Thursday, December 31, 2009

Wish for the New Year

This year help me see the open doors that lie beyond my fears. Help me to believe in that small voice that whispers me towards my dreams. Let my newly found light of awareness become my beacon for those who hesitate in the wings.

(note: My photo is a window on a house in the countryside outside of Osh, Kyrgyzstan. It is not Kyrgyz but Russian. I loved it anyway.)

Monday, December 21, 2009

Books for Sale

I'm continuing to clean out both mentally and physically. I've gotten several boxes together to mail to my quilt group in Georgia (country not state) so now I need to come up with the funds. I'm now going through my books.  I've made them cheaper than Amazon or All books are in great shape unless noted.  Many are brand new and never used. Thanks for your help in finding homes and helping me ship supplies. I'll ship via Media Mail (US only) for around $2.50 until the new postage rates take effect. Anyone living outside of the US, we'll need to figure it out. I will accept a check or PayPal.Check back as I will be adding more books as I go through my library.

Abstract Design in American Quilts: A Biography of an Exhibit by Jonathan Holstein $40.00

Quilting by Improvisation by Vikki Pignatelli $18.00

Quilted Memories by Lesley Riley   $10.00
(back of dust cover is wrinkled and has a few small tears at the bottom, it came that way)

Creating Pa Ndau Applique by Carla Hassel   $4.50
(in great shape for a 1984 publication)

Fun Photo-Quilts and Crafts by Ami Simms $8.00

Quilt Savvy Fallert's Guide to Images on Fabric by Caryl Bryer Fallert  $10.00

Patchwork Persuasion by Joen Wolfrom $7.00

Hearts and Flowers Quilt Block Designs by Jodie Davis and Linda Hampton Schiffer $4.00

Painting and Decorating Furniture by Sheila McGraw $14.00

Quilt a Koala by Margaret Rolfe (1986 version) $4.00

Australian Quilts- The People and Their Art by The Quilters' Guild $3.00

Razzle Dazzle Quilts by Judy Hooworth $9.00

Story Quilts Telling Your Tale in Fabric by Mary Mashuta (you pay shipping and it's yours)

Quilts: An American Heritage by Terri Zegart (you pay shipping and it's yours)
(Does have a message from Shelly Zegart inside)

The Fabric Stamping Handbook by Jean Ray Laury (you pay shipping and it's yours) Has a home!

Imagery on Fabric (second edition) by Jean Ray Laury $3.00

Twixt Garden Gates by Jan Patek $6.00

Small Amish Quilt Patterns For Crib Quilts and Wall Hangings by Rachel T. Pellman $6.00

Color for Quilters; Secrets for Color Success in Quiltmaking by Lauri Linch-Zadel and Belinda W Sturgis $3.00

How to Survive and Prosper as an Artist: Selling Yourself Without Selling Your Soul (Fifth Edition) by Caroll Michels $5.00

The Business of Being an Artist (Third Edition) by Daniel Grant $4.00

Monday, December 14, 2009

Rules of Play

I have uncovered another treasure in my efforts to clean out. This one is from 2002. It's Desmond Morris' Rules of Play from The Naked Ape."

  1.  You shall investigate the unfamiliar until it becomes familiar.
  2. You shall impose rhythmic repetition on the familiar.
  3. You shall vary this repetition in a many ways as possible.
  4. You shall select the most satisfying of these variations and develop these at the expense of others.
  5. You shall compose and recombine these variations one with another.
  6. You shall do this for its own sake, as an end in itself.
Who would have thought that cleaning could bring so much food for thought?

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Cleaning to the Seven Wonders

"If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right." According to Steven Jobs, this quote helped shape his life and helped him to remember what is important. "For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" And whenever the answer has been "No" for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something."

If you knew today was the last day you would ever have, how would you live it? Well, I've been spending my days lately cleaning and I have to tell you it is making me very happy. So happy that I've had a couple of people actually ask if I was on drugs. You just have to laugh.

Many years ago, I decided that I needed to simplify my life. Not an easy task since it goes against my genes. You see I come from a long line of pack rats. I've also had to help clean out the homes of people who have died and talked to friends that have done the same. I know I only want to be surrounded by things that I love and either make me happy or support my creative endeavors.  I know that I want to make 2010 a year of intense creativity so I need to clean away the clutter or unnecessary things to free up space both physically and mentally. I shipped another box (40 pounds) to the Ohio Reformatory for Women. I know they will use it. I filled my jeep for a trip to Goodwill. I still have a ways to go to get my basement studio space in working order but it is getting there. The recycling bin is full of paper and old magazines. Like I said, it feels good! It's been fun to revisit some things. One of them was an email sent to me from Bonnie McCaffery in 2005 about a girl in school writing down the 7 Wonders of the World. For her, they were not the Great Pyramids or China's Great Wall but the following:

1. to touch
2. to taste
3. to see
4. to hear
5 to feel
6. to laugh
7 and to love

So if what I have does not support the 7 Wonders, it is finding a new home where it hopefully will. The cleaning out also helps me to feel that I am in control so now it's back to cleaning!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Vermont Life Magazine

Yesterday I was interviewed by Vermont Life Magazine about my quilt which is the Alzheimer's: Forgetting Piece by Piece exhibit. The reason for the article, which is in the Spring issue (comes out mid-February), is the exhibit will be at Shelburne Museum from May 16-Oct. 24, 2010. I was only asked two questions.

1. How did making the quilt help you cope with the effects of dealing with a family member who has Alzheimer's? 

I am a person of action. Give me a problem, I'll jump right in and do my best to fix it. Unfortunately, I couldn't fix my mother-in-law's Alzheimer's. I didn't know if my quilt would be accepted. The idea for the quilt had been rolling around in my head for a long time so when Ami sent out the call, it gave me permission to create, to express myself, to share my mother-in-law's story. When the quilt was accepted, I was overjoyed. My quilt is out in the work and part of something that is educating and raising funds. It brings me comfort.

2. When you made this quilt, how was the process different from other quilts you have made?

No, the process was not different. However, I don't remember any other piece where I have cried so much during the making.

My mother-in-law has the terrible disease. She is dying the death she most feared. It is her hands that are shattered and my husband's, my youngest's son's and my hands that are reaching out to her. It has been years since she has known who we are. 

On Monday I will be interviewing Kelly for Quilters' S.O.S. - Save Our Stories. Kelly is an 11 year old quiltmaker who made a quilt in memory of her grandfather who died of the disease in November. She donated the quilt to the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative. Her quilt raised $100. Can't wait to talk with her.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Good News!

The National Museum of Mexican Art has decided to extend the exhibit Rastros y Crónicas: Women of Juarez until July 4, 2010! From the museum, "Unfortunately, many institutions are currently cutting back on their budgets and exhibition programming due to the current economic situation we are facing at this time.  It is for this reason that the NMMA feels it is even more important to continue to support exhibitions that otherwise be the first to be eliminated in times like this, such as is the case for Rastros y Crónicas: Women of Juarez. Therefore, we have extended the exhibition run until July 4th, 2010." If you are in Chicago, please go and see this moving and powerful exhibit. I still cannot believe that I have a piece in the show. It is so fun to be a fly on the wall and listen to what people have to say. This is an amazing museum. 

Monday, December 7, 2009

How to Spot an Artist

My neighbor was walking her dog and stopped me on the way to my mailbox. She wanted to know if I was an artist. I said, "yes" even though sometimes I struggle with the idea. Her quick reply was "I thought so."  When I asked her how she knew, she just replied, "It was easy to see." I was cold ) no coat and her dog was impatient to continue walking so further conversation didn't happen but it has gotten me thinking. Painter Mary Todd Beam has a list. An artist:

  • Knows whare she keeps her her muse.
  • Knows how to play and take risks.
  • Searches for meaning through universal experiences.
  • Senses the "flow" and runs with it.
  • Defines herself though her work.
  • Works toward a goal.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Art vs Craft Debate

First, thank you to everyone for their thoughts and kind words. They are appreciated more than words can express. I've thought a great deal on the art vs craft debate and know that it will never be definitively decided. Whenever I am asked about quilts being art, I always say, "yes!" However, I also say that I feel quilts are a lot like photography. Millions of people own cameras. Millions of homes are filled with photographs. The same can be said about quilts. Are all the snapshots art? No. Does this make them less valuable? Personally, I think not. Does it make them all art? No.

There is also a great quote by Martha Graham that I had posted in my studio for years that I also think expresses my feelings better than I could ever say.

"There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through your action.
There is only one of you in all time.
Your expression is unique, but if you block it, it will never exisit through your medium: and will be lost.
If you block it, the world will not have your expression.
It is not your business to determine how good your expression is, not how it compares with others expressions.
You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. What you have to do is keep open and aware directly to the usges that motivate you.
No artist is pleased. There is no satisfaction whatever at any time. No artist is ever satisfied.
There is a queer, divine dis-satifisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps up marching and makes us more alive than others."

I want to be alive. I'd be lying if I told you that I do not want approval. With that said, approval no longer guides me. Always with gratitude, Karen

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Tote Bag Crazy

At first I wasn't going to share my latest obsession which is making tote bags for family and friends for the holidays, but obviously I've changed my mind. A friend shared that she didn't think this counted as "making art" and I don't totally disagree. However, I am having fun playing with fabric and color combination AND making something for people I love. It has also gotten me into the habit of being in my studio every day. I can't thank Lisa enough. It also frees my brain to think and I have to tell you my brain has been on overdrive! The dresses came out of creating them so I can't totally agree that these tote bags are not about creating art.