and can try to capture just that - 
the details, the nuance, what is.  If you start to look around, you will start to see.
-Anne Lamott, excerpt from "Bird by Bird"

contemplative photography

For most of us, photography is linked to family, friends, places and memories.  Of course it is even more prevalent these days with all the new technology.  Most individuals have ongoing access to some form of camera.  Everything is photographed and shared.  I have read that the overuse of photography could be actually be replacing retaining those memories within our own brain.  This may or may not be true.

However, photography can be an ideal tool to open ourselves to the wonder of an ordinary moment.  I had the opportunity to explore contemplative photography in a recent Creativity Lab class, monthly meetings where meditation meets creative process.  Walking the neighborhood, we photographed what our visual sense responded to, quickly without the usual concern for composition, design, etc.  Later, we each chose one photo to share with the group.  (Mine is above.)

It is surprising what arises from directly seeing... how an ordinary bit of parking lot is transformed from a disregarded thing into something intriguing, even beautiful.  Seeing with fresh eyes, I become a part of the world around me.  I encourage to you to take out the camera and experiment for yourself.  See what you discover!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

In Flux

The courage of a river to continue belief
In the slow fall of ground,
Always falling farther
Toward the unseen ocean.
~ John O'Donohue, excerpt from In Praise of Water

In Flux   -  16.5" x 22.5" © 2014 Linda A. Miller
  In Flux   -  16.5" x 22.5"
© 2014 Linda A. Miller

"In Flux" is a part of my ongoing flow series, using the shrinkage technique to bring out texture.  You can clearly see the sculptural effect in the rivers, where large gaps in stitching create puffing of fabric due to the felt backing shrinking.   I used water soluble pencils (primarily Inktense), along with hand embroidery.  It is bordered with brocade that is also embroidered following the details.

In Flux   detail © 2014 Linda A. Miller
In Flux  - detail
© 2014 Linda A. Miller

In Flux  detail © 2014 Linda A. Miller
In Flux -  detail
© 2014 Linda A. Miller

Linking to Off the Wall Fridays.  Visit to see the work....

Monday, October 6, 2014

Shades of Passion

SAQA Shades of Passion

SAQA Shades of Passion

Shades of Passion has opened at the Poway Center for the Performing Arts.  Artists Reception is on Friday, October 10, 5:00 - 8:00pm.  You can view "Serenity" and many wonderful works on exhibit through the end of October.  Enjoy!

Serenity - 41" x 23" © 2014 Linda A. Miller
Serenity - 41" x 23"
© 2014 Linda A. Miller

Linking to Off the Wall Fridays.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014


Contemplation calls us into silence and stillness, to let go of the hold that the onslaught
 of information has on our attention, and direct our awareness to something more subtle. 
We learn slowly to listen to a different voice, other than the one 
that chatters incessantly in our minds.
-  Christine Valters Paintner

work in process - Linda A Miller

This is a piece that has been sitting, now calling me to work.  It is helping me to focus...all this stitching away and enjoying the feel of needle to cloth.  Often time and perspective clarify what the next step is for a piece of artwork.  And perhaps it does not matter what the final result is as long as the process continues to intrigue.

Read more about slowing down on David Limrite's blog.


Monday, September 22, 2014

This week's Auction, Yes!

Today, 9/22, at 2:00 PM EDT, the second group of quilts are up for bid on the SAQA Benefit Auction, including my quilt, "Yes!"

Yes   - 12" x 12"
© 2014 Linda A. Miller

I am honored to be in good company, including these fine artists: Margaret Blank, Paula Chung, Lisa Ellis, Jamie Fingal, Sheila Frampton Cooper, Alison Muir, Wil Opio Oguta and Mary Tabar.  Check out the quilts for sale this week right here!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Fall Exhibits

Serenity - 41" x 23" © 2014 Linda A. Miller
Serenity - 41" x 23"
© 2014 Linda A. Miller

I am pleased to announce these upcoming local California exhibits including my quilts.

"Serenity" will be shown in Shades of Passion at the Poway Center for the Performing Arts on October 2 - 29, 2014.  This will feature the work of 32 regional SAQA artists.  PCPA: 15498 Espola Road, Poway 92064.  Hours: Tuesday - Friday, 9:00am to 5:00pm, Saturday 10:00am - 3:00pm.  Artist reception Friday October 10, 5:00 - 8:00pm.

Learn more about "Serenity" here.

Shining Grace - 24" x 18" © 2014 Linda A. Miller
Shining Grace - 24" x 18"
© 2014 Linda A. Miller

"Shining Grace" will be part of the Appearances Special Exhibit at Ouiltfest Oasis Palm Springs  on October 2 - 4 in the Palm Springs Convention Center, 277 N Avenida Caballeros, Palm Springs, CA 92262. Show hours: Thursday - Saturday 10:00am - 6:00pm

Hope you get a chance to visit these shows!

Linking to Off the Wall Fridays.  Follow the link to see more art!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Couching Stitches

The Future Maitreya (detail) Norton Simon Art Foundation

The Future Maitreya (detail)
Tibet 1793 – 94
Silk appliqué 22’ 4” x 14’ 9”
Norton Simon Art Foundation

Leslie Rinchen-Wongmo, caretaker of a Tibetan applique tradition, creates silk thangkas and passes the skill on to others through her Stitching Buddhas Virtual Apprentice Program, and in workshops. 

I was fortunate to be able to take her introductory class at the Norton Simon Museum over the weekend.  Leslie's love and enthusiasm for her subject flows into her lively teaching.

Leslie Rinchen Wongmo demonstration
Leslie talking about the Thangka

We were given materials to couch a flower bud from the 8th Dalai Lama's Thangka, which has been on exhibit at the Museum (ended August 25th). See circled buds above the buddha.

The Future Maitreya (detail), buds circled in red.

Leslie showed techniques to stitch comfortably.  It was tiny detailed work, sometimes frustrated by lack of good light in the workspace, as the cords were sewn down over the design lines.  

flower bud in progress
flower bud in progress

flower bud in progress
completed bud

As you see above, I used contrasting color of thread to couch the pink horsehair cord... Leslie suggested this so we could see our stitches.  Normally thread would be matching to hide the couching stitches.

Leslie also gave a demonstration on wrapping horsehair by twisting and turning hair and strands of silk thread together.  She made it look easy... yet I know this would time to master were I to try! 

Leslie Rinchen Wongmo demonstration
wrapped cord

In Tibetan applique, outlines are created with silk wrapped horse hair cords that are attached by couching to the material following pattern lines.  The edges are turned under and attached to neighboring sections, building the image piece by piece.  There is no backing piece, which makes this form of applique unique.  The buds we made would actually have been in 2 different colors of fabric (one for the bud, one for leaves), then attached together.

Great to be on the receiving end of Leslie's teaching.  It was fun to experience the process to better appreciate the work behind this sacred art.  Other students, including experienced and novice stitchers, all seemed to enjoy themselves.  Good to see the amazing Thangka once more before the exhibit closes.  It may be another 10 years before this piece is shown again at the Museum.  Learn more about the special needs in displaying such a large textile in this podcast.

Detail of thangka
Detail of Thangka

Visit Leslie's Threads of Awakening website to learn more about what she offers.


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