Posts Tagged ‘SAQA’

Monday Marketing

In keeping with my plan to actually write about what I did for marketing on Mondays, I made my list yesterday, as I had a lot of loose ends floating around in my head. Beside each heading is what I actually got accomplished today.

* marbling – 12 fat quarters, including some for the new set of Seasons patterns, plus more for the Etsy shop. I’m glad hubby is doing all the Etsy work of listing items. I then go in and promote them through Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Got a really gorgeous new one that I’m trying for a quilted piece of driftwood. I’ll post a pic when the fabric is ironed.

* update Facebook business page, go back through some previous likes, make comments – I had been doing pretty well about a month ago with posting regularly and commenting on other’s art, but the month got away from me. So now I’m back.

* check on SAQA entry -read through the call to artists, and I decided this would not be right for me.

* email Anne about SOCAL Fiber Arts show and getting some appraisals done on recent quilts – done; need to know if I am qualified as legitimately disabled. I qualify, I’m making arrangements for appraisals in January for some of the newest art quilts, and now I can put together the packet for this show.

* Handmadeology blog – done and sent along the way. In researching a couple of blogs to boost holiday sales, I discovered a couple of venues I need to check on, so I’ll be busy with Digg, SumbleUpon, and Kaboodle this week, finding out all about them. I’m not sure about StumbleUpon – I don’t usually do that kind of surfing…..we’ll have to see. Same for Kaboodle – don’t know that it will be productive, and I have enough time-wasters as it is.

* TAFA request for community groups – sent out the request for information about the various communities we network with, as part of a blog post for Handmadeology.

* Craftsy class with Cindy Needham – the reality is that with the holidays coming up, and the number of unfinished projects, I really don’t have time for this class. I do want to wait and take another Elizabeth Barton class in October, since I got so much from the first class – and I’m not done with that one yet…….

* Promotesy – did my month sign-up yesterday, and I’ve started using it. I can schedule ahead of time, and things automatically post to Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Looks to be easier to use than Hootsuite – which never did seem to publish my scheduled tweets.

* pin ebay – done…..it usually drives some traffic to the site, but it doesn’t seem to be converting to sales. Maybe when October rolls around….

* AZ SAQA info – emailed two jpgs off to the group. These are the two quilts that have been chosen to be in Linda Seward’s book The Complete Book of Art Quilt Techniques. We’ll see what happens. At least there’s no entry fee….

* Phoenix Public Library call for submissions – deadline October 10, $15.00, CD with 10 images. Images need to be from the last two years, but because of teaching full time, I am only now getting a lot more new work completed. Need to think this through.

* start newsletter for the month, at least outline what will be in it. I know what will be in the newsletter, I just need to get started on it, for it to go out a week from tomorrow.

* email stencil lady – go through website on stencils. I went through two sites that carry stencils, looking at ways of constructing some designs. I think I have a couple of really cool ideas, and I have emailed about pursuing this idea further. Over the next two weeks I want to see about doing actual designs for possible approval. This could be another source of passive income.

Okay, I was very productive getting all this stuff done today. This seems to be the way to go, rather than just writing about it and not necessarily doing it…..go figure……

 

Top Ten Tuesday

Well, it has been a while, what with projects and a few days in San Diego. I have loads to work through on my blog list, so I am thinking there’s at least three posts here!

First up, from the 365 Project, some amazing photography yet again. In honor of beach time in San Diego……

Beach Sand by Michael Elliott

From the ArtBizBlog and Alyson Stanfield comes some organizing ideas. I just happened to see her Evernote mention, and I have just started using that on my iPad, so I want to go into this post more in depth….organizing lately has been off, to say the least!

Studio Art Quilt Association (SAQA) does an auction of artwork every year as a fund raiser. This is the first year I have contributed a piece. One thing members are doing to promote the auction is doing 6-piece “collections” around a theme. I pleased to say my “Hotwired” has made it into two collections.

Here are a few more samples of SAQA collections, put together by Kathy York.

Here’s a quick video from Freida Anderson with some fusing tips, something I am just getting in to:

Jane LaFazio interviews Leslie Riley. I’ve admired both for a long time. Jane is a very successful water color, mixed media, and art quilter, and Leslie Riley is quite the motivator. Enjoy the interview!

Alisa Burke has a fabulous post on tools for sketchbooks and frequently asked questions. Lots of “I wants” in this list…it’s probably a good thing I don’t do a lot of sketching……

Thanks to Rachel of Rayela Art and The Textile and Fiber Art List, here’s a cool look at a new tool called PicMonkey for editing pictures easily. Rachel did some fun playing around with pictures of her own.

Here’s a wonderful sense of humor video from YouTube about European shopping bags. Some very clever designs!

A very “enterprising” story of a 10-year-old who has started her own sewing business. You go, Lizzy!

And finally, a piece of honesty and courage from an Eagle Scout from The Best Article Every Day.

Have a great week! Let me know what you find that’s cool.

Sunday Stories – Misfiring Synapses

I’ve had a couple of people come by and see my “Misfiring Synapses,” a piece I did on depression. It’s getting mixed reactions. Some people don’t get it because it’s fiber and doesn’t look like their mental picture of fiber – which is a typical quilt. Some don’t get the imagery in the abstraction, and that’s okay. But most people who do get it love it – they say it’s exactly what they figure their mind is going through. Which is what I was aiming for in its creation. I think if you’ve suffered from some form of depression, especially situational, you get the idea that something is ultimately not right in your brain.

When the call for this show came up, I spent a lot of time trying to think 1) how I would interpret it, and 2) how I would do it in marbled fabric. We had done some black satin a while back for a different piece, and it was pretty organic in form. As I was going through fabric, I happened on the piece and thought it looked quite a bit like a nerve ending. Very dendritic. So I went with that piece, and I wish I’d taken a picture of the satin without anything done to it.

I wanted the effect of an irritation, like an itch that just wouldn’t go away. As I was checking through my threads, I saw a Rainbow thread from Superior that was a red/purple/black, and I thought it might work. When you look at the above photo, you can see that the red shows, and then it looks like there isn’t other thread. It looks like an irritated part of a nerve. Just what I wanted.

So I had the center of the piece, but I wasn’t sure how to develop the “looking inside” aspect – I wanted it to feel like you were looking deep into the brain and seeing just this one little piece of irritant. I had two different types of red fabrics, both satins, and both with some freeform designs, again very organic.

I did a lot of the same type of quilting, following the black, this time with a variegated series of reds. Lots of bubbling texture resulted. I did the same thing with the second piece of red. What I seemed to have were two different areas of the brain, both pretty irritated.

I also had some more great black satin, this time in more formal marbled patterns, and I figured this would work really well for the outer shell of the brain, all the “gray matter.” I continued with the curved pieces that overlapped each other, much like I would imagine the parts of the brain does. Each of the curved pieces had serged edges with the idea of the gray matter and all the wrinkles you see in the surface of the brain. There were a lot of issues in connected these pieces. I had to work from the design wall to the flat table, and then to the sewing machine, hoping I could get all the pieces of the puzzle together. My intriguing back of the piece started to look really messy, so before it travels at all, I will add another backing to it, to make it a lot neater.

You can see a lot of the overlaps and edging in the above picture. What I particularly love about the piece is that it works both from a distance and close up. From a distance you see this really interesting organic shape, and the colors are somewhat disconcerting and upsetting. Close up it looks like it is undulating.

I left it nice and big for you so you could examine all the various parts of this.

17 by 20 inches, available for sale.

Comments?

 

 

Crazy? Maybe Yes, Maybe No……

So.

Crossroads.

Had dinner last night with a really good friend to discover she had a rough week, nearly turned upside-down. And her former boss has medical problems (like being the 179th case of an artery problem since 1745). All of a sudden my depression didn’t seem that all important. And I left dinner feeling hugely better and came home to hit the machine for an hour, making good progress on a new small piece.

This was the culmination of about a week of wondering if my art quilt had made it into a fairly prestigious show. Antsy for the whole week, as I knew all the decisions had been made, and I was wondering why we hadn’t heard anything. I was trying to stay positive, as I believe if we send negative thoughts out into the universe, we will be repaid with negativity. Hard to do when I already was 0 for 2 in submitting work this year. I kept thinking “third time’s the charm.”

At 4 PM I had the email. Not good news. Very nice rejection letter – I’ve had loads of those over the years, especially in writing. The very first fiber show I entered I was accepted in, and I think had I been able to keep up creating work without having to worry about a teaching load, I would be in better shape as an artist, with many more shows on the resume. But that was not to be. I looked at the accepted list, and it seemed like it wasn’t the same-ole same-ole list of people who always make it into shows. That was encouraging, at least. Out of 128 entries, 20 were accepted.

Once I heard that, instead of feeling better, I think I got a little angry. Had I known that so few pieces were going to be accepted, I really don’t think I would have entered and saved the 40 bucks. The odds are definitely against you with those numbers.

The thing is, I do think this piece is exceptional. It’s unlike anything I’ve done so far, and it certainly met the theme – I felt it did. Your reaction to the stigma of mental illness. Have suffered from depression and needing drugs to help me through the last years of teaching, I know how the brain can react in stress situations. It’s nothing we can see, but it’s there. So I chose to look at mental illness from a single brain cell that is misfiring. I thought in the overall collection of pieces this would be one very organic “don’t forget the brain’s role in all this” statement.

And let’s face it, no one is working with marbled fabrics like I am. I think I was able to show with this piece that you can a textile that isn’t often used and manipulate it into a statement. It seems like “different” is what art quilt shows are looking for, and this piece was quilted to emphasize the message, not quilted just for the sake of showing off quilting skills (which is what one quilt show seemed like that I attended – and this January show wasn’t an “art quilt” show).

So now it’s a case of really thinking through what I want to focus on for the next couple of years, while I still have the vision (literally) to create pieces. While working toward a specific show and deadline works for me, especially when I have to really think through the creation of a piece from idea to finished product, maybe it isn’t where I need to be. Bottom line, I want our business to make some money. That means more online product and outlets. Smaller quilt pieces are selling in my Etsy store, so I need to create more of those (and three are right now in the works). And I want to continue to learn and take classes, which isn’t possible when I’m trying to meet a lot of deadlines. I want my work in galleries, and I want to be able to travel and do some teaching of marbling. I need to take the time and think through new possibilities.

Which means that karma and the universe may be showing me why the piece was rejected (and maybe not……).

Without further ado, here’s the quilt in its online debut. “Misfiring Synapses,” 17 x 21 inches, unpolished red satin, black satin, Superior Threads, batting, cotton backing.

PS – may just have lined up my first gallery……

On Having a Studio Space

there’s been an interesting thread on the Studio Art Quilt yahoo group about studios. Some were talking about dedicated spaces away from home that operated as both gallery and studio, all the way down to a dining room table that gets cleared when company comes. Pretty much everyone agreed that if you are going to improve your work and your quantity of creativity, you need some kind of dedicated space. And most felt that a dedicated room in your home would be sufficient.

I agree. As much as I liked LOVED Mary Fisher’s space in Sedona, Arizona, there’s no point drooling over it with a case of the “I wants” because it isn’t going to happen. You can see the post of her studio here. In the year since I retired, I have made over my studio space twice, once  unplanned because we ended up moving. I’m like many artists – the dining room table was my sewing area for so many years. Supplies were stored in boxes and other forms of makeshift storage. It worked until I got really serious about my work. Then I took over the spare bedroom, like so many. I had two dedicated bookcases and some plastic bins, and a very large closet. But there came a time when I said, ya know, no one ever comes to stay except maybe once a year. Why did we need that bed? Primarily I would sleep in the spare room when I had a cold and would snore. Solved that by hubby getting ear plugs. So the bed went on Craigs List and I had a whole room.

The problem was still one of organization. Lots of plastic bins, all of which had to get dragged out every time I wanted to search for fabric. And a lot of stuff was hidden out of sight in the closet. I had to set up the ironing board every time I wanted to do something. And the design wall didn’t always happen. A year ago, after visiting friends in Sedona who had some GREAT Ikea shelving, I decided I wanted to remake my studio. Here’s a “before” post, with the cubbies I spent my retirement gifts on from Target. At the bottom of this post you can see the remake. It worked pretty well, still small, and I wasn’t happy with the design wall being part of a closet door.

And then we had to move again…..(9 moves in 18 years), but the space was bigger……and there was a garage…….took about a week to get the new studio in shape, and the space has been fabulous. I can leave the ironing board set up, I have two design spaces, and I was able to reclaim the dining room table into the studio. We can both easily work in the space, and there is still room in the one closet.

Here’s the new space:

 

(No it doesn’t always look this clean….)

Plus…the new landlord is going to get a laundry tub in the garage, so I will have a “wet” space for dyeing fabric. It’ll be a couple of months, and that’s not a problem, as it is now over 100 degrees, and it will no doubt stay that way until October. New shelving and a dedicated table for surface design. Can’t wait!

Would I love a work space connected to a gallery? Sure, but we need to work with what we have. The reality is then I can’t work whenever I want in my jammies……

 

Thoughts for a Friday…..

Ack…..where did the week go? For the first time in three weeks, my list has sat unopened on the table. This started last Saturday night, I think as a result of staring at the computer for my first Tophatter auction, and consequently really wrenching my neck. Two chiropractic visits later on Monday, life was better, but it wasn’t until Wednesday after yoga that I really started to feel better. Three days of no work on my deadlines for fiber pieces, and I was beginning to panic.

Yet at the same time, I wasn’t worried about everything else on my full-page list, because there was really only one deadline that had to be made. And thanks to a lot of concentration on Wednesday afternoon and all day yesterday, my depression piece, “Misfiring Synapses,” is ready for photography and submission.

Am I pleased? Yes. It pretty much came out as I was picturing it in my mind. It has good depth, lots of layers, and definitely tells a story.  Here’s a close-up, with no full reveal until I know something about acceptance or not. I took a leap of faith with my entry to Visions. This one, however, is HUGE for me – very unlike anything I’ve done yet, and the whole process was very different. And…I’m looking to play with the “big girls” now, so we shall see what happens.

Lots of layers, lots of decisions as to thread. If you look at the center of the close-up, the red thread looks like it just breaks off – the idea of a misfired synapse in the brain. This is actually a Rainbow thread from Superior Threads. It has red, black, and purple, which works perfectly for this center neuron. I stayed with red unpolished satin for the rings, wanting the interior inflammation of the brain as we struggle with depression. The red fabrics are slightly different shades, with different patterns and quilting within them. I cut and layered each piece, finishing each edge with serging – again with a Superior Thread, this time a King Tut, as I didn’t want a shiny effect. I gotta tell ya, I never really paid much attention before to the effect thread would have on a fiber piece. The multi-toned gray was to look at the outer layer of the brain, with all its folds and ripples.

This probably should have been next Wednesday’s entry, for my work-in-progress, but it’s on my mind today as I think about photography and submission.

I have a couple of other self-imposed deadlines. I was going to enter another show, but I’ve decided to wait and see about these two current pieces making the rounds. One, I want to know where I stand, and two, entering shows is expensive, especially with shipping. So I will continue with the next mandala, and then that piece will be finished and in “the wings,” so to speak, if something else later summer looks good. Two, I want to do some simpler sewing/designing for myself, especially practicing the free motion quilting lessons. Two weekends ago I took apart one of the first quilts I actually finished and machine-quilted so that I can practice this month’s patterns. I don’t have to worry about hubby missing his quilt right now because it’s in the low 100s for temps already – and it’s not even summer in the desert.

I’m reading Dune by Frank Herbert. Never read it, and I am enjoying it. Then I have two Robin Hobbs to read, plus an ebook and a tutoring book to work on. My scheduling still seems overall to be working, as I am making progress on the many projects I have (not accounting for the lost days this week).

And…we’re in the midst of a local election in Tucson to replace Gabrielle Giffords’ seat, since she resigned. It’s ugly and annoying, with misleading adds on both sides. I’ve read about the “Fair Tax,” and I think in it’s purest form, it’s a good idea. But that’s not what is being presented by the Democrats. And the Republican challenger is trying to back away furiously from everything he said in 2010 in that nasty election. I’m at the point where protecting Social Security and Medicare are crucial to me. Saying you’ll protect them after you’ve called them “the biggest ponzi scheme in history” really makes me nervous.

Even on line it’s getting hard to get unbiased, well-researched and reported news. I keep looking back at various points in our history and wonder about the directions we are moving. A someone who is a baby boomer, who loves history and reads about it all the time, has been a union member for protection (and walked a picket line), and has a sense of service to this nation, I am appalled by what is happening in this country. We are Americans, and as such, we should be a leader in all things – health, welfare of our citizens, concern for the planet, and true proponents of the Bill of Rights for all. We should be better than water boarding, regardless of the claims of national security. We should be better than cutting education. We need to look at our programs systemically. If there’s medicare fraud, then go after the ones defrauding the system. Don’t do away, willy nilly, with the program.

So….my thoughts for the day…..from sewing to politics. Quite the rambling mind……

Have a great weekend!

Work in Progress Wednesday…..a Bump in the Road

….well, probably not a real bump, more like a slight detour in the development of this new piece. I am trying to represent depression as something that is hidden in the brain. I have a great center piece that looks like dendrites. I want to build around it in reds for the angst that comes with depression, and I was running into some issues with how to quilt the third piece. So I looked at the rest of the fabric pieces I had to see if anything looked like it would work better. Found a piece that will be fabulous, and it’s going to take a lot of quilting to make this piece really happen.

As I’m auditioning threads, hubby comes in for his opinion, and as I’m trying to explain what I want to attempt, he brings up some legitimate questions on construction. While this is an art quilt, it still needs to hang like a quilt in a gallery setting, so I have to keep that in mind. I’ve had issues when trying to construct “unusual” fiber pieces in the hanging, so I have learned to keep that more in mind.

We’re drawing back and forth on the ideas, and it finally occurs to me that I need to do a mock-up to see if this design is really going to work. If I can get it together, it should be pretty amazing. So that’s the task ahead of me tomorrow morning after marbling. It’ll set back the actual quilting a day or so, but next week looks pretty darn clear for work…..

With that in mind, it has been a productive week. I finished my commission for my yoga instructor. Did some minor beading to represent the little bits of water we have in the desert, hence the name “Desert Stream.” This is a smaller version, with a number of changes, from “The Shallows” piece. I’m quite partial to how the lichen looks in this piece….a lot of use of the reverse button on the sewing machine! My yoga lady LOVES it.

 

Along with this has been my auction piece for SAQA. It’s along the lines of the depression piece, but a whole lot more positive. It’s called “Hotwired.” It’s simple in execution, but I think pretty effective.

"Hotwired" 12 x 12 inches for the SAQA auction

Because there’s not enough deadline sin my life right now, I decided to take apart one of my first quilts to requilt for the May Free motion challenge. I love the pattern, and I think it would look good on this pretty masculine quilt for hubby. Boy, you can tell how old it is (15 years?) by the really lousy batting I used – what was CHEAP at the time. I’ll post pictures as it get finished. This is it with the binding already gone, and I am starting to take out the really awful straight-line quilting in the ditch…with invisible thread, no less, back when I didn’t really have a clue. Should look considerably better when finished.

NOw fort he other piece in progress, my piece on depression. I spent some time today actually trying a pattern from some old white fabric, pinning it up on the wall. It was an interesting process, as I usually just try things as I go along. This time I just wasn’t sure that was going to work, as there were a lot of issues I wanted addressed in this piece. Here’s the finished pattern – and now I have pattern pieces to use – a bonus I never considered.

 

 If I’d thought about it, it would have been in different colors……but I really like the shape – very organic, very like a brain. Here’s a reject piece of fabric, now available for another piece.

 It just wasn’t playing nicely with the other fabrics. Here’s one of the reds with the thread to remind you of the colors of a PET scan. The problem with this piece is going to be the photography – the red is showing pink, the black is showing red….not quite sure what I’m going to do, so I need to get it finished with time to spare for the final shots.

THis is a little better, but you can’t really make out the sheen of the thread.

So it’s been a busy week, and hopefully it will continue!

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