Winding down a crazy year with a final studio update.  I thank you for following and look forward to the possibility of seeing you in the new year! K.C.


I’ve been busy with several strands of work since the year began.  Each have, in their own way, been integral to my overall practice.  Some of them will continue to be so.  Here are the highlights:

Natural Dyes. In keeping with my work earlier this year as well as in previous years, I continue my deepening understanding of natural dyes and their applications.  In recent months, I have worked in a more focused way with yellow and brown tannins (Cutch and Pomegrante primarily).  By blending these tannins with Indigo, and shifting them with iron, a surprisingly wide range of surface design possibilities exist.  You can see some of my recent results with Pomegranate rind in my Instagram/FB feed.

Pomegranate Direct Application
Tannin/Indigo/Ferrous Modules
A “Receptive” Vessel In-Progress

Stitching.  The work I have been doing with stitching has proved to be incredibly beneficial as a centering practice, as calming as it is creatively stimulating.  I recently posted on a diptych I created for the 2020 Hambidge Auction.  These stitched works began as modules for a natural dye sampler quilt. As I began to stitch more frequently, I realized that their creation offered space and time for intentional grounding. To that extent, the modules have become elements of a personal time capsule – part of the narrative work that will mark my pandemic experience. As both singularities and parts of a larger composite, they tell me a story of an effort to find some sort of stability in a very unstable, uncertain time. Hand stitching, especially the running stitch, can be deeply spiritual in its repetitive, focused, quiet rhythms.  I have found in “stitch space” a calm refuge – necessary more than ever right now.

Artwork: 3-D.  I have also begun building 3-dimensional “containers” or “vessels” which I am collectively calling “Receptive”.  They are slow-going and emerge when the time is right.  2-D – My work with Black Walnut Hull and other inks continues, as does my work with enhanced monoprints. I will have more to say about these streams of work in the future. 

And finally…Petal-Una Collection.  Petal continues to be a destination for much of the naturally dyed/painted/printed cloth I produce in the studio. While it has been a slow year, I still managed to pull together a diverse collection. The images below include Cutch, iron-modified Cutch, and Indigo-dyed pieces.  I am already brimming with enthusiasm and possibility for the 2021 collection! Visit Petal-Una Collection.

Petal-Una Collection – Part of the Fall 2020 Group

I am happy to announce the second installment of my natural dye series at the Southeast Fiber Arts Alliance. This time, we will look at two ways of achieving blue using natural Indigo pigment, one “chemical” and one “organic.”  The synthetic pre-reduced indigo alternative will also be considered. This is a two-day workshop.  We’ll build the vats on Day 1 and prepare samples for immersion, including pieces printed with a simple paste resist.  Day 2 will be dedicated to using the vats, comparing and contrasting results.  Saturday, February 8th through Sunday, February 9th. Both Sessions: 1-5 pm. For details visit: SEFAA Center/Indigo

It has been a full month since my last post. Teaching/facilitating technique through one-on-one, small and large group gatherings has become a more regular feature of my weekly activity list. Among other things, Indigo has figured prominently in this work. As noted elsewhere, I have also increasingly incorporated other natural dyes into my creative practice and will be facilitating another workshop this July at the Southeast Fiber Arts Alliance. See the sidebar for the link.

I have had three opportunities to share the indigo experience this year so far. One I mentioned in my last post. The two most recent were quite contrasting experiences: In one case, I worked with pre-reduced indigo serving 80+ participants during a “Family Fun Day” at the Michael C. Carlos Museum in Atlanta; in the other, I facilitated a gathering of two at my home studio, where we worked with resist paste and an organic indigo vat. Both events were inspiring, energizing and life-affirming. Here are some images:

From the Carlos Museum/Indigo on the Quad:

From the Organic Indigo Vat workshop:

Things have been quite busy in the studio and I realize I have not posted since November of 2018!  (Again, best laid plans – I am beginning to see pattern here (wince)!)  However, after this little update, I have some natural dye reflections I initiated back in March and never got around to publishing, among other things.  As “archaic” as this format sometimes seems, it still has relevance across the spectrum. For me, it serves a real purpose, which I had lost track of for a spell but now reclaim: writing as process-witness.

My practice continues to evolve.  Two full years after a cancer diagnosis and subsequent treatment, I never thought I would find myself in a hopeful place around my studio work…but I do again.  I finally found my way back to the heart of the work, to my true flow, and that feels pretty fabulous.  The work begins to look and feel different to me although clearly on the continuum of a process begun so many years ago.  And while I have never been one to rest too long on one technique – I am sure that is my Aries nature – I am still working with cloth and fiber because there is still so much there to explore!     

So, before I resume essay-esque pursuits, I thought I might just provide an update for the record – a brief flashback to the first several months of 2019 as a way of clearing the way for whatever is to come. 

January: Lots of natural dye experimentation – mostly direct application and immersion variations with indigo, madder, tannins and ferrous after-baths.  Began working on my new wearable collection for the April open studio.   I also began experimenting with alternate hand-stitch processes which have now been incorporated into some of my wearable work.  In the midst of the studio experimentation, I was immersed in preparations for a presentation on Sustainable Making at the Southeast Fiber Arts Alliance.

February:  I continued working with natural dyes, mostly direct application with gum thickeners, exploring layering of color and assistants in various floating (unregistered) patterns on a wide range of cloth surfaces.  The process of working with natural dyes is much more labor- and time-intensive than working with their synthetic alternatives and because of this, the work feels almost contemplative.  I want to explore this entire complex topic in future posts.  But for now, suffice it to say that natural dye print processes are now a solid part of my studio practice.  Also ever-present now is my organic indigo vat, and I did get around to making some new pieces for a local craft pop-up and the first installment of the 2019 wearables.

March 2019:   My time in March was largely spent preparing for the April open studio, although I did take some time to facilitate an indigo-dyeing mini-workshop at the studio one fortuitously-gorgeous Spring morning.  I also received my copy of The Art and Science of Natural Dyes (yay!) and reflected on my early exposure to natural dyes with Catharine Ellis which work has so thoroughly enriched my current studio practice.

In April – I hosted an open studio and continued to develop more work, including a new collection of totes, as well as naturally dyed cloth, and stitched appliqué detailing.   All of my wearable work is presented under the label Petal-una Collection.  This line has been an active focus of my creative energy since 2012.   If you want to learn more about it and see more looks follow this link.

All of which brings me to the present moment.  I will save that for next time!  Meanwhile for fairly regular and consistent check-ins, I am on Instagram and FB – the links are scattered throughout this website.   If you would prefer to keep up via this blog, that is awesome too!

Thank you for following along.

I recently visited a friend in the fair city of Guanajuato, GTO Mexico – I have been there before and in fact posted in this blog about that trip as well.  This visit was a bit different as life-altering experiences had emerged in my recent past, as well as that of my friend.  As a result, we both set out with the intention of sewing the seeds of rejuvenation.  It really became a launch of the essence of “re” – a return, revisiting, renewal,  reinvigoration, revitalization, restoration, revisiting and review on the way toward a new point of beginning.  Signs and signals, resources and connections began and continue to be revealed to both of us as we progress through this new terrain.

My images from this trip varied but seemed to have a decidedly architectural focus, especially where roof/facade and sky meet.  I was also understandably attracted to the many templos (churches and cathedrals) which populate the religious landscape of Guanajuato (Gto).  The architectural residue of a bye-gone colonial era is enriched with structural and superficial decay, but these buildings endure – maybe that was a metaphor taking hold.  Even in cases where the buildings have been renovated or “restored” with a nod to another era’s sensibilities, their original presence does not fade.  I realize in retrospect that this was a profound symbol of solidity and grounding after a year of standing on shaky ground.  In any case, these buildings are essential landmarks which give the entire State of Guanajuato its character, along with the many-colored domiciles stacked on the slopes surrounding the city’s natural structural essence – that of river valley.  Indeed, when I arrived, the rainy season had just begun and the imperative of the geographic low point repeatedly asserted itself during my trip as flooding from recurring thunderstorms regularly inundated parts of the city.  Of course, the rain also brought a renewal of a green, lush landscape latent during months of seasonal drought in this high desert region.

Rain notwithstanding, I was pleased that we were able to make it outside to see art and eat excellent food, including the most moist and delicious tamal I have ever tasted (thanks to, my sincere apologies to vegetarians, lard).  ¡Nos veremos en el futuro, sin duda, Guanajuato!  For a slightly different perspective on the trip, visit my wearable site’s journal.