Book Review and Giveaway: Art Quilt Collage

I introduced you to Deborah Boschert yesterday.
Now I’d like to introduce you to her first book.

Art Quilt Collage


I saw this and had to giggle because I know exactly what she’s feeling…. CAN’T BELIEVE IT’S HERE!!
Writing a book is a ton of work. You write and organize and write and make artwork for months.
Then all kinds of things happen with the editors. Then things get quiet. Then – IT ARRIVES! Look at how tight her fingers are on that book – you just know she is standing still for the picture just bursting like a puppy dog ready to jump all over the place!!!!

And this book is a sweet thing of beauty. There are all the usual art quilt chapters on supplies, construction techniques, and finishing. But i also has intriguing chapters on personal symbols, inspiration, and my favorite:

Screen Shot 2016-09-06 at 6.55.29 AM

 Deborah and I had a little chat about my favorite chapter in her book that you can watch here.

 You can order her book on Amazon here

Or if you really love the artist – Deborah has signed copies available in her Etsy shop. As a thank you for buying the book directly from her, she is giving away pieces of original surface designed fabrics with the first 50 sales. Here’s the etsy link. (And did you know – when you order from Amazon the author gets pennies. If you have the option ALWAYS buy directly from the artist.)
I will also be giving away a copy of the book on Sept 30th!
In order to enter the giveaway contest you need to leave a comment here on this blog. Make sure I have a way to contact you! I’ll pull a name from a hat on the morning of the 30th.
Tell me:

What is your most difficult issue with design?

You can learn about other chapters of the book and enter a comment for a chance to win a copy of Deborah’s book on each of these blogs until September 30th.
Art Quilt Collage: A Creative Journey in Fabric, Paint and Stitch
Book Release Blog Hop with Video Chats!
September 19: C&T Publishing and Editor Lynn Koolish
September 20: Teri Lucas, Generation Q Magazine
September 21: Susan Brubaker Knapp
September 22: Sue Bleiweiss
September 23: Lyric Kinard
September 26: Lori Kennedy
September 27: Maria Shell
September 28: Jane LaFazio
September 29: Judy Coates Perez
September 30: Melanie Testa

Book Review: Colorful Fabric Collage by Sue Bleiweiss

So not only is my crazy Thermofax 101 blog hop (are you entirely bored of it yet!?!) almost through, but this is the last stop on the blog hop review of Sue Bleiweiss‘ new book:

TA DA!!!

Gotta say – I’ve loved every project Sue has been involved in so I knew going in that her book would turn out great! The first chunk of the book is all about the techniques she uses in her wonderful and whimsical artwork. She covers sketching, dying cloth (I learned a couple of different ideas from her methods that I hadn’t used before!) fusing, quilting, and embellishing. Each topic is covered with clarity and in enough depth to be able to understand and proceed with her process.IMG_1094
I have a little project in the book. It’s a little on the “different” side for ways to use fusible web.
For this piece, I laid some Misty-Fuse on a piece of crumpled then smoothed parchment and painted it with watered down purple acrylic and blue paints. After the paint dries I lift it off of the messed up parchment and sandwiched it between two layers of a teflon pressing sheet. I then ironed it to smooth it out, waited for it to cool, then cut and tore this sheet of fusible paint into the shape I was looking for.
I fused it down to my quiltlet (this piece is 12″ x 12″) then did another strange but very fun thing. I put the teflon pressing sheet on top, ironed it to heat up the fusible web, quickly pulled of the pressing sheet and laid down a piece of foil. I quickly (but carefully – you don’t want to burn yourself) rubbed a few areas with my thumb to adhere the foil in a few places over the web. Let that cool then lift the foil sheet and there you go.
And you know me – I can’t resist beads so of course I had to add some of those as well for added texture. (If you are interested in purchasing this piece send me a quick email.)
Enough about my crazy ideas, back to Sue’s book. There are a lucky 13 projects in the back of this book for those of you who love to work with patterns! The only reason I don’t use patterns (I love them) is because I dan’t focus long enough to read directions. Her directions are great!
So – would I recommend this book? Absolutely!
To add to the fun, Sue is giving away a prize package that includes a book, a stack of 10″ squares of her hand dyed fabric, some spools of Aurifil thread and a package of Mistyfuse.  The book will ship directly from Interweave so International commenters will receive an electronic version of the book and not a hard copy. May 15 drawing – all comments left on all of the blogs during the hop will be eligible.giveawaypack1That’s a very short time frame so get busy and revisit each of these blogs and leave a comment for your chance to win! I wish you the best of luck!!!
May 4: Sue Bleiweiss:
May 4: Jamie Fingal :
May 5: Leslie Tucker Jenison:
May 6: Terri Stegmiller :
May 7: Deborah Boschert :
May 8: Desiree Habicht :
May 9: Kathy Sperino :
May 10: Barb Forrister :
May 11 Kathy York :
May 12: Lyric Kinard :

book review: whimsical lettering

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

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

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

lettering3 lettering2
lettering4 lettering1

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


congratulations to Susan T who is the winner !!!

Book Review and Giveaway – Intentional Printing

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

Intentional Printing - jacket art

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


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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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!

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. ( 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.

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.)

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.

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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!


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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.

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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.

Book Review and Giveaway: Dreaming from the Journal Page

home_dreaming_bookI know I’m late – it’s been busy. I really didn’t want to throw this last giveaway up without a true and proper book review because  Melanie Testa’s book, Dreaming from the Journal Page, is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. She is a talented artist and a gentle soul with a rock hard core of strength and resilience that inspires me. I first met her several years ago and you can read my series of interviews with her here.

photo 2-1I have two copies of her book or there is no way I’d be giving this pretty thing up. It’s very exciting to me that I have one to share because I hope you will love it as much as I do. Dreaming from the Journal Page is a beautiful blend of technique and inspiration for those of us who explore more than one medium.

Both her work on paper and in cloth is deeply textured and layered but manages to retain a clean simplicity  and purity of focus. I have always loved her deep connection to her subject matter and her love of decorative forms. This book is a look into Ms. Testa’s process and gives one a glimpse of her work that leaves you feeling uplifted.

photo 1-12Melanie guides you through a basic understanding of some of her favorite materials and techniques. She introduces the reader to basic information on paper, brushes, paints, glues, and gives you the instruction, “Your job is to experiment and learn the qualities of each so that you can pair a technique with a planned outcome.” Then she gives you a detailed chart of which techniques might work well with which materials. Chapter 2 guides you through an exploration of color with different media such as collage, watercolors, and dyes. I find her challenges and prompts to be well thought out – giving enough instruction that the reader will not feel lost but leaving room for playfulness.

photo 3-11

The third chapter runs through myriad techniques such as soy wax resist for dye, and frisket resist for watercolors. She talks about solid grounds and gradations, stamps and stencils. There isn’t anything new and earth shattering in this chapter, just good, solid basic information – well written and sumptuously illustrated.

photo 2-1

My favorite chapters are in the back of the book with page after page from her journals, her textile art, and even some more low key projects such as t-shirts and pillows. I can spend hours looking into the layers of her creations and always come away happier and with a desire to create something beautiful myself.


Knowing that she wrote this book throughout her cancer diagnosis, treatment, and recovery process makes it all the more amazing. You can read more about Melanie on her website/blog at


I can’t wait to give this lovely book to one of you! I hope it will be as inspiring to you as it is to me. Please leave a comment for your chance to win. Do you have any stories about art and healing in your own life? What do you think art is for? Why do you create art?

I’ll draw a winner next Sunday June 9th. If you absolutely can’t wait I highly encourage you to go ahead and purchase the book! If you really want to support the artist buy it directly from her (signed) here!




Artist Spotlight and Giveaway: Victoria Findlay Wolfe


I’d like to introduce you to a new friend and fellow artist that I think you will love: Victoria Findlay Wolfe was my fellow guest artist when I filmed for The Quilt Show down in Charleston, SC. I posted a whole series of articles here about the city and the experience. We had a fabulous and exhausting few days while we were there together.


Victoria has a background in the fine arts and is currently working with textiles, churning out quilts like a madwoman. She has more energy and is more productive than most people I know. You can see lots of her quilts here. She makes mostly bed quilts in a very fresh and contemporary style. What follows are Victoria’s own words about her journey.


Everything But The Kitchen Sink by Victoria Findlay Wolfe

“Life hands us funny things sometimes. Often times, it’s things we would have never thought we’d have to deal with. Be kind. Be grateful. Find the JOY in each day.

picture 48

Cheap Hotels by Victoria Findlay Wolfe

I set out for NY in 1994 to be an artist. I came to NYC with a suitcase, two boxes of paintings, and $200 in my pocket. (I do not recommend that to anyone) the $200 was gone in two days in NYC.

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Scrapping it up by Victoria Findlay Wolfe

I set about following my dream, being the creative person I am. And, although I’ve done that, my direction has certainly changed. The important part has been being open to following the creative path that presented itself to me. Had I not found BLOGS, and beautiful quilts, I may not have found the deep appreciation for where I’ve come from. Quilting, was always something we did, because, that’s what we do in our family as MAKERS; We grow our food, we can our food, we make our quilts and clothes… it never dawned on me, that this would become my passion.


“Double Edged LOVE” collaborated & quilted by Lisa Sipes, just WON BEST IN SHOW at QUILTCON!

Now, I have a deep respect for where I’ve come from, and from where quilters have come from. Always look back, and forward for that matter, with respect!”

Do you love her work as much as I do? There is a freedom and playfulness that speaks to me, combined with just enough order to keep things from getting out of hand. Love it. We exchanged and autographed our books as I dropped her off at the airport, eager to share each other’s work with our own readers.

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 15 Minutes of Play

is a book I really enjoyed reading through. In fact, it inspired the first bed quilt I’ve made in years! (I’ll show it to you eventually… it’s still waiting for me to quilt it.) In it she advocates setting aside 15 minutes at the beginning of your creative time to simply play and sew random scraps together. Does this creative warm-up time sound familiar to you? Victoria shows you techniques for using this “made fabric” in your quilts and gives some solid design advice.

I have a signed copy of her book ready to send to one of you.
Tell me what your favorite creative warm-up is.
In three days I’ll pick the winner.

If you just can’t wait and want to buy a signed copy of 15 Minutes to Play you can do that here. (US entries only on this one please. It kills me but they’ve raised shipping charges quite dramatically on this end. I hope to have at least one or two original postcards to give away to my lovely international readers. And – please be patient with shipping. I’ve had surgery and am still not quite back on my feet – I should be able to get out to the post office within two weeks. Cheers and best wishes!)

Book Review: Jane Sassaman

After introducing you to the amazing Jane Sassaman and her art, I’d like to tell you about her new book,
Now – You know my work is usually made from fabric I’ve dyed myself and hangs on the wall, not the bed. But I’ve got to admit – I’ve been having that undeniable compulsion recently to make a bed quilt. The problem is my attention span for bed-quilt-making usually lasts about a day and a half and then I’m done. I have at least four mostly finished bed quilt tops to show for my short attention span. After reading Jane’s book – I think I might just be able to pull something off!
With Jane’s signature style of bright and bold fabrics she shows you how to selectively cut and piece your way to simple yet impressive quilts. She’ll take two or three fabrics and give you a number of cutting and piecing options. Each one makes a unique and, dare I say, impressively gorgeous quilt. In this case, the fabric does all the work! She gives lots of hints for wise cutting and design placement to make your designs look well integrated.

Now I’ve got to admit that my very favorite part of the book is the section at the very front called “History and Designing Fabric.” I’m always fascinated by the design process and reading about how Jane works to come up with her fabric is very interesting.
Jane talks about being inspired by the 19th century Arts and Crafts Movement and William Morris who said, “have nothing in your houses which you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” I can certainly see those influences in her work. It’s a movement I’m very attracted to myself.

 Guess what – I think I need to go shopping.

If you can’t find Jane’s fabrics at your local shop try her online store.

Interested? Have I whet your appetite?

Leave a comment for your chance to win this beautiful book!
Tell me how you use big, bold, beautiful fabrics.
Make sure I can contact you – and check back in three days
(unfortunately this contest is only open to US entries)
or if you just can’t wait the book is
available at Amazon (and… I’ll be combining the comments here with those at my bloodspot blog. They are identical as I’m still trying to get things running smoothly over here. A random number generator will pick the winner.)

Here are some other stops on the tour that still have giveaways open.
Stop by and leave a comment at each blog to increase your chances to win.

July 18 Jan Krentz
July 19 Make It Simpler
July 20 Lyric Kinard
July 22 Jane LaFazio
July 24 Nancy Zieman

Book Review & Giveaway: The Sketchbook Challenge

I’d like to introduce you to a wonderful new book

The Sketchbook Challenge

Techniques, Prompts, and Inspiration for Achieving Your Creative Goals

If you’ve been following along here for a while you know I’ve had the joy of participating in the Sketchbook Challenge blog.  Our fearless leader, the talented, organized, and ever full of initiative Sue Bleiweiss has authored a book that pulls together the various artists (plus some) involved in the project.

Each of us chose to work a sketchbook with one of the themes and create a work of art inspired by our work in that sketchbook. Sue then pulled a technique or two from each artist to highlight.


This means that whether you like books for pure visual inspiration or to learn techniques there is something in it for you. Might I also say that there is something very pleasing to me in the books slightly smaller than standard size and rounded corners. No idea why but I simply love to hold it in my hands. I immediately chose the theme of “Circles.” I love that shape – no idea why. It shows up in my work over and over.

It was wonderful fun to work with a theme over and over through the pages of a sketchbook. For this one I seemed to be attracted to pen and ink with only a little color thrown in here and there. Even when the lines ore doodled instead of tightly controlled it looks clean and crisp. I keep trying to look loose and free and wonderfully textured like so many of the artists I greatly admire but I always end up back here. It’s not a bad thing.

The technique that Sue chose to pull from my finished artwork was screen printing. It’s one of the most direct ways that work from my sketchbook shows up in my textile work. Ink doodles are made directly into thermofax screens and discharged or printed onto my hand dyed cloth and made into artwork. (You can learn all of these techniques on my DVD “Surface Design Sampler Platter.”)



In this case circle scribbles and dot doodles were made into screens and both discharged, painted, and foiled onto the cloth. An amazingly lovely collection of shibori scraps (wish I could remember the artist’s name) became even more circles in this piece. I have to say it was a lovely few days of playing with this design.


I know you will love this book!

You can buy it at any of the following suppliers


Barnes & Noble



And I have  question for you.

Do you use a sketchbook to work out designs for your artwork?


In celebration of the book’s release the following prizes will go to two lucky commenters!

From Mistyfuse (  A 10yd combination package of Mistyfuse that includes 6 yards of White and 2 yards each of Black and Ultraviolet and a Goddess Sheet.

Total retail value: $48!


 A $25 gift certificate to ProChemical and Dye

From ProChemical and Dye


comments close three days from now at the end of the day on July 5th


And if you missed it – go see the other reviews that have been posted and leave comments there and keep an eye out for the upcoming reviews as well. There are prizes at every stop!

June 26:

Jill Berry

Sue Bleiweiss

June 27:


Kathyanne White

July 5:

Carla Sonheim

Carol Sloan

July 6:

Susan Brubaker Knapp

Diana Trout

July 9:

Tracie Lyn Huskamp

Judi Hurwitt

July 10:

Jane LaFazio

Kelli Nina Perkins:

Jane Sassaman Book Tour

July is going to be a very fun month here at Lyric Art! It’s going to be full of Artist Spotlights and Book Reviews and lots of fun giveaways. And it’s not just me, there are wonderful blog tours and giveaways going on all over the place! The first tour, introducing Jane Sassaman’s fabulous new book starts tomorrow over at Laura Wasilowski’s blog. Stop by there then follow the new links each day.


2 Laura Wasilowski
3 Jessica Sloan
5 Judy CoatesPerez
6 Jane Sassaman
7 Linda Teufel
8 Gloria Hansen
9 Melissa Peda
10 Susan B Knapp
11 Jacquie Gering
12 Weeks Ringle
13 SewCalGal
14 Jessic Kovach
15 Pam Matthews
16 Frieda Anderson
17 Pat Sloan
18 Jan Krentz
19 Anita Grossman Solomon
20 Lyric Kinard
21 The Quilt Show
22 Jane La Fazio
23 Free Spirit
24 Nancy Zieman


The Sketchbook Challenge Blog Tour

If you’ve been with me a while you know that I’ve been working with
The Sketchbook Challenge
We are a varied group of artists challenging our readers to get out their sketchbooks and draw. Skill level and confidence have nothing to do with it – the joy of putting pencil to paper is something I highly encourage everyone to experience.

Our fearless leader is Sue Bleiweiss and she’s taken us one step further and has written a book titled (what else!?)

 The Sketchbook Challenge

Each of the guests involved in this project are going to introduce you to a wonderful bit of the book. I think you’re going to love it! So stop by each blog on it’s given day to read about all the fun stuff you’ll find in this book and don’t forget to leave a comment for your chance to win a prize.

June 26:
Jill Berry
Sue Bleiweiss

June 27:
Kathyanne White

June 28:
Kathy Sperino
Leslie Tucker Jenison

June 29:
Jamie Fingal
Lynn Krawczyk

July 2:
Jackie Bowcutt
Lyric Kinard

July 3:
Jane Davies
Kim Rae Nugent

July 5:
Carla Sonheim
Carol Sloan

July 6:
Susan Brubaker Knapp
Diana Trout

July 9:
Tracie Lyn Huskamp
Judi Hurwitt

July 10:
Jane LaFazio
Kelli Nina Perkins:

Book Review (and a giveaway): Personal Geographies

I introduced you to Jill K. Berry here – she’s an amazing mixed media artist and I am greatly attracted to her work. Lettering, maps, beautiful colors, collage? I love it. I wonder if those things tie into my college days as an architecture student?

I’m rambling. To the point. Jill has the most amazing book out titled

It’s part project/technique, part inspiration, and ALL eye-candy and 
I get to give away a copy to one of you who
comment on this post!
You have until Dec 10th to tell me about your favorite map and what it means to you.

Campomigliaio Head Map by Giavanni Cera

My favorites? All of them.

There is something that intrigues me about maps of every kind. I can stare at them for hours. I have large laminated world and US maps on my wall that I’ll drag the kids up to any time a “where” question comes up. I save every single National Geographic map insert and would paper my walls with them if I could get away with it. (Wait a minute – why wouldn’t I? Hmmmmm – dangerous thoughts arising here!) 

Heart Map by Jill Berry

I love maps even more when they are of imagined worlds. I a huge fantasy and ski-fi literature freak and the maps of those worlds are some of my favorites. 

Maps as ART? Oh be still my beating heart. I’ve had a series of “map” quilts in my head for ages, waiting and waiting for me to get around to working on them. This book might just push them right to the front of the line.
Flipping Trip by Jill Berry
This book is full of those wonderful interior and imaginary maps, beautiful galleries of work from many different artists in different media.

I think perhaps one of the reasons I’m so drawn to mixed media work is that the techniques are very applicable to textiles. I can do almost anything on fabric these days that artists can do with paper or collage or paint. I can print stuff on fabric (isn’t that the coolest thing!?!?) or even collage paper to it. (QA magazine has a number of articles that detail how to make “paper cloth.”)

While I don’t pick up project books intending to follow along a copy someone else’s projects – these ideas are all so inspirational that they are sparking all kinds of images in my minds eye. This fold-up map box could just as easily be made with cloth on a stabilizer like craft fuse or timtex.

Cartographic Reliquary by Jill Berry
If you want even more yummy map type stuff – check out the blog that Jill started to further inspire you with more mapmaking beauty and wonderfulness.
There you will find links to book reviews, podcasts, other cool map links.
Carved copper hand map by Jill Berry
Don’t forget to leave a comment for your chance to win!

Each of these blogs still has a giveaway of Jill’s book open. Visit each and leave a comment for more chances to win your own copy of Personal Geographies. All the winners will be drawn on December 10th.
fine print: the publisher is only willing to ship to domestic US addresses. 🙁

Friday, Nov 25 Aimee Myers Dolich
Mon Nov 28 Carla Sonheim
Tues Nov 29 Diana Trout
Weds Nov 30 Gloria Hansen
Friday Dec 2 Jane LaFazio 

Tues Dec 6 Lisa Engelbrecht
Weds Dec 7 Lyric Kinard
Thurs Dec 8 Orly Avineri 
Friday Dec 9 Tracie Lyn Huskamp

Jill Berry’s map of her wedding day

And if I hadn’t already bought my copy the minute it came out, I’d certainly buy it now.

During the Blog hop, there is a also a great deal here from the publisher.
Get FREE Shipping and 35% off retail price for PERSONAL GEOGRAPHIES! 
Visit and use promo code SMM106 to claim your savings.

[Fine Print: Offer expires 12/09/11 at 11:59 pm EST. Offer applies to standing shipping in the US only. Please note that additional discounts and shipping offers are not available on products that ship directly from the manufacturer: see product pages for details. Thank you for shopping at!]

Gratitude Gift Guide 2011: A Black and White Tale

As we go through this week of Thanksgiving and into a beautiful season of Giving
I’m thinking of things that will help you Find Joy, Be Inspired, and Create Beauty!
I’d like to introduce you to
by Ann Fahl and Jacquie Scuitto
This little book is a sweetly whimsical tale of a cat, told in verse and wonderful whimsey.
Jacquie is known as the quilt muse and her verses have been delighting me almost as long as I’ve been quilting. Ann’s quilts were among the first art quilts I fell in love with and inspired me to begin this wonderful journey as an artist. You can see the specific quilt here. Her work is always inspired by her immediate environment, be it her garden or in this case, Oreo, a sweet little cat that brightens her home. (Inspired!)

My kidlets, who sadly, must make do with loving on all of our neighbor’s cats instead of living with one of their own, have been enjoying this book for several weeks now. Stories before bedtime is one of our favorite times of the day. (Joy!)
Your children or grandchildren will love it when you read this book to them. But of course you don’t need little ones. Anyone who has had the pleasure of a purring cat on their lap or watched the playful adventures of a mighty little feline hunter will have a smile on their face as they read each verse.
At the end of the tale Ann describes each of her quilts for you and she even has a cat pattern that you can buy in tandem with the book if you want to make your own sweet little cat quilt. (Be Creative!)
Now, you must know I am not unbiased in any way shape or form. I count both Ann and Jacquie as friends. They are creative artists who have been bold and inspiring. They have gone out on a limb and self-published this book, and endeavor I admire and am happy to support. Think, this Christmas, about supporting artists, fair trade, or hand made. It makes a difference. It makes the world a better place.

You can purchase
A Black and White Tale
on Ann’s website.
AND!!!! (as soon as I find where the kids have hidden it) I’m going to give away our copy of this book.
Leave a comment telling me what you are grateful for this week… and a way for me to contact you.
I’ll let the kidlets draw a lucky winner next Monday.
Tiffa130 on Flickr
A quick note: lest you think I’m hucking rampant consumerism because it’s almost Christmas… Nope. My poor, neglected children get one gift from “Santa” (having known all along that it was me and usually been in on what we call “elfing”) and one from their grandparents, and one from each other. It’s not their birthday we are celebrating after all. We prefer handmade, or something truly thoughtful… not something expensive. We also find a service project each year that they all can participate in. Their favorite being the “ring and run” variety – leaving gifts on a doorstep. Probably because we dress up like spies to do so.

Artist Spotlight part 3: Diana Trout book review

In her book
North Light Books
“I wrote, “Admit that I am scared and do it anyway.” “It” was something that I began to look at more carefully and ask myself what would happen if I did “it” and failed? As it turned out, failure didn’t seem to be earth-shattering. So attempting “it” became exiting. I began to truly understand the truth behind courage – being scared and doing it anyway.
If you’ve read my writings you will understand why I’m drawn to Diana’s work and to this book. My soapbox is all about overcoming your fears and just doing the work. I love that she says it right there in black and white. What is so earth shattering about failure? Not much. Most of the time it is just one step that you need to make on the road to success.
In working through this book you will take a journey through the world of the soul, the space where your wishes and dreams are freed from shadows and let out into the light of day. Diana gives prompts, asks questions, and gently guides you along the path of creative self exploration. My favorite part? She keeps it real. Nothing too schmarmy – just real life experiences and down to earth words that tell it like it is.
Along the way you will learn many different techniques – most of which I hadn’t tried before as they are all about the paper arts. Suminagashi is the one I’m most attracted to. It’s a japanese form of marbling and she makes it look effortless. Diana also covers using resists of all kinds, different ways to use different paints, a few bookbinding techniques, and several image transfer methods. This is a book that I wish I had time to very slowly, step by step, work my way through.
So. Anyone care to come along for the ride? 
Leave a comment and tell me what “IT” might be for you. 
What are you afraid of? What keeps you from trying? Is there really anything earth shattering that might happen if you fail? One lucky commenter will with a copy of Diana’s book. I’ll compile the comments from this post as well as  this one and this one. Check back here Friday to see if you are the lucky one!

Artist Spotlight part 2: Inspired to Quilt

I told you last week how much I admired Melanie Testa as an artist and as a friend. This week I want to introduce you to her book, “Inspired To Quilt.” The title is appropriate as her book is truly inspiring.

I purchased my copy from her at the International Quilt Festival in Houston last October and spent a lovely and very early morning flight home perusing it. I blogged about that morning here. That page also shows a little sketch copied out of her book.
In the interest of full disclosure, Melanie and I were both contracted to write our books through Quilting Arts at about the same time. Now the gushing – I must say that the books they have put out recently through Interweave Press are beautifully laid out. I love, love, love the layout and the general lush and beautiful look of “Inspired To Quilt.”
Now I’m one of those people who will get completely involved in the imagery of a book like this. I “read’ my magazines by flipping through from the back and absorbing the pictures. I love good photography and great layouts and graphic design. And I am completely enchanted by Melanie’s artwork.
Let me tell you now about some of the more in-depth reasons why I love this book and think you will too. Melanie’s gentle and encouraging nature comes shining through in her writing. (Yes, I DID finally read it.) I love that she urges the reader to experiment and play as they try out each of the  processes in this technique oriented book.

There are step by step instructions for working with dye, for printmaking, stamping, stenciling, and dye painting. Melanie walks you through her process one layer and page at a time. She shows you how she begins with sketched ideas, creates layers of cloth and imagery in cottons and sheers and stitching. You are carefully guided through her construction process as images are built and cloth is added and taken away and embellished until the composition is completed. She goes even further to the back of the textile art, explaining finishing techniques and edge finishes.
If you are a project person there is something in “Inspired To Quilt” for you too. I think Melanie’s Pretty Purses are absolutely sweet. Other projects include a Sewing Holster, Merit Badges, and Artists Trading Cards.
So, I strongly encourage you to get a copy of this book. Take a look at the Inspired to Quilt FaceBook Fan Page to read an ongoing discussion about the book and to join in reader challenges.  
And finally, remember that both Melaine and I are working on a textile postcard to give away to lucky commenters on our blogs. She is introducing me to her readers on her blog if you want to pop over and say hello there too.  Any comments on my posts that feature Melanie are eligible for the drawingso go back and leave a comment for last week and pop in the next two weeks as well.

Do you want to hear something amazing? We both sent each other dyed and printed fabric – without telling each other what it was and guess what!?! We both sent fabric printed with the SAME thing – ginkgo leaves. Now THAT is serendipity!
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