Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Kevin's Star

The family gathered.  The gifts were exchanged.   Now that we have had our Annual Family Christmas Celebration, I can reveal the LoveLight that was consuming my time and energy for the past few weeks. 'Kevin's Star' LoveLight was created as my gift to my youngest sibling which was well received with rave reviews.

Inspiration actually can take months for me to incubate.  I get an idea, sleep on it, roll it over in my mind, add a few details, roll it over again and probably sleep on it several more times before it finally comes together in a matter of hours or days.  When I think about this, it is very much like incubating a baby.  There is the moment when you realize that a new creature is waiting to be born.  Then comes the planning and preparation and waiting, . . . the dreaming of how it will look and thinking of names before the perfect moment of birth has arrived.  Then there is no stopping the "idea" from presenting itself in the physical form.
Music appreciation is a thread that plays throughout our family.  My grandparents were all musically talented.  Dad played the violin and piano following in his folks footsteps and the genes were passed down to my baby brother who plays keyboards in a local band to his heart's delight.   It was only natural that a musical theme would become the inspiration for his LoveLight.   Since I view him as a rising star, the focal point of this piece is an eight pointed star with rays of light pouring out.  In personalizing my mandala designs, I often stitch an outline of a hand print or hide a name in the painted design which is true of this LoveLight.  Brittany is Kevin's daughter and the light in her dad's eye, so it was an easy design detail to include her name along with a tracing of his hand print into this mandala design.  Both the name and the hand tracing are invisible at a distance, causing the viewer to move in for a closer look. 

One morning, while still incubating this design, I awoke with this poem sounding in my mind.  I was compelled to write it down on the pad of paper that I keep on the nightstand.  Convinced that it was divinely inspired, a copy of it was affixed  to the back of the framed piece.  It reads:

                      "Kevin, my brother, is a shining star                       
With his love of music, he'll go far.
He lifts the Spirits of those he sees
when he touches the piano keys.
His love for Brittany everyone knows,
She's in his heart wherever he goes.
You are the inspiration of this LoveLight.
May it fill you with Joy
and your future by bright.
Merry Christmas 2009
Love, Kasia"

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Ho, Ho, Ho

Just call me 'Elfie' - - - - that's how I feel these days.  You may think that I am MIA, (there's not been a post since Thanksgiving) but in actuality, I have been up to my eyebrows in "projects", year end deadlines, tying up loose ends, creating cards and gifts for holiday cheer, etc.  I walk a thin line between traditional Christmas festivities with 'must do' lists and  going with the flow of change by being present in the moment.

I absolutely LOVE this time of year.  I enjoy looking out at the Winter Wonderland while I am kept cozy inside working in the studio or in the kitchen baking cookies.  Gratefully, I am blessed with the luxury of having my Studio in my home. It allows me to deck the halls between painting a design or stitching on a new LoveLight.  The art flows freely after the pressure of deadlines to produce.  It would appear that my style of working is to think and plan for weeks and months on a new piece, working out the details in my mind before I actually set my hands on the fabrics and create the new art in a matter of hours or days.  I am very excited about the latest LoveLight that has emerged, but will not be able to share a photo with you until after the gift is received at our annual family celebration.  I find it magical the way it all comes together with an element of surprise and the feeling of awe that my hands had any part in producing the end result.  Hopefully, the recipient will feel the love and energy that went into this new piece.  I'll report in next week and let you know how it was received.

For the time being, there are cards to address and gifts to wrap.  I must still wear the 'Elfie' hat for a few more days.  However, a word from the wise ones among us, BREATHE.  When you are feeling overwhelmed by it all, remember to be present in the moment and take a few deep breaths.  'Tis the season of love and sharing while making memories for our loved ones.

Be Well ~

Thursday, November 26, 2009


It's Thanksgiving Day in the USA.  As I reflect on all the blessings that have come my way in this past year, I cannot help myself  from being consumed with JOY!  Among the many blessings for which I give thanks, Grandchildren have to be near the top of the list.  Little Gavin Mathew joined our family in June.  He is such a good boy.  We rarely have heard him cry.  He sleeps like an angel and awakes with a smile on his face.  Just a very pleasant, beautiful soul.  He joins his sister Morgan Luella and cousins Nolan Reinhold and Tatum Marie to complete the jewels in the crown of  my Life.  Family is so very important to me.  These little "angel babies" light up my life with unconditional love and laughter and inspire me to play and create colorful art.  I'm looking forward to seeing them today.  I wish you a day of Thanksgiving, Peace and Joy with your loved ones.  Let's treasure our precious moments.  Oh, and by the way, I am extremely grateful for YOU, the reader of my posts.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Dancing with Love

 This past weekend, I had the opportunity to take a  Nia class, my exercise of choice, with Carlos Rosas, one of the creators of this form of movement.  He and Debbie Rosas began creating this technique in the early 1980's with the promise:  Through Movement We Find Health.  The class was exciting, not only from the aspect of meeting our sensei, but also from the energy that was present in the room.  It was AWESOME!  We danced barefoot in front of a wall of mirrors and huge windows with views that overlook the beautiful lakefront and downtown Milwaukee area.

"What does exercise have to do with fiber art?"  As an artist, one is expected to draw from the vapors a tangible form of an abstract idea.  This process takes a certain quieting of the mind and getting into a 'zone' and expends a considerable amount of energy.  Things are not always what they appear to be.  I credit Nia with helping me to balance the body, mind, and spiritual aspects of my being to be able to function and bring forth the work of my hands.

I met Barb Wesson, black belt  Nia instructor and my friend, when her vision of a studio for movement at Core El Centro was only a dream.  We danced in the space of a church fellowship hall to the music of Jana Stanfield and I listened to Barb dream out loud about this new space.  At the time, I also had a dream, of sharing my Art.  I was working on a challenge piece for MArQ (Milwaukee Art Quilter's Group) under the theme  "Circle of Life".  As the weekly dance sessions progressed and the art piece came to life, it was only natural to gift it to Barb for the grand opening of her dream space come true.  I am honored that she accepted this labor of love and installed it in the movement studio.  It represents my first leap of faith in discovering my talents.  I will  forever be grateful to her for introducing me toNia.  It is  motivating, spiritual, fun and the only thing that I have found that keeps me committed to taking care of my body.  As an active grandmother of four, and a passionate fiber artist, I need all the energy help that I can get.

A closer look at "Dancing with Love", my Circle of Life challenge art piece, that hangs on the east wall of the Movement Studio at Core El Centro.  The rainbow colored band represents the chakras of the body while circling the One at the center of the universe.  A LoveLight of  movement!

When was the last time that you got up and moved around?  Go put on some music.  It's time for a dance.    Get moving!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Finding Your Bliss

In this sometimes confusing and chaotic life it can be difficult at times to focus in on one’s bliss. I find that whenever I am able to take myself into my studio, the stresses of the day melt away as I get into the rhythm and practice of ‘playing with a purpose’. My hands busy themselves with fondling the fabrics. My eyes focus on the textures and colors and my Spirit jumps with joy to be ‘home’. I find my center. The MUSE shows me the way and creativity takes over as a new piece of art is born.

Mandalas are my obsession and sharing them in my fiber art is my passion. Somehow, no matter where I start a new project idea, it finishes involving some circular design element. I no longer make apologies as I have decided that this is my ‘voice’. Drawing the viewer’s eye into the center of these LoveLights © (my mandalas) has become my mission. I am eager to share my bliss with everyone who will take a look.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


"Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other Gold!"  These lyrics from a familiar Girl Scout song ring in my inner ear these days as I think about days gone by.

Last month, I wore several hats all at one time,  Can you relate?  They were the hats of:  Devoted Wife, Loving Mother,  Joyful Grandmother, First Daughter, Wise Sister, Artist, and Fun Friend.  I wore these hats simultaneously  as I attended my high school reunion of 40+ years.  In the past, this type of event would really unnerve me.  But for some reason, this time I was very comfortable in my skin.  Is this what happens once one crosses the bridge to the new decade of the 60's?  A certain aire of acceptance and confidence seems to take over.

I was pleasantly surprised by the numbers of  former classmates that attended this very casual event.  One of our classmates took it upon himself to organize this reunion via the internet using email.  We met in the pavilion at our community annual fair.  After signing the guest book and donning name tags, we were encouraged to mingle and visit with our peers who had gathered.  It was crazy to greet former classmates who knew me when.  We talked, hugged, laughed and shared a toast to the fact that we survived!!  It was somewhat shocking to see the list of our fallen classmates grow over the course of the evening,  Bless these friends who have moved on - -

I especially enjoyed watching my parents and sibs greeting and hugging and visiting with these 'dear ones' who at one time were a very special part of our lives.  Yes, my 80+ year old parents were there to greet the "kids" who used to hang around our house looking to be a part of the action of a big family.  Did I mention that I have 4 sisters and 3 brothers??  Life was never boring and there were always chores to be done that went a little faster when the friends came to call and helped speed up the process.  Those were the days - - - -

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Portals Challenge

This week I met a fellow artist and friend Chris Kirsch at a local coffee shop to deliver my "Portals" art quilt.  Chris and I have been friends for many years.  We each have a passion for fiber art; love, love, love our grandchildren;  and share the belief that both the Art and the Children are Gifts in our lives.  

We belong to the Milwaukee Art Quilters Group (MArQ) and were discussing the upcoming exhibit of the group challenge - PORTALS -  at the Ben Franklin store in Oconomowoc, WI.  for the month of November.  Each year the group challenges it's members to stretch their creativity muscles with a specific theme, size, or design element to be incorporated into an art quilt.  This years challenge had size restrictions and vertical orientation, otherwise the portal itself was open to interpretation.  Being the mandala enthusiast that I am, my portal had to have a circular form to it.  Pictured here is the finished piece with its description.  ENJOY! 

Portals:  Past, Present, Future
 When we think about the evolution of this artist's sewing passion, we can see that her hands have always been busy with all types of fabrics and applications.  The embroidery projects as a young girl are represented in the recycled embroidered tablecloth that was too precious to discard.  The upholstery  fabric spiral represents the home decor projects that surrounded her family raising years and the piecing techniques that every quilter knows.  The future of this artist's passion is represented by the hand painted ultrasuede center.  The shiny metallic threads that hold this piece together and draw the viewers eye inward represents the Light of the MUSE that has been a constant thread throughout all of the different stages and is the core of this Portal.

Until next time ~

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Sources of inspiration come as a blessing at times, surprisingly, from out of nowhere. Inspiration could arrive with a beautiful hand dyed fabric or in viewing the artwork of the children which is found hanging in the local grade school.  I  never really know for sure when an idea for a new creation might appear.

"LoveLight Nolan" was inspired by the name of our first born grandchild.  This little angel baby stirred such a love that only another grandmother could know.  I wanted to create something really special for him to remember his Kasia.

Fabric gifted from fiber artist Cindi Huss was deemed special enough to meet the creative needs of this new art piece.  The hand dyed fabric hung on the design wall for months waiting for inspiration to arrive with just the right design to bring it to life.  One day, while taking an open art studio class, I wandered through the hallways of the elementary school where the class was being held, and was instantly inspired by the kaleidoscope designs of the children's names.  The idea struck me like a lightening bolt that it would be fun to attempt to re-create this idea using fabric instead of paper.  That's the day that the"What's in a Name?" or  "Hidden Messages" LoveLights were conceived.  I immediately started playing with paper stencils to form the name mandala in the center of the dyed fabric kaleidoscope.

Playing with Cindi's fabric and auditioning others to compliment it, I came up with what I thought would be a good choice.  When I took the leap of faith to layer, stitch, and  finally cut into the layers of fabric, I had no idea what the final design might look like.  As the piece evolved, you can only imagine the awe that I felt when it finally emerged and revealed itself to me.

Here is the finished inspired piece that I feel is worthy of the name Nolan.  Can you find his name in the design?  Not everyone will be able to see it, but that's what makes this Art so intriguing, in my opinion. 

Enjoy ~

Until next time, Be Well!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Sacred Space

To find the creative mode, I need to surround myself with special music that quiets the ego, photos of family and dear ones (my angels), books that inspire, and knickknack treasures that center me.  The colorful ART collection that hangs in view and the new pieces waiting for attention on the design wall all help me to cross the threshold into the state of creativity where time does not exist.  I simply love my sacred studio space.

I didn't always have such a beautiful spot to play in, but it was always a dream and a wish.  Through the years, the workspace evolved from a corner in the basement, to a counter top in the laundry room.  When our daughter went off to college, the corner in her bedroom became my "sewing niche" on the main floor of the house. That arrangement worked fine until, like most hobbyists, my collections of fabrics and supplies expanded to overflowing the room.  There was a file-box here and a cutting table there with a pile of reference books thrown in the middle.  It was difficult to stay organized.  Gratefully, about that time we decided to relocate our home. My dream studio became a reality in a beautiful room of my own with a view of nature and furniture to house all of the fabrics, supplies, and notions.  It is an answer to a prayer, my little piece of heaven and the place where I find my bliss.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Studio Chaos

It's that time of year, when the seasons change, the wardrobe gets switched around, the summer travel has subsided, exhibit deadlines have been met, and the Studio calls for a little re-organizing.   I am always surprised by the little piles of stash here and there that are unearthed during one of these cleansing days.  I tend to be most creative when I can freely try things out and discard to the counter or floor the fabrics that just don't seem right at the time.  This translates into a freedom frenzy of creativity that must be followed by an hour or two of "re-grouping" before the chaos becomes too overwhelming.

Today I was surprised by the little pile of new work projects that was buried under auditioned fabrics from the last commission piece that has now been finished.  The discovery gives me new fuel for the creative juices to start flowing again. A new season with a fresh start!   Curiosity has me wondering where these little projects will end up, what they will look like, and whose wall will become 'home'.  Time will tell.  For now, I'm back to the task at hand until I can clearly see the floor and worktable again.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Pagenkopf Commission

 The commission pieces of the past few months have kept my creativity alive over the otherwise lazy days of summer.  It took a leap of faith the day that I contacted Cindy Pagenkopf to share with her my style of mandala fiber art and my vision for possibilities for the funeral home decor.  She was moved to tears when she actually saw with her own eyes what I was trying to describe over the phone.  The idea that "one look is worth a thousand words" really rang true in this case.  She had an idea for the funeral home, a kind of a quilt that would be used to honor the deceased during the farewell ceremony at the Angel's Grace Hospice.

So in early June, I met with her husband Kevin who is the 4th generation funeral director of this family owned and operated establishment and their staff.  This meeting was my opportunity to "show & tell" my 'LoveLights'.  We brainstormed ideas and came up with a design that would incorporate the Pagenkopf name with the center mandala that used the word "Peace", as in 'rest in peace'.  Cindy has a great sense of style and had her vision for the remodeling project that was about to take place during the summer months, so she and I immediately went out and shopped for the fabric in just the right color & texture to be used for this project.  My creative spirit was alive with excitement at the prospect of bringing forth the perfect art piece to reflect their ideas.

Once I put my hands on the fabric and started to play with the paints and threads that could be used for this project, I found myself in the "zone" and the MUSE took over.  At the final outcome, I was completely surprised and grateful that my hands were used to bring this piece to life.  It's always a mystery to me how these beautiful projects evolve on their own and I somehow get all the credit.  For this, I am eternally GRATEFUL!

What Talents do you possess and what Blessings do you count daily?

Sunday, September 20, 2009

It's a WRAP!

My artist friend, Casey Puetz and I traveled to Madison, to take part in the Wisconsin Regional Art Program (WRAP) Annual Exhibit and State Art Conference on Saturday, September 19, 2009 held  at the University of Wisconsin - Madison.  The conference was an opportunity for us to network with other artists of many mediums from around the state of Wisconsin.  After viewing the art exhibit which took up three floors of the Pyle Center, it touched my heart to listen to the guest speakers; Artists Henry Hawkins and Helen Klebesadel talk about their art.  They shared slides of their retrospective bodies of work and spoke of the struggles, joy, and passion of being an artist today.  The program was educational and comforting to hear first hand accounts of their inspiration, point of view, finding their voice, and how they find Joy in working on their Art.  Viewing the exhibit was sheer pleasure for my soul and it was a special thrill to see my art "Gaia ~ Fire & Water" hanging amongst all that talent.  I was proud of Casey as she received the Stateline Artists Award for "Aspen Duo".  This thrilling day came on top of the Delafield Art Walk the night before.

If you have ever taken part in a county fair, church festival, or worked a booth at a conference, you will appreciate the physical demands of setting up and taking down an exhibit. There is a certain amount of stress related to 'remembering to bring everything' and 'opening yourself up to public opinion'.  But somehow sandwiched in the middle of all that stress are hours of FUN when you see your friends, meet and greet new people, Show & Tell the Art, and then find a new home for your 'LoveLights'.  The activity is a real roller coaster ride of emotions.  Again, Casey stands by my side as we share the ups and downs of this experience.  When all is said and done, we are in awe of our journey since we started our 'Stand by Me' meetings a few short years ago.  We are so grateful to the Powers that Be for putting us together in the first place - - - but that's another story.  For now, this grateful spirit needs to rest her mind and aching body.

Until next time~
Remember that "Colorful Art lifts the Spirit!"

Thursday, September 17, 2009


My obsession with mandalas (I see circles everywhere I go!) has resulted in years of study and exploration of these magical circular forms.  My bookshelves are full of colorful books on this subject.  I use them for inspiration in creating my version of these ancient icons which are affectionately called "LoveLights".
As was stated in an earlier post, I turned 50 with a bang!! My appendix ruptured on the night of my birthday. The upset stomach that I felt the next morning caused me to regret eating that second piece of ice cream cake.  Little did I know then what had really happened and I lay around for a couple of days thinking I had the flu.  Needless to say, when I finally was admitted into the hospital, I was critically ill and stayed there for a week!!  I learned a great lesson through this experience - - LISTEN TO YOUR BODY!!  You know; that little voice that says "get help quick!"  I tried to ignore it, but when the pain grew too intense, I had no choice but to surrender to the moment and ASK for help.  The outpouring of good wishes and prayers from family and friends also taught me what it feels like to be surrounded by LOVE. It was an eye-opening, AHA! moment and I'll always be grateful for the entire experience.
 After recovery, when I was finally able to get back to my sewing, the first "LoveLight" was created.  You see it pictured here.  The black background supports the red marble mandala that is filled with the colorful butterflies all trying to get out.  (It reminds me of my spirit looking for it's voice back in those days.)  The name "LoveLights" had been revealed to me years earlier through my morning journaling ritual ~ but we'll save that story for another post.

Until next time ~
Be Well,


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Why Fabric?

My lifelong love of fabrics and working with my hands to create something from an idea, started at an early age under the guidance of my mother. She taught me how to thread a needle and soon started the journey of sewing doll clothes by hand. By the age of twelve, I was constructing my own clothing on a Singer treadle sewing machine. As the years went by, my experience as a homemaker had included all forms of sewing: home decorating, crafts, and clothing for my children.

I became an instructor at Stretch & Sew Fabrics in 1977, teaching hundreds of women the basics of sewing with knit fabrics. The introduction to the world of quilting in 1995 came while working in a quilt fabric shop where I quickly became a garment and serger machine specialist.  I taught classes in  garment construction, fit, and Jacket Jazz wearable art. The fashions that were created won ribbons in local quilt shows and had been exhibited nationally; one piece, in particular, traveled in the Hoffman Challenge trunk show in 1999. Next, I wanted to try my hand creating Artquilts and began concentrating on nontraditional designs using many of the quilt techniques that I had been using in the garments. Consequently, I discovered the joy of teaching and lecturing at guild meetings and area quilt shops.

I turned 50 with a bang!! My appendix ruptured and I was critically ill. It was during this time that Spirit touched my heart in the form of mandalas ~ sacred circles. I began to see circles everywhere I looked and naturally, they found their way into my sewing. At about this time I was invited to join MArQ ~ Milwaukee Art Quilters group and began to explore the possibilities that took my sewing hobby into a new direction. I studied Mandalas and while working with unusual fabric textures and specialty threads, began to create quilts “in the round”.

The meeting of artist/teacher David Walker, in 2003 had a profound effect on my self esteem and a Fiber Artist was born. Since that meeting I have been passionate about my mission to share my Love and Light in the form of LoveLights™ ~ my healing color Mandalas. Sharing this art in the virtual gallery of my web site gives a purpose to my LIFE. It is my hope that you will visit often, and are blessed by the work of my hands.

Until next time ~

Be Well -

Friday, September 4, 2009

Guess who's Blogging!

Can you believe your eyes?  It's me, Kasia, and I'm blogging!!  Okay, I will admit that I came to this site kicking and screaming- - there is always so much to learn with these new ventures in technology, and I just wasn't sure that I wanted to become involved.  You, my Dear Ones, have encouraged me to do this.  You know who you are.  It is with some reservations about making my mistakes in public, that I have decided to face my fears, take a leap of faith, and give this blogging a shot.  So hang on - - here we go!

For those of you who don't know me, let me start by introducing myself.  I am Kasia - - pronounced: kaa, sha.
I live a very active life wearing many different hats:  Loving Wife & Mother,  Joyful Grandmother, First Daughter, Wise Sister, Crystal Girl, Fun Friend, Artist, Mandala Creator, Humanitarian, Mediocre Golfer, Cool Curler, Traveler, Seeker of Wisdom, Homemaker, etc.  It is my hope that with this blog, we will help each other to take a deep breath, calm the chaos, and gratefully explore the blessings of this LIFE.

Be Well -