Stitch Journeys

Exploring life with needle and thread.

Take a Leap and Grow!

Changes for web

Thank you so much for stopping by my blog during the Fiber Art Connect blog hop!

I am so excited that Desiree Habicht has created the Fiber Art Connection. I wish I had had this access to such wonderful teachers when I first embarked on my art journey. So much great education coming to me for such a great price!  I love how FAC is about connecting and there will be opportunities for discussions, growth, learning and sharing in this online community. 

In order to build a great community experience students won't be able to register after classes start. Registration for the Fiber Art Connection CLOSES on March 15,2016 so be sure to register before then. 

Of course you can Register now!  

There are 10 technique and tutorial filled weeks with lots of opportunity to connect with teachers and other students. Each week a different teacher teaches a different class, with material presented each day of the week so you aren't overwhelmed. There’s a great FAQ document to answer all your questions.l

Take a leap and grow with us!

One thing that all the teachers at FAC have in common is we love getting to know our students. We are all about community, encouragement and helping our students grow and bloom into the artist that lives inside of them. 

So, here is a little bit about me...

What draws you to the fiber arts? Why do you work the way you do? 

Ever since I was a little girl I have loved fabric. I love the way it drapes and the many textures of it. I tried other art media and often take classes outside of textiles but I always come back to fabric. 

Why do I work the way I do....hmmm that is a big question. Over the years I have looked for the 'right' way to work. It has taken me a long time to realize that there is no 'right' way and my way is as good as any! And, of course if I am not true to my way of working I don't get much work done. I work a lot in my head. Thinking through design issues as I drive or do the dishes. I tried for years to work on paper but it just doesn't work for me. 

I do work in a sketchbook but not necessarily to design a project. I use a sketchbook to experiment with techniques but most often to simply play. I have been working on my drawing skills the last couple years and I do use a sketchbook for that. 

Tell us about your studio! Where in the world is it? Is it clean or messy? Is it hidden away or out in the open?

I have three studio spaces in addition to the Thread Lab It sounds like a dream right? Not so much! The two rooms I use at home are mostly dumping grounds and store my class supplies. During travel season it looks like my suitcases have exploded all over the floor...because they have! LOL 

I have a public studio space at Cottonwood Center for the Arts. I love my studio space there. Moving into an art center has been life changing for me. I didn't realize how much I needed the comradery of other artists. Being surrounded by so much beautiful art is inspiring and it has given me courage to stretch and grow.  I share the studio with Cass Mullane a friend and fellow textile artist. The studio at Cottonwood is generally very tidy and we have a small gallery space. 

The Thread Lab is a teaching space underwritten by WonderFil Specialty Threads. Half my thread is there and the other half in my main studio...never the one I need of course!

The problem is that the 'thing' I need is often in the studio I am not at. I schlep bags back and forth much to the amusement of my studio mate! Packing for a teaching trip is quite the adventure and I have to have detailed packing lists so I can collect the bits from all the studios. I get lots of exercise running up and down the stairs at Cottonwood between the two spaces there. Of course half the time I get to the 'other' studio and forget what I was looking for! LOL

What’s your favorite color and why?

 Yellow Green! I love every tint, shade and tone of yellow green from chartreuse to deep olive....yes, even that shade that looks like baby poo. To me this is the color of possibility, growth and freshness. 

What's your least favorite thing to do when you're working a piece?

Cleaning up after I am done! I tend to pull everything out and have piles everywhere when I am creating....I wish I had an efficient studio elf that would come in to clean after every project. 

If you could fly where would you go?

If I could fly I would love to fly to all the National Parks. Wouldn't it be cool to see them from the vantage point of a bird? 

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Tell us about the class you’re teaching in The Fiber Art Connection. What do you hope your students will learn from this?

My Fiber Art Connection class is all about collage. It is everything I wanted to learn when I was trying to learn collage: enough composition and design to feel confident, ways to organize my thoughts to communicate the feelings, emotions and story I want to share and fun techniques to make it uniquely mine. 

Collage is a wonderful medium and so accessible to everyone because you don't need a lot of expensive materials to get started. I hope my students can use this medium to discover and develop their own unique style of expression. 

Where else can we find you on the internet?

I am on facebook, instagram, google+ and of course on my web site here. 

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Have we not got a fabulous give away??? Who wouldn't want to win this pile of goodies? For your chance to win you need to leave a comment below.  Comments are open until midnight 3/14/16

In your comment, tell me what you most want to learn this year--doesn't have to be textile art related

Visit the rest of the fabulous artists teaching at Fiber Art Connection for more chances to win! 

Commenting on all the posts will be open until midnight your local time on 3/14, which is the day before the course actually starts. After combining all the entries, we’ll user random.org to choose a winner, Desiree will ship to the winner that next day so they could use the items in the class if they registered.

3/1: Desiree Habicht

3/2: Candy Glendening

3/3: Liz Kettle-me! 

3/4: Roxanne Lessa

3/7: Ruth Chandler

3/8: Cecile Whatman

3/9: Deborah Babin

3/10:  Rayna Gillman

For even more chances to win you can:

  1. Register for the workshop that will change your art!
  2. Share a link to this blog post on social media and then leave another comment here telling me you did so
  3. Sign up for the  mailing list, link found  http://www.fiberartconnection.com/
  4. Don't forget you can enter multiple times at each stop along the blog tour by following step 2 on each one as well as leaving a comment!

 

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Visual Journal Fun!

I just returned from Art and Soul Retreat in Va Beach, VA. It was a great event and the weather at the beach could not have been more perfect! I only got one photo of all my classes! 

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These are some of my Mixed Media Mayhem students before the mayhem really got started. Our tables were covered with color and chaos by the end of the day...I am sure the hotel staff is still finding Angelina fibers and glitter in that room.

 

I was home for 2 days and then headed up to Ft. Collins, CO to teach 2 days of Visual Journaling with the Rocky Mountain Creative Quilters. We had a bit of fun and laughter while learning a ton of techniques and then putting them into play. We scraped, sprayed, stenciled and stamped paint. Glued, glittered and gilded, in addition to lacing, mangling, and distorting. We explored the journal magic of Misty Fuse and baby wipes. One among us earned the crown of 'fly queen'. I am just a tad tired so I will share some photos of the fun and head to bed! Tomorrow evening I get the pleasure of sharing my Thread Lecture with the rest of the Rocky Mountain Creative Quilters. 

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Teacher of the Year Nominee

Teacher of the Year Nominee

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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I LOVE my Job!

I totally love my job! This last weekend my studio mate, Cass Mullane and I had the honor and joy of teaching an Adduce class at Cottonwood Center for the Arts. The Adduce Foundation funds a community art education enhancement program. This amazing program is offered to qualifying high school arts students. Classes are free for the students and cover a wide array of media and techniques.

Cass and I were thrilled to present the very first textiles class for the foundation. We weren't sure what to expect and we were totally blown away by the talent and enthusiasm of the students. It was amazing to watch them jump into a totally new medium and start exploring with no fear or trepidation.  They each brought their unique voice and style to textiles with fantastic results. Best of all they loved it!

Part of the program is an art show in May. I can't show you their final pieces (except for the little peek in the last photo) until then but I have a few photos from the class to tide you over.

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me showing one student's work with a simple comb

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Cass consulting with a student

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Wooden printing block and textures tell a story...Wow

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Fabric Journal Love

I have two cures for Winter in today's blog!

I am teaching at Art and Soul just out side of Kansas City in just a few weeks (March 19-23) and I had a request to add a textile journal book class. We put up a class I have taught previously but some students had requested more of a usable journal. I love making books and so I was able (used this as an excuse) to spend some this week creating a new fabric Journal.

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Is that not awesome? I just love how it feels in my hands. I think I am going to have to make more of these.

Want to join me in Kansas City? There is still room in most of my classes. I can't think of a better way to get away from winter then to hang out in a beautiful resort making art and making friends with people who love making art. 

Students will get to choose between these two styles of fabric books...or maybe we will make up something new! You never know what interesting things we are going to create in my classroom.

 

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Speaking of making art in beautiful resorts...

There is still room in my Mexico Travelogue Art Adventure. April 13-19, 2014. 

Did you see my newest video? My son is helping me join the vlog (video blog) world. Nagging might be a better word than helping...he wants to come with me on these trips as my videographer. Anyway, I did a fun really short video and I had a blast making it. Suscribe to my YouTube channel to see the latest ones...I have a studio tour  premiering this week!

 

 

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Art and Soul Blog Roll + a Giveaway

Only 39 days until the Portland, OR Art and Soul event! Sept 30-Oct 6 2013 That is a great reason for a giveaway! 

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I love teaching at Art and Soul because where else on earth can you be completely immersed in doing what you love, surrounded by hundreds of people who also love the same thing, in a beautiful setting on the river? The creative energy is so thick you can touch it.

I also love Art and Soul because it changed my life! I am not trying to be dramatic here. It truly changed me, it touched my art and my soul.

If you are looking for a place to learn, explore and build your wings this is it.

I am teaching three classes this year and they are all so very different.

 

First up is my gelatin plate printing class Monday Sept 30: Delectable paper and cloth. We use both a traditional gelatin plate as well as the Gelli plate. Total creative abandon in this class. I am always blown away by the energy in the room and the fantastic papers and fabrics that emerge.

gelatin print papers

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delectable cloth class work

The next day, Tues Oct 1: Mixed Media Mayhem! You better eat a good breakfast before this fast paced stash building class. Before I was half way through the day teaching it in Va Beach students were asking when Mixed Media Mayhem II would be ready for sign ups! We cover a ton of techniques and create unique bits for your stash. this is just a sample of the cool stuff we will make.

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My third class is Stitch Dancing on Sunday Oct 6. This is the class that was featured on Quilting Arts TV with Pokey Bolton. Using thread and tiny ephemeral bits of fabric and silk roving we create these luscious embroidered pieces. You will love the process and all it's possibilities.

stitch dancing free form embroidery

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Ok, so after I read what I wrote I realize that my three classes aren't all that different from each other. They may be based in the full range of mixed media but they all are about learning techniques, exploring possibilities, asking 'what if' and surrounding yourself with beautiful stuff. :-)

 

Follow the blog roll and visit my fellow teacher's sites to see their amazing classes and some of them have sweet giveaways!

 

Aug 19 Serena Barton http://serenabartonsblog.blogspot.com


Aug 20 Clarissa Callesen www.Clarissacallesen.blogspot.com


Aug 22 Jen Crossley http://amarkintime.blogspot.com/   and   

Barbara Worth Rainey http://fireflypress.blogspot.com


Aug 23 Jill Berry Blog: http://jillberrydesign.com/blog/

 

 

Gotta have a giveaway!

book giveaway

 

Post a comment below and you will have a chance to win a copy of First Time Beading on Fabric by yours truly, a bead mat and a collection of beads and sequins from my personal stash including a lovely purple cabochon. I have been cleaning up and out lately so you may find some other goodies to help you get beading right away!

 

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Angels In My Studio 2013

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I am thrilled to announce that I am a participating teacher for this year's Angels in My Studio on-line workshop Series!

This workshop is about

cultivating your creativity

connecting with your intuitive core

nurturing your inner artist

learning mixed media art techniques

having fun and playing

Guess what else? I have a spot to give away in the class ~ details below!

This amazing 5 month workshop series is being taught by 11 talented mixed media artists. Just look at this line-up! 

Tamara LaPorte -- Healing mixed-media inner guardian angel

Chris Zydel -- Something super magical is in the works, guaranteed.

Havi Mandell -- Deeply meaningful Angel Book

Cheryl Irwin -- High vibe Angel/Goddess Mandala and Intuitive Spirit painting

Claudia Olivos -- Glorious angel painting on a large canvas

Kristen Powers -- Brilliant Al fresco angel painting (and a carved rubber stamp mini-lesson)

Liz Kettle -- Powerful protective talisman for you to carry/wear

Melissa Muirhead -- Sweet, sweet angel pendant on a Scrabble tile!

Rachel Payne -- Playful, free-form, intuitive Spirit Doll

Justine Van De Weg -- Magical Fairy painting

Galia Alena -- Profound, Sacred Art journaling

Why Angels? I think that Sheri Ponzi who is the creator of this course says it best

"I realize that it doesn’t really matter if angels are “real” -- what matters is the very real experience of clarity, ease, calmness and support we feel once we invite in the possibility.

When you allow the possibility of angel magic into your life, everything shifts. Everything.

When you allow the possibility of creative play into your life, everything shifts. Everything."

My class is all about trusting your intuition. We are going to create a really cool talisman to wear. I am so excited about this project!

You can learn all the details about the workshop, teachers, projects and register on the main Angels in My Studio web site. If you find out about the class from me please use the link here to register so we know where students found us as this is how we are paid.

Ok, so on with the giveaway! You will have to leave a comment to enter of course. Tell me which of the lessons you think is most out of your comfort zone and will help you stretch your creative and intuitive muscles. I will use a random number generator to choose the winner on Sunday June 2.

Stitch Happy!

Liz


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Order out of Chaos?

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I am surrounded by studio chaos! That is how it is when I am fleshing out a new class. Creating a new class often takes up to 6 months of thinking, experimenting and talking to the dumb little scoundrel that whispers in my head. I thought I might share with you my process for developing a class.

I start out with some great ideas

I research, experiment and play

I think, ohhh what if...

I get distracted by more ideas

I get overwhelmed by ideas

I can't possibly fit all this in one class

Who the heck wants to learn this weird assortment of techniques anyway

no one is going to like this class

but, this thing is really cool

and maybe this one

a new round of research, experimenting and playing

how can I make this all look good together

why do I do this

this is never going to work

no one is going to like this class

oh, wait, what if I do it this way...

that's a great idea

just how much can I fit into 6 hours ~ can I make them skip lunch

ohhhh that is really cool ~ they will love this

what if...

and so it goes......

 

 

 

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Neverending Spring

I have been experiencing a never ending Spring. In late March I headed to VA and VA Beach to teach first at Artistic Artifacts and Art and Soul...spring was just beginning.

Carol Sloan, Judy Gula and I made time for a sunrise walk on the beach. Art and Soul was amazing as always. It is so inspiring to be surrounded by so many creative people who love the same stuff you do. Every classroom I peaked in was a hive of energy and filled with the joy of creating. I didn't get to take a class so I am treating myself to a trip to Vegas for the next Art and Soul retreat! Happens to be in my birthday week! Come and join me!

I am always wowed by what my students do with the techniques I teach them. Susan is showing off her beautiful needle felted book in this photo. Each student's book or purse was completely different and each exquisite. Look for some more needle felting classes coming this summer. The Simplicity felting machine is so easy to use and I have a few for my classroom.

I was home for a few days before I headed off to Lancaster PA for the AQS show. Spring was just arriving with tiny bits of green on the trees and beautiful blossoms just beginning to peek out on the bushes. I worked this show with the great folks from Havels Sewing. I adore their scissors and it was a lot of fun to share these great tools with quilters at the show.Robyn Reed and I are enjoying a moment of quiet before the show opened for the day.

Back home for a short rest and then I headed off to Barcelona Spain. During our 9 days there we saw the leaves begin to unfurl and blossoms burst forth. AWESOME! Best describes the trip. My friend Cass Mullane went with me to help translate in my classes but we first had 6 days to explore Barcelona. I took about 1000 photos so I will do a separate post with some of my favorites. I was thrilled to be teaching teachers and store owners as well as a few artists. These talented ladies stitched their hearts out and bravely tried every technique I threw at them. Their students are in for a treat as they share their new passion for thread. The flowers above were growing in a yard in Sant Cugat. We passed them on our way to and from the train station. I don't know what they are but they are so cheerful.

Home for 4 very short days and then off to Cincinnati for Spring Quilt Festival. I actually flew to VA and drove with my friend Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts to Cincinnati-don't ask why I took this round about route. The drive was spring in reverse starting out in VA with the azaleas in full bloom, snow in West Virginia and the very beginnings of spring in Cincinnati.

We stayed at a hotel near the convention center so we were able to walk to and from the show every day. Cincinnati has some great architecture and we loved these Rookwood tiles in the Carew Tower. I am so happy to be home for an entire month. There is the Mancuso show in Denver in May but I will be able to sleep in my own bed. Spring has finally come to Colorado too.  

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Art and Soul Blog Hop ~ Leslie Brier

I have long been a fan of assemblage art but have not taken the leap yet so I was delighted to be able to introduce Leslie Brier to you. As an avid collector of cool stuff that might come in handy some day I fear for my pending storage space problem after looking through Leslie's blog.  My husband doesn't understand my why I keep bringing home more  rusty stuff but, how can I throw anything away now? Leslie's work has been featured in Somerset, Cloth, Paper Scissors and Inspired Ideas.

What type of classes do you like to take at Art and Soul? When I first went to Art and Soul, I took classes where I felt I could be successful and come home with a nice, finished piece.  Then, I took a class that really pushed me out of my comfort zone, and I realized that I could learn a lot by being brave. I didn’t always come home with a perfect, finished piece of art, but the skills I learned were invaluable, and I found ways to incorporate that new knowledge into my work. The classes I’ve taken at Art and Soul have really helped me to grown as an artist. What aspect of teaching do you love the most? I am amazed that a group of students can start with virtually identical materials, and within a few hours, an amazing variety of work will be created. Each student interprets what you teach and puts their own spin on it. I also love the fact that teaching doesn’t feel like work! I end a day of teaching feeling energized and inspired. That wasn’t always the case when I was working in the corporate world.

Do you work in a planned or intuitive way?  How would you describe your approach? I start out with a plan, but it is rare that a piece ends up exactly as I originally intended. I work with found objects and I find that they once I get them into my hands, the objects themselves will lead me in directions that I hadn’t thought of in the sketchbook phase of the project. What did you do to discover your creative voice and personal style? I did jewelry and graphic design for a long time, but my heart was leading me toward assemblage. I was afraid of ruining the objects I wanted to use in my art. I also was used to charging by the hour for my graphic design work, and I didn’t want to put a lot of time into a piece that might not turn out the way I wanted it to. I had to overcome those fears, and give myself permission to fail.  Eventually, I realized that no time spent in the studio was wasted time Taking the time to develop my own techniques has been invaluable. I learned to trust my instincts, and that’s when my own individual style emerged. What advice do you have for someone beginning their art journey? Dive in! Be fearless! You have absolutely nothing to lose, and so much to gain. Allow yourself the time and space to practice what you are interested in. You didn’t learn to read or write in one day -- it took time. The same applies to your artistic skills. Also, seek out like-minded people. I remember going to my first Art and Soul, and how good it felt to be surrounded by people that were interested in the same things that I was.

You can take a class from Leslie to learn all about her creative creatures at Art and Soul in Va Beach in March!

Pick ME! Pick ME!

We have another giveaway for you! Another chance for one of Artistic Artifacts awesome mixed media prize packs including some fabulous batik fabrics and lots of ephemera.  Leave a comment below...share your favorite place to find awesome stuff for your collection! Come on Share! There is plenty of great stuff for all of us. We won't buy it all!

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Art and Soul Blog Hop-Jean Van Brederode

Welcome to your first stop on the 2012 Art and Soul Artist Interview Blog Hop! I can't wait to read all the artist's interviews...what fun to peek into their creative process. I am excited to introduce you all to an artist I first met in Portland last fall, Jean Van Brederode. I love Jean's enamel jewelery work. It is so fun, unique and almost all of it has some yummy fibers attached! Gotta have those fibers. I received a MAPP gas torch for Christmas so I see some enameling in my future! I just need to decide which class to take now...

Artistic Artifacts-the official Art and Soul on-site store has put together awesome mixed media prize packages for each blog on the hop. leave a comment at the end of this post telling me your current favorite technique. I will draw for the winner next Saturday January 28th.

This is a sampling of all the delicious stuff in the blog hop prize packages. Judy at Artistic Artifacts has all the good stuff Be sure to check out the next artist interview on the Art and Soul hop! Sunday features Barbie Saint John's interview on Kari McKnight-Holbrook's blog Now---here is Jean!

What teacher (s) lit your fire to be an artist?   I started taking classes at Art & Soul in 2005 after I retired from teaching 8th grade English for 34 years.  Art has always been my passion, and my goal was to find the art form that would carry me through the rest of my life.  What a wonderful adventure!  The journey was well worth the effort and expense. Instructors who have made the greatest impact on me are Susan Lenhart Kazmer, Jane Wynn, DJ Pettitt, Richard Salley, and Linda and Opie O'Brien.   Enameling teachers outside of Art & Soul include Linda Darty, Averill Shepps, and George Waricher.  Their dedication to their craft and excellent teaching skills led me on a path to enameling which is now my passion and life's work.  The things I learned that impressed me the most are that experimenting is incredibly fulfilling, "happy accidents" happen for a reason, and failures do not exist.  Even if you trash a piece, you still take away ideas to use in your next project.  

What 4 tools can’t you live without?     The four tools that I couldn't part with would have to be the enameling kiln (what a surprise), the Bonney Doon 20-ton hydraulic press, a set of Fretz hammers, and a pencil which I use to create designs in my journal.  

Why do you love to teach?     Since I used to teach 8th graders in another time of my life, it delights me to instruct a roomful of students who are all eager and active learners!  After I retired from teaching, I didn't realize how much I had missed the process of instruction like preparing lessons, gathering materials, creating worksheets, and researching background material.    

Do you have a favorite technique?    My favorite technique was shown to me by George Waricher, a college professor who taught enameling for over 50 years.  One method that he often used was writing and drawing on enameled pieces with enamel-bearing oil.  George can no longer practice his craft due to health reasons, but I am honored to carry on this fascinating technique

Classes I am teaching at Art and Soul in Virginia Beach- March 1-6 2012

VA179 Enameling: Necklace Roulette - Thursday, March 1

VA180 Jewelry Applications Using the Hydraulic Press - Fri Eve March 2

VA181 Nesting Instincts - Thurs Eve March 1

VA225 Bird Nest Enameled Charm Bracelet - Saturday, March 3

 

More of Jean Van Brederode’s work can be found at: Charmed I'm Sure – http://charmdimsur.etsy.com The Village Artisans Gallery, Boiling Springs, PA. Jean's Etsy shops - Art Girls Tools - http://artgirlstools.etsy.com - dedicated to selling jewelry-making tools that I personally recommend. Charmed I'm Sure - http://charmdimsur.etsy.com - an outlet for my many enameled jewelry pieces. Enamel Warehouse - http://enamelwarehouse.etsy.com - As a Thompson enamel distributor, I offer opaque and transparent enamels and enameling supplies and pass on an attractive discount to my customers along with enameling tips and advice. Don't forget to leave a comment for your chance to win a mixed-media prize package! Just click on the comment link below.

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Art and Soul Portland

I had an incredible time at Art and Soul in Portland. I didn't take any classes this time around but had so much fun teaching that I didn't miss out on the excitement and inspiration oozing through the hotel.


I simply love teaching art and making! Here are some photos from my classes...we made a wonderful creative mess every day!




Camille's delectable cloth




Faythe's delectable cloth




Mary printed fabric until the last possible minute




A journal gathering on Wed night




Ingrid and Lewellyn at a journal gathering




what a creative mess we made in Anthologies of Memories




Judy's Anthology book pages




Janet created pages that are fun and funky...just waiting for her images




Amelia's anthology pages


I totally forgot to take photos during the silk paper class as well as Natural Beauty class! But, take my word for it we made a glorious art mess. If you ever get a chance to attend a retreat like Art and Soul don't hesitate...the energy is amazing and the art and friendships are incredible.

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Delectable Cloth on the Design Wall

I am one to always have multiple projects going...I move between them as circumstances and whim dictate. I realized the other day when I put them all in one place at the same time that they all use fabric that I have made with gelatin plate mono-printing with a few other surface design techniques thrown in. I thought it would be fun to show you what I have been working on even if nothing is finished yet.


This quilt is all improvisational piecing. What is really funny to me is that with no planning it is almost square! It is 28" x 30". Now the question is do I square it up or leave it be? I haven't decided how to quilt it yet...it will let me know which of my ideas it likes best.

With these two smaller pieces I am experimenting with machine stitching and hand stitching. The top one is all machine stitching including the machine long stitch I have been playing with. You can see it in the detail shot of the purple rectangle section. The teal and yellow one is all hand stitching. Both pieces are very different and I like them equally however I do feel more involved with the hand stitched piece...probably because it is a slow cloth work.

My turtle piece here has been neglected for months because it got hidden under a pile of fabrics! I have combined gelatin printed fabrics and paper in this piece. I have just started machine quilting but probably won't do much more as it is telling me it would like much more hand stitching.

This is a piece of paper that has been mono-printed. I just love it and think it will end up as a journal cover. I can't decide on how much stitching it wants yet but I think I have the perfect size journal for it to wrap around.

gelatin printing with thermofax screen



gelatin printing with alcohol inks



These two pieces are from a recent class demo. The flowers are screened with a thermofax screen and super opaque white. The bottom piece was an experiment with alcohol inks which I wasn't so thrilled with and screen printed on top...love it now!

tote bag made from Multi-Purpose Cloth



Messenger bag made with Multi-Purpose cloth


Finally here are a couple of finished pieces! These bags are gelatin plate mono-prints on Multi-Purpose Cloth by Roclon. I love this cloth and it is an awesome material for mono-printing.

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Getting Ready for School



Kathy King's Delectable cloth



No, I am not literally getting myself ready for school and my one remaining student gets himself ready for school and doesn't even need help with his homework...they do grow up! Anyway, for me, the summer is always crazy busy and this year we had the amazing Textile Evolution Retreat smack in the middle of August. I looked at the calendar on August 1, took a deep breath, started working and Bamm! the next thing I knew it was September already! How did that happen?


First let me tell you about the retreat. Once again it was an  incredible experience for both teachers and students...a lot of laughter, a few tears, fabulous art and a birthday party! Here are a few photos to make you jealous!Mono-printed messenger bags for each student.


The mono-printed messenger bags made out of Multi-Purpose Cloth (Love this stuff!) were stuffed with goodies from our awesome sponsors!


Judy Gula and Carol Sloan shopping at Blue Twig Studio on-site store.


Oh, yes we had not one but TWO on-site stores full of art deliciousness! Feast on these yummy offerings from Artistic Artifacts.





Evening tutorial



After dinner we had great demos and tutorials...here Laura Cater-Woods, Judy Gula and Carol Sloan share their many different approaches to rust dyeing fabric. There was a rust dyeing frenzy that followed this lecture.

We didn't know we could DRAW!



Students from Carol Sloan's Whimsical Mark Making class...as they shared their class work each one said 'WOW, I didn't know I could draw'.

Fabrics from Delectable Cloth



Just a small sample of the luscious fabrics created in Delectable Cloth with me.

Kerry Cain's Indigo Shibori cloth



Cat Mikkelson's Indigo Shibori show and tell



When the students from the Indigo Shibori class started showing their work it sounded like we were at a fireworks show...ohhhh...ahhhhh.....ohhhhh.....ahhhhhh!

Deb Prewitt's books from Carol Sloan's class



Kathy King's tree book made in my class



I am sad to announce that the Textile Evolution Retreat is going on hiatus. As wonderful as the experience is for the students and teachers (oh my gosh...the surveys made me cry because everyone loved it so much!) and as much as I love putting on this great event I have had to decide on where to spend my time. The retreat takes the majority of my time and I want to focus more on teaching and creating an on-line community of people who love to stitch. So, stay tuned for changes here on the web site.

The first change is that my friend and co-author Ruth Chandler has joined me in this quest to bring the full dance of joy in making stuff with fabric and thread to all of you! Our book studies are going strong and if you are thinking of a back to school educational event for yourself come and join us! It is FREE! You have to have our books but there isn't any other cost. Everything is in the forum section of this web site. We have lots of great info and some video tutorials...best of all you can start where ever you are and go through the workshop at your own pace! You are never 'behind'! Don't you love that? Who needs guilt added to having fun? OTOH if you need an excuse for the family to get into your studio, you simply tell them you have a class you are taking and must get your homework done! Great modeling for the kids and you get to play!

Kyle Gula's photo from the top of Pikes Peak



Judy Gula's family arrived right after the retreat and so I was 'forced' to show them around our fabulous state. We included a quick trip to Breckenridge where Judy and I scrounged the Sally Barber mine site for bits of rusted metal laying around...of course this resulted in another frenzy of rust dying. They headed up Pikes Peak on their own and were treated to an amazing display of Colorado weather...sun on the peak and storms surrounding them in every direction.

No wonder I lost all of August...it was full of fun, friends, art and laughter! Life is good!
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Carol Sloan ~ Making Marks and Books

Carol Sloan



Today I want to introduce you all to Carol Sloan of Greenville SC. Carol is an amazing mixed media artist who is making quite a name for herself these days. I first met Carol about 5 years ago in an on-line workshop with Laura Cater-Woods. I immediately loved Carol's work and in the last few years she has really developed her unique fun, whimsical and playful style.

Carol is a popular host on the Sketchbook Challenge blog. If you haven't checked out this inspiring blog you are missing a world of fun. It is a chance to sketch along with incredible mixed media artists with a monthly theme and prizes! We love prizes!!! The bigger benefit though is to read the stories from each artist and how they use their sketchbooks and journals and how sketching impacts their art.

Bound by Heart



Made by Hand



I am thrilled to have Carol teaching two awesome classes at Textile Evolution this August: Bound by Heart, Made by Hand and Whimsical Mark Making. You can see more samples of Carol's work on her class pages as well as her blog. Carol's classes combine her love of sketching and drawing with her passion for textiles, stitch and collecting cool stuff to create totally unique expressions of self. Carol is a talented teacher willing to share everything she knows and a wonderful warm caring person. Like all the great teachers at Textile Evolution, Carol will show you how she approaches her work and lead you on a journey to make it your own.

Whimsical Mark Making





Some samples from Carol's class 2010 T-Evo

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Fabric Nirvana: vintage finds new life of color

I love color...doesn't everyone? Intense, bold, almost pure colors that emit an energy all their own and slightly greyed colors that look like you know cool jazz sounds.  I also love vintage fabrics which are usually found in pale shades and tints evoking a gentler elegant era. Yes, I am a Gemini! I seem to be attracted to things that are seemingly opposite to each other. When I first met Judy Gula I was stunned to find that this cheerful woman had looked into my fabric and vintage stash, thrown it all into a blender to create this:Perfection! The most wonderful combination of vintage fabrics and amazing color I had ever seen.The tale gets worse for me...or at least my pocketbook anyway....Judy owns a store, Artistic Artifacts and she teaches people how to dye fabric to achieve incredible results just like the fabric she sells. Fabric nirvana!

a selection from Judy's dye class 2010



For you, the story gets better because Judy is bringing her class on dyeing and collage to Textile Evolution this August! Not only will she share her dyeing expertise so you can create a big pile of incredible fabrics but she will also show you how to create silk paper and fabric paper and how to combine all those delicious beautiful things into a fabric collage that can hang with the best of them. Judy will also teach you how to use all those little bits and bobs that you have been saving but don't exactly know what to do with. Even if you have never made an art quilt before Judy will lead you fearlessly down that path and you will have a blast doing it.  Judy rarely teaches away from her store in VA so don't miss this chance to learn from one of the best!

I almost forgot to mention that Judy is also teaching a charm necklace class that eliminates the torch, solder and stress of jewelry making. Judy brings her eclectic style to her  jewelry as well as her fiber art and combines them when ever possible.

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Indigo and Shibori a magical combination

Indigo and Shibori dyed commercial tee and skirt









I would like to introduce you all to Ruth Chandler, one of my co-author's of Fabric Embellishing: Basics and Beyond and a wonderful artist, teacher and friend. Ruth grew up in Japan so much of her art is influenced by her exposure to Japanese culture and traditions. Ruth is never bound by tradition though as she takes a uniquely American stance and continually asks 'what if...'




commercial tee shirt gradation dyed with indigo and handmade skirt with shibori and indigo



Ruth is well known in local circles for her wonderful garments. Growing up tall in a place where most women are much shorter, Ruth learned at an early age to make her own clothes. Even finding patterns was difficult so she quickly learned to adapt them to her unique style and taste. Of course Ruth loves to embellish her clothing and almost always adds some personal touch to even her purchased clothing.

Shibori and indigo dyed art cloth



At Textile Evolution this coming August Ruth will be combining two traditional Japanese fabric techniques: Indigo and Shibori. You will have a chance to experiment with different fabrics and techniques to create incredible fabrics to use in your art, quilts or garments as well as create a couple of unique silk scarves. You can find out more about her class here

deep indigo and shibori dyed scarf



Ruth and I share a passion for hand stitching and embroidery...we love the texture and design element it adds to any project. In fact Ruth is working on her next book which explores her 'what if...' approach to hand stitching. Don't be thinking staid old embroidery book though! Ruth loves nothing more than shaking things up with deconstructing, distorting and otherwise abusing stitch patterns. Her Stitch Play class gives an exciting peek into what this book will encompass. Ruth is working on a new take on the stitch sampler in a small book format...it is really cool! Stay tuned for photos on that soon. But in the mean time you can get a hint of what I am talking about in these photos. You can click on them to see more detail.

amazing things you can do with a simple cross stitch



Ruth has been making a ton of bags and totes lately...you will see her awesome computer bag in the Fall issue of Quilting Arts Gifts! I am happy to have two of her originals as my new purse as well as a computer bag for my notebook! If you will be at the Long Beach Quilts Inc show be sure to get to our Cloth Paper Scissors~Make It University class called: Where did you get that bag? The prototypes below will see a few adjustments as we re-size it to fit your tablet or book readers!

Ruth and I are your co-hosts for the Fabric Embellishing: Basics and Beyond free book study which can be found on the forum. Read more about Ruth's fiber art adventures on her new blog.
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Dove Grey to Deepest Blue Black

 




Ann Johnston demonstrating painting on fabric with color on our last day





I know, I know, I said I would never go down the fabric dyeing road but some friends dragged me along on their adventures last summer and I was quickly hooked. I loved the results of low water immersion dyeing so when I heard that Ann Johnston was coming to Colorado to speak at Front Range Contemporary Quilters and offer a workshop I jumped in with both feet. Who better to learn from than the Mistress of Dyeing?  

Deb Prewitt and Chris Dickinson working into our lunch hour



 I had no idea there were so many shades and variations of black until I spent 3 1/2 days with Ann Johnston last week. From dove grey to deepest blue black we brushed, smeared, thickened and stained dyes on different fabrics until we started to be able to pick out which ones were slightly greenish from those that were slightly purplish. Working exclusively with black dyes, we focused on line, texture, pattern, value and shape as well as rhythm and repetition. It was awesome to spend so much time focused on art and the confusing science of dyeing with no interruptions...just one of the many reasons I love workshops and retreats. Ann is a great teacher and shared every shred of knowledge she had stuffed in her brain...or at least as much as we could drink in.  

Liz Hoops with one of her mono-prints



 The other amazing thing about attending workshops and retreats is getting that glimpse into other artists' brains and thought processes. We had 19 people in our class and the energy was amazing and it was boggling to see so many variations come out of the exact same assignment.  
 




Laurie Gibb focused on mark making





Ann is a closet scientist and tests, tries and explores every variation of dye process that you can imagine so that we can learn from her adventures and not spend so much time experimenting. I highly recommend her classes. Ann did give us some demos of how she paints her beautifully colored art fabrics on the last day...we were so excited to see color after all that black and white. Here are a couple of my favorite pieces that I made.

Cotton and Cotton Linen blends



Silk Habotai ~ dyes black very differently than cotton

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Can't Judge a Store by its Cover

This scarf is created with hand dyed laces and frippery...how fun is that?



I am back in my old stomping grounds this week...Northern VA. I grew up here and it is always strange coming to visit...familiar but not the same. There is always construction around here and things have changed so much I can't quite connect what I see in front of me with the memories from my youth. High rise luxury apartments where the train and junk yards used to be...who could have guessed??

Who could resist these hand-dyed vintage fabrics?



I am at Artistic Artifacts in Alexandria VA working on some great tutorials and videos for you. This incredible store is housed in a very unassuming exterior....solid brick and businesslike with a parking lot full of BIG trucks. But, once you open the front door you know you have discovered something unusual and delicious. Judy Gula the creative genius behind Artistic Artifacts has turned a showroom that used to house a Porsche race car and high end after market auto parts for those who are connoisseurs of speed and style into the ultimate playground for mixed media and textile artists...we connoisseurs of paint, fiber and cloth!




Judy had gathered together unique and hard to find supplies, hand dyed fabrics (both vintage and new), embellisments, charms, trims and bits of things that simply make my heart sing. This is a very dangerous place for my wallet!! Everywhere I turn there is some luscious bit of treasure that must come home with me...good thing I have an extra suitcase! I regularly shop on Artistic Artifacts's web store for supplies but being surrounded by these incredible trinkets every day for a week has eliminated any sense of will power I had. Judy will be teaching her dyeing and collage techniques as well as how to create some of her distinctive mixed media jewelry at the Textile Evolution Retreat in Aug.


As if this wasn't enough to break the bank Judy and I visited a tiny little bead store in an unlikely location and similarly unassuming exterior. Rosalie, the owner of Beads Ltd has created a jewel box inside a townhome turned store. Every wall and window is covered with beads...lets just say I had really great time and will probably have to ship stuff home! I found a huge selection of rondels which can be hard to find. Rosalie had a plethora of sizes and colors...I bought them all. Unfortunately, Beads Ltd does not have a web presence so you will have to trek to VA to visit.


I am actually working not just shopping! Judy and I are developing some great tools for you! We are creating a series of YouTube videos and companion written tutorials that we think you are going to love. There has been much laughter and sillyness as we stumble our way through learning video taping and a tiny bit of editing...emphasis on the 'tiny'! We won't have 'perfect' videos...they would never get done if we waited for perfect. But, they will be informative and fun. I will let you know as soon as the first one is ready for you.

If you are in the area I am lecturing on thread on Sat. 2/19 at 1:00. Check the Artistic Artifacts web site for details and address.

I just posted another tutorial on the Havel's Scissors blog today too! Be sure to check it out for some thread painting zen!
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Introducing Self Care Whenever

Dream Collage by Liz Kettle

One thing I want to do on my blog this year is talk about something that has become very important to me...self care and nurturing your heart. I thought about calling it Self Care Sunday and post every Sunday because Sunday is generally a great day to slow down a tiny bit and do a little self care..Right! BUT, all of you who know me well, know that doing something on a set schedule is just not part of my genetic make up! So we will call it Self Care Whenever! Which may actually be better because so many of us need to fit self care in whenever we possibly can.



papers waiting for an artist's hands

This last weekend I attended KC Willis' Collage Conference. I really waffled back and forth about should I go...could I justify spending the money on myself and my business...in January no less...right after Christmas spending! I would have to get a hotel, meals out, be away from my family...etc! All those reasons we can easily come up with when we aren't sure we 'deserve' to take care of ourselves. Now isn't that a stupid thought? Who else deserves our love and care more than ourselves?  So, after much dithering about I finally decided to go. KC has a lot to share about art marketing in addition to her unique style of collage. I thought maybe  starting the new year with a conference would be a good kick in the pants to get focused on my business and art goals. The weekend ended up being a great investment self care!



We were so in sync we even color coordinated!

I was delighted to find a classroom full of great artists and new friends. The speakers, Sarah Fishburn, Jenny Doh and KC were inspirational and heartfelt. There is something magical that happens in art workshops and retreats...magic beyond learning techniques and making art. That of course is why I started Textile Evolution, why Jacki Hefty started Whispering Woodlands, Jenny Doh is starting Crescendo workshops and why KC started her series of retreats.



Creating Collage Magic

This magic is hard to describe to someone who has never participated in an art retreat but produces knowing smiles from those who have and creates retreat addicts. I love retreats and wish I could attend one a month. I love teaching at retreats for that reason too. Connecting with others who share the same passions as you do, have the same fears as you do and have similar struggles and successes as you do...it creates a magical environment. An room full of creative swirling energy, love, sharing, support and fairy dust. There is so much joy! Retreats fill my creative well whether I am student or teacher.


I have heard discussions from those who don't like to work in class settings. I think this is because they may think they are supposed to be creating big...real...serious art in class. Classes are not for serious art creation. That has to happen in quiet...alone in the studio. Don't get me wrong...you can make meaningful art at a retreat but classes are to remind us that art is first and foremost a conversation...a connection between the artist and viewer. Oh, yes, classes are also to help us stretch, learn, try new things, see a different point of view and as KC so elequently said...get out of our tiny tent so we can count the stars. Connecting with others allows us to connect with our own hearts.



Sarah Fishburn and me...gads I need a hair cut!

Have you gifted yourself with a class, workshop or retreat lately...ever? There are so many retreat options from the energetic Art and Soul, the more intimate Textile Evolution, the focused Whispering Woodlands, KC's and many more. Workshops are taught in quilt and art stores as well as private studios. If money is tight...don't use that as an excuse for lack of self care! Create your own retreat. Invite some friends over and have everyone teach a technique or simply make spontaneous art out of a pile of the good stuff while you laugh and play.


I want to share some photos of our weekend...there were smiles and a few tears, laughter and joy, snorting water, chocolate adoration and an adorable dog named Fiona. I hope you will consider the self care loving gift of connecting with other artists sometime this year.



Diana shares her incredibly fun circus collage book


Jackie working on her Dream Big Collage



Rachel's beautiful book of Angels



Laura discussing her western book



Julia and Jenny working on Dream Big Collages



Jory and Sarah Fishburn during the daily art show



Betty and her awesome Western Girls book



Sarah Fishburn in a burning moment



Jenny Doh sharing her Dream Big Collage



Julia and Sarah exploring ideas



Our final day...lots of hugs as we parted...new friends

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