Friday, December 31, 2010

For Your Inspiration: Hummingbirds at the Sonoran Desert Museum


I love this little guy. Purple and green - my favorite wardrobe combination too!

 If you are lucky enough to visit Tucson, 
I highly recommend a day spent at the

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Sketchbook Challenge: prepping a book

I'm excited about the Sketchbook Challenge. I've always used my sketchbooks as a learning tool and a reference library. If it doesn't go down onto a page of my ubiquitous little black sketchbook - the idea most often disappears somewhere out in the ether. These little black books will never go away.

But this is a challenge right? I don't expect to create a masterpiece - but I've been in love with Melanie Testa's visual journals since the first time I saw them that I'm inspired to take a step in that direction this year. I'm going to play. I'm going to experiment. I'm going to strive for beauty. Take a look at the first step I'm taking.

Join me. Join us!
Go over to the Sketchbook Challenge blog and "follow" it.
Sign in to the Flickr group.
(If you've seen the muppet named Rizzo the Rat say that - say it in his voice!)
You won't believe all the exciting goodies that our sponsors are offering for the giveaways.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Sue Bleiweiss Podcast at the Voodoo Cafe

over at the blog

has posted a fantastic 

about the Sketchbook Challenge.

Take a quick break and go listen.

Then come join in the fun at THE SKETCHBOOK CHALLENGE!!!

I'm making plans. 
I've got my books - and pencils - and pens - and paints - and glue - and collage materials
and you get the picture.
Anything goes.
Everyone is invited.
ALL levels are encouraged.

In other words 

Sunday, December 12, 2010


I try to keep my business goals very simple.
One thing I know I want to do - is to make the world a better place.

by Felix on Flickr
Simple right?

While I can't end war (I dreamed about trying last night) I can do small things.
" small and simple things are great things brought to pass." -the Book of Mormon
I can use the talents I've been blessed with (and worked hard to develop) 
to do some good in the world.

Here is ONE way I can make a difference.

One Cause, One Wednesday, One Hundred Collages
One Cause – The Fight Against Cancer
One Wednesday – February 16, 2011

One Hundred Collages

Natalya Aikens
Pamela Allen
Laura Ann Beehler
Liz Berg
Pokey Bolton
Laura Cater-Woods
Jette Clover
Jane Davila
Jamie Fingal
Gloria Hansen
Leslie Tucker Jenison
Lyric Kinard
Jeanelle McCall
Linda Teddlie Minton
Karen Stiehl Osborn
BJ Parady
Judy Perez
Cynthia St. Charles
Virginia A. Spiegel

The goal – Raise $8,000 for the American Cancer Society in just one day.
More details and a preview of artwork here:
Fiberart For A Cause has already donated over $205,000 to the American
Cancer Society through the generosity of fiber artists and their patrons:

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Sketchbook Challenge

I call my sketchbooks my

These books are filled with doodles, drawings, composition studies, grocery lists, exercises, and nothing in particular. They are one of my favorite resources for new ideas. If I don't jot down ideas immediately they simply evaporate into the ether that is between my ears. I love these books. I'll never leave them. 


Starting next year I'm taking it to the next level!

I'd like to invite you to join me for

Perhaps you want to start keeping a sketchbook but every time you sit down with a book in front of you and pencil in hand you freeze up and just can't seem to get started.  Might it be helpful to take a glimpse into another artists sketchbook to see how they use theirs? Do you need a nudge or an idea to get you started?

The sketchbook challenge is a new project launching on 1/1/2011. Follow along with us as we fill our sketchbooks based on a monthly theme that will be announced on the first of each month.
You’ll be keeping company with some inspirational artists including
Each month we’ll announce a new theme on the sketchbook challenge blog then show you images from our sketchbooks and talk about the intention and inspiration behind them.  Along the way we’ll be sharing tips, techniques and tutorials.  We hope that by giving you a peek inside our sketchbooks and showing you how different they all are that we’ll inspire you to start keeping a sketchbook of your own.  And of course if you do, we’ll want to see some photos of your book too so we’ve designed a blog badge for you to put on your own blog to show your participation in the project.  You can get instructions and the html code for your badge here.

We encourage you to post photos of your sketchbook pages on your blog and then post a link in the comment section of the Sketchbook Challenge blog so that others can look at your pages too!
And here is something fantastic to sweeten the pot ... thanks to the generosity of some terrific sponsors we’ll be doing some givewaways and special shopping offers!
So pick up your blog badge, go grab a sketchbook, some pencils, pens, markers or paints and get ready to sketch with us!

Monday, December 6, 2010

My favorite things about on-line teaching

These are a few of my favorite things about teaching on-line.

NOT schlepping 180 lbs of supplies on an airplane.  And wondering how I'm going to get everything in the trunk when someone picks me up. And shipping a ton of boxes and hoping they all actually arrive.

Teaching with my feet up on the desk, while wearing my favorite socks! Makes it even better with a lovely view out the window and cup of hot coco in my favorite hand-made mug. I love hand-made mugs.

And most of all - interacting with students from all over the globe!

In my last class I had students from the following countries: Argentina, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Switzerland

And students from all over the United States too!!! AZ, CA, CO, CT, FL, HI, IL, KY, MA, MD, MI, NC, NH, NJ, OK, OR, PA, SC, TN, TX, VA, WA, WV were all represented in my last class.

How cool is that!?

Registration is open for 
Put your feet up, brew your favorite cup, and join me for some great  fun!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Evolution of Glory

Yesterday I talked about the things that sparked the idea for Glory, a work that is currently on display at the Herbert C. Young Community Center in Cary, NC.

Sometimes it's a visual stimulation that sparks an idea - like walking ankle deep through colorful leaves. Sometimes it's a technique I want to play with - like digital printing on fabric. Sometimes its' a deadline - most often - it's a deadline. This time it was the convergence of all three.

Step one - pick up a handful of irresistibly glorious fall leaves every morning. Scan them at a very high resolution (600dpi).

Step two - Cut my Fabrisign2 Cotton Sateen into the sized sheets I want. Realize that while 13" leaves are amazingly cool - the canvases I've prepared for them are only 12".

Step 3 - Play around in photoshop and smoosh in as many colorful leaves per piece of fabric as I can. Print out tests of each printer setting to figure out how to get the best color on the fabric. Print leaves. Go OOOH!

Step 4- Fuse leaves to timtex - or whatever super heavy stabilizer I happen to have on hand.

Step 5- Free motion quilt the veins of each leaf. Straight stitch around the edge, cut it out, then free motion zig-zag around the edges.

Step 6- 10 year old computerized machine finally fries the board. Go on Ebay and buy a Bernina 930 in frustration. I've wanted one for years anyway right? No computer. Workhorse! I'll be passing it on my my kids. Give up sewing for the night.

Step 7- Borrow a friend's machine, finish the edges. Use matt gel medium to glue each leaf to the painted canvas. Paint over the whole thing with gloss gel medium. I think I like the shine and it gives the leaves a bit more richness and depth but the stitching is still a wonderful element.


THIS one is my favorite. I love the decay.
Which one is your favorite?

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Beginnings of Glory

It's been a glorious walk up to the bus stop every morning the past two months. Here in North Carolina it seems that a tree grows pretty much everywhere that isn't mowed or paved. That is a far cry from Salt Lake City where I grew up. There you plant and carefully water any green thing that isn't sage brush. Those leaves on the ground look brown and dried up from afar but stop and take a look by your feet and there is a world of color and beauty.

Add to that one Epson R1900 wide format printer with amazingly wonderful Ultrachrome ink. It's been sitting and waiting for too long.  I've had an idea in mind and it just needed (as is my usual modus operandi) a looming deadline!

Gloria Hansen, the guru of all things printed and fabric, recommended the inks and the paper backed fabric from Jacquard Inkjet Fabric Systems. When I know someone is the kind of person who tests everything and is very particular about their outcomes, I simply follow their advice and save myself some time. 

I also highly recommend her book, Digital Essentials, the Quilt Makers Must Have Guide to Files, Images, and More. It is a truly helpful book if you have questions about printing on fabric, sizing images, and anything else a quilter might need to know about working with digital images. I do believe she is having a sale on the book before Christmas (hint, hint!)

I'll introduce you to more of Gloria's work in a few weeks. You're going to love it! And her.

Tomorrow I'll show you what happens when all of these wonderful things come together.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010