31 December 2012

the written sketchbook - student giveaway & class preview

I love these cuties, don't you?? :)

I don't know about you, but I'm a sucker for a little journal. So I decided that I'd whip some custom screen printed ones. Its something I've been thinking about carrying in the shop for a while and what better way to start then to make some for my upcoming online class, The Written Sketchbook?

There are six journals for sale in my etsy shop but I'm also doing a giveaway for three of them.

If you register for the class by January 10, 2013, your name will go
into a drawing to win a journal.  

I'll pop it in the mail to you straight away and if the post office gods are on our side, you'll have it by the time class begins on January 19. (**Please note that only people registered for the class will go into the giveaway. This isn't a general giveaway.**)

And just in case you were still on the fence about whether or not you wanted to register for The Written Sketchbook, here is the Introduction chapter for the class. It captures why I love writing so much and my hope to get you to fall for this art form as well. Enjoy reading them and hope to see you in class!

**To register for the class, simply purchase a listing from my Etsy shop.**

Hope to see you in class! :)

28 December 2012

owl pattern now available in my etsy shop! :)

You've seen these fellows around the blog plenty of times:

They're a little bit like crack. I can't tell you how many dozens of these guys I've made and how many times I've been asked how to make them.

They've gotten some good air time. I demonstrated their awesome cuteness when I was on Quilting Arts TV Episode 801:

And then the pattern for them was published in the 2011 International Quilt Festival Quilt Scene.

And now I'm really really excited to bring the pattern to you directly through my Etsy shop:

You'll notice that their name has changed a couple of times. Originally when I created them back in 2009 I called them Wishing Owls. And that's the name I use on QA TV. But then a business was started with that name and they copyrighted it. Since I never copyrighted mine, I decided to just change it.

So the pattern in the magazine was called Fabric Owls and while that's all fine and well, its not super exciting. I gave it some thought and since I think the thing that makes them special is the little pocket on their tummies for holding secrets and tiny trinkets, I decided to name them Secret Keeper Owls.

Whatever you call them, I think you'll agree they are adorable!

Now I often get weird looks when I mention these fellows because they are pretty different from what I normally make. But what can I say? I'm a crafter at heart and I like them too well to sweep them under the rug just because they aren't my normal gig.

The pattern is only $4 and when you purchase it in my shop, you'll get an email from my YouSendIt dropbox within 24 hours so you can download it. Easy peasy.

And if you make a little owl (or twenty), do send me an email and I'll post a photo here on my blog for everyone to admire. :)

And just because I've been asked many times - yes, you can sell any owls you make from this pattern. You just can't re-sell the pattern itself. So go hog wild and become known as the crazy owl making lady. :)

27 December 2012

building a new website - do i need one?

Since I'm taking the wild ride of re-branding my business in 2013 to Smudged Textiles Studio - a process that promises a certain degree of madness - I thought I'd take you all along with me. So I'm going to check in with a blog post about the process as I plug along with it.

There are a whole lot of steps involved in it, the first of which is a new website and blog. And I always have a weird sense of let down when someone puts up a post that says "I've got a new website! Go look!" Like it came out of thin air. I always want to know how in the world they got from point A to point B.

I admit, I've never had a site designed. Up until this point in my art career, a website was simply a place to park photos of my artwork. But I do a few more things now and its time to go pro.

But we're getting ahead of ourselves. The first question I needed to answer was this: Do I even need a website?

Its kind of an annoying question. Between websites, blogs, etsy shops, facebook pages and who knows what else, I sometimes feel like I need a plug installed in my head to power everything. The honest truth is that I've considered dumping my website many many times. In the end I always come back to the same conclusion:

A website is a professional snapshot of the things I do and the art I make.

I've gotten solo shows from galleries that have visited my site, sold work that didn't even have a price on it, and its nice to just give someone a link and not worry about whether or not they will have to weed through pictures of Dooley or a YouTube video I thought was funny. (Not that Dooley love isn't worth perusing.)

So the website stays. As well as the blog. I like both. The website is static and professional and I can be silly on the blog. They both have their own kind of pulse. I like to think of a website like the mellow guy sitting in bar having a drink and chilling while the blog is like a kid hopped up on pixie sticks and making her brother scream "Mom! She's staring at me!"

The trick then became how in the world would I create a new one so that I can make Smudged Textiles Studio a reality? Time is not exactly sitting around in unused stacks. The answer is simple: hire a web designer.

Major scary decision. But a relief once its made.

So that will be the next post in the website saga - how to choose a web designer. More soon...

In the meantime - tell me what you think: do you think you need both a website and a blog?

26 December 2012


The studio and I were seamless today.

That quiet kind of disconnect where the remainder of the world fades into the background and the only thing remaining is the making. It builds as a small quiet thing and then works itself into a tiny tornado.

No matter how often it happens, I am taken aback.

It has a mind of its own, my studio. And some days I simply move as it wishes, keeping my head bowed as I work steadily.

23 December 2012

loving wishes...

My favorite chubby caroler ornament on our tree this year. :)

I was watching the news the other night and the very serious and disapproving news anchor was lamenting about how people are so tied into the internet and all the toys that come along with keeping us connected. He clucked his tongue and shook his head and did quite a fabulous job getting the point across that he felt the internet is simply the most horrible thing in the world.

I just smiled.

I smiled because he didn't understand.

Without the internet, I wouldn't know so many wonderful artists. Many of you I've never met in person but feel as if we are friends because we "talk" all the time. And the internet has brought me face to face with people I most likely would not have crossed paths with otherwise.

Its given me the opportunity to talk with you about art. And to teach. A passion I have that is possible to share with online classes. I get to write and not feel like some weirdo talking to myself. (Well, I do that too but I don't feel as weird.) I share blogging, photos, surface design, happiness, sadness - all the things that make up life.

So as the year winds down and I turn my sights toward the new year and all the art that I want to make for you and with you, I just want to take this moment to say this:

T H A N K     Y O U

My life and my art would be so much duller without all of you and of all the things art has brought into my world, the people are by far the most precious.

I wish you the very happiest of holidays and I can't wait to spend another year with you! Here's to 2013 and a very very artful year! :)

18 December 2012

coffee sketch

I splurged and picked up an iPad mini. I'm an admitted Apple junkie but I had resisted the iPad tractor beam for a long time (it wasn't easy). But once they shrunk it down and made it lighter, I turned into a nattering idiot as I debated over getting one.

I got curious about the different art apps that I could get and came across Paper 53.

I'm in love.

Now I don't consider myself a sketcher by any stretch but there is something very freeing about being able to remove something I don't care for with a simple swipe of the finger.

So I tried out all the features by creating a silly little homage to my love, dear coffee:

Its very painterly, not really something I do in my real life sketchbooks. But its fun to experiment. I'm interested to see if I can meld my normal sketchbook/journaling style with this app. Maybe even use it for writing.

It seems that there is always an opportunity to make art no matter what. How thrilling! :)

17 December 2012

Fiber Art Now subscription winner!

Drummmmrroolllll please! :)

The winner of the Fiber Art Now subscription is Carol E.!

Congrats Carol and thanks so much to everyone who left a comment! If you're just learning about Fiber Art Now, I'm happy to have introduced you - a subscription would make a great holiday gift too so drop a hint to the Santa in your life and be inspired for a year! :)

12 December 2012

"Fiber Art Now" subscription giveaway!!!!

Do you know about Fiber Art Now?  If you don't, you really want to, trust me. :)

The photo above is the cover of their Winter 2012 issue. I'm a subscriber and I love it. The magazine is chock full of all types of fiber art.

Here is the mission statement from their website:

At Fiber Art Now, our mission is to connect and inspire the fiber arts & textiles community with the most compelling work in basketry, felting, knitting, needle arts, paper/book arts, dyeing, mixed media, surface design, quilting, sculpture, wearable art, weaving, collage, encaustic, mixed media and more.  We are a worldwide community in support of what we love.


Its a thrill to see people doing things with fiber that I would have never considered. Makes my mind stretch and want to grow my own art. Its not a how-to magazine. Instead it focuses on exhibits and artists and takes a close look at the fiber art world as a whole. Its like holding a fiber art encyclopedia in your hands, getting to know artists over a conversation (you all know how I love a good interview) and even traveling to other parts of the world. Its very special.


You can get a really good glimpse into what the magazine covers if you head on over to their website. They even have a complimentary article that you can read too. (Its in the right hand sidebar just beneath the header of the webpage. Click the photo that says "Lindsay Ketterer Gates" beneath it and the article will download for you.)  I admit, I'm also a sucker for the incredible writing that they do.


They even have a free newsletter so all the fibery goodness can land straight in your inbox. They are really passionate and love what they do and it shows in every way possible.


And the wonderful people that publish the magazine want to share it with you. They are offering a one year subscription giveaway to anyone who leaves a comment on this blog post!


They are a quarterly publication. Here are the covers from the past year:


  Wouldn't you want that in your mailbox every couple of months?? :)

Just leave a comment here about why you love being a fiber artist and you'll be in the running to win. You MUST leave a contact email with your comment if you don't have a blog link I can reach you through. If I can't get in touch with you, you won't go in the drawing. I'll announce the winner on December 17 in the evening and your subscription will begin with the next issue.


Good luck! :)


08 December 2012

"the written sketchbook" online class - join me!

Its not a giant secret that I love to write.

When I wrote about how I keep my sketchbook for Quilting Arts' Off the Page feature, I got a lot of emails. Most were surprised that my sketchbook looks so...basic:

As an abstract artist, I don't spend a lot of time drawing. Most of it is ideas and writing.

Lots of writing.

I realized some time ago that writing helps me be a better artist. And when the inside of my sketchbook got exposed, there was a lot of curiosity about what I write about.  And how to write.

I'm not an editor nor am I claiming to know everything that there is to know about writing. But I love it. I love it in a way that can't really be explained because it gives me comfort, it empowers me, it helps me see the world in a clearer way.

And I want to share that with you.

So I'm extremely pleased to offer my first online class, The Written Sketchbook. Here's what the class includes:

Once a month over the course of six months you'll receive a link to download a PDF with a writing prompt. (Class begins on January 19, 2013. On January 5, 2013 you will receive an invitation to join a Yahoo group to discuss your writing with Lynn and other students, this is optional.)

Here's what you'll receive in each prompt:

* A different form of writing will be featured, such as haiku and photo essays.

* An exercise that explores that form of writing. Lynn will do the exercise as an example and then ask you to do the same.

* Three additional prompts to serve as jumping off points for additional writing over the course of the month.

* A Featured Artist that has made writing an integrated part of her art process. She will share her own personal writings as well as show artwork that relates to it. Featured Artists include
Virginia Spiegel, Karen Anne Glick, Lynn Krawczyk, Lesley Riley and Sue Bleiweiss.

I'm really excited to introduce you to the writing of these other artists. I have a lot to share with you but so do they and their perspective is very special. 

This is a creative writing class. I won't be critiquing your work, I won't be telling you you did something wrong. Because I truly believe that writing is intensely personal and its what you want it to be. It can't be wrong.

I've set up a Facebook page for the class that is open for viewing. I'll be indulging my geeky love of writing there with inspirational quotes and the like. But the class conversations will be held privately through the Yahoo group so don't worry, the entire world won't see what you write. :)

You can enroll through the class by purchasing a spot through my Etsy shop. I set up listings there to make it easy, especially since Etsy takes credit cards now.

The class is only $28

And if you'd like to purchase it as a gift for someone, just let me know in the notes section when you check out through Etsy.

Enrollment is open up until the day before the class begins so you have until January 18, 2013. I promise you that the class is not scary. It will be a simple easy way to try out a writing practice and I think we'll have a lovely time together.

Hope to see you in class. :)

06 December 2012

inspiration in the details

We Artists notice the details. Those are the tiny places where life happens.

Classic cars are one of my favorites for lines and color. The bend and swoop and shine in a way that nothing else can. They are held in the past, making them precious, something to stop and slow down to admire.

Don't pass up the details. Pause, study and notice all the little places that offer you inspiration all the time.

04 December 2012

dancing the creative habit

I can't dance a single step. Its not a pretty sight to behold. So why would I pick up a book about creativity written by a modern dancer? Because being creative is being creative no matter what you do.

I love this book:

I love it because the layout is beautiful. The words vary in size and font and color and it feels like a dance somehow.

I love it because she is matter-of-fact. No foo foo. No pretending like being an artist is anything but what it is - hard work. Worth every moment of hard, but still work.

My copy is getting pretty ugly to be honest. I push it around the studio and flip through it until a passage catches my attention. I've read it from cover to cover but I like to pick through it when I'm feeling restless.

I came across this part the other day and it feels fitting for pretty much every new project I've started.  I'm willing to bet it sounds familiar to you too. :)

Quoted from the book:

"The last two - distraction and fears - are the dangerous ones. They're the habitual demons that invade the launch of every project. No one starts a creative endeavor without a certain amount of fear; the key is to learn how to keep free-floating fears from paralyzing you before you've begun. When I feel that sense of dread, I try to make it as specific as possible. Let me tell you my five big fears:

1.  People will laugh at me.
2.  Someone has done it before.
3.  I have nothing to say.
4.  I will upset someone I love.
5.  Once executed, the idea will never be as good as it is in my mind."

Apparently it doesn't matter how successful you are. We're all wired the same way.

I've been finding myself picking the book up more often over the past couple of weeks. Its comforting somehow and it lets my mind wander, let's it rest on the idea that no matter what the doubts might be, I should still forge ahead.

I should still do the dance. We should all still dance, no matter what.

02 December 2012

etsy link love - the mount royal mint shop

I adore being part of Etsy. Its like a craft/art rave 24/7. There are so many talented artists on there that one of my favorite hobbies in the evenings when I'm unwinding from a long day is to surf the site, its like my own personal gallery walk. The thing that always strikes me most is that these are artists that just a few short years ago I would never have heard of or seen or gotten to talk to. And that's one of the biggest things that endears Etsy to me.

So I thought I'd share with you some of the artists that I've fallen for. I think you'll find them just as charming as I do. Please do visit them and admire their work, its all wonderful. :)

**All photos & listing descriptions are copyright of the seller & have been used with their express permission**

This week I'd like to introduce you to the Mount Royal Mint shop.

Sabina is a full time artist living in Montreal Quebec and she has linked spirituality to her intricately detailed, hand sewn felt bear sculptures. (She was recently interviewed by Etsy as a Featured Seller, you can read the full interview here.) 

There are zodiac bears:

this guy here reps the month of july and the cancer crab. crab symbolism includes protection, rebirth, and deep emotions. crab people are usually sensitive people who are very guarded. It takes a long time for the crab person to trust others. crab teaches us to shield ourselves when necessary, but not to let our emotions get the better of us. 

And bears handsomely decorated in costume:

a dusty brown spirit bear from the spearhead mountain ranges. he lives high on the peaks of the glacier where he watches over the lone goat pass. he has a sandy coat and a rich red belly. spearhead bear is detailed with grey felt fragments and colorful embroidered lines and designs. 

And spirit bears to guide you:

The spirit bear is very special. he is not blonde, nor albino. he is black. a black bear with a unique gene. (science calls it "degenerative" but spirit bears prefer softer terms)

Due to his earmarked appearance, spirit bear holds a prominent place in the mythology of the Canadian First Nations.

They are serene and beautiful, bearing the hand of the maker in a wonderful way. Its a clear connection of spirituality and the art of handmade. Please visit Mount Royal Mint to see more of her work.

01 December 2012

i {heart} bad art

I love making mistakes.

No really, I do.

This quote from Albert Einstein puts it into perfect perspective:

I've been experimenting a lot lately. Most of it has not worked out and I'm totally good with that. And yes, that is said minus the eye rolling and heavy sarcasm.

Here's the thing, when I mess things up its because I'm just playing. There's no pressure, I don't care if there is a mistake, I don't care if anyone sees it. Most of the time I'll toss it in a pile to get cut up for a collage and over-printed later on. But some of the stuff I've been making lately have been real dogs and they are now firmly acquainted with the trash can.

I'll never learn anything new or feel excited about my work if I don't goof up and experiment. So that's what I'm doing. Making really really really bad art.

And I love it. :)