Creating art out of fiber and stitch is my passion. In no other pursuit have I ever found the rewards and joy that I find in using textiles, thread, paint, beads, yarns, and whatever else inspires me to make an object of beauty to share with others. My work is based in the quilting tradition of three layers stitched together, but the artistry and originality of it goes far beyond the basic piecing of geometric shapes to create a bedcovering. You will see many reflections of nature in my work as I live in Montana surrounded by mountains, rivers, streams and my own garden. Color and texture inspire my work and they are my palette.
Please feel free to comment on what you see here so I can know what you would like me to post. I am always willing to share what I do, how I do it, and what inspires me. I hope you enjoy my work.
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
The March/April issue of Machine Quilting Unlimited Magazine will be available very soon and I also have an article in this magazine. It is called "Free Form Quilting for Art Quilts" and is a very nice spread with five pages and lots of images of my work. They have chosen 10 of my pieces with full and detail images of many of them to illustrate the article. I'm very excited about this particular article and happy with what they have done with it. I hope you enjoy it, too!
Machine Quilting Unlimited is a magazine that is not available on all the store newstands but should be at Barnes & Noble, Joann's Fabric, and Books A Million, as well as some quilt shops. You should also be able to order on-line through Meander Publishing. I highly recommend it if you do your own quilting whether with a domestic or longarm machine. It is an excellent magazine.
Having these two respected magazines publish my writing and my artwork is exciting and makes me very proud. I hope that I can continue to have some of my articles printed and that I can come up with new ideas to share with you. I do have some articles submitted currently and am waiting to hear whether they are interested in them or not, but the chances are that they will be rejected (like the last two were!). The odds are not good for us as there are few magazines and many people hoping to publish their work. I am just glad that I managed to get these first 3 articles accepted because it assures me that I can write well enough, I just need to find the right topics for the right publication at the right time.
If you have any comments or suggestions about the articles please let me know here, or e-mail me at email@example.com. I'd love to hear from you--with critique or praise!
In my next post I will tell (and show of course!) you about the "miniature" quilts I've been working on to send to a miniatures show in my gallery, Bailiwick On Grand, in Billings, Montana in April. They are 6x8 or smaller and very fun!
Monday, January 20, 2014
I have started my year off by taking some chances. I have submitted some articles that might not be quite what the magazines are looking for, but I am hoping they might take a chance on me anyways. One of the most difficult things about my effort to write and submit articles to magazines has been trying to find the right place for them. I tend to write like I create my art---by inspiration. So whatever I am inspired to write I write, rather than writing what I think a particular magazine might be interested in. This means I then have to think about where it might be the best fit with the publications that I am familiar with.
The problem is that much of what I write is from an artist or art quilter point of view rather than a quilter's point of view which means that many traditional quilters may not relate to what I have to say. Even as an art quilter there may be part of that audience that wouldn't be interested in the more business related aspects of my creative efforts. I am always working on my business whether it is maintaining contacts, marketing my work and myself, communicating with potential customers and fellow artists/quilters, or keeping up with show entries and paperwork. Not to mention trying to create art!
I have many friends and acquaintances in the quilting world and in the art quilting world. There are a lot of art quilters in my area as there has been a local effort to nurture them and keep an active community. Unfortunately, very few are pursuing their art as business as I am. The people who I feel closest to in what I am doing are the longarm quilters who are also busy marketing and nurturing clientele. I have one friend who has written a book and is writing another about quilting, mostly traditional, and she has been a good source of encouragement as we try to reach outside our active but limited local community of quilters/art quilters.
So, wishing that I had the support of others working towards the same goals and wishing there were more options for publication of the types of articles I am inspired to write (and pay me for them!), I am struggling with my efforts and just hoping that the magazines that do exist will like what I write enough to give it some space in one of their issues--but I'm not holding my breath! And I'm hoping that maybe I will soon find some like-minded individuals in a new effort I am hoping to undertake this spring. I have applied for participation in a local artists group that sponsors a studio tour which has become popular and quite successful for the participant artists. I admire many of these artists and look forward to interacting with them more about what we are trying to do to market and promote our creative endeavors.
So, wish me luck in whatever I decide to tackle next and let's hope that one of the magazines agrees to give me a shot and publish my writing. The waiting is always difficult and the rejections even more so, but I keep trying and I've had enough success to have a positive outlook and hopeful attitude. I have had 3 articles published already so I know that they like my writing style. It is just the trick of finding the right topic for them to fit into one of their issues. I'll keep writing and I'll keep submitting and who knows.....!
Saturday, January 18, 2014
Here are the particulars:
Strata Art Quilt Class
Where: Vicki's Quilts Down Under, Missoula, Montana
Date: Saturday, March 8, 2014
Time: 10:00am to 4:00pm
Phone (Vicki's): (406) 728-9446
Call or visit Vicki's to sign up, get a class supply list and see the sample quilt and magazine article about this easy art quilt that is a great way to learn about design. Please feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions or want some more information.
The class will cover how to use some basic design principles to create a beautiful long narrow wall-hanging that is made up of varying widths of strips. The small spaces created by these strips are great places to practice doing free motion quilting and maybe even some beading. We will complete the top in the class and you will get lots of hints, tips and suggestions for completing the quilting and embellishing.
I love making these quilts because the piecing is so easy and I love the long narrow format. Great for the end of hallway or narrow places like between doors or behind doors. I also like how easy they are to quilt on my machine because they are so narrow. And you don't have to do too much beading because they are narrow and I'm willing do do lots of dangles and fun stuff with the beading. Whenever I get in a rut or have a block about what to do next I make one of these because they are fun and easy for me, and I love the end results.
Here are two examples of strata quilts that I have made (and I have made quite a number of them!). The first is "Free Spirit" which started with a piece of hand painted raw silk and also incorporates some rusted Thai silk and rusted cotton. The second one is "Sunny Disposition" which started with the flower fabric.
If you enjoy playing with fabrics and color and you would like to learn more about combining them in a pleasing, artistic way, come and share some time with me and have some fun making a Strata Art Quilt!
Sunday, January 12, 2014
Thursday, January 2, 2014
"Off With Her Head"
I am not very worried as I know that once I get in there I won't be able to stop as I do have some ideas and I have some great, exciting fabrics to work with. I've been sketching away in my sketchbook to come up with a 7"x10" piece for the SAQA Trunk Show that is due to them by the end of the month. I have a couple of great ideas, although they will take some time so I really need to get going on them! I can work rather fast when I am inspired, so again, I'm not worried!
Inspiration comes and goes and sometimes it is hard to know what you want to do next because an exciting idea is alluding you. Nothing hits you as being the next great artwork. Well, when this kind of artist's block hits me I just plunge in and start doing SOMETHING because that is so much better than NOTHING and it does get your juices flowing---no matter what it is. That's when I like to do one of my Strata quilts which are simple piecing and it is fun just playing with arranging and rearranging the fabrics to come up with a nice composition. Doing something like this that isn't difficult or too challenging gets you back into the swing of things in a kinder, gentler way!! Do something small and not too difficult. You'll start getting ideas for what you want to do next all the while you are working on it!
This year I have a new printer set up for wireless printing from my laptop which is what I do all my business and computer work on. I used to have to power up our old computer and print things from it which was hit or miss whether it would cooperate as it is old and tired. Now I can print, copy, scan---all that good stuff, right here from my laptop. Now if we can only just get into the 21st century and get a high speed connection instead of dial-up (I know, I know, does ANYONE have dial-up anymore---pick me!). We are working on that too and hopefully within the next month or it will happen. How exciting that will be for many things I have to do on my computer. Like these blog posts for instance. Uploading photos is time consuming with dial-up. I'll be able to upload the high resolution images when I do quilt/fiber show entries instead of running to the library to do it! Even looking at blogs and websites of other fiber artists is a chore with dial-up. Checking my e-mail takes forever just to load and move through the messages because of the slow connection. The cost of the high speed internet will definitely be worth it for all the time it saves me. That is if I can keep myself from spending all day looking at all your blogs and websites!!
This year I am going to increase my efforts in both writing and teaching. I am working on scheduling another Strata class in Missoula and I've been pondering a couple of other classes that I might work up outlines for. I have some articles that I need to finalize and figure out where to submit them. Finding the right publication has proven to be challenging. I am moving on and looking forward to some positive days and months ahead. This funk is over and I'm looking forward to working hard this year at making my business and artistic endeavors successful and profitable. These are fairly new activities for me so I still find them a bit daunting and I'm a little nervous about how well I will do with them. I've had good luck so far and am hoping that continues.
Ups and downs are what makes life interesting and even though I am a very positive, glass-half-full kind of person I do have my occasional downs. Disappointments and feeling unsupported take all the fun and inspiration out of being an artist sometimes. You have to learn to create for yourself and get your art out there because you want to share it with whoever is interested. If that isn't who you hoped would be interested there isn't much you can do about that! Just appreciate whatever support you do get, and don't take any of it for granted. I am fortunate to have parents who are very supportive of my artistic and business endeavors and very encouraging to me. As artists themselves they understand much of what I feel and want with this pursuit, and they offer suggestions and ideas and listen to my rants and dreams.
I wish you much inspiration and a strong creative spirit for this brand new year, and I hope that you find your way with whatever you are doing artistically. Don't give up on your ideas. Search out the resources and support that will help you move ahead and just enjoy what you are doing, creating, and planning for your future. Whether that is the project you are going to do tomorrow, or the exhibition you are going to try to get into next month, or the new direction you hope to take next year, go forth with a positive spirit and joy. Art is supposed to give us joy and thoughtfulness and invoke feelings. We do it because we like to do it. So like it. Be inspired. Be creative. Be an artist.
So philosophical! Next post will be lighter and have more pictures---so do come back!!
Happy New Year!
|"Off With Her Head" - detail image (round items are pennies)|