What’s Next after Ark of the Unicorns Residency

Riding the wave of #NaNoWriMo I have resurrected a writing project I started in 2013 here in Japan. My non-fiction recipe book doesn’t exactly qualify but enough is the same to keep me encouraged each day.

Evernote has kept all of my notes safe, all 78 of them, exactly as I left them! Found the Evernote Moleskine with the gridded pages I love so much in which I had made a few sketches in colored pencil and ink.

Also found the box of example books, fabrics, yarns, and other paper notes.

I plan to complete a rough draft by the end of November then a proposal to send to publishers. Because every creative needs more rejection notices, hehe!

In addition to moving away from Japan, another reason I never completed the book is I didn’t have the food photography skills, nor the photo editing skills or familiar enough with a design program to create my vision for this recipe book as I saw it in my head.

My photography skills have improved, my photo editing skills have improved and putting the project in timeout has helped me streamline and solidify specific ideas within the book.

In whichever medium I play, eventually I need to put some aspect of it through Adobe Photoshop/Lightroom and as I continue to move forward with my work, more and more ideas pop up and can see I need to improve my computer skills to make them happen.

With Adobe Sketch using an iPad Pro I am digitizing those sketches, not just photographing the original sketch with a digital camera but re-sketching them. Using the photo of the sketch as a layer in itself to trace over. I feel like Adobe Sketch has been a gateway drug to seeing so many other possibilities for my work utilizing the Adobe Creative Cloud.

So I am starting an #adobe365challenge this Nov. There is a steep learning curve for some of the things I’d like to do so focusing on learning a bit each day for a year should give me a steadier learning path. Watch my progress through my Twitter: StudioDeanna

The lessons learned during my residency in Honolulu in how to create Crocheted Figure Sculptures will slowly continue during breaks. Additional projects in the works/proposals I started/continued during the residency, have notification dates in the next couple of months. A few more proposals will be sent and my work with Hawaii Craftsmen will also continue, including my inclusion in its 50th Annual Statewide Juried Exhibition continues through Nov 10.

Wish me Luck! – Instagram: StudioDeanna

Studio Visit, Stitch Experiments, & Lefty Achievement Unlocked

On Wednesday, Bernice Akamine came by for a studio visit. She is a well respected Native Hawai’ian artist who also does wire stitchwork. She just had a solo show on the Big Island and I greatly appreciate her taking the time to stop by!

There are not many other wire stitch artists so it was wonderful to talk with her. She continues to work in wire and was also chosen by Magdalene Odundo, OBE, to have wire work pieces in Hawaii Craftsmen’s Annual Statewide Juried Exhibition opening on Oct 24, 2017.


We talked about one of my newest pieces, Figure #3, and how best to move forward. My current efforts had matchy, matchy embroidery thread accents however she recommended going much darker, and try it with wire first, just to see.

“Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.” – Scott Adams

Five mis-starts later I see that the sapphire blue wire is just not going to create the look I wanted.

Then I remembered Bernice often uses a different technique in her wire work so I started out again. This time attempting a knotless knitting technique. Still couldn’t get it to look quite right.

So out came the embroidery floss in the lovely dark blue. Multiple attempts with different thread counts, different hook sizes and the best look still eluded me.

Finally reaching the best thread count with the right hook size and yet again stitching away I see the stitches are not laying well, looking too ‘backwards’ in my attempt towords a specific directionality. I want the eye to travel easily over the work, to flow from left to right.


The only way I can achieve that best look, in the direction I want, is to learn to crochet left handed!

After a dinner break with friends, I jumped back in and forged ahead with lefty stitching. Slow going but finally got the look I wanted!!


This residency is filled w/experiments & mistakes, ripping out stitches and trying yet again. Much of my time is filled with work yet little progress to show for it. The end result is that Figure #3 will eternally be a prototype, a single piece of work filled with ideas that together don’t make a great piece of art. Yet moving forward, these lessons learned will provide the much stronger work from me in the future.

And I can now crochet left handed, also =)

Follow more of my art adventures on Instagram: StudioDeanna

Instagram: ArkoftheUnicorns is the Artist Residency in Chinatown Artists Lofts in Honolulu, Hawaii where this is all made possible.



Artist-in-Residence at Ark of the Unicorns

First full day at Chinatown Artists Lofts and I wake up to bamboo filling a bright alcove space. In Japan, on the first day of business, it is customary to see a new bamboo stalk ready to grow as the business does. Coincidentally it was also World Bamboo Day, an auspicious beginning, I felt.

Each morning lazy Loft Cat oozes about the greenery, but does deign to twitch his tail if you wish him a “Good Morning.” Jet lag hits hard in the afternoon so Loft Cat has the right idea.

Focusing this artist residency on the human form I have started with sketching ideas. Utilizing Adobe Sketch and all the fun layers options I designed a first test piece:

It’s been a great week of reconnecting with Hawai’i and reconnecting with friends with the week culminating in full day of concentrated studio time with my friend, Chloe Tomomi! I finished stitching the wire crocheted sculpture form I started earlier in the week. Using 20 gauge black wire and adding a 26 gauge navy blue, several stitch plans had to be revised to create the look I was going for. I still have a thought to add a few fiber accents. Not sure if it will be a good idea but adding them and changing my mind won’t harm the piece:

Total size: 24″ x 3″ – Using a Japanese size 8 hook.

As I took photos of our progress, I see that Chloe Tomomi’s colorful painting stands out:

Chloe and I started the days work with a conversation re the Japanese use of blue vs green and with a lovely landscape with mountains in just the right shade of ‘green.’

After creating them she chose to switch gears and made this lovely scene:

Materials: Arches Cold Press 140lb, Kuretake Gansai Tambi 36, Daniel Smith, Holbein Gouache 18

Later in the evening she chose to complete the first piece:

Materials: Arches Cold Press 140lb, Nicker Poster Color. Inspired by Nickerenogu YouTube vid.

Many of Chloe’s works are available in her Etsy Shop: Chloe Tomomi

You can follow my day to day works in progress & art adventures on Instagram: StudioDeanna

Ark of the Unicorns’ Artist Residency at Chinatown Artists Lofts: Instagram: ArkoftheUnicorns

So I have this Stash of Blue Yarns…

Which has lead me to free form a small wall installation:

Tallest piece is 29″ x 5″ (74cm x 13cm)

Medium-sized piece is 4″ x 8″ (10cm x 20cm)

Square Piece is 11″ x 11″ (28cm x 28cm)

Smallest piece is 2″ x 6.5″ (5cm x 17cm)

Materials: Various fun yarns, specially dyed yarns from other projects, ghost netting, plastic wrap, hooking fabric

Created using a Locker Hook and utilizing rug hooking techniques, I’ve only consumed about half of the blue yarn stash. Brighten a small corner of your home with the beautiful ocean blue yarns in this small wall art installation.

More Destash fun yet to happen! To see the progress, Follow my day to day adventures on Instagram: StudioDeanna