I had to bury myself in the studio last week

To put it bluntly the last week or two have been hell. Between the GOP gift to the wealthy tax bill and their endorsement of child molester/sexual predator Roy Moore for US Senate, I just can’t stand seeing what’s happening and feeling so helpless to stop any of it. Everyone I know is calling, writing, and emailing their representatives daily and it all just falls on deaf ears.


well, there’s nothing more healing to the soul than creating! So I stopped reading the news, barely looked at Facebook, and worked in the studio all week.

I set up my work table with piles of acrylic ink colored fabrics from demos in my various workshops. Pulled out foam brushes, stamps, acrylic inks, and a large foam floor tile that is great for using as a surface for stamping on. It’s a firm enough surface to work with foam and rubber stamps, yet cushy enough for stamping with carved wooden stamps.

After I finished stamping,

I switched to printing with thermofax screens.

I love the crisp graphic quality you get when using thermofax screens. It’s also the perfect way to incorporate white images on to dark fabrics. White acrylic ink is too transparent to show up on colored fabric, but white silk screen printing ink is very opaque.

Bungie cord clothes lines are the best! I string them up between my shelving for drying fabric and thermofax screens as I work.


These are all the fabrics I printed.


I had fun combining different fabric samples using an app on my iphone to look like quilt blocks too. I never realized what a great tool it could be for coming up with simple quilt block designs.


I’ll give you a quick overview to give you a sense of the time involved in hand-printing fabric and why many of my acrylic inks workshops are 2 or more days.

In a workshop, we usually spend the first 3 hours making what I call base fabrics, by applying acrylic inks in a variety of ways, and depending on the class we may also spend a couple hours doing several shibori techniques to color the fabrics as well.

Then the fabric needs to dry and be ironed before we can start printing.

Stamping fabric involves choosing and mixing colors, stamping the designs, and cleaning the stamps as you go.

When the stamping is done, all the stamp supplies need to be cleared away and bins of water need to be filled for washing screens.

When using thermofax screens you need to choose and mix colors for each printed pattern, screen each design on the fabric, then wash the screen and hang it to dry before it can be used to print a different color. With a full class there’s a lot of screens cycling through at a rapid pace, keeping things really busy.


I worked 4 days straight printing all the fabrics in the photos above. I produced a lot of printed fabric but, I mostly used fabric that had previously been colored in workshops, so that was one big step of the process already completed.

I spent 2 days stamping, an evening wrapping pvc pipes to make the gray/black shibori fabric, and two days printing with thermofax screens.


I’m very excited that I’ll get to take a group of students through a full week of printing fabric this way at a 5 – day Paint and Print-a-palooza retreat August 14-18, 2018 at the Woodland Ridge Retreat, in Wisconsin. I love extended workshop opportunities like this, the learning and creative growth is incredible. You should think about joining me, you’ll learn a lot and have fun too!


I’d love to spark your creativity at one of these upcoming events:

January 10-14, 2018 Craft Napa
Blessings in the Wind: mixed-media prayer flags (open)
Tea, Thremofax and Ephemera (SOLD OUT)
Blooming Inspiration (a fews spots left)
Painting Imagery with Textile Paints (a fews spots left)

Focus on Fiber Florida 2018
April 2-10 Atlantic Center for the Arts, New Smyrna Beach, FL
Blessings in the Wind: mixed media prayer flags
Blooming Inspiration

May 4-6 Nadelweldt, Karlsruhe, Germany
Exhibition and workshops

June 1-2 Meissners, Sacramento TBA

August 14-18, 2018 Woodland Ridge Retreat, WI
5 – day Paint and Print-a-palooza retreat

October 19-21 Ephemera Paducah, Paducah, KY
Tea and Ephemera and Blessings in the wind: mixed-media prayer flags

October 27 Meissners, Sacramento Fiesta Ornaments

Keep creating, Judy

IMG_5538Judy is an artist, explorer, image wrangler, knowledge seeker, instructor, speaker, creative alchemist, and purveyor of inspiration, helping others channel creativity on a daily basis.

25 Responses to “I had to bury myself in the studio last week”

  1. Diane Evans says:

    Your art work is better for the soul than seeing a therapist — wish I could produce things this extraordinary when I’m in a funk. And I, too, am deeply troubled by everything that’s going on in politics these days. It seems the world has gone mad. During such times, I’m reminded of the line from a song by Steeler’s Wheel: “Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right — here I am, stuck in the middle with you.” And it’s a great place to be “stuck” right now — you’re a treasure.


    • Oh thanks Diane.

      How perfect that lyric, I want to listen to that song right now!! I look forward to the day when politics have been reversed and we can look more positively to our future, in the meantime it’s going to be rough for quite a while.

      I wish you and I could hang out right now and create some beautiful work together in gorgeous upstate NY, we might almost be able to temporarily forget about this mess. xo

  2. jeannievh says:

    Your fabrics are gorgeous. This post is just the thing I needed on a cold, gray day. It seems that the politicians are getting more and more evil each day. Immersing yourself in creating is a gift to yourself and your sanity. You inspired me to purchase a bunch of wood stamps for Christmas. At the rate I’m going, I might hang them on the tree instead of digging out the ornaments. I took your suggestion to stab fabric. One batch of felted balls is ready for stitch and another will get felted today. Wishing you a calm, peaceful day doing what ever makes you happy.

    • glad it helped brighten your day Jeannie. We need to get that lift any where we can find it these days. After you adorn your tree with the wood stamps, just think how pretty they’ll be all covered with bits of dried colorful ink in them after you break them in for the new year 🙂

  3. Joan M Wallrich says:

    Judy, your work is so beautiful and inspiring. If your work is that sensational during a funk, I think you may have many many beautiful pieces the next 3 years. That, I’m afraid, will probably be the only good thing to come out of it. Diane’s reference to Steelers Wheel, is quite apropos. Hang in there with the rest of us and keep making inspiring art to help heal your soul.

    • Hi Joanie,

      I hate to think it might be a little bit true that I do some of my best work when I’m feeling at my worst, lol. My ex made that observation once too. He loves the work I made during the first few years of our split and when I was dealing with a lot of difficult stuff trying to keep our loft from going into foreclosure. Those kind of dark feelings have inspired some of the best music too! I guess that’s why I love the blues so much. 🙂

  4. Gayle Scott says:

    What beautiful fabrics. Looking at everything was a great way to escape all the awful new. Thank you for sharing

  5. Corky Blanco says:

    I️ understand your feelings and am glad you can be creative at a time like this. I️ can’t. Calls, emails, faxed ALL MATTER. We stopped the no healthcare bill that way. If we don’t keep fighting then we are part of the problem.

  6. Barbara Fox says:

    Feeling that very same way, Judy. Being creative is the best way to occupy your mind. It’s the only thing that helps my anxiety. Keep resisting, as we all should. We must keep fighting for our rights. Who’d of thought we would have to be doing this in 2017? Happy holidays!

    • Hi Barbara,
      it sure makes it hard to find the holiday spirit, when the turmoil is so constant. We definitely have to work a little harder to find our peace. I think staying busy with creative activities and spending quality time with loved ones really helps.

  7. Yvonne Renfree says:

    What a wonderful week’s work and an inspiration to all who see what you do. Thank you

  8. All so lovely really enjoy all the updates. Merry Christmas to you & yours. Ryl xo

  9. Christine Sandow says:

    I agree. Since the inauguration, we have been bombarded with a never-ending stream of bad news, each event more outrageous and horrendous than the one before it, currently culminating in the endorsement of Roy Moore, sexual predator and opponent of the Constitution and the rule of law. My numerous letters to my Georgia senators and representative also fall on deaf ears. Many of my friends have grown discouraged and overwhelmed. I am working hard to keep my balance by incorporating more creative work into my life. It reminds me that there are still good things happening in the world. Toward that end, I find your posts and your work very encouraging. It’s comforting to know that you and other like-minded creative people are also out there struggling to make sense of a world turned upside-down and are creating beautiful work in the process.

    • Hi Christine,

      thanks for writing. It has been such a hard year. Jones win tonight in Alabama has been the best news in such a long time. We needed that so bad! I can’t believe how much better it has made me feel, it gives me a glimmer of renewed optimism that we might eventually be able to turn things around if we keep working at it.

      And to keep up our energy we must do things that bring us peace and joy. I feel lucky that I can get a boost from creative time and I like to remind others when ever I can about the benefits of making things.

      Art makes the world a beautiful place! 🙂

  10. Anne Godwin says:

    Wow! Your art is just gorgeous! I’m happy that Doug Jones won in Alabama! I was in your class in Mobile. I need to get my stuff back out. My daughter brought me stamps from India. I need to try them out.

    • Hi Anne,

      nice to hear from you! Congratulations on getting Doug Jones elected, he seems like a very good man. How cool that your daughter brought you stamps! You definitely need to set up some play time! 🙂

  11. fairymama says:

    Keep the faith, there is hope!

  12. Leah says:

    Wow wow wowzers! I am drooling over your fabrics!

    Maybe the stars will align and I’ll be able to take a class one day.

    Sadly, as long as the Orange Baboon is in charge, I can’t allow myself to crosd the border to the US. I can’t do it.

    Creating beautiful things and ignoring the news, from time to time, is important therapy. Time well spent in a bubble of happiness.

    • thanks Leah! Well I have taught in Canada in the past, maybe I’ll get across the border again some day 🙂 and oh my gosh, I don’t blame you for not wanting to come here! I wouldn’t if it didn’t live here, lol. The only saving grace is that I’m in California. Maybe I can apply for refugee status someday in a sane country like Canada, New Zealand or Australia, lol. Unfortunately as the world gets crazier everyone is closing their borders to everyone. 🙁 so, in the meantime…create!

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