Tuesday, May 02, 2017

New hopscotch Fabric Line!

I'm so happy to be part of this blog hop celebrating Jamie's new fabric line...

a playful tone on tone super blender line of fabrics based on a collection of hand-drawn designs from Jamie Fingal's sketchbooks. dots, geometrics, flowers and loop-de-loops. hop, skip and jump over to the playground.

Here's what I created.

It's 18x18 and titled Moonlit Grove.

I really wanted to work in a neutral color palette with just one pop of color. I was able to select several beautiful browns and creams and this serene-yet-strong blue. 

Even the names of the colors are super fun. The colors in this quilt include Meringue, Coffee, Vanilla Bean, Biscotti, Espresso, and BlueBerry. (So why didn't I make a quilt with a coffee cup and a muffin?! Next time!)

There are eleven different designs in tons of colors making a total of 83 different fabrics. The line will debut at Spring Quilt Market in St. Louis in mid-May, and the fabric will ship to stores in August. 

Because the fabrics are so luscious and yet spare in design, I could really add my own spin to the design without being distracted by too much color or print. So of course I added paint, hand embroidery and free motion quilting.

Several quilters made 18x18 squares for the fabric reps to take out in the field to show quilt shop owners what can be made with this line! Woot!

Follow along on the blog hop to see more quilts made with the hopscotch line. 

4-24 Jamie Fingal https://jamiefingaldesigns.blogspot.com/
4-25 Cindy Cooksey https://cookseyville.blogspot.com/
4-26 Sue Bleiweiss  https://suebleiweiss.blog/
4-27 Lyric Kinard  https://lyrickinard.blogspot.com/
4-28 Susan Brubaker Knapp  https://wwwbluemoonriver.blogspot.com/

5-1 Leslie Tucker Jenison https://leslietuckerjenison.blogspot.com/
5-2 Deborah Boschert https://deborahsjournal.blogspot.com/
5-3 Libby Williamson https://libbywilliamsondesigns.blogspot.com/

Thursday, April 20, 2017

This and That?

In my now twelve years of blogging, I've included personal news, thoughts about art, my own professional development and other items along the way. It feels sort of hodge podge... which is not the way blogs are anymore, really. Or are they?

With that in mind, a few personal updates...

We celebrated Benjamin's birthday.

A baby bunny appeared on our back porch and Lincoln really wanted to play.

I took a trip to North Park Center where they had a wonderful exhibition of portraits of artists taken by photographer Bruce Weber.

I especially liked this one of Andrew Wyeth... with my reflection.

There is so much wonderful art at NorthPark, but I found this collection of mannequins interesting too.

We tried out a new Thai ice cream place where the pour the base liquid on a super cold plate, spread it out, then roll it up and slide the rolls into a cup. Then add toppings. Can you see the rolls in this picture?

We haven't had a family portrait taken in several years... so we did that!

Here is an outtake I snapped with my camera.

Claire is racing to the end of her time in high school. We had two special events last week.

Her Academic Decathlon team was recognized at the school board meeting.

And she received a scholarship from the Daughters of the American Revolution.

My life is pretty full and I feel lucky. More art stuff soon.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Seven Resources for Developing Your Creative Voice

When I share my art quilts, people often notice repeated elements, themes, colors and imagery. They begin to see these elements as my personal style... my creative voice.

Then they ask how I developed that voice. It's not simply about using the same techniques or colors in every art quilt I create. It's more than that.

I put together a workbook that includes exercises, prompts, lists and ideas. It's called Head, Heart and Hands: Developing Your Creative Voice. (It's in my Etsy shop as a pdf download or a spiral bound workbook.)


The workbook is a great start, but I bet you'll want more.

I've been making notes about articles and books I read, videos I've watched and podcasts I've listened to that help answer the big question of how to develop a creative voice.

Here are seven excellent resources.

The Amazon links are affiliate links.

1. On Developing A Visual Voice by Susie Monday
I first came across this blog post when Susie included it in her e-newsletter. I bookmarked it and return to it regularly. I love her idea of "personal detective work." No one said developing a creative voice is easy, but it's definitely worthwhile.

2. Creative Strength Training by Jane Dunnewold
Jane's new book is quite excellent. I love her ideas about focus, alignment and goals. This book is a great mix of specific instruction and inspiration combined with some very personal, soul-searching, insightful narratives.

3. The Lisa Congdon Sessions
I really enjoyed this new online class with Lisa Congdon (daughter of fellow Twelve, Gerrie Congdon) called Idea Generation: Expanding Your Creative Repertoire and Finding Your Voice. Lisa shares some very practical, specific tips and exercises for your creative journey.

4. Big Magic Podcast with Elizabeth Gilbert
In trying to include a variety of media on this list, I had to include a podcast! This one is great. Each episode includes a close examination of a person at a creative crossroads, plus some excellent, specific suggestions to help him or her move forward. I can almost always use the suggestions in my own creative life. Lots of people also think Gilbert's Big Magic book is excellent. (Wow. the paperback only $6.48! Why haven't I ordered it before now?!) I haven't read it yet, but it should arrive in my mailbox later this week. I am sure the podcast and the book would make a power combination.

5. Finding Your Visual Voice: A Painter's Guide to Developing an Artistic Style by Dakota Mitchell
This book includes lots of nuts and bolts about painting and I'm not a painter. But... it has so much more! The design and layout of the book make it easy to jump in anywhere. It's full of provocative and helpful questions that can lead any artist further along his or her path. It's also full of tons of images of paintings by various artists with thoughts about how they fit into a body of work. (It's mostly out of print, but you may be able to track down a used copy.)

6. The Gap by Ira Glass

This is a stunningly, creative, insightful and down-to-earth video about not quitting. Don't miss the carved cucumber. Or the alphabet soup.

7. Show Your Work, Steal Like an Artist and The Steal Like an Artist Jounal by Austin Kleon

Surely you've already heard of these books! They are immensely popular for good reason. Amazingly, Kleon explains complex concepts with super simple terms and inspiring graphics. He tells it like it is. He would never tell you it's easy to develop your creative voice, but he gives you concrete examples of how to get to work.

Have I sent you down a wonderful rabbit hole of inspiration? Don't get stuck in the hole for too long... come out and start creating!


These are the same kinds of things I share in my newsletter, Three Bits of Inspiration. Of course, inspiration and creative voice are closely linked. Notice what inspires you and you're on your way to a deeper understanding of your unique voice. You can sign up for the newsletter here.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Enjoying every stitch!

When I was at Quilt Market in Houston, I was delighted to see Carrie Bloomston. We've met before (I'm not sure where... maybe just through friends of friends in the online world.) and she warmly welcomed me into her gypsy tent introducing her fabric line, Dreamer, with Windham.

A few months later, she posted some fabric scrap packs for sale on Facebook and Instagram. On a whim, I treated myself. They sold fast and I was excited to get one. You can't really see them all here. It was a wonderfully fat bundle.

Later Carrie shared that selling the scrap packs allowed her to put down a payment on a studio outside her home, enabling new adventures and dreams for her professional and creative life. I found that quite gutsy and inspiring.

I wanted to use the fabric to generate some new adventure and dreams for my own professional and creative life. I set out to create several small art quilt collages each using at least one of Carrie's prints and some kind of shape symbolizing ideas to pursue and celebrate in 2017.

Here are the six finished art quilts. They are all 5x7 inches.

For Nourishment
The triangles on green are from Carrie's scrap pack.

For Growth
The bee is from the fabric collection.

For Family
The green fabric with the white plus that says "birds flying" is from Carrie's fabric. Does this symbolize Claire getting ready to fly away from home? Maybe. I loved stitching those tiny birds.

For Momentum
The blue bit with the selvedge at the top is from Carrie's line. I love incorporating an interesting selvedges.

For Stability
The bit under the rocks is a print from the fabric pack. This little collage surprised me the most. It took me a long time to put all the right fabrics, shapes, colors and stitches in just the right place -- now I think it's my favorite of the collection.

For Lightness
The green triangle points at the bottom (and on the left edge) are from the fabric collection. You can see I used a bit of my favorite stripe here too! You know the phrase, "Light as a feather?" Here I am thinking of clarity, buoyancy, illumination.

These were a delight to make. I enjoyed every stitch. They are all framed and available in my Etsy shop.

In addition to sales of the artwork, I will be developing a workshop around this series. It will be about personal symbols, simple compositions, working in a series, creating small art and enjoying every stitch! 

Friday, March 03, 2017

February Snap Shots

Let's catch up.

I started February with a wonderful trip to Phoenix to spend the weekend with some of my college girlfriends.

We had a wonderful dinner in an old mission and I snapped this photo.

We also took a fabulous hike and were rewarded with this spectacular view.

The next trip was to southern Illinois for my sister-in-law's funeral. It feels sad and strange to lump this trip in with all the other February activities. It was -- and is -- a difficult time. I am full of love for these four amazing people. And for all the friends and family we shared time with.

We took some time to visit grandma's old house where we discovered this scary Santa in the attic.

And this rotary phone in the basement.

Grandma's house is full of memories and it was a special side-trip to really take in all the people, places and experiences our family has shared.

I taught a fabulous group of students my Creativi-Tree Art Quilts workshop.

Grandma and Grandpa came to cheer on Claire and her team at the Texas State Academic Decathlon tournament!

There was a fancy awards breakfast banquet where the team won a silver medal in the Super Quiz and Claire finished tenth overall.

We also had a stroll along the Riverwalk.

Then I flew to Colorado to shoot an episode of The Quilt Show with Ricky Tims and Alex Anderson. More on that later, but here are a couple of snapshots.

I shot a surface design demo with Alex.

And a composition demo with Ricky.

Plus a fun chat segment on the "living room" set.

My friend, Michelle, just moved to Colorado, so I spent an extra day with her. We took a walk with the dogs in the snow.

Plus some doggy cuddles.

The views were extraordinary.

We hiked through Garden of the Gods.

Colorado did not disappoint!

February slipped into March which we kicked off with Benjamin's birthday.

I feel pretty lucky. My professional, personal and creative lives are full. I need that to balance the emptiness of such an enormous loss for our family.