Expressions in BLUE

My stitch sister and fabulous fiber friend Ife Felix has been creating fashion pieces inspired  by African textiles and styles for decades. Her current muse is Indigo from Guinean; meticulously hand tied or sewn cotton brocade that is then dyed the deepest blue. Ife’s 2018-19 trip to the continent netted her a trunk full of fabric and inspiration as deep as the indigo’s hue. I have jumped into the blue waters as well, creating a few wearable works of my own which include  her fabric acquisitions.

Working in a fashion that I repeat periodically, bold boleros of distinction, I’m creating patchwork jackets and many will contain fabric acquired from Guinea through Ife. Some will be of the dialogue on indigo  while others feature silks from a variety of cultures. These jackets are considered wearable art and are part of my “When My People Get The Blues” series. 

Jacket #1, 2019

Jacket #1, 2019

When My People Get the Blues” is an evolving series of works in a variety of mediums by Laura R. Gadson that explore colors, moods and cultured expressions birthed by hued people of the world.


Swing Top with pockets from Ife Felix’s Guinea Collection #2

A Sunday Kind of Fabulous

This Sunday is the 1st anniversary of my sister Rev. Lisa Williams being the pastor of Salem AME church in Roslyn,LI. Ofcourse I am going to support my sister but it is also an opportunity to represent the family fashionably by wearing all my friends. Hosting the Harlem Aesthetic artists salons has allowed me years of personal show room experiences with creative artwear by members of my community. This tribal regailia runs the gamit of personal expression through dress. Getting outfitted for special occasions is enjoyable often wearing several one of a kind clothing or accessories items paired with a few chain store or internet finds. I get to liok and feel fabulous for the day knowing I look good wearing my fabulous friends: skirt - Cassandra Bromfield, boots - Art from the Planet, necklace - Shimoda Accessories, earrings - 90’s vintage Yafemi/Ruth Miller, hat - Hats by Lips, bag - Mavin Sin, gloves - black couple from the Piconos I met at NJPAC’s Kwanzaa circa 2004, bolero leather jacket - my upcycled handy work, top - New York & Company, crochet crop sweater - Me!

Gone Crazy in Rhinebeck NY

Recently  I journeyed to the Sheep & Wool Festival in Rhinebeck NY with Harlem Needle Arts 13th excursion. A fabulous day with friends and creatives like the awesome fiber artist Xenobia Bailey, historic fashion maven Sara Bunn and designer & seamstress extrodinaire Cassandra Bromfield to name drop a few. Whether artist or novice we all enjoyed a lovely though unseasonably brisk day among the trees, animals, wonderful fibers and things made from them.

Though I bought my ticket early I’d though about not going since my money was minimal and my will power against buying almost non existent. Since I have been eating better by cooking more I figured I’d go on the trip, stop by the wine tasting (our usual first stop of the day) and buy my usual case from Hunt Country wines, find some honey and other healthy eatables and the zip the wallet shut. Almost made it under budget until my latest discovery ... Loop Fiber Studio. There is where rational thinking stopped and creative madness took over. Hadn't I just bought a kings ransome worth of fused glass supplies at the Bullseye semi annual sale? Where is the time to create with this new premium priced yarn? What happens to my master plan? All sanity flew out of my head as I made a hefty purchase from Loop fiber studio.

On the bus back to Harlem I YouTubed “Arm knitting” and had a scarf finished by the time I got home. Decided I needed more creative bang for my buck so I discovered finger knitting used for un-spun roving blankets. The possibilities of my fiber find are making me creatively manic which is far from the discipline I really need right now! Wonder if there’s medication for “makers mind”!


Arm knit big fiber scarf that I will probably pull out. 


Finger knit soon to be a jacket collar.  

Connecting Concepts

Though they do not play well in the same studio space working with glass (for me) can be a lot like working with fabric. At the end of different projects you inevitably end up with bits of material left over. Glass is such a more expensive medium to work in that it behoves one to think like a quilter and find projects that use all the leftovers. I find myself creating an artistic voice by simple vowing not to waste valuable supplies. Almost every piece of glass needs to have a life past it’s originally purchased purpose. 

Also relevant is the idea of a stash. All quilters have a stash of fabric to select from when creating quilted works. One of the great joys of this art form is hunting down the perfect fabric for an idea or just collecting fabric that you love. With glass the stash building is slower and more methodical especially since the stuff costs so dang much. Costs vary by color and production method just like with paint and fiber.  One constant in the stash building is the event of “Sale” and any time you can get more for your dollar is a reason to make an unforeseen purchase. 

So I am finding that just because I am working in an unrelated medium  relationships in my creative heart and mind that are constant.   Even in glass I am piecing materials together, using appliqué where it is most effective (enamel paint in the case of glass) and enjoying the process of collecting raw materials. All artistic journeys seem to be preparation for the next creative jaunt!


Left over pieces glass from previous projects.


Fused glass Cameo plate utilizing new and leftover glass.

Working in glass again

Its taken me many years but I am back to working in glass. When I moved to Harlem my first home stdio was set up for working in stained glass. I started my glass journey in the late 80’s but by 2000 quilting and fiber arts stole all of my attention. (There is still a large bin of glass stored under my sewing table in the fiber studio.)

In 2017 a family Auntie gave me all of her art glass supplies; drove them right to my door step and helped me drag them into the house. Though I grabbed the treasure trove with open arms I wasn’t sure how I was going to fit this medium back in my life. I was no longer as enthusiastic about working the techniques and steps in creating stained glass but I still loved glass as an artistic medium. A year of soul search and investigation lead me to the world of fused and kiln formed glass where I discovered 2 things: 1. all glass does not play well together and 2. unlike many other things I have learned on my own this fused glass world is easier entered with assistance. I was clear that classes were needed and the Bullseye Glass Resource center in Mamaroneck, NY has become my new haunt.

I will say that my pockets are much lighter; glass is not an inexpensive craft to delve into. I am however a richer artist for taking on this experience and I’ve begun running wildly with sharp objects in hand. Not trading in my fabric scissors for a glass cutter though. I will always be a quilter and a fiber artist but I give myself permission to be other things too.

sunface 2 night.jpg

Sun Moon Plate

Finally Moving Forward

I've been trying to update my web site for the longest time. The job has constantly been placed on the back burner of my life. Technology is one of those necessary evils I've learned to embrace and even appreciate but learning something new and un-welcomed creates a dauntingtask. But a modern "Woman of the World" must overcome these challenges, get over and persevere. My old website was easy to navigate because it was the devil I knew.  She is dated in appearance and limited in her abilities not to mention technically goofy acting most of the time. The managing company did not treat me well enough gain anymore loyalty so its time to grow up and move on. Please bear with my quirkiness in handling these new tools. It will take time and effort but like many things practice makes perfect. PLEASE PARDON OUR TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES ;0)