27 May 2007


I've mentioned in a couple of other posts about how much I love my brother's photography. But I really feel the need to brag about just how good he is. With his permission, here are a couple of my favorites.

He does a lot of photography with toy cameras like Holgas. I'm always checking his Flickr site to see what he has new. Check it out to see more of his work.

23 May 2007

Fiberplay 2007 at The Creative Spirit Center

Four of my quilts, including the one above, are heading out to Midland, Michigan this week for the Fiberplay 2007 exhibit. The one above is "Release". The others juried into the show are "Restraint", "Seeking Zen" and "Interruption." You can see the others on my website.

Tomorrow I cut and paint hanging slats for the three little guys (the smaller quilts accepted) and then I can pack it up and get it out the door.

I just bopped on over to The Creative Spirit Center's website and found this on there as an advertisement:

The second image from the left is part of "Seeking Zen". How cool is that!

I'm very excited to be part of the show and am planning a trip out there to see everything. I've not been there yet - its a two hour drive - but it looks just wonderful!! Many thanks to them for putting on this wonderful show!!

22 May 2007

0321-0325, page 100

Oh happy day! My copy of 1,000 Artist Trading Cards came today and its autographed by Patricia Bolton! How cool is that??

This book is very exciting to me because I'm thrilled to be published in it but I'm also extremely excited because several of my friends are in it as well!

Leann Meixner (who has an article in the latest Cloth Paper Scissors) is 0954-0955, pg 291.

Lora Disser is 0877-0881, pgs. 260-261.

Sidney Inch is 0887-0891, pgs 264-265.

Jill Hamilton-Krawczyk - also my SIL :) - is 0326-0330, pg. 101 and 0977-0979, pg. 300

Laura Brandon is 0922-0924, pg. 277

I recognize many other names that I have become friends with through the internet and I'm so honored to be among them in this book. Thanks Pokey! :)

21 May 2007


These are the coolest things! I've been wanting some business cards that show my artwork but everything seems so ordinary. My brother got some of these for his photography and I really liked them so I ordered some for myself too.

They are called Moo Mini Cards. Its a UK based company. One thing that always amazes me is I can order something from overseas (Europe in particular) and I get it in a couple days. I could order something from Ohio and wait two weeks for it. Says something about the U.S. postal service.

Anyway, these cards are about 1" wide (28mm) by about 2.75" tall (70mm). They come in a pack of 100 so I uploaded ten photos of my work. Gives me ten of each card. Here's the front.

The backs are real simple but I like that too. Here's the back.

Aren't they great? My sister-in-law is really great at creating logos so she has agreed to create a logo for me as well. I'm excited for that too! It will be nice to have regular business cards that won't get dated from old artwork but also cards that are artwork based. Its the best of both worlds!

So why am I doing this? Because I plan to start selling my work. It will look more impressive to hand someone a card then to pull out an old receipt from my purse and write down my website address.

So that's my business card tale. On a totally unrelated topic, I just had to upload this picture of my westie, Dooley. He is IMPOSSIBLE to get a photo of. He is afraid of the camera and if I do manage to get a picture of him he usually gets a terrified look on his face. This was the best I could get, of course, waving a popsicle in front of him helped!

He's my little buddy. He's passed out on the sofa next to me - I took him for a long walk when I got home - so I'm going to go relax with him and look for a rerun of the Sopranos.

I'm talking to myself a lot lately...

Life is good. Everything is looking up. And I'm freeeaaakkkinnng out!!!

Okay, so I need a plan. I need a way to work through all the tight deadlines and get to the point that I don't want to tear all my hair out.

I know, I know. I do it to myself. But some things are far too good to pass up. I'm going to extend my three day weekend this week and tack on one or two extra days to it.

I've noticed that when I feel overwhelmed, I start obsessively cleaning and organizing. I'm getting the itch to do that again. Damn IKEA for opening a store so close to me. Not sure if its avoidance or if I'm just trying to create some kind of order to make myself feel better.

Whew...okay, feeling better. I'm going to come up with my plan, going to stick to it, everything will rock.

And then I'm going to go sleep for a month...

12 May 2007

A beginning & an ending...

Okay, so I'm not saying I'm super fascinating or anything but if you like my blog, take a gander at the right hand sidebar. You can subscribe to it now. I got widget happy yesterday and added a couple, thought they were fun.

So today I went and visited a yarn store out in Ann Arbor called Knit A Round. I am a beginner knitter but have fun with all the really cool yarns out there and decided to try out socks. Here is what I picked up at the store today.

They have a better selection of sock yarn then the yarn store closest to my house but I still wasn't super impressed with the variety. If I continue knitting socks then I think I'll be hunting down an online source.

The woman at the yarn store said that since this is my first pair of socks I should start with a heavier weight and make monster size socks just to learn. I smiled and proceeded to put the above yarn and needles on the counter to pay. She has a point but considering the fact that I tat with sewing thread, I'm not that intimidated by a light weight yarn and small needles.

So what is my plan to learn socks? I looked at a bunch of books but none of them seemed that clear. So I spent some time searching the web and found this sock tutorial site called Silver's Sock Class.
Its got lots of pictures, explains every step and I think I can get a decent start off it. If I get stuck, I'll beg my friend Kate for help. :)

So that's my beginning. My ending is that I finished my quilt for the Altered Views show with the Kansas Art Quilters. Here is a small sneek peek at it.

This is the portion with the teeniest stamps that goddess Leann carved for me. I'm revamping my website right now so you'll have to wait to see the whole thing until I've got it redone. I took lots of pictures of it so there will be some good shots to look at.

And yes Leann, I've not forgotten that the botany quilt is due in a couple weeks. I have an idea brewing that I plan to begin tonight. The socks will be for when I'm feeling ambitious and all else is done. Ah yes, its a lovely thing being a fiber addict.

11 May 2007

stitched textile art??

So here's a question for you...does it make a difference if something is called an art quilt or stitched textile art?

Its been on my mind lately. I think I've identified one of the things that doesn't seem to add up about my art lately.

My work is stitched, yes. It has two to three layers of fabric held together by stitching, yes. It meets the basic definition of a quilt, yes. But that's about where it ends...

I use staples and saftey pins and nails and sticks and polymer clay pieces and just about anything else when I'm creating. The fabric serves as a canvas, as a place to put everything else. Its more a means of necessity then it seems the focal point. I really struggle to do just fabric and thread. It seems to nag at me that its not finished.

Now before I start getting yelled at that there is nothing wrong with art quilts, let me say this: I agree. Art quilts rock. I'm in awe of a lot of them, I love so many of them. My problem lately is that I'm not sure that's what I'm doing anymore.

It seems like such a small thing to change the name of what you do but at the same time, almost a relief. Its like no longer trying to fit that square peg in the round hole and hoping no one notices that you've been smashing it with a hammer to make it work.

I don't know if I'm just babbling or if I'm actually on to something here. Stitched textile art. Has a nice ring to it, huh?

Gapingvoid cartoons

I subscribe to a couple of blogs, one of which is The Layers of Meaning. She did a post not too long ago about a blog from Hugh MacLeod and his tips for on how to be creative.

I added a widget to the side bar of the cartoons that he draws. They are cool, and I really enjoy them.

His list of how to be creative can be found here.

My favorite part of the whole thing is under #24 about Finding Inspriation. He says "If you have something to say, then say it. If not, enjoy the silence while it lasts. The noise will return soon enough."

The whole list is worth a read. The guy knows what he is talking about.

08 May 2007

Another thing I don't get...

I'm not one for musing on the great merits of what art is and what art isn't. My feeling has always been, if it makes you happy, then do it. I still remember when I was teaching at my store and I would say that to my students and they would look at me like I was an alien. It still blows my mind how many self-imposed rules we throw at ourselves when it comes to making art.

So why in the hell am I not following my own advice?

They (you know They, They are very smart and know everything and always have something to say) say that that the best way to develop a style is to work in a series. They say it makes you look more professional, more developed.

I say They can shove it.

I tried following Their advice. I've determined its not for me. I made two of the same concept and am totally in love with the first one. I'm dreading working on the next one that is started and very similar to it but just a little different. Its boring to me, feels too much like a production. So what does that mean? Do I lack commitment? Do I lack professionalism? Will I never be taken seriously because I do one-of-a-kinds? I don't care what it means, its sucking the joy out of the process for me.

Its not making me happy. So I guess I won't do it.

I've been spending a lot of time lately trying to figure out why I even make art at all. I'm going through an angsty period right now about it. I feel like I've lost my nerve when it comes to doing stuff that makes people go "Huh?"

Somewhere along the lines my work became polite. It became self-censored and I started toning it down so that more people would appreciate seeing it. I don't know why. And its making me unhappy lately.

I feel like I need to re-evaluate my style, make it more meaningful. Maybe embrace the deeper issues I spend so much time thinking about. Why don't THOSE things show up in my art? Why do I spend so much time doing abstraction rather then just saying what I want to? Why don't I just say it already and be done with it? When did I start worrying so much about what other people think? I make art for me. No one else. And I've always said that I please myself first and if someone else likes it cool, if not, then that's okay too.

I've noticed that I'm asking for opinions while I'm working lately. I don't normally do that. Its causing me to pause, making me realize that something isn't right here. Something has shifted and I'm not sure what.

These are the thoughts running through my mind. Quite frankly, I'm getting tired of hearing them so I guess its time to go do something about it...

04 May 2007

Leann the goddess

With every new quilt I make I learn something new. This past one I've been working on for a show has taught me in a very loud way to NEVER WORK ON QUILTS WHEN I AM EXTREMELY TIRED.

I've done countless image transfers onto fabric using matte medium and inkjet transparencies. I even taught a seminar on it at the American Sewing Expo a couple years ago. In other words, I consider myself pretty familiar with them.

So why in the world did I iron one with an iron set on the highest cotton setting and on steam setting? Not paying attention. Said image transfer is now peeling off and it is not salvageable. So back to the drawing board and really no time to waste here.

I try to approach it like I do the problems at work.

Identify the problem: how to get text onto fabric.

Various solutions: matte medium image transfer, print directly on fabric, draw with a marker, screen print, use stamps.

Limitations of solutions: I've already trashed one matte medium transfer so I'd like to take a different approach, printing directly on fabric is okay but it would have to be done in several sheets and I'd like it to be a solid top, I don't draw that good, can't get a screen fast enough and...stamps...hmmmm...now that one might work.

I get excited at the possibility of stamps. And then realize that an eye chart has different sizes of text. $^%&#*(#&. Not something you can waltz into the craft store and buy. And then it hits me...L E A N N. She carves stamps, does an amazing job, does 'em quick and is a great friend. I send her a desperate email, begging her to help me. She agrees to take a look and see if she thinks she can do it.

I drop off a print out of the text on wednesday night after work and she says she thinks she can do it. I tell her that I need them by the weekend if I'm going to get it done, she says she'll let me know right away if she thinks she can't do it. I get to work the next morning, there's an email that she's done. My jaw drops, I go pick up said stamps and get these:

Leann has saved my butt. I'm going to test out some new ink pads that claim are good for fabric tonight and then stamp my heart out. THANK YOU LEANN!!!!

03 May 2007

I'm it...

Julaine tagged me. So the rules are that I have to post seven random facts/habits about myself. I'm supposed to tag seven other people to do the same but not sure who to tag yet so I thought I would at least post the facts now.

1) I am sewing machine challenged. (Not so little known since I started the blog...)

2) I read magazines backwards. (And no, I don't have any kind of learning disorder.)

3) I didn't pick up a needle and thread until I was 25.

4) I'm addicted to watching corny craft shows with my dog.

5) I love comic books/graphic novels and most of the movies that are based on them. (Go Spidey!)

6) Before choosing to become an engineer, I wanted to be an FBI agent. (A decision made easier by watching "Silence of the Lambs".)

7) I wish everyday could be Halloween.

I'll tag people soon! :) Thanks Julaine, that was fun!

01 May 2007

Maybe the search has ended...

I've been making art quilts for about six years now. And just started doing machine quilting this past year. One of the new things I'm finding is that batting does not behave the same when quilting by hand as it does when you torture it under the machine.

So what do you do when you are being tortured with a quilting question you can't seem to satisfy on your own? Ask 2000 of your closest friends...I posted to the Quiltart list and asked what everyone uses for batting and got tons of answers.

Among them were:

Wool felt
Warm and natural
Stiff interfacing
Fusible fleece
Quilter's Dream Cotton

I've been experimenting but a lot of people insisted on the Quilter's Dream Cotton. I talked to my friend Mary and she said that's what her really big batik quilt has in it and I love the feel of that one.

Okay, I'm starting to become convinced...called around, found it at a quilt shop only ten minutes from work and of course today is the only day of the week they are open late. Ah yes, the stars are aligning.

So I decided to give it a shot. After all, my studio is beginning to look like the place where various batting goes to die. Why not try one more and see if it takes care of my woes? I entered the store, walked up to all the samples hanging around, asked the clerk what kind of batting was in them and got the answer "Quilter's Dream Batting." Okay, its looking like what I want. Its very light weight, almost non existent. And then there is the sample card. The Request weight looks lovely, almost like a dream. (Sorry, couldn't resist the pun.)

So I got one. Its in my studio looking at me. I think I'm going to fuse the quilt top directly to the batting. My concern with doing that is that I would have a hard time hand sewing through it. So maybe quilts that are done with this batting will be machine quilted only. *gasp!* I never thought those words would leave my mouth!

I'm not completely happy with the quilting on the Altered Views entry. The batting is poofier then I would like (hence the obsessive search for a FLAT batting) and I did long vertical stitches along the length of it. I joke that it looks like a swimming pool raft. LOL! Its not that bad although it does need some hand stitching (hey, if I'm not adding embellishments, at least let me hand stitch all over it) and then I think it will not look so raft like. I'll post a photo when its done.

And I'll let you know the results of my Dream Batting. I am optimistic about it, its thin, looks flat. And wonder under should be my friend in helping to keep the flat look. FLAT FLAT FLAT. Muaahahahahahahahah!!!!