Stitch Journeys

Exploring life with needle and thread.

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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Be Brave

Be Brave Journal Cover



I woke up this morning thinking about being brave. I frequently find myself telling my students to Be Brave when I am guiding them down new and sometimes scary paths. This happens most often in my Stitch Journeys class where we bravely adjust our tensions and sew with the most difficult and dangerous threads and my Metal Explorations class where we courageously stitch metal to fabric and paper. I also tell myself daily to Be Brave! My newest journal cover pictured above is a reminder to be brave. Be Brave has become a motto of sorts, a mantra to repeat when I need some extra strength to conquer fear.

There is a lot of fear that comes with the task of making art. Fear that it isn’t good enough, fear that everyone will know that I don’t have formal art training, fear that no one will like my work, fear that I won’t like it, fear that my work won’t convey the feelings, thoughts and ideas that I want it to, fear I will be laughed at…an endless stream of fears! It would be much easier to take on some other daunting task like climbing Pikes Peak, training a rattlesnake to do tricks or start an art retreat business in a recession!

It seems a little silly sometimes to be fearful when making art. After all, there are many things in life that we need to be brave for that are much more life threatening; disease in ourselves or a loved one, war, protecting our family from harm, the loss of a job, or the death of someone special. Our country was founded by brave men and women who wanted to make big changes in our world. I am so thankful that they found the strength to be brave enough to create a new type of society that has become our wonderful country.

When we make art we are sharing part of our heart and soul with the world and that can be a very scary thing…maybe even scarier than creating a new country! When we make art, we lay out our emotions for the world to see and trample upon if they like.

Being Brave doesn’t have to be a solitary endeavor. I have a lot of help when it comes to being brave. My coach, mentor and friend Laura Cater Woods helps me by asking the questions that reveal the excuses I put in my path so I don’t have to be brave. My closest friends help me to be brave when they tell me what is good and bad about my work and when they cheer me on. My family helps be to be brave with their unquestioning support of everything I do.  My students help me to be brave when they willingly pull on their own brave super stitcher capes and plunge forward onto the tasks I assign them. I also have my groups! I belong to 3 different fiber art groups. These groups, which I co-founded, all focus on exploring fiber art and growing as an artist. How can I possibly fail with so much support?

The reality is I will fail at some things. But, one thing I have learned in this first 50 years of my life is that while failure may sting at the time, in the long run it is not really a bad thing. Failure teaches us valuable lessons and makes us stronger, kinder and more compassionate. Failure helps to make us braver. With each failure we realize that we can survive, we can grow and we can improve. Be Brave~Make Art!

We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face... we must do that which we think we cannot." Eleanor Roosevelt
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