Category: Artistic Outings

Found your voice

It’s been a little while since my artwork has hung in a group exhibit. This past week I got to see “Summer Sunshine” hanging in the Sacred Threads exhibit in Herndon, Va. This biennial exhibit will hang until July 28 and it’s the second time my work has been in this exhibit. Sacred Threads is not just about the artwork; it’s about the story the art tells. “The show does not emphasize any particular religion or theology but conveys the spirituality, healing and inspirational messages that transcend all people. “

I spent Saturday afternoon looking at the quilts and reading as many stories as I could. Some were heart breaking, some uplifting and other’s just made me smile. It gives me great pride to have my art hang along side all the others. These experiences connect me with new people and old friends. And, I’m definitely inspired by all the artwork I see. (Note: If you can’t go to the exhibit, you can purchase a catalog with the stories and pictures of the quilts at Sacred Threads online store  )

While walking the exhibit, I heard someone tell their friend “One way to become a better artist is not only to make art, but to view art.” I agree! If you don’t know what looks or feels good to you, how can you create it? Art is more than just following some technique, it’s reaching into your soul to tell your story. If you haven’t already found that place in your heart, I encourage you to look at art, spend time exploring/seeing the details of everyday life, and find time to play with techniques. You’ll discover that place where it all clicks and you’ll know when you found your voice.

 

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See me on Quilting Arts TV Season 2400 (episodes 2401, 2408 & 2412).
Check your local PBS station for dates and times — or program your DVR.

One step at a time

A week ago today, I was in Cleveland, Ohio. Although I grew up in Chicago, I don’t remember ever visiting Cleveland. I’ve heard it is a fabulous city, great art museums, restaurants, hotels and, of course, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. On this trip, I didn’t get to see any of it. I was escorted directly from the airport to a outlying suburb for a visit K & S Productions studios.

This trip was the apex of the past 6 weeks where I’ve been preparing to film 4 segments of the Quilting Arts TV (QATV). I shipped my quilts ahead and carried 2 suitcases on the flight. One was full of clothes…4 segments means 4 changes of clothes. The other was filled with supplies to demonstrate my techniques.

I’ve been watching QATV since it started. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen every episode. So you can imagine my excitement when they asked me to be be part of the series. It was surreal to walk on set to see all the familiar props juxtaposed with all the filming equipment. I had no idea there were so many moving parts. In order to save time, they want us to film in one take…which isn’t always possible, but that’s the goal. You plan your segment to be no more than 12 minutes.

I arrived a day early so I could get comfortable with everything. I’m glad I did because I really got to enjoy the company of everyone there. They were so professional, kind and supportive. They all were dedicated to making the “guests” look good. Of course there was the host, Susan Brubaker-Knapp, and Vivika DeNegre, editor of Quilting Arts Magazine. There was also Kristine, associate editor of Quilting Arts and Jeanne from Bernina who helped us prepare. Besides the film/editing crew from K&S there was also Kathie, producer and Katherine, production coordinator. It was a smoothly operated production that made this newbie feel at ease. I have only been on TV once before…with all their help, I was much better prepared this time.

The morning of the filming was make-up time. This was another first for me. I have never had my make-up done by anyone. Looking at myself in the mirror, I looked like I had a face-lift. I could get use to this…

My first segment had me a bit shaky…but all went well without any “major” glitches. The other 3 have become a somewhat of a blur in my memory. But I do have the memories of being in the “greenroom” with the other guests on the show. I have found new friends among these talented textile artists, Julie Basseches Booth, Patty Kennedy-Zafred, Deborah

Fell, and Sherry Lipman McCauley. It’s fun how you connect with people when sharing similar experiences.

Three of my segments will air on PBS (or Create TV) this fall (2019) and one will air next spring (2020). I look forward to seeing the episodes. They tell me I didn’t appear nervous…so I’m banking on that outcome. For now, I’m preparing for what comes next; I have some plans I’ll share with you soon!

Reflecting on this journey I’m reminded: How do you climb that mountain?… One step at a time.

 

Take it for granted

Last month, I mentioned that I was awarded a 2019 Regional Artist Grant through the Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County NC. The grant funds are awarded to “provide financial support to a broad range of exceptionally talented visual, performing, literary and inter-disciplinary artists by funding a project that will have a significant impact on the advancement of their professional artistic career.” I am so honored to be recognized with this award.

I am also overjoyed with pride that this is the 2nd time I received this grant. As a grant recipient in 2016,  I was invited to show some of my work in an upcoming exhibit “Take it for Granted” a Regional Artist Grantees Exhibition at the Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County, in Fayetteville, NC. This exhibit features the art of grant recipients from the past 3 years. I’m excited to be a part of this event and have entered 5 pieces to exhibit. I’m looking forward to seeing the my work along side of other grantees who were also graced with this prestigious opportunity.

If you’re in the Fayetteville, NC  area, please consider visiting the Arts Council while the exhibit is hanging. I would love for you to see my artwork and that of my peers.

Take it for Granted
A Regional Artist Grantees Exhibition
January 25-February 23, 2019
January 25 – the 4th Friday Reception 7-9pm
Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County
301 Hay Street
Fayetteville, NC 28301

 

Happy Holidays

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. As I reflect on this year, I have a lot to be thankful for.  I was able to accomplish 2 dreams; getting work published in my favorite magazine and having a solo exhibit.

This year also offered a lot things that created stressors.  I am thankful that we survived 2 hurricanes with very, very minimal impact. Some of my friends were not so lucky and countless others, who I don’t know personally, experienced major loss from weather, fire and other events.

I am thankful to have so people in my life who support and encourage me. I’ve been reminded this year, how important it is to support those around you. A simple gesture of support can mean a lot to someone who is going through a difficult time.

I’m thankful for you reading my blog and following my journey. I hope by sharing my stories, you find ideas that you will connect to. My goal is to encourage you to embrace your creative side and to stay proactive even when you may be struggling. By dreaming the big dreams and embracing the power you hold inside, exciting things can happen.

I appreciate you! Have a joy filled Thanksgiving and happy holidays . . . Namaste!

 


As Nature Speaks, a dialog with an art quilter
Featuring the artwork of Nanette S. Zeller
Closes Saturday, Nov 24, 2018
Page-Walker Arts & History Center, Cary, NC
119 Ambassador Loop, Cary, NC 27513

Call ahead to check gallery availability (919) 460-4963

The show will go on

I am thankful to report that everyone I know in North Carolina is safe and has survived Hurricane Florence. My heart goes out to those who are impacted. We still have major flooding just east of where I live. Local traffic patterns have changed as people navigate to work avoiding flooded, blocked or damaged roads in the area. Even this is minor stuff compared to the devastation in eastern Carolina. How do I write anything about what I’m doing when there are countless displaced people in my state? My worries are minor.

During all of this I noticed a tenacity among the people I know. My quilt guild is holding its biennial show this weekend. The judging (for ribbons) was suppose to happen last Thursday. Because of the impending storm, they postponed until Monday. The storm was pretty bad over the weekend. The venue where they were judging had to close Monday. It was amazing to hear that the coordinators pulled it off anyway. The judges drove Sunday in the nasty weather to make sure they would be there. If the guild couldn’t find a venue, they were willing to judge the quilts in their hotel rooms. No one could even prepare for all the happened this past week, but these tenacious women pulled it off. The show must go on! I’m so proud to know them.

The storm is over, major roads are clear and passable. The caravans of out-of-state utility workers and tree removal services are taking care of what damage remains. If you live in central North Carolina and looking for something to do this fine weekend, please come see the Sandhills Quilters Guild show!  I’ll have 3 pieces in the show. You’ll find that quilters in my guild are out of this world talented. You will be impressed. The show will go on!

 

Your own satisfaction

Today I went had an artistic play date. In town, we have a local movie theater which plays artistic films and produces music and theater events. Its one of the cool things about this town.

Today the theater played the biographical documentary “Vincent van Gogh: A New Way of Seeing.” I guess I should have paid more attention to my art history, but van Gogh’s story was somewhat of a mystery to me.

I knew van Gogh’s iconic artwork; his self-portraits, “Sunflowers,” and “Starry Night.” I didn’t know how tortured his life history was. Sadly he only sold very few pieces of his art while he was alive. But, he was loved and cared for by his brother, Theo. If it wasn’t for Theo and his wife, Johanna, Vincent may have never had such fame.

The story was timely because, lately I’ve been thinking about artist drive and muse.  What drives people to create? Today, Vincent would have been classified manic-depressive and his treatment would have been different than it was in the late 1800’s. I wonder, if Vincent was alive today, would his medical treatment have interfered with his creative drive? We will never know.

I guess my take home lesson from my outing today is that there’s a reason we have artistic energy.  If we’ve found our muse, then we should create our art. It doesn’t matter what the obstacles are. Its important to embrace the energy, if only for your own satisfaction.

 

This is all making me think

Yet another snow day here. January has just been full of cold and wet weather. Between holidays and bad weather, will things every get back into a normal schedule?

Yesterday, I had a conversion with a friend who is a textile artist. It was very thought-provoking for me. There’s a common ground you find with people on the same path in life. There’s an understanding of the inevitable challenges we face in our profession. You realize you’re not alone in the struggles. When you talk with someone who understands, you not only find support, but you also find yourself thinking more deeply about your own personal journey.

When you decide to be a professional artist, unless you’re very lucky (or wealthy), you have to be responsible for all tasks of running your business. You are the marketing agent, shipping clerk, bookkeeper, administrative assistant and technical support team all encased in one body (and mind). Within a normal 24 hour day, you must accomplish the business tasks and find time to create the art.

Then there’s the question of “How??? Do I make the money?” Do you stay true to the artistic voice that screams in your head? Or, do you sell out and go for the money promoting products and services? Or maybe you do a little of both? And then what happens when, let’s say after you’ve made a name, you decide to venture into some other style or art form?

It really becomes a balancing act. I have artist friends who are in the business of marketing their art at very commercial levels. And, I have others friends who are in it for art sake. Its interesting to see how they both push themselves (or not) and what happens to them on the journey. I know my weaknesses and strengths. And on this snowy Wednesday, this is all making me think.

 

I’ve been published!

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

 

Have the opportunity again

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to travel to Herdon, Virginia to be part of the Sacred Threads Artist Weekend. Sacred Threads is an art quilt exhibit held every other year which focuses on the spiritual side of making quilts. For this juried exhibit, artists were asked to submit quilts with statements that explain their story.

This was my first time entering this exhibit. To my great honor, my quilt “Soar” was accepted.

It’s always a treat to visit the exhibits where my quilts hang, but this time things were different. The emotional energy that’s in the building can’t be explained. Most quilt exhibits, you look at a quilt and move on, but in this exhibit you’re compelled to read the stories. More than once I was moved to tears reading the artist’s intent. Lisa Ellis and her team of volunteers also produce an audio tour of stories told by the artists and there’s the book, a big book, of all the quilts and artist statements. I didn’t have time to read all the statements while I was there, but I did buy the book and plan to read every one. I had the most fun, stalking fellow artists and asking them to autograph my book. It gave me a reason to have dialog with these talented people and personally learn about their artistic motivation.

During the weekend event, there was a special gallery viewing in which the artists stood by their quilts and talked about their art. Due to the traffic flow of show, I found my best observation point to be across from my quilt. I enjoyed the opportunity to observe people’s reaction to my piece. I had a great vantage point to see people’s reaction without them knowing I was there. I found that a lot of men were attracted to “Soar’s” large osprey wing. That intrigued me. Was it the size? Visual impact? Or that it didn’t look like a traditional quilt? I didn’t ask, but its an interesting tidbit for me. If you have the time to visit this week, I encourage you to go. If not, it will be 2 years before we have the opportunity again.

 

SEE MY QUILT “Soar” at the 
Sacred Threads Exhibition
July 7, 2017 – July 23, 2017
Floris United Methodist Church, Herndon, VA
www.sacredthreadsquilts.org

 

Emotions into a quilt

Last week I took a trip to visit my aunt in the San Francisco area. I use to visit a lot when I was younger. As I grew older, I had fewer opportunities to visit. Most of my visits as an adult kept me close to Silicone Valley. If you know the area, you know that it has it’s own distinct beauty, but it is also very congested with humans. Last week I visited Marin County, which, too, is over-populated, but contains some hidden natural gems; namely Muir Woods and Mt. Tamalpais.

Considering all the rain they’ve had the past few months, we were blessed with sunny weather each day. On one of these sun-filled days we took a drive up to Mt. Tamalpais. I was impressed with the vast mountainscapes (or as Californians would call them hillscapes) we discovered so near the urban sprawl. State and National Parks secure the forested lands and it was all breath-taking.

On our way down-hill, we made a side trip to Muir Woods National Monument. I don’t recall ever visiting this magical place before. As we strolled along the trails, I was overcome with awe over the gigantic Sequoia sempervirens. These trees, commonly known as the Redwoods, are massive and endangered specimens.

I don’t often have experiences like this, but I truly felt it was a spiritual encounter. I totally understand how John Muir (the monument’s namesake) viewed nature as a form of religion.

In some respects, the spiritual nature of my experience revolved around my concern over the continual loss of habit. My feelings were also due to the sheer size of these trees, reaching up to 380ft tall and 30ft in diameter; I felt small. It takes time to grow to this size, these trees are known to live 1200 to 1800 (or more) years old. I am very sure that the spirits I felt were greatly due to the age of these trees. They witnessed many evolutions of this coastal region. They emitted an energy and seemed powerfully wise, but I’m afraid few people actually stopped to listen.

Now that I’m home, I’m processing all of this and trying to figure out how I will interpret these emotions into a quilt.

 

On My Journey

Tres Dominea Lagerstroemia I’m safely home from last week’s journey. My sister and I traveled to Houston, Texas to visit the International Quilt Festival (IQF). If you remember, a few months back I posted that two of my quilts were accepted into the exhibit (read it here). It’s been about 7 years since the last time I went, but this is the first time that my quilts were hanging there.

It’s a humbling experience to see you work hanging amongst all the talent. I’m honored to have my work selected.

I’m also glad I went. The reason I decided to go was to experience the joy of seeing my quilts hanging on those black drapes. But, after my return I’m glad I went for other reasons.

Oil cans #3As I mentioned, I was pretty humbled by the talent in the exhibit. I returned home with a new sense of pride and determination. I’m not satisfied with my work. I want more out of it. Being at IQF made me realize that I still have work to do. I’m not willing to give up, but more determined to be “out there.” More serious about what I have to do.

If you’ve been following me awhile, you may notice that my website has changed. After returning from Houston, I put the necessary effort into giving my blog a facelift. You can now find me at www.nanettesewz.com . Expect to be hearing more from me. I hope you continue following me on my journey.