Artist Spotlight part 1: Jane LaFazio

May 10, 2010
Hello Friends. I’d like to introduce you to another artist whose work I admire and enjoy. I think you will come to love her artwork as well.

Jane LaFazio is a mixed-media artist working in San Diego California. She has degrees in Graphic Design and Asian Studies, worked for a bit as an international flight attendant, in marketing, and in graphic design. Her career as a full time artist began in watercolors and gradually morphed into collage, sewing, and cloth. I’m very glad it did. Her work with thread and fiber is fascinating, rich, and deep. I was so happy that she took the time out of her very busy schedule this month to answer some interview questions.

Lyric: You are a prolific artmaker – something I hope to become when my children are no longer consume most of my time. (years and years away!) Have you always been prolific?

Jane: I’ve been blessed with a lot of natural energy, and now I’m focusing it on making art. I LOVE making art. As I mentioned, I create a lot of artwork for my workshops and classes, and that act pushes me to finish a project, and work out the problems, rather than just walk away from it. If I’m scheduled to teach something the next day, I’d better figure it out!

L: Do you have to work to discipline yourself to create art?

J: No, I need the discipline for the household chores, not the art making! I have a wonderful, supportive husband who cooks, shops and even does the laundry. Yes, I appreciate him VERY much!

L: Do you have any great habits that help you produce?

J: I work small. I like to work small, but it also makes it easier to do many different projects or types of art. And I almost always have some project that I work on in the evenings, watching TV with my husband.

L: I love working small as well. You can always have something with you no matter where you are. You work in a broad range of media and a variety of styles. Do you think this is an advantage, a disadvantage?

J: Seen in the light of “professional artist” probably a disadvantage. What did Kelli Nina Perkins call herself, a “promiscuous art maker.” That would be me. I love all kinds of art, so I’m always switching media and beginning a new passion, for about a week, then I’m on to something else! My sketching and watercolor: journal style has stayed true and consistent for a number of years now. In the past year, I’ve begun creating heavily hand stitched needle-felted pieces that I intend to stay with—I love the work that’s coming out of me and want it to become some of my signature work. But I’ll still see something in a magazine or on line, and rush to my studio to create something I’ve never tried before. I do LOVE a new technique!

L: What inspires your work? Do you work from realistic sketches and try to reproduce them? Are you inspired by your materials?

J: I get inspiration from everywhere. Online, magazines, walks, museum visits, art fairs, shopping… I don’t plan any of my work. No sketches to work out the kinks for me! I just dive in. that’s where working small works for me. I’ll often create a number of small pieces, then assemble them into something larger. But always, with no real plan. I work intuitively, by starting with a material or a color usually. 

Ralph’s Letters, my ‘breakthrough’ piece was created using love letters from an old boyfriend, and I just began a page at a time. (Breakthrough because it was my largest piece to date, and got in many juried show AND was my first piece published in Cloth Paper Scissors, thanks to Lesley Riley.)

Ralph’s Letters

L: What are your favorite materials?

J: Needle and thread. I started as a watercolor artist, and as I moved into collaging my watercolor paintings, I started sewing on the paper. Now I also sew on fabric.

I hope you have enjoyed getting to know Jane and her work a little better. She is a prolific blogger and I encourage you to head over and browse through her work. It’s complex and rich and beautiful. Next week I’ll tell you about some of the amazing work she does in teaching and sharing her creativity. At the end of the month I’ll be giving away a copy of her DVD workshop “Small Art Quilts” to a lucky reader. The winner will be chosen from among the comments left on any one of the artist spotlight posts about Jane – including this one. How about telling me your favorite “creative habit.” Tell me something that helps you get the work done. (Yes, I am struggling with that particular issue right now. Can you tell?)


  • Reply
    March 24, 2012 at 12:01 am

    I am a real fan of Jane La Fasio's work. I love her colors and the energy in her work. Finishing seems like it is a weakness for me…. finishing is a necessity. I like to see how the project is going to turn out, even if it hasn't started well. I keep working with it until I can complete it, and perhaps that keeps me from trying more things. I have taken a lot of classes since I retired… all sorts of art media and some writing. When I think I should focus on just a few methods, I realize that all of the things I am learning are starting to coalesce and I need to just keep with it. Thanks for all of your great inspiration, Lyric.

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    March 1, 2012 at 9:22 pm

    Thank you for your spotlight series. It really makes us see our favorite artists as people who strive to overcome the same issues we deal with in our art. As to how I try to stay on focus and complete projects, I eventually just want to get all the surfaces in my studio cleaned up and it gives me the push to get it done. And I have to admit that once I am at the point of wanting to get it done, I relax a bit more about the piece and no longer question my direction as much. I have discovered I am more creative when I just relax and let it happen rather than trying to direct everything.

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    May 31, 2010 at 11:36 am

    I hang the small pieces on a cable in my studio up near the ceiling. when I'm surrounded by part finished projects and my inner critic starts chanting – 'you never finish anything' I can look up and see a lovely row of my own work.

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    May 28, 2010 at 2:06 am

    I love to hear/read how artists work. I love to work small, mostly because I can really do time consuming detailed work that I just couldn't do on a large work.
    I have lots of large UFO's but I generally finish the small works.

    Susan Parker

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    May 27, 2010 at 9:34 pm

    Don't you find that sometimes when you finish a project, you are feeling flat afterwards? I've found it easier to cope with that by having another project started and waiting for me to carry on – sometimes though, I do get ahead of myself – the focus goes out the door! Thanks for showing us how others work and keep their focus.

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    May 27, 2010 at 9:08 pm

    Thank you for these interviews. I enjoy Jane's work and follow her blog. I too love to try different techniques and mediums. How can I settle on one thing when there's so many to pick from.

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    May 27, 2010 at 8:16 pm

    Oh, you showed my favorite piece here. The circle piece is so wonderful. What a great inspiration.


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    May 27, 2010 at 7:22 pm


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    May 27, 2010 at 7:15 pm

    Jane's work is beautiful! I follow her blog and look forward to seeing what she's up to!

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    May 27, 2010 at 4:41 pm

    oh my gosh….Jane creates such beauty! This is very inspiring and makes we want to see more! I must have her DVD!

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    May 27, 2010 at 3:36 pm

    I like the ralph's letters idea of making a bigger piece in smaller parts. I have a 10 mo old who like to only nap in my arms so i haven't done a whole lot latelybut my strategy is to keep my studio clean and ready to go and to have a few things ready for the few moments i do put him down. A babe in arms is nice too though! Also i'm reading up on blogs while he sleeps on me. 🙂

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    May 27, 2010 at 1:51 pm

    Jane seems great and very inspiring…I also like to work small (otherwise I'd never finish anything!).
    One of my favorite creative habits is just to sort through my various stashes (yarn, fabric, fibers, beads), generally by color…ostensibly organizing and re-organizing, but really just absorbing the inspiration of the colors and their juxtapositions (and trying to remind myself of what I have!).

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    Sunny -- aka Matriarch
    May 27, 2010 at 1:20 am

    I'm so inspired by Jane's work. Thank you for putting her in the spotlight. I find myself not finishing because I never get started. I just overwhelm myself with expectations that are too high. Looking at Jane's work makes me itch to get my hands into my fabric and start stitching.

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    May 19, 2010 at 8:54 pm

    Jane LaFazio is one of my favorite artists as well. I guess her positive attitude and energy come through in her art. I like the way she approaches problems.
    Her creative habits are healthy though she is a bit "promiscuous" (!) as I am; every new technique or art material must be explored, right? You never know when the technique perfect for you and your ideas will come along.
    Suzanne G in NC

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    May 16, 2010 at 8:37 pm

    My favourite creative habit that helps me get stuff done is writing morning pages. Every morning I write three pages of nothing. Just what ever comes into my head. Eventually, after writing "I really must draw something again" for a few days in a row, I do finally do another drawing. It's like my own personal reminder.

    Mary Ann, I use your habit too. Leave something ready to start straight away.


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    Jeanne Turner McBrayer
    May 16, 2010 at 1:45 am

    Very inspiring interview. I am a lifelong learner, always trying something new. What really makes me produce, hate to admit, is deadlines. If I don't have a deadline, whether a quilt show or a gift-giving occasion, it often just does not get done.

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    May 14, 2010 at 11:52 am

    I get together once a month with some fibre art friends and we recently started picking a one word theme – bridge, underground to work from. we make a small piece to bring to the next meeting. positive peer pressure

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    May 13, 2010 at 9:30 pm

    My favorite creative habit is to leave a little bit unfinished for the morning. Instead of finishing the last quilt border or last stiches of one thread color, I'll leave a bit so when I come into my studio the next time, I can just sit down and start working. If I have to dither about what to do, set up a new project, I have to work to get started and can easily get derailed.

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    May 12, 2010 at 8:37 pm

    I enjoy reading about other artists and their habits. Jane seems not only to begin alot of pieces but she also finishes them! Some of us have troubly beginning and some with finishing up. I do better finishing a piece if I am aiming to enter it or have a deadline to post it or swap it. Knowing someone waits helps spur me on.
    Suzanne G in NC

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    May 12, 2010 at 7:30 pm

    Thank You for this spotlight series. I love getting to know about other artist's practice. I love trying new techniques too and sometimes feel bad skipping around. But new things inspire me. Color also inspires me,so I loved looking at jane's work.

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    Carol C
    May 11, 2010 at 12:16 pm

    Another great interveiw! It's nice to know there are other people out there that jump from one thing to another. Maybe there's hope for me yet. If I'm not in the mood to be creative I find if I start to reorganize my sewing room I usually come across something I have'nt seen for awhile and then I'm off and running again.

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    May 11, 2010 at 1:15 am

    I am really enjoying your interviews with other artists and although I have seen Jane's work before, it is interesting to hear her comments. I too love to do many different techniques. When the muse deserts me, I often go to the zoo and take animal and nature photos. Sometimes it helps to just get away from it all.

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    May 11, 2010 at 12:12 am

    I am glad to see I'm not alone…FINISHING!! I know I have the tools…I've read , watched and studied the techniques…but I have time management issues. I can't even bribe myself with finishing and allowing myself the reward of something new! I'm now searching out goals…taking a class with Jane Davila about marketing etc…hoping to set myself goals and plans…Jane LaFazio gives me renewed hope. If someone I've watched and learn from also has struggled…I DO stand a chance!!! Thank you Lyric for another great interview!

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    May 10, 2010 at 10:37 pm

    I follow Jane's blog and agree with you – she's prolific and inspirational. Thanks for featuring her today.
    My creative habit is to start a project and then think of a hundred other ones so that it becomes difficult to focus and finish the first one! So working small is crucial.
    I spent Mother's Day forcing myself to finish the hand quilting on a baby quilt for a grand nephew who is several month old now. Fortunately he lives in a warm climate and the quilt is not really needed just yet…

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    Lisa Walton
    May 10, 2010 at 7:49 pm

    I lust after Jane's talent. Her watercolours are sublime. I work small until the muse hits and then the larger works suddenly take form in my head. If I am lucky they start to migrate to my hands and eventually to reality.

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    May 10, 2010 at 2:48 pm

    I agree with Ruth. I can't stop trying new techniques and products so I am not sure what my signature art is. Nice to know that Jane only found hers recently!
    Two years ago I decided to set a goal to post a new project every Sunday on my blog and that has kept me creating and focused.( Sometimes I even have quilts waiting in the wings to be posted. I have raised 4 kids so I know that when they are young it is more difficult to find the time for your art…but it is also what kept me sane. They are all out of the house now and they are still my biggest fans.
    Thanks for sharing your friends with us.

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    Ruth Anne Olson
    May 10, 2010 at 1:59 pm

    I found this spotlight on Jane very inspiring and reassuring. I have never been able to stick with just one thing–from careers to art and fiber. I always felt that this held me back from becoming really good (expert) at anything (although it has made my life more interesting), but I see that it has not held Jane back–it has made her more creative. Thank you.

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    May 10, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    Thank you for your spotlight series. It is so great to be introduced to other artists. Getting things complete is a huge issue for me. Life gets in the way sometimes, but I find that deadlines work well for me. Usually they are self imposed,(therefore I sometimes cheat) but small goals help to push me to completion, otherwise I tend to dwell too long on trying to get things "perfect" when I am not exactly sure what perfect is. My new attitude is to go with it and if I don't like it in the end and can't fix it, at least I learned something from the experience and can improve on the next piece.

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