Last month I shared Deborah Mersky’s tex-tiles with you. Today I’m welcoming you into my house.


Joe and I have lived here for many years. Fabric is woven into our home and life. Each piece of cloth tells a story.


It reminds me of the place where it came from, and of particular meals or celebrations.


Some of the fabric on the windows and doors is from around the world.


I made some of the curtains.

Paschkis appliquepaschkis applique

The quilt is by Sarah Mary Taylor, a gift from Ella King Torrey. Our friend Kay gave us the indigo-resist Hungarian deer. The cat pillow is from my sister-in-law Julia. Sigrid upholstered the bird and cherry couch with fabric that Roberta found. Almost every piece of fabric reminds me of friends and family.


And then there are tablecloths!


And more tablecloths…

All of this fabric makes daily life richer, and it feeds my work. Here are a few new still life paintings.

Paschkis still life

Paschkis still life - flicker

Paschkis still life-reflect

I’d like to take a textile tour-de-friends. Please snap a picture of fabric from your home or life that means something to you and send it to me at I will post the pictures on this blog. Thank you!




Howdy! I just got back from Texas. Here are some TEXtiles from that great state.

These are from the Rockefeller collection of Latin American Art at the San Antonio Museum of Art.
A very visible bird…

…hidden birds..

…woven fabrics…

…wild embroideries…

..and careful embroideries.

Joe and I were visiting our friend Deborah Mersky.
Her work is pattern-ful and soulful.
Here is a silver leafed window in her house, and a silver leafed wall.

This is a public art piece that Deborah did in downtown Austin.
See more by clicking this link to Deborah’s website.

Deborah’s home is rich in textiles. In her house you can see stripes and zigzags, pillows and tablecloths, curtains and rugs.

Deborah collects bateas: Mexican wooden platters. They aren’t textiles but they might inspire textilists (Textilians?).

The last stop in our Texas tour was Austin. Joe, Deborah and I had a show of small works at Yard Dog Art. You can see it on-line here.

We stayed at the Hotel San Jose. Serendipitous serape sightings!


I leave you with this thought from the parking lot at the San Antonio Museum of Art.


Bjorn Wiinblad

When I was little my family had a big poster of Vanitas by Bjorn Wiinblad. The curls and swirls and panache of the drawing entered my bloodstream then.

In high school I lived in Scandinavia for a year and saw his work in Copenhagen.

Last month I renewed the acquaintance at the Nordic Heritage Museum in Seattle. It was a small show, but choice.

It was fun from the minute you stepped over the checkered threshold.

Wiinblad worked in many media.
He made paintings,



and ceramics.

The ink drawings are still my favorite work of his.

Lately I’ve been on a bit of an ink drawing splurge myself. I’ll be showing some of this work at i.e. gallery in Edison, WA next month. I hope you can stop by for the opening on Saturday December 2nd from 4-6 pm.  The show will be up from December 2-24th.

You can sniff for echoes of Wiinblad in the ink.

paschkis ink drawing

Full Moon, New Scarves

In January I asked you to speak to me of scarves. I wanted your opinions on fabric, size and designs. (You can see that post and read the comments here.)
I showed three designs and the winner was this one:

In honor of tonight’s full harvest moon I am announcing the arrival of the New Moon Blue Moon Scarf, available to buy at Julie Paprika for $52

I started with a shape like this –

and put it together to make this –


Kept going, filled in the holes, and then experimented with different borders –

and ended up with this.

I ordered samples of different fabrics and chose 70% cotton and 30% silk because that fabric had the most saturation. The scarf looked good on both sides.
Now you can wear it and walk out under the October moon.

I also produced a scarf that wasn’t part of the survey: Acrobaticats.
It is 70% cotton and 30% silk, 34″ square, also $52..
These cats can go anywhere.

Please stop by Julie Paprika. Visit the cats, howl at the moon and consider getting a calendar to benefit the ACLU. THANK YOU!!! Thank you for your input many moons ago, and your interest now.

Big Little Roses

painting by Joe Max Emminger

Today my friend Julie Little left a big beautiful bucket of roses on our doorstep. Swoon. I emptied the bucket and filled vase after vase. Now the house is overflowing with roses.

I will share this year’s bucket with you. Here are red roses on a red mola.

Yellow roses in a yellow jug on a yellow tablecloth.

White and pink roses on a piece of Russian embroidery.

Purple roses on orange Mexican oilcloth.

Pink and red roses with a stuffed animal from Peru

Roses outside – on a bench painted by Joe Max Emminger.

Roses inside – on stripes, in light and shadow.

This post is light on fabric and heavy on flowers. It’s summer: time to smell the roses and savor life.

Ice Cream by Julie Paschkis

Julie Little has given me roses for several years. In 2014 I wrote a post about the roses that she left. I wrote more about fabric in that post: here is a link. I didn’t include her name then, but I am now because I want to thank her out loud for her buckets of generosity.


painting by Joe Max Emminger




Sarah Jones

The Bitters Co. barn is about an hour north of Seattle. Katie and Amy Carson (sisters) have created a design workshop, warehouse, and occasional event space there. Come now to see a wonderful show of work by Sarah Jones (textiles and multi-media) and Jasmine Valandani (glass, installation).

I’m going to share Sarah’s work with you here.  She works with fabric, old lace, paper and ephemera.

The work is layered. Threads hang and the fabric is torn or stained in places. The damaged materials are treasured and honored with careful craftsmanship and with attention to detail.

The work celebrates the beauty of flaws and irregularities.

“Her work examines what is barely there. One must look hard to see it. She focuses on transparency, lightness and whiteness.”

The work looks out at the world.

And it looks in.

One piece is a diary, created each and every day for a year. Each 3″ square is a record of one day – of days lost and found, celebrated or forgotten.

The barn is dark with many shades and textures of rough wood. It is also airy. It is pierced by shafts of sunlight. Swallows fly through. It holds memories.

Sarah’s art and the barn are in a conversation about the passage of time, and about the beauty found in imperfection. These ideas are whispered not shouted.

And there is a conversation with Jasmine’s installations of glass and light.

Here is Sarah’s writing about the show.

Come see for yourself!

July 8- 23rd. Monday – Saturday 12 – 4 PM at the Bitters Co. Barn, 14034 Calhoun Rd., Mt. Vernon     


African Print Fashion Now!

Hi. This is Margaret Chodos-Irvine. Julie Paschkis invited me to repost my latest article from Books Around The Table (a blog we share with three other children’s book authors and illustrators) here.

Julie, Deborah Mersky and I just returned from a field trip to Los Angeles to see African Print Fashion Now! at the Fowler Museum.

All of us are fans of the large and varied category of fabrics known as African prints. Deborah first introduced me to them many years ago when she brought some pieces for Julie and me back with her from a shop in New York. Then Julie gave me some yardage from Vlisco for my birthday.

“African print” is an umbrella term for commercially produced, patterned cloths made for the African market. The most prestigious, true “wax print” is a complicated process using wax or resin resist.


Many African prints, including some that say ‘genuine wax’, are printed with simpler processes such as roller or screen printing. They are still very appealing. 


The designs often carry symbolic meanings, and are chosen to communicate the cultural heritage and status of the wearer. Many motifs appear frequently in different designs. Keys and locks are common.

7EA1C859-8937-4811-A315-5D7C944828E0IMG_4260IMG_4263Screen Shot 2017-05-27 at 6.05.53 PMCE674BD1-BB3E-41BC-BB53-629B6EE93EDE

Some have political or popular figures.

IMG_3293I’m always drawn to the ones with birds.


These two were designed with a similar theme in mind, over fifty years apart.


Some are electronic.

1BC08C0C-1E7C-43C8-B345-31E50ED97031IMG_3279Screen Shot 2017-05-27 at 6.06.32 PM

Fans are popular. Very cool!


Some designs are geometric and others floral. Many are both.


It seems as though nearly anything can be made into a beautiful print cloth design.


I’ve rarely seen African prints for sale in Seattle, but London fabric shops have a large clientele for African-style material. My collection grew substantially while I was there.


Julie and I even went to Helmond outside of Amsterdam to visit the Vlisco factory for a bit of viewing and shopping.

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Established in 1846, Vlisco is the premier producer of African prints. It was hard to leave with only as much as we could carry. 

The origins of these prints can be traced back to painted and printed cottons from India for trade between South Asian and East Africa. These then inspired batiked fabrics in Indonesia. Later, Dutch and British manufacturers started producing mechanically made wax-resist prints for the Indonesian market. When the Indonesians rejected their products, preferring their own hand-dyed cloth, European manufacturers shifted their market to West Africa.


There, they began to work with local traders, most of them women, to provide goods that reflected the cultural values and aesthetics of their clientele. During the 60s and 70s, newly independent African nations opened their own factories. More recently, Asian companies have flooded markets with more affordable designs, many of them knock-offs of Vlisco and other well-loved patterns. This has hurt the European and African companies, but has also increased the global awareness of African print textiles.

Both men and women wear clothing and accessories made from these fabrics.

Below are a few pieces shown in the exhibit.


Here are two more that I saw in shop windows in Montreal recently.

IMG_2856 (1)IMG_2852 (1)

Why do I like these prints so much? Perhaps because of their connection to the printmaking techniques that have always appealed to me. Or maybe because of their playful and bold designs. They are as illustrative as they are decorative. I use patterns and color on clothing to add to the story in my children’s books too, like in the illustration below from Ella Sarah Gets Dressed, but mine aren’t quite so bold.

M Chodos-Irvine-Ella Sarah Gets Dressed

I think what appeals to me most is the anything-goes approach to pattern design.
Fashion is always a form of personal expression. These fabrics just sing a bit louder than gingham or chambray.