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Archive for the ‘Creative Arts’ Category

The under 45 quilter

Wednesday, November 15th, 2017

The 2017 Quilting in America™ study took a specific look at a group of younger quilters, those under the age of 45. The complete study indicated an average age for the dedicated quilter of 63, down from 64 in 2014. Over time the average age had been increasing. This was the first time that the study delineated results for this subgroup.

The study reveals some important observations about this younger group of quilters. They are more likely to be an occasional quilter and less committed to the craft, largely based on time and work constraints. Here is what the studied showed about this important group:

  • Educated (4-year college graduate 35%; Post graduate degree 23%)
  • Affluent ($98,000 average household income)
  • More likely to be an occasional quilter, however, they still devote on average 10 hours a week to quilting vs. 13 for the total sample, which is substantial given the other demands on their time. And, this group is two times more likely to be employed full-time while devoting this time to her craft.

Read more…

Sights and Scenes from Quilt Market

Wednesday, November 1st, 2017

I spent most of the past week in Houston at International Quilt Market. I have been going since 1994, so I’ve seen quite a lot of changes over the years. I was talking with another vendor about how sophisticated the booths have become. In the “old” days we hung quilts on the poles and maybe did a little decoration. Today, some companies build an installation to showcase their products. It’s very exciting to see this energy in the industry. Here’s a bit of what I saw, both in words and pictures. If I had to narrow my impressions to one word, it would be streamers. More on that later.


This is an appliqué pressing sheet developed by Sharon Bradley of New Zealand. The sheet has a “honeycomb” structure that traps the adhesive so it doesn’t spread. The transparent mat is tacky so your appliqué stays in place. It is also easily cleaned. You can watch a video of this product here.

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Selling: It’s About Service

Wednesday, October 12th, 2016


During our recent Facebook “Get Your Art Out There” Challenge in our Creative Passion to Profit Group, the topic of sales came up. Really it was the topic of not feeling comfortable selling. So I ask you, does selling feel uncomfortable or even scary to you?

No one likes to be sold to, and we all have opinions about people who sell. Do you know that Gallup® does an annual survey on honesty and ethical standards of people in a variety of fields?  Car salespeople come in close to the bottom of the list, as do telemarketers. (Being from the DC area, I found it interesting that members of Congress and lobbyists fill two of the bottom three slots.)

If you go to that same list, what profession do you think occupies the top position? For the last 14 years, it has been nurses. Why do you think that is?

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10 Minutes To More Creativity

Wednesday, March 9th, 2016

ICAP creativity + meditation

Only 10 minutes to more creativity? That sounds doable, right? It is, and it’s as simple as sitting quietly and focusing on your breath.

For the past few years I have been recommending meditation to my private clients. At our Creative Arts Business Academy meeting last year, I led a guided meditation for the women who joined me. And, I have my own meditation practice that is part of my morning ritual. I was around meditation for a long time before I started to practice. My sister has taught mindfulness meditation for more than 10 years after many more years of a personal practice, and my husband has also had a long-time practice. Despite their encouragement, I could not think of myself as someone who meditated. After all, I couldn’t possibly sit still that long. The first time I tried, I stopped and looked at the clock and barely two minutes had passed. And, I could not shake the long-held idea that meditation somehow was for hippies or new-age types.

I somehow got over that (ie, stopped the self-sabotage) and began a meditation practice. I have found that it has a positive impact on my life, and I can see this in my everyday activities and in my own creativity. Mindfulness meditation has really become popular with many people — creatives and entrepreneurs among them. I think it is because study after study shows the benefits of meditation, including

• increased focus
• more patience
• a feeling of calm that just increases with more practice
• less anxiety
• more insight
• more clarity
• the ability to let the small stuff go
• less stress
• more compassion for yourself and others

What studies have found is that you actually have changes in your brain as a result of meditating. Your brain stops processing information at the same rate as it would normally. This registers as a decrease in beta waves, and this can happen after your first session meditating. Studies also show the link between meditation and creativity.

Interested in starting — or trying — a meditation practice? It is a PRACTICE, so don’t worry about being perfect (none of us are at this) or doing it wrong (there is no wrong if you practice). Here are some guidelines to get started:

1. Pick an amount of time to meditate that is doable. If you do not have a practice, don’t start with 30 minutes; start with 5-10.
2. Set a timer. I use the timer on my iphone and the chime sound. You can try the Insight Meditation app.
3. Sit in a chair, feet on the ground in front of you, hands resting in your lap or on your thighs. The idea is to be comfortable yet controlled in your posture. You could also try cross-legged on the floor. Close your eyes or just barely open them.
4. Just focus on your breath. You might silently say the words “in” and “out” as you breath. That is what I did in the beginning because it helped me focus.
5. Don’t worry if you start thinking about other things — you will; just come back to focus on your breath. Don’t label the other thoughts.

Before you know it, the chime will sound. Try doing this every day at the same time of day so it becomes a habit. Promise yourself to stick with it for a set period of time, say a month. Then when the month is over congratulate yourself and start another month. You can gradually increase the time that you meditate.

You will start to see the benefits I have noted above, and maybe others. And, that will keep you meditating.

What is your experience meditating? Have you found it affected your creativity? What is stopping you from trying? Would you share it below or on our ICAP Facebook or Google+ pages?


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Please do! Just use it in its entirety and be sure to include the blurb below:

Morna McEver is the founder and CEO of the International Association of Creative Arts Professionals where creative arts entrepreneurs craft business success. Her weekly e-zine offers tips, techniques and inspiration to help you craft business success from your creative arts passion. You can sign up for a FREE subscription at



See the ICAP blog at



Buying Out of the “Starving Artist” Mindset

Wednesday, June 17th, 2015

Ferrara Buskers Festival

Over the weekend, I stopped in a local gallery and was talking with some of the artists. Several were quite successful and one described herself as struggling. Then she said with a laugh, no she was really the typical “starving artist.” What ensued was a rather lively discussion about our value, what we believe we are capable of, what words to do us, and the notion that we do not have to buy into that “starving” mentality.


The starving artist mentality is totally in your head. I am sure you see successful artists all around you. What is it that they have that you do not? I am sure your work is just as good, and I am sure you work just as hard. The problem is that on some level you buy into that romantic, bohemian notion that artists should be starving. Words are powerful in both a negative and positive way. This mindset does not serve you and it does not serve anyone else. No one ever said that you don’t deserve to earn a decent income doing what you love.


So how do you leave the “starving artist” limiting belief behind? Here are some tips:


  • Realize that being poor, or “starving,” doesn’t mean your art is better or worse. It is the same art. I might even say that if you cannot take care of yourself, your art is not as good as it could be. You have distractions keeping that belief and “starving artist” lifestyle alive.


  • Try to figure out why you really have those beliefs. Journal your thoughts about money and people, even artists, who have money. If they are negative, ask yourself, “Is this really true?”


  • Give yourself permission to make money. Watch for ways that you sabotage your worth.


  • Start today to approach your art as a business. Yes, you are the CEO of a business, your art business. Start to make your decisions from that place. Learn about your ideal client and where he hangs out. Learn about marketing, online and off. When you are 100% responsible for what is in your life, including your business, you can make changes. Have you heard about the Law of Attraction? It says you bring about what you think about. Bring about a successful art business.


  • Find people who support your vision and do not let you fall into that “starving artist” place.


  • Continue to work to build your confidence in your money mindset, just as you build your confidence in your art. It will happen and you will kick that “starving artist” to the curb.


If you have dealt with your mindset about being an artist, please share your struggles and successes with us below. I would love to hear from you and what your techniques are. You are also welcome to share your thoughts on the ICAP Facebook or Google+ pages.


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Please do! Just use it in its entirety and be sure to include the blurb below:

Morna McEver is the founder and CEO of the International Association of Creative Arts Professionals where creative arts entrepreneurs craft business success. Her weekly e-zine offers tips, techniques and inspiration to help you craft business success from your creative arts passion. You can sign up for a FREE subscription at


See the ICAP blog at



Book Review: Painted Appliqué

Sunday, June 29th, 2014

Painted Appliqué
Painted Appliqué
Linda M. Poole
AQS; $24.95

Creativity — photography, writing, painting, sewing — has been the mainstay of Linda Poole’s life, so it is no wonder that she took the opportunity to combine those loves in Painted Appliqué. Linda teaches you both her glue stick appliqué method and her painted appliqué technique using the same patterns; i.e., you see the same pattern completed in both mediums. By reproducing Linda’s patterns or creating your own, you have the option of using either or both techniques. You will learn how a variety of paints, mediums and ink pencils work on fabric. I really liked the close-up, step-by-step instructions. If you are looking to add painting to your fiber toolbox, this resource will answer many of your questions.

This book can be found on; leave a reply below to tell me what technique Linda taught you.

Are You Practicing The 3 R’s?

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

medium_11236539783What are the 3 R’s, you ask? Recycle, reuse, repurpose. How much of what you create just needs to be spiffed up or re-slanted to make it new? We see it all the time in other areas. Disney is a prime example. They often issue re-releases or special editions of their classics. They recreate the excitement, find additional audiences, and make more sales. How can you do this as a creative arts professional? We are all artists and continually look for something new. Here are some ideas:

  1. If you are a pattern designer, go back to some of your older designs and remake them using different fabrics. Try a really traditional design in contemporary fabrics. Sometimes a fresh or modern look is all that is needed. Now you can re-issue and promote the pattern as a special or anniversary edition.
  2. If you are a teacher, take a look at those classes you have been teaching. Do you need brighter samples to post with the descriptions? Could the class titles be jazzed up a bit? Do you have some faster methods you are now using? The new class, with the jazzed-up title is now Completely Revised or Now With Speed Sewing Techniques. This made me think of food manufacturers with the “new, improved” signs on their products. If it works for them, it will work for you.
  3. If you are a longarm quilter, look at your samples? Are they dated? Try making a set of sample strips using some of those new threads you purchased. You can add them to existing samples, making it all look new again.
  4. If you are a shop owner, repurposing is easy and it is something you are probably doing on a regular basis. When was the last time you redid your displays to give a new look to your shop? Just moving your existing displays can make a difference.
  5. If you make and sell a product or notion, what can you do to update it? For example, if you sell hand-dyed fabrics, perhaps you can tweak the formula just a bit, and add a new color in a limited edition. Or take an existing color and rename it.
  6. For those of us who write and share our work through our newsletters, we can reuse it by posting it on our blogs or on Facebook or other social media.

I am sure you have lots of ideas about how to recycle, reuse, or repurpose your existing product line. Please share them below.

photo credit: Ines Seidel via photopin cc

Book Review: Quotes Illustrated

Sunday, December 8th, 2013


Quotes Illustrated
Lesley Riley
Artist Success Press; $22.95

I love art, and I love quotes. Lesley Riley has celebrated both in this collection of 101 works of art inspired by quotes. The art – quilts, mixed-media, photography, watercolor, and more – is inspiring enough. I loved looking at the variety and detail in each work. Add to that the power of words, and you have a winning combination. It included many of my favorite quotes and some that were new to me. Just as soon as I had picked a favorite, I turned the page and found another. Treat yourself to this book; I picked it up as my Thanksgiving gift and use it as I planned to, opening it each morning randomly and letting it set the tone for my day.

Look for the book at your favorite book retailer. Here’s a link to if you would like to learn more about the book.


Book Review: Becoming a Confident Quilter

Sunday, October 6th, 2013

Becoming a Confident Quilter
Elizabeth Dackson
Martingale; $26.99

Elizabeth Dackson didn’t own a sewing machine until 2010 when she was looking for a hobby as a new mom and picked one up at JoAnn’s. She ended up as a self-professed fabric-a-holic and admitted fabric geek. Her first book is designed to help beginners gain confidence so they find the same joy that she has. Written in her easy-going style that is familiar to followers of her blog, Elizabeth includes the essentials – fabric, tools, rotary cutting, piecing basics and pressing – before getting you started with any of her 14 projects that build your skills. I found lots of quilts to like, particularly the improvisational Wonky Fences. She also covers all the finishing techniques you need from adding a backing through adding a label. I appreciated the section on reading quilt patterns and the resources for modern quilters.

Look for the book at your favorite book retailer. Here’s a link to if you would like to learn more about the book.

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