Special Projects

Items for Sale: Hand Crafted Artwork

The items on this page are special and unique. I designed each one, creating the pattern, selecting the color, appliqueing the pieces and adding decoration. I created a background and story for each item, making up names and lives to go with the finished product. Each one came alive as I worked on the process.

These fierce beasts are for sale and I would like to introduce you to my companions:

Welsh Green Dragon close up

This wonderful creature is the first and most companionable of my artwork creations. Each creature can be seen by the true believer, and the stories are as real as anything from the time of magic and legend.

Let me introduce you to Padrac, a Welsh Green Dragon of only moderate trickery. He will occasionally appear just as you turn a corner, or as you are waking up. He is seen just long enough for you to be convinced you saw him, but then he will disappear, and you may even hear him laughing as he watches you try to decide if you really saw a dragon or you are just a green hummingbird or fast moving moth. Remember, dragon humor is not human humor.

Padrac can appear in your dreams. If you dream of falling, you are more likely flying along with Padrac. He has lived in dreams for a long time, and he knows how to get out of trouble and worry. Of course, he did need to learn how as he generally is getting into trouble But that is a dragon for you.

Welsh 
Green Dragon

Padrac can also change sizes and he spits with deadly accuracy. Fortunately, he practices on flies and mosquitoes (he likes to stay the size of a humming bird). Fair warning - he does love teasing small pets, so your cat or dog may get more exercise than usual when you bring him home.

Care and feeding -

  • Hang in indirect light and support all across the top of the quilt
  • Gently dust or lightly vacuum occasionally
  • If necessary, the all cotton quilt can be gently hand washed, using a mild detergent and water warm to the touch. Please rinse thoroughly and carefully squeeze most of the water out. Then lay the quilt on a few towels and let air dry.

The quilted version of Padrac is 34 x 46 and his frame is primarily brown, with strips of aqua, green and a touch of gold. (Dragons love gold).

price: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , shipping included.

 

The next fantastical creature will be a water denizen named Sorscha [coming soon]

The rest of the story:

My dragon quilts are unique. Each dragon is carefully researched, given a history, habits, habitat and personal background. These creatures of legend and myth are very hard to observe in the wild, but some can be coaxed to pose (they can be vain – justifiably so, in my opinion). I have been privileged to catch glimpses of some of these elusive creatures, although not in their natural habitat.

I offer a personalized portrait of the dragons I have seen. Each one is named, and comes with a history and personal information. Well, information that the dragon doesn't mind telling. Because they are all a little vain, having a likeness of a dragon may actually draw him or her near. Having a likeness of a dragon in your house can attract the beast itself. And as long as the dragon approves of the image, they will visit again and again, giving you an opportunity to observe the real thing. In this way the stories and myths continue for another generation. And dragons are kept in living memory for the next time they are needed.

I have come to find that dragons, real ones, share a few key attributes. They all can become invisible, and change size at will. Of course, I have no proof that any were ever the size described in legend, (you know how humans love to exaggerate) but I believe some can get as large as an elephant. I have never met one that will get smaller than a humming bird, however. Each one has a defensive magic of some sort. The most commonly known is the ability to breath fire. But other defenses can include scales too strong to break, breathing cold, or just a terrifying stare that paralyzes the victim.

These elusive creatures have inhabited the world for millennium and are still around. They seem to enjoy observing humans, but they are not entertained by what might entertain us. One dragon I spoke to loves limericks, so anyone with a talent for risque rhyming may find themselves feeling watched, when no one seems to be around. Another told me she loves to watch knitting; she finds it soothing. I suppose a dragon that is calm is a good thing. I also understand she is still searching for a natural dye to make true black, but that might be a mis-translation. Dragons can select from so many human languages, they are not always easy to understand. And they do have a playful side; they do make up stories.

I cannot reveal how I learn what I do about the individual dragon, however. They are still secretive creatures, and most have quite a temper. The majority do not deal directly with humans any more. Intermediaries have caused the stories about dragons to become so embroidered and spun that it is difficult for dragons to sort them out. I will not say they are peaceful or tranquil creatures. And they do hold grudges, and collect – and therefor protect – treasure. Most also have some other special power, including some form of travel they don't seem to want to describe.

The dragons I depict are interpretations of the real thing, of course. Sorscha (coming soon) generally appears as a pale green and aqua sinuous form, and he loves to dive in and out the the surf off the sea coasts. But he will also change to a barely visible iridescence and slip ashore to look like a glittering outlet of water. If you are walking along the rocky shore of some sea coast, and find you feel you are being watched, maybe you are.

My first project image, Padrac will do the same, hiding in a tree, wrapped around a branch and nearly invisible. In this form he is impossible to spot. He will also travel great distances on land and can appear even in a crowded area. He once described a small musical gathering in what seemed to be Central Park, New York. I could not say what year it may have been, but one of the instruments seemed to be a harmonica.

Dragons all love to travel so you cannot be sure where any one is at any time. They feel most comfortable around people who believe in them, being creatures of myth and story. A need for belief and imagination created the fantastic creatures in the first place, back in the mists of time, and they appreciate humans who can keep the dreams alive.

 

 

How it all began...

The first art quilt took me about 20 years to complete, you might say. I had seen a Celtic dragon depicted somewhere, perhaps the Book of Kells, but at least a derivative of it. I seem to remember I first saw the creature at IrishFest in Milwaukee, WI, but I'm not sure. I try to get to the dances and music each year, so this may have been on a dress, or poster. But I loved that dragon. He was bold and different and seemed a bit more alive and accessible than your usual terrifying dragon. So I bought pictures and books and learned to make my own knotted Celtic design and found hundreds of other fascinating creatures from myth and legend. But no one dragon looked like the first magical creature that I fell in love with. So I kept looking.

While I looked, I tried different crafts and found that I liked to sew quilts mostly by hand, but there was no design of a dragon that was as wonderful as the first I had seen. The pictures and drawings were nice, and most had something like what the first dragon looked like, but none were exactly what I remembered.  So I kept looking. I got better at sewing, I found wonderful fabrics, I collected hundreds of photos and ideas. Still nothing was really exactly what I wanted. I tried embroidery and painting, but I found that quilting allows a softness, and detail is more important and easier to come by when it is penciled or painted on. Quilting allowed me to use the fabric for detail, and soften the finished product.

You see, I quilt the way I cook. No recipe is followed precisely. All are 'improved' in some fashion. I leave out some sugar, or add a different spice. I stretch a meal with more potatoes or pasta than is strictly called for and I seem to do the same when I sew. I cannot seem to make an exact pattern any more than I can make an exact recipe.

I will grant that this can make for some unusual meals, but the quilting usually turns out just fine. Of course, I like bright colors in place of pale, and color combination is based on taste just as much as on the color wheel (I tell myself). So it finally occurred to me that if I wanted a dragon to be as wonderful as my imagination remembered, I would just have to do it myself. Thus began the odyssey of creating the dragon that resides on my living room wall:

House 
Dragon

He takes up most of a wall, and stretches across the back of a sofa. You can click here for a larger photo.

Now that I have him, and the back story of how I was able to capture a picture of a 'real dragon' I had to make more. But my house dragon took about 4 months of every spare moment; I couldn't do that again soon. And as I discovered his background (he is still angry at St Patrick for thinking he could be a snake and thus banning him from the land of Ireland) that now he is part of the family so I cannot sell him. So I looked further, modified this and that, and came to find an entirely different species of dragon that was all around, and eager to have a portrait / quilt that showed their best features.

Now I make smaller versions of my dragons. They are given a story and a life, powers and personalities. I try to create a different spirit in each quilt. I will warn you, dragons are tricky. And they can change appearance, or else everyone could see them. And they are long lived, so have picked up some peculiar habits. So the dragons I create may not be exactly what you see when you see dragons, but they are all protective creatures, willing to look out for humans, in dreams and real life. If they play tricks or seem to be unavailable, they are still there - still protecting their treasure and their people.