Saturday, August 19, 2017

Classes and Quilts at International Quilt Festival

It's such a pleasure and an honor to teach at Festival! I've already got kits in the works, so I'd love to see you in the classroom. You can register here. 

Here's my schedule.

Thursday, November 2 from 2 to 5 pm: Small Stitched Landscapes (class number 478)
Friday, November 3 from 10 to noon: Mixed Media Sampler Creating Original Stencils (event number 556)

Friday, November 3 at 3 pm: All About Art Quilts Lecture (event number 563)

Saturday, November 4 from 9 am to 5 pm: Creativi-Tree Art Quilts (class number 711)

Sunday, November 5 from 9 am to noon: Techniques with Paint and Ink (class number 801)
You can read details about these workshops on my workshops page on my website. But don't look at the supply lists. They are different from Festival and you'll need to refer to the Festival website for info about kits and supplies.

I'll also have some art quilts on the show floor. (It's my year of ladders.)

You can see Rising Resting in the Personal Iconography exhibition.

Limbs, Ladders, Roots and Rocks will be in the Art Miniature category of the judged shows.
Rising Setting will be in the Matter of Time textile exhibition curated by my friend Brenda Gael Smith who will be there with the quilts!

The very very best part of Festival is the people! I get to see friends from all over the country, meet new students, connect with people who have enjoyed my book and talk with a bunch of people who love creating with fabric! If you see me, please come say hi!

Monday, August 14, 2017

Workshop Intros for Craft Napa

I am super excited to be teaching at Craft Napa this January!

Here's the schedule of workshops I'll be teaching.

Thursday, January 11, 2018: Captivating Compositions for Art Quilts
Thursday Evening, January 11, 2018: Head Heart and Hands: Developing Your Creative Voice
Friday, January 12, 2018: Creativi-Tree Art Quilts
Saturday, January 13, 2018: Personal Symbols for Art Quilts

Of course, you should check out all the other amazing workshops begin offered by the amazing artists on the roster this year. You can see them all here.

Register here! Spots are filling up.

I recorded a short video intro of each of the four workshops to give you a little sense of what they are all about -- beyond a short description and one or two pictures. I hope this gets you excited about the possibilities of kicking off 2017 with some inspiring, creative workshops in Napa!

Let me know if you have any questions about these workshops. I'm happy to tell you more. I'm looking forward to seeing you in Napa!

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Making Connections with Art in Museums, Magazine and More

I had a delightful moment of artistic connection in the doctor's office yesterday. (The fact that I was at the doctor was not delightful, but there was this silver lining.)

They have nice magazines at the office and I was flipping through Architectural Digest and was drawn to the images in this profile of artist Theaster Gates.

Then on the next page, there was a piece of his artwork that looked familiar. It's the piece on the lower left.

I'd just seen this piece (or one very similar) at the Tate Modern in London the week before! It stopped me, drew me in and created a lasting impression. It's made from the discarded pieces of a basketball court from a Chicago-area high school. It points to Gates' frustration with the dismantling of decent public education in Chicago, particularly for African American students.

I didn't take a picture of that piece in London. But, I did photograph this Gates piece also at the Tate.

Can you guess what it's made from?

Yes, fire hoses originally used to break up protesters fighting for civil rights. Powerful.

Clearly, these two pieces of art are quilt-like in many ways. I suppose that's part of why I am drawn to them. And yet, I don't make quilts like that. I don't piece fabric. I don't use recycled materials. I don't really explore political or provocative themes in my own work.

But, it's not about me and my work and my personal style. It's about taking the opportunity to see everything! And welcoming interesting thoughts, study and critique of art that catches my eye. Especially if it comes up repeatedly and unexpectedly.

I don't think I'll be able to track any kind of direct influence or inspiration from Theaster's work into my own work. But the fact, that it exposed me to something new is enough.

We live in a time where we have access to so much. There are so many things to explore: museums, magazines, You Tube channels, TED talks, podcasts, movies, tv, lectures, clubs, Facebook groups... the list is endless. It's the proverbial double-edged sword, right? It's easy to get over exposed and overwhelmed.

When I visited the Tate with my mom and daughter, I'd never heard of Theaster Gates.  (Here we are in the Tate's cavernous central hall.)

I probably would have forgotten him if he hadn't popped up in the magazine.

I'll continue to go to museums, to flip through magazines, to peruse Pinterest, to listen to podcasts. But, I'll also try to go a little deeper occasionally. Mindless scrolling through images or aimless walks through museums seem sort of wasteful.

For now, I'll do a deep dive and learn more about Theaster.

Here are some of the resources I'm eager to explore.

Tate Modern Profile
Theaster TED talk
YouTube Art Channel profile
He's a part of Art 21
Oh, there's a bit of controversy to consider

To take this unexpected connection a little further, Theaster's work with reclaimed materials related to African American life reminds me of Hank Willis Thomas' quilts made from prison uniforms and athletic jerseys. I first saw his work on the Instagram of one of my college friends.

Is that an artist that you've discovered unexpectedly that stayed with you?

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

New hopscotch Fabric Line!

I'm so happy to be part of this blog hop celebrating Jamie's new fabric line...

a playful tone on tone super blender line of fabrics based on a collection of hand-drawn designs from Jamie Fingal's sketchbooks. dots, geometrics, flowers and loop-de-loops. hop, skip and jump over to the playground.

Here's what I created.

It's 18x18 and titled Moonlit Grove.

I really wanted to work in a neutral color palette with just one pop of color. I was able to select several beautiful browns and creams and this serene-yet-strong blue. 

Even the names of the colors are super fun. The colors in this quilt include Meringue, Coffee, Vanilla Bean, Biscotti, Espresso, and BlueBerry. (So why didn't I make a quilt with a coffee cup and a muffin?! Next time!)

There are eleven different designs in tons of colors making a total of 83 different fabrics. The line will debut at Spring Quilt Market in St. Louis in mid-May, and the fabric will ship to stores in August. 

Because the fabrics are so luscious and yet spare in design, I could really add my own spin to the design without being distracted by too much color or print. So of course I added paint, hand embroidery and free motion quilting.

Several quilters made 18x18 squares for the fabric reps to take out in the field to show quilt shop owners what can be made with this line! Woot!

Follow along on the blog hop to see more quilts made with the hopscotch line. 

4-24 Jamie Fingal
4-25 Cindy Cooksey
4-26 Sue Bleiweiss
4-27 Lyric Kinard
4-28 Susan Brubaker Knapp

5-1 Leslie Tucker Jenison
5-2 Deborah Boschert
5-3 Libby Williamson

Thursday, April 20, 2017

This and That?

In my now twelve years of blogging, I've included personal news, thoughts about art, my own professional development and other items along the way. It feels sort of hodge podge... which is not the way blogs are anymore, really. Or are they?

With that in mind, a few personal updates...

We celebrated Benjamin's birthday.

A baby bunny appeared on our back porch and Lincoln really wanted to play.

I took a trip to North Park Center where they had a wonderful exhibition of portraits of artists taken by photographer Bruce Weber.

I especially liked this one of Andrew Wyeth... with my reflection.

There is so much wonderful art at NorthPark, but I found this collection of mannequins interesting too.

We tried out a new Thai ice cream place where the pour the base liquid on a super cold plate, spread it out, then roll it up and slide the rolls into a cup. Then add toppings. Can you see the rolls in this picture?

We haven't had a family portrait taken in several years... so we did that!

Here is an outtake I snapped with my camera.

Claire is racing to the end of her time in high school. We had two special events last week.

Her Academic Decathlon team was recognized at the school board meeting.

And she received a scholarship from the Daughters of the American Revolution.

My life is pretty full and I feel lucky. More art stuff soon.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Seven Resources for Developing Your Creative Voice

When I share my art quilts, people often notice repeated elements, themes, colors and imagery. They begin to see these elements as my personal style... my creative voice.

Then they ask how I developed that voice. It's not simply about using the same techniques or colors in every art quilt I create. It's more than that.

I put together a workbook that includes exercises, prompts, lists and ideas. It's called Head, Heart and Hands: Developing Your Creative Voice. (It's in my Etsy shop as a pdf download or a spiral bound workbook.)


The workbook is a great start, but I bet you'll want more.

I've been making notes about articles and books I read, videos I've watched and podcasts I've listened to that help answer the big question of how to develop a creative voice.

Here are seven excellent resources.

The Amazon links are affiliate links.

1. On Developing A Visual Voice by Susie Monday
I first came across this blog post when Susie included it in her e-newsletter. I bookmarked it and return to it regularly. I love her idea of "personal detective work." No one said developing a creative voice is easy, but it's definitely worthwhile.

2. Creative Strength Training by Jane Dunnewold
Jane's new book is quite excellent. I love her ideas about focus, alignment and goals. This book is a great mix of specific instruction and inspiration combined with some very personal, soul-searching, insightful narratives.

3. The Lisa Congdon Sessions
I really enjoyed this new online class with Lisa Congdon (daughter of fellow Twelve, Gerrie Congdon) called Idea Generation: Expanding Your Creative Repertoire and Finding Your Voice. Lisa shares some very practical, specific tips and exercises for your creative journey.

4. Big Magic Podcast with Elizabeth Gilbert
In trying to include a variety of media on this list, I had to include a podcast! This one is great. Each episode includes a close examination of a person at a creative crossroads, plus some excellent, specific suggestions to help him or her move forward. I can almost always use the suggestions in my own creative life. Lots of people also think Gilbert's Big Magic book is excellent. (Wow. the paperback only $6.48! Why haven't I ordered it before now?!) I haven't read it yet, but it should arrive in my mailbox later this week. I am sure the podcast and the book would make a power combination.

5. Finding Your Visual Voice: A Painter's Guide to Developing an Artistic Style by Dakota Mitchell
This book includes lots of nuts and bolts about painting and I'm not a painter. But... it has so much more! The design and layout of the book make it easy to jump in anywhere. It's full of provocative and helpful questions that can lead any artist further along his or her path. It's also full of tons of images of paintings by various artists with thoughts about how they fit into a body of work. (It's mostly out of print, but you may be able to track down a used copy.)

6. The Gap by Ira Glass

This is a stunningly, creative, insightful and down-to-earth video about not quitting. Don't miss the carved cucumber. Or the alphabet soup.

7. Show Your Work, Steal Like an Artist and The Steal Like an Artist Jounal by Austin Kleon

Surely you've already heard of these books! They are immensely popular for good reason. Amazingly, Kleon explains complex concepts with super simple terms and inspiring graphics. He tells it like it is. He would never tell you it's easy to develop your creative voice, but he gives you concrete examples of how to get to work.

Have I sent you down a wonderful rabbit hole of inspiration? Don't get stuck in the hole for too long... come out and start creating!


These are the same kinds of things I share in my newsletter, Three Bits of Inspiration. Of course, inspiration and creative voice are closely linked. Notice what inspires you and you're on your way to a deeper understanding of your unique voice. You can sign up for the newsletter here.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Enjoying every stitch!

When I was at Quilt Market in Houston, I was delighted to see Carrie Bloomston. We've met before (I'm not sure where... maybe just through friends of friends in the online world.) and she warmly welcomed me into her gypsy tent introducing her fabric line, Dreamer, with Windham.

A few months later, she posted some fabric scrap packs for sale on Facebook and Instagram. On a whim, I treated myself. They sold fast and I was excited to get one. You can't really see them all here. It was a wonderfully fat bundle.

Later Carrie shared that selling the scrap packs allowed her to put down a payment on a studio outside her home, enabling new adventures and dreams for her professional and creative life. I found that quite gutsy and inspiring.

I wanted to use the fabric to generate some new adventure and dreams for my own professional and creative life. I set out to create several small art quilt collages each using at least one of Carrie's prints and some kind of shape symbolizing ideas to pursue and celebrate in 2017.

Here are the six finished art quilts. They are all 5x7 inches.

For Nourishment
The triangles on green are from Carrie's scrap pack.

For Growth
The bee is from the fabric collection.

For Family
The green fabric with the white plus that says "birds flying" is from Carrie's fabric. Does this symbolize Claire getting ready to fly away from home? Maybe. I loved stitching those tiny birds.

For Momentum
The blue bit with the selvedge at the top is from Carrie's line. I love incorporating an interesting selvedges.

For Stability
The bit under the rocks is a print from the fabric pack. This little collage surprised me the most. It took me a long time to put all the right fabrics, shapes, colors and stitches in just the right place -- now I think it's my favorite of the collection.

For Lightness
The green triangle points at the bottom (and on the left edge) are from the fabric collection. You can see I used a bit of my favorite stripe here too! You know the phrase, "Light as a feather?" Here I am thinking of clarity, buoyancy, illumination.

These were a delight to make. I enjoyed every stitch. They are all framed and available in my Etsy shop.

In addition to sales of the artwork, I will be developing a workshop around this series. It will be about personal symbols, simple compositions, working in a series, creating small art and enjoying every stitch!