31 January 2011

art & fear - will you read it with me?

There are a lot of books out there on what it means to be an artist. They talk about all the things you can do to be more productive and connect and how to gain inspiration. In all honesty, many of them don't ring my bell. Not because they are bad books, they simply don't suit my taste.

But have you read this one?

Its one of my favorites. Not because it tells you some almighty secret on how to be a better artist and make millions, but it talks about the things that run through your head when you are sitting in the studio wondering where to start or if you should keep going.

Here's what the summary on the back says:

What is your art really about?

Where is it going?

What stands in the way of getting there?

These are questions that matter, questions that recur at each stage of artistic development - and they are the source for this volume of wonderfully indecisive commentary.

Its been a while since I've read through Art & Fear. In fact, I forgot I owned the book. I came across it when I was digging through my bookshelf looking for something else. I picked it up and read a few pages and realized something - it means something different to me now then when I read it the first time.

Probably because I'm different. I've accomplished more, grown into the title of artist in a more comfortable stance, learned to accept this side of myself that felt sort of foreign when it first showed up.

I'm going to read through it again and I thought perhaps you would like to join me. Would you like to join me? Its a very easy read, has short chapters and is an inexpensive book. You can order it here.

So on the first of every month (beginning March 1 with chapter 1), I'll do a post about my own personal thoughts on a chapter. I'd love it if you'd leave comments or post on your own blog what you thought.

This is just the sort of ongoing discussion that I'd love to have running through the blog. So that's what we're going to do. Grab your book, give the first chapter a solid read and we'll talk about it on March 1.

30 January 2011

where i stand sunday

The studio has been humming at full tilt for nearly three weeks now. Another beginning is waiting, varied, staggeringly barren. I stare down at the pieces and wonder at how they will fill themselves with color and pattern and stitch. Its always this way at the beginning, a small feeling of disbelief, an edge of uncertainty that settles just out of reach.

Where I Stand is an ongoing photo essay examining the different places I spend my life standing. Too often we take for granted the everyday places we spend our lives walking on. The ground we tread on has its own stories to tell.

29 January 2011


{untitled} is a weekly blog post series featuring photos only that I find inspirational - I hope you do too...

27 January 2011

is your work original?

I'm a big fan of Alyson Stanfield. The woman knows her stuff inside and out and there's no sugar coating on it. I appreciate good clean honesty, especially in the art world.

She posted this question on her blog today: Is there such a thing as originality?

I've found this to be a fairly touchy subject. Almost up there with "What is art?" Now there's a topic that will go in circles for centuries.

But we're not going there. We're scrutinizing originality today.

There isn't much in this world that we don't learn by mimicking someone else. Some things we learn, mostly the mundane ones, we never try to change from the way we were taught. Let's be honest, my mom taught me to brush my teeth up and down and I'm not likely to ever do it different.

But when it comes to art, I think there needs to be some thoughtful consideration when it comes to how much of someone else's style is present in a piece. I've been pretty touchy about my own work, I avoid classes that involve projects. I'm a technique only gal and even at that, I'm insanely selective. I've only taken four classes in my art life, most everything else I've learned has been through torturing my studio with experiment after experiment.

We've all seen the clones of other artist's work who are on the teaching circuit. It happens, its inevitable. And I've got nothing impolite to say to these students. Why? Because I understand the need to want to just make something. Its why I knit. I grab the yarn and the needles and the pattern and just work. I love knitting because I don't design any of the patterns or think up new things. I just go. So I totally understand the appeal.

But think about the flip side of this. What would happen if you took what you learned in that class and turned it upside down and stretched it until it begged for mercy?

That's what I think of when people talk about originality. Its something that I think I owe to myself - the work of finding that place where the process and the work feels like me.

I believe its still out there. But I believe its a process. It begins in a familiar place and then just flings itself in its own direction.

What do you think? Do you think originality is still alive and well?

embracing change

The key to change...is to let go of fear.
- Rosanne Cash

That's one of my favorite quotes of all time. Probably because its one of the most honest things I've ever read.

Its something I'm trying to embrace right now because I'm at that point again: change. Really, if you think about it, it shouldn't be that difficult of a thing to deal with. We're faced with it constantly. I don't know too many people that can say they set about life one way and never had to change. Anything. Ever.

Just doesn't happen.

I didn't make it public knowledge, mostly because I didn't feel it was needed, but I've been on a break from work for quite some time now. And now its time to get back into the game.

Which means trying to balance out art and a full time job again.

I've been here before. Most of my life actually. I mean, who hasn't? I'm not the only one who has several balls in the air. Life is a juggling act, that's just the way it is.

I've really enjoyed my time, being a full time artist. But I think that this is not the point in my life for that right now. I need to do both. Luckily I'm stubborn enough of a woman that I won't let things go so the art is here to stay. As are my goals for this year.

I expect that they will change and stretch with me as I move through the year. More then I expected when I initially wrote them but you know what? I'm okay with that. I firmly believe that everything in this life happens for a reason so this change is where I'm supposed to be right now.

I'm looking forward to talking about this with you, actually. I don't think that having a full schedule (no matter how bursting at the seams it may be) means eliminating creativity and art. There is always space for it, no matter how quickly time flies by.

It doesn't have to come in huge bursts or grand gestures. Small and steady. Things get done and your creative soul continues to build.

So I'm hoping you'll take this journey with me. I'm expecting it to be a long one but most certainly an interesting one.

26 January 2011

in love with an image

1. birds on a wire, 2. Birds on a wire #1, 3. Birds on wires, 4. bird on a wire, 5. Birds on Wires, 6. Birds on Wires 4, 7. Birds on a Wire, 8. Birds on a Wire Redux, 9. Birds on Wires 6, 10. birds on a wire, 11. birds on a wire 2, 12. birds on a wire , 13. Birds on a wire, 14. Birds on a wire, 15. birds on a wire - IMG_8214_web part2, 16. 4 birds on a wire, 17. Birds on Wires, 18. birds on the wire, 19. Birds On Wire, 20. Birds, On a Wire, 21. bird on a wire., 22. bird on a wire, 23. Birds On The Wire, 24. Project 365: Day 295 "Birds on a Wire", 25. 365:325 - Birds on a Wire, 26. birds on a wire., 27. Birds on a Wire, 28. birds on two wires, 29. birds on a wire 2, 30. Birds and Wires, 31. birds on wire, 32. Birds on a wire, 33. birds on a wire., 34. Birds on the Wires on Vimeo by Jarbas Agnelli, 35. Birds on a Wire - Dark Clouds Blue, 36. birds on a wire

I simply can't get enough of this image - birds on a wire.

Its haunting and romantic all at the same time. To be totally honest, its the kind of image that puts me on edge. There's nothing soft about it, its dangerous and feels lonely.

And that's part of what brings me back to it time and again.

While I was searching for pictures to use in the mosaic, I found it fascinating that so many photographers chose to make their photos black and white. When I came across ones that were in color, I understood why.

Color doesn't seem right somehow. It seems like it should be a shadow image...black, white, grey.

These small creatures, high on the wires. To look at them bunched together feels personal, like I'm peeking in on someone's private time when really I should be minding my own business.

I doubt I'll ever tire of looking at them. Its an addiction.

What image do you have to look at time again? What moves you to fascination?

25 January 2011

the winners - which one are YOU? screen giveaway

There were tons of great comments on the giveaway post for the screens! :) You're a creative lot, for sure. Makes me all happy to know that so many cool people are kicking around.

I also realized that while getting a free screen is awesome, its not much fun if you don't have a bottle of paint to go along with it. So the winners will also get a free bottle of paint. You choose the color, browse the color selection here.

Luckily the winners were determined randomly (I'm no good at playing favorites) so without further ado, here they are!

Fearless Warrior
Karen Newman Fridy

Outrageous Artist
Colleen Kole

Hopeless Romantic
Kim Young

Restless Warrior

Congrats to all you fabulous ladies! Email me your mailing address and paint color choice at FibraArtysta@earthlink.net and we'll get your goodies zipping through the mail system.

24 January 2011

new shipping schedule for etsy shop

Well gang, as it is the nature of life, major changes are on the horizon.

My schedule is about to get a lot weirder and less flexible so I'm tidying up house to get things in order. One of the things that I really want to make sure is kept running smoothly is my etsy shop.

I dig all of you and thank you for the chance to get to work with you as you make art - and I don't want it to stop!

As I said in a previous post, I've recruited a helper to fill and ship orders. She's brilliant, does a great job. I'm still your contact for all the details of your order but we wanted to work out something that fit both of our lives. So here's what we came up with:

Orders placed by Wednesday will be filled on Friday
and shipped on Saturday.

Its really not that different then my old turn around time. Its longer by a couple of days and things are going to hum along happily. You can help us get your order to you quicker if you know what sizes you want things to be, etc. If I have to work out details of your order with you (which is absolutely no problem at all!) and it zips on by Wednesday, then your order will be held until the following Friday to fill.

I'm not trying to trip people up, just want to let you know where things stand so we are all happy and there are no major surprises!

And don't forget, you can still save 11% off everything in the shop until January 31, 2011. Just enter coupon code SCREENPRINT2011 at checkout and you'll save some dough - and make art - and just be happy all around. :)

Keep on printing! :)

23 January 2011

where i stand sunday

The cold is settling in my bones. I find myself wondering if it will ever shake loose. Its impossible to be outside without feeling badgered, small. Every winter feels like the worst I've known, endless, unwanted by the time it has run its course. I find myself looking at the calendar more often, waiting for the days to peel back into milder weather.

Where I Stand is an ongoing photo essay examining the different places I spend my life standing. Too often we take for granted the everyday places we spend our lives walking on. The ground we tread on has its own stories to tell.

22 January 2011

quilting arts - thermofax article part 2!

This came in the mail yesterday:

Its the latest issue of Quilting Arts magazine. I'm always happy to see it. It means I get to take some time and read about fellow surface design and art quilt addicts. (Its always nice to have company, ya know?)

But what made me especially giddy for this issue is this:

That's the second installment of my articles about thermofax screen printing. As always, its thrilling to see what a fantabulous job they do laying everything out and making it look its best.

This article is five pages long and focuses on multiple color printing with thermofax screens.

You know what this means, right?

My evil plan is working - soon everyone will be printing with thermofax screens and we can take over the world! Muahahahahahahah!

Or at least have a really good time flinging paint at each other. ;-)

Check the article out, I'd love to know what you think of it. And spend some time with the rest of the magazine, its really outstanding!

20 January 2011

can i offer you some random?

I've got a couple of blog posts started and I'll eventually hit the "publish" button but right now they are like half baked pizza - sort of nice to look at but you wouldn't want to eat it.

So in an effort to keep the blog from looking like an unattended hostess stand at a restaurant, I've got random for you.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Safety pins are only safe if you use them for what they are intended for. Trying to poke more holes in the water spray bottle I just bought so it actually sprays rather then shooting out a single stream of H2O is not recommended. Trust me.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Its been doing a lot of this lately:

Its like living in marshmallow land. Only not as fluffy. And decidedly less fun. I consider myself fortunate because I do not have to do this when nature calls:

I'm lucky that little man is good natured and actually enjoys the cold snowy weather. In fact, he dawdles so long when he is outside and tromps through the snow like its the best thing he's ever seen that I sometimes wonder about his common sense. Still, at least I don't have to argue with him about going out in bad weather. (Isn't he short??)

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Leann made me some more stationary. She gifted me some and I used it up quick and placed an order for more. Here's one she just made for my set:

(I swiped the photo from her blog.) Go see the rest of them if you're interested. Isn't she just the grooviest paper artist on the planet?

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I have to admit that I'm still working on taking down the Christmas decorations. Its a bit slow going this year. But I thought you might get a kick out of this one:

That's one of the few photos of me and my brother as kids visiting Santa in which I am not shrieking in horror and total hysterics.

No wonder my mom framed it.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Have I ever mentioned that I loooooovvvveee thermofax screen printing?

*sigh* I do. I can't help it...its become like my coffee, if I don't do it everyday I feel a little woozy and not right.

Don't forget, you can still get 11% off in the shop until Jan 31. Just enter coupon code SCREENPRINT2011 at check out and you save some bucks. And get cool screen printing stuff. Sent right to your house.

Its magic.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

This is what little man really enjoys doing best out of everything else on his little westie agenda:

He's one smart cookie.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I'm going clothes shopping tomorrow. I can't express the dread this fills me with. I'm a simple dresser and I just know I'm going to be confronted with rhinestones and springy colors (spring is good, pastel clothing makes me twitch). If you hear sobbing coming from the general direction of Michigan tomorrow, don't be alarmed. It just means I had to go to more then one store.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I've decided that its time to get a helper with the etsy store. Its not that I'm so big and important and special that I can't do it all myself. Its more along the lines of I've got big huge projects that are sucking up my time so having someone to fill orders for me is a gigantic relief.

No worries, you'll still get me for sorting out orders. All emails will go to me and we'll chat things out and make sure you are happy with sizes and order details. I'm just going to have someone helping me run the screens through the machines and packing them up.

Wasn't easy to make that decision, let me tell you. The Virgo in me is a picky little wench and doesn't like to give up much control but I have absolute confidence in this lovely lady so all will be well. I'm sure of it.

With that, the westie has just rolled over onto his side and draped himself across my legs. That is his sign that it is time for sleeping and you know what? He's right. I'm going to join him.

16 January 2011

which one are YOU? screen giveaway

I'm pretty selfish when it comes to my thermofax screen business.

The truth is, its pretty darn fun. Better then half of my business is making custom screens from other people's images and artwork. There's a whole lot of creativity going on out there and it makes me really humbled and excited to be a part of it.

I'm also incredibly fortunate to have ready-to-print designs from some very talented artists in the shop. Last night I did a shop update with eleven new designs and about half of them are from the very cool and awesome Leann Meixner.

She does intricate hand carved stamps. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't in constant awe of her skill. I consider myself extremely fortunate that she puts her designs in the shop.

Four of her new ones I think are particularly exciting and because I just love them so much, I think they need to go out into the world and spread the love. She carved four inspirational sayings and a graphic to go with each one. Here they are:

Want one?

I thought you might.

I'm giving away one of each design. All you need to do is leave a comment telling me which one you are and you'll go into a drawing for that design. You can only get into the running for one design so pick one.

You have until next Sunday, January 23 to tell me if you are a RESTLESS WANDERER, FEARLESS WARRIOR, HOPELESS ROMANTIC or OUTRAGEOUS ARTIST. So get commenting!

where i stand sunday

The prep work feels endless but its rich with quiet moments, getting lost in the details, feeling the world slip away beneath the list of work to be done. Its those moments that make me drunk on creating, that make me feel like nothing else matters. Deadlines loom but at this exact moment they don't feel threatening, they are welcome, wanted.

Where I Stand is an ongoing photo essay examining the different places I spend my life standing. Too often we take for granted the everyday places we spend our lives walking on. The ground we tread on has its own stories to tell.

15 January 2011


{untitled} is a weekly blog post series featuring photos only that I find inspirational - I hope you do too...

13 January 2011

finding my extrovert

I spend a lot of time living inside my own head.

I think I get it from my father. I remember him dozing in his recliner, eyes closed, breathing steady and slow. There would be conversation going on around him and out of the blue, he would answer a question or contribute a comment.

I find that I do that a lot. Okay, not the sleeping part but the quiet absorption into my surroundings. I normally focus in on something small and just...listen. Listen to the people around me, the place where I am, the scraping of chairs and clinking of dishes.

Its all got something to say if you listen close enough.

I'm content to be an introvert most of the time. I like it. I like being comfortable with silence and not speaking and my own thoughts.

But things are heading in a direction for me where that kind of behavior simply won't do. So me and my extrovert have been spending a lot more time together. I'm not uncomfortable talking in front of people. For the most part, I'm not easily rattled. But I will say that I've worked hard over my life to develop that level of comfort. A resident advisor at university, powerpoint presentations in front of a room of thirty engineers, teaching classes - my extrovert has had plenty of exercise.

Yet I'm one of those people that has a very strong quiet side. Do you think that's part of being an artist? Do you think its part of being creative? I sometimes wonder if it is.

At any rate, I'm stepping into new territory - me and my extrovert. We're going to have a good time and I so can't wait to tell you about it.


In the meantime, tell me - do you think being an artist makes you more of an introvert or extrovert?

12 January 2011

screen printing love: may-bee clothing

Yes, my etsy shop is a business. Its goal is to earn me money but to be honest, I had a much bigger motive when I opened it.

Thermofax screens are easy. You can personalize your artwork, your products (if you are a business too), your home. Its been really fun to see what people want made into screens. 95% of my business is custom screens and this makes me really happy - that means people are totally embracing their artistic voices with screen printing.

Rock on!

So I thought I would start a new kind of post called screen printing love. I'll feature something you made with a screen bought through the shop. (If you're one of them, please feel free to email me at FibraArtysta@earthlink.net and we'll get a post up for everyone to oooohhh and aaaaahhh over your artistic genius.)

First up is May-bee Clothing. She's a fellow etsy-ian. Here's her profile info:

I am a stay at home mom to a 2 and 4 year old. I started the May-bee company in June of 2009 with the encouragement of friends and family. Now, in-between running a household and teaching preschool teacher, I sew my May-bee products, often while the children are napping. I am busy, but I love every minute of my life, and I am so blessed to have the opportunity to try and make a career out of something I love.

Her product will make your voice go up a couple octaves because, well, its just so darn cute you can't help but dig it.

Don't believe me? Here, take a look. I dare you to not coo over it:

See? Told you.

Look at a couple more:

I want these and I don't even have/know a baby to put in them.

Cute, cute cute. Pay her shop a visit, its just a big old bundle of adorableness.

So tell me - what have you made with a thermofax screen?

09 January 2011

where i stand sunday

Its the night air that I crave most during the winter months. The sharp clip that pulls everything into detailed relief, a clearness that nothing else can produce.

Everything feels calmer, still - the in between time when things are allowed to rest.

Where I Stand
is an ongoing photo essay examining the different places I spend my life standing. Too often we take for granted the everyday places we spend our lives walking on. The ground we tread on has its own stories to tell.

08 January 2011

the concept of intentional printing

I'm prepping for a huge project. Its demanding several samples, which I'm happy to oblige. But its drawn one of my studio habits into sharp focus.

I don't have a stash of printed fabrics.

Really, I don't. I have small strips and squares left over from other projects. I have some experimental pieces that are left from when I was learning or practicing a new technique. But in terms of fabric that is ready to be used in projects?

Not so much.

Its something I consciously began doing about a year ago.

Before that, here's how it went: when I learned a new surface technique I churned out yards and yards of fabric. Enthusiasm grabbed hold and I just couldn't help myself. Then I'd fold all that fabric up, put it in a neat little pile and admire it. The next time I'd be pulling fabrics for a new project, I'd grab them, admire them, and decide that they didn't work.

I did this often. I'd try to force these pieces to do my bidding, to make them fit in with my vision. I'd attack them with other techniques or dump dye on them or have a discussion with them that they needed to learn to cooperate. But they never did and soon I found myself looking at stacks of fabric I just wasn't feeling the love for.

In the end, they stayed practice pieces. The only time I would pull them out was to torture them when some obscure idea would float through my mind. But they rarely (meaning pretty much never) made it into my artwork.

I decided that I needed a different kind of relationship with my printed fabrics. We needed to find a place where they were happy to be around and I was happy to have them sucking up space in my studio. And to be used. No sense making them if they don't get used.

I even gave it a name: intentional printing

The concept is pretty self explanatory. I doubt I'm the first one to think of it. But its become integral to how I work. Its a combination of control and serendipity, of knowing where I want the fabric to head and making decisions that will help get it there without completely strangling out the idea of "happy accidents".

I don't plan every single detail down to the letter. That would destroy the flow of working, that's not what I want to do. For me, its about getting a piece of fabric that I will love and will work in my new piece - without compromise.

Does it work every time? Of course not. I'd be lying if I said every single thing I did in the studio was stellar. In fact, this quote sums up my attitude about art making perfectly:

Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.
- Scott Adams

I'm going to talk more about intentional printing. I like the focus of it, the idea of creating an intentional relationship with printing from the beginning to the end.

But for now I'd love to know - how do you approach printing? Do you leave every single thing to chance?

07 January 2011

ONE - art and fundraising for the American Cancer Society

Virginia Spiegel has demonstrated time and again that art and fundraising are an extremely powerful combination. I have an special place in my heart for the work that Virginia does because its for the American Cancer Society.

I lost my father to cancer a little more then five years ago. It was one of the most difficult times in my life. The support systems they have in place for both the patients and the families are due to fantastic organizations like the ACS.

The latest event that Virginia has put together is called ONE. One hundred collages will be available for a donation to the ACS for one day.

You have a chance to get your hands on a beauty like this awesome artwork:

And as if that wasn't good enough, she's giving away prizes for doing something as simple as promoting the event.

Two of the prize packages are from your's truly. I've donated sets of two screens & a three pack of paint. All you have to do is a simple blog post (or take a look at the other options if you aren't a blogger here) and let Virginia know and you'll be entered in a chance to win! How easy is that???

I hope you'll join me in spreading the word. Here is the blog blurb, I'm honored to help this event - its proof that artists are truly the most generous lot on the planet:

One Cause, One Wednesday, One Hundred Collages

One Cause – The Fight Against Cancer.

One Wednesday – February 16, 2011.

One Hundred Collages – Created for this event by an all-star team of artists: Natalya Aikens, Pamela Allen, Laura Ann Beehler, Liz Berg, Pokey Bolton, Laura Cater-Woods, Jette Clover, Jane Davila, Jane Dunnewold, Jamie Fingal, Gloria Hansen, Leslie Tucker Jenison, Lyric Kinard, Jeanelle McCall, Linda Teddlie Minton, Karen Stiehl Osborn, BJ Parady, Judy Perez, Wen Redmond, Cynthia St. Charles, Virginia A. Spiegel

The goal – Raise $8,000 for the American Cancer Society in just one day. More details and a preview of the artwork can be found here.

Fiberart For A Cause has already donated over $205,000 to the American Cancer Society through the generosity of fiber artists and their patrons.

06 January 2011

the process or the product?

You've heard the discussion before right? Are you a Process artist or a Product artist?

Its an interesting question. I mean, let's face it - making art is a lot of work. Most people don't really realize it. They see the end product all tied up nice and neat. If they could see the trail of destruction that the lovely little work of art left behind in your studio, they'd be astonished that anything made it out in one piece.

So the question is, do you always enjoy the Process (the grunt work) of creating art?

For me, it depends on what I'm making. When it comes to knitting, I dig both. I love the calm meditative process of having the yarn in my hands for the time I'm turning it into something new. And on days like today when its in the 20s and windy? I certainly love the Product.

For everything else that I do, its split pretty much down the middle. There are some activities where I admit I have zero interest in the Process, I just want the stuff that I get from going through the work.

Dyeing fabric falls into that category.

Dyeing and I have had a somewhat stand-offish relationship. We've never really found a place where we are comfortable being together. But we're getting there and since I've been pre-occupied with getting a particular color palette made up for a big project, its a good thing that its improving.

When I first tried dyeing a few years ago, I started with this book. In fact, almost every fiber artist I know has Ann Johnston's book on their studio shelf. Its a good book, there are fun things in there but...I had no luck when I tried to get a certain color.

Scratch that, I had zero luck. Zip. Nada. Nill.

So I put all my dye stuff away and shunned it until I felt like trying it again. And the information on the internet? Oh my, there's enough there to induce an instant migraine. Everyone has an opinion (and they are always right too).

But I tried again, several times. I found the labor of it all very annoying as well. I tried to restrict it to the summer months so that I could set stuff up out in the garage and leave it out there. Still couldn't control the outcome. And it got to a point where I was using maybe a quarter of what I was dyeing because, well, I just didn't like the colors I was getting.

Not a ringing endorsement for my skills.

So last year when Cathy brought Carol Soderlund to the Fabrications Retreat, I decided that if I was ever going to get a grip on this dyeing thing, she would be the one who could beat it into me. She did. For a solid week. I know more about dyeing then I ever thought my brain would care to retain.

And I liked it.

Okay, so we eliminated one problem. Now I knew what to do with the stuff but the physical labor thing...still not appealing. I admit that I've been avoiding it since the class last fall because of it. Its simply too hard on my back.

I was griping to Cathy about it and she sent me a link to a nifty little contraption called The Wonder Washer. (And yes, it deserves all those capital letters.)

The Wonder (as I have come to call it) will do all the swishing and sloshing for me. Which is especially good since I've become extremely affectionate toward solids lately and those are the queen of back breaking labor.

Wanna meet my Wonder? Here she is:

She's basically a little mini washer meant for people who live in small spaces. She fits nicely on my bathroom counter and she is my absolute new best friend. She has an electric base that makes everything go and a plastic tub, just like a regular washer but on a much cuter scale.

I mentioned that I had gotten one of these on Facebook and the first question was "How much fabric can you put in it at one time?" Good question.

Here is what the bucket looks like:

My dyeing agenda at the moment only involves dyeing one yard pieces in different colors. But just to get a sense for the capacity of the Wonder, I piled three yards of already dyed fabric in it to see if there was any room to spare:

(Picture gets scary big if you click it.) There was still space at the top. So the little bugger holds quite a bit.

But as I said, I was all about the one yard pieces today so that's all I put in at one time. I measured my dye:

And then put all the necessaries into the bucket and set it about its task:

(The white spots in the first photo are the reflection of the light bulbs.) The Wonder has a little timer on the front that goes up to 15 minutes. You can choose Standard or Gentle cycle. I tried both - to be honest, they sounded the same to me so I don't really know that there is a difference.

It doesn't have a drain, you have to dump it out manually when its done. But I consider this a minor thing. It does all the swishing with no complaints, which makes me love it entirely.

I set the timer, worked in the studio, came back to futz with it, set it running again, worked in the studio some more. And in the end, I had a lovely solid perfectly even piece of dyed fabric in a color that I wanted.

Wow, never thought those words would come out of my mouth!

I gave everything a rinse:

Then did a proper wash out in the big machine and added the fabric to the pile so it could make friends with the others:

The two on the left I did today in the Wonder. The three on the right I did manually yesterday (which is what inspired the {untitled} post pictures).

** I was advised by other dyers who use these (apparently I'm late to the party) that you can't run these all day long. (Too bad, the temptation to is overwhelming.) You have to space out the cycles so I only did two yards today. I might have ordered a second Wonder so I could increase my output. Maybe. You know, just hypothetically...since there's room on the counter and all for a second one...maybe...

I do believe the Wonder might just might help me to learn to love the Process of dyeing just as much as I love the Product.

05 January 2011


{untitled} is a weekly blog post series featuring photos only that I find inspirational - I hope you do too...

03 January 2011

allow me to introduce myself...

Want to hear something really ridiculous? I've had this blog since 2006 and have never once posted an About Me page.

I guess I just figured everyone who stumbled across it would just psychically know who I was and what I do and why they should bother sticking around.

No? Not true? Sorry about that.

I mean, I had that measely little widget that blogger provides as a standard but they don't say much. So tonight I made a proper About Me page. I have to admit, it wasn't the easiest thing to do. I'm never really quite sure how to talk about myself.

Want to shut me up? Say this, "So tell me about yourself." Instant silence, mind goes blank, my IQ drops to that of a turnip.

Why does this happen to us? Why is it that we find it so hard to say what we do, what we love, who we are? Its not an egotistical thing to do. I mean, it sort of is, but unless you all come equipped with some kind of getting-to-know-you mind reading superpower that I don't have, its necessary to get to know one another.

So its up top in the bar beneath my blog header. But just in case you aren't inclined to click on it, I'm putting it in this post as well.

Hi, my name is Lynn and its nice to meet you.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

From my About Me page:

I'm Lynn Krawczyk and I'm a serial artist.

No, really. I am. I pack in art making and crafting and general creative goodness in every single second of every single day.

I spent a good chunk of my adult life in corporate America, running in circles, trying to find a way to hold onto my sanity. Time and again, I found that stealing a few moments away to myself without the constant noise and distraction of what felt like a daily schedule with rabies was the only way to keep my mind reasonably sane.

The odd thing of it all is that I did not discover I was an artist until I was in my mid twenties. It seems like something that should show up sooner then that, doesn't it? I guess I needed to let it percolate for twenty some odd years before it was ready to go. But here I am now, feeling really confident about owning the title of Artist.

Now I create constantly, obsessively and often without regard for my own personal reputation. (I Love Lucy anyone? Just wait, the studio and I are sure to cough up a story that makes you snicker.)

But calling myself Artist didn't come easy. I had to work at it. Which suits me just fine. I'm a no nonsense kind of woman. I don't expect anything to come easy, at least not anything that is worth having. And being an Artist is no different.

Its been a wild ride and you know what? Its not over yet.

I'm making changes in 2011. I'm going to talk endlessly about owning your voice. Really owning it. Take all the classes you want, read all the books, study other's work. But get to your studio, and DO THE WORK.


02 January 2011

sale in the etsy shop!

Its been a whirlwind since I opened my etsy shop last summer. I've gotten to meet many many new people and to be honest, that's one of the most fun things about it.

You'd be surprised and amused by all the inventive and creative images that people are making into silk screens! :)

I'm really grateful not only that the shop has been well received but that so many people have let me into their lives, into their artmaking.

So to show my appreciation to all of you, I'm running a sale from Jan 1 - Jan 31, 2011.

Etsy has a really cool new feature, I can now create coupon codes so when you check out, you enter that code and it automatically adjusts the prices for the discount. How groovy is that??

Everything in the shop is 11% off for the month of January.

Simply enter the coupon code SCREENPRINT2011 at checkout and you save some bucks!

Don't miss out on the fun - thermofax screen printing for everyone! :)

where i stand sunday

The rust bleeds up through the melting snow, tinting the frozen water a foreign orange. The sudden thaw has sent a silent exhale through the air, wrapping itself around the repercussion of the warm temperatures. The disruption in the season feels strange, unsettling - a blip on the radar that doesn't belong.

Where I Stand is an ongoing photo essay examining the different places I spend my life standing. Too often we take for granted the everyday places we spend our lives walking on. The ground we tread on has its own stories to tell.

01 January 2011

my roadmap for 2011

By now pretty much every blog you've read has talked about their goals for 2011, giving you a list of what they plan to do. I plan to do the same today and to be honest, I've been giddy and sort of nervous about doing this post.

I want to make big changes in 2011. Its resulted in a lot of planning and plotting.

I spent much of 2010 sitting back and looking around at blogs and people and businesses that I like. I am very excited with how the etsy shop has run. Since I started selling thermofax screens and paint this past summer, I've made over 400 screens for artists and business people.

That's a whole lot of screen printing going on. (My evil plan is working! Muahahahahah!)

But for a long time I've felt like there has been something missing in both my business and my blog. And my art. I decided that I wasn't going to try to force myself to find the answer, rather I was going to sit back and let it come to me.

It did.

And now this year I plan to act on it.

* * * * *

Private vs. Personal

I love my blog. Its my favorite online toy. I love it because I feel like every time I post I'm chatting with friends.

But I've made a mistake.

I've confused the definitions of private and personal. And as a result, I've held back from talking about things that have been on my mind. About my creative process, about the things that really make creating art real and enjoyable and addictive for me. When I realized how rarely I post a picture of myself, I suddenly understood how far to the extreme I took it.

Sure, I'm sort of shy and certainly quiet. But it doesn't feel right anymore.

I still firmly believe that there are some things that don't belong on blogs. And I plan to respect that. But that shouldn't apply to art. It shouldn't apply to talking about inspiration and ideas. So that will change. The blog will be full of more conversation about art making and I'm vowing now to not hold back. In a way, I almost feel like I'm finally blogging for real by doing this. How strange is that?

* * * * *

Make Your Mark Studios

This is a big one. I don't know exactly everything that it will be at this exact moment but I plan to talk about it a lot.

I've had the privilege of working with a lot of artists over the years. Be it through curating exhibits, my brick and mortar store several years ago and now my etsy store. Artists are a fascinating lot. They come in all sizes, shapes, backgrounds, styles. Its a never ending source of inspiration.

But I keep finding a recurring theme - the quest to own one's creative voice. To really own it. I think its kind of the pink elephant in the room - not knowing really where to start and not knowing how to grab hold of all the knowledge you have.

Its something we should talk about. In a real way. Encouragement and kudos have their place and I'm not saying they aren't necessary but there is also value in honest critique and assessment.

I'm hoping to meld those ideas. I'm hoping you'll join me as I work out the details and plan where this will go because I think it will be pretty cool.

* * * * *

My Portfolio

Or should I say - my lack of portfolio?

I've got lots of work, sure, but it doesn't feel like a portfolio at all. And I really believe that its been holding me back as an artist.

I've taken some steps already. I've got three large pieces on my design wall but I need to do much more. I don't plan to abandon small works. I love them for their portability and punch.

But I need bigger works. Not because other people say I do but because I think I do. I'd like to apply for SAQA PAM membership by the end of 2011. I'll need to set deadlines throughout the course of the year to keep me on track.

The larger works still intimidate me. I've not quite worked out the logistics of how I will do everything that I normally do on the smaller pieces but luckily I'm a stubborn woman so I feel confident I can conquer that.

* * * * *

Where I Stand Sunday

I'm bringing it back.

I made the mistake of listening to a couple of people's comments. They said it was overdone and people were probably bored with it.

I don't know if that's true. All I do know is that I don't feel the same affection for the other types of sunday posts that I tried out. So I'm dropping them. And bringing back Where I Stand to every single sunday on the calendar.

I love the photography, I love the challenge of finding unique places to put my feets and I love the writing that goes with it.

* * * * *

Dooley love

Dooley love will also be making more regular appearances on the blog. I've heard the argument over and over that if you are a "serious artist" you shouldn't post pets or kids on your blog.


He is my buddy, he's cute and the companionship that I get from him deserves to be honored. The best way I know how to do that is by sharing him on the blog.

So in conclusion, Dooley love wishes you a very Happy New Year and we are excited about all the new things we are going to do this year!