Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The ABCs of Creativity Stoppers

Here's another small quilt (11" w x 10.5" h) that I am not completely happy with and will probably attempt again especially now that I have found my original sketch.  The quote "I asked you not to talk...Now you've said things I'll never forget." is from John Updike's book "Giving Blood." Playing with typography continues. Here's my list of things to be aware.

A Arrogance
B Bias
C Control, Cheating
D Disorder, Denial
E Excuses, Ego
F Fear
G Greed
H Hurry
I Ignorance
J Judgement
K Killjoy
L Languish
M Malice
N Negativity
O Over-analysis
P Perfectionism, Procrastination
Q Quitting
R Rejection
S Stealing
T Tension, Trepidation
U Umbrage
V Vulgarness
W Waiting, Waste
Y Yammer, Yo-yo

Z  Zig zag, Zealot (uncompromising)

Monday, July 30, 2012

The ABCs of Creativity

I made this small quilt (10.5" w x 9.5" h) a while ago when I was feeling stuck (too many ideas). I challenged myself to first simply piece a background then add elements and words (remember my plead to continue to explore typography). I know it would have turned out better had I planned it out but it worked at getting me to relax and create. I also think I will rework the piece and make it work.

It did get me to put together something more on creativity.  I decided to find at least one word for each letter of the alphabet. This turned out to be a fun excercise.

A Abundance, Awareness, Acceptance
B Believing, Building
C Courage, Change, Consideration, Collaboration, Chaos
D Dreams, Discovery
E Effort
F Forgiveness, Friendship, Fear
G Giving, Gifts
H Healing, Health
I Initiative, Imagination
J Joy
K Knowledge
L Love, Life, Loss, Lessons
M Mindfulness, Motivation
N Next
O Openness, Outside, Opportunities, Order
P Possibilities, Passion, Practice, Process
Q Quality, Quirkiness
R Respect, Riches
S Simplicity, Success
T Travel, Time
U Uniqueness, Understanding
V Value, Vulnerability, Vibrant,Views
W Worldliness, Wide Open, Wild
X Xerophyte
Y You
Z Zest

I can see some running for the dictionary and others smiling at my use of xerophyte which is a plant able to grow in very dry conditions. As artist we have to be able to grow even when the desire to be creative leaves us. I am also sure other words will come to mind and I'll add to it. Tomorrow I will share my ABCs of things we need to be aware. I am not going to call them things to avoid. Stay tuned. Feel free to add to the list!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Sometimes in the Winds of Change We Find Our Direction

I love mixed media so I always sign up for a mixed media exchange with Postmark'd Art whenever it is available. This round I just could not get out of my own head. Every attempt I began I hated. I was making it too complicated. Yesterday I decided to simply begin with two fabrics, sew them together and play. It worked! I used three different commercial fabrics,  Korean wrapping paper, two different kinds of paint, a metal star sticker (hope they make it) and TAP (Transfer Artist Paper). I love adding words and quotes to my work and this one has the saying, "Sometimes in the winds of change we find our direction." It wasn't important to me to have this be a large element in  the piece but simply a part of it. The deadline was not until September 30th but I like to get things done early. I had to make five and I'm pleased that each one is a little different. I can't wait to see what I receive. So my postcards (6" x 4") are in the mail and I hope they bring joy to everyone they encounter.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Typography Rocks!

I collect rocks on my travels and have bowls of them all around my house. I keep thinking about typography which is the theme for the Arts in the Cards Revisioned group. I kept thinking "typography rocks" and suddenly taking this literally popped into my head. Here are the results. They were so much fun to make and I plan to make more because they are just like potato chips and I want to fill this red bowl from my friend Ron with them. It sits on the coffee table in my living room. I think I will continue to play with typography for a while. Wonder what will pop into my head next!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Magical Friday--Flow

Friday was one of those rare days where time went unnoticed. It began as I worked on creating a feather for my newest quilt. The feather was created with Timtex, muslin with a simple drawing and thread. I couldn't believe when I finished that several hours had passed. Needing a change of pace, I curled up with a book--Karen Thompson Walker's first novel The Age of Miracles. It's a story about the earth's rotation slowing. It was so good that I could not put it down. Great summer reading and makes me hungry for another "can't put it down book." Any recommedations? Wishing you a magical day of flow.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Life is Too Short to Wake Up with Regrets

One of the things that I love about joining groups is you get to meet people who you would never have the opportunity to meet. This is true of my friend Marie Z. Johansen from the Arts in the Cards ATC group. I love the message she put on the back of her envelope. It does a great job summing up what life should be about-- making your life be worth living, living it to the fullest, valuing the people in your life who matter. Not everyone is granted a second chance. The older I become the more I realize that we only have this one life so we better make the most of it.  I particularly love the last two lines, “Nobody said life would be easy. They just promised it would be worth it.” I don't know about you but I plan to make my life worthwhile and have as much fun as I can! I just wish I know who said it. Thanks Marie for a great reminder, another great envelope and an amazing piece of art.

Life is too short to wake up with regrets.
Love the people who treat you right.
Forget about the ones who don’t.
Believe everything happens for a reason.
If you get a second chance, grab it with both hands.
If it changes your life, let it.
Nobody said life would be easy.
They just promised it would be worth it.


Monday, July 16, 2012

And the Winner is...

I went to my number generator (husband) for the number forgetting that Cheryl Lynch had posted a comment. So of course, he picks her number. Good thing he could care less. So the winner is...drum roll please...Sylvia. For those of you who did not win, the book blog tour continues with Cheryl Sleboda. Good luck and thank you!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Judy's Fabric Challenge Reveal!

Judy's Fabric Challenge took some people longer to complete than others. I thought it was time (since so many people have asked) to share the completed quilts. I apologize to all of you have have been waiting for the reveal. For those of you who are new. This is the second fabric challenge that I have done on my blog. You can read all the details on "Judy's Fabric Challenge" posts. Flo London lost her job of 11 years in May so her focus shifted from being creative to finding a job.

This one was completed by Louise Baldel. Louise worked at warp speed and was the first one to finish. There is nothing like a move to get one motivated!

Diane Dunder's quilt is titled "Tunami" and you can read more about her quilt on her blog's April 5th posting. One of the things that I love about this quilt is its shape. Way to go Diana!

Sara Kelly created a table runner (33" x 72") which she titled "Kaikoura." Kaikoura is a beach in New Zealand. I love the movement in her border! You can read more about her piece on her blog's April 20th posting.

Vivian Helena Aumond-Capone also created a table runner and posted it on her blog also on April 20th. Great creators must think alike.  Too much fun. I love the colors she chose and her one-sided border with her multi-colored binding. Vivian also made a pillow and posted it on her blog on April 26th.

On May 9th, Sue Andrus posted on my Facebook page (she was having Internet problems) her quilt. While I've been in touch with Sue, I have not heard if she ever finished it. Sue is known for her great gardens which inspires so much of her work.

Kathryn Schmidt's quilt "Bubbler" (love the title) was posted on her blog on May 24th. It's 16" x 30," but it's not a table runner! I do find it interesting that this challenge had so many long and skinny quilts created. Kathy used one of my favorite batiks. While Kathy loves to bead, she did not add any to this quilt. I think it is great that even though she loves to bead, she chose not to add any because she felt the piece did not need them. 

"Connections" (47" x 27") was posted on Kathy Brigg's blog on July 8th. Kathy could not decide which way she liked it best to hang so she attached two sleeves! I love this option. This was a real challenge for Kathy and I think she knocked it out of the park!

I love all the works produced in this challenge and I know Judy would be too! Enjoy!

Friday, July 13, 2012

ad astra per alia porci

My youngest son loved Latin in high school which made me more aware of Latin. Isn't it funny how once your eyes are opened to something you see it everywhere? John Steinbeck had a favorite saying, "As astra per alia porci." Translated it means "To the stars on the wings of a pig," or very loosely, "Aim for the heavens, though your equipment be meager." I am bringing this up because of a few emails I received concerning my creativity list. Sometimes having the right equipment/supplies can make all the difference in the world. That said, I have seen amazing pieces of art created with materials at hand. This has happened over and over again when I have taught overseas.  The photo is of fabric created in Tbilisi, Georgia, using very limited supplies--a few bottles of fabric paint, a few stamps and some paint brushes. Don't let not having what you think you need stop you from creating.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

40 Ways to Stay Creative

This week five people have asked me how I stay creative. One was a soon to be junior in high school which made me particularly sad. Someone had really crushed her creative drive. Most of the people started by saying something like, "I'm not creative like you," or ""I'm not creative." I didn't have a quick answer so I decided to make a list (no particular order, just how things popped into my head) and share it. I'm hoping you'll share your ideas too because I am sure that this is not a complete list.

1.  Make lists.
2.  Stop trying to be perfect.
3.  Carry a notebook everywhere and use it! (Don't forget to have a pen too.)
4.  Step away from your computer.
5.  Watch a foreign film.
6.  Clean your workspace.
7.  Collaborate.
8.  Surround yourself with creative people.
9.  Keep a journal or two or three.
10. Join an exchange/trade group.
11. Take a class outside your field.
12. Go somewhere new.
13. Play. Don't think of creating as "work."
15. Finish something.
16. Do something that scares you.
17. Be open.
18. Shut off your T.V.
19. Doodle.
20. Make mistakes. Lots of them.
21. Start a blog.
22. Teach someone something you love to do.
23. Make something useful. (My thing seems to be making tote bags.)
24. Feel the fear and do it anyway.
25. Stop comparing yourself and/or your work against others. There will always be someone doing something better than you.
26. Do something silly.
27. Make do. Use the supplies you have on hand or limit what you allow yourself to use.
28. Say "what if?" and act on your answer.
29. Research something that interests you.
30. Set a timer for 10 minutes and see what you can accomplish.
31. Work in a medium that is less familiar to you.
32. Be kind to yourself.
33. Take your camera with you everywhere. Take pictures. Lots of them!
34. Remember that we are cycling beings. There will be highs and lows.
35. Have fun!
36. Show up.
37. Creative things with a friend(s).
38. Go on a retreat.
39. Release a past hurt.
40. Go with the flow!

By the way, the photo is of some African bracelets that I purchased to help women earn a living. They became stretched out and I was no longer wearing them. Last night I was thinking about circles and balls when the idea came to me to see if I could create a ball with the bracelets. It was an interesting exercise and made me think. Of course, my husband of all people asked me what I was going to do with it. I think that may be the most frustrating question I continue to encounter. Really what does it matter?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Story of Me in Typography

I was excited when Marie Z. Johansen suggested that we open ourselves to any media when we (members of Art in the Cards) revisit our ATC themes on Art in the Cards Revisioned.  When Marie choose the Typography theme for us to revisit, I was thrilled.  I love typography! I love words! It was one of my favorite themes. To be able to create in a supportive group is also a great gift. 

My goals lately have included to play more and think outside the box. My intent was to make a quilt. Obviously that didn't happen--yet. I started going through magazines and tearing out interesting fonts and words and well, one thing lead to another. Suddenly the idea popped into my head to create a piece and tell the story of me in words.  I had an old flower pot (11" x 11" x 4") that use to house my hens and chicks in the garage. I wasn't sure that the magazine pieces of text would stick with glue but I liked the shape and the crudeness of it figuring "nothing ventured, nothing gained. To my amazement my simple glue stick worked and soon my pile of magazines had lots of holes in the pages.  While satisfied with the results, I decided I wanted to also have an element of play so I made paper beads, again using magazine pages, that can be picked up and rearranged. I warn you these are addicting. Just like potato chips, once you get started you just can't stop.

My youngest son likes playing with them. I like the tactile feel of the beads and the ever changing nature of the piece.  In the end,  I also coated the entire bowl with two coats of matte medium to seal it. I suspect it might need another coat down the line. For now, it sits on my coffee table and makes me smile every time I look at it.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Zentangle Inspired Threads Skull

I joined Postmark'd Art in the beginning because the idea of making fiber postcards intrigued me. I've stayed because it provides me opportunities to grow and try new things in a supportive environment and because I am exposed to so many amazing artists. I signed up for the Zentangle Inspired Threads group because it was so different for anything I had ever done. If you don't know anything about Zentangle, do check it out. While I purchased their starter kit, I haven't spent much time playing with it. Basically, it's a fun kind of doodling.

I gave myself the added challenge of trying to do a shape. I love skulls so I drew one and used it for my postcards. Yesterday I went to the satellite post office in a local pharmacy. The kid behind the counter could not believe I had made them and wanted to look at them some before putting them in the box. Hopefully they will make it to their destinations. If not, I got a teenage boy to track down. I will admit to a couple of moments of "what was I thinking?" and that I am really happy with how they turned out. I included a quote on the back "Locked in each human skull is a little world all it's own." by Robert Tusker which seemed appropriate.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Blog Giveaway-Sew Embellished!

What a wonderful way to start a Monday. I have been invited to be part of a book blog tour. The book is Sew embellished!  artistic little quilts, personalized with easy techniques  (Martingale, 2012, ISBN:  978-1-60468-1475, 80 pages.) by Cheryl Lynch. Leave a comment and you could have a chance to win an autographed copy. The winner will be announced next Monday (July 16th).

I first became aware of Cheryl's wonderful work when I saw her quilt "Leaving Us" which was part of the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative's exhibit "Alzheimer's: Forgetting Piece by Piece."

It is a book that focuses on projects that can include a variety of embellishments--beads, buttons, photographs, rickrack, found objects, etc. The beginning of the book does a great job at explaining the how-toes of embellishment (stacking buttons, adding beads, adding text, stitching, etc.). My favorite part was on making polymer buttons. As far as the projects go, I love that she includes and encourages the making of irregularly shaped pieces and interesting edge treatments.  In addition, the projects aren't just "quilts," she includes information on making fabric jewelry, and a fold out three dimensional piece called "From the Bottom of My Heart." It truly is 80 pages of fun projects and packed with great information.

Friday, July 6, 2012


"Fun and Sun" was not accepted in Houston's International Quilt Festival's Festival Gallery of Quilt Art: Memories of My Childhood exhibit. I would be lying if I didn't say it hurt a little. I think I would be considered needing professional help if I said that I loved rejection.

Rejection is part of the game. However, I don't take these kinds of things personally. I don't know the vision of the curator. I don't know what the other pieces looked like or even how many were entered or accepted. I don't know how the judge was instructed. There are so many things that I just don't know.

I do know that I don't regret making the piece. It brought back a lot of great memories.I also know that a lot of people have no idea about the game of Jacks. I do know that I'll be a little sad but not for too long. I have too many ideas rattling around my head ready to get out! As Albert Camus advised, "Live to the point of tears."

Here is my artist statement:
The goal for the summer of 1965 was to become the world champion of Jacks. The competition lived next door. We had decided on the games of Jacks because she was not any good at baseball and I did not want to play with dolls. And it was not just about the game but all the adventures to find the perfect place to play. Was the surface of the town’s gazebo better than the library’s sidewalk? Was my driveway better than hers? Was a rainy day in June better than the heat of an August day? I loved charting it all as the official bookkeeper. Onesies, Twosies, Eggs in the Basket, Double Bounce, Pigs in the Pen…when we mastered one, we moved on to the next. When I discovered that the song “This Old Man” was inspired by an early Irish version of Jacks, we sang it as our anthem with our right hand over our heart before every match (although not all ten verses every time). At the end of the summer, we decided to share the title and have a rematch the following summer. It was not to be. Diane moved and the summer of fun in the sun with Jacks became a bittersweet memory.


Tuesday, July 3, 2012

A Delightful Discovery

Ever since I discovered the praying mantis last year, I've been hoping that my garden would have more. Well this morning, I found one! He/she is not very big, a little more than an inch. Last year's was on the east side of my house and hung out on the Russian Sage. This one is in the backyard under my kitchen window on my hydrangea. This afternoon it was gone but I am keeping my eye open and hoping I discover more. Wishing you great discovery and a fabulous 4th of July!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Revisiting Once in a Blue Moon

It's hard to believe that I created this piece in 2009 and while I was happy with it, it never felt (no pun intended) complete. I hung it for a while in my guest room thinking it would help by getting it out which happened until I decided to paint the room. Out of sight, out of mind. As I have said in the past, I am not subscribing or purchasing many magazines anymore. However, when my friend Vivian Aumond-Capone got a postcard in Cloth, Paper, Scissors magazine (May/June issue, page 88 if you're interested), I decided to support her and the magazine by purchasing a copy. That is when I say the Reader Challenge "Felted Wonders" and after some delightful emails with Barbara Delaney to see if my piece qualified (it does!), out the piece came. I shared it again with my friend Barbara Wester who said that I needed to add more beads to make it look more like moonlight. This got me going. As you can see I added lots of beads and not just to the sky. I also added lots and lots of French knots to create even more texture. I'm sticking a fork into it and calling it done! I have not idea if it will make the cut for the challenge. It doesn't really matter to me. I will always be thankful for the jump start it gave so I actually finished this piece.  It has also inspired me to get some other pieces out and revisit them.