2019 A New Year – A Stronger Focus

It is already 7 days into the new year! Where did the time go already! We were away for Christmas and didn’t get home until early New Years day so it feels like I got a late start to 2019. Many things I do the last week of the year didn’t get done until the first week of the new year.
But that time away actually because being our of my normal environment helped me to see things in a different context. There wasn’t the normal visual and mental noise going on. It helped give me some clarity about what I want to focus on for 2019. You know, I call myself an artist and sometimes I feel a bit like a fraud. The main reason is why I make art. I don’t make art because I have this burning desire to do so. All my work stems from my desire to learn and to share what I learn with others.


Learning is what drives me. If I couldn’t learn anymore, I’d just as well die. When I want to learn something, there is no stopping me.
In Las Vegas I learned machine knitting. In South Carolina I’ve learned some computer coding on my first compute, the Commodore Vic 20. In Arizona it was tole painting and smocking. The smocking I taught myself. In Little I got into weaving and took a complete upholstery training class. While living in Italy I learned pattern making and during our last tour in Turkey I tutored with a Turkish tailor, learning all sorts of new things. After retiring I went back to school to learn more pattern making and got back into machine knitting.
After moving back to Florida, I switched gears a bit and in 2000 I learned how to make slipcover When I discovered the Tampa Bay Surface Design Guild in 2008 it opened up a whole new world of surface design. I’ve learned screen printing, dyeing, rusting, marbling, discharge, indigo and eco-print just to name a few.


Sharing my knowledge with others is also super important. Knowledge in a vacuum is useless in my opinion. I’ve been told that I am a very good teacher, and I do agree with that. I work very hard at it.
In Italy I taught sewing classes and in Seattle Taught several years at a national machine conference.
After taking a slipcover class in 2000 I continued to teaching myself, improving my skill to the point where in 2004 taught for the first time at the annual slipcover conference. I taught each year until the last conference in 2013. Since joining the surface design guild I’ve learned and taught many surface design techniques to guild members and other groups in my area.


Since starting on this textile art journey, so many people have inspired me. Jan Navalas, Linda Dawson and Jane Dunnewold to name a few. And the many members of the Tampa Bay Surface Design Guild. Now it is time for me to pay it forward. Not exactly sure how, but I know it will come to me.

Being True To Thy Self

I guess this should have not come as a surprise since I’ve learned something new and taught others everywhere I lived. To say that I love learning and teaching would be an understatement. And to give myself credit, I am very good at both of these things. It is in my DNA, so why fight it. To do so would be swimming upstream, and I don’t swim. To paraphrase the Iseley Brothers It’s My Thing.

100 Printmaking Tools Update 2018

100 Printmaking Tools Update 2018

2018 is less than 24 hours from being over and I managed to make a few more printmaking tools, this time thermofax screens of two of my favorite subjects–leaves and backgrounds.


Leaves are probably my favorite designs, and was actually one of my first original designs.  For these leves I gather fresh leaves where ever I go and then print them by inking the back side and printing on plain white paper.  this creates a wonderful print with lots of fine detail.

Just as before I printed these on both paper and mylar.  This collection of screens brings me up to 40. Still a ways to go before reaching 100, but slow and steady wins the race.

But since I like a more graphic look I go back and enhance the markings to get the look I want.  These are a Maple leaf and what I believe is a Yellow Elder.  The Maple leaf I tried something different, and did a stipple look.  The Yellow Elder leaf I did more of a block look.  Not sure how I feel about the stippling.

Background Texture

Next I created some background textures. In my opinion you can never have too many background screens.  I love textures, but have a hard time coming up with some that I like.  For these I used some white on white textured wallpaper like this one.

Using a hard brayer, a rolled on black paint, which colored the raised areas without sinking down into the recesses to much.  Turned out to be a great way to highlight the textures.  I then photocopied them and made thermofaxes.

So two of my favorite design elements, leaves and backgrounds.  What are your favorite design elements?  Let me know if the comments below.

Reflections Exhibit

A quick sneak peak at my one woman show in conjunction with the Tampa Bay Surface Design Guild Wearable Arts Show, which opens tonight and goes until Jan 10, 2019 at the Unitarian Universalist church in Clearwater,  Fl.

Some of my art cloth waiting to be hung.

Art cloth grouping
Art cloth grouping

And a few close ups.

Over-dyeing Workshop

Several weeks I lead a workshop for the Tampa Bay Surface Design Guild on over-dyeing fabric.  Students bought in fabrics they had previously dyed and learned how to over-dye them.  We discussed color options and manipulations options.  I had premixed all of the single color dyes for them to use.  Here are a few pieces they created.

by Donna Winchester
by Donna Winchester
by Donna Winchester
by Donna Winchester



by Donna Winchester
Bonnie Ward strong orange over-dyed various colors

Bonnie Ward before

Bonnie Ward sun yellow
Bonnie Ward lemon yellow
Bonnie Ward tangerine

The last three pieces by Bonnie shows the original piece before over-dyeing (the small swatch) and an almost solid piece of the color and the larger over-dyed piece.  In addition to over-dyeing several pieces, Bonnie took the time to dye samples of all the single color dyes.  Now she has a great idea on how the colors interact with other colors and a great start on creating a dye notebook.


100 Day Project Update #1

I’ve been putting in a little time each day on my 100 day project, creating my mark making tools.  So far I’ve completed 3 stamps.  They are all backed with a transparent backing and the excess cut away.

For the backing I like to use these flexible cutting mats from the Dollar Tree.  They are transparent, so I can see where I am placing the stamp.  They are also strong but flexible at the same time and easy to cut with scissors.

And at two in a pack for $1 you can’t beat the price.

100 Day Project

One More Try

I’m sure you have heard of the 100 day project.  It a plan/challenge you make with yourself to create an art project every day for the 100 days.  I’ve tried this before, but never made it past one or two weeks.  I’m sure I had good reasons at the time, but hopefully this time it will be different.

I’ve been thinking about trying it again, but was having difficulty coming up with something I wanted to do everyday for 100 days.  Or even something I wasn’t already doing.  I really didn’t want to create an art project just for the sake of creating which would only add to my stash of stuff.  Especially since I just did a big studio de-stash.  For me it needed to be something I knew I would use in my artwork in some manner.

Well, I finally came up with something that I could do for my own 100 day project.

100 Days of Mark Making

For the next 100 days I will work on mark making.  Creating marks and personal imagery I can use in my fiber art.  I am taking a wide stance on what this is.  Could be stencils, stamps, screens or anything that I can apply to my art cloth/art quilts.  This will help me build up my library of personal imagery which is something I really need to do.  I don’t anticipate completing something every day; most likely I will start several items on one day, and then spend the next few days completing them.  That way I can say cut several stamps at once and then mount them over several days.

Week 1

Today I spent about 30-40 minutes cutting stamps from craft foam.  I found some quick sketches of organic shapes I’d made a while back and decided to do them.  Most of my work is very linear, so some organic shapes will be a good contrast to that.

During the week I will mount them then test print on fabric and paper.

Hopefully Ii will not lose interest or give up this time.