Thursday, March 29, 2012

For Your Inspiration: Spring in North Carolina

All this glory...
in the short walk to the bus stop each morning.

 Photos taken on my iPhone and punched up in the Snapseed app.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

New Work: Links (part 2)

So far I photoshopped - scribbled - screen printed. Time for stitch.

Next I created a shibori stitched circle (running stitches around, and around, and around, and around.... ), gathered them up tightly and painted on some foil adhesive. I didn't wait long to snip the threads and pull it out as I didn't want the glue to dry over the threads. I was very careful not to mess up the glue as I pulled out the threads then let it dry. 

I could have applied the gold foil next but chose to layer and quilt the piece next. I was hoping the foil would cover some of the stitching. I simply followed the designs in the printed cloth, loving every inch of the wide open space on my Handi-Quilter 16 as I free-motion quilted. I thought for a bit about continuing the circular quilting onto the white cloth but chose instead to balance the circles with some simple vertical lines.  Too much of a good circular thing is...  too much.

The foil went on next - just the gold to start with. Between each step the work goes up on the wall so I can step back and get a longer view - see how things are going. At this point I saw I needed something to balance the larger gold circle but didn't know what and was too far along to do anything drastic without testing first.

Easy solution. Take a picture, print out a few copies, doodle until something looks right. Three more circles on the lower left were my solution this time.

A few pins to test out thread weight then I decided that I needed red in the shibori circle - then more red and gold in the lower circles. And then it was really, really late and I needed to go to bed. 

So - I think first of all I need to take lessons in how to photograph white work. I have a really wonderful and fancy new SLR camera that I have no idea how to use. I'm working on it. Slowly.

I'd love to hear your comments and critiques.

Monday, March 26, 2012

New Work: Links (part 1)

A couple of weeks ago I did my usual thing of looking at the calendar to see what was coming up the next week and realized there was a deadline I had forgotten about. A LOOMING deadline. 

Good grief - why is it that I can't get myself to work on these things ahead of time? Of course I begin to mull things over in my head as soon as I know the requirements for the show so it wasn't a huge scramble to come up with a new idea. It would have been kinder to my self to have begun at least a week earlier though so that I could have more time to test variations on my ideas.

The theme of this show was "Rituals." It is a juried invitational - which means the curators invite a number of people to participate - but the final artworks still have to go through a jury process and have a chance of being rejected. I think it's a good thing. The organizers start with a set of known artists whose work they admire but the artists are still encouraged to do their best work, knowing it isn't a sure bet.

I started with a portrait taken by the talented photographer, Julia Wade. It's been a favorite of mine for a long time and she gave me permission to create artwork from her photography. Remember - just because you've paid for a piece or art or photography does not mean you own the copyright - that remains with the artist.

In thinking about the theme of "Rituals" has had me noticing their importance in my life. I have rituals that range from a tiny repeated gesture that brings me simple comfort to the most deeply important spiritual practices that are central to who I am. The common factor among all of them is that they link me to the world around me, to my family and friends, and to the generations before and ahead of me. 

I played for a day with photoshop and different iterations of the portrait until I came up with something I liked then spent another day fussing with my wonderful (but persnickety) wide format Epson printer.

Next I created a thermofax screen with swirly circles on it and printed some white on white cloth. I think circles are a major theme in much of my work. When I'm thinking about them deeply, as I was in this piece, they represent something whole, something never-ending, things that are connected. Most of the time - they are just my favorite shape to play with.

Check in tomorrow for the rest of the story.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Studio Class: Thermofax Screen Printing April 18

New Studio Class
Thermofax Screen Printing
Wednesday April 18th 
11am - 2pm

$65.00 includes lunch and ALL supplies, fabric, paint, and a large framed screen to take home.
Enjoy a few hours of creative playtime with Lyric as you learn the basics of what makes a good image for a thermofax screen. You'll learn how to choose, how to edit, and how to send an image to a service provider or use your own machine.

After creating your own unique image, make a screen using Lyric's thermofax machine and learn how to prepare it for printing by taping the frame to a screen or binding it with duct tape.

Learn how to use the screens with a squeegee or as a stencil, what kind of paints to use, what kinds of fabrics, how to discharge and layer imagery.

Are you ready to PLAY!?!
Sign up now - space will be limited to 8 students.

Fee includes ALL materials, you don't need to bring a thing!
Wear old clothes or an apron.
Wednesday April 18th 
11am - 2pm

Friday, March 23, 2012

Creative Wisdom: Robert Genn's Five Skills Worth Learning

Zen (detail) by Lyric Kinard
I subscribe to Robert Genn's newsletter (link below) and this particular post struck a chord. I asked for and received permission to share it with you.

Five skills worth learning
February 14, 2012

Drawing mastery is understanding our world and understanding relationships. Contrary to popular belief, drawing doesn't mean trailing a line around things--it means seeing and reporting the relative distances between things. Drawing is a non-literary way of looking--and the skill to put down what you see in a two-dimensional way. Drawing mastery takes time and patience.

Soar IV by Lyric Kinard
Colour mastery involves knowing the properties of pigments, both in theory and as chemicals that have certain effects on one another when juxtaposed or mixed. Colour mixes that call for opposites on the colour wheel (complementary), as well as nearby on the colour wheel (analogous), or even so closely related as to appear to be one colour (monochromatic), make for lively and sophisticated effects. Colour mastery takes time and patience.

Dream (detail) by Lyric Kinard
Abstract understanding doesn't mean arbitrary sloshing and messing. Abstract art is controlled visual magic based on laws and methodology. Abstraction generally involves implication, suggestion and mystery rather that obvious description. Like a good poem, a good abstraction attacks your feelings before your understanding. Abstraction within realism adds zest and excitement to otherwise dull subject matter. Abstract understanding takes time and patience.

Compositional mastery is a variety of traditional rules that beg to be broken. That's why composition is the queen of the skills. With composition you learn to control and play with the eye and move it within the picture plane. Composition includes the golden mean, the rule of thirds, big and small, dark and light, activation, circulation, focus, pattern, stoppage and a pile of other ploys, many of them developed by you and unique to yourself. Compositional mastery also means the avoidance of lineups, homeostasis, and a jungle road of potholes too tedious and disheartening to include in a 500-word letter. Learn to compose intelligently in your own vocabulary and you can get away with murder. Compositional mastery takes time and patience.

Dream (detail) by Lyric Kinard

Emotional evolution means combining basic skills--such as the above--so that a unique voice and engagement occur. Finding yourunique voice may not be everything, but it's way ahead of whatever comes next. Emotional evolution takes time and patience.

Best regards,


PS: "Skills aren't enough on their own. Emotion has to come through. But when you've got the various skills sewn up, that's one thing you don't have to worry about." (Zoe Benbow)

Esoterica: You can choose to make unskilled art if you wish. Unskilled art has its allure. The mere act of moving paint around can produce joy. Knowing little or nothing in the "how to" department and failing to inquire about it can probably make some people happy and may even be good for the soul. But if you persist in this direction, your unskilled work will be like that of so many others--and you will begin to bore yourself. On the other hand, the skills I suggest are worth learning for their own sake--and they will stand you well no matter what you try to do. They are hard won. We value most what is hard won--and so do many others. Skills worth learning take time and patience.

Yes, please go ahead and forward this letter to a friend. This does not mean that they will automatically be subscribed to the Twice-Weekly Letter. They have to do it voluntarily and can find out about it by going to The Painter's Keys website.
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(c) Copyright 2012 Robert Genn. If you wish to copy this material to other publications or mail lists, please ask for permission by Thanks for your friendship. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Family Ties - accepted into SAQA: A Sense of Scale

The series, Family Ties has been accepted into the Studio Art Quilt Associates exhibit
A Sense of Scale
Family Ties by Lyric Kinard
 Premiere at International Quilt Festival - Houston, November 1-4, 2012
International Quilt Festival - Cincinnati, April 2013
International Quilt Festival - Long Beach, July 2013

I haven't entered many shows for the past six years or so. That happens when you have as many kids as I do. I spend much of my limited spare time teaching instead of creating. I also got a little burned out on the expense of jury fees and shipping costs. I was keeping my work "out there" and winning awards and making a few sales but only broke even with my expenses. It was  LOT of work for very little profit. No, I don't do it for the money - but right now I'm conserving my resources, both financial and emotional/mental for other things.

So this is the first year in a long time that I've entered any shows at all and most have been local fine art shows - not necessarily art quilt shows. This year I've entered five shows and have been rejected from every one so far. I've been involved in enough jury processes that rejection is not something I take personally. My finished artwork is separate from my personal identity - it's not a comment on my self worth when it is rejected. Still - rejection is no fun.

I had already received a rejection letter from "A Sense of Scale" and had forgotten that I had a third piece entered so it was a very pleasant surprise when the acceptance email came later in the day. It will be lots of fun to see it in Houston since I'll be teaching there this year.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Artist Spotlight: Linda Kittmer

I'd like to introduce you to an artist who does some very fun and interesting fiber work, Linda Kittmer. I'm always interested in the process and the history behind an artist and their work and Linda kindly agreed to share her story with you.

How did you become an artist? 
2012 Bead Journal Project by Linda Kittmer
I guess I’ve always been an artist, or at least had some artistic ability.  I loved art in high school and took some fine arts electives in university, but never thought of pursuing it as a career.  Then, as is so often the case, life got busy and art was put on the back burner.  In 1999 I began quilting.  I was a self taught quilter and quickly discovered that I preferred creating my own unique designs rather than use a pattern.  From there I moved to art quilts, fibre art and mixed media work.   

What need are you fulfilling, why do you make art?
I find working on my art very relaxing.  When things are going well, my art is a wonderful pastime, allowing me to express who I am and how I see the world.  It allows me to play!  And as Marion Boddy-Evans says, “I believe art is foremost for the artist who creates it.  You do it for your soul, and if the rest of the world gets something from it, that’s a bonus.” 
Rock Paper Scissors by Linda Kittmer
But, perhaps more important to me right now is the fact that when life presents challenges, my art becomes therapeutic.  To quote Twyla Tharp, “Art is the only way to run away without leaving home.”  I am currently struggling with depression as the result of a concussion I incurred after an accident, and my personal commitment to do art everyday is incredibly helpful in allowing me to keep things in perspective.  John Updike summed it us so well when he said that “What art offers is space - a certain breathing room for the spirit”.
What is your favorite medium and why? 
It’s really hard to say what my favourite medium is.  I enjoy experimenting with a wide variety of art media (various fibres, paints, paper, inks, beads, etc.) but I usually come back to something that allows me to incorporate stitch.  I love free-motion quilting and thread sketching, and I also do a lot of beading and hand stitching. 
What is your favorite ongoing project and how did you become involved in it? 

I’m currently working on a relatively large piece that I’m hoping to have accepted into a juried show next year.  This piece was inspired by some of the needle felted work done by Jane LaFazio.  I’ve started with hand dyed pieces of left over bamboo batting as a base.  Over that I’ve layered all sorts of wonderful yarns, wool and silk rovings, hand dyed cheese cloth, etc.  The next step will be to add a lot of hand stitch and then some beading.  I love the unpredictability I get when working on my embellishing machine.  It’s so much fun to watch the piece evolve in front of my eyes!  
You Are Unique by Linda Kittmer
If your curiosity has been sparked, head over to Linda's blog and check out more of her work. While you are there read her review of my Bead It Like You Mean It DVD. She'll be giving away a copy so be sure to leave a comment there for a chance to win.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Sketchbook Challenge: doodling flowers

This month's Sketchbook Challenge theme is flowers.

I've been pressing up against deadlines for the past two weeks and needed a short break. Maybe some day I'll learn not to procrastinate. It hasn't happened yet.

So instead of taking my laptop to hockey practice I took my sketchbook and some fun paint markers from my stash. I had to sit off the the side as the propellant in these things smells.Probably not the best for my health. But if you've ever spent time with hockey players - let's just say the smell was nothing in comparison.

I had prepared these pages with acrylic washes last year and just picked a nice spring color and went to town. First with a sharpie, then with the markers.
I suppose I'm still enjoying last month's theme of doodling and combining it with this month's theme of flowers. One can never get too much of doodling. It's a lovely time to let the mind relax and wander - clear out the clutter.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Creative Wisdom: The Gap Between Art and Taste

This quote from Ira Glass, the host of the radio program "This American Life" speaks to something I think I'm STILL going through. It's something of an achievement gap. I like my work - I just think it has a ways to go before it lives up to the potential I imagine it to have.
Signature by Lyric Kinard

Ira Glass

"Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. 

A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. 

Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through."

Friday, March 9, 2012

Becoming an Artist in Italy

 Becoming an Artist in Italy
with Lyric Kinard
Arrive June 26th 
Depart July 2nd 2013
Registration deadline is 17th April 2013
The beauty of the Italian countryside is a glorious setting for awakening your creative abilities and nurturing your desire to become an artist. Inspired by the alluring village of Sulmona and the astounding beauty of the Asinomania grounds, you will learn the alphabet of the visual language, the basic elements and principles artist use to create their interpretations of the world around them. With the firm support and gentle encouragement of Lyric Kinard,  the 2011 International Association of Professional Quilters Teacher of the Year, you will take your first steps on a new artistic path, seeing the world in wonder through the eyes of an artist.
This class delves deeply into the basics of design and involves time spent observing, absorbing, and recording your visual environment. You will interpret what you see by creating easily understandable exercises in fabric and on paper in order to give you hands-on experience with each design element. Basic drawing skills will be taught - no previous experience is necessary. You will spend time working on an original composition inspired by Italy, and learn to evaluate your work and the work of others. You will gain the skills you need to make confident design decisions about your own work.

Days 1 and 2: The Elements of Art
    Introductions and explanations of expectations
    What are the basic elements of design, the alphabet letters of the visual language
    Texture, shape, line, color, value
    Explore each element with timed cloth exercises in our sketchbooks
    Basic sketching and drawing instruction and exercises
    Explore and find inspiration focusing on each element in the environment using cameras and sketchbooks
Day 3: The Visual Language
    Introduce the principles of design, the way the letters (the elements of design)
    are put together to create meaning in the visual language
    Focal Point, Balance, Symmetry, Motion, Repetition, Unity, Scale, Proportion
    Explore each principle with timed cloth exercises in our sketchbooks
    Basic sketching and drawing exercises
    Explore and find inspiration focusing on each principle in the environment and in the art world using cameras and sketchbooks
Day 4 and 5: The Artists Eye

    Continued sketching and observation exercises
    Students will begin construction of their own original designs
    Introduce the basic structure of evaluation, how to analyze and critique artwork
    Students will lead group critiques of artwork (I could bring posters if there is no local gallery)
    Group design exercises if time allows
    Final evaluation of student work - students will be let through the evaluation process, gaining the skills they need to make confident design decisions about their own work.
    Wrap up and review
Supply lists and costs can be found here:

It's going to be the trip of a lifetime. Join me for a week of creativity, joy, and beauty!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Work In Progress: Rockstar Boro Skirt

More progress on the boro inspired skirt.
I've sewn down dyed vintage laces to cover the raw seams but haven't embroidered them yet.
At my current pace this project is going to be ongoing for years..... and years.
skirt front view - Lyric Kinard
 If you missed it - Melanie Testa inspired this project with a more true to form Boro project of her own.
If you haven't seen her new website yet - go check it out. It's GORGEOUS!
skirt back view - Lyric Kinard
 This will eventually be partially covered by more embroidery. I'm thinking this whole skirt will be a continual embroidered travel journal... which means the Disney Castle should show up next.

Here is a link to the previous progress posts for this project.
(I love alliteration - don't you?)

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Work In Progress: Conjunctions

Part two of my collaborative process with the talented poet, Maura High.
Conjunctions by Lyric Kinard

Maybe it was just the back and forth of the wipers,
or that they were the only people I saw
on that stretch of the road, and the rain

was pouring over the windshield,
rivulets and deltas of rain flooding
a space swept clean and then filled again, the sky

drear and seething, the dripping, somnolent trees;
or that I knew nothing about them except
what I could see in passing and then

in the rearview mirror: that they were a couple,
middle-aged, in parkas, with their hoods up,
walking out of the woods, holding hands,

and that they found daylight there,
at the seam between this and other:
a gate and a path leading beyond it, an opening.

© 2012 Maura High

The imprinted silk from this piece and "Verbesina Ocidentalis" was eco-dyed by Arlee Barr. You should check out her shop - it's got some stunning cloth in it right now that I'm having a hard time resisting.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Kindness Chronicles

Ideas to help us make the world a better place!
Little things:
Hold the door open - especially if they are pushing a stroller or have their hands full.

Leave a post-it note on the bathroom stall saying "smile - you ARE beautiful, smart, and creative!"

Give a compliment - a looking in the eyes, specific, compliment.

Put a grocery cart away for a mother with little ones in the car. (did this!)
(I always really hated to leave mine alone even for a second in the car.)

Bigger things:
Babysit for the mother of young children... even if it's just so she can go take a nap.
Bring your favorite book and read stories to kids at your local elementary school.

Wash someone's car windows.

Keep a zip-loc bag in your purse with a toothbrush, toothpaste, a few dollars, and a granola bar for the next time you pass a homeless person. (going to do this!)

Stop by the fire department with a plate of cookies and say thank you.

It's not that hard to make the world a better place!
This month check out
to see what they've done to make the world a better place.

If you'd care to join us please do. Grab the button above for your blog.
Send me your info and I'll link to your blog next month.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Creative Wisdom: How Believing Makes It So

I sing with my church choir. I love music. I love Patti, our choir director. None of us get paid and neither does she. There are a few adequate voices that can read music and hold a pitch - nobody spectacular. There are a lot of us that can only sing it if someone else is singing the right pitch in our ear.

Patti welcomes anyone who wants to sing in the choir, and I do mean anyone. We have some young children who come sing with us. Sometimes we have eight bases and no altos. I sing tenor most of the time (I'm really an alto) because we get desperate for tenors on a regular basis. There are probably only one or two people who would ever feel remotely comfortable singing a solo.

And yet, every time we sing in church - it's beautiful. I'm not just saying that. I mean it. I have a good ear, I have musical training (not in voice) and I know when something sounds less than good.

I think that we sound beautiful because Patti believes it's going to sound beautiful and we live up to her expectations. We work pretty hard on the songs but not anywhere close to how hard we'd work back in college where we'd get all stressed out. Patti never frowns and never has anything but encouraging words for us.

It's not because she's choosing easy music either. She often will pull out things that are WAAAY beyond our ability level and somehow we pull it off. Because she believes we will. She'll tell us how much the song means to her, we'll work on parts a bit or a lot, and she just smiles and says "I know the angels will fill in the part we aren't getting" and somehow, it always happens.

We all can learn so much from the "Patti Effect."
She believes it will be so - completely, unabashedly.
And it is.

I want to teach like Patti conducts... knowing that each of my students is capable and that they ARE creative, they CAN do it, they WILL find that spark that they are looking for. Believing so much in each one of them, without any hint of doubting, that they can't help but succeed.