Thursday, June 16, 2011


My husband knows when I've been lying awake, trying to spot a glimmer of inspiration in the half-light of early morning. He waits to speak until he sees the change in my expression that passes for "Eureka" at that hour of the day. It dawns on me that the best idea I ever had was to make a life with him.

Dawning by Donna Kallner
Dawning is showing through June 29 at the Ed Gray Gallery in Calumet, Michigan. Here's a peek at what went into creating this piece.

First I foraged for recycled cardboard in my husband's shipping department. 

I used plain old white glue to to turn a bunch of pieces into a slab.

After gluing, I let the slab dry under a weight overnight.

After hacking on the cardboard with a knife long enough to demonstrate my intention to do it myself, I asked my husband to shape the cardboard laminate on the band saw. He even smoothed it on the belt sander for me.

I covered the mold with Saran to protect it from damp. Sorry -- forgot to take pictures of the process. In brief, I dampened buckram and pinned it to the plastic-wrapped cardboard mold and let it dry in place. The image above shows the trimmed buckram off the mold, and batting being fitted on the mold.

The fabric is silk I painted with Dye-na-Flow, recycled from a class demonstration for Designing Quilters in Fargo last March. The silk is underlined with a recycled dish towel. Some of the thread I painted with Dye-na-Flow, and some I colored with fabric markers. Judy, Ruth and Rhonda -- yes, I basted.

The looping on the inside is anchored to buttonhole stitch embroidery. I love to work this kind of freeform looping. It gives me time to think and reflect, which is what all the work in the Night Vision collection is about, really.

You can read about other pieces in show here, here and here. Next time I'll show the backstory on another of the pieces. In the meantime, I hope something wonderful dawns on you tomorrow. Leave a sketch pad by the bed tonight!

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