Making my Way: Dot to Dot

Making my Way: Dot to Dot

Many of us have a love affair with dots….they surface in my design work from time to time.

Now is one of those moments.......................................

Some of you know La Casa de Maria in Montectio, the lovely retreat center that housed our Design Outside the Lines Retreats for 25 years, although spared by fires in December…was taken by the devastating mudslides that followed.

My heart was heavy watching news videos unfold about the mudslides in Santa Barbara, California in January that changed peoples lives forever. I felt it in my core, when I realized it had happened on the same day of the year, Jan 9/10th, as the flood in ’95 in Carmel, CA. My children and I, lost all of our belongings, home and car in that flood. Those 2, breath-taking moments, connected as I watched the January newsfeeds unfold. My experience came back to me in ways I did not expect. It was a moment of 2 dots connecting….2 points of energy, touching….. and touching me. Waking each morning wondering how to ‘connect the dots’ reminded me of all the ways the universe is constantly bringing us opportunity to connect and reconnect the dots in our lives.

Stenciling the red dots on my grey linen was a place to start. All randomly placed…trusting the design would come together, I just connected the dots, one after another, with a thin-line Jacquard Fabric pen. I will share how this fabric evolved into a shirt in a future journal entry.

 Inspiration is everywhere... so take your camera and head out. Finding your favorite 'dots' in the environment is a great way to start!


Surface Design with Dots-

This canvas piece, stenciled with the Deco Bird Stencilwas finished with a jumbo Jacquard Fabric pen in purple. You may have circular shapes to start with in your stencil or stamp collection now. I sometimes cut a quick circle from a file folder =voila a stencil!

This linen version of undershirt (above) is in the FaultLines Pattern . The armhole and neck edges are finished with stenciled bias bindings then layered with grey dots using a medium size fabric the look of this combo!


ReMaking with Dots- 

This button-down linen shirt tweeked into this playful summer top, was highlighted with the jumbo, Jacquard Fabric Pen in purple dots. The linen sweater was easily transformed with printed pewter color dots!  Spark your creativity this spring with a Fabric Printing and ReMake Class back to back. 

Dots in Silver & Stitching- Ready to add dots to your style? They can be the focal element…or a garnish. The combination of printing with a metallic fabric paint , cutting out and layering on your favorite stitches will add more richness to your pieces!

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Dots as Metaphor- Maybe dots, like stepping stones, are safe zones in islands of chaos? Places where we can turn more easily to face a new direction. The more we can connect the dots, the more we can see our options and a larger picture can unfold.

Exploring Change- IT ALL STARTS SOMEWHERE…moving us into motion.

Just start with 1 thing: 1 pattern • 1 idea • 1color • 1 technique • 1 idea • 1 stencil • 1 silhouette • 1 heartache • 1 fabric • 1 pocket • 1day ……….1 dot.

The definition of a ‘dot’ at the end of a sentence is ‘the completion of a thought’….but what if it it is just the beginning?  

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Hi my name is Maureen and I live in Australia, I love your work and would love to attend your classes, but I’m afraid that this is nearly impossible so I am wondering if you have ever thought of having online classes, hoping that you will give it some thought, many thanks.


Maureen McGivern

I love your comment….‘just start with one thing’….
I love your ideas, your designs, the quirkiness and the flow. I have multiple patterns of yours and nearly all the’’ericson’ books from many many years ago. I treasure this library of thinking outside the box. But I have been such a conservative sewer/dresser. Sometimes it takes courage to do what you really want to try. To break free from concervative, safe, regular!! We only have onelife. If I dont try I may always regret as i gave done for a long time. And this one sentence has spoken to me, …just start with one thing’. Thank you. I will….. today.


Thank you Diane, what great inspiration! I am refashioning and embellishing some recycled flannel shirts and will use your dot technique for patches.
Also, your Kintsugi post referencing the philosophy that “treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise” elegantly describes my philosophy in this endeavor.

Sean Burke

love the metaphor! we all have dots in our life. sometimes it takes years for me to see how they connect.


A dot or a circle means there is no real beginning and no real ending. That opens up the opportunities to keep adding or subtracting to ones project until the the eye is happy with the result………….(lots of dots…..!)
By the way, how did polka dot get it’s name!

N Jackson

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