new work: XOX

Sometimes an artist needs a friend who steps in and says, “OK STOP! It’s done now!” Sometimes I can keep working a piece for ages. For now, I think I’ll be my own friend and say “It’s done.” (for now at least)

pinkXOX6I think perhaps I’m working in a series as this is the second with this theme (you can see kisses and hugs here) and another one is actually on the design wall waiting for my attention.

I thought you might enjoy seeing the full process. It began with my hand dyed cloth, and some ink doodles from my sketchbook. I made marks with this super cool japanese brush pen then played around with them just a bit in photoshop.

570pxBrush_Strokesjpg 570pxX 570pxSpiral_big

These images are available in my thermofax shop by the way. I grouped and rearranged them a bit for this piece. I like to play with grouping and layering images of different sizes. Then I created Thermofax Screens to print with.pinkXOX1

The first layer of printing was done with Cascade Dishwashing Gel – thick enough to use like paint with enough bleach to discharge the dye. It’s not so strong that you have to hurry with your printing though. Remember it wear gloves and use good ventilation when you do this on your own! Bleach isn’t a chemical you want to mess with.

pinkXOX2The next layer is another fun photoshopped image. I screen printed it with Profab Textile paints, a mix of white, red and a touch of yellow. I like to keep the background prints in an analogous color scheme if I know I’m going to add a focal point color with lots of contrast and pop.

pinkXOX3This layer is two different screens, a full sized X and a full sized Spiral. I printed each screen in solid opaque white Profab Textile Paint then after washing the screens out printed the same images, just barely offset, with opaque yellow. The white really gives the yellow a huge bit of POP, don’t you think? I used some transparent orange paint to brush in a few shadows, opposite of where the white peeks out. If you keep your directions consistent as if a light source was coming from the top of the frame in this case, the highlights and shadows tie you a feeling of depth.

pinkXOX4I think the main composition of the cloth itself was done at this point so I layered and quilted the thing. I chose a thread color to blend with the cloth and stitched it to emphasize the lines that were already existent in the composition. If you look closely you can see that I stitched around a few of the background spirals to emphasize them, but most I stitched right through with my softly straight lines. The geometry of this piece isn’t very rigid.


This was a great “to go” project for the next few months. It was just small enough to fold up and take with me to meetings or on the road. I don’t think I can exactly verbalize why I chose to add the grid of x’s. I had considered emphasizing the smaller spirals with beads but I didn’t have the right colors (a peachy pink that wouldn’t be too flashy) in my stash. I think I just wanted a hand project to work on and I love further emphasizing the 1/3 – 2/3 compositional structure. A contrasting thread color further brings out the XOX but the small scale of the embroidered pattern and the repetition of the X keeps it from becoming a dominant element.

pinkXOX6I had finished it off and thought it done until I put it up on the wall to photograph. Then I felt the embroidered grid was a little unbalanced, and I wanted some more hand work to do while watching an episode of Sherlock late one night. I LOVE that show! I rarely, rarely, rarely watch TV so it’s nice to find a series on Netflix that will keep me interested but I can get through in a year. Yup – it will take me more than a year to find time to watch all 8 or 9 episodes. 

So what do YOU think?
Done now?
A few more stitches?
If the right color bead happen along should I add them?

It will probably go out to a show for now as I’ve finally got some cloth dyed so I can keep working on the first set of XOX print that are still patiently waiting on my design wall. If I feel like it later I can add more to this piece… but for now finished is a word I’m loving. And if you’ve stuck with it and read all the way down to the end of this post – I’m impressed! I really don’t mean to get so long winded, really I don’t.

As a treat for you – I’ve discounted these three screens (X, Sprial-bog, and Brush Strokes) for you in my thermofax shop for at least a week – or until I remember to change the prices back. Enjoy!



quilting arts TV blog hop

Welcome to the Quilting Arts TV Blog Hop! We are celebrating the start of series 1400 with a little bit of fun from most of the guests for the season. I hope you’ve had the chance to stop by lots of the other blogs to see what everyone is up to.


This wasn’t my first time filming for the show so it was much more relaxed, knowing what to expect before I got there. The exciting part was to come in at the end of a long week of filming and watch the shows new hostess, my friend Susan Brubaker Knapp, just soaring. It’s an incredibly difficult job and she was a natural at it! (Yes, I miss Pokey, but she has other exciting things up her sleeve my friends – just you wait!!!) Don’t you love how Susan and I could be sisters? We kind of feel like we are… oh and here is some great news. We will be teaching a retreat together again next year! If you want to know more as information becomes available sign up for my newsletter. (There is a sign-up box up there on the right.)


IMG_8492Another wonderfully fun thing is to walk into the studio and see FRIENDS! Sarah Ann Smith and Jane Sassaman filmed on the same day I did.

They film the entire season (plus a few episodes for series 15) in one week. That’s a lot of people in and out of the studio. That’s also a LOT of wardrobe changes for the hostess. They film according to when the guests can get there, not linearly, so Susan actually has a chart with pictures and notes (make sure you have the right jewelry with the right blouse) and she has to run and change between most segments. 


Do I look a little shell shocked here? Who knows what I was doing…. probably listening to the producer, or talking. My hands are never still when I’m talking. If you want a little peek at what I’ll be showing look for Episode 1402, Groovy Gifts. I’ll be constructing a sweet little sketchbook cover. What you don’t see in this picture is that I had a stack of “step-outs.” Those are the same project repeated in various stages of completion so that you can do that magic oven thing. You know where they put the ingredients in the pan in the oven and immediately pull out the finished product?


It’s a good thing I really like the project as I have about 8 of the finished covers now.
(you know you do!)
I’m going to give away one of the finished sketchbooks to one of YOU!

You need to leave a comment HERE telling me what and who you want to see on QATV.

I’ll pick a winner on Saturday morning – so please make sure to leave me a way to contact you.

Lyric_Art_SketchbooksAnd in case you just can’t wait
I’ve listed three of the other finished sketchbooks in my Etsy shop
available for you to purchase. 

And make sure to check out the following links for the blog hop!

July 18: Vivika DeNegre at

July 19: Luana Rubin ( Friedman (

July 20: Sarah Ann Smith ( Gloeggler (

July 21: Carrie Bloomston ( Cath
erine Redford (

July 22: Sue Reno ( Rebekah Meier (

July 23: Lyric Kinard ( / Margie Ullery (

July 24: Cheryl Sleboda ( / Jane Sassaman ( Julie Creus (

July 25: Susan Brubaker Knapp (

You can buy the DVD set here if you just can’t wait for every episode to air!

teaching: creative collaborative collage

Oh what a GLORIOUS mess!!!!

I don’t think there is anything more fun than throwing all of your creative inhibitions to the wind and just PLAYING!!!
Creative Collaborative Collage is as much of a game, an event, an experimentation, as it is a class.
You dive right out of your comfort zone, working with scraps that aren’t yours, working with designs that you didn’t create to begin with.
You are pushed and challenged and through it all we LAUGH! We PLAY! We EXPLORE!IMG_0208 IMG_9644 IMG_0188These fabulous students were in Fort Collins, CO

We do hard things – like making fun and funky faces that look more human than alien.

IMG_2822IMG_2820kinard_creative_collaborative_collage1kinard_creative_collaborative_collage2kinard_creative_collaborative_collage3These fabulous students were in Ann Arbor Michigan.
If you are going to be at the Association of Pacific West Quilters Symposium join me for an evening of fun!



on the road: momentous occaisions

Just a quick heads-up - this post is long and personal. But I couldn’t resist sharing.

haven_engagementMy firstborn daughter, Haven Kinard just got married to her sweetheart, Ammon Simmons.
Two great names!
IMG_2547We love him!
You can tell that she does too.
H+AweddingDon’t you love their matching Converse tennis shoes?
She spent two weeks back home with me and we made her dress together.
She designed and constructed it. I did most of the patterning and fitting.
We both sewed things inside out and upside down and it still turned out beautifully!
haven1They live in and were married in Utah… which is why we were on the road.
IMG_2460She was the most easy going bride I’ve ever seen. The weather was beautiful which was a blessing.
The reception was held outdoors at a park near Sundace, up in the Rocky mountains.
We strung paper cranes all over the picnic shelter and they fluttered in the breeze.
IMG_2418This is my dad, telling stories. It looks like perhaps Haven and Ammon have heard this story before.
For food they had WAFFLES from a fantastic food truck named “Waffle Love.
We did. Love the waffles. And the nutella and strawberries and whipped cream!
IMG_8305Look at my gorgeous girls…..
IMG_8311And see their silly faces! There were a LOT of silly face pictures. That’s how she/we roll!
IMG_2551These two have been living far away from home for several years now.
How on earth did I get old enough to have two grown daughters?
And how on earth did they manage to grow up so well!?
IMG_8295Haven is low-key enough to say, “Hey friends, buy a dress you love in green!”
No ugly bridesmaid dresses to hide in the back of the closet.
IMG_8409They are definitely a silly and fun loving couple!
cake1Don’t you LOVE her cake? My favorite part about it is that she just gave the recipe to us and six of her extended family members took part in making it. She stacked it – which is a good thing.
None of us are quite that skilled.
Painted in WaterlogueHer maternal grandmother and an aunt made the cake, her paternal grandmother and sister made the frosting, and her sister and I decorated it, and everyone fought over the leftover frosting. It was a lemon buttercream to die for! This picture was run through an App called Waterlogue - more posts soon about that!
IMG_8440And there they go… off on the next and greatest adventure.
Yup – that’s me over here wiping a happy tear from the corner of my eye.

Quilting Arts TV Blog Hop

In celebration of QUILTING ARTS TV new season with a brand new hostess, the lovely and talented Susan Brubaker Knapp, we are having a blog hop.

1509989_10202438954394093_1484492068_nFind your inner artist and creativity as you pop on over to each link and get a preview of what is coming up this season.

July 18: Vivika DeNegre at

July 19: Luana Rubin ( Friedman (

July 20: Sarah Ann Smith ( Gloeggler (

July 21: Carrie Bloomston ( Catherine Redford (

July 22: Sue Reno ( Rebekah Meier (

July 23: Lyric Kinard ( / Margie Ullery (

July 24: Cheryl Sleboda ( / Jane Sassaman (

July 25: Susan Brubaker Knapp (

(I’ll be giving away something FUN on my day, so make sure to stop by on the 23rd!)

work in progress: direction

direction_lyric_kinard6Another late night session… quilting this time. I have gone old-school and used my Bernina 930. I think it’s one of the best machines ever manufactured. There is no computer do be outdated and the parts will last forever. I quilted with simple straight lines and using a walking foot after drafting a mariners compass.



With art quilts, the added element of line and texture through the stitching can be problematic with portraiture. If you try to follow facial contours with quilted lines the face ends up looking wrinkled. The only way I’ve seen it done very successfully is basically thread sketched rather than more open quilting lines. I often choose to quilt lines that are entirely different from the face itself.

direction_lyric_kinard1The compass was painted on after the piece was quilted with ProChem’s ProFab Textile Paint, transparent white. For the chartreuse I mixed in a little green Dye-Na-Flow (by Jacquard) with the white… only because it was the first bottle I touched with the perfect color. This piece is title Direction.

work in progress: direction

When hubby travels I tend to stay up waaaay too late.
But I manage to get in LOTS of creative studio time.IMG_8095This piece started with a silly selfie using the Paper Camera App.

direction_lyric_kinard2Playing around with markers. Figuring out where to draw the lines.

direction_lyric_kinard3Don’t know why I chose to enlarge the pattern by hand… drawing a grid.direction_lyric_kinard4And I wasn’t paying attention (late at night, remember) and reversed it.
No worries.

on the road: snowbird Utah


A trip to the top of the world…. it seems my heart lifts right along with the elevation.


I grew up just down from this mountain. Some day I will climb it, but this day we rode the tram.




Yes, if this sea-level girl was acclimated to 11 thousand feet I might have burst out into some serious Sound of Music singing! Look at that! REAL mountains… with tree lines and everything!

snowbird7And snow and sweet mountain blossoms.


(click to see this larger!)


on the road: little wild horse canyon

One of my daughters found out about Little Wild Horse Canyon
and suggested that we try it out.little_wild_horse_canyon1

I love it when they get all grown up and participating in stuff… like planning!little_wild_horse_canyon2

Little Wild Horse Canyon is right next to Goblin Valley and is an easy hike.little_wild_horse_canyon3

Well – easy once you get over a little rockfall at the very beginning of the hike. We were too busy laughing uproariously at ourselves, pushing and shoving each other (mostly ME) up and over to get pictures to that. little_wild_horse_canyon8The little ones were totally easy, just hand them up. It’s only about 6′ and there are a few clamber points but I found myself to be hilariously uncoordinated – especially on the way down. Good thing we all have a sense of humor.little_wild_horse_canyon6

The canyon itself was spectacular!little_wild_horse_canyon7


on the road: take a flying leap

flying_leap1 flying_leap2 flying_leap3 flying_leap4 flying_leap5 flying_leap6 flying_leap7 flying_leap8 flying_leap9

 Had waaaaay too much fun taking stop action photo bursts (and a few slow motion videos as well) with my iPhone.

flying_leap10Leaping is always more fun as a team right?

Goblin Valley, Utah


on the road: goblin valley utah

Welcome to the moon, otherwise know as Goblin Valley State Park.

goblin_valley_utah4We’ve all decided it’s our favorite Southern Utah Park.

goblin_valley_utah1Well, OK. It’s one of our many favorite Southern Utah Parks.

What a fabulous morning of climbing and jumping (stay tuned!) and playing with my camera.goblin_valley_utah3

for your inspiration: lin ottinger’s rock shop





Located in Moab, Utah near Arches National Park, Linn Ottinger’s Rock Shop is a fascinating, fun, and funky place to spend an hour or two. The crazy conglomeration of mining mechanicals out front was too much to resist. Photographs were manipulated using the Snapseed App.

for your inspiration: the beauty of rocks





During this road trip I spent time, as I always do in this landscape, gazing in wonder at the beauty created from minerals, time, wind, and water.

on the road: delicate arch

Pictures almost never do this landscape justice. They can capture a little bit of the vastness and beauty of this landscape but I don’t have the skill (yet) to truly capture what I see. And seriously, until we have that Star Trek holodeck you just can’t get that depth and dimension, the feeling of the heat on your skin and the sharp dry smell of the desert.arches_redrockThat doesn’t mean I didn’t have fun playing with apps that stitch lots of photos together and make ghost people in the process. (AutoStitch Panorama in this case.)

arches_off_the_cliffThis is the last little bit of the trail that we skipped during our night hike. With kids skipping in and out of the narrow path of our flashlight beam I think that was a good idea. It was really interesting how different the same hike was during the day in the scorching heat vs. the cool night. For one thing, there was no little pom-pom puff ball of a desert mouse thinking that my feet were a great hiding place from the big scary lights. That was another favorite thing about night hiking … seeing a few night creatures.arches_looking_back

Another difference between night and day: when you can’t see how very far you’ve come, how very steep the path is…arches_looking_up

…and how very far you still have to go to reach the next patch of shade, the hike seems much longer. We were skipping and running around under the stars and simply trudging under the hot sun. 

 The views all along the trail are spectacularly rewarding though. arches_delicate_arch_shoesThe hard work paid off dramatically. 


on the road: moab and arches national park

horses_moab1I thought I’d be posting pictures during our recent family trip. If anyone has experience posting to WordPress blogs via an iPad let me know. Because it just wasn’t working…. there must be an app for that right? No matter. Just like going on a hike – the best view when you rest is looking back at where you came from!

horses_moab3The family went to Utah for my firstborn’s wedding. But first we skeedoodled down to Arches National Park in Moab for a a few days of playtime. We couldn’t fly all that way and not catch up on a few things we didn’t have time for on our epic road trip last summer. The big boys went mountain biking on the slick rock trail and managed to not take pictures. Imagine that! The rest of us took it easier and mosied along near the Green River on horseback.


It was a very long and active day and the weather was, thankfully, perfect! After a hearty meal we rested up and went for a little wander to view some exposed fossils. It was good they had interprative signs because it took us a while to figure out what we were seeing. They looked just like the rest of the rock to us for a while until we learned what to look for. Then we went on a spectacular night hike. Truly spectacular!


Photo by Albert Herring from Wikimedia Commons

If you’ve been to the Southeastern part of the United States you will understand how much I miss having a view and seeing the sky. I love North Carolina. I also call it the “Great Green Tunnel of Trees.” If you don’t mow or pave there will be a very tall tree there. It is beautiful but there are no views anywhere and you can only see a postage stamp of the sky right above you. I miss the stars.

Photo by Neal Herbert from Wikimedia commons

Photo by Neal Herbert from Wikimedia commons

We didn’t actually hike all the way up to the arch – we skipped the very last bit that involves narrow ledges and steep drop offs. Right before that last bit is a very large flat rocky place where we laid down on our backs and just gazed for a good hour. We had the Star Walk apps on our iPhones and enjoyed finding constellations and watching satellites zoom across the sky. Shooting stars, the Milky Way! What a beautiful and vast galaxy we inhabit.


On the road: the desert southwest

imageThere are some landscapes that make my heart sing. image

imageI drink them in like life giving water.


I take photographs hoping to save some of the beauty for later.  But then i get home and there are kits to make for students and supplies to order and kids to schlepp. All wonderful things. I keep telling myself that there is a time and place for everything. There will be a day when i will have time to come home and create the art I’m longing to make before those inspirations slip away again.

teaching aqs grand rapids, mi


I’m teaching this August in Grand Rapids, Michigan for the American Quilt Society’s Quilt Week. If you plan to go, why don’t you join me for the only class still open.



Wednesday, August 20, 2014

8:30 a.m.–11:30 a.m.

Photos on Fabric, #55501 Lyric Kinard 

photos_on_fabric_kit3 sweet_thing photos_on_fabric_kit1 Hmmm

Work in progress: xox on the road

We are on the road again…. although this time we flew to Utah then started driving. 

Time in the car and on the plane has been well spent.


More with Melly’s Meadowlark (and a giveaway winner…almost)

(scroll down to find out the winner of Melly’s fat stack giveaway!)

Last week we took a peek at some things I made for Melanie Testa’s booth space at the Quilt Market trade show to introduce her line of fabric for Windham. If you can’t wait to see who won the Fat Stack of her fabric scroll to the end right now! The same day I put together projects for her I decided to use the leftover cloth I had and make a purse to take with me on a trip I had. And yes, the trip was happening early the next morning and it was late in the evening when I decided to throw this thing together. I used to do this ALL the time.  (Make stuff the night before a trip that is.)


meadowlark_purse03And every time I do it’s an adventure. I needed a travel purse big enough for my iPad. My every day purse is really just a hanging pocket – just big enough for my keys, iPhone, and my important cards. When I travel I need something that will fit my camera, and now my iPad. My usual travel purse has a zip opening about half an inch too small to slide my iPad into it.

I’ve had the pattern for Linda Ghee’s Bellino Purse (you can take a look at it here) ever since I met her somewhere I was teaching. Nope – don’t remember which where it was. She is a delightful person and I LOVE this bag! I vaguely remember her driving me somewhere (this could all be completely wrong in my head) and her letting me completely root through her purse as I examined the inside as closely as the outside.

I really love shoulder bags that convert into backpacks. My bones are getting old enough that they hurt with all the weight on one shoulder. I also love the adjustable straps to it can be long for an over the shoulder bag or shortened so the weight just hits the small of my back when it’s worn back-pack style.

I decided the medium bag would suit my needs well enough and sat down at my HQ16 and super quick quilted the lovely toile looking cloth to a backing. I do mean super quick. It’s just straightish lines back and forth at top speed – which on the HQ16 is fast!

IMG_9410I found this super funky lime green flower pin in my closet as I was taking photos and trying to stag them. I’ve decided it’s staying. I’ve also decided I’m better at playing with my photos than staging. (The magic straps in the air were really held up with hot pink shoelaces which I then erased with an app called Touch ReTouch.)

The funny part of the story is that it’s been about 8 years since I’ve followed a pattern. With clothing I can usually look at the pieces and choose how to put it together.

meadowlark_purse1Don’t get freaked out by that – it comes with having put together lots, and lots, and lots, and lots of sewing patterns. This was my first time following a purse pattern though and this things has three interior pockets and a zippered back pocket as well as the one you see in the front. I had to THINK about the construction. And it was late at night. And every time I got ahead of myself and thought I knew what I was doing I’d sew in a pocket upside down. It really does go together win a very clever way and the instructions are not difficult. It was just me and my brain late at night that got a little loopy.

So nearing midnight (with a 4am wake time for the next morning’s flight) I stitched the final stitch and triumphantly zipped up the main zipper – only to watch the zip/pull go sailing across the room.

meadowlark_purse4I must admit I shouted something loud enough that my husband came running down to see what was wrong. No – I didn’t swear – but I wanted to. I’ve repaired zips before. I also knew I could unsew and resew the other end. Except that I sewed the other end REALLY, REALLY good and tight and it was late. So I just snipped a few teeth, ignored the hole I poked in the cloth, and was really careful about opening my zipper on that trip. I have to admit that I zipped it right off again (and fixed it again) the next morning. When I got home I finally remembered to sew in some zipper stops on BOTH ends of that wonderfully chunky purple zipper. (Oh – the hardware and zippers can also be purchased at Ghee’s website.)

And finally, congratulations to Denise Spillane who wins a fat pack, one 10″ square of ALL 26 of Melly’s fabrics! If you love what you see here ask your local shop to order the line! (Meadowlark by Windham!)



Work In Progress and miscellaneous stuff

photoHere is the beginnings for a beaded piece I started as a sample for my class Picture It Framed. I like it.s It’s nice and hot like the weather outside right now.

Yesterday I started monkeying around with my website – trying to figure out how to boost my ratings with google so my Thermofax shop shows up AT ALL. Before I remade my website it always was one of the top two or three links when you searched Thermofax anything. Now it’s entirely gone. Sigh. I’ll work on figuring that out when I get back from my oldest daughter’s wedding.

circles_and_dotsThen I mysteriously broke most of my paypal buttons. My web designer is a hero and found the solution in a very buried, very hidden and tiny checkbox that got unchecked in the last update. She’s a genius.

I’ve just pulled a bunch of cloth out of the dye bath and hopefully tomorrow will make my mother-of-the-bride dress. The bottom layer is a sheer striped skirt. I think I’ll print the top layer with this thermofax screen. Just for fun.

And then I’m going to have a little fun and shop Interweave’s Hurt Book Sale. (Bwa Ha Ha Ha!!!) Free shipping on US orders over $30. I’m all over that.

Shop the Hurt Book Sale at Interweave Store

What are you doing today?


for your inspiration – from the air


I know most people hate air travel. It isn’t like it used to be for sure.  My mother in law was a flight attendant back when they wore heels and white gloves and a prescribed lipstick color and had pat down checks to make sure you were wearing a girdle – even if you were an ultra petite size nothing. No jiggling allowed apparently.


I wouldn’t really know how it used to be because it used to be unaffordable for the majority of people.  Now most of us can afford to fly and I don’t think that’s a bad thing. It’s still a miracle that we can get from coast to coast in one day.


I know it might be a hassle, but personally, I can keep myself happy forever in an airport or on a plane. Nobody is needing me to do stuff. I’m not fighting about getting homework done. I’m not driving endless hours dropping kids off and picking them up and grocery shopping and making dinner for people who won’t eat it. Frankly, it’s sheer luxury for me to sit and read a book or listen to one while I do handwork.

And then there are flights like this one. Perfectly ordinary but if you look out the window you see miraculous things. I flew over the most beautiful farm country. I watch as the geometry of the flat lands became more and more abstracted as the rivers and hills interrupted the long straightaways of endless roads.

from_the_air4Three hours flew by as I gazed out the window and snapped shot after shot then madly filtered them on my iPad (mostly Snapseed again) until the blended beige filter of the airplane’s window lens came close to matching what I was seeing in my minds eye. This is a beautiful place!

meadowlark blog hop and giveaway

Welcome to a wonderful blog hop celebrating Melanie Testa’s first line of fabric for Windham


IMG_9147I already wrote about the sweet little table runner I made as part of Melanie’s sample team. She needed to fill a booth quickly with projects made from her line of fabric. How lucky are we to be able to play with her fabric!? I also put together a little set of nesting boxes in which she could hold things for display.

IMG_9226Here is the littlest.
The boxes were made using Pellon Peltex – a super stiff fusible craft interfacing.

IMG_9231And here is the biggest – using a leftover bit from the table runner.

IMG_9230This one has a bit of fancy on the inside too.

IMG_9228All four sitting so sweetly snug together.

Windham_booth_3And here is a picture of the crazy abundance of beauty that was just one small bit of Melly’s booth at the Quilt Market trade show!
(The picture is Melly’s – go check out her Market videos – in a minute!)

IMG_3157Off they all went for display and as is the usual in my schedule, off I went to another teaching gig. Only THIS time I did something that I haven’t done in years. Started a project for the trip the night before I left.  I’ll write all about that next week when I announce the winner of the following giveaway. Believe me – it’s a funny story! Here is a peek at the project and yes, I couldn’t help myself. I had to “play photos” first and run it through a couple of apps to make it all funky looking. I’ll post big clear pictures next Monday June 15th.

One of you lucky blog readers is going to have the chance to win a fat pack of the entire collection – that’s 26 10″ pieces! 

All you have to do for a chance to win is to leave a comment on this blog post between now and Thursday, June 12th.  I’ll use a random number generator to pick a winner and announce it here on my blog on Friday June 13th.  Good luck!

(update – Denise Spillane is our winner. Congratulations!!!)


There’s a lot more stops and chances to win a fat pack stack on the blog hop.  You can stop by and leave a comment on each blog and have that many more chances to win.

Melanie Testa  –June 2
Vivien Zepf –June 2
Chrissie D –June 3
Sue Bleiweiss –June 4
Leslie Tucker Jenison –June 5
Jamie Fingal –June 6
Lyric Kinard –June 7
Jen Eskridge –June 8
Jacqui Holmes Calhoun –June 8
Stephanie Forsyth –June 9
Victoria Findlay Wolfe –June 10
Teri Lucas - June 11
Scott Hansen –June 12
Helen Eckard –June 12

In fact, when the blog hop is over, the blog with the most comments will also be able to draw an extra name to win a copy of Melanie’s book, Dreaming from the Journal Page. (It’s one of my favorites!) And if you love what you see – stop by your local quilt shop and ask them to order Windham Fabric’s Meadowlark line!


iPad Photo Fun – Snapseed

Screen Shot 2014-06-05 at 12.21.17 PMI’ve had a few requests to show my workflow/process as I play with my photo apps on my iPhone or iPad. So here you go.

One of my first favorites was Snapseed. (Which I believe is also available for Android users.) You take your photo as usual then open the app on your device and start messing around. I don’t spend time on games on my divides – well – Sudoku once in a very great while. The few games on my devices are there for children to play ONLY when we are waiting in a Dr’s examining room or somewhere that they aren’t involved in the main event andmust sit still and behave for more than 30 minutes. (I’m such a mean mom!)

Open the app then choose a photo from your library. You also have the option to take a photo right in the app but I find them to be much lower quality than those taken the regular way. The original photo is always still there, when you save your altered photo it saves as a new copy.coneflower1

My “go-to” first process is to click Tune Image then numb up the Ambiance, then adjust the Contrast, Brightness, and Saturation a bit. Click Apply when you are happy with what you have. If you are playing and like a photo at any step simply save it then move on. If you apply a filter and don’t like it you can open the most recent saved version and mess with it from there.

photo 1-2

Then the real fun begins. In this photo, sort of humdrum, I’ll play with Center Focus. I move the blue dot and expand the circle so that the flower is centered then mess with the inner and outer brightness and blur 2-2

Now it’s time to get funky. The Grunge filter has about a thousand variations that you can slide through and you can also vary the strength of the Texture, Saturation, Contrast, etc. In this case I think I’m going to Crop the image so the petals aren’t quite so much centered. I always like a little more visual space on the side the subject seems to be “looking” 3-2

 And just for fun, here are a few more workflows….

photo 1-1original photo of the Smithsonian Castle

photo 3-1
Drama filter

photo 2-1Tune Image adjustments

photo 4-1
Tilt-Shift filter

photo 5Frame

student spotlight: picture it framed

Some of my classes get taught all the time, some only occasionally. Picture It Framed is a class that is seldom chosen by guilds and I had completely forgotten how much fun it is!

Lisa_DodsonLisa Dodson

The Illini Country Stitchers are a happy and fabulous group of women who were a blast to have in class! Maggie_SzafranskiMaggie Szfranski

We spent the morning learning beading techniques and creating a small art quilt then painted gallery wrapped canvases to mount them on. DiannePedersenDianne Pedersen

I also demonstrated a whole bunch of different framing and mounting methods. IMG_0223

work in progress: ordinary intensity

The Canadian artist Emily Carr said,
“Do not try to do extraordinary things, but do ordinary things with intensity.”

ordinary_intensity1I was given this quote as a basis for making a piece for consideration for Lesley Riley’s forthcoming book Inspirational Quotes Illustrated. The words spoke to me and I knew I wanted to work on a piece with neutral cloth but intensely textured. Bits and pieces from my stash appeared and were collaged onto a piece of batting. I can’t remember what size I used. I have a small bin of batting scraps that I keep for my small collage works and this piece looked good enough. I think it might be around 10×14.

ordinary_intensity2After I stamped a coppery paint over part of the piece and looked at all the elements I decided they weren’t hanging together enough, not really integrated. A little bit of white opaque textile paint would meld the pieces all together. I had the words “ordinary” and “intensity” from an old dictionary and wanted to keep the words “ordinary” and “intensity” visible so I covered them with bits of paper before rolling.

ordinary_intensity3A good pressing flattened out the cloth and set the paint. Textile paints are an acrylic but they have a polymer added to them to keep them flexible and soft instead of feeling plastic like regular artists acrylics. I’m a textile artist because of the wonderful element of touch – that tactile connection to the material. I like my cloth to feel like cloth instead of having a hard plastic feeling surface.

ordinary_intensity4It seems like in almost every project I get to a point where if I had a plan, it went awry. Or if I didn’t have a plan, I just plain am not sure what needs to happen next. This was that point for this project. Sometimes I toss the piece and start over. With this one I simply waited for a bit.

What do you do when you don’t know what to do next?

work in progress: ordinary intensity

This piece need to be tied together even more. The color palette was all neutrals and I wanted to keep that, but I wanted to bring out the texture more. The actual texture of all those different fibers on the surface is something I really love but the visual patterns didn’t mesh until I did some serious stitching with embroidery threads. I love the mostly controlled and very delicate lines contrasted with the heavier and more chaotic seed stitches.


Now to deal with the words. The black wasn’t working for me. By the way, if you haven’t tried the Pentel Gel Roller for Fabric pens yet – they are WONDERFUL! They go on super smooth and dark and so far appear to be nice and permanent. It’s just that they were too much for this piece.ordinary_intensity5

With this much time and effort invested in the piece I didn’t want to start over. I have found that with many pieces if something stands out or is bothering you, sometimes the way to make it work is to add repetition. In this case, even more stitching. Varying the weight and intensity of the stitches felt right here. ah. Intensity. I get it.

ordinary_intensity7“Do not try to do extraordinary things, but do ordinary things with intensity.”  That makes sense. There is some fairly intense stitching happening here. Adding in a little more value contrast and then the red adds a focal point – and also feels intense. I think I’m good with what has happened here. In fact, I really like it. At some point I’ll probably mount this on Canvas. I really like the presentation although I’m finding that those thick canvases take up a LOT of storage space. Perhaps what is happening is that I’m getting ready for my one woman show, right? In that case I’d better get busy.

You know how the colors yellow and orange can behave like Divas in a work of art if the whole color cast is not well balanced? Red can lean in that direction but for me, it has a certain intensity to it that keeps it from simply being brash. It’s all subjective, I know. This is simply how it worked out for me with this piece.



for your inspiration: on the national mall

manship_diana_hound_sculptureDiana and a Hound by Paul Manship 1925

perched_gingerwortPerched Gingerwort at the National Botanical Gardens

indian_wolfAmerican Indian Museum

pricly_pear_cactusPrickly Pear at the National Botanical Gardens

story_teller_frogFrog Storyteller at the American Indian Museum

lyric_reflective_artSculpture Garden Installation: For Gordon Bunshaft by Dan Graham

(and a quick congratulations to Susan T who is the winner of Whimsical Lettering by Joanne Sharpe!)

new work – melanie testa’s fabric line

Sometimes dreams come true.
Sometimes it takes a lot of hard work!

Melanie Testa has dreamed for years of having her own line of fabric and now she’s done it. She has worked like crazy for the past year and made it happen. Spring Quilt Market just happened. Manufacturers and designers come together and show off  their stuff to the quilt shops and Melly needed a whole booth full of stuff made out of her fabric to display.


Well – what are friends for!?
Who wouldn’t jump at the chance to play with this gorgeous stuff? This is a simple fused table runner, satin stitched over the raw edges with a layer of batting in between.

Stay tuned for an upcoming blog hop and giveaway featuring projects made with Melly’s fabric.

Melly Testa - June 2 
Vivien Zepf - June 2 
Chrissie D - June 3 
Sue Bleiweiss - June 4  
Leslie Tucker Jenison - June 5 
Jamie Fingal - June 6 
Lyric Kinard - June 7 
Jen Eskridge - June 8 
Jacqui Holmes Calhoun - June 8 (guest post)
Stephanie Forsyth - June 9 
Victoria Findlay Wolfe - June 10 
Teri Lucas - June 11 
Scott Hansen - June 12 
Helen Eckard - June 12 (guest post)

work in progress: something whimsical and very pink

art_quilt_pinkA little stitch here, a little stitch there.

Work in Progress: something whimsical and very pink

As I’m coming closer and closer to my truer artistic voice (I should write about that) the work that takes careful thought and considerable time and effort becomes more and more enjoyable. The works that make my soul sing have multiple layers of visual texture but are becoming more and more neutral as far as color is concerned.


So in the midst of this wonderfully painstaking work I find myself taking quick little breaks to play.


I find related images and layer them into the cloth with thermofax screens, discharging color first then adding paint.


Even pink, which is a color I usually shy away from, emerges as a welcome option.

All of these screens are available in various sizes in my thermofax shop.
Pop over and take a look – or doodle some of your own designs and I’ll make a custom screen for you.


book review: whimsical lettering

Fun times! I have another book to give away to one of my lucky readers. I love it when that happens!12qm26_1

The Art of Whimsical Lettering
By Joanne Sharpe
Interweave/F+W; $24.99

First thoughts – why is a textile artist/quilter reviewing a book about lettering?
This is why.

lettering3 lettering2
lettering4 lettering1

I love putting words on and into my art so it was fun to see what Joanne had to say about the subject. I never hold myself to education in just one medium. I look at all kinds of art and am interested in all kinds of art. Lettering is lettering is lettering be it on paper or cloth or canvas. Oh, and the fact that I’m an English major who loves words probably has something to do with it too.

So – a little bit about the book: the first bit describes lots of different pens. Are they waterproof, colored, etc.? It’s an informative place for people like me who love trying out all sorts of marking tools.

IMG_0030The next part of the book is a series of prompts to warm up and explore your materials. She asks the reader to get a composition book and spend time playing. Play write repeat. It is well illustrated with page after page of Joanne’s writing composition book, a glorious mess of eye candy. Sweet with all of its bright colors.

Here are some of my favorite quotes from the book: Pg 37, Make time for creative “pen play” in your inspiration journal every day. Try different lettering styles with different pens, assorted papers, new colors, and collected materials. Experiment constantly and use the composition book as a “safe zone” for making lettering art with no rules and no judgment. This is the journal where anything goes!


Pg 42, Let go of your inhibitions and fear of failure. This isn’t formal calligraphy. This is whimsical lettering—creative expressions and exploration of letterforms—using the writing you have harbored and evolved since childhood.

Get into a “pen Zen” or “pen trance” and just write! Pick a favorite pen and write in a designated practice journal for 15 or 20 minutes, in cursive or print, as a warm-up exercise before you begin your lettering art. Write words continuously without picking the pen up off the page. Letter your thoughts without stopping.”

IMG_0032Doesn’t this sound a lot like my 15 minutes of bad art warm up? If you target your warm up play (bad art time) towards a skill that you will be using in that days artwork you will be well prepared to do your best work.

Interweave Press has lots of great mixed media materials to play with and peruse.
If you click on the link below to check them out I get a little kickback. :-)
Mixed-Media Category

Leave a comment here on the blog
(if you get this via email you need to click over to the blog and leave a comment there please)

I’ll pick a winner on the 25th – which is a long time away – so let your friends know and send them over to check it out as well. US entries only please.


congratulations to Susan T who is the winner !!!

for your inspiration: art from the freer and sackler galleries

horse_chinese_bronzeHorse: China, Han dynasty (206 B.C. – A.D. 220)

ganesh_art_sculptureGanesha, the elephant god
South India, Mysore region, 13th century

cuneformFoundation Inscription: Iran, Persepolis, southern terrace wall, paper, ca 1923–35

chinese_bronze_wine_vesselRitual Wine Vessel: Eastern Zhou dynasty, 8th century B.C.

dancer_india_sculptureCelestial Dancer: India, state of Karnataka, 12th century

just for fun – a sneak peak at quilt market….

I got to play with something fun a few weeks ago. Shhhh! It’s a secret.

Take a look at Melanie Testa’s video and see if you can guess which two projects I made to help Melanie Testa fill a booth with fabulous things made from her new line of fabric!

Stay tuned, in a few weeks we are going to have a wonderful blog hop and giveaway! You won’t want to miss it.

Melly Testa - June 2 
Vivien Zepf - June 2 
Chrissie D - June 3 
Sue Bleiweiss - June 4  
Leslie Tucker Jenison - June 5 
Jamie Fingal - June 6 
Lyric Kinard - June 7 
Jen Eskridge - June 8 
Jacqui Holmes Calhoun - June 8 (guest post)
Stephanie Forsyth - June 9 
Victoria Findlay Wolfe - June 10 
Teri Lucas - June 11 
Scott Hansen - June 12 
Helen Eckard - June 12 (guest post)

Meadowlark Blog Hop Image

for your inspiration: washington DC

american_indian_museumThe American Indian Museum

column_capitalBotanical Gardens

fountain_mosaid_first_ladiesFirst Ladies Fountain: Botanical Gardens

smithsonian_castleSmithsonian Castle

mouth_eye_fountainOld Town Alexandria

eye_fountainOld Town Alexandria

old_town_alexandriaOld Town Alexandria

surface design sampler platter

There is a reason I love teaching the Surface Design Sampler Platter!

kinard_surface_design_students6Many of the students haven’t ever painted cloth before.
kinard_surface_design_students10And look what they do!?!
kinard_surface_design_students9They carve stamps,
kinard_surface_design_students1screen print and stencil,
kinard_surface_design_students3learn to layer imagery,
kinard_surface_design_students2do photo transfer,
kinard_surface_design_students7… and even learn to bead!
kinard_surface_design_students5We call it “drinking from a fire hose!”
kinard_surface_design_students8We also call it…

 Thank you to the wonderful women in Fort Collins, CO for two days of wonderful play time!!!

for your inspiration – spring and a favorite app

I love it when spring and blue skies banish the cold weather.


It’s been a tough battle with the cold pushing back time and again.


More playing around with the Moku Hanga App. (I see textiles here in the future!)


I think the sun might be winning for now.


Happy Spring!

new work – just playing around

I had some trimmings left over from making a million step-outs for the Quilting Arts TV segments. For one of them I demonstrated how to make the slipcover for a book. You can click on the tutorials link under the “teaching” heading up there at the top of the website if you don’t want to wait for the segment to air.

kinard_slipcoverSo I took my strips and a little bit of Timtex. It is fusible on one side so I just ironed the strips down. No fuss, no muss.

IMG_8431Next I chose to be wild and “just see what happens” if I free motion quilt with the needle set to zig-zag rather than a straight stitch.

IMG_8432Ah – so THAT’S what happens.
The timtex is stiff enough that you can zig-zag over the edge for a nice finish without it curling or collapsing on itself.


I even like the back of this little piece. Almost like a wild heart-beat monitor printout.IMG_8436It’s only 6″ x 6″. Any ideas for a title?

art quilts whimsy – opening reception

You are cordially invited to

Screen Shot 2014-04-16 at 7.52.29 PM



sponsored by the Professional Art Quilters Alliance – South


I won’t be at the artist’s reception as I’ll be teaching in Colorado but if you find yourself in Cary between now and June 22 let me know and we can go see it together. It’s a fabulous show!


teaching: creative collaborative collage

I’ll be jetting off to the great Rocky Mountains to play with the creative quilters of the Colorado Quilting Council next week.

I’ll be lecturing at around 11am on Saturday the 26th about the Elements of Art for quilters.


Kick-start your creativity and learn about the basic elements and principles of good design. Learn why some colors fizz while others explode, why some quilts calm and some excite. A few simple tools from the artists kit will help you take your work, whether traditional or contemporary, to the next level.


Later that day join me for Creative Collaborative Collage. It’s a riotous event more than a class where you never know what is going to happen next. There will be fabric flying, friends being found, design principles being learned, and art being made.


Join me!

for your inspiration – spring flowers

photo 1

photo 2

photo 3

Student Spotlight: abstract-a-licious

More work Abstract-A-Licious from my students at the Quintessential Quilt guild in Columbus, OH.
One of my favorite exercises for this class is called “the borrowers.”


We trace the main shapes in a well known work of art, abstracting the composition into something unique. 


It’s amazing how each student can end up with something completely different even though they started with the same work of art.

IMG_8373Yes, BOTH of these were driver from Klimt’s Tree of Life.

IMG_8387If I’m remembering right, this is an Utrillo painting. (Let me know if I’m wrong – it’s highly likely.)

IMG_8388Every viewer sees different shapes in the painting. We try to simplify it as much as possible.

IMG_8389Shapes get traced, changed, and in this case, cut up and moved around as compositions take shape.






New Work: Inspired by Libby

Like much of the rest of the eastern United States, the winter of 2014 in North Carolina was wickedly wild. One week we will had lovely 70 degrees and the next week (or even the next day) it froze. And unlike the North, we are unprepared. No snow tires, very few plows, no snow shovels. Of course I still have a snow shovel but even when it snows I rarely use it. Everything shuts down so I don’t need to get out of the driveway – why bother. It will melt the next day anyway.IMG_8284So during one of these “shut down” snow days when I couldn’t get out or run my errands I played with fabric. I had some lovely screen printed cloth and a great inspiration.

LALatMachine_500Libby Lehman is one of the greats! She has been a talented quilt artist and one of the best teachers there is for longer than I’ve been quilting. Last year she had a devestating stroke at much too young an age.

1920566_10152079666832762_756236289_nA number of artists have been invited to use one of her quilts as inspiration to create a work of their own. These quilts, inspired by Libby, will be exhibited then auctioned, raising funds to help defray some of her medical expenses. 

IMG_8285Once my quilt top was printed and pieced I played a little further with paint then slapped the piece up on my design wall while I played with the kids for a while. 

IMG_8288When I came back to take a look at the work the circles just weren’t enough so I added a few more, quilted some straight lines to contrast with the circular elements and once again, set the piece aside for a while. 

IMG_2424The next morning I decided that the piece needed some warmth to contrast with all those cool colors. I didn’t even think about how vibrant a predominantly primary color scheme would look until it was done. A few darker orange swipes to add some depth of value and I think we are done. I’ll let you know when the pieces go on display and when they will be auctioned.

At the end of February Ricky Timms and his partner, Justin were able to visit Libby in her home. She was able to answer the door herself with the aid of a walker. Good for you Libby!!!!!

Student spotlight: Abstract-A-Licious

Original Abstract by Judy Krol

Original Abstract Study by Judy Krol

Last month I had the privilege of working with the Quintessential Quilters Guild in Columbus Ohio. Abstract-A-Licious is fast becoming one of my favorite classes as I watch students work through very simple exercises that lead to their own unique abstract designs.

original abstract - texture exercise by Michele Lea

original abstract – texture exercise by Michele Lea

It’s one of those classes where even absolute beginners are able to come up with very interesting and original designs. All my classes are like “kindergarden” where we are allowed to simply experiment and play. No worries about making a masterpiece here!


Looking at the world through a window – abstracting the environment into simple lines and shapes.

Many students have never tried to sketch before and that’s not what we do in this class. We simply see things with a pencil in our hand.


A more developed “looking through the window” thumbnail with texture and value added to the lines and shapes.

After we complete myriad small exercises we spend the afternoon creating an only slightly more refined “study” in cloth. We observe and analyze and learn to see where problems and possibilities lie in each design.


A study in textiles based on the original thumbnail.


behind the scenes: filming for Quilting Arts TV

I had the great privilege a couple of weeks ago of heading up to the still frozen north to spend a day filming for series 1400 (and a segment for series 1500 too) of Quilting Arts TV which airs on PBS. I’ve done it before (series 400 and 1100) but it’s been a while. There were some familiar faces and some new ones. I love and greatly miss the talented Pokey Bolton to whom I owe a great debt of gratitude. She built Quilting Arts Magazine and the TV show into something truly amazing. Now she has moved on to new and wonderful things and we will have a new hostess for the show.


I’ve got to to admit, I did the happy dance right in the middle of an airport when I heard the news that Susan Brubaker Knapp was offered the position. They couldn’t have chosen a more talented, gracious, and smart woman to fill Pokey’s (adorable, high heeled) shoes. She is one of my favorite people! And so of course I said “yes, I can fit it into my schedule” when she asked if I’d like to film a segment or two even though I was teaching that week, chaperoning an out of town field trip, and getting the family ready for a spring break beach trip all at the same time. Can you say, “insane?” Getting all of the materials and projects, and especially the “step-outs” ready took a couple of weeks worth of crazy work and of course, I crammed it right up until the last minute – stitching and beading on the airplane.IMG_8489




Once I arrived it was all happy time! The “green room” which is no longer actually green, is where all the guests get set up and hang out while waiting for their time on set. It’s so much fun to arrive and see people you know and love! (And some you’ve actually met in person before!) Sarah Ann Smith was filming, as were Sue Reno and Jane Sassaman. I unpacked my suitcase and made sure everything was there for my three segments then settled in and watched the show. Kind of literally. There is a set monitor in the green room so that we can see what is being filmed. They shoot segments all day then one of the guests stays with the production crew to film an instructional video that evening. It can be a very long day for them!


Speaking of the crew – I talked my way into the production booth for a few segments. I am one of those people who is always fascinated by the way things work. I spend more time watching the special features on movie discs than the actual movies. In this booth there are four people. One that you can’t see has her own monitor and keeps close track of timing. Each segment needs to be an exact amount of time. She tells the producer that it’s one minute, four minutes, etc. as the film rolls. The guy with all the fun buttons and the big fancy screen with a bunch of windows to watch all at once is controlling which camera is on. He is talking to the camera guys cueing which one will be on and when to switch. The guy in the corner is the sound technician. He mikes everyone up then listens for trouble like someone’s bracelet clinking on the table. Kathie Stull is the producer and has a mike through which she speaks into Susan’s ear throughout the filming, telling her not to forget to show certain things, how much time she has left, and what to say at the end of the set.image
The next day we all arrive early in the morning for make-up and make sure our wardrobe works with whatever Susan is wearing for any particular segment. You should see the chart she has to follow – changing her outfit (and jewelry) multiple times each day according to which segment they are filming. Because the guests have complicated travel schedules they can’t just film the whole show in order. The day before Jeanne, the Bernina rep who camps out all week to make sure everyone has what they need for the machines pulled out whatever machine feet and accessories I needed for my segments and let me play on the machines for a bit. When it is my turn to film a crew carries out my supplies, Jeanne, in her spiky high heels hefts out and sets up the machine, and we get ready to go. Kathie, the producer runs through what we will be covering and always has really good directions for making the segment flow well. The mike guy is snaking wires through our clothes and taping mikes and cords here and there. Susan is trying to stay on her feet at the end of a very long week, and the camera guy is handing me a tissue for my suddenly allergic and drippy nose. There are three or four other Quilting Arts staff people there all doing various things while trying to also meet their publishing deadlines. It’s quite the…. well. Quite the PRODUCTION!1509989_10202438954394093_1484492068_n

But most of all, it’s good fun. Sharing this fabulous world of fabric with you all! I truly have the best job in the world!


New Work table topper project from Lynn Krawczyk’s book, Intentional Printing

TA DA!!!
It’s finished!

IMG_9109This printed piece was inspired by a project in the book
Intentional Printing
By Lynn Krawczyk
(You can read my review here. The giveaway for US residents is still open – go there and leave a comment for your chance to win this fabulous book!)

I learned several things in the process of making this piece:IMG_91111- perhaps insulated batting plus another layer of regular cotton batting (I want it to be a giant hot pad for my dining room table) might be too much to wrestle with going through my home machine. Even with fuse basting and using a walking foot the layers wanted to separate and shift.


2- I found that didn’t care enough about perfection to take the time to make this piece perfectly square. I know I could have done it but finished was better in my mind than perfect. I did cut the batting and backing perfectly square before quilting but the stitching distorted things. I had left the top bigger with the intention to fold it to the back as a fused facing. I went ahead and did it that way. If I had trimmed the whole thing then added a sewn on facing it would be square, but not done. Knowing my tendency to put things off if I don’t like a technique I went ahead and finished it. Guess what!? I LOVE IT!

And just to make you feel a little better – this is what the table looked like before I cleaned it up to take the picture. My youngest daughter decided to work on her own project while I worked on mine. She made the bat toy – a lovely addition to her growing collection. She’s made a giant squid and an octopus so far. She has since embroidered a giant red smile on the bat. No help or instruction from me – she just makes up patterns and cuts and sews. Things fall off sometimes and if she cares enough she will fix them. I do give her instruction if she asks for it, or sometimes just suggest an easier way to do something but I don’t make her do it my way. She will learn by making mistakes and perhaps will still love creating things instead of remembering sewing as a chore.


And now – to all my dear and patient international readers - if you want a chance to win a copy of INTENTIONAL PRINTING please leave a comment here. And no, I decided not to ask you to chip in on shipping. It will be my gift to you. Just tell me one idea you might have for paying the gift of creativity forward. Whether it’s sharing your talent with the next generation or being brave enough to send your own work out to a wider audience, I want to hear how your creativity makes the world a better place. I will pick a winner next Sunday the 13th of April.

Congratulations go to Arlene in Papua New Ginea!!! She is the lucky winner of Lynn’s fabulous book.

Do me a favor everyone – let your other international friends know this is available. Share this post via FaceBook or whatever your favorite social media outlet is.
Intentional Printing - jacket artAnd if you can’t wait to win, perhaps you want to purchase the book.
You can buy it  from Interweave / F+W Media for $26.99
or you can purchase a signed copy directly from the author herself at

Work in Progress: Intentional Printing table runner

Here is yesterday’s progress on the table runner Project from Lynn Krawczyk’s book, “Intentional Printing.” There is still plenty of time of US readers to leave a comment on the previous post for a chance to win your own copy.

imageExcept it isn’t going to run down the table, it will be square to work as a really giant hot pad on my square dining room table? What does one call a square table runner? (Leave a comment and tell me!)

imageBut of course then I had to go and add some more circular elements. The lid of my countertop compost container was the perfect size for printing some high contrast (opaque white) circles.

imageI chose not to print the red cloth, leaving it as a strong linear element to offset the dominant looniness of the printed circles and written words. Next up – stitching. More linear to contrast with such strong circular elements.


Playing with your food

IMG_8325I tell all of my students that we are only in kindergarten. 

IMG_8327Class time is a time to play.

IMG_8338Bobby played right through lunchtime.

IMG_8335Her orange running horse is displayed here on a cloth printed with a stamp carved by her seat mate (whose name I will list here if any of you wonderful Quintessential Quilters will remind me of who it was!).

And here is the table runner in progress. I actually love the way the writing turned out after drying overnight. The super thick gloppy areas were thick enough to be opaque and the way the words fade in and out made me really happy!


So I loaded up the squeeze bottle again and painted the rest of the cloth. I really didn’t want to wait overnight again so I set up my hair drier and moved it every few minutes. It’s taken most of the morning to dry. Want to hear my mistake of the day? I forgot that my cutting mat is underneath my print surface and that it does NOT like heat. I’ve got it piled with lots of books now hoping that the buckling will go away.

Book Review and Giveaway – Intentional Printing

Lynn Krawczyk is a fellow screen printing enthusiast and shop owner and a wonderfully talented and generous human being. You can see the artist spotlight I wrote up on her here. I was thrilled to see that she had a book out and snapped it up right away. There are a number of surface design books out there. I think I own almost all of them. I love seeing other artists work and getting a little glimpse into their techniques and especially their decision making process. Read through to the end to find out how you can enter to win a copy of this fabulous book.

Intentional Printing - jacket art

Intentional Printing
By Lynn Krawczyk
Interweave / F+W Media; $26.99


Intentional Printing is a delightful combination of techniques, projects, and (my favorite part) process! Lynn guides you through some interesting questions then cheers you on with lovely encouraging words. In fact, I think she and I sing much the same song. If you’ve ever had a class with me you know exactly what I am talking about. Here are a few choice gems from some of the first pages:

“It’s amazing how we so often cling to a way of doing things that we don’t like simply because that’s how we were taught to do it. … Your art making is your time. Do it the way you want to.”

“It’s OK to make mistakes. In fact, it’s more than okay – it’s necessary. You won’t learn about yourself or your art until you screw things up. Mistakes are the ultimate teacher in everything.”

IMG_9085Now, I don’t usually do projects. I even dislike teaching them. I’d much rather teach techniques so that you have a tool to stick in your own back pocket, ready to pull out when you are ready to bring your own ideas to fruition. But – since I like to print fabric and one of the projects in this book was something I’ve been wanting to put together for a while now anyway, I decided to go for it. Nothing ever really gets done in my studio without a deadline so I gave myself half a day to play and just DO IT!



My house is always full of children and their stuff so I don’t bother truly “decorating” rooms. We spend too much time “living” in rooms to worry about how they look. My dining room, however, is a place that makes me happy. We invite people over (usually whichever family is new in church that week) for dinner at least once or twice a month and this room gets used on a regular basis. I’ve been wanting to make a large table runner type something with that insulated stuff in the middle (whatever they put inside hot pads) so that I can put hot pots right on the table.  It’s a pain to have to pass the hot pot and the trivet along with it when we serve around the table. So here we go.

photo 1First up – Drawing on Fabric. I used the syringe to get the paint into my squeeze bottle. I used Prochem’s textile paint, knowing that since it was transparent it wasn’t going to show up much on the brown kona cotton background after it dried. I’m going for visual texture rather than crisp readability. And it’s been a long time since I’ve drawn with a squeeze bottle. Urg. It took a while of practice to get into the flow of things. Literally. My paint flow was all over the place.  My bottle was hard to squeeze (maybe I need to use the squeeze bottles Lynn recommends eh?) but eventually it got easier.

photo 2Next up – Thermofax Screen Printing. I used opaque paint this time, going for more bold prints. My dishes are all mismatched black, red, or white. My table is both honey and deep walnut brown and my hand dyed napkins are a very deep teal and navy so those are the colors I’m going to put together.

And here is where leaving things to the last minute does me in. That much paint in the scribble writing is going to take overnight to dry and I didn’t start this project far enough in advance. Remember what Lynn said, we learn best from our mistakes. This isn’t a mistake – it’s a learning opportunity that reminds me that paint needs time to dry. (And that deadlines sneak up on a person!)

I’d love it if you came back to visit my blog over the next few days to see things move along. I plan to finish this up tomorrow. In the mean time, please check out the other blogs in the hop and see what wonderful things these talented artists are doing with Lynn’s techniques and projects. Each has a giveaway as well so be sure to leave comments on each blog!

To win a copy of Lynn’s book leave a comment on this post telling me about your favorite “mistake” and what you learned from it.

congratulations to WENDY (comment #74 chosen through a random number generator at who is the lucky winner of Lynn’s book!

But don’t be sad my international friends. Here’s the deal. I am going to give away my review copy as well (since I bought the ebook as soon as it came out!) and will give you the chance to win that one if you are willing to chip in on shipping. I’ll post that giveaway when I finish the table runner. Deal?

For your inspiration: the carolina coast




This is the coldest spring I can remember here in North Carolina.

It hasn’t kept us from appreciating the beauty of this place.

For Your Inspiration – a little spring


IMG_2428(Playing with the Moku Hanga app on my iPad.)


Students – Surface Design Sampler Platter

The Quintessential Quilters Guild is a fantastic group in Columbus Ohio.IMG_8341I had a fabulous time with them last week.
Surface Design Sampler Platter is one of my favorite classes to teach!IMG_8344We played with stencils, stamps, and foil.
Playing with all sorts of fantastically fun surface design techniques.
Screen printing 


- just making a glorious and fabulous mess!!!


new work – hope


Sometimes things take a very long time here in my studio.  I had to look it up. My first post about this really large canvas was back in May of 2012 and I had already had it laying around for months. 

June of 2013 I finally took the next step.  The blasted thing is 4′ square which doesn’t seem that big unless it is taking up half your design wall. I’ve gotta say that textiles/quilts have a huge advantage in the “taking up studio space” storage department.


It gets moved back behind the drafting table but then it is covering up you storage shelving. I worked on it quickly for a few days and then was stuck again. Or bored with it. By now mostly lived against the wall in the dining room but had to be moved whenever we had guests.


So I finally decided it needed to GO! Which means it needed to be finished. It will live on my bedroom wall and replace a large scale O’Keefe print (Jack in the Pulpit IV) that  I’ve loved for 30 years but am ready to let go. 


I don’t think the work is show quality (there are a lot of messes – and no I’m not pointing them out to you!) If I did this again I’m pretty sure I could make it amazing. I learned a LOT playing around with unfamiliar media. And I love it enough to live with it being the first thing I see every morning (right after hubby’s handsome face.)






Sometimes it feels so good to just get something FINISHED!
The title comes from this quote

Ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ,
having a perfect brightness of hope,
and a love of God and of all men.

2 Nephi: 20

showing your work – more about rejection

In Search of True North  © 2004, 9" x 12"  David Walker

In Search of True North
© 2004, 9″ x 12″
David Walker

“For me, my artwork is the spiritual expression of who I really am and what I really believe. I only need to read over my artist’s statement to refocus upon this truth. My statement has always contained the essence of why I make art and why it is so important in my life. My artwork cannot be rejected by anyone unless I give them the power to reject it. I can listen to what others have to say, and I can learn and make changes, but I don’t have to be destroyed by their rejection of my honest effort. Others might consider this assertive confidence as egotistical and self-serving, but I don’t see it that way. If my creative expression has been the result of an honest effort to visually communicate an idea or feeling and if I feel that it successfully speaks to me, then I must conclude that the resulting self-approval should be viewed as healthy and life affirming.”

David Walker

I encourage you to read his whole article here.

In the Shadow of the Cathedral 2013   20 x 33 Terry Grant

In the Shadow of the Cathedral
2013 20 x 33
Terry Grant


“Rejection is always a little setback, but learning to deal with it is really so important to moving forward with your art and, as Lyric said, letting go. So many factors go into choosing work for a show, that the reason could be almost anything, and nothing you could have anticipated, nor even what the juror may have anticipated. Could be that most of the entries were in a related color pallette and your totally unrelated piece died alongside them, or any other unexpected development. It could also be the case that your piece was not your best work and just didn’t hold its own with the rest of the show. It is always good to reevaluate a rejected work, not necessarily to find fault, but to spot its weaknesses if they are there. It doesn’t do you any good to simply assume the juror just didn’t know good work when they saw it!”

Terry Grant

She also wrote a lovely post about the topic here.


showing your work – shipping your artwork

I’ve worked for a number of shows, curating, hanging, organizing – climbing right up on that ladder and hanging the things on the wall. I’ve hung shows in public art galleries,  cafes, local and national quilt shows. I’ve worked with local guild shows, the International Quilt Festival (in chicago), and group shows that traveled around the country.

The part I like the least is the packing and unpacking of the quilts. I’m grateful that there have always been others to make the checklists and make sure that everyone has sent all the stuff. Let me talk just a bit about ways that you can make things easier for the show organizers and for yourself.

You know how to roll your quilt right? Swim noodles are a textile artists best friend. Lay down a sheet or cloth, lay the quilt face down, then roll the whole thing onto the noodle, tie it up and throw on a plastic sleeve. Or -use the grey pipe insulating tubes from the hardware store – they are a bit thinner than a noodle and might let you wrap more quilt into your box. I have to say that I prefer square long boxes to tubes for ease of handling. We can stack them on top of each other or against the wall without their rolling away.

If your quilt is too long for the box, lengthen the box.

I have heard of instances of pieces being accidentally thrown away, mistaken for garbage. If you have no other choice a garbage bag will protect your work from moisture. Just label it in great big letters. It’s much better that the bag be clear.

Please don’t use packing peanuts. They come out of the boxes all over the place and are a major mess to clean up. Bubble wrap is better if you need to fill some space in the box.

(I’ve blurred out all names and addresses by the way – these are all well labeled!)

Here is one of the best packaged pieces I’ve seen. Multiple pieces were packaged in one box. Each was placed in a clear plastic bag. One quilt was wrapped on a swim noodle, wrapped in cloth. A smaller piece was creatively sandwiched between two pieces of foam core. Every last piece was labeled with the artists name, address, contact information, and the name of the quilt. Noodle, cloth, bag, box, hanging apparatus – every piece labeled!!! And (I thought this was clever) they all had a visual so that you could take a glance and know that they all belong together.

This was wonderful. A smaller piece that needed to be shipped flat was pinned to a thick piece of foam board then protected with another piece of foam board. They were held together by stick on velcro straps. It was simple for us to undo the velcro unpin the artwork and keep everything in it’s box so we could find it later.

Some other tips – include a self addressed stamped postcard for the show to send so you know your work got there safely.

Any other tips for packing quilts?

Here are some of the nightmares for any show organizers:

  • A quilt pinned to insulation board. Pinned every inch. I got stuck a million times. And it wouldn’t fit back into the super tight box it came in. (That said – the quilt itself was my favorite piece in the exhibition.)
  • Peanuts, peanuts, peanuts. A very large box for a small piece… peanuts, peanuts, peanuts.
  • No labels anywhere. No hanging stuff. I could go on. I’m sure you could go on.

Tell me what you think. If you’ve been involved in the packing and unpacking process what was your best and worst? How do you pack your pieces? Did I leave anything out? Let me know.

showing your work – at a fine craft show

I thought it would be worthwhile to hear Roxane Lessa’s experience. She was juried into the Carolina Designer Craftsmen Guild and has had a booth at their Thanksgiving weekend show for several years. and now in her own words…

First off, let me say that I’m not an expert at selling my art work. Not even close. That being said, I did sell 4 large expensive pieces and many smaller works at these fine craft shows. I got into doing the Carolina Designer Craftsmen Show at the Piedmont Craftsmen show because of the generosity of one of my favorite artists and friends, Marina Bosetti. You see, she had the booth set up (walls, lights, etc.), and you need a picture of your booth display to apply to the show. She offered her set up so I could take the pics. And so, I got into both guilds.

Screen Shot 2014-03-04 at 11.39.20 AM

Unfortunately it was 2007, and the economy was just about to tank. But I decided to forge ahead. I invested in some booth walls,lights and flooring, packed up all my art work and learned how to set it all up. ProPanels makes the best hard walls that are fairly easy to set up. If you want to do lots of shows, they are worth every penny.

What did I learn?

How to speak about my work without being bashful.
How to set my retail prices.
How to find a credit card merchant (now I just use Square).
How to get my resale license and charge tax.
How to look busy and not bother people while they are “just looking”. How to set up an attractive booth.
How to take care of yourself during a long show.
How to sell your own work without lowering your prices, creating value.

And, most importantly, I learned what people responded to and liked, and in some cases, liked enough to fork over their credit cards. All of that interaction also helped me get teaching gigs at guilds.Screen Shot 2014-03-04 at 11.42.39 AM

Was it worth it? I’d say yes, because of everything I’ve learned. There really is no substitute for interacting with your buying public. And it forced me to focus on producing a larger body of work to get ready. Was it labor/time intensive? Yes, very.

Was it worth it financially?

I think before 2008, artists could make a much better income from doing shows like this. Now, with the rise of online sales, I have the feeling that the amount of time and effort involved doing shows like this is better spent elsewhere. For me, I think it was a wash financially, but I still have the contacts with people I have met or sold to. And I still have everything I have learned in the process. So I think I came out ahead. I also met some very hard working and amazing artists, who are still my friends today.

Screen Shot 2014-03-04 at 11.40.05 AM

Finally, if you want to do fine craft shows, do your research. Ask artists who have attended the show who work in your media if they have had good success. Don’t just ask one, ask as many as you can. Don’t rely on the show promoters- they get your money in booth fees whether you sell a lot or not. After all, you are investing a lot in time, energy and money to do these shows! 

Screen Shot 2014-03-04 at 11.40.16 AM

As luck would have it, you can see my booth and me at the Vintage View Quilt show in Raleigh, NC in less than 2 weeks, ack! Here’s the info: Visit us at…

Vintage View Quilt Show 2014
March 14-16, 2014
Kerr Scott Building, North Carolina State Fairgrounds
Raleigh, North Carolina
Hours: Friday & Saturday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Admission $5
Over 450 Judged Quilts, 50 Vintage Quilts,
Demonstrations, Vendors, Prizes, Special Events

If you would like to learn more about the business of selling your art, I am participating in a webinar with 2 other fiber artists on March 25th. It will be hosted by SAQA, Studio Art Quilters Assoc.. You can go to their website for details. SAQA is also a terrific organization to belong to if you are interested in learning more about our fabulous medium- fiber!

Roxane is a full time studio textile artist and teacher with two girls and 1 fat cat. She is a 2012 Niche Award Winner and exhibits her work all over the world. Her work is in several private collections and she loves doing custom commissions. For more info go to

showing your work – organizing your entries

Now that you’ve chosen which kinds of shows to enter (quilt, art quilt, fine art) how do you keep track of it all? You’ve seen the list of shows that feature art quilts. You’re pretty sure you know which ones appeal to you. Now what? Well there are myriad ways to get your act together – here is how I do it. I like to see the big picture with my lists – all the dates on one page. I’m very visual. Waaaay back when I wrote an article about the topic for Quilting Arts Magazine, called Where and How to Show Your Artwork. April/May 2007.

I kept a notebook back when I was in the swing of things. Front page and pack page had two lists, one with shows by entry dates as seen here. This one is printed right from the list on my website. The other described below.


First – make a list of shows you are thinking of entering in order of shipping deadlines Make sure you note entry dates and which are postmarked and which are “received by.” Note any other pertinent entry info such as size requirements or expiration dates (my personal pet peeve!) I also noted prized money, commission fees, or anything out of the ordinary such as a live jury (in which you are required to send your actual quilt in for a second jury round.) Oh! Don’t forget the virgin quilt rule!!! If any images of your piece filter out anywhere, and I do mean anywhere – like blogs or your Aunt Martha’s Facebook page included, you are OUT!

Second – choose which quilts might go to which shows and note them. The reason my first list if by shipping window is so I can make absolutely sure that shows don’t overlap. It’s a BIG no-no to enter a quilt in a show, have it accepted, then to withdraw it because it already got into an overlapping show.

Third – when a quilt is accepted into a show I put the shipping date on my calendar in big bold letters. My worst nightmare is to forget to ship a quilt. Funny story. As I was packing down one show I had curated I noticed that there was a quilt missing. As far as I knew, it had never arrived and somehow I had missed seeing that. Immediate panic. Had the quilt been lost in the mail for months? I took a big gulp and called the artist. She had completely forgotten about the show and hadn’t sent it. I was SOOOOO relieved. At the same time, I had to laugh because that is so like something I might do.


Inside the Notebook:

  • Sleeve protecter for copies of entries I had sent out. I wrote big and bold on the top corner of the form the names of the quilts.
  • Sleeve protectors for accepted entries. I wrote (again) big and bold the shipping deadline and filed them in order.
  • Sleeve protector for entry forms of quilts that were currently out.
  • Sleeve protector for quilts that had come back in.
  • Page with all the vital stats for my quilts: date, size, price, insurance info.
  • Page for each quilt with a sow history and awards, yes – I also fear I’ll enter the a quilt in the same show twice. I have a sieve for a brain.
  • Sleeve for appraisals and their copies.

Of course all of this information can be kept on your computer now. (Then again, when is the last time YOU backed everything up?) It’s getting easier with digital entries and burning a CD or mailing off a jpg is much easier than sending slides.

Robbi Ecklow’s article Use Calendars to Keep Track of Your Show Submissions in Quilting Arts Magazine  February/March 2010 brings things quite up to date. In it Robbi shows you how to use any calendaring program (she uses ical) to list the entry deadlines as well as shipping and show dates.

showing your work – a traveling “trunk” show


At the Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art
Jamie Grant, Cindy Ondrak, Carol O’Bagy, Pam Wells, Karen Burton, Sue Anne Iman, Judy Hartz, and Joyce Ferrie

Today I invited Heidi Zielinski to share her experience with traveling a lovely group exhibit. I learned a few things from what she wrote and perhaps you might too. Here is what she has to say..

I submitted a comment to Lyric’s blog recently and she has asked me if I would expand on it and be a guest blogger, so here it is.  Thanks for the invite, Lyric!

I belong to a small informal group of fiber artists called Montana Bricolage Artists (MBA) and we live in the Missoula and Bitterroot Valley area of western Montana.  In 2011 we were inspired to create “The ‘Trunk’ Show”, our first exhibition.  The pieces hang suspended from the ceiling and are long and narrow like trees and include many techniques and styles—each as unique as the 13 artists who created them.  Because of the way they hang viewers are able to move through the “trees” as if it were a forest creating a unique interactive experience.   The theme and interactive nature attract a diverse audience to this exhibit.


A “Trunk” Show at the Montana Art and Framing gallery in Missoula, Montana

An MBA member arranged for us to exhibit in a Missoula art gallery for two months.  The exhibit was well attended and we had two sales, both of which pleased the gallery owner—always a good thing!  The next venue was a local annual three day fiber art show, An Affair of the HeART, in Hamilton, Montana in February of 2012.  Two of the “Trunk” artists are organizers for this show.  

Contact Sheet Full 1

L to R: Carol O’Bagy, Brooke Atherton, Mickey Frissell, Diane Bierwagen

As unofficial “curator” of “The ‘Trunk’ Show”, I reviewed submission requirements on the internet for potential venues in Montana and sent information and images to a number of them.  I also contacted the Pacific West Quilt Show and they accepted it as a special exhibit.  MBA members transported and hung the “Trunks” at that show in Tacoma, Washington in 2012.   We had a response from the Hockaday Museum of Art in Kalispell, Montana who said they couldn’t accommodate the unique hanging space required for this show, but would have interest in considering future shows from us.  

Trunk Show 1

“Trunks” at Montana Art and Framing, Missoula, Montana

As a result of the submission mailing, the Missoula Art Museum (MAM) proposed to us that they present our exhibit to the Montana Art Gallery Directors Association (MAGDA), a group of galleries and art museums across Montana and into North Dakota.  These groups would have the opportunity to book our show and as our sponsor, MAM would create a shipping crate, signage, and handle the logistics of getting the show to the venues.  We were booked for 2 six week stints by The Paris-Gibson Square Museum of Art in Great Falls, Montana and the Holter Museum of Art in Helena, Montana.   The museums requested additional work for the walls so a piece from each artist was added and the show hung in Great Falls last summer and goes to the Holter Museum later this spring (2014).   The Paris-Gibson had strong local interest and a diverse audience for the show including groups of children who particularly enjoyed the interactive experience.  One of the Trunks sold at this venue as well.


Paris-Gibson Museum of Art, Great Falls, Montana

Last year we were contacted by the Provo Utah Library who had found our show on the internet and were interested in it for their large new gallery space.  They booked it for November/December of 2014 and will pay all shipping costs and MAM is going to allow us to use the crate they created and help us ship it to Provo.  

This may be the last venue for our “Trunks”, but who knows?!!  The artists originally committed to two years for this show but have welcomed the opportunities that have arisen to share their art with the public.  I believe that the professional way we have interacted with the venues, the quality of the art, and the interactive quality has helped to make this a successful exhibition.  We are establishing a  reputation which we hope will help us find venues for our next exhibition!

Heidi Zielinski

showing your work – rejection

It’s going to happen sooner or later. The envelope or the Email that says, “sorry – better luck next time” arrives in your mail box. You followed all of the directions in the prospectus to the letter. You dutifully researched the venue, past shows, the jurors. You have the best possible images of your artwork and yes, you did send in your best work. And still – you don’t get in.

Malachi’s Promise
rejected from half of the shows entered  (mostly abstract art gallery type shows)
received a “Best of Show” at a local quilt show

What does it mean? Why do you feel like a failure? I discussed the jury process and the many reasons work is rejected from shows in my last post on this topic in case you missed it. What being rejected does NOT mean is that you are a failure as an artist. If you go into a blue funk because you did not get into a show you need to examine why. Do you think everyone will reject your work if it did not get in to one show? Do you think that all of your work is unworthy?

Failure can be a friend if you are willing to learn from it. Easier said than done but if you can learn to see failure as one more step towards success your life will be easier – and happier. And you will be growing!

First off – are you entering venues appropriate for your work? I’ll talk more about this in a subsequent post. A cutting edge and provocative piece might not be appropriate for a traditional quilt show and a traditional Baltimore Album isn’t going to make it in a Soho gallery.

never juried into a show quilt but shown in several art galleries

Also, the higher the quality of the show that you enter, the more likely it is that you will be rejected simply because of the higher number of applicants. Quilt National is what many of us Art Quilters call “our favorite charity.” It has an overwhelming number of entries compared to the number of Artworks that it can accept. It is also one of the most respected showcases of the Quilt as Fine Art that there is. A hardcover catalog is published every year and the show travels to respected venues. It is still on my list of “hope to get in before I die” shows so I continue to send in work and take my chances.

Second – are you pinning all of your hopes on one piece? As a serious artist you want to be continually creating. You need to build up a body of work. (I’m preaching to myself here!) If you think this one piece is the best you ever have or ever will make then you have stopped progressing. Try to create enough work that you can have several pieces out there at the same time if entering shows is a path you wish to follow. Third – take an objective look at both your photographs and your work. If you have someone whose opinion you trust, ask them for a critique. Use this as an opportunity to learn and to improve. The work just might be fantastic and the photography impeccable. It still never hurts to examine and to find areas for improvement.

Circle 3
juried in to only one show – where it sold

Here is a lovely blog post about entering shows by Elizabeth Barton. It includes a conversation with a juror about why some pieces were accepted in a nationally juried show. Well worth reading.

And here is a treat – Robbi Eklow’s wonderfully witty answer to rejection letters. READ IT! It will brighten your day.


showing your work – photographing your art

Remember when I said that  one of the most frustrating things for a juror when looking through a pool of entries, is trying see past poor photography. Having unprofessional photography simply makes your work look bad. Hiring a professional photographer is expensive and I believe YOU can figure it out. The minimum equipment you need is a tripod and great lighting.

The fabulous Sarah Ann Smith recently posted a really wonderful tutorial on photographing your artwork that I think is really useful. She links to several other great articles, all of which I have used. (Reposted with her permission.)

I just read a fabulous article on photographing your artwork here, at  I highly recommend it!   I was thrilled that they link toHolly Knott’s instruction page for textile artists and art quilters, and they also had embedded a very useful YouTube video put up by the folks at Saatchi Online (see the video at the bottom of this post).  Those posts inspired me to share with you how I do my own photography.
2014.02.28.PhotoQuilts004-2I’ve become adept at photography through self-education and practice, and you can too.  My photographs have been used in my book (AQS even gave me a photography credit!), in Quilting Artsmagazine (which has some of the best photography out there),Machine Quilting Unlimited magazine, and a number of Lark Books including 500 Art Quilts, so I think I’ve reached proficiency–at least with the best of my shots.  Here’s a little of what I do in hopes that it will help you!

Set-up and level:  In the photo above, I’ve shown how I set things up in my studio.  I am very fortunate to have a LARGE (vast!) design wall, which I had built and installed when we moved into this house three (!!!) years ago.  I can pin my quilts to the wall and photograph them easily.  If you don’t have a design wall, you can create a temporary set-up easily and inexpensively:  purchase either foam core or rigid foam insulation.  Place the foam core or insulation flat (or as flat as you can get) against the wall (poster tacking putty may be helpful).   If you have to tilt the board, make sure the camera lens is parallel to the surface (see the Saatchi video, at the bottom of this post).


Hotshoe bubble level and first screen on my camera. The hotshoe (if your camera has one) is where one attaches a separate flash mechanism. On my camera, it is on top of the built-in flash. These small bubble levels are inexpensive, about $15. Mine will show you level whether the camera is positioned in landscape or portrait orientation.

I purchased a small “gizzie,”  a bubble level that fits into the camera hotshoe (the place where one attaches a separate flash) of my camera so that I can be sure that the camera is perfectly parallel to the vertical wall and also level, because my basement floors definitely are not perfectly level.  I purchased my camera level fromB&H Photo Video, a vast emporium (a real store and online) for all things photo and video; they have really expert sales people who can help you with expensive decisions (like a DSLR!) and great prices.  They are a Jewish business, so they close for the Sabbath (Friday to Saturday evenings) and holy days, so check on the website for special closings.  Otherwise, they are there.  Type “Camera level” into the search box on the site to find their current offerings.  If my eyes are telling me one thing and the hotshoe level is saying another, I often use a small “torpedo” level to double check.  When I turn the camera to vertical on the tripod, because the barrel of the lens has ridges, I make certain the front of the lens is level (see photos below).

With this particular lens, I notice that the lower right corner isn’t sharp no matter what the focal length, so when I want ALL the quilt to be super-sharp, I allow extra room around the edges.

With this particular lens, I notice that the lower right corner isn’t sharp no matter what the focal length, so when I want ALL the quilt to be super-sharp, I allow extra room around the edges.

 If you want to get REALLY obsessive (guilty!) you can make sure your quilt is exactly vertical using a small bubble level from the hardware store:

Making sure the sides of the quilt are vertical (or that the top is horizontal)

Making sure the sides of the quilt are vertical (or that the top is horizontal)


If you have the option, turn on a grid in the viewfinder. This will help you see if the now-truly-vertical sides of your quilt are parallel to the grid on the screen or at an angle. If they are at an angle, you can adjust the camera so everything is squared up correctly.

If you have the option, turn on a grid in the viewfinder. This will help you see if the now-truly-vertical sides of your quilt are parallel to the grid on the screen or at an angle. If they are at an angle, you can adjust the camera so everything is squared up correctly.

To obsess a bit more, you want to make sure that once the QUILT is vertical/level, that your camera LENS is also vertical/level.  The floors in my basement studio (painted that grass green!) are anything but flat and level.  So I triple check with not only the hotshoe bubble level, but I use the small red torpedo level (seen in the photo at the side of my quilt and below) to check if the camera LENS is vertical.  If the lens tips up or down, you will get distortion called keystoning, where a true rectangle appears wider at the top or at the bottom.

Using the bubble level on the top of the lens is a challenge because of the grip and changes in the surface.

Using the bubble level on the top of the lens is a challenge because of the grip and changes in the surface.


Instead you can use the hotshoe bubble level to make sure the front of the lens is in fact truly vertical (assuming of course that your wall is truly vertical!)

Instead you can use the hotshoe bubble level to make sure the front of the lens is in fact truly vertical (assuming of course that your wall is truly vertical!)

2014.02.28.PhotoQuilts011Distortion:  Through trial, error, and observation, I have learned that when I use my Nikon DSLR with the extra long zoom lens, the lower right of the lens has some distortion:  it just isn’t sharp in that lower right corner.  So when I set up and take photographs, I know that I need to have my tripod far enough away that I can avoid having a corner of the quilt in the not-so-sharp zone.  Next on my agenda:  take out the shorter zoom lens that came with the camera and see how that does.

A focal length on your zoom of about 50 is optimal. If your camera doesn’t tell you the focal length, just don’t do way zoomed in or really wide-angle.

A focal length on your zoom of about 50 is optimal. If your camera doesn’t tell you the focal length, just don’t do way zoomed in or really wide-angle.

Focal length:  I’ve also read that the optimal focal length for still photography like this is 50 mm (well, the digital equivalent of what 50mm was on old film cameras).  You definitely don’t want to go wide-angle because you will get distortion:  a square quilt will bulge out like a fish eye, the sides will appear to push out in the middle.  When I set up the tripod, I set the camera to 50mm, then I move the tripod so that the quilt fills the viewfinder (while avoiding that odd spot with my particular lens) but still allows me room to crop the photo in Photoshop Elements.

Center focus on center of quilt. Note hotshoe bubble level. Notice that the tripod is about ten feet back from the design wall and the quilt of Pigwidgeon dancing for supper nearly fills the screen, but avoids that lower-right area.

Center focus on center of quilt. Note hotshoe bubble level. Notice that the tripod is about ten feet back from the design wall and the quilt of Pigwidgeon dancing for supper nearly fills the screen, but avoids that lower-right area.

Tripod:  I cannot overstate how important it is to have a perfectly still camera.  As you push the button, your hand introduces shake to the camera.  My first tripod was purchased used for $27.  Yep, that inexpensive.   And photos from that set-up made it into books!  I eventually replaced with an “enthusiast” level tripod, but which still didn’t cost more than $150.  Since this is my business, it was a business deduction (and honestly, the only time I’ve ever used it for anything other than work is to film Eli at a few wrestling meets–I can videotape from the tripod and take still pics sitting on the floor!) and well worth it.  My tripod head has a built in bubble level on it, too, but I rely on the level on the camera to make sure the camera isn’t tilted on a level tripod.  If you don’t have a tripod, find a ladder, chair or other stable surface and put your camera on that.  Use the self-timer, press the button, then let the camera trigger the shot; this avoids wiggling from your hands pushing the button.

At the enthusiast level, tripods and heads are sold separately.   Some photography books urge you to buy a tilt-pan head, which swivels on a ball head.  I have found for photographing a quilt, I prefer the heads that allow you to level horizontally, then vertically, using two separate knobs.  I know that once I get horizontal level if I have to adjust for vertical, I would knock it out of level.  By having the head have two separate knobs, I can adjust in one direction, get it right and lock it in, then adjust for the other direction of level.

Tulip bulbs in inexpensive shop light reflectors. The bulbs cost about $35 each, so I store them carefully! But they are the most expensive part of your lighting set up and are still far less expensive than hiring someone to shoot your quilts! Unless you drop them, they last a long time.

Tulip bulbs in inexpensive shop light reflectors. The bulbs cost about $35 each, so I store them carefully! But they are the most expensive part of your lighting set up and are still far less expensive than hiring someone to shoot your quilts! Unless you drop them, they last a long time.

Lighting is CRITICAL!   I followed the information on Holly Knott’s website (paragraph and links below) to purchase the tulip bulbs that give even light when correctly positioned.  I screw them into inexpensive shop fixtures from the big-box hardware stores (about $9 each).

If you use only one light, or have it too close to the quilt as in this photo, you will get a “hot spot” or uneven lighting. Notice how bright the right side of the quilt is compared to the other three sides. This inconsistent lighting does not show your quilt at its best!

If you use only one light, or have it too close to the quilt as in this photo, you will get a “hot spot” or uneven lighting. Notice how bright the right side of the quilt is compared to the other three sides. This inconsistent lighting does not show your quilt at its best!

Instead, follow the info on Holly’s site and move the quilt stands (made from a 2×4 and four basic shelf brackets each, construction details on Holly’s site) back from the quilt to get good, even lighting.  Play with the White Balance on your camera to adjust for the type and color of light in your studio combined with the tulip bulbs.  If I recall, they recommend NOT having the overheads on, but I find that my studio is so dark that I really need my daylight-bulb overhead lights on to get a good shot.  Experiment to see what settings and lighting give you the sharpest, most color-correct photo.

Light stands and tripod set up at a good distance from the quilt.

Light stands and tripod set up at a good distance from the quilt.

Holly Knott’s Shoot That Quilt:  For fabulous instruction on how to “Shoot That Quilt,”  visit Holly Knott’s very helpful site, here.  She collaborated with a professional photographer, and I can say unequivocally that her information–especially on lighting–has made a key difference in improving the quality of my photos.  In particular, take a good long look at the “Gallery of Wrongs” which shows common errors and how to avoid them.

And watch this video prepared by Saatchi Online, a mongo huge online art gallery.  It is very well done, with a lot of good information.  I hope you’ve enjoyed this post!  Now go make art, then photograph it well! 


showing your work – the jury process

I thought I’d continue the subject of showing your work by reposting an earlier series of articles. Be inspired! Enter your work and get it out into the world!

It takes a lot of courage to put your work in front of a judge or juror, or so I’ve been told. I’ve done it many a time and paid good money for the privilege. Why? Because I want people to see my work. Some artists might create their work entirely for their own pleasure, happy to let the art live in a closet forever, but I haven’t met them yet. Most of us have a message to send with our art – even if that message is as simple as “smile.”

Do I find it scary to submit to the jury process? No – but not because I think my art is great or because I always get into the show. This year I’ve been accepted to two out of four of the shows I’ve entered. Part of my “courage” is having seen enough jury processes that I know what is involved. Part of it is that I am able to emotionally let go of my work once it’s done. Let me explain.

In a juried show artists submit either images or the actual artwork, and a juror chooses which out of all the submissions will be in the actual exhibit. Jurors are usually professionals in the art field; established artists, gallery owners, professors, curators.

You fill out a form, you pay a fee. It’s not unreasonable. It costs money to advertise the show, to staff the exhibit, to pay the juror. Most of the shows I’ve worked with just barely break even.


What happens on the other end? Imaging receiving hundreds of files, some of which might actually have followed the guidelines in the prospectus. You’ve already answered what feels like hundreds of Email questions and helped people format their files or simply restated what is already written in the entry guidelines.

All of the entries are now organized into a slide presentation and you have prepared numbered sheets for the jurors. The most common process that I’ve seen goes like this: A full and detail image for each entry is shown on the screen either side by side or one after the other. Most of the time the jurors will be shown a quick run through of all of the entries so that they can get an idea of what they are looking at. If the show has a theme the jurors might be told what it is and asked to find pieces that adhere to that unifying idea. Sometimes the jurors are given free reign to choose whatever pieces they think will make a wonderful exhibit. They will usually be told the number of artworks that can be accepted.

The next run through is usually silent but takes more time. Each juror looks carefully at each piece and simply writes down “yes” or “no.” At the end of this run the jurors compare notes and any piece that has unanimous rejections are, well, rejected. Harsh? Not really. There are many, many reasons pieces are rejected that have nothing to do with the quality of that particular piece.

I’m sure the most frustrating reason for rejection is poor photography. When the jurors cannot see the artwork clearly it is impossible to judge it. Having anything at all showing in the background of the photograph is distracting. I remember one photograph in particular where the piece was pinned to a piece of bright purple foam core set on an easel. You could see half the living room and the jurors couldn’t tell if the purple was part of the quilt or not. Truly, if you present your work in the the most professional manner possible it will make a huge difference. Your work IS your best effort is it not?

Now things get difficult. After the rejected images are deleted from the pool the jurors once again view the pool, this time either meticulously rating each piece, or conversing with their colleagues to come to an agreement on the final selections. There is a good bit of cajoling, campaigning, and compromising that goes on here. Things get really interesting when you get more than one strong willed artist with an opinion in the room. I have yet to see anything but good manners and a willingness to work together in the best interests of putting on the best show possible.

Reasons for rejection at this stage? Numerous. The theme could be “Trees” and they reject the artwork depicting fishes and candy canes. The pool of entries might lean towards abstract and one photo-realistic piece, no matter how spectacular, just isn’t going to create a cohesive show. Perhaps these particular jurors love politically challenging pieces whereas another set of jurors might shy away from them. The venue for the exhibit might also issue guidelines regarding things such as nudity if children frequent the site.

You see, it really is simply the luck of the draw. There are so many factors that go in to the process that there really is no guarantee that you will be accepted into a show even if your work is truly wonderful. There are things you can do to raise your chances of being accepted.

1 – Research the show – what type of artwork has been exhibited in past shows?
2 – Research the juror – find out what other shows the juror has put together and what they look like.
3 – Take the best possible photographs of your work possible. Neutral backgrounds. Good light. Focused!
4 – Follow the instructions on the prospectus to the letter! Do not expect the organizers to resize your images or accept late entries.
5 – Stop worrying about it and just enter the show if you feel your work fits. Let your babies grow up and go out into the world.

Here is a short list of articles and a book that can help you with the tasks above.

Shoot That Quilt by Andy Baird and Holly Knott
A wonderful tutorial on how to digitally photograph your quilt including plans for building your own nifty light stands. Yes, it can be done!

Digital Essentials by Gloria Hansen

This wonderful book clearly explains how to prepare your digital files for entry.

A list of art-quilt shows to enter compiled by yours truly
Listed by entry date, includes title, website/prospectus, show dates and shipping windows.

Judge and Jury: What to Expect When Entering Art Shows by Annie Strack. This is a great overview of how the entry and  jury process works in the general fine arts world.

And finally – cut the apron strings. Let your babies grow up and venture out into the world on their own. Make enough work that all your hopes and dreams are not riding on one piece. Put your heart and soul into the work while you are creating it and then release it. A rejection of your work from a show is NOT the same as a rejection of you as an artist.

Look for more on this topic over the next week or two. I’d love to hear your experiences, opinions, and suggestions. Have you been involved in a jury process that worked differently? How do you think it can be improved?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...