a peek through my sketchbook

I thought I’d give you a little peek at my most recent sketchbook. If you’ve been following me here you know I’ve went off on a bit of a tangent. I got a little obsessed with drafting celtic knots. It’s a lovely way for me to meditate and I can do it wherever I am instead of needing to be in my studio.


You can view my quick video tutorial for drafting celtic knots

You can purchase the result of that tangent – a real live coloring book!!!


a peek through my sketchbook

This is one of the moleskin sketchbooks I’ve been using for drafting celtic knots.



quilting arts TV blog hop

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


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


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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

July 18: Vivika DeNegre at quiltingdaily.com

July 19: Luana Rubin (luanarubin.typepad.com)/Linda Friedman (lindasartquilts.blogspot.com)

July 20: Sarah Ann Smith (sarahannsmith.com/weblog)/Karen Gloeggler (thejaneaustenquilt.com)

July 21: Carrie Bloomston (suchitysuch.blogspot.com/ Cath
erine Redford (catherineredford.com)

July 22: Sue Reno (suereno.blogspot.com)/ Rebekah Meier (rebekahmeier.com)

July 23: Lyric Kinard (lyrickinard.com/blog) / Margie Ullery (ribboncandyquilts.blogspot.com)

July 24: Cheryl Sleboda (muppin.com/wordpress/) / Jane Sassaman (janesassaman.com/weblog)/ Julie Creus (http://todera.blogspot.com/)

July 25: Susan Brubaker Knapp (bluemoonriver.blogspot.com)

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

Sketchbook: kids at work

I haven’t posted any sketches for ages. Doesn’t mean I haven’t done any although my sketchbook does get pulled out less frequently these days. These are very quick, scribbled drawings of kids who don’t hold still. It’s a great exercise in gesture drawing. Here is a post explaining more about what that is.

IMG_3620I volunteer in my little guy’s classroom once in a while. The kids come through for centers and when they are with me they are supposed to be doing language skills exercises.


My main job is to try to keep these squirrelly little kids on task doing something most of them don’t want to do. IMG_3611So I figured out that if I pull out my sketchbook and draw they get really, really interested. They all want me to draw them so I tell them I’ll draw them only while they are working. It worked. Mostly.

Creative Wisdom: Baby Steps

There is no such thing as a long piece of work, except one that you dare not start. ~Charles Baudelaire~

Today’s baby step
paint a background (or several) in a sketchbook

Drip some watercolors or splash on some acrylics.

You don’t have to do anything else with it now but it might just spark something. 

Just being in the room or that certain creative space in your head might be enough to make you pick up another paintbrush or a needle and floss or turn on your sewing machine.

I got into it just enough to pick up a sharpie and scribble out some words on the page. Who knows what it will become? Not me. Most of the time it is creativity for the fun of it when I’m working in a sketchbook. Work. Play. Same thing.

What have your baby steps been this week?
What have they led to?

After a crash and burn summer I’m getting to the space in my head where I can start some real projects again. Baby steps work.

A Sketch-In in NC!


I gave a presentation at my local library last week – can I just say how much I love libraries?! I think most of my new directions in life have begun with large stacks of books checked out from the library. Most of my book was written there. I can make art with five kids at home and being interrupted every two minutes – but I can’t write that way. This was just a little way to give something back to my favorite community place.
I love sharing my philosophy of ART with everyone. This is it. YOU are creative! YOU can learn to draw if you are willing to spend the time doing the work and if you are willing to give yourself permission not to be perfect. It takes us years to learn to read and write – why do we think that we should be able to draw the first time we pick up a pencil?
I enjoyed talking with so many people after the lecture. Especially Hannah! She was a delight to meet and mentioned that she follows the sketchbook challenge. She was a brave soul and brought her little one along – love that! She had something bright in her hand that drew my eye right away and (magpie that I am) I practically grabbed it out of her hand to examine this sweet little hand made sketchbook. Then she gave it to me. I still can’t believe she gave it to me – I’m so honored. Pop over and take a peek at her pantry sketchbook  tutorial so you can make your own.
SO – the upshot is… we’re going to start our own sketch-in and YOU are invited!!! No “talent” required. Just come and have fun and play. Bring a sketchbook and whatever you like to use in it. I’ll lead a warm-up exercise at half past each hour but mostly we’ll just play. Come when you can, leave when you must.
Friday March 18th
10am- 2pm
Bring food to share for lunch if you’d like, kids are welcome
Lyric’s studio in Cary, NC 102 Kilmorack DR.
RSVP lyric@pobox.com

Any Time! Anywhere!

You truly don’t need to be fancy about keeping a sketchbook.
Get a small one that is portable and keep it with you all the time.
It can be a place to freely doodle and play. 
You’ll be amazed at how your drawing skills improve
simply by taking a minute here, a minute there.
 At the airport.
 Staying awake at church.
 Waiting for food at a restaurant.
 Insomnia late at night (drawn from a photo).
Just DO it!

The Sketchbook Challenge: Highly Prized

I’ve been thinking about the Sketchbook Challenge theme all month.
It only took a few minutes to know what I consider to be very valuable.
The first bit glued into my sketchbook? My usual schedule. It looks like that through next June. Five kids and a part time career will do that to you. Time is flying by and I often feel I’m missing it. My oldest daughter just applied for college. I’m feeling a little … something. Excited? Yes. Apprehensive? Just a tiny bit – she’s prepared. Bushwhacked? When did she grow up!?!
I’ve thought of images I wanted to incorporate. I’ve thought of amazing and wonderful outcomes.
I’ve also avoided actually doing anything until the last possible moment. It’s a fear thing. Yup – me. The lady who preaches non-stop that “it’s all about DOING the work and we can’t let fear get in the way.” Here I am in front of everybody – thinking everybody is expecting some fantastic outcome and feeling inadequate.
So. TIME for me to take my own words to heart and just DO it. Forget about expectations. 
1- The calendar gets glued in. Painted over with a bit of gesso. Oops. Now I remember that ink-jet prints smear when wet. Ah well, so be it. Find a couple of my favorite pics.
2- Let the gesso layer dry then paint a little bit of a color wash over that. I’m using Prochemical’s Profab Textile Paints – because I have a LOT of them on hand. They’re an acrylic and work fine.
3- Play around with photoshop and a few of the images that speak to my feelings. Print them out, cut them out, glue them in. I used a PVA glue this time. I think I might like gel medium better. We’ll see.
4- Add a little more of a blue wash over the hands to blend it into the background.
5- More acrylic in a transparent blue and an opaque white – swirls in with a brush – like time swirling all around me and away.
6- Hunt through my stack of screen for the perfect image. Ah – there it is. This time I used it like a stencil, first with the white opaque paint, then a navy transparent. It was a pain having the wire binding loops right in the way. I’m seriously thinking of working with loose sheets then binding them as shown in Jane Davie’s  tutorial. When I find some time.
I am addicted to thermofax screen printing. I have a machine and run a service, making ready made or custom screens. It allows me to feed my insatiable hunger for making new images in my own work. This particular screen came from a photo sent by Alexandria (one of my on-line students from QuiltUniversity.com) of one of her antique pocketwatches.  
This is what my work surface looks like when I’ve got projects going on. Stuff left from the last class I taught. Samples shoved out of the way. Kids forms for school events to be filled out. The usual. No – I’m not an artist who thinks clutter is great – it drives me nuts. I work best when I can clean everything up and start fresh with room to work and breath. No TIME for cleaning up right now.
8- Last step – I started in with pencil, moved up to a Sukura Pigma Pen and then decided a sharpie would glide over the bumpy acrylics on the page. 
My baby has wings. She’s ready to fly.
I’d love your feedback.
Do you have any ideas that could help me?
I want to learn how to savor each moment, live in the present. I still have to keep most of my schedule – I’m already very good at saying no to more stuff. The things I do I love. But time still flies away.
Oh, and don’t forget to head over to  the Sketchbook Challenge today to see who won this months giveaways. February’s theme will go up tomorrow. Can’t wait!

The Sketchbook Challenge: January’s Theme

!!!GAME ON!!!
Hop on over to the Sketchbook Challenge blog TODAY to read about January’s theme.
You can read about Jill Berry, this month’s featured artist here.
A quick review.
Everyone is invited and encouraged to join us.
Post your work to the Flickr group 
(follow the directions here for tagging)
and be eligible to enter each months giveaways.
Take a look at January’s offerings from Golden, Interweave, and Violette.
January’s prize from Interweave Press
All the details and guidelines for your participation can be found here.
I highly encourage you to read more of Jill’s philosophy on sketching here.

The Sketchbook Challenge: prepping a book

I’m excited about the Sketchbook Challenge. I’ve always used my sketchbooks as a learning tool and a reference library. If it doesn’t go down onto a page of my ubiquitous little black sketchbook – the idea most often disappears somewhere out in the ether. These little black books will never go away.
But this is a challenge right? I don’t expect to create a masterpiece – but I’ve been in love with Melanie Testa’s visual journals since the first time I saw them that I’m inspired to take a step in that direction this year. I’m going to play. I’m going to experiment. I’m going to strive for beauty. Take a look at the first step I’m taking.

Join me. Join us!
Go over to the Sketchbook Challenge blog and “follow” it.
Sign in to the Flickr group.
(If you’ve seen the muppet named Rizzo the Rat say that – say it in his voice!)
You won’t believe all the exciting goodies that our sponsors are offering for the giveaways.

Sue Bleiweiss Podcast at the Voodoo Cafe


over at the blog
has posted a fantastic 

about the Sketchbook Challenge.
Take a quick break and go listen.
Then come join in the fun at THE SKETCHBOOK CHALLENGE!!!
I’m making plans. 
I’ve got my books – and pencils – and pens – and paints – and glue – and collage materials
and you get the picture.
Anything goes.
Everyone is invited.
ALL levels are encouraged.
In other words 

Artist Spotlight part 3: Melanie Testa – process

The past two weeks I’ve enjoyed introducing you to a favorite artist of mine, Melanie Testa. Today I’d like to introduce you to her artwork. Together we’ll learn a little more about her process.

Lyric: I’ve seen just a bit of your visual journaling and it is just as lovely as your artwork. How do sketching and drawing help you in your textile work? Why did you choose textiles rather than a more traditional media?
Melanie: My journals are so import to me that I can’t imagine not keeping them. I draw inspiration for stamps, marks, actual artwork, they help me to remain focused creatively. Just today, I met up with a friend and we went to the Met to draw, I feel so alive when I am looking at and evaluating what I see. When the line looks like what I am trying to draw, it is such a thrill. I can’t take that for granted! But even though I utilize my journals and sometimes even share them when I write articles, the journals are private, they feel intensely personal to me.
As for why I work in cloth? I could not have it any other way. I just tried to imagine myself as an oil painter. I need the ragged edge, the dye, the stamps, the sewing machine.

L: I am fascinated by your juxtaposition of symbols and words with imagery from nature. How do you go about choosing which images to combine? How did you come upon the process of layering images with sheers?

M: Working with sheers came about as a result of journaling. I came to a place where I found my journals held more artistic focus and intention than my quilt art, but my quilt art was more important to me! So I evaluated the difference in approach and technique. I had been using tracing paper in my journals, I would trace a drawing from one page onto tracing paper, paint around and over the tracing, then glue that onto another painted page. The transparency is what held sway. So I figured out cloth equivalents to my favorite techniques. Silk organza became tracing paper and could be dyed with Procion MX dyes.
I started using words in my art because I was working with a man who used words in his paintings but I could not stand how he did it! I started using text and symbols because I knew there had to be a better approach. The words ought to merge with and become one with the piece almost as though in pentimento. As for using nature in my work, I find great solace in all things natural. 
L: Do you work from a plan or do you improvise as you go?
M: I like to plan loosely. Right now I just started a series if 20 Common Birds in Decline. I am working on an image of an Evening Grosbeak. the drawing of the bird needs to be perfected before I begin because the artwork is only as good as your original drawing. But the background and the collaged elements are not in the original drawing. I like to leave as much as possible to chance.
L: What is it about birds that draws you to use them so much in your artwork?

M: When I was a girl, I wanted to be a bird, to be able to flit, watch and leave by taking flight! I began bonding with birds when I was a teenager, my father had bought a bird feeder and a Roger Torey Peterson identification book and we began putting names to shapes and colorings. As an adult, I started keeping my own feeder, then bought binoculars, and now study and read all I can. Right now, I am an armchair bird watcher! Simply? The shiny sparkle of light in a birds eye bowls me over, I can’t resist it. 
L: Your use of stitching is so well integrated into the composition of your work. Do you begin with your stitched lines in mind or do those ideas come afterwards.
M: I do loosely plan the images used in my work. As I print, paint and stamp, ideas will float past and reveal themselves, but it is only when I get to the sewing machine that I can listen to and enact a plan for the stitch.
L: If you went to a desert island for a week and could only take a shoebox of art supplies, what would it contain?
My backpack is about the size of a shoebox and often contains, scrap, batting, needles, thread, embroidery floss and beads, a journal and a small box of paints, one pencil, two pens (Pilot t500 and a Pentel Pocketbrush) and a niji water brush. My wallet can be left behind to accommodate more cloth, perferably hand dyed dupioni, my current cloth crush. 🙂
So dear readers, are you as in love with Melly’s work as I am? Her process fascinates me and I’ve enjoyed studying it and sharing with with you.
I’ve finished the 5×7 piece from the ginkgo fabric that Melanie sent to me. Next week I’ll tally up all of the comments on the four posts featuring her. Yes, you can leave a comment on each post and be counted four times!

I’ll throw the lot into a random number generator (or have one of the kidlets shout out a number between so and so) and the lucky winner will be sent this lovely little piece of art. It is 5×7 and made with the beautiful piece of organza printed by Melanie. I do believe that she is posting the piece she made with the fabric I sent her on her blog this week as well.
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