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Exploring life with needle and thread.

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Posted by on in Musings about Art and Life

 

Vail 2015 1

 

I am spending this week in Vail Colorado at the Full Circle Mastermind Summit. The purpose of this Summit is to spend time working on business planning and building. We work on our own respective businesses and come together as a group to brainstorm ideas and problem solve with group discussions. It is always a great week for me. It allows me to think bigger, get some different perspectives and reminds me to focus on what is the most meaningful. 

It is also a time for me to remind myself of (or fine-tune) my business values, my mission and my vision. 

So often we forget to take time to work on the things that are important to us. We forget to pause and look at the big picture because it is so easy to become overwhelmed by the details of the day to day. We forget to make sure our life has a balance that makes us happy. We can spend so much time on our art or our business that we neglect family or vice versa.

OR: spend so much energy on everyone else that we neglect ourselves and our dreams! 

This week my planning will be focused on my new adventure! The Thread Lab: a WonderFil Threaducation Center. More details on this very soon.  In the meantime you can join The Thread Lab Facebook Group.

Take a few minutes or a few hours this upcoming week and join me in spending some time thinking about your big vision, your dreams and your big picture. I would love to hear what they are. 

 

 

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Posted by on in Thread
Thread Misinformation Getting Me Down!

I have been mulling over this blog post for months! I get so frustrated by the misinformation about thread that is out there and when it comes from someone trying to sell me a product I get really peeved! Add to the fact that he was talking about metallic threads which already give folks problems I just had to speak my mind. 

 

 

 

For those of you who want to learn even more about thread check out my Threads: The Basics class now on-line! 

 

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Posted by on in Musings about Art and Life

Happy New Year's Eve everyone!

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I have spent part of the day reflecting on the last year and part of it running around after my grandsons! A great way to end the year if you ask me. One thing I did this year that was scary big was to face down my stash. It was crazy huge, it was everywhere, refusing to be contained to it's allotted shelf space and it was bogging me down!

I have been quilting seriously since about 1988. That is 26 years of stash building! I had kids flannels and prints, civil war reproduction, William Morris, Kaffe Fasset, florals, plaids and striped fabrics. There was also the healthy collection of Aboriginal, African, Japanese and Indonesian fabrics (new and vintage) that I had so carefully been curating. 

Every year I set aside a day to go through my stash, get rid of stuff I won't use anymore and spend time re-organizing and folding it all. I find it satisfying to create order of the mess and it makes me happy to pet all my fabrics and think about new projects and possibilities. However, when I got ready to do that earlier this year I got this heavy sense of dread in the pit of my belly! I needed to do it because it was a mess, falling off the shelves and couldn't find anything but I found myself dreading the entire process this year. 

I had a sit down with myself, a cup of tea and some cookies. Cookies always help when confronting any realities that I am avoiding. I am no longer a real quilter! I still love most of those fabrics but with the possible exception of some baby quilts for future grandchildren I had no desire to stitch bed quilts anymore...and even quilts for grandchildren is questionable! Wow! I was going to need a lot more cookies.

I allowed myself a short period of mourning the passing of this stage of my stitch journey and then got to work. I grabbed some bins and bags and stripped the shelves of all the commercial printed fabrics. I kept out about a dozen pieces of vintage ethnic fabrics but everything else went in the bins. A few times I was tempted to keep a delicious specimen in my favorite shade of chartreuse but after fondling them a few minutes I put them in the bins with a sigh and another cookie.

I called my good friend Cat to come by and pick up the piles of fabric goodness. I knew that she would put it all to good use making charity quilts and things for her guild annual auction. Suddenly I felt as if a huge weight was lifted.  I had empty shelves! Well, at least they were empty for a few hours.:-) I quickly filled them up with all the stuff that was on the floor and needed a home. 

It was hard to release all those years of collected possibilities and quilt dreams but giving up all those future quilts meant that I was free to make more art, open to new directions in my work and I could see even more possibility than before. 

Now, I am not saying you should chuck out all your carefully curated fabric collections but you may want to set aside an afternoon to weed out that which no longer suits you. What is weighing you down? What is preventing you from stretching your creative muscles? Get rid of the fabrics, beliefs and assumptions that may be holding you back and getting in the way of seeing the wide vista of possiblities that 2015 will bring.

 

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Posted by on in Creative Endeavors

stitch sample CG

I recently had the pleasure of creating a podcast with Mark Lipinski of the Slow Stitching Movement. Ruth Chandler and I ran into Mark on the sidewalk at the end of quilt market in November. Practically the first words out of my mouth were "I am so mad at you for coining the term 'Slow Stitching Movement' before we could!" 

We spent the next 40 minutes taking up precious sidewalk space as the throngs left the convention center but we hardly noticed the annoyed looks because we were deep in conversation about a topic we are all passionate about: Slow Stitching!

Mark has create a great website for the Slow Stitching Movement to call home and you can find interesting blog posts as well as podcasts by your favorite stitchers!

Listen to my podcast.

Listen to Ruth's podcast.

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Do you want to learn more about slow stitching? Join me in Portland OR March 8, 2015 for my class Stitch Meditations

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Posted by on in Self Care Whenever

Some might call it a failure...I call it a temporary life pause. 

stitch meditation4

Right after I wrote about the first 100 day challenge and decided to add another 100 day challenge for myself the highest of high weed pollen season hit. We have had a very wet summer and had a bountiful crop of weeds. For most folks, this simply means sneezing, nose blowing and itchy eyes. Annoying but life goes on right? 

I have a mast cell disorder (MCAD for short). The A is for activation just in case you were wondering. This disorder is considered rare but I really just think it is very un-diagnosed. Testing has not been available for very long.

Basically, your mast cells are part of your immune system. They are found in every part of your body. Their job is to 'de-granulate' when there is a threat (real or not) and wipe it out by dumping a bunch of histamines into your system. The histamine takes down the offending invader.  This all works great when it works properly but when things got out of whack they release too much histamine at once or they release histamine all the time and chaos happens.

That is when anaphylactic shock can show up....or as in my case you just feel like you have been run over by a truck. In addition to the sneezing, nose blowing and itchy eyes I get achy joints, yucky guts, crazy fatigue, brain fog and yes sometimes crabby too! 

I have spent the last few weeks just getting done the things that must be done like prep for taping 3 sessions for Quilting Arts TV last week and getting ready to head to Virginia Beach, VA tomorrow to teach at Art and Soul.  I am letting everything else wait until we get some serious cold weather to kill those weeds!

It can be really easy to beat oneself up when setbacks happen. I used to try to push through any problem and get things done no matter what but, have learned that pushing through isn't always the best thing to do especially when healing is involved. 

Those of you who have asked about the Stitch Meditations they will be returning very soon (I really miss making them now) and I will also get back to drawing as well. It is getting better here and I could definitely tell the day the weed pollen count went from High to Moderate. 

Hope you don't mind as I cheer on the arrival of cold and snow! :-)

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Posted by on in Art Shows

8TC SmallWonders Etui 1

 

My work is hanging at Etui Fiber Arts in Larchmont, New York! The show is up until October 15 so there is plenty of time to add it to your must see list! Unfortunately, I am not able to visit myself so if you go take a photo of you there and send it to me!

If you have to rely on photos too you can see the show virtually on the 8 That Create blog

 

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Posted by on in Uncategorized

stitch meditation1

Today is day 100 of my friend Deb Prewitt's 100 Days to 100% challenge! I took on the challenge of doing a stitch meditation every day. If you have been following along you know I didn't stitch every day and have not achieved my 100% goal.  I did make great progress towards my goal of taking time to slow down and stitch or just be every day.

The progress is what is important more than the 100%. 

I pushed through some layers of excuses along the way. 

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I discovered ways around some stumbling blocks like not having everything ready to go ahead of time. I created a stitch basket and box that have lots of bits and leftovers that I find when I clean my studio up. Now, I have lots of ingredients for my daily stitch at hand so I can just sit down and grab some things and stitch.

I did not beat myself up when I didn't meet the daily challenge. Life is about flexibility and forgiveness.

stitch meditation

I did fall in love with the process of stitching small bits of things together. When I am not able to make the time to stitch I miss it! That means I am well on the way to making my stitch meditation practice a non-negotiable in my life. 

On some of the days that I couldn't stitch I did use a traditional guided meditation. Yay for me!

Tomorrow starts another 100 days. I will continue my stitch meditations and will add another challenge to myself. 

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I think my new challenge will be a daily sketch. That will be challenging for me. Actually trying to do something every day consistantly..day in and day out...is the real challenge. :-)

Want to play along? What will you challenge yourself to do during the next 100 days? Eat better, walk more, create something, love more? 

Leave a comment and share your goals.

Use the hastag #100daysto100% in your social media posts so we can cheer you on too.

 

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Posted by on in Musings about Art and Life

I am in Vail CO this week on a business retreat with my mastermind group. I know....tough place to have to work! :-) I spent much of the day working on the deck with a beautiful wild flower tangled hillside as my view. We also have a stream out the front door. This week we will map out new programs, brainstorm ways we can better serve our students and clients, fine tune our goals and spend some time thinking about how we can change the world.

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business planning tools for artists!

 

We are a group of 5 entrepreneurs who share an passion for the art and business. Our businesses are all different but they are held together by the thread of art. We are great friends who support each other 100% and we also hold each other accountable to keep moving forward toward our unique visions.

We meet once a month for a mastermind circle where we brainstorm solutions to problems, set goals, explore 'what ifs' and share updates on progress on our big goals. I have to add that we laugh a lot and are frequently totally silly.

So often people forget that art is a business as well as a passion and calling. If you neglect the business side of art it will be very difficult to see your vision become a reality. I know! I did that for years and I even have a business degree!

Fortunately, I had a friend who invited me to a business networking event a little over 3 years ago. I really didn't want to attend because I tend to be an introvert and thought I hated that sort of thing. But, my friend bought me a ticket for the monthly luncheon so I went out of loyalty and maybe a bit of curiosity. This event was held by eWoman Network in Colorado Springs; a chapter of the international networking organization that is focused on the way women do business. I never looked at my business the same way again.

Not long after I joined the organization I attended their annual conference in Dallas TX. We just got back from our third conference earlier this month and you may have seen my Facebook posts about it. The conference changed the way I looked at woman entrepreneurs and opened my eyes to bigger dreams and possibilities. I highly recommend looking for a chapter near you.

I hope I don't sound like a commercial for eWoman Network but I really love being part of this inspiring and energizing organization. :-)

This week I will be working on some new programs I will be launching next year that are aimed at bringing creativity and innovation into business culture for small to mid-sized companies. I will also be working on my Threads On-Line class. I hope to have the first of the three part series up by the end of September. The technological learning curve slowed us down from our intended start date last spring. Stay tuned for updates on when it goes live. If you have taken my Threads class live you will have instant access to the on-line version!

Some time will be spent looking through all my class lists to decide what other classes I want to add to to my new on-line classroom. Let me know if there is one that you have wanted to take but just can't get to where I am teaching. I will put it on the list. It takes a lot of planning and time to shoot videos for these on-line classes so I won't be traveling quite so much next year.

I won't bore you with all the rest of my to do list for this week! I will post some photos on Facebook, Instagram and Tumblr of the stream and the flowers!

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Don't worry that it will be all work and no fun. I will be doing my stitch meditation by the stream tomorrow and today, we took time out this evening to relax with a few heated rounds of Rummikub. After all the number crunching that went on today, it was too much thinking to bother to keep score during the game but I am sure that I won!

 

 

 

 

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Posted by on in About Classes and Retreats

I am not very good at shouting my wins from the mountaintop but I have been encouraged to share my Teacher of the Year nomination here with you!

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That old saying...it is a pleasure just to be nominated is so true. I am touched that students cared enough to take the time to seek out the process and then submit my name for consideration. 

The taleneted Jacquie Gering won (check her out here) but all of us who were nominated were featured in the current issue of The Professional Quilter: the Business Journal for Serious Quilters. This publication is created by The International Association of Creative Arts Professionals.  It is very worthwhile assocation for those of us in the industry. 

Part of the nomination process included a very detailed questionairre about our teaching style and philosophies. That isn't something I generally verbalize so I really loved the process of explaining why I love teaching and explaining my teaching process. Because most of you won't have access to the Professional Quilter magazine, I thought you might like to read my answers so here they are. It is pretty long so you might want to grab a cup of tea. 

a. What standards of workmanship do you require of your students? What do you do if they don’t attain them?

My classes focus more on creativity then precise traditional workmanship. I share my struggles with perfectionism and its stifling results. I also encourage excellence over perfection and challenge them to master the technical skills I teach.

b. How do you encourage creativity in your students?

I have a series of exercises I teach to help develop the creative muscles in my students. I continually ask ‘what if’ and openly experiment in classes.  I know that opens myself up to failure in front of my students but that also shows them that failure can be a great option.

c. What accomplishments of your students make you proudest?

I am thrilled when students take a leap of faith and trust their intuition and voice. It may be a student being brave enough to learn how to adjust their bobbin tension or it may be them giving themselves permission to find value in and create their unique personal vision.

d. How do you encourage students’ further growth in quilting, beyond the formal class?

I encourage them to experiment and play. Growth comes from allowing mistakes, failures and open-ended time for experiments. Play time is so important. We get caught up in have to constantly be making something for a specific purpose but our greatest growth happens when we have unscripted recess time. I host a free on-line book study on www.TextileEvolution.com for the book Fabric Embellishing: the Basics and Beyond. The book is designed as a series of sampler pages or mini-quilts to experiment with techniques without a major project. It is all about playing and trying things out.

e. What makes you a good teacher?

There are quite a few things that go into being a good teacher. I think that my life learning experiences gained from raising special needs children gave me the skills to meet each student where they are and patiently bring them to the next level. My love of research and technical details helps me to analyze techniques and discover the best technique for the desired result helps me clearly relate that information to my students. I am a global thinker and that helps me to organize my classes by visualizing and thinking through problems, issues and timing.

2. Involvement in and contributions to the field of quiltmaking:

a. How long have you been teaching quilting? In what, if any, field do you specialize?

I have been teaching since 2006. I specialize in thread…in all aspects of thread. I realized that thread is the unsung hero of the quilt industry. When you think about it, fabric without thread is simply a pile of fabric. It takes thread to turn it into something magical. The lack of understanding about thread and how to use your machine are the most common stumbling blocks to creative work. Once you understand all the nuances of threads and tension you become queen of your machine. You are in control.

b. Do you belong to any quilt groups? In what activities do you participate? Have you held any office?

I belong to Front Range Contemporary Quilters in Colorado. My travel schedule prohibits holding an officer position with FRCQ but I volunteer on the exhibit committee. I recently finished a 2 year stint as a SAQA regional co-rep for the Colorado, Wyoming and Utah area. That was a great experience and I learned a lot about hosting exhibits, jurying and curating. I am a current member of Surface Design Association.

c. In what other quilting areas are you involved (writing, judging, designing, etc.)? How do they relate to your teaching?

I am the author of three books to date: Fabric Embellishing; the Basics and Beyond, Threads; the Basics and Beyond and First Time Beading on Fabric. I have a needle guide book coming out this year as well.  I love writing and have written numerous magazine articles. I find that writing makes me a better teacher. I really enjoy examining each step in a technique or process to distill it down to the easiest to follow process for the student and myself. I also love doing research and like to find every option available, test them and discover the ones that are the most time efficient, least costly, uses available materials and gives the most valuable to the student.

d. What do you feel is your greatest contribution to the field of quilting?

My book, Threads; the Basics and Beyond is my greatest contribution. It is focused on machine stitching but has a little hand stitching and beading thrown in for fun. This book is the ultimate guide to understanding thread, stabilizers, fusible webs, needles and ultimately your sewing machine. I spent 5 years focused exclusively on researching and learning about threads. I experimented with needles and stabilizers to understand how they affected stitching. I tried every thread I could get my hands on to discover what differences they may or may not have. I busted a bunch of thread myths and I found that all that technical knowledge allowed me to create whatever I could imagine. Threads: the Basics and Beyond is the culmination of all that research and is designed to take the beginner and experienced quilter to the next level in technical skills and creative expression.

e. What has quilting contributed to the quality of your life and to women and men in general?

Quilting and sewing are my personal grounding stones. I had very high levels of stress raising and homeschooling special needs children. Quilting, both the act of quilting and my quilt community were my saving grace, my support network and my distraction from a chaotic life. I am sure I would not be sane today if it weren’t for quilting in my life.

Quilting as an art form is just beginning to change the lives of society as a whole. I feel very strongly that textiles connect with people on a different level than say an oil painting. Textiles are more accessible, we understand textiles, and they evoke memories and emotions in and of themselves. I am excited about the possibilities of connection and communication our world will experience as textiles become more prominent in the traditional art world.

3. Professionalism, including personal code of ethics and serving as a role model:

 

a. Why do you teach?

 

I teach to change lives. My biggest teaching secret is that students think I am teaching stitching and quilting techniques and I am but I am also teaching them how to embrace and develop their creativity, honor and respect their own ideas and vision and how to practice self-care. It is sort of like sneaking spinach in the bacon cheese quiche. 

 

b. How did you learn to teach? Do you have any degrees or certification?

 

I have always taught…never in a school system but any other way possible. I guess it is in my DNA. I learned my most valuable teaching skills homeschooling my children. That was an amazing experience. I learned patience, how to plan and guide experiential instruction and I learned a lot about how we humans learn, the different types of learning and about learning differences. In addition, each time I teach I become a better teacher. I fine tune timelines, techniques and wording in order to be as effective and inspiring as possible.

 

c. Who inspires you most as a teacher? Who inspires you most as a quilter?

 

I am continually inspired by my students. I teach them a technique, an attitude and open the door to possibility. What they do with it is always incredibly inspiring.  I am also inspired by other teachers. I love to watch and learn how other teachers bring out the best in their students.

 

There are so many amazingly talented quilters and artists that I find personally inspiring I couldn’t possibly narrow it down to one. If I started the list it would go on and on like an Emmy awards speech.

 

d. What accomplishment in the last five years makes you proudest?

 

I am really proud of how far my artwork has come in the last 5 years but would have to say that being part of helping my sons become awesome men has been the thing that I am most proud of.

 

e. Where would you most like to improve?

 

I have two areas I would like to improve. The first is class content balance. I sometimes overwhelm students with information because I want to share everything I know. It is difficult for me to leave things out but I know it is better for the students to give them more manageable chunks of information. 

 

Secondly, Iam always working to improve my marketing skills. That isn’t a glamorous answer I suppose but it is big part of the business.

 

f. What advice would you give others who want to teach quilting?

 

Teaching is a business. It is a fun business to be sure but it is still a business. Learn the business skills you need from day 1. They are just as important as classroom management, quilting and sewing skills. In addition, don’t sell yourself short. Just because it is fun doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be paid fairly.

 

I thank you for reading all the way to the end.... :-)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted by on in Self Care Whenever

 

daily stitch meditation

 

I have been getting some questions about  my daily stitch meditations so, I thought I would explain what I am doing, why I am doing and invite you to join me. I post them on my Facebook page,  PinterestInstagram , Tumblr,  and Twitter! I use the following hashtags: #100daysto100%, #tantalizingtextilewishes and #stitchmeditation 

 

My word for the year is Intention. I want to improve my meditation and mindfullness skills as well as focus on working more strategically in my business. I occasionally practice traditional meditation and while I find it fulfilling,I have discovered that I like a  meditation that involves keeping my hands busy while I let my mind clear. My goal is to use both types of meditation daily. It will take me a while to build up to that. 

daily stitch meditation

My friend, Deb Prewitt, wrote a blog post about 100 Days to 100% that resonated with me. I had been thinking about a new class based on small hand stitched textile collages and my intention to do something creative daily as well as increase my meditation skills. Thus, the Daily Stitch Meditations were born.

daily stitch meditation

I don't always finish a piece in one day and I don't always stitch every day. This last week was crazy busy and I realized that while I had time to stitch I didn't have enough time to figure out what to stitch on. In order to avoid that in the future I created a Daily Stitch Kit with lots of odds and ends of fabrics, stabilizers, thread, papers...weird bits that I find in the studio when I clean up. Now, I have everything in a basket ready to go.

 

I invite you to stitch with me. It is relaxing, fun and you create a pile of beautiful bits to add to your work or frame. There are no rules! just stitch something. I usually stitch for about 20 minutes...some days less, some more. My stitch meditations range from ATC size (2.5" x3.5") to 4" x 4" but some are a little bigger.  If you decide to stitch along use the hashtag #stitchmeditation so we can find them too!

 

 daily stitch meditation

 

I will be teaching these techniques and more in my class Tantalizing Textile wishes at Art and Soul in Portland OR 2015 .

 

 

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What is the best machine sewing thread?

Threads book threads small

That is the most asked question during my classes and lectures. The answer of course is more complicated than just naming one thread company because it depends on what you are doing. But, what most people just want to know is what thread I use the most in my work.

I researched every brand of thread that I could get my hands on when I was writing Threads: the Basics and Beyond. I tested small batch hand-dyed threads, big name thread, no-name thread, new companies, old companies and designer brand threads. What I found was that there really isn’t any bad thread out there (with the sole exception of the 3 spools for $1 bin but no serious thread aficionado would even consider that stuff!)

When I reveal to them that I most often use Coats and Clark and Star brand I often get an audible gasp! Really? Coats and Clark? Not some fancy imported expensive thread? Yes, my go to thread brand is Coats and Clark. No, they don’t pay me to say that. I like all of their threads and use the Cotton Covered and Dual Duty fine and medium weight as my go to threads for piecing and general stitching. Plus, Coats has a huge array of colors and weights to choose from. I love the new Dual Duty heavy threads for hand stitching.

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When I am thread painting I pull out my large spools of Star variegated threads. Many of the variegated Star thread are designed by Terry White, thread painter extraordinaire. The color blends are fantastic for thread painting with smooth transitions of color that give a rich and luscious piece. The large spools ensure that I won’t run out half way through my project.

I found that most ‘thread’ problems were really spool problems, needle problems or tension problems. This is especially true with metallic threads. Fortunately, there are easy fixes for these problems.

I love that Coats and Clark and Star threads are not expensive because that means I can have a larger stash of yummy colors! It also means I have more money to spend on some of my favorite expensive hand-dyed threads for hand stitching and embellishing.

Thread Basic and Beyond

Final note: Threads: The Basics and Beyond will be back in stock later this summer. YIPPEE! I will let you know here and on Facebook!

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Posted by on in Musings about Art and Life

Tonight my mind was expanded.

Preconceived beliefs were disbanded.

My world shifted.

In the space of two short hours I was guided to experience

Love

Anger

Outrage,

Sweetness

Sadness

Confusion

Empathy

Fear

Anxiety

Humor

Compassion

Courage

Wow! All in the space of two hours...at an arts center?

In the light poetry

In The Light was the final amazing poet of the evening.

Our last Friday event this month at Cottonwood Center for the Arts was a poetry event. An Open Mic Night of Performance Poetry to be specific. We routinely have poetry events. The local group Hear Here meets monthly on the third Friday. I usually work late in the studio that evening to welcome poets and their supporters into my studio to share my art. I rarely step out of the studio to hear the poetry readings and experience their art. I stay in my own little world stitching on the latest project.

On this night, the audience was light. Perhaps because it wasn't their usual night to meet; maybe it was the beautiful weather that kept them away. The art center director asked if we could come to fill in some seats so everyone would feel welcome and heard. I have been hand stitching on my installation for the Art in Storefronts piece so I grabbed some supplies and went in to support the poets and our arts center. I gave a party once where not one person showed up so I know how important it is to have people show up.

I am not a poet. I don't read poetry and I rarely even listen to music. They are things I just don't get. At least not in the traditional sense.

That changed tonight.

Attending a poetry reading to experience an artist bringing forth their soul in words is an entirely different animal. This is not at all like reading ancient poetry in school! This may sound silly but I wanted to hug each poet after they were done...I felt so connected with each of them in such a brief time. It was so unexpected.

Sometimes we get so caught up in what we have on our lists to do that we forget to seek out new experiences. It is only in opening the doors to possibility that we grow.

From now on you won't find me in my studio on the third Friday evening. I will be in the audience so come see me before or after.

Better yet, join me for an amazing experience!

 

 

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Posted by on in Creative Endeavors

I just got home from a trip to the Northwest! 4 days in Portland OR cooking up plans for Art and Soul and then 9 days in Bremerton WA welcoming the newest Kettle boy into the family. I am thrilled to introduce Isaak Alexander...just as handsome as his big brothers. 1391453672392

Babies are a different sort of mark making...more of the eternal passing on our DNA type of mark making.

 

While I was away I didn't have much time for mark making every day. Some days were just too full of cuddling Isaak and battling zombies to pull out my sketchbook but I do have a few to share with you this week.

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I have found that even though I sometimes draw more realistic elements I feel so much freedom drawing the organic shapes and lines that I come across in my daily travels.

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Some fun hand stitching!

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This last one is just a little silly! We need more silly play in our life don't you think?

Have you been working on fitting art and creativity into your life more consistently? What stumbling blocks have you found?

 

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Posted by on in Adventures

I recently toured Shipwreck beads. This is the largest bead store I have ever been in. Come along and take a peek.

 

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Posted by on in Creative Endeavors

My friend, Deb Prewitt, over at Blue Twig Studio threw down a challenge for 365 days of art for 2014. I have to admit that I am really terrible at consistency and the idea of publicly committing to a daily practice and posting it daily is just too overwhelming. On the other hand I have been trying to improve my consistency score. So, I decided in true mixed media fashion to twist the rules to suit my needs. I will tweek the challenge a bit and post my efforts as often as possible and not feel shame if I can't do it every day.

The spirit of the challenge is to take time to play, create and have fun every day while improving your skills. I have drawing had on my 'improve skills list' for at least 6 years. I have taken a few classes and have improved a bit so I thought I should revisit this drawing improvement idea for this challenge. In keeping with my guiding word of intention I asked myself to what end do I want to improve my drawing skills? I love illustration and detailed drawings and I can manage basic sketching. What exactly do I want to improve because let's face it...if I really loved drawing I would do more if it already.

I realized that my work is much more about mark making; recording marks in the world both man-made and nature made. I am fascinated by texture and line. While I would love to magically be able to sit down and sketch out a detailed street scene I don't care about it enough to put in the practice time. My work is becoming much more abstract; moving away from representational and that magical ability really wouldn't help move my art forward though it might impress people and increase my genius standing!

Sometimes my mark making will be on paper and sometimes with stitch. Here are two of my journal pages from this last week. I am dealing with a hand injury so all of my mark making has been with my left hand! I am enjoying this switch because I have less control and think that left handed drawing will have to become a frequent player in my mark making journey.

mark-making-journal-pages-1-of-2mark-making-journal-pages-2-of-2

 

Anyone else want to play along?

 

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Posted by on in Musings about Art and Life

I have committed to my focus word for 2014. I don't stress out about finding my right word by Jan 1. I start thinking about it mid December and usually by mid January it has presented itself. Some years my focus word arrives quickly and other years not so fast. Are you ready for the big reveal?

I actually have two words!

Intention  

and

Allow

I have never had two words but they both presented themselves repeatedly the last couple weeks.

Intention is about purpose, planning, being strategic and mindful of what I am doing, why I am doing it and how to get the most out of and put the most into every class, networking event and even in my daily encounters. My art always comes from a place of mindfulness and intention and I want to bring that same power of intention into my business.

intention-sketch-1-of-1I created this little doodle in my sketchbook. I am enjoying the little fact that intention breaks out like a traditional 9 patch quilt. Planning and simplicity.

 

 

Allow is a more personal word and is related to how I set my intentions. With allow I want to remind myself to use more of my feminine energy...the yin energy. I grew up and went to college in a very masculine (yang) era. We were taught that to succeed in business women had to turn off the natural yin energy and increase our Yang energy. Not in those exact words of course but we 80's dressed for success women wore ties and suits with giant shoulder pads. I shudder when I think of those big floppy bows we wore around our necks after the tie fad faded.

With allow I want to remind myself to be in balance; using both masculine and feminine energy in both my business and personal life. I often get out of body/mind balance and let my brain think it controls everything and become distrustful of my body and intuition.

Do you use a guiding word for the year or make resolutions? What are your big dreams for 2014?

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christmas-cards-liz-and-cass-web-1-of-2

 

Happy Holidays to all our Textile Evolution Community.

 

My studio mate Cass Mullane and I decided to whip up some fun textile cards for the staff at Cottonwood Center for the Arts where our studio is located. They were so fun and easy I thought you might like a quick tutorial.  I know it is a bit late for Christmas cards but this technique works with any theme. Cupcakes for birthdays, hearts for Valentines or shamrocks for St. Paddy's day...you get the idea.

 

christmas-cards-liz-and-cass-web-2-of-2

 

Steps:

1. Rip strips of fabric 1/2" to 3/4" wide. This is a great stash buster for all those little bits you have left over from other projects.

2. Find a stabilizer for your base and cut to the desired size. Ours are 4"x6". Just about any stabilizer will work. You can use muslin, tear away stabilizer, craft fuse or Form-Flex All Purpose which is what we used.

3. Apply Misty Fuse fusible web to your stabilizer base unless it already has a fusible base.

4. Lay your strips on top of the fused stabilizer and follow manufacturer's directions to fuse the strips in place.

5. Now for the fun part! Embellish it!

6. You can stamp a design with paint on the surface like our tree cards.  Be sure to choose a strong design. I love wooden printing blocks for this part. After stamping the design we stitched with metallic thread and added some shimmer paint for extra shine.

7. Our sassy snowgirls are created using various sizes of faux ultra suede stitched with metallic thread. The black coal eyes and buttons are small circles of black fabric fused on the snowgirl bodies and their noses a simple open lazy daisy stitch. For a final jaunty touch we stitched on ripped strips of a plaid for a scarf. These girls are going out on the town!

8. Trim up your cards if needed and apply Misty Fuse to the back of the fabric/stabilizer. Fuse to a purchased card base. Stitch around the outside with a zigzag stitch and you are ready to receive the oohs and ahhhs from everyone who gets one.

This would be a great project to do with kids too.

 

You can find wooden printing blocks at Artistic Artifacts, and if you are in Colorado Springs Blue Twig Studio and I have blocks available.

 

Don't forget to take time to just be and breathe during this crazy busy time of year. Celebrate the seconds of extra sunlight we have each day and each precious moment with your loved ones.

 

Stitching is perfect for slowing us down...

 

 

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Posted by on in Market

Fall Quilt Market has closed. It is always a relief and a bit sad when it closes. A relief that we get a few hours off our feet but a bit sad to say goodbye to all our friends and of course we never get enough time to see all the quilts in the exhibits let alone the booths. I always come away inspired and full of ideas for projects.

 

I thought you all might like to see some of my favorite fabrics designers and their collections:

 

leah duncan GM art gallery

 

Leah Duncan. So sad the picture is blurry but you can see her booth is adorable. Leah's collection is called Meadow and she has captured that beautifully in her designs with out being over simplified.

 

Angela Walters QM Art Gallery

 

Angela Walters with her Drift collection. I love how it made you think of the water and ocean without being quite so obvious.

 

Pat Bravo Rapture QM art gallery

 

Pat Bravo's Rapture line is fun, fresh and airy. I don't think Pat has ever designed a line I didn't love.

 

art gallery safari moon QM

 

Safari Moon by Frances Newcombe is whimsical and bold.  You could almost hear the monkeys calling.

you can see detail shots of these fabrics and read about the designers on the Art Gallery Fabrics web site. Yes, they are all under the Art Gallery brand so you know the quality is the best there is. I can't keep my hands off their luscious fabrics! Give them a few days though to get all the photos of the new lines up.

 

carolyn friedlander QM

 

I also love Carolyn Friedlander's fabrics. Go check out her Slow Sewing Studio movement on her web site.

 

Jamie Fingal fabric line

Jamie Fingal has a fantastically fun new line of fabric. These fabrics will just make you happy.

 

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Posted by on in Thread

paper-pieced-star-quilt-1-of-1

 

Paper Piecing! I spent the last weekend finishing this quilt top and table runner. Starr Design Fabrics created the pattern and fabric kit. This project has been in the works for 13 years! I know some of you can relate. I purchased it on my 40th birthday so I know exactly how long it has been hanging around. One reason it has taken so long to finish is that I discovered after oh...about...the second star that I really don't like paper piecing. (gasp!)

 

Fortunately, I have a great friend who doesn't mind paper piecing and she helped me get through these blocks. Truth be told she made most of them. :-)

 

One benefit to working on a project like this for so long is that it has a bit of my personal thread history in it. I started this quilt before I had embarked on my mission to undercover all the mysteries of thread. So, it is a bit of an experiment on what threads work best with paper piecing.

 

I started out with a medium weight cotton thread. Nice and strong but it made it difficult to get all the many points to meet where I wanted them to meet. Too frustrating for paper piecing these complicated patterns.

 

Next I tried a couple different ultra-fine threads. I began with InvisaFil and DecoBob both by WonderFil. These ultra fine threads worked great and gave me totally flat seams and the points all behaved nicely and met where they should. But, these particular poly threads are a little stretchy so when I was tearing away the paper the stitching stretched a bit and had to be repaired in a couple places.

 

My recommendation for paper piecing thread is Coats and Clark Dual Duty Fine. This thread is strong, not as stretchy as the others I used and is fine enough to give you nice flat seams. Don't forget to shorten your stitch  length too.

 

I have gifted my paper piecing hero with all my add a quarter rulers! I won't be paper piecing in the foreseeable future. I hope to get this quilt top quilted later this fall but have a baby quilt to do first! Another boy grandbaby will be joining us in late Jan. Love those boys!!

 

 

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Posted by on in Creative Endeavors

Jacobean-Autumn-quilt-sm-1-of-1

 

About 13 years in the making but finally finished this weekend!! The good news is that I still love the fabrics and the pattern after working on it for all these years. My only regret is that when I started this the only fusible product readily available was Wonder Under. The center is layered fused fabric applique so it is really stiff in the floral sections.  Misty Fuse would have been so much better to use and would have left the quilt soft and cuddly.

 

I am very good at finishing projects but have a few large quilts that have been languishing for years...interrupted by quilts for the boys and more recently my grandchildren. I realized about 8 years ago that working on the same quilt (or any project) especially those that are repetitive blocks are just not my thing. I also moved away from making other people's patterns and started creating my own. I got rid of all those projects except for a few that I really loved. Getting rid of those I really didn't like anymore was such a great relief and gave me more room for art supplies. I highly recommend it. Of course finishing makes you feel Great too!

 

 

 

 

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