Turning Points


It is so much easier to look back. I’m sure I’m coming across some turning points at this very moment. They are too close to glean any insight. Except for spring flowers. They are immediate. They let you know the season is about to change. the lightness of spring is imminent. The brilliance of summer is not far off. My formulas for shibori dyeing fabric begin to change.

Looking back for turning points, I ask, how far back can I go? To my junior year in high school when I changed my style wearing a borrowed, white, v neck dress with a circular, cinched-waist skirt to a civil air patrol dance on the Air Force Base where I lived. Guys out numbered girls ten to one. I danced and danced.

The time when I was 20 and I went shopping in at expensive boutique. I tried on linen pants, fuchsia and orange. They were bold and bright. I hated them. Wanting a change, I bought them. My dad said I was stunning.

I was working in an office. I sewed a deep sea bluegreen maternity skirt and floral print top. Wore it to work, brazen and pregnant. So many compliments.

My first divorce. It was not a bad marriage. Ms Magazine arrived. It was intellectual conversation I was seeking.

Letting my kids go live with their dad. It was the right thing to do. I wanted the divorce. It was my idea. I knew I could handle being a better mother away than he could be a father so far away.

There was a recklessness in the decisions to divorce and custody. A recklessness that gave me a freedom to seize my vision.

There was chaos and disorder in the second marriage. I divorced again. With a clear vision that I deserve to be with those who appreciates who I am and what I can do.


Today I am following my curiosity. That will lead me to my passion, Elizabeth Gilbert says. I believe her. I am most curious about how to deepen my relationships. To know more. To understand more.

Michelle Obama says, “It is hard to hate up close.”

Maybe that’s true. That’s what I want. But most times my arrogance gets in the way. Like when someone takes a different stance and I stand back, with hands on my hips, and say to myself, how could you?

I had a fantasy the other day when we were at my daughter’s house. They had created a new “pub room.” They had arranged it with a little bar, a few tables scattered around. There were several different conversations going on at each table. Every one was smiling, nodding, laughing, listening. Most likely all in agreement since we are all like minded.

I had a thought. What if that wasn’t true? What if the conversations at each table we’re radically different? Opposing views were being expressed. And everyone was still listening, nodding? What if it was like the game of musical chairs and when the band of brothers and cousins stopped playing one person would shift to the next table and enter the conversation? One they might totally disagree with? Could it be done? Could the knot in their stomach be pushed down when they heard things they disagreed with? Could they be silent for two beats and let the conversation flow without the need to be the lone dissent? Could they let listening be the path to deepening?

My husband said, “No, there’s too much at risk.”

“Isn’t being silent and listening equally powerful? “I asked. “Doesn’t living by example mean anything?”

Curiosity has lead me to explore the distinction between empty silence and the the silence of listening.



"Laverne, we would like to make a video of you reading your poetry on a horse farm." 

(note: there are no horses in this photo, only cows.) 

Of course, I said yes and dressed for the occasion. 

I always dress up for poetry readings. It is the most important work I do. I wore a black 40s style, cinched waist dress, heels and a hat, carried a backpack for my poetry and lipstick, and my music stand to hold my papers while reading. 

(note: wind) 

I read The Night I was the Woman in the Red Tights and Black Mini Dress, a poem about the pursuit of a one-night stand. It explores missed opportunity and the labeling of women who enjoy touch as a whore and a slut and I wonder, “What do we call such men?”

Several issues were addressed in the poem. In the video, “The Southern Sex,” they cut to the last stanza, a close up on my face where I say, 

"So I said yes
yes I want to
I want to be a whore
and touch
just pure touch
no dinner
no drinks
just touch.”

Frequently, people come up to me and say, "You know I was in a hotel in Kansas City (or somewhere) channel surfing and I saw you in a video." 

I smile. I know the choice for the close up missed the point of the poem. I am not flustered. I had said what needed to me said.

That was in 1983. I don't know if I feel like I still have the same freedom to be so cavalier with my words. Things have changed. I am more cautious in my golden years.

(note: I am hesitant to use the word golden) 

I prefer Christiane Northup’s suggestion of the ageless goddess; she who “rejects ageism and owns her beauty.”

I’ve become more aware of the power of statement dressing. Now is the time to claim our power with the stance we take. Words often have a limited audience. The poem stays tucked away, waiting for publication. When you dress to be seen, a statement is made as soon as you walk into the room. You know your statement because you have already written your story.  You have asked yourself the question, “Who do I want to be?” To publish is to make public. Your statement poem is published every time you are seen.

I am

who I am

is who I am. 

As I explore dress in my past and my present, I can’t help but think that it makes a difference, and that the way we dress is, not only for ourselves, it is for those around us. Be precise in what gets shared. Be unapologetic in your feminine expression from the inside out. Follow your natural curvilinear lines; eliminate crew necks, embrace v-neck or slightly scooped. Never apologize for who you are. Stand tall.  Every raw and ecstatic experience of life that has preceded this moment has created the women you have become.

Wear what you are afraid to wear. 
Your statement will be bold.

(Note: There was no dinner, no drinks, no touch that night.)

My mind had become my sex. My mind is what turned me on. I was in pursuit of a poem.

The complete poem:

The Night I was the Woman in the Red Tights and Black Mini Dress

“Good girls don’t”
so I did
I’m tired of being a “good girl” all the time

it was six years ago
he was the star
and he asked me
me? I had thought
not that I wasn’t trying to be attractive
even a little sexy
so I smiled
and he invited me to dinner

then I started thinking
you know how men are
they only want “one thing”
and “good girls” don’t give “it” to them
even if they wanted to
but I said no

I couldn’t
I just couldn’t
after all what would my mother say
and the priest
or my husband
heavin’ forbid?

they would all call me a whore
or even worse
a prostitute

what’s the difference?
a whore does it for fun
a prostitute does it for money

you know
sorta as in
being married
and he works hard for the money
and she gives him the “they only want one thing” thing

so I had to say no
and I’ve regretted it all these years

what would it have been like? I wondered
you know how it is
when there is something you really want
and you imagine it
and fantasize it
and then one day
the opportunity actually presents itself
and you turn it down!

the pits!

so last week-end
there I was
nearing the possibility
that the opportunity might present itself
one more time

I really doubted it
I was six years older now
he would certainly be more interested in the younger women
I wore my red tights and black min dress anyway

and then he did
he asked me

this is it
this is the “moment you’ve been waiting for” moment

so say it
say yes
you know you want to

“You asked me that same question six years ago”
I reminded him

“And what was your answer then? He asked

“I’d like to think you’d have remembered
if my answer had been yes”
I said and knew then where I was headed

so say it
say yes
you know you want to

“I don’t have any birth control,” I said instead
and he did

“I didn’t shave my legs”

“No problem”

so say it
just go ahead and say it
say yes
you know you want to

so I did
I said yes
yes I want to
I want to be a whore

and touch
just pure touch
not dinner
no drinks
just touch.

PS Nothing happened that night other than conversation. It was a poem I was pursuing.

Ripe and Tough

What pages were torn out of the journal? No one will ever know, tossed to the floor, not crumbled, no chance of going insane as Hemingway suggested. Do you think he began to crumble his pages before his depression and eventual suicide as implied in the movie we watched last night "Hemingway & Gellhorn." Being kind to ourselves, my husband and I are reading Hemingway out loud to each other. We skipped last night and watched a movie instead. Not sure it was a good idea. And, I'm not sure aboutNicole Kidman's bright red lipstick as she portrayed Gellhorn during her war correspondent days. Was it a fashion statement? Was it to imply that she was ripe in contrast to her later years when she wore no lipstick on at all? Or that she was tough, could handle anything? As an ageless goddess I am in my later years. I like to wear red lipstick. For me it's about color and balance and brightness. Today I will iron red fabric. A bright rusty red. Silk and linen. Ripe and tough.

Memory of Color

Growing up, there were always flowers, as evidenced in photos or memories.

My mother, Grace, grew red roses in front of the two bedroom, added onto to make four, ranch, on Eveningside Drive in Topeka. Purple irises bloomed on the side and pale blue bachelor buttons gathered across the back along the fence.

In Tachikawa, Japan she learned Ikibana, the art of flower arrangement.  They graced the buffet and changed weekly.

A hedge of red roses framed the front yard of the old frame house in Roaring Springs, Texas where the man who invented the cotton gin once lived. As the years passed and the hedge thickened, cars passed slowly by just to see Grace's roses.

Suddenly, my cabin is filled with orchids. It just happened. All I do is place three ice cubes in each pot, weekly. It must be the light. Our cabin is filled with light.

Everything about me, all my memories show up in my shibori art to wear.  Today in velvet I see orchids and roses and green leaves.

Vision Quest

The iridescent leaves shimmer in morning light 

moisture clinging to each dried leaf 

drizzling rain a soft serenade. 

the making of space for winter has begun 

the forest opens up 

more tall willowy tree trunks appear 

we walk deeper the dogs and I 

they ever grateful for this privilege they demand 

wagging their tails waiting as I arise 

the brandy of browns and deep burgundy 

await my vision quest for meaning of each new day 

affirming the love I have for life 

balanced between growing awareness as each day passes 

that every life has a beginning and end

a transition so subtleyet instant 

as in one day as I walk the trees are green the next Golden

how did that happen so suddenly, I ask

I must pay better attention, I warn

my footsteps are no longer spring soft on the path of grass and dirt

they crinkle, crunch a deep serenade 

the brandy of browns and deep burgundy 

await my vision quest for meaning of each new day 

You Will Love This

It may sound trite when I say I make my art for you. I don't know you personally. I do know about you. I know about your desire for passion and wisdom. To express your long earned authority. And for intimacy, those close connections you find in family and friends where you can just be you and express yourself freely with no concern for being judged or criticized or need to defend your beliefs 

In these ways we are the same. We have lived long. We have courted danger. We have loved life.

What makes us unique is our failures have not brought us down. We stand tall and walk forward knowing we have something to pass on. We have a legacy

So it is not trite when I guide my vibrant shibori silk under the needle, watch it ripple and gather graciously, marvel at its beauty, ponder how ravishing it is and know that you are going to love wearing the art I create. 

I am not praising me. I am praising the inner workings of my soul that has brought all the pieces of creating together to make this masterpiece. Yes, in that moment, when exquisite colors have found their way into my silk. I am thrilled and can't wait to share it with you.

A form of my inner life is embodied in the fabrics I take into my hands and shapes each piece. and I say, “you will love this.”

It is not trite 

You will love this!

You will love this!

How to Buy Art to Wear

What I know about you is that you are passionate, you have wisdom from a life well lived, you express what you know with authority and you desire intimacy.

"Our souls crave intimacy"—Erwin Raphael McManus

In order to know what to buy think about how you intend to wear your art;


or for special occasions?

What fabrics are you drawn to; heavier silks like crepe and charmeuse, uber light paj or devore burn-out, medium nuno felted wool, rayon and linen or heavier hemp and wool?

Think about color. Not particular colors. Palettes. Are you the tones of fall, shades of winter, pale tints of spring of bright summer? Are you cool or warm?

My wearables are loose fitting, tribal in design. Their function is to accent the colors and layers you are already wearing. They are meant to be comfortable, first. They are designed to add texture and movement, to sculpt a particular silhouette.  They are meant to be worn.

When you clothe your body, you are sculpting a vision you have of yourselves. A vision that is beautiful and strong, luscious, sensuous and sensual, curvilinear, voluptuous and soft, assured and confident, fluid and flowing.

The textures, shapes and colors you place on your body tell a story and becomes your sculpture.  They are all in response to the  many messages you have received and written. 

When you choose to wear art, you step outside your traditional decision making process into a realm of unlimited possibilities. In order to do so you must ask yourself a few basic questions.

What is my bottom line? 

This is not directly about money but it can be if you don't want to waste money buying beautiful wearable art you never wear. You want to know what is most important to your self expression.  Mine is shape and function. Whatever I wear, the the shape must reflect a silhouette I desire, it must be comfortable and make me feel beautiful. 

I want what you place on your body to be in harmony with the world that surrounds you. The reason that is challenging is because there are so many man-made colors, it can get complicated and conflicting with the natural terrain and all her colors. All my shapes and colors are meant to compliment and contrast the world surrounding you, the colorful world of Mother Nature, her curvaceous lines and soft belly.

Green the Color of Growth

Of course, green is what is needed. 

It is the color of balance and self-reliance. 

The essence of your body is 

    the ever flowing river 

the ever winding road

movement and rhythm

    an idea, constantly evolving 

    a cloud full of energy, swirling

Let your soul skin cloak be the art you wear,  your guide.

As you bloom

find grace.

Access your deepest resource

    nature’s intellegence

Sit in your garden regularly

Let your blooming be an inspiration

And continuous revelation

Refashion your purpose in life

Refashion your lifestyle

Your lifestyle

is where your new growth takes place. 

Your body knows what's good for you.  

    Listen. Seize her wisdom.

    Know when to walk away


    Stay focused on your amazing creative journey

You Can Wear Any Color

Blue green, crepe tuniic with devore shawl

Blue green, crepe tuniic with devore shawl

Walking in the woods yesterday, I saw the same brown I am dyeing for a mother of the bride statement kimono and tank dress.  It was in the leaves left over from last fall; deep, rich, rusty, copper, with a touch of dark forest green.

Even though the leaves came from last fall, now aged into late spring, they held their vibrancy.  Who would think that the colors of spring would include the age of fall? Clearly, every color can be found any season.

How did I get on my color path, my artful path, my path of self expression?  

I let go.

One day when I was on my lunch hour from my first office job, I was drawn into a store that sold a more expensive line of clothing than I was inclined to buy.  I was 20.  I was a Sears or JC Penney girl. It was a risky step.  I decided that I would try on pants and blouses that were bright and brilliant. The pants were orange and fuchsia.  They were each paired with a floral blouse. They were not the bright and brilliant colors of summer.  They were subtly toned, as the leaves are when they slowly change. Not my usual choice.  I gazed in the mirror and said to myself,  “I hate this. This is not me.”  I have strong opinions.  I bought it, anyway.  I was tired of buying the same styles and colors over and over.  I wanted to feel what it was like to wear something different.  A relatively safe risk.  

My dad loved it.  I never thought of him as a stylish person, in his USAF uniform or week end overalls. In hindsight, as I peer into his old black and white photographs, I discover he had a very strong since of composition. His was not the only compliment I received.  This began my journey, not only of exploring colors, also in taking risks with self expression.

You can wear any color, dare I be so bold to say.  It’s not about what looks good on you, it’s about what makes you feel wonderful.  You are part of nature.  All colors are part of nature.  Find yourself in the rainbow, it is very large, full and forgiving, as you are. It’s not that you can’t wear part of the rainbow at anytime, its that some parts have blended and rearranged so the derivative is no longer recognizable.  

In order to determine your place in the rainbow, remember your favorite season.  Find it by listening to your body.  To which season are you most drawn? Listen to your friends and their compliments. Write it all down.  Are you spring where the colors are soft, or summer, where the colors are bright, bold, and brilliant? Are you sometimes a little of both?  Getting to know your self through color is an exciting journey you are now ready to embark upon.  

Are you most present in the toned leaves of fall and their bright counterpart, jewels against the sky?  Are you in your element in the deep rich and luscious shades of winter, the spruce, and burgundy?  All these seasons come and go as you do. You know what you like.  What feels good.  

Let’s begin with your favorite season, where memories have lived the fullest. Coffee, chocolate, semi sweet, bitter or milky?  It’s the season you are drawn to that will determine your palette. How to choose your palette?  Ask, what do I like?  Then break it down.  

Let me start with brown.  Deep dark, aged, fall leave brown.  Browns emerge from all color.  The brown I am seeking now emerges from yellow and purple, her compliment.  Purple and yellow are buried in my new found brown.  They create copper and rust.  As the exploration continues, many colors will appear.  And they will be your colors, ready to mix and match and enjoy.  They will tell a story.  They will tell your story.

You can wear any color. It’s easy.  Nature has already begun to cleanse your canvas when she added grey to your hair.  If you choose color to you hair, are you more drawn to yellow or blue? If you have highlights, are they gold or ash.

Shall we collaborate?  Just tell me what you feel.  This is how you will tell me who you are.  What do you like?  How tall are you?  How full are your hips?  What are the colors of your skin, your eyes, your hair, (is it dyed or natural)? The answer to these questions are the beginning of designing your personal, art to wear, composition.



Art for the Breeder's Cup

Thank you, Kentucky Arts Council for taking the time to organize a gallery market for Kentucky artist to make our beautiful art available to all the amazing people that will be in Lexington for the Breeder's Cup.

I am honored to have been invited.  This lovely shibori dyed velvet devore shoulder shawl is one of the pieces I am taking to the gallery tomorrow.

Photo Shoot

Eco Topper using Shibori dyed Remnants

Eco Topper using Shibori dyed Remnants

Documenting is important.  And sometimes it has to be with our own camera or phone.  Mannequins are nice, but nothing like having a model.  Last week in M S Rezny's studio, Rupel Patel was an exquisite model bringing my newest designs to life.  Mary captured the movement, rhythm and depth of each piece.  I'm anxious to create more of these Eco Toppers. However, they are part of a long process.  First I have to felt more merino.  Then shibori dye it.  Then create a new design.  And then I will have the remnants I need to felt on top black wool and line with black crepe.  It's important that I remember my art is all part of a process that shapes itself by materials at hand, cannot be rushed and no step can be missed.


Eco-Topper, lined with silk crepe, Kentucky Wool and upcycled shibori merino

Eco-Topper, lined with silk crepe, Kentucky Wool and upcycled shibori merino

The art is in the palette.  After considering what colors to use when shibori dyeing felted silk and merino fabric and then creating a design, there are always pieces left over.  They look beautiful as they lay in a pile or are scattered about.  Collected they become elements to lay on top of 44x80 Kentucky wool batting and felted on the FeltLOOM. Hence, no waste.  Everything is used and because all the thought went into creating the palette, each new piece of art is equally beautiful.

I posted this image on FB and a friend replied that she liked the Mad Max Glam look. Yes.  It makes a strong bold statement.  When worn, there is no subtly here about who you are or where you are going.

There's nothing like that last moment of anticipation when you are removing pins and trimming off excess fabric before turning your new piece right side out so that you can see what you have created.  It's these moments that keep me creating, that speak to me and say, let's do it again, and I begin to search for more materials.

So fortunate that my friend, Lucinda, gave me a box filled with vintage buttons.  I search for two pondering if they need to match.  Never, my friend, Cathy says.

So fortunate that my friend, Lucinda, gave me a box filled with vintage buttons.  I search for two pondering if they need to match.  Never, my friend, Cathy says.