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 bit.ly/NCGKHb
or you can purchase a signed copy directly from the author herself at https://www.etsy.com/shop/SmudgedTextilesShop?ref=em

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 random.org) 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 http://roxanelessa.com

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 textileart.org.  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?

showing your work – judged vs. juried

Just a quick post delineating the difference between a judged and a juried show. Because I am a word junkie and a dictionary geek….



1 - a group of persons sworn to render a verdict or true answer on a question or questions officially submitted to them.
2 – to judge or evaluate by means of a jury: All entries will be juried by a panel of professionals.

1 – a person appointed to decide in any competition, contest, or matter at issue; authorized arbiter: the judges of a beauty art contest. (although I love it when art is beautiful!)
2 – a person qualified to pass a critical judgment: a good judge of horses art. (honestly now, judging art is SO subjective and I think it’s a great thing that we all have different opinions!)


If an art show is juried, one or more people will be looking at all of the submitted works to choose which will be accepted.

If the show is judged, the accepted artworks will be evaluated against each other and prizes of some sort of recognition will be awarded to a few of the pieces. Prizes range from ribbons to cash awards, and purchase awards. Sometimes a future solo show at the venue is awarded. If the award is a purchase award check to see if there is a certain amount that will be paid. If your artwork is priced higher than that amount you might not want to enter the show, or at least check to see if there is an option to opt out of consideration for the purchase award.

Sometimes the juror returns to judge the show after it is hung, sometimes the jury and judges are different people.

Many smaller shows are not juried at all but accept entries based on membership, media, or location. Many shows have judges that award prizes even if they are not juried. Many shows are juried but not judged.

And for all your fabulous quilt show fanatics out there – here is an excellent article – a conversation with a quilt JUDGE. Click the link then scroll just a bit to read. Remember, these are the criteria QUILT judges are trained to look for.  She talks about QUILTING techniques as having priority over COMPOSITION because she is a QUILT JUDGE. If you are an artist making quilts and entering quilt shows, this is something that you need to understand. It is quite seldom that a traditional quilt show will hire an artist as a judge. I personally, don’t think it’s a bad thing at all because it’s a QUILT SHOW my friends. If you want to be judged as an artist enter an ART show. (I enter both, just so you know.)

an invitation: the NC Artists Exhibition


If you are anywhere close to the area next Sunday, March 2nd, I’d like to personally invite you to this wonderful event.
Screen Shot 2014-02-23 at 4.59.54 PMOne of my pieces will be on display.

Ammonite Dream
35″ x 45″


You can read a little bit about an “adventure” I had in creating this piece here.


showing your work – a museum experience

One lovely reader, Sandy Snowden from England, shared her experience with getting work into a museum and graciously allowed me to share with you! Here is what she wrote:

Showing in a museum… we sort of fell into this. I was with EquilArteral, a small group and we started looking at the idea of exhibiting.  We gave our name and details for entering a sort of open community exhibition at a small museum in a nearby city. We were declined. But then they got a new museum curator who found that the community exhibition was booked for the next year, but no one had been invited!  So, our details came up and she invited us.


Destricted by Sandy Snowden

Then, while there, we got really excited about the eclectic collection in the museum – things connected with the history of that city. So, we spoke to them about the idea of our larger textile art group doing a challenge inspired by items in the museum (this expanded to things about the city) They thought it was a great idea! We also offered to do workshops – which ticked their education boxes, etc.


Slough Town by Annie Hamilton

So to make a long story short, from that, our group and the museum were awarded the London 2012 Cultural Olympics Inspire mark! The mayor of the town where we meet came to the opening. Also another gallery owner who came to see the work invited us to show it in her gallery – actually in our own town.


Embrocations 1-5 by Jane Glennie

So, I don’t know if you have small eclectic museums near you, but you could approach them with the idea of making work inspired by their collection. or if your work has a theme that would fit – say a museum about music and your work with the musical instruments. On a larger scale, the V+A has similar opportunities to make work inspired by the items in the museum. I don’t know anything about how this would work in larger museums in America, though.


Some items could actually be displayed near the items, ours actually had a gallery, but they did discuss the idea of displays with the artefact. Some of the problems with that would be that your materials would have to be vetted for any off gassing or  affects which would result in harming the artifacts. 


Taplow Vase Reconstruction by Margaret Ramsay

Unfortunately, the museum has had funding cut because of the credit crunch, so have had to move to a part of the library, so no gallery, or we would do more with them. (Actually, I have had a small display of work in my local library. the larger library in town has some opportunity for this as well, but are more inclined for groups strongly connected with our town rather than individuals.)


Flat Irons (Grandad’s Kitchen) by Christine Restall

Anyway, even though it was a very small museum, now we have ‘shown work in a museum’ on our CV. Looks good to those who are impressed by those things when you want to aim for something further. You can read the Artist Statements here.


L to R, Sandy Snowden, the Bracknell Mayor, Jane Glennie


Another outcome was that there was a schools/museum liaison person (before funding cuts) who worked with Langley Academy who have a specific museums focus. Some of the work was displayed at the school in glass cabinets. the art students did a term based on the concept of being inspired by museum artefacts and our work was a main focus for their study. The blog gave them opportunity to see how other artists developed ideas. Our ‘exhibitions officer’ also had opportunities for speaking in schools.

We also exhibited the work at the National Needlework Archive (which again is not anything remarkable if you know it! but if you don’t, well, it sounds impressive!)

Most of the images of the exhibition were taken by Jane Glennie ‘exhibitions officer’. Both the blog and the website were built by her.  Somehow we start simple and the world of opportunities fall into our lap! Sort of another step on the ladder. and we still don’t feel like we are anything particularly amazing. ;-) We just started out as mostly Contemporary Quilters who wanted to think outside the box. There are back stories of the work and design development on the project blog.

The group has an exhibition called Halfway Between in one of the gallery spaces in the Spring Knitting and Stitching show at Olympia in London next month.

All the best,


showing your work – your audience

OK, so we’ve talked a little bit about the different kind of venues available and thought about your goals for showing your work.  Today let’s chat a little about who goes to these venues and how each might meet your goals.

Quilt Shows

Road to California

Road to California

Most of the people attending quilt shows, the kind sponsored by quilt guilds, are quilters. Some are ginormous, huge, great big shows like the International Quilt Festival in Houston with over 50,000 attendees each year. Well, no. Only THAT show is that big. There are lots of other big shows and lots and lots and lots of other lovely local shows. In my experience, the majority of quilters who attend are traditional quilt makers. The others who attend usually come with a quilter. I show my work at some of these shows for the chance to win prize money, to get my work seen by people who might hire me to teach, to win a ribbon, and just to share with others that I KNOW will appreciate quilts. At a bigger show your work might be seen by a magazine editor or publisher. It happened to me.

Shops and Cafes

Ann Flaherty's work at Coffee & Crepes in Cary, NC

Ann Flaherty’s work at Coffee & Crepes in Cary, NC

The kind of customer who comes to a retail establishment depends entirely on the kind of retail establishment doesn’t it? Fancy five star restaurants will attract a different crowd than a hole in the wall cafe. I don’t turn my nose up at either. Although I’ve never sold a piece off the wall at a retail place I’m just happy my work isn’t sitting in the closet. You never know who is going to see it. I show my work at these kinds of places just to make the world a more beautiful place, no real expectations.

Community Art Centers

ARTQUILTS at the Durham Arts Center

ARTQUILTS at the Durham Arts Center

I love showing my work in community art centers. People who love art frequent these places. They might not be there specifically to buy art but they are always interested and often not as well versed in textile work. I find children in these places more often than anywhere else and I love that. I’ve sold a few pieces from group shows held at art centers even though the center itself wasn’t set up to handle sales transactions. I’ve won an award or two at shows. Mostly I’ve been able to interact with a lot of people who love art. And most of them are not textile artists. It’s fun to get outside of our little world sometimes.

Art  Galleries

The Schweinfurth in PA

The Schweinfurth in PA

In my mind, people who walk into art galleries are there because they love art. Some of them even go there on purpose to buy it. The gallery owners really want people to buy the art – that’s how they stay in business. A really good gallery owner will do the work it takes to sell your work for you. I’ve had work in juried shows in fancy art galleries and won a couple of cash awards in those shows. Really what I keep hoping for are sales. Someday when my production level is more consistent (as in, I actually MAKE more artwork!) I think I’ll look for gallery representation.


Micheal James at the Mint Museum in Charlotte, NC

Micheal James at the Mint Museum in Charlotte, NC

This venue to me seems to be on the high end of the venue spectrum. I think if a good sized museum purchased one of my pieces for a permanent collection I would feel as though I had really, really, really accomplished something in this part of my life. It’s a big dream. It might happen someday. Who goes to art museums? Like the community Art Centers, people who love art. Lots of educational opportunities are usually provided so children go there as well. I don’t think people go to museums thinking they will buy art, but people who are art patrons might see one of your pieces at a museum and look you up.

Oh, and by the way, Autumn Adams is the lucky winner of the giveaway for Pam Hollands book! I totally forgot about it.

showing your work – what are your goals?


So far I’ve mused about getting accepted into a show and about what local venues might be available to you. In my next post I’ll blab on about who I think attends those venues and I’d love to hear your views as well. But first….


Let’s talk about WHY you are showing your art. 


One day Alice came to a fork in the road and saw a Cheshire cat in a tree. “Which road do I take?” she asked. “Where do you want to go?” was his response. “I don’t know,” Alice answered. “Then,” said the cat, “it doesn’t matter.”


What are YOUR goals?


Do you just want to share the beautiful thing you’ve created with the world? Would a blog or show and tell at your local quilt guild be enough for you?

Do you crave a little recognition? What kind? From who? Are you happy with people oohing and aaahing and will you be devastated if they don’t like your work? Does your family not appreciate you and you just need to share with someone who understands this beautiful obsession that is making things with cloth? Do you want to be famous?



Are you competitive? Deep down do you want to be the best at something? Would you be disappointed if you didn’t win and think it means that your work isn’t any good? 

Do you want or need to sell your work? Why? Are you trying to support yourself entirely through your art? Do you think sales justify what you are doing? Do you want to bring in enough income to cover your costs?

Is showing your work a stepping stone to something like breaking into the national quilt-teaching circuit?

And now for a little rambling on.
Feel free to skip this and go straight to the comments to tell me what motivates YOU!

Every one of these reasons for showing your work has motivated me at some point. I know there are lots of other reasons and I’d love it (REALLY love it) if you’d share some of your reasons with me. My goals are constantly evolving so I am constantly coming back to reevaluate them.

When I first started quilting I was just terribly excited to show people something I’d finished. I got really lucky and won a ribbon for my first quilt – in the “first quilt” category at the local quilt show. Then my old competitive nature snuck up on my and I really wanted to win ribbons.  I think it was up through my second year of college that my world revolved around getting to play first chair horn in whichever orchestra I was in. Then I discovered how much fun some of the other parts were to play – and also how much less pressure there was involved. And playing my horn got a lot more fun.


I also really loved cash awards as our budget was stretched very thin as it was. I used to skip lunch so I could go buy a fat quarter. It was really nice to win enough awards and have just enough sales to cover my fabric addiction. This is still one of my primary goals. 

Then I wanted to teach and was told that I needed to have my work seen by the national audiences and especially to win awards. Looking back I’m not sure that the quilt show circuit was the most efficient way to do this. (Someone speak up if you want a series of posts on how to get into teaching.) Anyway – I’ve evolved. Now, I think, I want to be recognized more as a fine artist than as a quilt teacher, although both titles make my heart sing.

And way down deep, I think I still want to be famous – just a little bit. It’s an ego thing that I’ve always had and try to channel in positive ways. There is nothing like being applauded after a great performance and I guess that got under my skin a bit from an early age. Really, nobody recognizes or says “thank you” to all the mothers out there. There isn’t a paycheck or a performance review or a bonus when you finally get that stubborn boy potty trained. In fact, usually they just say, “it’s about time!” It’s quite a switch to fly out to a quilt guild where they treat you like a minor celebrity. 

Really, I do what I do because I LOVE making art with cloth and it makes me happier than anything to see students realize that they CAN do things they thought they couldn’t. That’s 98% of it. I will sheepishly admit that the “fame” part might possibly be the other 2%. And yes, I realize I am only well known in a very small art corner of a rather small quilting pond. But hey – quilters are still the nicest people I know.

showing your work – local venues

So lately the first question I ask myself regarding what show I might want to enter is – where is the show? In other words – what is the venue?

One of the reasons I got burned out sending my work out around the country is that it takes a lot of time and, lets face it, money, to ship your quilts. I’ll talk about that a little bit in another post.  Suffice it to say that over the past couple of years I chose to only enter local shows. That way I can just pop in the car and drop off the artwork. Fortunately there are many venues available in most cities and larger towns like mine.  Lots more than there used to be.


Quilt Shows:

There is a very active quilt guild in Raleigh that hosts a members show every other year. It’s held at a local college in their gymnasium. I have to say that they do a lovely job of hanging it. It’s mostly well lit and fairly roomy and I’m always amazed at the calibre of talent displayed there.

Shops and Cafes:

Whether it’s a coffee shop or a fine restaurant, many a local eatery will work with the local arts community to hang work on the walls. If you see a place like this – ask to talk to the owner and find out who is in charge of the art exhibits. Ask things like, is the artwork insured (usually not), how long does the work stay up, do you have a contract? How long in advance do you schedule exhibits?


Community Art Centers:

My town has a beautiful new art center with two dedicated art galleries. They also have another arts and history center and also show artwork on the walls of each community center and the town hall. Cool eh? They exhibit solo shows (I had one at a community center), group member shows, and special exhibits. These are usually booked up to a year in advance. Find out what the process involves. It’s usually a portfolio application process. The Professional Art Quilt Alliance – South (their show Whimsy has a deadline of March 1!) exhibits both our members exhibit and our internationally juried show in these art centers and the sites are beautiful. IMG_0687

Art  Galleries:

Raleigh boasts a very happening art scene. A newer arts district has sprung up over the last couple of years. I’ve not applied to any of the regular commercial galleries.  If you want to be regularly represented by a gallery, you need to have a solid body of work and a regular production schedule. I’m lacking the latter at this point in my life while I still have kidlets at home. I am also a member of the co-op  gallery Visual Art Space and have had work there a number of times in both juried and non-juried member shows. They also have reserved walls at the front of the gallery for featured artists and I did that as well. My suburban town has several smaller galleries and I’ve had work in them off and on as well as a solo show there.photo 1-21


If you know how to get into one, let me know. Being shown in a museum is a big dream for me. Of course – I need to make a LOT more work before I feel that I have something worth saving forever. That isn’t a self-depreciating-lack-of-confidence kind of remark. I like the work I do now. I just don’t think it is stuff that will hold up design-wise down through the ages.

I’ll go on in my next post about what kind of shows each of these venues have. 


showing your work

I got a “fat envelope” today.
I love the word “congratulations!”IMG_7999

It’s from a show that I’ve entered at least four times without ever being accepted. There are a few shows that I keep trying to get into even if I know my chances are slim – just because they are either very prestigious or have a really great venue. This is the Raleigh Fine Art Society juried show. Raleigh isn’t a huge city, but it is nice. And the venue for this exhibit is NICE!
memorial-auditorium-Raleigh1-676x450The Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts houses four theaters and is the home of the symphony, ballet, and lots of the big cultural performances (and lots of the little ones too) that come through town. The walls are always hung with lots of art and people wearing fancy clothes look at the art before the show and during intermissions. That’s an exciting thing.

Dream_600pxI haven’t really been gung-ho about entering my quilts in national shows over the past number of years. I’m thinking about it and it must be at least five or six years, maybe eight (can it possibly be that long!?!?) since I had as much of my work as I could get out there in rotation to various quilt and art shows. I got tired of it. Lots of paperwork and packaging and shipping. So I’ve entered pieces as I felt like it in local art shows. I’ve also been honored to be included in several invitational shows such as the ones sponsored by Leslie Tucker Jennison and Jamie Fingal over at Dinner@8.

So this surprise acceptance (I’ve come to think of my jury fee as a charitable donation) has set off some musings that I think I’ll share with you over the next little while. What kind of shows do YOU enter… and WHY?

I’d love it if you joined the conversation. Ask me any questions you have. Share your opinions. Pull up a comfy chair, grab a cup of something yummy (my current favorite is herbal ginger lemon tea) and let’s chat!

Work in Progress: The Gift

 This is up on my design wall.
I’m having ideas for quilting it – not sure when it will get done.


The pattern on has been on my wall for over a year and just needed a particularly insomniatic night with Mr. Almost Perfect out of town. I can never make myself go to bed when he’s not here. (I miss him.) 
IMG_7912I’m trying to be better this year about not wasting so much of my time and getting more work done. Audio books have been a big help there. I get so caught up in the story that I can’t wait to get back into the studio.

What do you do to help you get into your creative place and get things done? Or is it just me that loses interest in a project before I actually start cutting out cloth if it involves a pattern? Apparently I really like the design phase but have a problem actually getting started. Or getting finished for that matter.

book review and giveaway: the adventures of the amazing alphabet

Today I have a book review and giveaway for you.

The delightful Pam Holland is another Australian quilter that I had the pleasure to meet last October at the International Quilt Festival. I love her work, especially her quirky visual sensibilities. She travels extensively – and photographs what she travels extensively.


The Adventures of the Amazing Alphabet is a quirky sort of book. It is sort of a children’s book and sort of a quilters book. She wrote it bit by bit on airplanes as she travelled, thinking of her grandchildren.  It’s about a little girl who discovers alphabet people down in the basement and fights the magpies to get their heads back.


It’s odd. Disjointed. Just a tiny bit scary. Sometimes I don’t quite get it. I love it.


The second half of the book has each character in color then black and white so that you can use a lightbox to trace the figures onto cloth, color them in with fabric markers, and stitch them up into your own alphabet quilt.


So – I have a copy of the book to give away. Pam dedicated to “A.” (the letter).

I’ll choose a winner from those who comment here. As I have loved children’s illustrated books since long before I had children why don’t you tell me some of your favorites.

Don Wood, David Weisner, Mark Teague, and Chris Van Allsburg are some of my favorites. I love things with just a hint of danger, weirdness, or mystery. It’s OK for kids to be just a little unsettled by what they see in a book – it helps spark the imagination and  great questions that arise as a result. 

If you don’t want to wait for the giveaway you can buy the book from Pam’s website if you are in Australia or buy the book in the states from E-Quilter

And congratulations to Marlaine who won Lisa Walton’s book from this giveaway.

Autumn Adams is the lucky winner of this giveaway! Thanks to everyone who left a comment!

for your inspiration: the art of ed fairburn

Die-Milche-StrasseDie Milche-Strasse (The Milky Way)

Windermere700Pencil on a cropped map of the English Lakes – specifically Lake Windermere.

Colorado-Geological700Pencil on a geological map of Colorado


This artwork completely captivates me.
Please visit Ed Fairburn’s website to view more of his amazing artwork.

Creative Wisdom: What sings to your soul?

Quite a while ago I took a workshop with the fabulous Lesley Riley. It was a creative coaching type class with some goal writing and such. I don’t remember most of what we did – other than to make crayon marks on every page of a new sketchbook and write about someone else in their sketchbook. That says nothing about the class – it says everything about my memory issues.

Screen Shot 2014-01-17 at 2.04.58 PM

One thing I truly absorbed though is her advice to gather imagery that “SINGS TO YOUR SOUL.”

Screen Shot 2014-01-17 at 2.05.28 PM


Look at it carefully. Ask yourself why these things sing… what common elements do they share?

Screen Shot 2014-01-17 at 2.05.50 PMSo I have a pinterest board called “sing to my soul.” I know this about myself. I love mostly monochromatic schemes with subtle yet stark value contrast. I like a lot of subtle texture. I love both fluid and architectural line. I really, really love the juxtaposition of nature and architectural lines.

So ask yourself, how can you incorporate the common elements in your own “soul singing artwork” into your future works? This is a fabulous way to be inspired by other art without copying it. Pull out the elements of art that speak to you and use them.



New work: ammonite triptych

Finished. In time for a deadline no less.




hand dyed cloth, screen printed, foiled, beaded
20 x 20 x 2 gallery wrapped canvas (screened with molding paste, painted with acrylics)


I like these pretties although it has been interesting listening to some of the questioning voices in my head. They are not involved in critiquing the art itself. It’s more about the practicality of having a bunch of large canvases to store in an already crowded space. I haven’t even bothered entering any of my framed work in non-local shows as I don’t want to bother with ordering and storing more boxes than I already have and paying for shipping.

Then again, I have sold several of my framed pieces, and almost none of the regular quilts. 

artist spotlight – lisa walton


I’d love to introduce you to Lisa Walton, wonderful artist and quilter from down under in Australia. I had the great good pleasure of rooming with her last October in Houston at the International Quilt Festival. She is delightful – and so is her artwork!

Lyric: How did you come to be an artist?

Lisa: I’ve always dabbled but the realities of life took priority for many years. My neighbour introduced me to the joys of patchwork but I couldn’t follow rules or copy other peoples designs. Once I was given my first pack of hand dyed fabric I was hooked. When I started to dye my own, the possibilities opened up. I started to design my own quilts and this just kept taking up more and more of my brain space.


When my children started living their own lives and obligations like mortgages and school fees faded away, my pressures and restrictions lessened too. My creative endeavours led to teaching which I love as well as the friendships of like minded souls. Of course the total support of my husband played an enormous role and eventually I was able to leave the hated day job to just create, teach and exhibit my work. One day my husband was filling out passport forms for me (he loves forms) and when it came to my occupation , he wrote ARTIST! That simple action settled it for me and now I say it with pride and conviction.

party_time_full_600_jpgLyric: Why textiles as a medium?
Lisa: I love the flexibility of textiles, the colours, textures and the interesting problems working in them creates. I prefer the process rather than the end result and rarely repeat anything.

Lisa will be teaching at the Quilters Studio in Newbury Park California (http://www.quiltersstudio.com) in April. Take a look at Lisa’s Website to explore more of the lovelies she creates… and if you are down under yourself – she has a fabulous shop full of all kinds of supplies for your own textile art, beading, and surface design explorations.

I have a wonderful copy of Lisa’s book, Beautiful Building Block Quilts to give away.


If you are a traditional quilter and want to take your first steps towards creating your own designs this is a wonderful book for you. You can choose to learn by following her patterns exactly or you can read her guidelines for branching out on your own. She guides you through creating your own geometric block patterns and also includes a few very clear and easy to understand pages about color choices.   You can purchase it here if  you want a new copy. This one is signed to me and somehow has a few chocolate stains here and there on a page or two. Chocolate and quilt books naturally go together right? I should be more careful. You should also check out the other cool stuff Lisa has in her on-line shop… remembering that she is in Australia. Also – friend her on FaceBook so that you can easily keep up with what she is doing.

Leave me a comment and tell me something. Oh – I don’t know – anything. What is the first thing you would visit if you got to go to Australia? Or – if you’ve already been there – what should I see first? I’ll pick a winner in one week.

For your inspiration: the art of Jennifer Collier


Singer Sewing Machine 44 x 20 x 32
Jennifer Collier



detail: singer sewing machine
by Jennifer Collier



detail: singer sewing machine
by Jennifer Collier

“My practice focuses on creating work from paper; by bonding, waxing, trapping and stitching I produce unusual paper ‘fabrics’, which are used to explore the ‘remaking’ of household objects. The papers are treated as if cloth, with the main technique employed being stitch; a contemporary twist on traditional textiles. The papers themselves serve as both inspiration and media for my work, with the narrative of the books and papers suggesting forms. I tend to find items then investigate ways in which they can be transformed; giving new life to things that would otherwise go unloved or be thrown away.”

Teaset 30 x 40 x 20 cm by Jennifer Collier

Teaset 30 x 40 x 20 cm
by Jennifer Collier



detail: tea set by Jennifer Collier

Take a look at her website for some other beautiful work.

Creative Wisdom – fake it till you become it!

imageOne fun, new thing that has been happening in my studio with the addition of a large screen desktop computer, is that I’ve been watching things while I work with my hands. There is a lot of great stuff out there. If you haven’t discovered TED.com yet you are in for a treat. It is full of a lifetime’s worth of short, amazing talks by amazing people who are doing amazing things. My favorites are the scientists. They all seem to be trying to make the world a better place.

Here is one of my recent favorites. A talk by Amy Cuddy, a professor and researcher at Harvard Business School. It’s titled “Your body language shapes who you are.” If you have time, grab some hand work and take 20 minutes to watch it.

4f8fc6f1e41fa02b5a2c72e2695abb324c2126b5_254x191Ms. Cuddy discusses how our body language is read by others, but more importantly, how it literally effects our body chemistry. She found that body positions can effect the levels of testosterone (feeling powerful) and whatever the hormone is that causes stress – can’t remember it. It’s fascinating! “Our bodies change our minds, and our minds can change our behavior, and our behavior can change our outcomes. When we think of nonverbals, we think of how we judge others. … We tend to forget, though, the other audience that’s influenced by our nonverbals: ourselves.”

But this is what resonated with me…

“Don’t fake it till you make it. Fake it till you become it.

Do you have that horrible voice in your head that constantly doubts and criticizes everything you do? I’ve mostly banished it but every once in a while it shows up with a whisper here and there. One of the ways I’ve gained not only confidence, but actual skill and experience is by practicing this very thing. Pretend long enough and it becomes real. Go out and act as though you have confidence and soon enough, you will have it. Make art as though you know what you are doing, and in time, you WILL know what you are doing. See this sign over the door of my studio? It’s not on the outside for everyone to see. It’s on the inside where I can remind myself.


I’m not saying pretend to be something you are not. I AM saying, pretend to be the thing you very most desire to become. This kind of pretending involves DOING. And if you DO for long enough – it is inevitable that you will BECOME!

work in progress

imageOne of the things I really, really, want to do this year is to get some art made and start entering shows again. It has been years since I’ve entered anything other than a few local art shows. I just didn’t want to deal with the hassle of paperwork and shipping. But maybe, just maybe, I’m ready to get some of my work out and about again.


happy new year!


I hope you’ve all had a wonderful holiday season and I wish for you a year full of peace and contentment.

This is goal making time right? Um, maybe I’ll talk about that later. This year I feel like just making every single day a new start. I heard a quote yesterday that I can’t quite find. It’s by Darryl Hoole and says something about setting wonderfully thigh goals that you know you will never reach. They are like the North Star. You know you will never actually get there but you still need it to give you direction. This year I just want to follow my North Star and journey along the path.


I truly enjoyed time with my family. And now it’s time to get back to work. Except that all I really want to do today is curl up in my quiet empty house and read a book while it rains outside. I had to cajole both myself and at least one of my kidlets out of bed this morning. We aren’t quite ready to get back into the daily swing of things. I have a big stack of paperwork to get done. I only got halfway through my stack of stuff to give away. (That means yes, there is more good stuff coming your way.) I don’t think I’ve got any pressing deadlines but it sure feels like I’m missing something and sort of behind already. I think it’s just the cold, grey, rain coming down that puts me in this frame of mind.

Ginger teaSo here is my coping mechanism. I wrote down a very specific list of tasks. Small things that add up to big things. I chose the two most important things that need to get done and begin doing the small things that add up to the big thing. Then I’m going to go for a walk if the weather permits and gift an hour to myself. A book and a cup of hot herbal tea. A cozy couch and a quilt. Hmm. Ginger with lemon, honey and mint might be just right for today.

And congratulations to Beth Hammergren who is the winner of the sweet little catalog from SAQA’s A Sense of Scale.



Merry Christmas (and Giveaway winners)

This is what I’ve been up to the past week. 


My girls are home from college and its a delight to see them. I have truly missed them. This is an older picture. My middle boy is now taller than I am.  Christmas at our house involves lots of music, a little bit more good food than usual, and almost no shopping at all so it’s a joyful time.

mormon-lds-ideasI’m the stingiest/meanest mother in the world and the kids are only allowed to ask for one modest gift. They get exactly what they ask for so there are no surprises. Poor things. They have never known any different and so far there haven’t been any complaints. We do service throughout the month so they see that Christmas is about giving and helping and making the world a better place. If you have a moment click this link and watch my favorite video about bringing the spirit of Christ into Christmas. It’s a sweet, and rather unusual christmas pageant.

So Merry Christmas to you and yours!

No matter what your belief, I think we all share a wish for  love and peace and a better world. Mother Theresa said “Let no one come to you without leaving better and happier.” We can do that!

And here are more giveaway winners!

Mini DaVinci thermofax screens

Quilting Arts Magazine

America from the Heart
Julie Beard

(and to all the patiently waiting previous winners – everything is packaged up – I just haven’t been able to make myself brave the post office yet. I’m sending most of the books media mail and you have to take those in. I promise I’ll get there – eventually!)

Giveaway: a sense of scale, and some winners


I ordered a mac. A big, huge, gigantic, desktop. FUN!

It got here early – great right? Um. Have you seen my studio lately? There is, quite literally, not an inch of empty space in which to settle a honking huge desktop computer.

Instead of working on the posts I meant to put up this week I’ve been furiously weeding stuff out, throwing and giving stuff away, and moving all of my inventory up into what was my older girl’s bedroom. This involves hauling stuff up two very, very long flights of stairs. Over 600 books (that’s another story for another day) and lots and lots of teaching supplies. My goal is to have only art MAKING supplies in my workspace. And…. the computer is going to be for art making. And video editing. Watch this space for fun news about online classes…. eventually.

All this rambling is really just me making excuses for not having all the giveaways up, or doing a really good review of this book. But there you have it. The book is a show catalog from an exhibit SAQA travelled around a couple of years ago. I couldn’t find anywhere that you can actually buy it anymore which maybe means… oooooh it’s RARE! (see me laughing here.) My Family Ties series is on page 39. All the rest of the art in there is really gorgeous. You’ll like it!image

 If you want a copy of A SENSE OF SCALE leave a comment here letting me know what and how you want to see me teach online. 
Do you want PDF’s delivered, videos to watch, how much interaction do you need? How comfortable are you with FaceBook (they have “secret” groups that would work as a class communication platform) or YahooGroups (no a big fan myself but if you want them I’ll make it work!)
I’ll pick a winner the day after Christmas.

And… Congratulations to the following winners!

Mini Thermofax Screens – Mr. & Mrs. Fancy Seagulls
Charlotte Keyimage

 Mini Thermofax Screens – I love you

Book – Fabric Surface Design by Cheryl Rezendes



Artist Spotlight: Lesley Riley


I’d like to introduce you to an artist, who I also count as a friend. Do you know any people that make you happier just by being there? She is one of those people. I also really like her art and especially her philosophy about art.
Say hello to Lesley Riley.
Lyric: Did you always know you wanted to be an artist?
Lesley: Yes! I always wanted to be one but didn’t not think I was qualified. In grade school, I thought you had to be born with the talent to draw realistically, something many of my friends could do, so I thought being an artist was not in the cards for me. In high school I turned to crafts because that was something I could do without drawing. I tried them all (except pottery) and found a home in quilting. I made baby quilts and sold them on consignment at a local artisan shop and gave them as gifts. I made several bed size quilts but didn’t find using others patterns fulfilling. I wanted to be an art quilter but didn’t know how, since I “wasn’t really an artist.”
It wasn’t until much later in my life, after much artistic soul searching, that I decided to combine the three things I loved the most – quotes, photos and fabric. In 1999 my Fragments were born, and so was the artist.
GoodGreen72_lgLyric: Tell me about your journey.
Lesley: Making those first Fragments back in 1999 was the beginning of a truly amazing journey. Following my heart opened many, many doors for me. Opportunities began to appear, things I never dreamed would happen: like being asked to write a book, teach world-wide, be an editor for a magazine, travel to Australia, write 5 more books. 
All those years spent dreaming and trying to figure out HOW to be an artist was paying off. I was ready, willing and able to step up to the challenges that the opportunities provided. I never planned a career in the arts but it found me and I embraced it fully. I am living my dream occupassion.
It’s very important to me to share what I have learned over these last 15 years and a lot of my time is spent doing just that, through my newsletter, online classes and most of all, through one-on-one coaching. I am more satisfied and find more rewards in helping others than in my own successes.
Sub3_lgLyric:  Why have you chosen textiles as a medium?
Lesley: I love the tactile aspect of textiles. I get excited by weave, fibers, the hand and sheen of fabric and most of all, the pattern and color. For me, fabric is an unending source of inspiration. It is always ready for me – something that’s important to a time-challenged creative. I know fabric inside and out. I am comfortable with it. I can make it do what I want. I don’t always have the success in other mediums that I do with fabric so it’s my go-to-girl when it comes to creating.
I do like to challenge myself with drawing and painting, and I love mixed media. But fabric is home. Plus I can paint and draw on fabric. And let’s not forget transfers!
Lyric:  What or who is your inspiration?
BookofMeWeb_lgLesley: When I was trying to figure out how to be an artist, one strong motivation was to be able to, through my art,  create the same kind of effect on others that so many artists had (and continue) to create on me. You know it when you see it – that piece that takes your breath away or gives you that peaceful feeling that beauty and perfection instills. I wanted to know how to do that so that I could give to others what so many artists had given to me. I am inspired by ALL artists who work to make their soul visible.
I now know that not every artist hits it every time, but wow, what a joy it is in trying. But let me be clear, making art that takes your breath away doesn’t happen when you try to make it happen. It is the result of, as Robert Henri states: “being in that state which makes art possible.” 
Which reminds me of another inspiration: quotes. I have a bazillion of them, all gathered in my lifelong study of artists and creativity. Just like in those early Fragments, I am inspired by image, fabric and words of wisdom. One or all three are jumping off points for me. 
Lyric:  Anything coming up you want my readers to know about?
QuotesCoverWebLesley: Thanks for asking, Lyric. I have two things I would like to share with your readers. The first is the publication of my first self-published book, Quotes Illustrated. The book is something I have wanted to do for years, and through this wonderful community of artists, it has now come to fruition. 90 artists took on the challenge of creating art to illustrate a quote I assigned to them. The results are astounding. This book serves two of my life purposes – to inspire and motivate others and to help other artist achieve their dreams.
It is available on Amazon and makes a wonderful gift! 
Another way I provide motivation and inspiration for other creatives is my year-long subscription to 52 Pick-Up. (http://www.52PickUp2013.com) Each week an email arrives in your mailbox that, as one reader said, “That’s what you do really well – you say out loud what we know but haven’t been paying attention to. And you make us want to pay attention.”
Sign up now and receive the remaining 2013 PickUp emails.  
Last but not least – on Thursday, December 11th at 1 PM, I will be offering a LIVE webinar with Cloth Paper Scissors: Quickstart Your Art Career ASAP: An 8-Step Artist Success Action Program. 
It’s a condensed, quickstart version of the same plan I use with my private coaching clients to get them going on their dreams. There’s the opportunity to ask questions at the end of the webinar, but if you cannot attend live, you get the full replay of the webinar plus the Q&A session. 
Thank you so much for the opportunity to share myself with your readers, Lyric.

Work in Progress & giveaway winner

Doing some machine stitching today. I’ll have lots of hand stitching to play with while everyone is home for Christmas. It’s nice to have easy portable things to do.


Congratulations to Barbara Triscari who is the winner of Melinda Bula’s lovely Summer Rose pattern. There are still more giveaways to come and several before this left open.

And I have a silly question for those of you who get this blog delivered to your email – do you get the same post delivered over again every time I update it? I often will go back and change or edit a post several times over the first few days that it is up. I’d hate it if you were getting flooded with that nonsense. :-)

Itty bitty little screens

Even a tiny little ATC (Artist’s Trading Card) needs a focal point, somewhere to rest the eye. These cards-in-progress are a mere 2 1/2″ x 3 1/2″ – sweet to hold art in the palm of your hand eh?

Sometimes it is a blast working in this VERY small format. So small that it doesn’t matter if you mess up.
These thermofax screens are so small that they don’t need a frame at all. Just use duct tape to “bind” the edges and it will hold it stiff enough to get a clean print. If you are interested in making screens this small you can arrange a number of images on one page and order one full sized imaged screen. Just make sure to give it enough space around each image to cut it into it’s own little rectangular screen.
Today’s giveaway is another set of little bitty thermofax screens. These two are DaVinci sketches, perfectly sized for Artist Trading Cards.
imageLeave a comment telling me who your favorite master artist is.
What can you learn from studying their work?
I’ll choose a winner a week from today.

Work in Progress, giveaway – QA Magazine

Just a very quick post for today’s giveaway.


Here is a peak at the progress on the two concurrent pieces I’m working on.


I’m still going back and forth between the two, working on one while I think about what to do next with the other.


Today’s giveaway is an extra copy I have of Quilting Arts Magazine issue #64. (I have an article in it.)
Leave a comment letting me know why you read this blog.
Specifically – what do you want to see more of?
I’ll pick a winner next saturday.


(And congratulations to Rosalyn who won Valerie Goodwin’s book, Art Quilt Maps!)

Spoonflower fabric and a book giveaway – America From the Heart

imageThere are a few really busy days left before Christmas break. This weekend is full of wonderful music including my son’s first recital. He’s really mad at me for signing him up. Tough beans kiddo. Rehearsals and a performance for me with the orchestra at our church’s yearly community Nativity Celebration. The Messiah Sing-In is one of my favorite things to do at Christmastime. Info here if you are in the Raleigh area and would like to join in!

I took this picture at this week’s rehearsal with the Moku Hanga app. The french horns do a LOT of counting measures waiting for our turn to play. (Do you see my reflection in there?)



To stay with the music theme – my first batch of pretties arrived from Spoonflower today. A little bit ago I spent a day playing around with photoshop and created several musical instrument designs.


Then off they went to Spoonflower to be printed up. These are now available at my Spoonflower shop if you happen to be in need of fabric featuring french horns, flutes, or violins with wings. I know, not something everyone needs.

imageNow I need to figure out what to do with some of these. They are fat quarters printed on a good quality quilting cotton. I’m thinking my next order might be a white on white print to play around with dying.

So for today’s giveaway – an extra copy I have of the book, America From the Heart: Quilters Remember September 11th, 2002. 1023845lPost a comment and give me some ideas for what I can make with these wonderful fat quarters! I’ll pick a winner next friday. 

book review and giveaway: fabric surface design

51HwcAeSEhL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_Let me introduce you to the book, Fabric Surface Design by Cheryl Rezendes. In the interest of full disclosure, her publisher contacted me and asked if I’d be willing to review the book. I said sure, and the book arrived and was added to the “to do” pile. It takes a long time to get through that pile.

Last week I opened the book. By page two I knew I liked this author. A couple more pages and I had to struggle with my choice to give my review copy to my readers. Cheryl is a teacher after my own heart. She succinctly touched on every one of my soapbox crusades right in the introduction.

  • Don’t try to make masterpieces.
  • Give yourself time to learn.
  • Play.
  • Be willing to experiment and let go of preconceived outcomes.
  • Take time to learn to truly SEE what you are looking at.
  • Learn from “mistakes” – they might lead you in a very good direction.
  • Chocolate and dry roasted almonds are on the basic supply list.


This book is a comprehensive overview of just about every surface design technique you can think of using paint. Plus foil. Plus image transfer. Plus lots and lots and lots more. It’s three HUNDRED pages long and every page is stuffed – STUFFED FULL of stuff I tell you! (picture my wildly gesticulating hands as I say this.)


1. of large scope; covering or involving much; inclusive
2. comprehending mentally; having an extensive mental range or grasp.


The table of contents you see up there is, well, ridiculously inadequate to give you an idea of what is actually covered in each section. For instance, “chapter 8 Nature Printing” describes printing with plants, flowers, food, fish (Gyotaku) and the sun. Each technique is nicely outlined and illustrated with a page or two. Now remember – three hundred pages. Every chapter is like this and includes enough information about every technique to help you find supplies, tips to avoid pitfalls, pictures of the process, and spotlights of artists who use the techniques.


My favorite parts are the tables. There is nothing I appreciate more than seeing someone else who has done the work and experimentation and put it all down in an organized fashion for me to use as a reference tool. There are a number of tables in this book. I love tables.

At this point I could go on for days and days listing all the techniques. Let me just say this instead. I BOUGHT MY OWN COPY. This is at a time when I am trying my hardest to winnow down my book collection. Sigh.

 So – only because I already promised myself I would, I’m giving away the review copy.
Leave a comment here telling me what surface design technique you have been wanting to try.

I’ll bet you it’s in here!
I’ll choose a winner next Thursday.



Cheryl also has an Etsy shop that I think you should go check out named CherScapes where you can find some pretty cool stuff! Wearable art, hand dyed and painted cloth, and gorgeous silk scarves.


You can buy Cheryl’s book here.

By the way, even if you can get it cheaper on Amazon, I ALWAYS recommend buying a new book from the author. When you buy a new book (that isn’t self published) on Amazon the author only makes a few pennies. When you buy it directly from them they make about half of what you are paying. And it’s usually signed which is cool. (I do buy used books via Amazon.)

Work in progress & Giveaway

Yesterday was a lovely day in the studio. While the rest of the country gets snow to play with (and shovel) we just get lots of cold drizzly rain.  I had my usual million mile long list of things to do but didn’t. Instead I made time for some actual art making. I call myself an artist so you think I would do that more often. 



I actually worked back and forth between two pieces of cloth that were cut down into smaller pieces when I moved from printing overall texture to composition.


Flipping back and forth gave me time to think about what to do next with the cloth on the design wall while I was printing the cloth on the table.


Layers of imager were added in varying levels of transparency.

I’m back from scurrying around to all my appointments this morning and am going to get OFF the computer and spend an hour working on these a little bit more.

Tomorrow is another book giveaway so today is another pair of mini-thermofax screens.
Leave a comment here telling me about your working style.
Do you prefer working on once piece from start to finish or are you as scatterbrained as I am? (nobody is as scatterbrained as I am!) I’ll choose a winner next Wednesday.


giveaway: mini thermofax screens

Congratulations to Autumn Adams who is the winner of Desriee Habicht’s pattern book and fabric bundle. In answer to my question, “how does art help you through the rough times?”  she said that “The wonderful thing about creating is that it puts you in the “now” so that while we are grieving we are also celebrating life because creating is giving birth.” I wholeheartedly agree.


Today, because I would rather spend some time making art instead of writing about it, I am going to give away a sweet little set of mini thermofax screens. I know it is hard to see them – they are a pair of royal seagulls dressed up in their funky finest… a small version of the pair I used (in a different technique) for this piece.


Today I hope to spend lots of time in the studio – screen printing. I spent the morning repairing all the broken paypal buttons on my thermofax paint page – did you know I get to carry ProChem’s textile paint now? It’s totally my favorite for screen printing. I have them in the basic primary and neutral kits as well as my favorite three pearlescent silver, gold, bronze mix.photo 4-1

Leave a comment here telling me what kind of art you would love to make on a cold, wet, shut-in kind of day.

I’ll pick a winner next Tuesday.

Artist Spotlight and Giveaway: Melinda Bula

Copy of Best head shotPart of the fun of teaching is meeting your colleagues, which then become your friends. I met Melinda Bula while teaching at the American Quilt Society show in Paducha during what is now affectionately known as the tornado year. We had quite a lovely adventure together, spending an extra day in town after volunteering to get bumped from our flight. You can read about it here.

We have seen each other since but mostly as we rushed past each other on our way to classes. We did sit next to each other for a delightful hour at a reception in Houston and oh my, had she had another adventure! Her class supplies just happened to be on a train that DERAILED!!!  So there she is on the first day of the International Quilt Festival with a room full of students and no kits, no supplies, nothing. I think she might have had her quilts that she flew with.

Yellow daisy -w-jpeg

And here is how I know she is a great teacher even though I’ve only poked my head into her room once or twice to check out what her students were doing. My roomie (also a teacher) said she that Melinda’s students were laughing so loud most of the day that she had to shut her door so that her students in the room next door could hear her teach.

Hibiscus webjpeg

As teachers do, we looked over each other’s products and I came home with one of her patterns. I didn’t intend to make it but wanted to see how she self-publishes them. Who knows, one of these days I might make a few patterns.


I opened her pattern and oh my! You are in for a treat! This pattern is pages and pages of paint/cut-by-number pieces complete with a color chart that makes it super easy to recreate one of her gorgeous floral wall quilts. Her work is simply delicious and the instructions were clear and easy to understand.

Want it?

Leave a comment here telling me what you think makes a good teacher. 

I’ll pick a winner next Monday.

Book Review and Giveaway: Valerie Goodwin’s art quilt maps

I’d like to introduce you to Valerie Goodwin. I have followed her work for several years now as it truly speaks to me. It is organized, beautiful, and deep. And very architectural. I love, love, love it.

architext 1

This might be why. I studied architecture in college but chose not to pursue my graduate degree – Valerie is an architect and a professor at Florida A & M University. Yup – I’ve always wanted to be a professor too. That one might still happen someday. I get such joy watching her succeed and the fact that she has introduced textile art into her own life and ALSO into the life of her architecture students is, well, just SO COOL!


photo 1-17

And now she has a book. It’s my favorite book of the year. Personal taste here – there are a ton of wonderful books out this year but I love this one. Mostly because of the eye candy. I loved reading the very first pages about her quilt history. She learned from her grandmother but left the needle arts behind when she entered the male dominated world of architecture. I am so, so, so happy that she found a way to join these two parts of her life.

The book itself takes the reader through both the mental design process and the techniques and materials you would need to create your own textile maps. If you love project books you can follow Valerie’s methods and instructions in a linear process and be very happy with your results. She gives the reader plenty of information and a clear road map from start to finish.


I tend to be more interested in understanding the thought process behind a good artist’s working method so that I can understand what it is about the work that speaks to my heart. This book is just deep enough to satisfy that craving for me.

photo 3-13

The illustrations feature the clean lines, the layers of subtle texture, and the visual storytelling that I appreciate in Valerie’s artwork. The writing and instructions give me a peek into her process and there were several things that sparked ideas for what I might like to incorporate into my own work.

photo 2-12

I think Art Quilt Maps provides a great balance between “how to” and “why.” I love seeing the work of her students and how they have taken her techniques and internalized them, creating unique works of art.

photo 2-13


Wouldn’t you just love to see this book show up in your stocking?
I’m going to give away a copy to one very lucky reader.
Has your artwork ever been inspired by a place?
Tell me about it here.

I’ll choose one lucky reader on Friday.
Tell your friends and have them come check it out too.
And if you don’t want to wait until then – you can buy it here.

Artist spotlight: Desiree Habicht

Welcome to Christmas! Does it seem to you like this year has flown by!? I blinked and it happened.


Christmas Card by Desiree Habicht

 So… I have a huge pile of interviews, reviews, and giveaways that have been waiting (and waiting and waiting and waiting) for me to get around to posting them for you. I am very happy to introduce you to a few more of my very favorite artists.


Desiree Habicht is a multi talented artist working in both cloth and watercolors – and probably other media that I haven’t seen yet. We had a great (email) interview months ago and she has been patiently waiting for me to get around to putting this up. I know you are going to love her art as much as I do!

Lyric: Did you always want to be an artist.
Desiree: Yes, I can say I have always been an artist. My mom often reminds me how I was always making books and cards for people as a small child. They were always fully illustrated too! Everything was fair game and I often sketched on whatever I had close, math homework etc. I was born to create.

tortured soul 001

Tortured Soul by Desiree Habicht
art quilt

Lyric. Describe your journey.
Desiree: I am a self taught artist and was fortunate to have worked with interior designers, professionals and builders doing faux finishes and murals along with my fine art. I worked for years, and as my children got older I was able to travel all over to paint on site . At the point of being almost empty nesters everything changed. In 2000 our daughter was hit by a drunk driver. After 8 months of hospitals and life support we brought our daughter home. She required full time care and all of our lives were forever changed. I was now at home figuring out my new life and saw the TV show “Simply Quilts”. As I watched I was thinking I could do that at home. I started with one quilt class, one night a week and quickly moved into designing my own patterns and art quilts. That led to the opportunity to design fabric which I love. Art is a gift and allowed me to reinvent myself so I could care for Jennifer and still create and work from home. Art is a never ending journey.

 Lyric: Why Textiles?

Desiree: I love textiles, the feel, the ability to create art from fabric and to create fabric from my art! Quilts symbolize comfort and warmth which they provided me in many ways. My art quilts allow me to tell a story or share an event with my viewers. I love putting in hidden elements and symbolism that mean something to me. Textiles also opened up a whole new group of friends and colleagues which I am so thankful for!

Old World Tiles

Old World Tiles by Desiree Habicht
cloth, pastels, painted wonder-under, netting, thread, paint, ink

8404655533_03f1a9d83f_bLyric: Whats coming up that you would like me to share?
Desiree: Right now I have some of my quilts in a book available at Amazon called “Cutting Edge Art Quilts” by Mary Kerr. I also just self published my first pattern book that goes with my latest fabric line ” Gumdrops and Lollipops”. I also have a new fabric line coming out  called ” Monster Trucks” which will be sold by Quilting Treasures and will be available at your local quilt shop.

Lyric: Is there anything else you want me to tell my readers.

Desiree: Yes, I want to encourage everyone that no matter what your facing you are not alone and art, quilting, and creating can be both therapeutic and healing.

Desiree’s patterns, art quilts, art work and workshops can be viewed on my website www.desireesdesigns.com. She sends out a monthly newsletter with upcoming giveaways, classes and shows, that you can sign up for on her website. You can also follow Desiree’s blog, http://myclothesline.blogspot.com, and see her monthly contribution to The Sketchbook Challenge blog that both of us contribute to along with some other amazing artists!

And now – the first of many giveaways over the next few weeks. Desiree graciously shared a sweet little bundle of her fabric and the pattern book to go with it. If you have any little sweetlings in your life you are going to love this giveaway. If you are anything like me it won’t get done in time for Christmas but I think these are perfect for valentines day!


Leave a comment below – telling me now your art helps you through the rough times.
I will pick a winner on Monday.

The Quilt Show – It’s YOUR turn!

Last spring I had the fabulous opportunity of filming several segments for The Quilt Show with Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims. It was a wonderful adventure and it feels like forever ago. This past week my show finally went live and guess what?! Now it’s open for YOU too! You can view all four segments and all kinds of other fun and wonderful things that TQS has to offer from December 1 – 8th for FREE!!! (cool eh!?)

(Lyric says, “what if we all put on monster masks!?”) 

You will be able to watch a segment on basic design, hear a conversations about some of my artwork, learn more about thermofax screen printing and finally catch a fun little beading technique and see some serious silliness!

Please note that in order for you to view your show you need to sign up as a Basic (Free) member and TQS will take care of the rest.


•         Log on to the website www.thequiltshow.com
•         Click on the Join Now button
•         Create a profile name and password
•         Complete the sign up process for the Basic (Free) membership
Once you have done so, let us know and we will automatically upgrade your status to Star (Paid) membership

If you decided you want to subscribe to The Quilt Show you can receive a discount of $5.00 off of a 1 year membership by using this code: 238743540664

(I couldn’t decide which quote was most suitable for this news – both made me laugh!)
“With fame I become more and more stupid, which of course is a very common phenomenon.” ~Albert Einstein
“modesty, n. The gentle art of enhancing your charm by pretending not to be aware of it.” ~Ambrose Bierce



“One looks at life as a gift, a painting of lights and darks, each defining the other, not a series of good and bad things. Giving thanks, and often, frees the spirit and makes the heart secure.” ~Fay Bohlayer

This has been an interesting year. Some months were easier than others but every experience has taught me good and important things.

Life is a gift. Art is a gift. YOUR creative spirit is a gift and I am very thankful that you are willing to come along on this fabulous ride with me!

So THANK YOU! This journey wouldn’t be nearly as much fun without you.

So to give a little something back, here are the publications I’ll be reviewing and giving away over the next few weeks. Stay tuned!

The Quilt Show with Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims (and me!)

Remember waaaay back when…I shared a few behind the scenes shots from a day of filming for The Quilt Show. And here is a little post I wrote about some of the prep work that happened before I even got there.
Smilebox_1405618561I got to visit the spectacularly beautiful Charleston, SC and filmed in the lush conservatory at the Magnolia Plantation. You can read a little bit of my thoughts and feelings about the plantation hereSmilebox_1405618544I was also able to visit the Angel Oak, the most massively beautiful tree I’ve ever been privileged to be in the presence of. The Old Slave Mart and the beautiful architecture in the city were also part of my wanderings there on a blustery and cold spring day.Smilebox_1405618548It was such a fantastic time and TODAY I got to relive a little bit of it as……….

(drum roll please!)

TA-DA!Smilebox_1405618537My episode went live today on

THE QUILT SHOWSmilebox_1405618559(can you hear me squealing eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!)

So  if you have a subscription head on over and take a look.Smilebox_1405618553

If you don’t – no worries.
Between December 1st and 8th I will have a link for all of you lovelies to watch it for F. R. double E – freeeee! Smilebox_1405618564So keep checking in and I’ll send you the link as soon as I get it!

Picture It Framed Tutorial: mounting small textile art on gallery wrapped canvas

Let me tell you a funny story. My husband loves me dearly and supports me in every way. He is, after all, Mr. Almost Perfect! He is also an engineer and has admitted that he does not “get” art. He’s happy I do it but it has yet to touch his soul. The first time I showed him one of my small textile works in a frame his exact words were, “Wow! That looks like ART!” I had to take more than one very deep breaths thinking, “What did it look like before?” As soon as my head cleared I had something of an epiphany… or at least a “duh” moment. Most people have no real life experience with textile art. If they see a fancy little bit of fabric they might only have grandma’s potholders to relate it to. Framing your small textile works presents them in a format that is immediately understood by everyone as ART!

canvas 08Over the next week I’m going to show you a few of the ways to present your smaller textile art pieces. First up is mounting your work on gallery wrapped canvas. Begin with a small, finished textile piece. In this case it’s an abstract piece, fused and stitched to timtex with a satin stitched edge.

canvas 01

Gallery wrapped canvases are fairly inexpensive – especially when you use your half off coupon at your local craft store. I like to use the deeper canvases, usually 1  3/4 inches or so. Choose a size that is several inches bigger than your textile work all around – it’s especially good if the wooden frame on the back isn’t overlapping your artwork. You’ll see why in a minute. I paint my canvas to accent the artwork, in essence turning it into an integral part of the overall design of the piece. In this case I played with layers of paint, sometimes sponging them off with a wet paper towel before they were all the way dry. When the piece was fully mounted I went back in with india ink and doodled a continuation of the black stitched motif. I love to bleed my textile work out onto the canvas.

canvas 03

Place your work on the painted canvas and pin it in at least three, preferably four spots so it won’t move around while you sew it down. I chose thread the same color as the satin stitching on this piece so that I can just sew right through the edge. If your piece is faced or does not have an edge treatment that you can sew through, you just carefully catch the back edge with each stitch you take. A little tricky but not impossible! I use a thin but fairly sturdy needle and use a thimble on my “underneath” finger and a secretary’s rubber finger on my “topside” pointer finger to help pull the needle through. Painted canvas can be tough but these two tools will help a lot!

s canvas 04Make sure you knot the thread well. See how close the stitching is to the wooden frame? I learned the hard way to make sure that frame isn’t right under where I need to stitch. Again – you CAN angle your needle under that frame but it’s a royal pain in the rear!

s canvas 05I fuse a label or use a sharpie to create one on the back of the canvas. Sometimes I’ll subtly sign one of the sides of the canvas as well but on works of this size I rarely sign the front. I feel the signature competes with the composition. You do it whichever way you feel best but always, always, ALWAYS sign and date your work – somewhere. Now I screw in the eyes and wire the work for hanging. I like to wrap the ends of that wire with a little bit of tape. The ends of picture hanging wire make for nasty little scratches and cuts when you handle it.

s canvas 07Here are a few of my recent works that utilize this technique.


Click this link to see how this series was created. In this case the leaves were simply glued onto the canvases with gel medium.

600px.FT_.Full_FAMILY TIES

When I mounted most of the pieces in this series I did need to sew them onto the canvas by catching just the back edge. I also chose not to paint the canvases. I did texture them with modeling paste. I pressed lace into the damp paste to get an imprint then when it was dry I used a white acrylic paint over the whole thing. Isn’t it cool how you can take a bunch of tiny pieces and turn them into one bigger work with PRESENCE through this mounting technique? You can see details of each piece in the series by clicking here.

SoarII.400pxSOAR II

This mounting technique works just as well for larger pieces as smaller ones. Works II  through IV in the  Soar Series are mounted on 20×20 canvases.

Shoes, glorious shoes!!!

Another of the fantastic experiences this year at the International Quilt Festival was sharing my love of fancy feet  in a Paint Your Shoes class! Here are just a few of the results from my creative students.

photo 1-3 photo 2-3 photo 3-3 photo 4-1 photo 4-3 photo 5-2Isn’t that the coolest thing ever!?! I love what these wonderfully brave women came up with.

And – just a little excitement over here – on the 25th of this month I’ll be appearing on The Quilt Show with Ricky Tims and Alex Anderson. I’ll tell you more about that later!


The Glory of trees


My favorite time of year.

Even a simple walk to the bus stop is filled with glory.

These are for sale in my Etsy shop if you’d care to take a look.


International Quilt Festival – pt 1

Whew! The week after that crazy week was spent in Houston at the International Quilt Festival. There is simply too much to take in much less share, but I’ll give you a few of the highlights. I taught four different classes and one of my growing favorites is Creative Collaborative Collage! 

photo 2(I’ll have to look harder and see if I have a non-blurry picture in my files!) 

In this class we let go of all inhibitions and simply play with fabric and color and design principles for a few hours. It gets a little wild and crazy. It’s truly collaborative as we pass cards or get up and switch to a different table every few minutes. You never know what you are going to get to work on, what fabric you’ll have to work with, or which card you will end up keeping. When that is the case it frees you from the fear of making a mistake or worrying about outcomes. We call it a “make BAD art” day where the most valuable thing you do is have a true learning experience. It’s FUN!!!

photo 3

If your guild is having me in next year or in 2015 (or you want to have me come in!) let your program chair know that THIS is a fabulous class! I’m thinking it would also be a truly, wildly, wonderful evening event at a retreat. Part dance party, part fun fest with fabric. To all my CCC students – I love you!!!



Here is a partial list of what I did last week…

Son’s birthday dinner, help take down exhibition, drum lessons, piano lessons, make kits for bead class,  doctors visit, clean enough of studio to film tutorials, run downtown to photo shop to find boom arm, film, see hubby off on business trip, another doctors visit, film, gymnastics, help son shop for troops food for scout camp, stay up way too late trying to load vids onto computer, offload almost everything on my poor little laptop to make room for vids. Take child to band auditions, edit tutorials, keep sick kid home, parent teacher conference, meet band and help set up for elementary school assembly, doctors appointment, state fair.

it was one of THOSE weeks.

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