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Artist Book Pages from a Book Being Made by Two Long-Distance Friends: Three

Marcy Erb at Illustrated Poetry and I have been blog friends for years, and even better, we have actually met in person, some years ago. Our most recent doings involve an artist book project collaboration that has had a long history – I think we got it started in 2016? Maybe? If you want all the details, look here for my first post about the project, where I give more information.

Here I am showing you some random images, pages where I did only one side of the page spread and left the other one for Marcy to create however she might like.

You can see that I incorporated some parts of the book’s earlier library life – the card pocket, the bar code (right there is a tangible picture of how times have changed, isn’t it?)

In the cat picture, the book arrived with the cut out chromosones on the page, put in place by Marcy. I took that theme and in some way made a connection with the idea of a cat, which I then set out on the page. No one says any of this process has to make the kind of sense that we ordinarily see in everyday life.

That’s another thing about these book projects: sometimes you do a whole page by yourself, and other times, both artists mix their work.

I have done other collaborative projects and I have also made quite a few of these artist books. Here is a partial list. You can also check under the category Artist Books, here on my blog.

Note: You might like to click on the images and see them in the viewer; back when I was doing a lot of these books I was new to blogging and did not understand making the photos larger in the actual post…


A Tossed Salad of a Book

Small Book, Pages and Poem Form

Create Your Own Library

And my favorite book that I have made, In November. Because in November is when I was born and it’s my time of year.

Here is a beautiful project I did with Sharon Mann some years ago: Nothing But Sunshine

We, Sharon and I, also made two decks of playing cards: Pick a Card, Any Card

If you have any questions let me know. Maybe making an art book is for you!

Artist Book Pages from a Book Being Made by Two Long-Distance Friends: Two

Marcy Erb at Illustrated Poetry and I have been blog friends for years, and even better, we have actually met in person, some years ago. Our most recent doings involve an artist book project collaboration that has had a long history – I think we got it started in 2016? Maybe? If you want all the details, look here for my first post about the project, where I give more information.

Now, here are some more pages. I seem not to have separate images, so you can just take a look at them as a page spread.

As a note, Marcy is a scientist, and by coincidence this book was a very outdated non-fiction book on atomic energy. Interesting, that serendipity! You can see evidences of the book’s subject in the bits of text and illustration I incorporated.

More images to show you in another post!

Artist Book Pages from a Book Being Made by Two Long-Distance Friends: One

Marcy Erb at Illustrated Poetry and I have been blog friends for years, and even better, we have actually met in person, some years ago. Our most recent doings involve an artist book project collaboration that has had a long history – I think we got it started in 2016? Maybe?

Anyway, not too long ago Marcy revived the project, and sent me the book. Usually when I do collaborative projects like this there are two books, so that we can each keep one. This time, for various reasons, there is just this one, and it is for Marcy to keep. I did some pages in it over the past 6-8 months, and now it’s in her hands to finish as she would like. I hope she will look at the pages and remember our friendship. I feel lucky to know her.

Anyway, I took photos of a few of my favorite pages. I don’t think she’ll mind if I show them here. They are out of context, but that’s ok. Each page is mean to be enjoyed on its own as well as with its fellows.

I set up the original ” book canvas”. I took a discarded children’s library book and glued some of its pages together to give a strong surface for paint or collage. Then we got to work on it.

Take a look at these pages. First, I’ll show you two images and then how they appear together in the book.

Here they are as a page spread.

More images to show you in another post!

Tiny Rugs

You may remember that back in February 2021 I took a Zoom class at the Contemporary Craft in Pittsburgh, PA on the subject of punch needle embroidery.

I created this small rug:

…and I wrote a post that describes the process, the tools, and the class in some detail. I won’t repeat all that here; instead, take a look at the post for background info.

Since that time, my burst of enthusiasm for this new craft has steadied into a nice warm flame. I bought a small frame, some yarns, and the kind of cloth that is needed to form the base of the embroidery.

I’ve done a little experimenting. Some things did not turn out so well – I tried using doubled worsted weight knitting yarn and it made too dense a fabric (I need to invest in a different sized punch needle – which I feel sure I will do fairly soon).

I’ve been learning how to design for the punch needle experience. I need to remember to be less detailed, at least with my current sized needle and yarns.

And…I have learned that I need to remember that as I work, I am seeing the back of the project, which looks quite different from the front, and in fact, any design you make will be reversed, too, in the final product.

OK, let’s see some photos. In March, after the failed worsted weight yarn attempt (I threw it away half-done), I assembled my supplies:

  • bulky weight yarn
  • monk’s cloth of the proper density stretched on my new frame (which is 11″ x 11″)
  • paper to cut out shapes from (that is how we designed our image in the class)
  • punch needle

After shredding a lot of paper I came up with something and drew it on the fabric with a Sharpie pen. (You may wonder about the pool view on the computer screen – from my dining room I was also attending a swim meet in North Carolina, 400+ miles away, in which my cousin’s grandchildren were participating.)

Here is my yarn selection and my faithful patient punch needle ready to go.

Later I decided not to use the variegated yarn. Instead it got made into a knitted table mat and…this bunny for my granddaughter…

But I digress. Over the next couple of days I worked on the project. Here you see it in the frame. The “wrong” side is shown first; that is what I see as I work. The “right” side is next, and then a closeup view. You may notice that I eliminated part of the original design – things were getting too crowded in the fiber piece.

Some people prefer the top side as the final image. I like it as well and it gives a crisp look. But, unless I keep the image stretched in a frame like this, it can’t be finished – it’s pretty much impossible to stretch the waste edge cloth around to get a clean edge.

Here’s where I need to explain something. When you punch through the backing cloth, a length of yarn is carried through equal to the length of the needle. When you bring it back out, it forms a loop of half this length on the “right” side, the one you can’t see. The needle I have makes these nice fluffy loops. It’s pretty long. I can get needles in shorter lengths (= smaller loops) and a smaller size shaft (uses thinner yarns).

Later in my punch needle career I am sure I will add to my needle collection. Because, you know, you can mix and match yarns and loop lengths and get different looks.

But I am not there yet. I am currently working on consistency. In any craft, after gaining the initial skills, that is the first thing that has to be mastered.

All right, here is the finished “rug”. It’s about 9″ x 9″.

Sink your toes into that! Yes! And if you are a Barbie doll, maybe, all the way up to your ankles!

If you are wondering what the back looks like on these pieces, here is an example. I fold the waste cloth under the rug and hand-sew a fabric backing on it to cover the interior.

And for your info, I have given up on the cutting out paper designing method. I do better sketching something out on paper. My vacuum cleaner heaved a sigh of relief when I mentioned this – it had had a lot of work picking up all those tiny snips I kept producing.


Since that project, I have made two more pieces. They are both about 9″ x 9″.

With each one I have gained more skill and a better understanding of what I am doing.

I have just gotten some new yarn and I believe I will be starting on my next project very very soon…

A Visit to the Delaware Art Museum 4/24/21

A visit to the Delaware Art Museum.

Sometimes You Get So Confused

Well, the title of the post tells you the topic. Now, let fill in some background and then…I’ll give you a tour.

The pandemic has jolted me into action. What do I mean? Well, before March 2020 many patterns in my life were ending and I had not had much success in picking up the threads and beginning new ones. Flip the calendar pages to April 2021 and without going into the tiresome details of all the thinking and reflecting I have done in light of the severe shaking the past year’s events have given to my emotions and worldview, what has come out of it is this:

Stop wasting time. Get busy and get moving.

Maybe I have oversimplified it a bit but believe me, you’re happier with the short version of the plan rather than a line item discussion. Suffice it to say, my idea is, if I…

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Hope and Healing, 2021

Sometimes You Get So Confused

This weekend my husband and I visited the Hope and Healing exhibit at the Allentown Art Museum.

The exhibit features artwork by high school and college students with the theme of providing hope and healing through art to those who are ill or injured or facing health issues. After the exhibit the artwork is offered free to any health office, hospital, or other healing site, so that the images may comfort and calm those people who are in need of it at difficult times in their lives.

The exhibit is an annual event of Healing Through the Arts, an organization founded by Heather Rodale after her encounter with cancer. Here is the exhibit’s explanatory statement:

This exhibit is very meaningful to me. If you have followed this blog for some time, you may remember that back in 2013-2014, I had a series of health problems, surgeries, and difficulties that…

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Dairy Barn on a Misty Morning

Back and November my husband and I were walking in the Norristown Farm Park very early, just after sunrise. It was a misty frosty morning. I took these photos across the fields stretching over to the Dairy Barn complex.

I think you would never know that right behind us, traffic buzzed along busy Germantown Pike, and that a large hospital building is just across the street. No, when I look at this scene, I can imagine a different time when things were quiet here and the only sounds were that of the land that was resting for next spring’s growing season.

Reflections on a few things

Recently I was honored by Mariss Stevens with a nomination for an Outstanding Blogger Award. Now you may know that I don’t normally participate in awards. But Mariss is special – her blog, Fabrications, is a favorite of mine for her stitchings and musings on the art of quilt making, as she describes it herself. I love her adventurous and curious spirit as reflected in her quilts and her writings.

I also want to note that Mariss and I literally live on opposite sides of the earth. Without the blog world, each of us would never have known the other existed. That is magic to me – what do you think?

I’m not going to pass the nomination on further. But I wanted to answer Mariss’s questions. Read on to see what I had to say. And thank you, Mariss, for this opportunity to speak.

For how long have you been writing a blog?
I have three blogs- this one, Claudia McGill and Her Art World; one for my poetry, Claudia McGill Writes Poetry, Did You Know That?; and one where I chronicle items of personal interest, Sometimes You Get So Confused. I started them all at about the same time and that was approximately 8 years ago in 2013.

What made you start?
I’m not sure why I started blogging. I’d come across some blogs in various circumstances and eventually I thought I’d try it too. I liked the idea of having a place to show my artwork when I was not taking it to shows or physical exhibitions, and as for my writing, it gave me the perfect place to get it out into the world rather than languishing in a notebook or computer file. I think I did it kind of on a whim.

Why do you continue to blog?
It’s an outlet for my creative side, and of course I really like seeing my work get some recognition. But what has kept me going are the blog friends I have made over the years.

Have you ever met any of your fellow bloggers face to face? If so, how did it feel?
Yes, I have met several, including one who turned out to live about 5 miles from me. I also remember very fondly a visit with one blog friend in Washington DC where she was making a visit and I took the train there for the day. Meeting someone in person who you have known only through a blog is icing on the blog cake, I think!

If anyone comes to the Philadelphia area, let me know! I would love to see you in person.

Do you write regularly? If so, why?
My personal blog is kind of hit-and-miss. Sometimes I feel like writing up my activities and other times, I am not in the mood. I go through phases with it.

For my poetry blog, I post every day, always offering a poem, and it is usually one written in the past couple of years, not recently. I have a big backlog of poems waiting their turn – I put all my poetry in self-published print books and I am slowly working my way through them. I also do some up-to-the-minute posts of current poems, including individual poems, or such things as haiku or shadorma, or the long-running additions to the Little Vines (threeor four line poems) that I try to do every week.

In my art blog I try to post every 2-3-4 days. What I put up will depend on what I have been working on in the last few months – my art posts reflect more of my current work than my poetry ones do.

Why do I do it? I enjoy having my work read or seen, as I said above. And I also feel that the act of creating a post organizes my life’s experiences for me. To write about them I must think about them and make sense of them, and I find that very meaningful.

Thank you, Mariss, for recognizing me. I am honored. And thank you for these questions and the opportunity to talk about myself and my blogs. I hope if anyone wants to know anything else, well, just ask!

Check out Mariss’s site: Fabrications

More Dixon Meadow Preserve in the snow

You may remember the sequence of photos I showed you not long ago from this location. I have another set here. This group shows another view of the preserve from a road running at right angles to the previous one.

My husband was driving and I pointed the phone camera out the passenger side window to get these shots. I took random snaps and here is what I ended up with.

This group of photos is in the order they were taken, as the car passed along.

And this group shows you the panorama that you would see if you were standing across the road and looking at the preserve.

I think this is a nice group of pictures. Very wintry!