Sunday, August 14, 2022

17th c Beadwork Class

Beneath Thy Poft Oak, 2022 Registration Open

 Registration is now open for my 2022 running of Beneath Thy Poft Oak, The Art of 17th c Beadwork. Spaces are limited so if you are interested, you can learn more about all the particulars and/ or enroll here. You can also click the tab at the top of the blog page here for the Diamond K Folk Art Online Academy to see all the classes currently offered. 

 It's hard to appreciate any beadwork in a flat photo, so I made a video for you. I will have more videos in the coming days of other beadwork projects that can be made using the same techniques that I teach in padded mirror case, beaded basket, and of course my beaded casket~ I hope you'll check back!


Saturday, July 30, 2022

My Summer Rollercoaster

2 Weddings in 3 days & a Finish...

Oh my golly this year has been a handful.  I am still trying to get back to my olde self.. I just feel like I got on some rollercoaster from hell and can't get off. A week after I got my staples out we were off to Durango Colorado (a trip my husband had planned for a year and would not let me out of). About a week after that Pip and I drove up to Washington to see my parents. A week after we got home from that, our oldest daughter got married!

Two days later, my middle daughter got married! School starts here on the 9th of August, so I am actually really looking forward to some quiet days. Would that be possible? I sure hope so. I don't have the energy I used to have, and feel honestly like I just want to sit and cry my eyes out for about a week, about what I don't know, and then maybe go to sleep until January of next year. I'm just worn OUT. 

I have been working on backorders in between all the happenings, painting aLOT, and on my lacquering days and evenings managed to get the center panel for the INSIDE of my short flat top casket finished. I dressed her like one of my dollys~she wears real pearls and real garnet jewels, and I am very proud to say, she has a head of my own hair. I am super pleased with how she came out. When things settle maybe ill post about her in more detail, or take a little video.

I hope you are finding time to get some stitching done & enjoying your days XOXOX

Saturday, June 25, 2022

Super Honored

 My 15th Consecutive Year Selected for Early American Life's Directory of Top 200 Traditional American Craftsmen

Words can't express how much it means to me to have been selected again this year for the 2022 Directory. THANKYOU to the judges for choosing my dollys to accompany so many other talented artists' work. I really do love making dolls.

You can find the Directory in the July/August 2022 Issue of Early American Life Magazine.  It's hard to believe 15 years have passed. It seems like an eternity, and at the same time, no time at all. I have made so many dollys over the years. I remember each and every one of them. Every so often, I end up really regretting selling a doll. I need the money so they do their part and happily travel the globe....the whole time though, I really miss them.

I was elated recently when a dealer contacted me that she had bought a large collection of dolls and several of mine were included. I could not wait to bring my Wrestling Heart back home, as pictured above. 

Marta also made the long journey from Virginia to Colorado. I almost cried when I opened them up, kindred spirits from so many years ago that I have missed so much! They have so many stories to tell the girls here of their long and marvelous travels~ the endless chatter has not stopped since they arrived! 

I am currently sculpting the figures for the 2022 Poft Oak beadwork class. Once I get those finished, I will hope to get some dollys in the ETSY shop later this summer!

Happy Stitching XOXOXO

Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Gum Work~ The Art of 17th Century Gummed Silk

 Now Open for Registration!!

Registration is now open again for my gummed silk class! You can read all about the class by clicking the tab above for my Diamond K Folk Art Online Academy. Its right under the Blog header here on this page. The photo to the right is a link to the Academy for those in class to sign in. To learn about what classes are running, click on the page tab at the top of the page, under the Lady's Repository Museum title banner. 

Have you always wanted to make a 17th c inspired something....but for whatever reason don't stitch? Do you love to cut and paste? Make collages??? This class could be just what you're looking for! 

You will learn gummed silk history, and how to make it so you can make gummed silk compositions of your own~ on a box, or just as a flat panel to frame on your wall. This technique is perfect for tight spaces and interiors of caskets & boxes.  

If you click on the Silke Gum Worke tab to the right to sort the blog posts, you can see some historical pieces that have sleeven or gummed silk on them.

You will also learn some wet techniques, including how to make gummed silk curls like these shown here on the lion. 

THIS IS NOT A CASKET CLASS, it is a class to teach you how to make Gummed Silk. 

I will have an interior finishing class coming up later this fall.

Friday, May 27, 2022

A little Casket Peek

 Sharing a Few Stitches With You Today

As I try to get back into my normal groove I am super happy to be able to get back to stitching. I have had several things framed up and ready to go for some while, since January I guess actually. People ask me all the time how I am able to get so many things completed, as I stitch all of my class and project models myself. My trick is that my stitching is framed and ready to go ALWAYS. It's always out on the display counter so if I walk by and want to stitch for five minutes, I can. It's ready for me. So much time is spent setting up and putting away if you do not have a dedicated stitching space...that's all time that could be spent stitching if it was right there waiting. 

I thought you would enjoy a little peek at what will be going in a secret compartment in the current casket I'm working on. You can hear the pop of the needle as it passes through the paper on the back of my silk...something that some may consider odd, but I love to listen to.

Happy Stitching!

Saturday, May 21, 2022

 17th Century Silk Wrapped Cards

The wrapped cards on the back of my little casket have piqued a lot of interest from folks. That's GREAT! I have received quite a few questions so I thought I would just share a bit more about them here on my blog for everyone to enjoy. 

These cards are indeed a 17th Century technique.  They are most often found on caskets, but I have seen ones made up into little purses as well. I know I have seen more than one.  The following example is shown in Domestic Needlework~

It is described as a "Perfume case in latticed silks; English 1650-1670"

 Many early caskets were not worked in a single technique. Usually, the elaborate raised work was done on the top or front, with flatter techniques like satin stitch used for the sides. Wrapped cards were common for the backs of caskets, especially if they were planned to sit against a wall where the back was rarely seen. A person could spend months and months working on a single elaborate raised stumpwork panel, whereas I worked all of the wrapped cards for the back and frieze of my little casket in only a day and a half. 

The above photo is of Winterthur casket 1970.0507 A, and can be found here. If you click the link to the object page, you will see that only the top and door fronts are embroidered in satin stitch. The back, sides, friezes, slopes, and interior are all done in wrapped cards.

These two cuties above, in a private collection, are made up only of wrapped cards.

Wrapped cards are pretty self-explanatory. They are made up of silk thread that has been wrapped around a thick card. I am lucky to own some period ones, three of which are shown above. They may look tatty to the untrained eye. Tatty ones like these reveal the secrets of how they were made ;)

The 'card' is rather quite thick, and made up of several layers of pressed paper, as seen above.

Every one of these cards is fascinating to me. They are like intricate little puzzles, each with its own secrets. These three were made and never used, as there is no glue residue on the backs. It is when comparing the back(shown below), to the front (shown above), that one can appreciate the damage light can do to the dyes over time.

 The bright colours of silk are gasp-inducing when you turn a card over for the first time. It is by studying the backs one can decipher in what order the silks were wrapped to obtain a certain design on the front. Some cards, such as the one shown above, also reveal little surprises contained within the wrappings...

 Period straight pins at the corners were used to anchor the silk threads when starting and stopping, and changing directions of the wrappings.
 Not all cards used pins. Sometimes a knot was made at the end of a thread, and the needle passed through the layers of the card to secure it, as seen above. There is a little knot at the top edge of the card, all the way to the left~ if you cannot see it, click on the photo and enlarge it. You can also see other stray needle holes within the card below the knot. It is little details like this one looks for in trying to figure out how to reproduce one of these little cards. 

 I lump wrapped cards into two categories: geometrics and figural. The first card I showed was obviously a geometric design. The card above is what I would call a figural card. These are cards that have been wrapped in a way to represent flowers or buildings. They will have added features such as stitched on or gum work stems and leaves, and in the case of buildings, inked on architectural elements like windows and doors. 
The card above has three stitches of much heavier silk forming the stems.

On the back, one can see the obvious light green silk used for the stems, but an additional dark green heavy silk can also be seen. What was that for? Perhaps they first used the dark silk and didn't like how it looked and then switched to a lighter silk? As long as the threads were unpicked from the front, there was no need to unpick the ones to the back. Like I said, these are all very fascinating!

The above photo is one I took of casket T.23-1928 at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London~ you can find it here.  If you click on and enlarge the photo, look at the top section of the middle drawer, right in the center of the picture. This is my favorite geometric design and the one I reproduced for the frieze on my casket.

I studied the photo and sketched out the design on graph paper, as seen above. This is where your brain can really start to melt, but in a good way if you like challenges or puzzles. One must think backward when deciphering these cards. The wraps or silk allll the way to the bottom were wrapped first. You look at intersections to help you see the order of wrapping. As a rule, I assign 1mm for each colour. On my graph paper, each square is 1mm. (This has nothing to do with how many wraps around the card) Depending on the silk you choose to use, it may take two wraps of thread to equal 1mm, or 4 wraps of thread to equal 1mm. That you have to actually do it and measure for your thread type. 
Once I plotted out a single motif, I measured the size and divided my frieze length by that, to give me the number of whole repeats so I could center them on my frieze. 

The card is then marked, as seen above. Each mark here represents the darkest blue in my design.

I used the pin method to anchor my threads, as seen above. I find that brass sequin pins are the perfect size. They are pushed into the card, leaving enough of the head and shank exposed to hold the silk in place. 

The first wrapping sequence on my frieze is shown above. The wraps are flat, and silk within a 1mm wrap section NEVER overlaps its neighbor. 

Things can get pretty hairy as you wrap, as the design you see on the card really looks nothing like the finished design until the last wraps go on. 

The above is a picture of the finished focals, with no border banding on yet.

And here is the frieze with all border bands finished.  The top and bottom of the frieze will be covered by trim so no need to waste precious silk wrapping to the very outside edges. The difference between the previous picture and this one really shows how much colour choices play in the overall look of your design.

To panel the back, individual tiles are glued on and then I used tape to cover the seams. Original panels are usually wrapped in silk again over the seams. I couldn't decide on a colour, so I used tape! Here you can also appreciate the addition of gummed silk stems and leaves to complete the figurals, as was done on the original ones. 
You can learn how to make your own gummed silk sheets in my Diamond K Folk Art Online Academy class 'Gum Work, The Art of 17th Century Gummed Silk' starting again on 1 July. I will be opening enrollment for class again soon, if you are interested just shoot me an email to

Happy Stitching!

Sunday, May 15, 2022


 Life is nothing without Family and Friends

I don't know where to start, so I guess I'll just jump right in. First I want to apologize to all my faithful readers that I have not posted in so long. This year has been a challenge. On my last blog post, I was excited and getting ready to go to Williamsburg Va for an embroidery seminar. I was excited on the outside, but I had been struggling for some while, just not feeling well. I can remember joking to Lamora that I was so sick, but needed to get my order done for the seminar so was painting all hunched over on my stool because I couldn't sit up straight, the pain and cramps were too bad. Did I listen to my body???  noooooo I did not. I got my order done and strangely enough, instead of taking it with me on the plane like I usually do, I mailed it in. Even my angels were talking to me secretly and I wasn't listening. 

Three days before my flight in Feb I spent the day in the ER, never got to Williamsburg, and the rest is a blur. Long story short, I had a coconut size tumor removed and am now sitting here in MAY, looking down at a scar that runs from my sternum to my nethers, trying to realize where the time has gone. It actually seems like YEARS have gone by in these months.  I am still having panic attacks, but I feel one coming on and can push it out of my mind. I know what one is now, I wish I didn't. 

Each night I pray for strength, and understanding, sometimes for more patience, and more compassion. The Creator does not have a magic wand and just swoosh, here your prayer is answered. It doesn't work like that. He throws situations and tests at you...things that will teach you more compassion, or more patience, or more love, more kindness.  Kinds of things that show you how much others love you, and how much you really love those others. 

I hope I passed my test. I hope I learned what I was supposed to, because I really dont think I have it in me to go again. I love my family & friends more than words can express. There are no words of thanks that even come close to how I feel on the inside. I have always thought in my mind that I would live to be 100. I never even thought twice about it....until these last couple months when I was honestly hoping I would just get to 51. Ya, 51 in Sept would be great. One more trip home to see my parents, one more summer, two daughters getting married. My surgery went great, I got the best surgical oncologist and he ripped that coconut right out of there and now news is great and I am back to shooting for 100 again. I got a lot planned, so I need to get busy. I have slept more in these past few months than I have in years..but I'm not dwelling. I am feeling better each day and am starting to feel like my old self again. 

The ETSY store will be closed a little while longer as I am still not driving and not lifting. I will be opening enrollment soon for another running of the Gummed Silk and Poft Oak classes, and long awaited padded interiors class. Soon, I promise!

 I haven't done any stitching in so long, but in trying to keep my mind busy before surgery, I did work some wrapped cards for the back of my short flat top casket. If you ever need something to totally wipe your mind clean of any other thoughts, I have to recommend wrapped cards. At least for me, trying to figure out the order of wrapping to achieve a certain pattern, took every speck of brain power I had, and then some!
Happy Stitching  XOXOXOXOXO