153I am a fiber artist and writer living in the ‘burbs of Boston. My two boys are in their twenties and one lives near the Pacific, the other in view of the Rockies. My husband and I share our home with an intense and lovable guy named Finn (half Belgian Malinois/half collie).  He keeps us busy! Creative time is split between writing, quilting, and paper collage.

Not formally art trained, I’m not quite self-taught either since my mother was an art teacher. From a very early age, I knew that creativity was in my bones — in all of our bones. My mother taught me that half of making beautiful work comes from supplying yourself with beautiful materials. I’ve taught myself that the other half of creating interesting work involves getting out of my own way.

With respect to sewing, my mother taught me to trust my eye, to use a spray bottle at the ironing board (not steam) and to question whatever rules I encountered.  Unfortunately, I didn’t really sew much until after she died.

In high school, I mostly crocheted and kept journals. College found me making collages, learning to hand spin and dye fiber with natural materials, and writing — mostly poems. Tellingly, while studying for the Massachusetts bar exam in 1989, I made collage after collage and then, after passing the bar, deferred beginning working downtown in order to make a quilt.

I started sewing in earnest during my first pregnancy, which coincided with buying a house.  Curtains, chair pads, crib bumpers, pillows, tiny onesies — all were imperative nesting activities. Eventually, I took a class with the Maine quilter Susan Carlson, whose collage approach to quilt making ignited me. A Ruth McDowell workshop followed. She taught me that precise piecing is something I cannot and will not do. More recently, I’ve studied online, particularly with
Jude Hill at Spirit Cloth. From her introspective and poetic approach, I’ve learned to slow down and pay attention in a whole new way. Also: process matters; selling sucks.

I’ve shown my work in Maine, NYC, and Mass. and did Newton Open Studios for five years. I used to teach a fair amount (children and adults) and until recently operated an esty shop (operated should be in quotes). Partly because I was prepping for craft shows, I used to make wide array of things — purses, dolls, blankets, wall quilts, sachets, pillows.

These days, I work more by hand (though not exclusively) and focus on dolls and wall quilts.  The older I get, the less time I want to give over to materials I don’t like, or projects I’m only half invested in. Life is short.

In the writing arena, I take weekly classes taught in “the Amherst Method” during the school year. What a lot I have learned in there! I’ve kept journals my entire life. Julia Cameron and Natalie Goldberg are heroes of mine. But children and quilting really took over for a time (more than 15 years), sliding writing off the table. No more. There is a novel in the works, which I hope to finish before I die.

I’ve talked about it enough elsewhere, but in brief — it takes place in South Carolina in the 1730’s and 40’s and includes fictional renderings of some historic figures (primarily, Eliza Lucas Pinckney). The research has taken me on an intellectual/heart journey, one that coincided with the Black Lives Matter movement gaining traction and, more recently, with the shameful rise of DJT (whose name I will NOT say). It has changed me. I won’t go so far as to say “I’m woke”, but I’m working on it.

On a lighter note, the book’s research also inspired three actual journeys — to Charleston, a city I have fallen in love with for its history, beauty, food, and people.



21 thoughts on “About

  1. arlijohn

    What a delight to meet you online and how great to find another Susan Carlson fan. I am going to visit your website and will visit your blog often. Once again, glad to meet you!

  2. Ginny

    Hi Dee!

    I started at the beginning and have worked my way (almost) through all your pages and all I can say is I want a quilt, I want a quilt, I want a quilt — and a collage! Your work is beautiful and inspiring. Once I am finished with the pages, I am going shopping!!

    I love the way that life is worked out and through in small pieces, little by little, piece by piece – into a wonderful whole.

    I think our parents did us a disservice keeping the cousins apart. I have a website and a couple of blogs too (I can send you the links if you are interested). I hope we get to know each other electronically at least!

    With admiration,

  3. Ginny

    Hooray! Very cool 🙂 Already you have already given so much to think about with soulcollage,etc. and now the phenomenom of family schisms. Wild.

    I look forward to comparing family notes. I will send you an email soon.

    I have a blog http://www.Crabmeadow.blogspot.com and a little webiste with photography called http://www.OpenRoadCreations.com. There is another blog I will tell you about separately. 🙂

    Keep sewing and writing, you are wonderful at both.


  4. Lesley Austin

    Hello Dee,
    I am glad to have been brought here by your thoughtful comment at The Bower. I see you have two sons and a husband, so now I know who you meant when you mentioned “caretaking”. : ) I also have two sons and a husband, tho’ one son is away at college…but the caretaking doesn’t stop, it is just more mental and emotional than physical, I find.

    I loved seeing your quilts and your dear face in the photo above, and wish you success and joy with all of your creative pursuits-quilts and raising a family and everything else!

    1. deemallon Post author

      Thanks so much Lesley — I find that mentioning the things that we as crafters/artists must ‘overcome’ or accept is very helpful — ESPECIALLY because the job of mother is so often invisible… I’ll be checking in on your site more to see more of your wonderful work.

  5. Pingback: The Versatile Blogger award | About what matters

  6. Sandy Donabed

    Glad you found my (short) message about the ICA exhibit. Wish I knew you, love your ‘Cloth Company’ and your passions, and hope we can stay in touch! If you get to the ICA, allow plenty of time for the bookstore- there is stuff there of all sorts. The exhibit won’t take long in itself- but do look at Xenobia Bailey’s crocheted tent, and see the direct line to Susan Shie’s story telling quilts. I love when I find these connections… Sandy


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