Friday, October 30, 2009

It's All About the Attitude

Whistling while you work. Making lemonade from lemons. I'll bet there are a ton of similar metaphors. (I'd love to hear your favorite!)

After a late night of dancing - and what a wonderful night it was - I had to arise in the wee hours of the morning to catch a shuttle to the airport. I had packed the day before so all I really needed to do was to was hop out of bed, brush my teeth and go. It could have been a rotten day.

A little aside on packing. Us traveling quilt teachers do an awful lot of schlepping stuff. I had two maxed out checked bags, a carry-on, and my "small personal item" which is a rolling briefcase that just barely fits under most airline seats. I wear black and wear my black little back-pack purse - hoping they won't count it as a third carry-on. We also end up shipping boxes to venues as well. The baggage fees have raised the costs for guilds to bring us in but the real struggle is being able to get all the lovely quilts and supplies there for you the students. I teach a lot of surface design classes - paint and foil and screen printing and such - to quilters. I like to spare them the time and cost of running around trying to find supplies that aren't readily available or already in their stash. That means I bring a LOT of stuff for my students. In fact - I even prepare kits so that in many of my classes all you have to show up with is a pair of scissors and a notebook! I use this kit for both "Bead It Like You Mean It" and "Surface Design Sampler Platter."

OK - back to the story. So I'm at the gate of the airport by 5am - people trickle in and plunk down and immediately fall asleep. I'm a morning person and a light sleeper so I didn't even try. I had Melanie Testa's book, "Inspired to Quilt" to read and it is an amazingly lovely book! And hey - with as many kids at home as I have, any quiet "alone" time I have is savored - even in an airport at 5am.

It gets better. Two young men and their mother walk in with instrument cases and one of them, instead of falling asleep, pulls out his guitar, and with a lovely soft voice begins to sing and play. I love acoustic music. I can't really read while it's playing because I get caught up in listening. So I pulled out my sketchbook, shifted to a better seat, and began to doodle, and sketch.

This is my rough sketch. I actually pulled out a pencil and worked harder to make a really nice sketch while he played. When I do this I often tear out the sketch and give it to the subject if it turns out decently. It did so I did. (The other sketch is a copy of an amazing drawing from "Inspired To Quilt".)

So check out the Malpass Brothers. Christopher, the young man on the right is the one that sang to all the morning sleepers. The music on their site has much more of an old-time vintage country sound than the airport that morning. It was lovely.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Party Time!

When you hear the word "quilter" you probably think of your grandmother. White hair - sitting at a frame with her glasses on her nose and a needle in her hand. It's a lovely image. Just go ahead and keep thinking that way because if you all really knew what we "quilters" did when we go off to a conference - it would get even more impossibly crowded than it already is.

Saturday night at the International Quilt Festival the governor of Texas sponsored a Gala on the Green. Amazingly talented live band, food, and lots of us "quilters" dancing the night away.

Here's Helen Gregory (one of the many indispensable women at Quilting Arts) and I just a-hoofin' it. I have to tell you - I haven't danced like that in 20 years. Actually. I don't think I've ever danced like that. When it's just us ladies there is no pressure - no weirdness - no teenage angst from the last dances I remember attending. Just plain fun and celebrating another wonderful year with needles and cloth!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Big Fish, Little Pond

It feels very strange to have someone come up to you with a wide eyed grin and say, "Oh! You're Lyric!" As though I were somebody famous. Big fish. Little pond.

I had a book signing. Want to see my head swell to about 20 times it's normal size? The most amazing part was finally meeting my project editor face to face. Linda Griepentrog is one talented, patient, and hard working lady who really helped bring my book together.

Luckily for me - my family is great at bringing me back down to earth. I've done loads and loads and loads of dishes since I've been home. Laundry. Cleaning bathrooms. Fighting with kids to get their rooms clean. Back to reality! Wouldn't have it any other way.

To Market, to Market, to Market I Go

I'm at the International Quilt Market in Houston, Texas. It's my first time at a trade show so I had no idea what to expect. I knew it would be as big as Festival which begins in a few days. The quilt exhibits are set up and I've had a couple hours to take in some of the exquisite textile ART on view. Two hours and I think I made it up and down three out of the 20 or so isles of displays. Last year I had two hours total to see the exhibits - didn't make up and down all of them - even at a running pace. An amazing thing is that there is no crowd in the exhibit - I feel like I had it all to myself.

Here we see the "Fabric Forest" coordinated by an amazing group of artists, the Groebenzeller Quiltgruppe from Germany.

I had it all to myself because everyone else here is WORKING! The vendors or promoting their stuff to the shops and designers. The shop representatives and designers are here looking at everything and ordering stuff.
Here is Pokey and John Bolton, with - working hard to get their publications into even more shops and stores.

It's very interesting to see the rows of tables with seats at the big fabric manufacturers. The shop reps sign up for a time, go sit and look through stacks of samples of the new lines and fill out order forms. Pattern designers will have a small booth with samples made up handing out brochures. Lots of smaller fabric designers have incredibly clever little booths that draw you in with their colors and quilts.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Put It On Your Calendar!

Publishing a book is like having a baby. A long gestation period. A painful amount of work right at the end. (Loooooooong wait - unlike babydom). Then WOW! You have an absolutely amazing piece of work in your hands.

So I'm having a PARTY! And you are all invited!


send me a quick e-mail for the address if you'd like to come.

I'll have plenty of books here for purchase. And food.

If you can't make it to the party but still want to order the book from me, mention the party and I'll throw in a little gift to go along with it. Hope to see you there!