Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Armadillo Bazaar

Just before Christmas, Jeff and I zipped down to Austin to go to the Armadillo Bazaar. (I'm just getting around to blogging about it.)

We love using our Southwest Airlines flying privileges, even if we don't get to sit together.

There is an interesting massive outdoor public sculpture in the space between the terminal and the parking garage and rental car places. I'm not sure I love it, but I love that it's there.

I think I liked it more at night.

The Armadillo Bazaar runs from 10 am to 10 pm for almost two full weeks before Christmas. It was full of tons of really great booths of art plus live music playing throughout the day. I didn't take too many picture while we were there.

But, I did snap this one of a bunch of funny faces.

We hadn't neccessarily intended to buy anything. It was just fun to get-away and browse. But several things caught out eyes and we were in the holiday spirit. Neither of us had really purchased gifts for each other, so it was super fun to buy some art to enjoy in our home together.

We started with this face made from a copper measuring cup and bottle caps.

Here it is in our kitchen. It's fun to see art in context, don't you think? I hope so, that's pretty much this whole post.

We also purchased this mosaic by artist Aly Winningham.

Years ago I purchased a solar system mobile from her. I follow her on FB and really love her style. In fact, I think I heard about the Armadillo Bazaar from her. Jeff collects tiny buddhas. They are all lined up on the ledge of the shower in our bathroom. So the new buddah mosaic joins the collection.

We also bought this piece of eco-art by Hannah and Nemo. It's made from circles cut from aluminum cans.

We chose this piece because of the little owl, turtle and polar bear faces. And the foot! It's right by the back door and the circles flutter when we open the door.

Jeff picked out the beautiful glass tray with layers of tiny bits of glass creating the tree pattern.

And here it is on our mantle.

There was a booth of artisan chocolates! These are long gone.

Near the end of the day, I said I really would like to go back to Clifton Henri's booth to buy a small print of Door Number Three. When we were in his booth earlier in the day, he introduced himself and was so engaging. I loved his door series and he told me a little about the ideas behind them.

As we looked through his work again, we decided three doors was better than one. And larger prints would be better than small. So, we've added this series to our home. We really love them so much!

This picture gives you a sense how how they look in our kitchen, but go see the images on his site. They are really incredible.

After our fill of art, we walked across the street for BBQ. I have no words for how delicious this was.

As we walked back to our car, some one told us about the Austin Trail of Lights near by. So, we just followed the crowd. There were tons of people walking. It was a beautiful night. We didn't really know what the expect and it turns out we didn't have time to enter the park before our flight home. But it was still so fun to enjoy the festive spirit ... and walk off some of that bbq.

I snapped this picture just outside the park.

As much as I enjoy all the art we bought, I enjoy it even more with the memory of all the fun we had that day.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Art Quilting Studio Give-Away!

Hey! My bowl quilts are in the new issue of Art Quilting Studio.

I'm especially proud of this article. I was able to include some personal stories, thoughts about the bowl as a personal symbol and several snippets about the creative process. It's more than just a how-to article. (Of course, you can find tons of how-to in my book, Art Quilt Collage.)

There are four quilts pictured including Nourished and Depleted. These two quilts have the same design, shapes and composition, but I set out to represent entirely different feelings.

Here's a peak at the two quilts on the pages of the magazine.


There are several other wonderful art quilters included in this issue! I am a big fan of Heather Dubreiul and Elena Stokes and I loved reading about their process and inspiration.

Stampington is offering a free copy of Art Quilting Studio for me to give away to a blog reader!

So, leave me a comment and tell me your favorite thing to eat out of a bowl! I'll pick a winner on January 31 and the kind folks at Stampington will send out a free copy. (Give away open to U.S. residents only.)


I hope you'll also sign up for my newsletter! Twice a month I share "Three Bits of Inspiration" from interesting sources and how I might apply them in my art and life. Plus news from the studio, upcoming events and lots of art!

The give-away is over.

MaryAnn Littlejohn wins the magazine! Thanks for all your wonderful comments. I loved hearing what's filling your bowls.

Sunday, January 08, 2017

Amy Suggested a Doodle

I've been catching on some articles, blog posts and essays I've been meaning to read. I found myself completed entranced by Amy Meissner's blog. I'd read bits and pieces before, but I clicked back through her archives to read about some of her earlier work. She's a beautiful writer: authentic, honest, raw, eloquent and witty. She expresses feelings that are very personal and yet universal in many ways, I think. You could just read through the entire archives and add it the your list of memoirs you've read. It's certainly as good as some books I've read, plus... it has pictures!

And her art is stunning too.

I met Amy at the SAQA conference in Philadelphia last spring. We had a few opportunities to connect and she was wonderful to talk with. Several groups signed up for restaurant outings one night and we both chose Indian. Now I think of her every time I eat naan. That's Amy in the red coat.

One of the things we talked about in Philadephia was my upcoming book release. Amy is a former children's book illustrator and has lots of experience signing books. She encouraged me to plan to draw some simple little doodle with my signature. She said this gives you a little more time to connect with the person who is buying your book and you can both enjoy the moment more than a random scribbled signature.

What excellent advice! This is what I came up with.

I will tell you I agonized over whether I should "sign" my name in those blocky capital letters or if I should use a more expected cursive signature. Cindy told me to do what felt natural, so this is it. I only "sign" checks and legal documents. Otherwise... it looks like the picture. (You can get a signed copy with the doodle in my Etsy shop.)

I even bought a special pack of retractable Sharpies for signings!

Amy was right, people really do get a kick out of my doodled leafy sprout, even as simple as it is.

So, thank you Amy... for your wonderful blog, your beautiful artwork and your book signing advice!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Eleven Quilts and Some Beetles

I did a better job of tracking my quilt inventory and production in 2016. I'm hoping to refine that process more in 2017. Goodness... I made a bunch of art quilts!

I hope you'll enjoy this review of my 2016 collection!

Nourished, 31.5 x 34

I created this quilt for Studio Art Quilt Associates call for entry for the exhibition Tranquility though it was not accepted. I was featured in an article I wrote for Art Quilting Studio. You can see a bunch of in-progress pictures here.

Depleted, 31.5 x 34

I created this quilt for Studio Art Quilt Associates call for entry for the exhibition Turmoil, which was shown alongside the Tranquility exhibit. It was also not accepted, but was also featured in the article in Art Quilting Studio.

Brimming, 8 x 6
This small piece was a donation to the SAQA Spotlight Auction which is a fundraising event that occurs at the annual conference. It sold for $120.

Cultivate, 8 x 6

This is another donation to the SAQA Spotlight Auction at the annual conference. It sold for $125. A few more pictures from these two quilts here.

Elixer, 11 x 8
I created this piece with Misty Cole's super cup Poison Bottle block-of-the-month pattern. More about that process and the patterns in this blog post

Small Multitudes, 12 x 12
This is my annual donation to the SAQA Benefit auction. I've donated for seven years in a row, I think. This piece sold for $250. You can read about how I created it in this blog post

Blue Roof, 27 x 27
I created this piece to enter in the Tactile Architecture special exhibition at the International Quilt Festival. It was not accepted. I began work on another piece with several of the same fabrics and shapes. It's still in-progress and has much more potential than this piece which I definitely not my favorite of the pieces I finished in 2016. There's a short video of those two quilts here. 

Provisions, 40 x 40
This was my entry into the annual Dinner at Eight special exhibit. This year the theme was "Patterns." It was accepted and was on exhibit at Quilt Festival in Houston. It will be shown again at Quilt Festival in Chicago. You can read about the process of putting this piece together here. 

Uplifting, 26 x 18
This was created for Pokey Bolton's memorial exhibition celebrating the life of Yvonne Porcella. The exhibit will be shown again at Craft Napa in January.

Beetle Pincushions
Obviously, these are not quilts, but they were a super fun creative project I created to show case Leslie Tucker Jenison's new fabric line. They will appear in an upcoming issue of Modern Patchwork.

Limbs, Ladders, Roots and Rocks, 20 x 20

I created this piece in a frenzy of preparation for the International Quilt Festival. I posted daily updates of its progress on Instagram and FB. You can see all those photos compiled here.

Crocus Arrangement, 10 x 7
One last piece in 2016 (unless I can finish something up in the next three days). This is my submission to the SAQA Trunk show which is a group of art quilts that are sent to regional groups, visual arts leagues, schools and small exhibition settings. This piece began as a step-out for my appearance on Quilting Arts TV. It was the perfect time to finish it up and share it with SAQA.

On to 2017!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Chatting with Ricky Tims

I was delighted to chat with Ricky Tims of The Quilt Show while I was at Quilt Festival in Houston. Here's the video! Click here to view it on YouTube.

We really did sing a bunch of Hamilton together right after I introduced myself as a Hamilton fan. It was super fun! I wish they would have recorded that!

You may be seeing me with Ricky again sometime soon. Hint, hint!

Monday, December 05, 2016

Seven Weeks of Whitman

I'm doing a round of "The 42s" from my Head, Heart and Hands: Developing Your Creative Voice workbook. I'll blog bits and pieces and this and that and random thoughts here now and then. (I wrote more about the workbook here.)

A bit of background about "The 42s" and my current inspiration.

"The 42" is a framework for a daily practice to focus, refine or develop a skill or an idea. The framework is seven weeks — long enough to discover potential and possibility, but not so long that it feels monotonous. I suggest taking one day off each week. Seven weeks minus one day each week will result in 42 completed tasks — and new insight into your creative voice!

In the workbook, there are separate suggestions for head, heart and hands. 

I'm embarking on the "head" version which is basically a research project. I'm studying Walt Whitman's Song of Myself... and other related stuff as it arises.

Last year a line from the poem kept creeping into my consciousness.

Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.

I made a quilt with the quote. 

And another quilt inspired by the first quilt. 

I keep hearing it. It's even the title of a hot new non-fiction book.

Just today Lin Manuel Miranda mentioned the quote in the context of a new rap album.

So, I'll spend the next seven weeks reading Song of Myself, making a few notes, learning more about Whitman and discovering other bits of art and pop culture that are inspired by "multitudes."

I started with a trip to the library where I picked up this stack.

That fat anthology has the unabridged version of Song of Myself. It's 47 pages long. I decided I wanted to be able to make notes, so I ordered this version from Amazon. Only $2.50! It will arrive on Wednesday, so I'll read from the book until then.

I read the first two sections this morning and wrote this line down to remember.

For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.

I also read a biography written for children. I got to this page and wondered who the illustrator was.

It's the brilliant Brian Selznick who I've written about before. See!?!? These are the kind of weird, wonderful and unexpected connections that I just love.

I'm not sure how this research will find its way into my work. Maybe it won't. That's fine. But I was really eager to wrap my head around something new. I needed to escape a bit from social media and words read only on a screen, and everything about 2016. Song of Myself was written in 1855. I am sure I will find it relevant to my life today. 

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Developing Your Creative Voice

A few years ago I brought this art quilt to a small critique group I belonged to.

One of my friends commented that it was different from my other work, but “It still looks like you!” I took this as a very high compliment. It meant I was using techniques, ideas, elements, materials, and themes that were truly my own. I had a unique creative voice.    

Artists often struggle to find their own artist voice. Sometimes people say if you make tons of art eventually you'll develop your own style. That’s part of it, but it’s more than that.  

I came across this quote from St. Francis.

He who works with his hands is a laborer.
He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman.
He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist.
—St. Francis

To develop your creative voice, I think you have to fully incorporate your head, heart and hands.

Thinking about these ideas and my experience easing into my own unique personal style, I developed several exercises and ideas around the concept of creative voice.

I put them together in a 29 page workbook includes exercises to fully explore how to use all three -- your head, heart and hands -- in your creative pursuits. It includes prompts, lists, check lists, word-webs and other ideas for artistic exploration. There are follow-up tips for every exercise. Plus specific ideas about how to use what you learn by completing the exercises in the workbook. 

Here's the Table of Contents.

It's available as a pdf download or a hard copy in my Etsy shop. Several of the exercises can be completed over and over as you continue to build your creative muscle and explore possibilities. (The pdf download will let you print individual pages as desired.)

One of my favorite exercises is the "Like List." When I've used this exercise with students, they instantly realize they have more of a creative voice than they thought -- and they have some words to describe it.

Are you ready to put your head, heart and hands to work? 

Download the pdf here.

Or order the spiral bound workbook here.

Did you notice I didn't use the phrase "finding your voice?" It's not hidden! You don't have to find it, you just have to develop it.