My Battle with Parkinson


I know it’s not good taste to open a communication with an apology, but I’m known for not following the rules—plus my taste buds are diminishing as my Parkinson disease progresses. So I apologize for not keeping you up on the more important aspect of my life: working on my art.

Since my last post, I have completed three additional works for “My Battle with Parkinson” series.

My Battle with Parkinson: Balance 1

My Battle with Parkinson: Balance 1

My Battle with Parkinson: Balance 1
Size: 22″w x 22″h
Materials and techniques: Cotton fabrics hand-dyed by Liz Axford and the artist, polyester quilting thread; machine pieced and quilted

Statement: When I inherited beautiful hand-dyed circles by my friend the late Liz Axford, it gave me the opportunity to combine them with some of my fabrics to portray “Balance.” Losing balance is one of many Parkinson symptoms as the disease progresses.



My Battle with Parkinson: Balance 2

My Battle with Parkinson: Balance 2

My Battle with Parkinson: Balance 2
Size: 22″w x 28″h x 28″d (approximate depending on arrangement of the 4″ cubes)
Materials and techniques: Fabrics hand-dyed by the artist, Pellon fusible ultra-firm stabilizer, polyester and silk quilting thread, pearl cotton, X-Bet Ferrite magnets, permanent markers, Gorilla crystal clear mounting tape; machine pieced, quilted and couched, hand assembled

Statement: “Balance” problems have been an increasing concern as my Parkinson disease progresses. In this piece, I went three-dimensional to portray these concerns, which range from stable to very tippy.


My Battle with Parkinson: Singin’ the Blues

My Battle with Parkinson: Singin’ the Blues

My Battle with Parkinson: Singin’ the Blues
Size: 25″w x 23″h
Materials and techniques: Cotton and silk fabrics hand-dyed by the artist, polyester and silk quilting thread, wool thread, permanent markers; machine collaged, appliqued and couched, painted with markers

Statement: I’ve been a singer (alto) since my youth. I especially enjoyed singing with ensembles and choirs. I mourn (am Blue) that Parkinson has robbed me of my singing voice. But I still love music, everything from classical to jazz.

The past three days I’ve taken a break from quilting and have been experimenting with some resist dyeing. Yesterday’s work resulted in grades of 2 B+ and 6 C–, meaning they need re-dyeing. I was using the last bits of some old dyes. Like many of my experiments, if at first I don’t succeed, dye, dye again.

Dying to Dye

Nonseries Work

First of all an apology for not “blogging” with you in some time. Actually I took the summer off to enjoy family activities and take a few trips around the Pacific Northwest with my husband and friends. I won’t go into details because I promised you I would concentrate on my art work in these posts.

Whenever life intrudes and art takes “second fiddle,” I find myself eventually getting frustrated because I am not spending time in my studio. I also find it difficult to get back into the “work routine.” Where do I start? Where was I when I left off working on a project? What should I do to get my creativity flowing again? Sound familiar?

I decided to dye. First, please note the spelling. I did not do anything drastic. I cut some 1-yard pieces from my PFD bolts, bought some new dye powders and got to work. I was nudged to do so by two friends who shared their recipes for grays and browns. I’m not very good at working with neutrals – except black which I usually buy commercially – but I was challenged by my mentor, Nancy Crow, to use neutrals in my work. And she wouldn’t agree with me that yellow is a neutral.

Though many dyers I know work with 8-step gradations of a color, I decided Dyeing graysto experiment with 7 grey formulas and only do 4 steps of each. If you’re quick at math, you realize I now have 28 yards of grey – which should keep me going for awhile.

Dyeing brownsAt the same time I dyed 12 yards of brown -4 gradations of 4 shades.

Of course, one of my favorites is a small piece of fabric Crackled brownwhich I dyed with the leftover brown concentrates with marvelous crackling – and which I probably can never duplicate again. But that’s one of the joys of dyeing – you never know exactly what will happen.

Catching up from the summer, I had one quilt – “Its Not Easy Being Green” – in the special exhibits CQA (Contemporary QuiltArt Association) did in the APWQ (Association of Pacific West Quilters) in Tacoma in August and two quilts – “Sorok dva” and “Square in a Square” – in the special CQA exhibit at Northwest QuiltExpo in Portland in September. I also had two quilts – “Let the Sun Shine In” and “Record Rainfall” – in The American Art Company’s Eleventh Northwest Contemporary Quilt Invitational in August and September in Tacoma and three in the Rio Patchwork Design exhibition in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, Brazil, in June and July. All of these were quilts which I’ve shown before.

Also catching you up, my “Sticks” series continues. I am currently working on a new piece and will update you in a future post. Thanks for reading this one, and let me know your thoughts. If you’re also a fabric dyer and would like to share recipes and/or techniques, I’d love you to respond. In the meantime, keep dyeing, keep designing, keep sewing and keep exhibiting.