Make with what we have–Part 1

Welcome to Waterlight Mosaics! This is a space to share what I make with the world, to offer my artwork and quilts, and to spark your own creativity.

February 4, 2022: I saw Torn yesterday, Max Lowe’s film about his father’s life and death. Alex Lowe died in a Himalayan avalanche in 1999 along with cameraman David Bridges. Fellow climber Conrad Anker survived, and eldest son Max’s movie is a love letter to his father, and, I think, to Conrad. You see, after Alex’s death, Conrad and Alex’s widow Jennifer married, and Conrad became a father to Alex’s three young sons.

How do you keep your heart open to love after profound loss? How do you make something real and alive, when death has torn you apart? Max made this beautiful film out of what he had in the wake of Alex’s death: memories, deep feelings, and film and video images. Conrad made a life with Jennifer and Max, Sam, and Isaac, bringing meaning and purpose out of tragedy.

The image above is from a time in my life when I had decided I would not have children of my own—not become pregnant and give birth. Adoption was still an open question. In the end, my life unfolded differently and—long, long story for another day—I did have a child come into my life (the lovely, old soul M!). This poem and its illustration share sentiments that resonate today on many levels: Who is to say what life we should bear? This vessel holds not flesh, but fire and a singing river.

We make with what we have.

So…what are you making these days…with what you have, whether it’s materials, an idea, or just a yearning to create?

First quilt


True to my interest in creating beautiful AND practical things, when I started quilting, I didn’t want to dink around with a practice project. So, I made a king-sized quilt for our bed. It’s my own design, incorporating the traditional log cabin block motif in a non-traditional way. I used a lot of negative space with a gorgeous shade of blue woven cotton, so I could practice various free motion quilting patterns.

I’m noticing similarities between quilt piecing and doing mosaic with hard tesserae—it’s  important to think about color, size, print versus solid, when placing the soft tesserae we know as fabric. 

New tesserae

I’m falling for fabric. In 2017 I began sewing some of my own clothes (click the Clothing tab), playing around with painting on fabric, and just recently I’ve started doing exercises from Intuitive Color and Design, by Jean Wells. She’s a world-reknowned quilter, teacher, and owner of The Stitchin’ Post fabric store in Sisters, Oregon. I bought her book years ago to learn more about color and design in my work in mosaic, and I’m increasingly pulled to explore line and color.

A couple weeks ago, I experimented with fabric, following the exercises in her book. Then I bought a walking foot and a free-motion foot and experimented with doing my own quilting. I feel a little like I’m cheating on my years-long passion for mosaic, but in a way, fabric is just a different type of tesserae.

Let me know what you think. The second photo isn’t really about tesserae; it’s just some pillows I painted.

2014 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog. 



Rather than subject you to the full report, which can’t possibly be interesting to anyone other than me, I can say I was surprised by this stat:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,500 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 25 trips to carry that many people.

So that’s kind of cool! I just wanted to say THANK YOU if you were one of those viewers.

I don’t post much, but I have renovated my website a bit, and I hope you nose around some evening … when you’re sitting alone as the light is fading, surfing the internet aimlessly, wondering what’s new out there in the world. Not that you would surf aimlessly (wink, wink). But just in case, perhaps you’ll make it your aim one day to look around here, and to sign up to follow my blog so you’ll be one of the first to see pics of upcoming projects (which include a bathroom cabinet, some pieces for an outdoor garden wall, and an artist-in-residency project at a local Montessori school).

Meanwhile, enjoy life as the days lengthen (yea!), and tap into your own creativity – whatever the form may be.


Etsy shop open – December 2014

Nine square

Nine square

Happy Holidays everyone,

This year I am not doing any Christmas shows, although after attending Christmas in the Country on Bainbridge Island a couple days ago, I was (kind of) wishing I was sitting side by side with some of the very fine artists and craftspeople I met.

However, I do have an Etsy shop in case you are still in gift-shopping mode. More items will be added this week.

Take care,