Stitch Journeys

Exploring life with needle and thread.

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Posted by on in About Classes and Retreats

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? 

Baby blessings accordian book

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. 

FAC basket horizontal

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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Posted by on in About Classes and Retreats

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! 

mixed media mayhem art and soul va beach

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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Visual journaling with rocky mountain creative quiltersVisual journaling with rocky mountain creative quilters-5

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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 About Classes and Retreats

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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Posted by on in About Classes and Retreats

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.

 

mosaico 37

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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