Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Hitting the Restart Button

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

Hi all,

I am back.  Our move out to California has had a much longer settle in time than I would ever have imagined possible.   My life was pretty much in a holding pattern for the first 3 1/2 months out here.  Among other challenges, I was never able to fully unpack and my dyeing workspace never materialized.  I don’t want to dwell on the drama of it, but we have moved for a second time.   We are now in a great place, my work areas are functional and I am ready to get on with living and making some art.


I had been working on cave pieces prior to all of this life upheaval, but am feeling very drawn to making things with nature images right now.  Making things that reconnect me to a feeling of peace seem just right.  I am busy screening pieces with vat dye and will steam my pieces at the end of the week.


Maine Pond (C) Tracy McCabe Stewart

I have been spending time at a great local studio:  A Work of Heart and took a resin class.  I’ll be experimenting with using this new resin to incorporate mixed media into my pieces.  I’ll post pictures.


Dragonfly (C) Tracy McCabe Stewart

Thanks for sticking with me!



Greetings from San Jose

Saturday, September 10th, 2011

It’s been a whirlwind couple of months!  I left Chicago on August 4th with my 2 dogs and drove about 2200 miles over the next 3 days to reach San Jose.  We spent the next 9 days living with a bed and  plastic  utensils and paper plates.  The movers delivered our stuff on August 15th.  Since then, I have managed to get mostly unpacked, but we are still waiting for our garage to be built before we can unpack all of the stuff that we had in the basement of out old place.  I am hoping that will go up in the next week or so.


My sewing room is set up, but I don’t yet have a place to dye or paint fabric, so I haven’t really started any new work.  I also can’t find a regular sized USB cord, so can’t upload all the pictures I’ve been taking with my phone.  I am going out to buy one this week! 


I did manage to take a class at a great art studio in my neighborhood- A Work of Heart  It’s got equipment/classes for everything from stamping to dyeing fabric, to precious metal clay, including a class I signed up for in cyanotype printing on fabric  The place has a great vibe and really nice people.  I am sure to be a regular there.


I also joined  the Contemporary Quilters Fiber Artists group.  This is a group of extremely talented people that do lots of surface design techniques.  I am sure to learn a ton from them.


To top it off, I went to the regional meeting of the Surface Design Association today as well.  It met at artist Judith Content’s home, which is a work of art in itself.  This is a group working and teaching in all aspects of surface design.  Applications include anything from weaving to designing fabric, to felt vessels.  You name it.  Very inspiring!


I learned about a really cool company today as well called Spoonflower.  Seems like everyone but me knows about this.  For what I think is a pretty good price, you can upload an image and they will custom print it onto fabric.  Amazing!  Like inkjet printing you do at home, but on a much larger scale. 


More later and I’ll have pictures!!!!

Material Ways

Monday, January 10th, 2011
I am thrilled my piece, “Cave Series VII” is included in the Material Ways Show!  Information below:
Fine Line Creative Arts Center in St. Charles will host “Material Ways,” an exhibit of art quilts created
by our Illinois and Wisconsin regional members of SAQA, the Studio Art Quilters Alliance. The show will take place in Fine Line’s Kavanagh Gallery from January 8 – February 19, 2011 with the opening reception scheduled for Saturday, January 8th from 1:30pm – 4pm. Gallery hours are Monday through Sunday from 10am until 5pm.
Each art quilt reflects personal experiences of everyday life and the beauty of the natural world. Quilt artists to be featured are: Frieda Anderson, Gail Baar, Patricia Bergh, Pat Bishop, Kathy Downie, Deborah Fell, Mary Ellen Heus, Nancy Kimpel, Pat Kroth, Barbara Lardon, Karen Linduska, Stephanie Nordlin, BJ Parady,, Jeanne, Pfister, Casey Puetz, Jill Robinson, Katherine Sands, Virginia Spiegle, Sue Spurlock, Tracy McCabe Stewart and Laura Wasilowski.
Fine Line Creative Arts Center is an educational center devoted to helping individuals nurture their creative energies. It provides year-round classes in a wide range of media including weaving, knitting, crochet, machine knitting, dyeing, jewelry, glass, blacksmithing, pottery, painting, drawing, printmaking and papermaking. Visit for more information.

5 Fateful Questions-A Great Post on The Happiness project’s Blog

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

I am a huge fan of Gretchen Rubin.  She’s the author of the wonderful bestseller, “The Happiness Project” and the blog of the same name.

She has a great post on questions to ask yourself when making tough decisions.    It was the perfect advice for me right now as my family is considering some big changes.  Maybe it will be for you, too.


Inspirational Artist: Lorraine Roy

Sunday, August 22nd, 2010


I have been crazy busy traveling this summer and working on some personal projects.  I am also working on a piece for a large juried show next month, but can’t post any pictures of it.  It will negate it’s eligibility to the show.

In the meantime, I thought I would introduce you to a fabulous textile artist named Lorraine Roy.  She works out of Canada and I have been following her work for years.  I love Lorraine’s textiles.  Her focus is mainly on trees as subjects these days, but I first got hooked on her work when she was doing cloth representations of patinaed sheet metal.  Unfortunately, she no longer has these pieces on her site, but you can see her gorgeous tree compositions.    They are all a gorgeous mixtures of abstraction and realism; full of  beautiful colors and texture.  They are well work a look.  Enjoy!

Hitting the Road

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

I am off to Door County, Wisconsin for a long weekend of art galleries and biking with my husband.  I will have a quick stop home on Sunday and then I’m off to Asheville, NC next week.  I hope to post loads of pictures.

Here’s one from a previous trip:

Blue Ridge Parkway (c) Tracy McCabe Stewart

Travel Bug Continued

Monday, May 17th, 2010

In my current urge to travel, I have been visiting some interesting sites.  There’s a great site called Daily Bute featuring a daily picture of the Isle of Bute, Scotland as well as pictures from some other locations in Scotland.  I’ve posted about the Isle of Bute before (look at my Scotland posts);  it’s where I got married and one of my favorite places to visit.

Click on the link above to see some lovely shots.

Here’s one of mine:

Rothesay Castle (c) Tracy McCabe Stewart

Big in Japan-A trip to Itchiku Kubota’s Kimono Museum

Sunday, April 18th, 2010

More Falls (c) Tracy McCabe Stewart

Hi all,

While Ashley and I were up around Mt. Fuji, we went to see Itchiku Kubota’s astounding kimono.  Fueled by Japanese fast food these things I call rice balls:

Behold, the Japanese Rice Ball Thingie. Yum!

I sure wish I could post pictures of the actual work, but no photos were allowed in the exhibit.  I did take lots of pictures of his lovely gardens and have posted them below.  There are more lovely photos of his gardens here.

Itchiku was inspired by a piece of 17th century textiles (tsujikahana)  and vowed he would figure out how it was created and reproduce the technique.  He did that and then some; creating an amazing body of work called the “Symphony of Light”.  Read more about it here.  Much of the series was inspired by the incredible sunsets he saw while he was a prisoner of war held in Siberia.  He talks about how the sunsets gave him something to live for.   He died before the series’ completion, but his apprentices still carry out his work today.  Here’s a link to a 3 minute video of his work.  It has lovely footage of the kimono and a few scenes of his museum, which is a work of art in itself. 

Each kimono represents a year’s work by numerous people.  I have many books of his work, including Kimono as Art which has exquisite photos of his work.  even with all these books, I was surprised at how textural his kimono are.  There is actually very little stitching on them.  All of the work is painstakingly created through the dye process.  when the kimono fabris is untied after many, many dyeings, many of the folds are left in place as texture on the piece.  All of the kimono stand alone as works of art, as well as being part of a larger landscape.

I know many artists who have a “big picture” feel to their work and many who excel at detail.  I have seen very few who have had to be so good at both.  He is the only living artist to ever be shown at the Smithsonian.  I had more than a few tears in my eye looking at this work and hearing about his life.   What an amazing artist.

Anyway, here are some shots of his lovely gardens:

Entry Gates to the Garden (c) Tracy McCabe Stewart

Detail of Entry Gate (c) Tracy McCabe Stewart

Garden Path (c) Tracy McCabe Stewart

Falls (c) Tracy McCabe Stewart

Garden Pond (c) Tracy McCabe Stewart

Funky Garden Seating (c) Tracy McCabe Stewart

Garden Falls in front of the museum (c) Tracy McCabe Stewart

Monkeys were on the loose! We only saw a tail.

Another Beautiful Gate (c) Tracy McCabe Stewart

on another note, the train station had these creepy fairies guarding it.  No explanation anywhere:

Creepy train station fairies (c) Tracy McCabe Stewart

and a close up:

Creepy Fairy Close Up (c) Tracy McCabe Stewart

Off to Kyoto tomorrow!

Rust Dyeing

Monday, December 14th, 2009

I am reducing prices on my work for the remainder of 2009-Read more here

I am featuring a piece of my work every day or so through the end of the year.  Here’s today’s piece:

"Crane Series I"  2008 by Tracy McCabe Stewart

"Crane Series I" 2008 by Tracy McCabe Stewart

“Crane Series I”


By Tracy McCabe Stewart


Hand dyed and commercial cottons, digitally created fabric.  Machine quilted.

2010 price: $600

2009 price: $450


Rust Dyeing


Last week  my work group, the Free Motions went up to Nina’s to do some rust dyeing.  Participants included Shelley Brucar, Nina Edelman, Leah Rosenthal, Cathy Mendola and myself  They needed to cure for a week to give the rust time to transfer to the fabric.  Here’s the results:

Rust dyed fabric

Rust dyed fabric

Nina had some fabulous rusty shapes to play with.  I’ll probably over dye them.  too much white for me.


Here’s another:

More rust dyeing on cotton

More rust dyeing on cotton


the rust transfer is nudged along by adding salt or vinegar to the fabric and keeping it wet.  I used both on these.  Lots of direct transfer, but not much bleed to the rest of the fabric.

More cotton:

Rust dyed cotton

Rust dyed cotton

and finally, some cotton velvet:

Rust dye on cotton velvet

Rust dye on cotton velvet

Featured Pieces of the Day Bark Series III and IV

Tuesday, December 1st, 2009

I am reducing prices on my work for the remainder of 2009-Read more here

I am featuring a piece of my work every day or so through the end of the year.  Here’s today’s pieces:

"Bark Series III" (c) 2008 by Tracy McCabe Stewart

"Bark Series III" (c) 2008 by Tracy McCabe Stewart



"Bark Series IV" (c) 2008 by Tracy McCabe Stewart

"Bark Series IV" (c) 2008 by Tracy McCabe Stewart


Bark Series III and IV

(C) 2008 by Tracy McCabe Stewart

Hand dyed and commercial cottons, seed pods.  Machine quilted.

each 20″x20″

2010 price:  $600 each

2009 price:  $450 each

email me if you have questions or want higher resolution photos