Archive for the ‘handmade’ Category

Yes, we’ve  MOVED.  While we are still unpacking boxes on the new site we do invite you to change your bookmarks NOW. DGBQuilts has a new home. This site will no longer be upated.  Please visit the new website and blog for updates, pictures and everything else going on in the world of UrbanWildflower Dolls and Deborah Grayson Studios.  We so appreciate all of the support you have given us over the last year.   Peace and Blessings, Deborah

42072-Square Quilt 5x7 web sRGB


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So, many of you know that I was one of the 44 artists selected to participate in the Quilts for Obama Exhibit.  I am still so excited to have participated in the celebration of our 44th president in this way.  I am even more excited because the exhibit took place in my home town.  My family was able to attend the opening. There is a buzz in DC that I have never experienced before and it felt so good to be home. People talk about “Washington” as if it is just a place where people do politics.  I know it as Washington, DC a city of neighborhoods and everyday working people. But I digress. . . .


The quilt I made for the exhibit is called “And so there is hope. There is hope.”  It is made in the tradition of the Egungun costumes of the Yoruba people.  When Carolyn Mazloomi called me to participate in this exhibit I had already had a sketch in my sketchbook of the quilt I eventually created.  I wanted a way to pull together all of the hopes, dreams, charms and prayers I collected while working On President-elect Obama’s campaign.  When doing the intial research for the quilt I  learned that traditional communities of the Yoruba people honor their ancestors through the creation of  Egungun costumes.  The costumes are said to represent the collective force of the ancestors who bless the living. When the costume is worn, dancers spin around and the long colorful arms spin out as though the ancestors are touching us. I want President-elect Obama to feel all of our arms lifting him up in prayer, reaching out in support, digging in to do our own work.  As President-elect Obama often says he can not do any of this work alone.  Indeed he needs each one of us.  We truly are the ones that we have been waiting for.   

Statement about the Quilt:
After standing in line for 4 1/2 hours to vote, when it was finally my turn to step up to the terminal I stared at the screen for a good while before I touched it for Barack Obama and Joe Biden.  As I touched the screen I called the names of family members who had not lived to see this day.  This quilt is made in the tradition of the Egungun costume. It embodies prayers, ancestral spirits and of course hope.


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2008 Wins

  • One of 44 artists selected for the Quilts for Obama  exhibit at the Historical Society of Washington. The exhibit will open on Sunday January 11, 2009.  Here’s a sneak peak:
Close up from my Obama quilt for the show. The  name of the Quilt is "And so there is hope.  There is Hope."

Close up from my Obama quilt for the show. The name of the Quilt is "And so there is hope. There is Hope."


  • Finally completed the blue prints for the big Blog and website move.  You will see improvements soon.
  • Was the focus and featured artists of two news stories about my work
  • Took three new workshops in encaustics and printmaking and met a number of fabulous artists



    • Regularly kept my sketchbook and experimented more with COLOR and new media
    • Invited to become a member of a wonderful critique group that I cannot wait to get started with
    • I went to my studio everyday (even if some days all I did was to  lay in the floor and take a nap)

    Goals for 2009

    I did a little research on the number nine.  I learned that some believe that 9 holds the energy of attainment and completion and that with closure we are faced with renewal. We all know that there is no ending without a beginning.  As I mentioned on the UrbanWildflowerBlog here is to a renewed passion for art and creativity.

    • Get out there and enter more shows!
    • Complete the big blog and website move
    • update my mailing list
    • get new post cards made of my work
    • meet more fun artists!
    • Draw everyday
    • Continue to work on printmaking (this is the year of experimental screenprinting and monoprinting for me)
    • Continue to play with encaustic and in acrylics (though not necessarily in the same piece!!!)

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    So I am continuing to work my way through my 2008 list of art goals that I set for myself . One of those goals was to do weekly art quilt explorations which I continue to enjoy. I admit that I have to constantly fight the desire to make each piece a perfect little piece. So keeping in mind that the operative word in this process is *exploration* here is another example of the exercise. You may remember this piece from January. I felt that I could make it a little more interesting so I cut it up. I also used oil sticks and paint to embellish the quilted surface. I got this technique from the book The Painted Quilt. Currently I am working with 4 different books: The Painted Quilt, Breakdown Printing, Finding Your Own Visual Language and Water-based Screenprinting Today. I am really excited about how my return to printmaking techniques is influencing my work. As I mention below, I have been taking an 8 week monoprinting course at the Atlanta Printmakers Studio. I have already signed up for another 8 weeks of fun and experimentation. It’s all about getting out there and trying new things. Yeah!

    MoonGlo Self portrait dgbquilts.wordpress.com

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    Here is another example of a block I did using the xerox roll up technique. Several of you have written to me to ask about the steps involved. I will describe below with the assumption that you have some experience with printmaking techniques (please note that other than silk screen, I had very little experience!)

    First, the image


    As with the image below I printed on canvas. I like the added texture and graininess that canvas adds to the image. I have not decided whether I will keep the border on the finished piece or not. Maybe I will cut it down. I don’t know yet. Anyway, here are the steps I learned to create this image.

    1. Make a copy of a personal photograph or copyright-free image. Enlarge the image if you choose.
    2. Cover the back of the copied image with a light coating of gum arabic and attach it to your plexi-glass plate (make sure that your plate has beveled edges before you run it through the press).
    3. once you have attached the copy to the plate cover the front of the image with a light coating of gum arabic.
    4. At this point I have a bucket with a large sponge on my printing table. I also roll out my ink making sure it has a nice swishing sound when I roll it out (I know, not scientific but what can I say!?)
    5. Take the sponge and squeeze water on the image covered with gum arabic. Blot the water with the sponge.
    6. Starting in the middle of the image (not on the edge where it will tear or lift the image) begin to roll ink over the copy.
    7. ALternately squeeze water over the image, blot and roll ink until you begin to see a build up of the ink. Then you are ready to print.
    8. Follow necessary procedures to protect the press before you are ready to print.

    I learned this technique at the Atlanta Printmaker’s Studio from Terri Dilling. Hope I have answered your questions!

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    I can’t believe that we are already at the end of February. Luckily it is leap year this year or I would have missed posting in February completely. Couldn’t let that happen. February is my birthday month (Feb 19th) so I always hate to see it go. I

    For the last 8 weeks I have been thoroughly enjoying the printmaking class I mentioned in an earlier post. I have been experimenting with inks, dyes and paints to create images on cloth — usually canvas. A number of these images will find their way into larger pieces. For now, they are just blocks. My work in printmaking has been specifically focused on monoprint techniques. In particular, I have done inkjet transfers, xerox transfers using wintergreen oil and a technique called xerox roll up. Xerox roll up is a faux-litho technique that uses gum arabic, water, oil-based inks and color xeroxes. In the first example I manipulated a found photo of some ancestors. I have already begun to sketch out the project I want to build around this image. In the second example I used color copies of Michelle Obama and my own mixture of blue ink to print these images on canvas.

    Michelle Obama Xerox Roll-up Image

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    A funny thing happened on the way to the trashcan. I found a quilt. The pieces in this exploration quilt come from scraps from other projects. I usually toss medium to large scraps in a basket on the floor near my cutting table.  After (attempting to ha, ha) tidy my studio after working I thought I would dump the basket.  And then all of these batik scraps and some of my hand dyed scraps fell on the floor.  I began to sew the strips together, cut them and sew them together again.  Hmmm, I said to myself, what would happen if . .  . . and here is what I have so far . .  .

    Exploration Quilt #3 http//www.dgbquilts.wordpress.com

    Though I have completed this exploration quilt for now I decided not to layer it piece because I think I want to grow this into a wall or lap quilt.

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