Tag: fiber art

Where Do We Go From Here?/Two Boyfriends

“Where do we go from here? I/Two Boyfriends” by Mary Vaneecke, 2023, 36” by 20”
“Where do we go from here? I/Two Boyfriends,” detail

I am ending 2023 with the first piece in a new series, “Where do we go from here?”.  I feel I am at a crossroads (and our country is, too).  I’m wrapping up a huge multi-year project (have you heard of it?)…  supporting loved ones with serious medical issues… grieving my parents and the sense of mortality that comes with that loss.

No, I don’t have 2 actual boyfriends.  The first class I took with Jane Dunnewold was about applying color, line, and shapes to plain fabric.  She warned us that some of us would come to her with our ‘boyfriends’–fabrics we had created and loved so much that we wouldn’t want to change them.  I have been hanging on to these boyfriends for years, wondering what in the heck to do with them.  Here I have appliquéd a sheer silk organza boyfriend onto a Fuji silk broadcloth that was dyed using a Katano shibori method.  Hand stitched with single strand embroidery thread (this was really tough on my hands and I won’t be able to handwork an overall design again any time soon).

I kinda like the new guy.  What do you think?

You can see the work at Agua Caliente Park in Tucson.  Show details below.  I am looking forward to a productive and art-filled 2024 with some new friends and exciting challenges.  What is on your calendar?

The Mourning Project: One Day II

This 24 x 48” version of The Mourning Project:  One Day features 63 pairs of handmade baby booties, one little elegy for each child lost before their first birthday every day in the US.  It is a tiny portion of the 20,000 pairs we are collecting from makers all over the world to draw attention to the infant mortality rate in this country.

This version of the project will be at the Norfolk D’Art Center in Norfolk, VA for their Materials II exhibition, from October 10th, 2020-November 7th, 2020.  Opening reception is Thursday, October 15 from 5:30-7:30 pm.  The awards will be announced on Facebook Live, so stay tuned!

TMP makers–do you see your booties below?  If not, check out the online installation by clicking here.  Thank you to all who have contributed to save the lives of our most vulnerable citizens.  Join us by submitting your booties today.


The Mourning Project: One Day II
The Mourning Project: One Day II, detail 1
The Mourning Project: One Day II, detail 2
Unravelling:  The Case for Reparations

Unravelling: The Case for Reparations

This piece was completed just in time for the call for submissions to the We Are the Story exhibition at the Textile Center in Minneapolis, MN.  I was thrilled that Unravelling is part of the Racism: In the Face of Hate, We Resist portion of the show.  The exhibit is curated by Dr. Carolyn Mazloomi and is getting a lot of buzz.

The quote is by William Faulkner, one of our greatest writers, and one of the first sons of the American South to feature relationships between black and white characters in his fiction. As flawed as Faulkner was on issues of race, his words very succinctly describe why we must work today to make amends for the systemic racism in our country today.    For an ‘antiracist reading list,’ click here. 

Materials:  flags, woven and whitewashed, fusible web, hand-painted non-woven, felt, cotton backing, thread.

Unravelling: The Case for Reparations, by Mary Vaneecke, 2020, 41” x 37”

UnRavelling is a sister quilt to (White) Silence is Violence), which is also in the show.  This piece was made in 2018 and is now in a private collection.

(White) Silence is Violence, by Mary Vaneecke 2018
Frozen in Time II

Frozen in Time II

Frozen in Time II is a translucent art quilt that incorporates many hand-worked and underappreciated vintage crochet pieces layered between hand-dyed sheer fabrics.  It hangs away from the wall to allow for shadow play behind the piece.  Rust-dyed and machine stitched.  This was included in the Visions Art Museum show, Iterpretations: Conversations exhibition.  Photo by Jack Kulawik.

Frozen in Time II is perhaps an elegy for lost arts and loved ones.

Frozen in Time II, 50'' x 34'' by Mary Vaneecke
Frozen in Time II, 50” x 34” by Mary Vaneecke
Frozen in Time II by Mary Vaneecke, detail.
Frozen in Time II by Mary Vaneecke, detail.
Another good day to dye…

Another good day to dye…

So I have been in the dye studio for a few days and have some pieces to share. These are all various forms of shibori, the Japanese word for putting pattern on fabric by applying pressure with dye.  Most of these are silk fabrics, procion dyes are used on each.

Itajime circles under a chevron.
Itajime shibori circles under a chevron pattern.


Itajime with circles and 2 dye colors.
Itajime with circles and 2 dye colors.


This sekka shibori with blueberry and raspberry dye is making me hungry!
This sekka shibori with blueberry and raspberry dye is making me hungry!


More itajime, this time with zig zag stripes and navy and red dyes.
More itajime, this time with zig zag stripes and navy and red dyes. This fabric was dyed, discharged and over-dyed.  This method brings out a lot of subtle complexity in the final product.  

Admittedly, this chevron piece is kinda ugly. But I have learned that this is merely an opportunity to throw it into another dye bath or discharge it to get something spectacular. Stay tuned.

Now comes one of my favorite parts of the art-making process:  auditioning fabrics to put them all together….

Abuela Reads the Headlines

Abuela Reads the Headlines , 2015

Abuela is Spanish for grandmother.  I imagine her in her barrio (neighborhood) garden in my hometown, Tucson, surrounded by an ocotillo (a living, cactus-type) fence.  She has her handwork and the blessed Virgin of Guadalupe nearby, with a grandchild at her knee.  Abuela scans the headlines about America’s current immigration policy, and weeps.

Materials:  vintage handworked textiles (makers unknown), felted wool, embellishing (480 jewelry spikes), cotton and cotton-silk fabric, dyeing, discharging, silk sari ‘yarn,’ window screen, acrylic felt, embellishments (milagros and crystal rosary), synthetic organza.

Techniques:  dyeing, heat and chemical burning, wet felting, hand stitching, couching, machine stitch, discharging, devore, dyeing, cutting.

Abuela Reads the Headlines, 55''h x 84''
Abuela Reads the Headlines, 55”h x 84”
Abuela Reads the Headlines, detai
Abuela Reads the Headlines, detail

Open Studio Tour a Fiber Art Extravaganza! November 10th and 11th

Join me and five of my fiber artist friends when we move our studios to a convenient location at 3231 N. Craycroft (St. Gregory’s School near River Rd.) for the Tucson Pima Arts Council’s Open Studio Tour 2012.

Meet all 6 artists in one place and see how we work:  thread painting, handwork, machine stitching, dyeing and painting fabric…  The tour is Saturday and Sunday, November 10th and 11th from 11 am—5 pm each day.

I am working on some small, matted pieces suitable for framing, as well as my Shibori Chic clothing line (this time with dyed silk scarves as well as the discharged/painted black ones!)….  Stay tuned for photos as the work progresses….

These wonderful fiber artists will be joining me:

  Trish Hastings-Sargent

Joanne Krawchuk

Aimee Smythe

Peggie Thomas

Kay Wild

‘Samaras Really Do Grow On Trees,’ 29” x 29”