Journal cover

My latest journal cover with handcut stencils, acrylic paint, ballpoint pen.  I love the way the ballpoint pen sinks into the paint and creates texture.  The text is the beginning of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essay Self Reliance.

stencil fun

I love the combination of stencils and mono-print papers in my art journal.  In both of these spreads I started with pages from the  index book of an old encyclopedia and then added mono-printed papers and handcut stencils with acrylic paint, acrylic drips and colored pencils.  I also used acrylic paint pens for some of the detail work.   The curlicue stencil works great as ‘rays’ coming from the celestial bodies.  I love the delicacy of these new stencils and with patience, they’re not as hard to cut as you would think.  


Mandalas (circles) in space


In 2012 I had a one woman show called ‘Mandalas, Dreams and Reflections’. The title of the show was a take-off on Carl Jung’s autobiography ‘Memories, Dreams and Reflections’ and when the show was over I realized I could work in this same theme for the rest of my life and never exhaust the subject so I’m going to do it again in 2019. The seven year cycle is an archetypal one and seems fitting.       For the first show I drew a mandala every day for a full year in an iPad app and then displayed them in canvases made to simulate a calendar month as well as in full glory on a projector screen. As that year of drawing progressed I got as equally absorbed in creating an ‘environment’ for the mandalas as I was in drawing the mandalas. For this next cycle I am exploring circles as the quintessential and most basic of mandalas and playing with their relationship to each other in space on canvas. I am also experimenting and creating mandalas in a variety of mediums including paint, paper, cardboard, fiber and stone.      

     Some of my explorations…..

Winter white!



Pair number three of fulled woolen slippers for my granddaughter, she’s growing fast! This was a beautiful sweater in winter white that I fulled (felted). Fortuitously the flower is a flower in one direction and a face in the other! It looks like a little lamb to me. I’m considering adding some crocheted ears. I have suede sewn onto the bottoms to prevent slipping. And I added a double row of single crochet around the ankle as an accent. The slippers are hand sewn together with cotton embroidery floss (all six threads) in a pretty soft green.


I love candles and spend many a winter night surrounded by their beauty and warmth. Often with just the candlelight and no electric. And of course my stash comes in handy when the electric goes off, which is does occasionally out here in the boons.
I take care to have all the candles safely contained and have collected many candle stick holders made out of metal and glass over the years.
Every so often I head out to the thrift stores to restock my supply. I made a trip yesterday to the Lebanon, PA area. For some reason Lebanon and the surrounding small towns have a wealth of thrift stores so it is very easy to make a bunch of stops. I had great candle karma yesterday. My candle stash has increased by 115 candles!!! I favor tapers because they give a lot of light and I only get unscented because many candles are made with such cheap perfumes. I used to faint in church as a kid from the heady mix of everyone’s cheap colognes and perfumes!
I made a particular great score at the Humane Thrift store in Lebanon. I had a basketful of great stuff. Linens were on sale and I found two pristine crochet edges Martha stewart cotton tablecloths for $4. I also found skeins of wool yarn, stickers for my granddaughter, wooden knitting needles and great cooking pot in a size I didn’t have for a fraction for what I would pay for these things at a regular store. At the bottom of my basket was a slew of candles! There must have been 30 of them. When the woman saw them she said, “how about if I give you the whole lot for $1”. How’s that for luck?!



Stick Um candle adhesive is one product that I couldn’t live without when it comes to candles. It’s a sticky wax and if you have a candle that is a little small for your holder (this happens often with tapers) all you have to do is put a tiny ball of the stick um on the bottom of the candle and voila! the candle is secure.

Enjoy the light!

Fingerless mittens

Fingerless mittens have become my favorite cold weather accessory along with the ever present scarf. The array of possible techniques in making fingerless mittens is fathomless. My notebook is filled with ideas. You can make them in different weights, with or without the thumb, mixing fabrics or plain, contrasting thread colors or the same, seams showing or on the inside, dressy or casual, with crocheted borders; the possibilities are endless. Here are a few examples from the dozens of mittens I have made this season and a basketful of mittens ready to take to a holiday gallery show that I’m participating in.


IMG_2533-0.JPG One of the major inspirations for the detail work I’ve been adding this year (beaded edges, fancy stitched edges, reverse appliqué) is Alabama Chanin. I own all three of their books (there’s another coming out in the spring!) and they are a wealth of inspiration and techniques. Check them out!

Holiday Garlands

I’m participating in a holiday show and went through all my Christmas storage containers to see if there was anything I wanted to use for inspiration or recycling. I bought these crocheted snowflakes from Lillian Vernon years and years ago (so they’re vintage now, right?) They were white to begin with and then one year I spray painted them gold and now I’m incorporating them into holiday garlands. I used a beautiful linen twine, inherited from a friend, and alternated the snowflakes with felted leaves or felted ornament balls. The third garland alternates felted leaves with beaded felted stars. I did the veins on the leaves on the sewing machine but everything else is done by hand. The Nordic patterned ornaments have blanket stitching and there is a contrasting pattern on the other side so it’s reversible! I made these garlands with the intention of creating heirloom pieces that can be handed down through the generations.





Felted Slippers

I’ve become a passionate fan of wool. It’s a magical medium. And it gives me an outlet for my love of thrift store exploring. I buy old wool sweaters to felt and use in my projects. Here’s a pair of slippers I’m working on for my granddaughter Susannah.

Slippers made from recycled sweaters with needle felted pattern

Slippers made from recycled sweaters with needle felted pattern

And here are the groovy starry bottoms.
Slipper bottoms with suede leather stars

Slipper bottoms with suede leather stars

This is the second pair I’ve made for her. I gave her a pair for Christmas and my son says she wears them every day. I had forgotten to take a picture and was visiting one day. I asked her if I could take a picture of her slippers and she plopped right down on my guitar case and stuck out her foot.
First pair of recycled slippers with needle felted hearts.

First pair of recycled slippers with needle felted hearts.

They have really held up well and have suede leather bottoms so she doesn’t slip as she zooms around on the wood floors.
I’ve made hats and purses as well. Stay tuned for more posts and pictures!

Boot Refashion

Hi everyone! For my first blog I’d like to show you a pair of boots that I refashioned. They had a REALLY pointy toe that scuffed easily. I wanted to see if I could reshape the toe and keep the boots. I loved the leather and the fact that they were comfortable and flat. So……I grabbed a saw and cut off the pointy toes. I have a stash of leather from old coats that I buy at the thrift stores and take apart. So I used a piece of leather and glued it over the now squarish toe. the leather was a mauve color so I used acrylic paints to match the leather to the rest of the boot and then I edged the piece with gold acrylic because the rest of the seams were done that way. I was delighted with the way they turned out and wore them to a concert the very next night.

the refashioned boot with the old toe next to it.

the refashioned boot with the old toe next to it.

So there you have it. I have been doing lots of work in the studio and work in many different mediums and will be trying to post on a regular basis.
Thanks for visiting!

JoAnn Morrell
40 Orchard Rd
Fleetwood, PA 19522