31 May 2011

did you miss it?

What does the picture above have to do with a $20 shopping spree in my shop?

Well, if you are a subscriber to my new E-Zine, then you already know. If you aren't, you can see the May 2011 E-Zine here. And just to be sure that you don't miss out on any future discussions on art and - not to mention the giveaways - you can sign up here! :)

29 May 2011

where i stand sunday

For weeks the want of making has been pent up, denied in favor of deadlines, pushed aside. The frustration pushed ahead of everything else today, forcing several hours moving my hands and mind at its will. The pile grew quickly, its far from done but the beginning of a new series sends a thrill, reminds me of my purpose.

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.

27 May 2011

the importance of "just because"

I firmly believe that some projects need to be made "just because." For no other purpose then the pure enjoyment of making them.

I've been acutely aware that the past several months have seen me making new work that was attached to deadlines. And I was fine with it. They were all things I very much wanted to work on but toward the end of the long to-do list they occupied, I started to get that twitchy feeling.

I had taken no time to just be. To just make something. To just play.

I pondered this last week and realized that what I wanted most was not to design a new project but to just work. So I turned to my knitting.

Its been a long time since I've blogged about knitting and I realized its because its been a while since I've picked up my needles. I've got a folder on my computer with patterns I come across that I love and I decided it was time to make the Summerflies shawl.

While the pattern shows a lovely color, its far too girly for me. I love my earth tones and it didn't take me long to find something that fit the bill in my yarn stash (which is quite healthy and will keep me entertained for years).

This is Briar Rose Fibers yarn, in the style Harmony:

It doesn't look like they offer it anymore but its a nice one. Single ply, very rustic spun with underspun areas and overspun bits. Its a lovely merino.

I'm loving what its doing for the pattern:

I don't have too much left to go on it, I'm in the second to last section and I'm pretty amazed at how quickly its flown off the needles. Its a good pattern, enough to keep it interesting but not so hard that I'm scrounging through YouTube at 2am searching for technique videos. (By the way, YouTube taught me how to knit, there's lots of good stuff there.)

I've decided that with my three day weekend I'm going to start a new series of work. Why? Just. Because. I. Can.

I need to make sure that I do this on a regular basis, it keeps me feeling sane and satisfied. After all, that's why I make art to begin with.

Oh, and to answer the emails I've gotten about wanting to see more of Dooley love, here you go:

He wishes everyone in the U.S. a happy holiday weekend. :)

24 May 2011

how to create a mobile studio

Back in this post, how to make art in 10 minutes, Janice left this comment:

"Lynn. This gives me hope. With a second floor studio and a dog who still doesn't come up the stairs, I despair not having lots of time to create. He will stay downstairs without barking and whining at times so I will learn how to use that time. I definitely will need to revise how my studio is set up so I can take advantage of shorter periods. Do you do have an tips on studio organization which makes it possible to do ten minute increments? Do you write out plans/sketches or just wing it?"

I know Janice in real life, she's a pal a couple of cities away from me. She's a doggie mother to a rescue greyhound with very special needs and like all good doggie mother's, she goes above and beyond the call of duty when caring for her friend.

When I read her comment, I asked her if I could blog it and she agreed because I think you'll be very surprised at how simplistic my answer to her was. Ready? Here it is:

I use baskets.

Wow - doesn't sound too thrilling does it? But let me explain why.

I love my studio. I feel extremely blessed that I have a dedicated space but its not realistic for me to be in there all the time. I have a life, I have obligations, I like to be social with other members of the household.

The day that I realized I could drag around little micro studios with me via baskets was a revelation. My project baskets aren't pretty. They are cheapy ones from the dollar store that can get cracked or painted on and generally abused without any upset. When I have a project that I know I want to be mobile, here's what I do:

1) Complete the base work in the studio. This can be screen printing, fusing the layers together, stitching anything that requires the sewing machine.

2) Gather remaining items for the basket. I don't know about you but if I have too many choices, I dwadle. This step actually has more benefits then just pulling things together for the basket. It makes me focused so that I can keep my attention on doing the work rather then getting lost in an endless loop of "what if I did this instead?". Pick out what you want and put it in the basket.

3) Gather tools. Scissors, needles, rulers. Anything you need to finish your project. Remember, the goal is to not have to return to the studio (no penalties if you do) so be inclusive but don't attempt to drag every single thing you own out with you. Keep it simple.

4) Your mobile studio is ready! Your basket is your studio, your work is ready to go and you can drag it with you all over the house and even out to visit friends if you like.

Here's an example of a mobile studio project:

(Ignore the sassy westie, look at the container. Those are the gaggle of Wishing Owls that I made when I went to the Quilting Arts TV taping. I dragged that container around everywhere with me, sewing an eyeball on here, a nose on there. It was the only way I got them done, in little bitty chunks of time and if I had had to sit in my actual studio for the whole time, I would have been hard pressed to fit that into my schedule.)

Does this work for all projects? Of course not. The idea of dragging around an assemblage with me actually makes me kind of dizzy. But I always have some projects going that can be mobile and others that have to live out their creation process in the actual studio. Having these smaller projects is key to my sanity, when I go too long without creating, not nice things happen to my mood.

Just remember that not everything has to be monumental. You can be productive in small chunks, it doesn't always have to be some grand sweeping gesture of uninterrupted time.

If making art require that, I would not be an artist. :)

23 May 2011

"parts of a whole" opening reception

Last Saturday was the opening for "Parts of a Whole", an assemblage exhibit that I have work in with two other artists, Leann Meixner and Joan Potter Thomas.

This is the second time that we have shown our work together and its always interesting how well our styles go together. The show is up at Art & Ideas Gallery in Plymouth and I think its an understatement to say that I'm honored to be there. The artist in residence, Shaque Kalaj, is outstanding and I have tremendous respect for her. (You can see some of her work her under the Exhibits section of the website, scroll down toward the bottom to see her solo shows.)

I decided to try something a little bit different this time and move away from boxes or rectangles for the base of the assemblage. Here are three new pieces I made for the show:

Photos aren't the greatest, I'll have better ones soon. The opening was a blast, huge turnout. We decided to set up a collaboration assemblage. We put out an empty box and a bunch of found objects (with a giant bottle of glue) and invited people to have at.

This little girl got the ball rolling, it was fantastic the way she went to town on it:

Once she started it, other people were encouraged and started working on it too. I'm eager to go back and take a picture of it now that the show has been up for a couple of weeks. Its really interesting to see how other people approach assemblage, especially if they've never done it before.

We also had music:

And here are each of us standing near our work:

Me (in case you didn't know)



The more time I spend with assemblage, the more I'm falling madly in love with it. There's just something about it that is so freeing and creates a story like no other medium that I've worked in. I think its safe to say that its something I will be sticking with for a long long time.

The show is up until July 2 so if you are in the area, I encourage you to stop by and have a look.

22 May 2011

where i stand sunday

Its been too many days to count since I've felt the push of the warm bricks against the soles of my feet. The overhang of the porch creates a sharp transition between the coolness of its presence and the warmth of the new spring day. The lazy air nudges around me, too lazy to work itself into a full scale blown, lingering on the heat in an appreciative pause.

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.

21 May 2011

sign up for my new e-zine!

I've got exciting news - I'm going to be publishing a monthly e-zine!

What's an e-zine you ask? Isn't it just like a newsletter? Almost but not quite. And that's why I'm so excited about it.

I've got a mailing list that keeps building up every week. I've not been quite sure what to do with it because the traditional format of a newsletter just didn't make me jump up and down. See, I've got things to sell and art news to share but I do that here and didn't really want to duplicate what I say on the blog in an additional mailing.

So I stepped back, let the mailing list brew (and grow) and decided that I wanted to make it a totally separate entity from the blog. No recycled content, no duplicate posts - different.

The e-zine will talk about design processes, tips on how to fit art into your life no matter how busy your schedule is and the important role that art plays in our lives. The ideas there will be a bit more serious then they are here, a little more hyper focused. I'll still be sharing the products I offer (because I think they're quite awesome and love to spread the word) and any art news but it will be secondary to the bulk of the e-zine.

Won't you join me? :)


And if that isn't incentive enough, I'll be hosting a giveaway every month. It'll only be posted in the e-zine so you'll need to be a subscriber to see it. (I will never sell or share your name with anyone. No worries on that count.)

The e-zine will always go out on the last day of the month so the first one is coming up fast and furious. I'm excited for this new venture and I know you'll love it as much as I do! :)

Edited to Add: If you are already signed up for my mailing list, you will be getting the e-zine. Its replacing the newsletter. :)

20 May 2011

new article in "sew somerset" :)

I'm super excited to announce that I have an article in the new issue of Sew Somerset from Stampington! :)

This is a quarterly publication they put out and its always stuffed with all kinds of unusual sewing projects and artful stitching.

My article, Reverse Puzzle, is on page 63:

Its a crash course on my design process. I'm really happy to be a part of this publication! I'm not sure when it hits the news stands but this is the Summer 2011 issue. Be sure to grab it when you see it, there are a lot of really exciting articles in it! :)

19 May 2011

guilt free exhaustion

Things have been quiet for a bit. I'm sure you've noticed. (Some of you have even emailed, thanks for the worry.)

For several weeks I was plowing ahead full force on a very ambitious (which is the polite adjective for it) project schedule. Last weekend marked the end of it and I promptly crashed afterward.

Exhausted. Spent. Done. Got nothing left.

The past week has been a kind of zombie mode. Go to work, answer emails that can't be ignored and lure the westie up onto the sofa via cheerios for slumber mode.

I admit that part of me kind of feels guilty when I do this. I'm a self confessed work-aholic so to just stop and not do is a bit of a rough gig. Fortunately my body is smarter then my brain and it generally forces the stall by slapping me upside the head with a cold. (Which it has done in a spectacular display this go around. Pass the kleenex, will you?)

So that's where I'm at. That's why the blog has been a ghost town. Just a year ago I would have been all apologetic and feeling bad but really, I've come to realize that just sucks more energy away and at times like these, I'm already operating on a negative supply so it doesn't do anyone any good.

I'm re-emerging, have some new ideas, have been eyeballing my knitting (which has been ignored for far far far too long) and am so happy to have the blog waiting for me. More soon! :)

15 May 2011

where i stand sunday

Leann has been a Where I Stander from nearly the very beginning. Many of our photos show our feet scooted in close together, twisting our cameras around to try to get a good shot. Its a facet of our friendship that I value for its quirkiness and perseverance. As we stood at the opening reception of our exhibit yesterday, I realized just how long we've been standing side by side and the knowledge of that constant is gratifying.

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.

06 May 2011

why i look at "outsider art"

I'm a big believer that its important to look beyond your chosen art genre for inspiration.

Not because I think there's nothing worth looking at in my own area (fiber artists really are an imaginative lot) but because its like seeing with a new pair of eyes.

Painter, drawers, sculptors, photographers...they all have a unique mindset that instantly pulls me in new directions.

I'm particularly drawn to outsider art. If you're not sure what in the heck I'm talking about, here's a sampling from the outsider art flickr group:

1. 44478, 2. Alice : Swimming from the sharks . swimming in concrete (iphone), 3. Portrait, 4. man, 5. Mother, 6. Hand Carved Folk Art Panel, 7. nighty night, 8. Goddess of Energy, 9. Reduced Clarity, 10. old men on the stour, 11. Emptying Inside, 12. Mixed Media Assemblage, 13. Untitled, 14. the Internationale, 15. Rain Dancer, 16. Jim Harris: Untitled, 17. let's dance, 18. Reißverschlüss, 19. , 20. on my mind, 21. At the blackboard, 22. where's the pizza, 23. , 24. Jim Harris - Untitled 2010, 25. 5

As I continue to develop my assemblage portfolio (which is largely not shown anywhere right now but will be corrected shortly as my website update is becoming a priority for me), I keep pulling out the books I've collected on this art form.

Plainly put, outsider art is art that is created with abandon. The artist creates freely, doesn't care if its pretty or perfect or widely popular - it just is.

How could you not be inspired by that?

Its a really raw art form and much of it borders on being offensive. And I think that's part of what makes it exciting, its so far outside of the norm that I can't help look at it, wonder about the artist, think about what it means to me - think about what it could mean to others...

Its a completely recharging experience.

Maybe outsider art isn't your thing. And I can understand why it might not be but I encourage you to look at other areas of art. If you're a quilter, look at sculpting. If you draw, take a look at jewelry. Look at something completely opposite of what you do and see if you feel something wake up inside you - I bet you do. :)

04 May 2011

2011 thermofax screen of the month club

Okay, I admit that being able to announce this has me bouncing up and down in my seat. I've been planning this for so long and now that I finally get to be able to set it free - its SUPER exciting!!! :)

I'm a knitter and I have frequently joined yarn of the month clubs. I tell ya, its a seriously fun thing to get things delivered to your mailbox that you love on an auto ship schedule. So it got me to thinking - how about a Thermofax Screen of the Month Club?

So that's what we are doing!

I invited five other artists to design a screen and I also created one so that makes SIX MONTHS of EXCLUSIVE designs delivered right to your door.

These designs will never be sold individually, the only way to get them is to be a member of the club.

Want to see them? I thought you might - here they are:

Top: Starburst Bounce by Jackie Lams (ships in June)
Bottom: Billboard Jumble by Lynn Krawczyk (ships in July)


Top: Leaf Dance by Vicki Welsh (ships in August)
Bottom: Graffiti Tiles by Leann Meixner (ships in September)


Top: Blossom by Cathy Arnett (ships in October)
Bottom: Transom by Judi Hurwitt (ships in November)


Aren't they fabulous?? I love them all, they are all such exciting designs.


(Follow the link above to check out the sizes of the designs and to snap up one of the listings.)

The club is a great way to start building your collection of thermofax screens or if you are already an addict then its a great way to make it special with exclusive designs.

Not sure how to use the screens? Don't fret - I have free video tutorials that cover the very basics of printing on my YouTube channel.

And if you'd like to go a step further and not only learn how to print with them but learn a couple other surface design techniques and how to design with these fabrics, then check out my DVD that I filmed with Interweave Press.

So don't delay - get a spot while you can!!! :)

03 May 2011

Mother's Day Blog hop

The fabulous Claudine Intner has organized a blog hop of posts about moms in honor of Mother's Day coming up this Sunday. And today is my day! :)

Okay, you probably think I'm off my rocker for posting a photo of the dog when this is supposed to be a post about my mom but bear with me.

See that blanket little man is hugging?

My mom made that. More years ago then she cares to admit to. Its one of the first things she made when she learned how to crochet. Its got at least a dozen holes in it and they fascinate me - the yarn around them is loose and straggly and you're almost afraid to touch it because you think the whole thing will come apart in your hand.

But it never does.

That blanket goes through the washer, gets dragged from room to room, gets pushed around into puffy piles by the westie and it bears it all with a strength that hangs on tight.

It has all the qualities I equate with my mother.

It might seem strange to compare her to a blanket but when you stop and think about it, is it really? She comforts and is strong and endures all the hard times right alongside me in a way that always makes me feel safe.

The westie gets nervous when his favorite blanket isn't nearby. All we have to do is put it down beside him and he snuggles into it and its only moments before he gives a sigh, content and happy.

My mom can never be replaced and she is very loved. And in honor of that, I'm offering a giveaway for the heart screen that I carry in my shop:

All you have to do is leave a comment on this blog post and you'll be in the running to win the screen and a bottle of paint (the color is your choice). The blog hop wraps up on the 15th so swing by here on the 16th to find out if you won.

And be sure to visit all the other blogs on the hop, here is the list:

Happy Mother's Day! :)

02 May 2011

art & fear - chapter 3 read-along

Its that time again, time to take a look at another chapter of Art & Fear. If you missed the previous discussions, you can find Chapter 1 here and Chapter 2 here. We're looking at a new chapter on the first of each month.

So Chapter 3 is all about fears.

We've all got fears right? The authors break it down into two basic categories: fear about ourselves and fear about how others will perceive us.

The fact of the matter is that fears are an energy suck. We waste a lot of time on them. I'm not saying they aren't legitimate, but how much time we hand over to them is something we need to control.

Think of how much art you can make if you took all the time and energy you spent worrying if it was good enough and used it to make art instead?

Its not as simple as it sounds, believe me I know. Its something I struggle with as well - that overbearing feeling that nothing seems to be going right and maybe I should just chuck the whole thing.

But the thing that drives me forward is that I can't imagine my life without art. So I have to make peace with my insecurities, let them have a smaller insignificant part of the stage so that they don't take over everything anymore.

The authors suggest that talent is only part of the puzzle, worrying if you have enough (or any) is nonsense. I think they have a point. Just because you are talented doesn't mean you will do the work. And if you don't do the work, you won't produce anything.

Talent alone does not make you an artist.

Doing the work does. These are my favorite sentences from the chapter:

"Art is human; error is human; ergo, art is error. Inevitably your work will be flawed. Why? Because you are a human being, and only human beings, warts and all, make art."

I think there has been an interesting movement as of late of wanting handmade items. People are looking at the flaws in items and being able to see the maker in them, they are appreciating these objects more.

I don't seek perfection in my work. In fact, if you look close enough you can see plenty of things that are "wrong." And I'm good with it, I prefer it. Its my hand that made them and I'm no where near perfect.

I've spoken about hanging on to your own voice several times on the blog. Its easy to be seduced by what others make, thinking that their work has the level of "perfection" that you crave. Pause the next time you are tempted by this.

Can anyone make work like you do?

Can others produce an art quilt or painting or drawing that looks like what you would make?

The answer is simple: no.

I don't believe there is much value in saying, "Stop being afraid." Its counterproductive to think that you will never feel insecure about what you make or what others think. And I also believe its counterproductive to try to ignore these feelings.

Rather meet them head on. Look at them, let them kick around a bit and then move on. In short, experience them. Learn from them. Learn to co-exist with them but don't give them the upper hand.

And make your work. Your hand is what makes it unique and there is nothing to fear about that.

01 May 2011

where i stand sunday

Its become a standard staple photo in there Where I Stand Photo library - the unruly grass growing up over my shoes as the thunderstorms clear and the sun finally shows its face. Even though the photo is familiar, the sigh of relief that comes with it is no less satisfying. The whiplash of spring's arrival in the north makes it hard to remember that good is coming after but when it arrives? There is nothing else that can compare.

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.