*30 IN 30* Day 16

Ha, I thought it was difficult to do a piece every day while at home - try it while traveling! We went to Vancouver BC, just a quick trip overnight.

Did we realize it was Chinese New Year? No! But the New Year Lions found us TWICE. Once at the Granville Market, and once at Dynasty, a fabulous Dim Sum restaurant. The lions pulled out the stops during brunch, stopping at individual tables and driving the 2017 evil spirits far, far away. Here's a shot of a diner making an offering to the lion.  We wished we had prepared red envelopes of cash to bless 2018! 




After traveling home, I hit the studio for a short session before bed. What could be more compelling that a vibrant, LOUD lion for inspiration?


Day 16

Reclaimed fabric, silk, prints, free-motion stitching.

See my Instagram account for a video (with SOUND) of the lions dancing: @janscilipoti.fiber

*30 IN 30* Day 15

Fifteenth straight day. How can it be so difficult to find an hour or two in the studio? Tonight it didn't happen until 10:00. The rest of the family settles down in the living room... and I head out in the dark to the cold studio.

I gave myself one hour.  At 11:00, the piece was photographed and posted. To bed!


Day 15

Cotton, silk, oil stick, free-motion stitching.

Click here to follow my studio progress!

*30 IN 30* Day 14

Valentine's Day - Gotta say, I still like this one! Nothing wrong with letting loved ones know you still care. And nice to feel it in return! My sweetie surprised me with a copy of David Lebovitz's new book L'appart.  Now that's knowing your partner :)



So, I made a charm for all the relationships out there. More macabre than I intended, but matters of the heart do tend to get sticky and shadowy at times! The idea is to patch them up and hold on to the LOVE.

Click here to follow my studio progress!

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Day 14

Cotton, sheer silk, paper, oil stick, hand stitching, free-motion stitching.

*30 IN 30* Day 13

This week I want to show double *love* for my sweetie - on Valentine's Day and his birthday. Will take this as my direction for the next three days.

First, still working with the stitching I did on sheer black silk. Looks marvelous in person, sheer and touchable. Am working out how to manipulate the edges, attach it, yet enhance the sheer quality.

Fiber has one aspect that I always struggle against: it looks soft and malleable, until sewn down.  Then it goes stiff and static. A constant question: how to keep the 'hand' alive?

Click here to follow my studio progress!


Day 14

Paper, ink, reclaimed fabric, sheer silk, free-motion stitching.

*30 IN 30* Day 12

Have been exploiting the back/front nature of free-motion stitching. The clue here is the mirror-imaging of yesterday's piece. Yep. It's the back. Enhanced and torn.

This is most intriguing to me because it bumps up the scale, the visual perception, of the image.  This is something I've been struggling with, since there is a limit to the width of thread I can use in my sewing machine. Encouraged by this sketch.

Click here to follow my studio progress!


Day 12

After Alexander McQueen. Cotton, stabilizer, free-motion stitching.

*30 IN 30* Day 11

When one piece leads me automatically to another version, I feel as if I'm going in a good direction. It was so with yesterday's image. As I was stitching it, I was already planning today's. No need to change out the essential imagery: in fact, I wanted to see the same image rendered in a different way.

I started with black fabric, and used only one color thread, relying on the line work and high contrast for drama.

My Instagram: @janscilipoti.fiber


Day 11

Cotton, free-motion stitiching.

Click here to follow my studio progress!

*30 IN 30* Day 10

Stumbled on a documentary about Alexander McQueen, the British fashion designer.  His life story is more interesting than I realized, and I am ceaselessly blown away by his designs.

 "When I'm dead and gone, people will know that the twenty-first century was started by Alexander McQueen."  -- Alexander McQueen

This wasn't hubris on his part. It was pure talent, unbridled creativity, and a (short) lifetime of hard work. Did you know that he learned tailoring at a conventional men's shop in London? Fascinating. Hard for me to imagine him sewing lapels on blue pin-striped suits for bankers. But he talks about having to know how to construct properly before being able to de-construct. I agree with him on this, and find that in America, artists often try to skip the 'learning' phase, and jump right into the creating.

--Alexander McQueen.  He often used bird imagery in his designs.

--Alexander McQueen.  He often used bird imagery in his designs.

McQueen's work is controversial, yes. Whether you like it or not, I don't think his creativity can be questioned. And seeing his designs in the movie, I was once again inspired by his work.  

My Instagram: @janscilipoti.fiber.


Day 10

Cotton canvas, paint, oil stick, free-motion stitching.

Click here to follow my studio progress!

*30 IN 30* Day 9

Daily Practice is such an innocent sounding phrase. How can it be so difficult to maintain?!

Knew I wouldn't have a lot of time again today, so tried to stay with a manageable subject.


Winter blooms (!)

Focused on trying new combinations. Enjoyed sewing on paper a few days ago, so continued with that. Also did the free-motion from the back in the endless attempt to stay loose and encourage serendipity!


Day 9

Paper, silk, paint, graphite, pen, oil stick, free-motion stitching.

*30 IN 30* Day 6


Freshly stitched...

What to leave, what to pull to the back?

Some sketches exaggerate more than others.  This one - yes.  So I keep it going by leaving the crazy hair threads.


Day 6

Reclaimed linen, polyester thread, free-motion stitching.

To see everyone's 30 IN 30, click here

My Instagram: @janscilipoti.fiber.

*30 IN 30* Day 5

There is an appeal about these simple stitched figures (see my Day 4 post). Left alone on a field of whole cloth, the eye can focus on the line quality and the gestures of the model.

My question: Is there a way to incorporate these figures in a larger, more complex piece?  And, is there a way to add a back story?

Today I started to check that out. 


Weird, right?

I like it.

You're seeing the grey stabilizer that I put on the back of the linen for the free-motion stitching. Two thread colors and different thread thicknesses gives this loose, unpredictable line quality.  I especially like it in conjunction with the more refined 'fron't side.


Day 5

Reclaimed linen, stabilizer, polyester & cotton thread, monoprinting, oil stick.

*30 IN 30* Day 4

No need to decide what to do today. I'm participating in a 3-hour figure drawing session. We have a male model today, and about 12 of us are set up on tables around him. I'm the only one with a sewing machine. I try to go in with a stack of blank fabrics and no pre-conceptions.  Sometimes my sketches work, sometimes they don't. Mostly it's about the practice.

Today I have a delightful addition: repurposed linen. I have prepared 4 different sizes, all with different stabilizers on the back.  I'm experimenting. Two are permanently attached, one is intended to be tear-away and one isn't, but I'm going to try to tear it away anyway.


Mmmm, new thread.

My go-to: Gutermann. Love the colors, the different types. Left to right: viscose, polyester, 3 cotton quilting threads.

My linen is a deep green. I switch to a larger needle (size 14), and try the thick flaxen thread (second from the left, above) and am thrilled with the line. Because the bobbin thread I'm using is very fine in comparison, the back of the pieces have a nubbly, organic sense. It works beautifully with the stabilizer.  This one isn't meant to be torn off, but I do anyway.

Here is the figure I decide to use for Day 4, with his top half showing the "front" side, and his bottom half showing the "back" side of the linen, with the torn stabilizer.


Which do you like best, front or back?


Finished the figure drawing session inspired by the poses and by my experiments. But that's enough for today! Standing Male will be my post.

To see everyone's 30 IN 30, click here

My Instagram: @janscilipoti.fiber.


DAy 4

Reclaimed linen, polyester thread, free-motion stitching.

*30 IN 30* Day 3

Nice to walk into the studio without yesterday's mayhem. Picking up the cut-out of the stylized plant form I used for Day 2, I notice the paint along the edges and the remnant of a print on the edge. I like it. And that's it. I decide to use it for a second piece. 

I have less than two hours. Remarkably, the work flows. Decisions and direction come naturally, and I finish the piece, shoot it, and post it to Leslie's site. I leave the studio feeling relaxed and energized. Will try to continue this! 

To see everyone's 30 IN 30, click here

My Instagram: @janscilipoti.fiber.


Day 3

Paper, trace paper, silk gauze, thermofax prints, paint, free-motion stitching

*30 IN 30* Day 2

What a mess in the studio! I'm determined not to over-extend today. First I clean up - fast.

Then I look at the what I (over) attempted yesterday. Funny, how walking away give perspective.  What was left after I tore off those thousands of little bits of paper isn't all that bad, if it's just the basis of something else.  So that's what I did. Started with that image, and added on.

I remember how much I enjoy doing prints with thermofax screens! Choosing an image from the ones that I have made, the sound of the screen, mixing colors, pressing the color through the screen. Personal fav: using the metallic gold as a top layer.

Today's session has done what I had hoped; loose experimentation, delighting in materials and processes.

To see everyone's 30 IN 30, click here

My Instagram: @janscilipoti.fiber.


Day 2

Cotton, silk gauze, synthetic gauze, tear-away stabilizer, thermofax prints, block prints, paint, free-motion stitching.

*30 IN 30* Day 1

Day 1. It's pouring outside (still). That's good. The studio is where I need to be.

Right away, I think of Leslie Saeta encouraging us to choose a theme before we start, so we don't have to think about WHAT we're going to do each day. Great advice. Which I ignored.  So, faced with the blank paper syndrome, I fussed around by clearing room, pulling out my fabric paints, my oil sticks, and sorting through my piles of scraps, fabric and paper.  This was fun.


The print set-up on my work table.

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I also got smart

and set up my lightbox. It has two 'boxes', a small one for shooting my jewelry, and a larger one for fiber pieces. I didn't want it cluttering up the studio, so I set it up on the guest room bed. Perfect.  It's ready, but out of the way.

Then - I got overly ambitious. Too big, too complex. Started in on a piece with several elements, each of which was experimental. By 10:00 I was surrounded by tiny bits of paper, after getting rambunctious with a free-motion stitching idea. Little white paper flakes were floating over my work table, stuck all over me, piled on the floor.  OK. Time to re-assess!

I zeroed in on the most completed part of the piece, and pulled it from the overall concept. With this focus, by 11:30 I was done. Being very sleepy by this time, I was sooo glad I had set up the lightbox! Taking a quick picture and posting it on the 30 IN 30 site took less than 15 minutes. Over 200 other people from around the world had posted. To see everyone's 30 IN 30, click here.


Day 1

Cotton, graphite rubbings, monoprints, oil sticks.

*30 IN 30*

For a few years now I've been listening to "Artists Helping Artists", a podcast hosted by two female painters. One of them, Leslie Saeta, also hosts a "30 IN 30" twice a year.  The main intent is to help artists strengthen the practice of painting.  It's free, and the format is simple: every day from February 1-March 2, 2018, participants paint something and then post what they do. No judging, no pressure - just a bit of motivation.

To see everyone's daily 30 IN 30 postings on Leslie's blog, click here.


Wait! D

idn't I say "Paint"?

I don't think my work is that far off...

So, I'm in! My intent?

     *Get in the studio DAILY. *

     *Experiment in sketch format, actively trying to stay loose and be open to new possibilities.*

Follow along here, or on my Instagram account, @janscilipoti.fiber

My First Photo Shoot!

Well, that's a stretch. I'm no photographer.  But I like the idea of showing some of my jewelry on actual bodies!

So on a gorgeous July day this summer, Sonja offered to help out. She is no stranger to modeling, so at least one of us knew what we were doing ;)

My thanks to Sonja and to my garden, that supplied the bright summer blooms.



In the Studio - Before a Gallery Opening

With only a short time to prepare for this opening at the gallery, I decided to start by making the jewelry items that take less time: earrings and necklaces.  This way I would have items to show, even if I had to finish up the more time-consuming pieces later (meaning, any pieces that include cabochons to set).

Even with my earrings, I rarely make the same exact pair twice. I consider them the ‘sketches’ of my jewelry line. I can try out proportions, shapes, and combinations of stones, and see how they work.

I started by soldering a pile of different sized circles, and then made simple shapes out of sheet silver. I piled them on my bench near my stones, and started to play with combinations and sketch ideas. Then I spread out a piece of fabric on my work table, and started laying out rows of the pieces I would make in rows. This way, when I walk into the studio the work to be done is clear.  I pick up the silver and stones for a set, identify the sketch, then put together the piece.  It goes down on a piece of fabric with the completed pieces. This way I can see how many are ready and how many I have left to do.  Very motivational.



By late Thursday night I had the body of the show in place. Still to do - the photography, the labeling, the pricing. This is why I have always taken my own photos: last minute production! Ah well.

Here's the prehnite with the turquoise!

Here's the prehnite with the turquoise!

Then - the crazy part - I decided to try and put together three pieces with cabs. Here is one of the sketches. I use hand-held butane torches at home, and I tried my best to evenly heat these larger pieces to temp. No luck. So did I let it go? No! I called a friend with an enviable studio on a nearby island. Julie - a generous, tool-loving friend, invited me to use her torch. I took a morning ferry that gave me 2 1/2 hours in her studio. I managed to set the bezels for all three cabochons, and have a nice catch-up with her as well. Thank you, Julie!

I feel that I’m in a good place with the deadline aspect of openings with this small, local coop, Chimera Gallery.  Have a reception date motivates me to put together new work, but doesn’t amp my stress level.  In the end, I didn’t complete the cab pieces, and I’m ok with that. They will make it to the gallery later!  

We had an enthusiastic, interested crowd at the opening. My favorite openings are the ones where the conversations are about the work. This was one of those! It’s a great time for me to ask for opinions about the new designs and stones. Thanks to everyone who came to look and chat!