Being true to my creative self

Frequently, I’m asked “How long did it take to make that?” I really wish I knew. Sorry, but I don’t time myself, it could be very depressing to know. When people ask, I usually answer them with the amount of time its taken from inspiration to completed quilt. This literally could be years. I think what they really want to know is how many hours it took me from cutting the first piece of fabric until I stick the label on the back and hang it. That’s much more difficult to quantify without timing myself along the way.

However, the other day, I was working on a new piece (I blogged about weeks ago) and I happened to notice that I spent nearly 3 hours cutting and positioning little bits of black fabric. I took a picture of my progress. Great! I’m half-way through this step! … right? ….uhm?

I left it alone overnight and when I looked at it the next day I knew I couldn’t live with it. Something wasn’t right, so I referred to my reference photos. Sure enough, I couldn’t live with what I had done (you may not even see the difference in the 2 photos).

My saving grace was that the black bits where only pinned to my design wall. Sometimes, I’m not so cautious and fuse (glue) the pieces in place without giving the design some space to percolate in my brain. Once something is fused I’m usually stuck. I either a) live with it, b) come up with plan B to fix the issue, or c) scrap it and start over.

I’ve blogged about the “point of no return” that I frequently face when I create my art quilts. There are layers and layers of process in my pieces. Literally, each step could lead to fatality. This is one reason I may step away until I feel emboldened to tackle the next step.

With this new piece, I re-grouped and fixed the problem. I’m much happier with where its going, but many hours later I’m not much farther along than I was a few days ago. There’s still plenty of work to do. I’m really OK with this, its how I do things. The finished piece has to fit what’s in my head, otherwise what’s the point of making it?

I do, however, have a problem with the fixation on time. I really don’t care how long it took me. That’s not why I’m doing this. I try to work faster/smarter, but I also work very hard at not beating myself up about it. I’ve accepted, this is how I create. Anything else is not being true to my creative self.

Being part of this tribe

I’m back from an amazing couple of days with my “tribe.” I am an active member and volunteer for SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates). Last week they held their annual conference in San Antonio, TX and I had the opportunity to attend. This was the 3rd conference I attended. I enjoy going because I reconnect with friends from all over the world. There’s also a ton of inspiration packed in those 4 days.

It is so rewarding to be around people who get what you’re doing and support you. That’s what a tribe is. A tribe can be your family or friends or professional acquaintances. SAQA is my art quilt tribe. I find it inspiring to share ideas with people who are on the same journey.

I also have another tribe which includes local friends who are passionate about the longleaf pine ecosystem. Because I was in San Antonio, I missed the Opening Reception for “Palustris” and missed meeting with this tribe. However, I did get to visit the exhibit earlier this week. It is so fun to walk into an art gallery and see how all the art work is displayed. The combination of pottery, mixed-media, photography, drawings, poetry and an art quilt works well with this theme. The earthy colors are warm and comforting. I am so honored to part of this exhibit and love being part of this tribe.

 

PALUSTRIS: Celebrating Longleaf Through the Arts
Arts Council of Moore County
Campbell House Galleries
Southern Pines, NC 28387

Exhibit Dates:  April 6-27, 2018
Opening Reception: April 6  from 6 to 8p
Gallery Hours:  Weekdays / 9a to 5p
Weekend Dates:
Saturday, April 14 (10a to 4p) – So. Pines House & Garden Tour
Saturday, April 21 (10a to 3p) – Party for the Pine
Saturday, April 21 (4-8p) – After-Party for Party for the Pine

 

Honoring this pine

I’m so excited! In just a couple days PALUSTRIS: Celebrating Longleaf Through the Arts opens at Campbell House Galleries (Apr 6 – see details below). The exhibit’s name pays homage to the longleaf pine ecosystem. Pinus palustris is the Latin name (genus/species) for the longleaf pine tree which is native to the Southeastern United States.

This exhibit includes the work of Brady Beck, Linda Dalton Pottery, Sharon Ferguson, Janette Hopper, Diana Russ, and Caroline Young. My newest artworkLongleaf Pinecone” will also be part of this exhibit. Each of the artists in this exhibit were invited to participate because we share our passion for the the longleaf pine forest through our art.

In addition to the honor of being selected to be in this exhibit, I’m also very excited about the theme. The entire month of April will be filled with activities which pay tribute to the natural community in which I live. In conjunction with the exhibit, there will be the Southern Pines House & Garden Tour (April 14) and the much loved Party for the Pine (on Earth Day, April 21) presented by NC State Park’s Weymouth Woods – Sandhills Nature Preserve. The Party for the Pines celebrates the oldest recorded longleaf pine tree, which turns 470 years old this year. How cool is that!

If you’re in the area, I hope you get a chance to stop by and see the exhibit or attend one of the other events honoring this pine.

 

PALUSTRIS: Celebrating Longleaf Through the Arts
Arts Council of Moore County
Campbell House Galleries
Southern Pines, NC 28387

Exhibit Dates:  April 6-27, 2018
Opening Reception: April 6  from 6 to 8p
Gallery Hours:  Weekdays / 9a to 5p
Weekend Dates:
Saturday, April 14 (10a to 4p) – So. Pines House & Garden Tour
Saturday, April 21 (10a to 3p) – Party for the Pine
Saturday, April 21 (4-8p) – After-Party for Party for the Pine

 

Creative souls hopping

Just a couple more days and it will be April. Although, spring officially arrived last week, its still a bit cool in my neck of the woods. This has definitely been a brutal weather year for most of us. The forecast here today is finally including temperatures in the  normal range with sunshine (another missing element to our spring this year).

The good thing about the yucky weather this past month, is that I’m not tempted to be outside very much. This presents me with more studio time, a plus given that I’m busy creating new artwork for a solo show at Page-Walker in Cary, NC this fall (stay tuned for details).

Another advantage to spring is more sunlight. I’m definitely more motivated to work later in the day when the sun is out in the evening. Yay! for more motivation and studio time!

Dreary days have me moving slow and sunny days seem to provide me with motivation. Have you notice your creativity levels change with the weather? I say, enough with the yucky weather lets get our creative souls hopping.

 

See my art:

Palustris: Celebrating Longleaf Through the Arts
April 6-27, 2018
Opening Reception: Friday April 6th, 6-8pm

Campbell House Galleries
Southern Pines, NC 28387

 

Celebrate longleaf through the arts

Most of the time I work alone. Except for a very few successful artists, I think most of us do find ourselves wearing all the hats in our businesses. Besides creating art, we are responsible for scheduling, advertising and promoting ourselves. It can be very challenging to manage time and resources, but it also can be very rewarding to know that our success (or lack of) is the product of your own hard work.

The reality is art is a business. You need to know about marketing, press releases, and managing money. Now with social media, there’s an even bigger challenge of learning how to use the Internet as a promotional tool. Unless you can afford to hire someone to do all this for you, you won’t get far ignoring the options.

With all the online activity I’ve been focused on lately, it was a nice surprise to see a old fashioned paper postcard with my art on it.  What a nice break for my to-do list to have someone else create this and so nice to see something so well done. It made me proud to be participating in this upcoming exhibit, Palustris: Celebrating Longleaf Through the Arts .

This exhibit is also rewarding for a more personal reason. It represents my life living in North Carolina. I arrived here knowing nothing of this sandy landscape. I went to grad-school to become a biologist and worked with endangered species which live in these sandhills. And now, as an artist, I am sharing this knowledge through my art and helping educate people about the fragile natural communities in which we live. Several of the exhibiting artists are also my friends. We share the same appreciation for the longleaf pine ecosystem. I am honored to have been invited to participate and also appreciate the efforts of those tasked to produce and market this event. If you have the time, come visit and help us celebrate longleaf through the arts.

 

Palustris: Celebrating Longleaf Through the Arts
April 6-27, 2018
Opening Reception: Friday April 6th, 6-8pm

Campbell House Galleries
Southern Pines, NC 28387

All pieced together smoothly

So its time for me to start a new art quilt. I guess you could say that I’ve been working on this one for over a year already. I was inspired to make this during a visit to California I made almost exactly 1 year ago.

As with all the art work I make, this one is not going to be a “cookie cutter” design. I’ve decided to do some piecing of the background this time. Trying to get the fabric to have this curve (see photo) took a bit of effort. I had to sneak back to my sewing roots and experience in traditional quilting. Oh dear, I even needed to match seams when I sewed the wedges together. The process of making this quilt top reminded me of how much I don’t love this part of quilting.

Thankfully, I had enough fabric to accomplish the task and extra thankful that I didn’t make a mistake cutting. Yikes! Its not easy for me to buy fabric here in this little town. If I ran short on fabric, it would be weeks before I could move forward on this project. Or I’d have to re-group on the entire construction concept. Lucky for me, it all pieced together smoothly.

 

Creative Journey

I’ve been thinking about you lately. I’m curious what sorts of things you’re interested in. I’ve been researching ways to give you more information about what I do. I believe if you want to be creative you can be. I have so many ideas to share with you but I’m only one me and there are so many people like you. I can’t nearly share myself the way I’d like to.

One way I’ve shared my ideas with you this year is through the 2 articles I wrote for Quilting Arts Magazine. The first one was published in Dec2017/Jan2018 edition and the second is currently on the newsstand Feb/Mar2018. Did you miss it? If you did, I have copies available in my Etsy Store and I’ll sign them, if you want (continue reading to receive a special offer).

Another way that I want to share with you is through classes and workshops. I have a number of things I’m working on that will make it easier for you to find out about when and where you can take a class or workshop from me. I’ll have more to tell you soon.

People also ask me frequently where they can see my art. I am preparing for a couple exhibits this year, so there may be an opportunity for you to see my work in person. I’ll be sharing details soon, because I’d love for you to see it.

With so many things to share and so different ways to keep in touch, I wanted to give you a list of how you can hear from me:

  • Sign-up for my email NewZ-letter
    (In the NewZ-letter, I will regularly share details of all events and opportunities)
  • Follow me on Facebook
    (Here’s where can get the most up-to-date comprehensive info on my classes/workshops, exhibits and other events/opportunities.)
  • Find me on Etsy
    (Here you’ll find items I want share with you. Check in often, because I’ll will add regularly add new things from new or gently used art supplies to artwork created by me.)
  • Subscribe to my blog
    (Did you know I write a new blog post every week? By subscribing you’ll receive them in your inbox. Through posts like this I share news, tips and insight to the challenges/joys of living a creative life).

With all these options, I hope you find one that works well you. I like knowing you’re there and following my creative journey. I hope I provide you with inspiration to live your own creative life. As a thank you for sticking with me, please accept a token of my appreciation:

  • Shop my Etsy store between now and March 15, 2018 and receive a 20% discount on all purchases — To receive the discount, enter coupon code  QUILTART20  during checkout.

Thanks for being there and enjoy your creative journey!

 

A lifetime to complete

 My art quilts contain layers and layers of process. I know it looks complicated, because it kind of is complicated. I find I get stuck between stages. Frequently,  I’m not sure how to proceed with an idea that’s in my head.

I had that problem with this quilt (which hasn’t been named yet). The idea came to me sometime before the spring of 2013. I know this because, the inspiration photo that was taken March 23, 2013.  About a year later, I also took some staged photos of a pine cone. However, I’m pretty sure I was inspired to make this quilt long before I took the photos.

I have evidence that last summer (June 2017) I started experimenting with the design elements. However, I don’t think I actually started making the quilt until this past fall. Until last fall, I was thinking about it, but hadn’t shown much action. So when should I say I actually started the quilt? When the idea hit and the years I spent thinking about it? Or, was it when I actually started putting the idea into fabric?

I have photographic proof that I was working on the quilt in October 2017. However, in July I know I was at a fabric store looking for the perfect “pinestraw” fabric. So did I start in October? or July?

I know from October until now, I hit 2 major stumbling blocks. One stopping point was when I had to figure out how to quilt the pieced top that I created (the background fabric and pinecone). The other pause was after I quilted the piece and needed to decide how to add the “pinestraw” in the foreground. Each pause took weeks (months) to get through. So should I count all this thinking when I add up my time?  I don’t know. I mean thinking about it isn’t an active stage of progress. Or is it?

What I’m trying to say is that, for me, its difficult to say how long something took to make. If I use the inspiration photo as my starting point, then it took me 5 years to complete. If I use the actually quilt making process, then it took me about 5 months. But, If I use the actual labor hours as my guide, then its probably taken me about 40 hours.

Realistically, I tend to like to look at it differently. I believe I must consider all the years I studied art, sewing, quilting, photography and nature. Without all that study time and practice, I wouldn’t have any of it. So, if you ask, I’m going to tell you that this quilt took me a lifetime to complete.

 

 

I’ve been published!

Quilting Arts Magazine
Dec17/Jan18
Cover Artist
Click Here to Get a Signed Copy!

100% of the time

I am a recovering perfectionist.
Today, I realize that I’ve been in relapse for the past several months. My body and mind is feeling the stress of this annoying alter ego. Its time to slow down.

I’m reminding myself, I can make mistakes and survive. I am human. I live and learn, but I will keep moving forward. I realize that negative emotions reflect my values. If I get mad, sad or scared about something, it is because its deeply important to me. And its OK to feel these things. You can’t go through life always being happy. Life is messy and complicated, with frequent unexpected curve balls. That’s what makes it all so interesting and entertaining.

So on rainy days like today, I remind myself that its OK to seek quiet. And I remember what my dad once told me, “Don’t worry. Things have always worked out for you.” So I’ll be quiet and not worry, because so far he’s been right 100% of the time.

Here with me

How’s your January going? Between weather events and facing some difficult challenges, I’m happy to say goodbye to January.  Goodbye and good riddance.  I’m ready to start over and begin some new adventures.

I’m optimistic that February is going to be good, because that’s when the Feb/Mar 2018 edition of Quilting Arts Magazine hits the newsstand. Since I subscribe, I’ve already received my copy and perched on page 82 is another article written by me! I’m so very excited!

I’ve known about this for a little while. Over the summer, I wrote this article and the one in last month’s edition. I use to work for a publishing company and they always advised us not to talk about an upcoming publication. You just never know …. until you’re in print, anything could happen to stop publication.

I submitted both proposals early last year and waited several months before I heard anything from the editor. I was so overwhelmed and honored when editorial director, Vivika Hansen DeNegre, sent me 2 congratulatory notifications on the same day. Both articles were accepted! I completed both by the end of September. I also prepared samples to show my process and sent them off to be photograph. Yes, I was busy those few months, but I couldn’t let you know. Now it seems like so long ago and seeing them in print is surreal.

I’m excited that I can finally tell you about it and hope you get a chance to read the articles. I still have copies of the Dec/Jan edition in my Etsy store and I will be adding copies of the Feb/March edition very soon (I’ll even autograph them if you like). These publications, along with some other changes I’ve made in my life, mark the start of a new direction for me.  I’m looking forward to this  journey and I’m glad to know you’re here with me.

 

I’ve been published!

Quilting Arts Magazine
Dec17/Jan18
Cover Artist
Click Here to Get a Signed Copy!