Something of a Challenge – Part 2

Back in December I wrote about a challenge idea that was floated on the QuiltArt list (see December 21, 2018 post for details) and promised to keep you up to date on my progress and thinking.  So, here’s what I have so far:  the background collage of an assortment of yellows from my stash.  This is not pieced, it is fused collage.  All the pieces were cut with scissors, not a rotary cutter, so they would be a bit wonky rather than perfectly straight.  It is currently a rectangle, but I am thinking I might cut it down to a square when all is said and done.  The circular space is yellowish beige, but will probably not be very visible when I add the next layer.  I just wanted to give myself some parameters to work with.  I just noticed that it looks really orange on this turquoise background.  (Please forgive me.  I haven’t had my lesson on color correcting yet, but that’s on the agenda.)

Background collage – yellow by Larkin Jean Van Horn

Elsewhere in the studio, I have been working on samples for a class I will teach this summer at the Grunewald Guild.  Here’s the direct link to class information:

That’s all for now, my little chickadees.  Be well, stay warm, and do a little something creative every day!


Everyone Has A Story

A few days ago, I received a lovely email from someone who had seen one of my exhibits at the Latimer Quilt and Textile Center in Tillamook, Oregon.  One of the pieces in the exhibit was called “Everyone Has A Story” and was comprised of a bare manzanita branch covered with a lot of very small beaded dolls, ranging in length from 1-1/4″ to 3-1/2″.

The artwork moved this viewer to write a poem about it, which he wrote to share with me after he rediscovered it and typed it up.  I asked his permission to share it with you here, and he has graciously agreed.

Everyone Has A Story to Tell
by Ryan James

Whispers from the beaded dolls hanging on the tree
“Look closer,”
Stories hinted at
Love, Joy Laughter
Forest, Green Man, Growth, Rain
From Darkness to Rebirth – Forgiveness – Healing
Ocean walk, mist rain, sand
Sun, warmth, light
Moon, womb, life
Whispers from the beaded dolls hanging on the tree
“Look closer,”
Everyone has a story

Thank you, Ryan, for sharing your poem and allowing me to use it here.  I am always delighted to hear what people think about my work, even if their interpretation differs from mine or they just flat out don’t care for it.  Art, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder, and everyone is entitled to an opinion.

And so, my little chickadees, if you have seen something that moves you or inspires you, consider telling the artist about your reaction to their work.  Even though we might not really like to hear that you think it belonged in the rubbish bin, at least we will know that you thought about it – that it moved you in some way.



On The Twelfth Day of Christmas . . .

when our true love sends us a truly bizarre list of gifts, we come officially to the end of the Christmas season.  (If you haven’t heard the Allan Sherman version of that song, do yourself a favor and find it someplace.  Talk about a bizarre list!) For some, this is called the Feast of the Epiphany, the day the three wise men arrived at Bethlehem.  For some, it’s the last day to get the holiday decorations back in their boxes and stashed away for another eleven months.  For some, it’s time to add up the bills and start preparations to pay taxes.  (Ugh!)

And for some of us, it’s time to take stock of the year just past and think about the year to come.  I don’t make resolutions, but I do list some goals for the year.  Some involve studio work, learning more about this thing called a blog, making smarter decisions in some areas, doing a little traveling, and trying some new things.

But most of all, to focus on things about which I can actually make a difference – to show more compassion and kindness, to be generous to those who need a wee bit of help, to stop feeling guilty about taking time for introspection, to find a more peaceful way to go about my days.

And so, my wish for you, my little chickadees, is to find peace and hope in the new year, and a way to reach some of your own goals.


Something of a Challenge

Several weeks ago, on the QuiltArt discussion list, ideas for a group challenge were floated and commented on.  One that caught my attention was a challenge based on words that had multiple and very different meanings.  One offering was the word “resist”.  In the present time, that word has come to represent a political movement.  But it also refers to a substance used to block the flow of paint/ink/dye on paper or fabric.  I have no idea if the proposal ever gained any traction, as most of the discussion takes place on Facebook, in which I do not participate.

But the idea of “resist” as a starting point stuck with me.  If one resists something, it could be said that one opposes it.  Which led me to thinking about opposites.

For many years, I have been interested in the historical and contemporary meanings ascribed to colors.  I have put together quite the list, and it has been put to use as a point of inspiration or refinement of an idea in the creation of my artwork.  It has not been my practice to produce blatantly political work, but I liked the idea of using color as representative placeholders.  To the viewer not well versed in color symbolism, it would just be another modestly attractive piece to hang on the wall.

The list is broken into positive and negative attributes, and I remembered that the color yellow has some negative characteristics that might serve as a starting place:  deceit, instability, betrayal, covetousness, treachery.  Grabbing my trusty color wheel, I found purple directly across the way, and checked the positive attributes list:  dignity, leadership, truth, intelligence, self-control.  Now, granted, these are just a few entries on each list, but it set up a nice juxtaposition.

I have a plan forming, and hope to get to the studio soon to put it into action.  Whether the challenge ever happens in the QuiltArt group, it led me in an interesting direction.  Pictures to follow, as soon as I have something to show.

However you choose to celebrate, my little chickadees, I wish you peace, good health, and all the blessings of the season.


Once Upon A Time . . .

there was a mixed media textile artist who was married to her most dearly beloved husband, Van, who was also her photographer, webmaster, publicist, and wizard in the kitchen.  She spent her time making things and traveling around teaching people how to do what she did.  He spent his time helping others with their various and assorted computer and publishing issues, and generally keeping all the balls in the air.

Never a truly healthy person, he fell victim to cancer, and the next four years were spent consulting with a long list of medical personnel, enduring various treatments, and generally living on hope for a cure.  She left her world of art and teaching to take care of her most dearly beloved.  In the midst of this stressful time, they lost their home due to their inability to work much, and became homeless.

A month before his demise, Van’s computer empire crashed.  He was far too ill to do anything about it, and she lost her email, website, blog, photography, database – everything.  As it turned out, he also neglected to leave behind a list of his passwords, so no one else could get in and do anything about it.  But a kindly hacker tried, and some things were retrieved (mostly older work), until one day the whole mess caught fire and what was left was well and truly gone.

Van died on June 28, 2017, so I can’t say that we all lived happily ever after, but a year+ has passed and I can say that a few steps in the direction of the studio have taken place.  I have a couple of lectures and a week of teaching on the books, and I miss him every day.

While we were homeless, I did manage to create a small series with the theme of “Peace”, which I desperately needed at the time.  They all have words of peace, and those words are the titles.

Grace and Peace by Larkin Jean Van Horn
Grace and Peace by Larkin Jean Van Horn

That’s all for now, my little chickadees.  Be happy, create wildly, love extravagantly!