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Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

Selling: It’s About Service

Wednesday, April 15th, 2020

I’ve had several different conversations with clients about selling in the midst of the coronavirus.

Is it ok to keep selling? Do I need to cut my prices because of the struggle people are having?

It really boils down to not feeling comfortable selling and knowing your value.

So I ask you, does selling feel uncomfortable or even scary to you? Particularly now?

Read more…

Creative Arts Inspiration: Make Art Inevitable

Sunday, May 10th, 2015

“The object isn’t to make art, it’s to be in that wonderful state which makes art inevitable.” ~Robert Henri

Henri, inevitable art

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: Cutting Edge Art Quilts

Sunday, June 16th, 2013

Cutting Edge Art Quilts

Cutting Edge Art Quilts

Mary W. Kerr

Schiffer; $34.99

As Mary Kerr says in the introduction, “There has never been a more exciting time to be a quilter or a lover of beautiful quilts.” The diversity in technique, color, and style abounds and regardless of where you fit in the quilt world, you can find something to capture your interest and inspire you. Mary shares the work of 51 contemporary quiltmakers with more than 260 color images. She has divided the book into six distinct design processes: color play, alternative fibers, thread work, special techniques, 3-D designs and embellishments, and art quilts inspired by photography. Each quilter’s work is accompanied by an artist’s statement, which discusses their inspiration, techniques and dreams. Many of the artists go on to discuss in more detail the specifics as to their techniques and processes. You’ll also find some bonus creative tips included in places. I enjoyed seeing the work of artists I didn’t know as well as revisiting the work of those I did. So grab a glass of iced tea, curl up on the porch and get lost in this book.

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

Book Review: Cultivating Your Creative Life

Sunday, January 13th, 2013

Cultivating Your Creative Life

Cultivating Your Creative Life     
Alena Hennessy
Quarry Books; $24.99

Ending one year and starting another is often a time for reflection. Here’s another book I think you’ll find valuable, particularly if you are trying to create a new direction. Designed by an artist and healing arts practitioner, the book’s focus is on self-inquiry, dreaming and creating. It includes exercises, space for writing your reflections or drawing. You can either use the book or jump over to your own journal and use that. She also incorporates yoga, breathing, nature and herbs to help you live a more balanced life as you work towards your goals.
Look for the book at your favorite quilt or book retailer. Here’s a link to Amazon if you would like to learn more about the book.

Meet Christine Adams, Artist

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

In the Fall issue of The Professional Quilter, Eileen Doughty profiled Christine Adams, an artist who works in fabric from Rockville, Md. Here’s an excerpt:

How did you get started in making art?

Even though I was the oldest of nine, and my father was often away on active military duty, my mom did not burden me with responsibility. Each of us had our tasks. Mom encouraged us to be who we were and to follow our muse. There was time for play and imagination. My mother could create beauty and peace from very little. She was my first “muse.”

In 1972, I gave a baby quilt to a friend, who often brought her baby along to her booth at craft shows. The owner of a local craft shop spotted my quilt at the booth and said that she needed to have the contact information of the person who made “that” baby quilt. Until the shop closed its doors, I created wall hangings, bed quilts, Christmas décor and much more for the owner. I suppose that was the start of my being a professional textile artist.

Teaching and mentoring are also my passions. After college I taught art, math and English at the high-school level. I got married and had six children; following my mother’s example, I sewed for them all. Also, I shared space in an art studio during this time.

When Rockville Arts Place (RAP), in Rockville, Md., opened, I was one of its seven founding members. At one point, money for arts organizations was scarce and the executive director had left, so I began to volunteer and run the office. Many people were passionate about RAP – it was not a lonely job, and I had many offers of help. The Board voted me in as Executive Director for the next five years. During that time I learned about grant writing and working with the public. I also learned how to integrate our programs with the community, public schools and summer camps. I am proud that VisArts, as it is now called, will celebrate its 25th anniversary in October. I am still involved, though in a small way.

My experience directing RAP was put to use again last year, when I co-chaired the “Sacred Threads” quilt exhibition in its spectacular Washington, D.C., metro area premier.

How did you get your commissions? Do you have any advice for others looking for similar opportunities?

I have sold completed work as well as site-specific work. A designer for medical institutions visited my studio and placed my work in several buildings, including the Greater Baltimore Medical Center, Kaiser Permanente, and the Ronald MacDonald House. She would give me a size, a price range, and sometimes a color palette, and we would work from there. Other professionals such as lawyers, dentists and nursing home administrators have purchased pieces. Having exposure in a studio outside my home was a great help.
My advice is to take advantage of opportunities that interest you, even if they come at inconvenient times. We are always busy, so just do it!

Share your ideas and interests with others. One step leads to another. Seek out other artists. Join a group, or form one of your own. Share your interests, successes and experiences, both good and bad.

I learned a long time ago to own up to the fact that I am an artist. It was hard at first, because when you say you are an artist, people expect you to be a good artist. However, if you are a clerk or secretary or some other professional, it doesn’t necessarily mean you are great at what you do, it just means that is how you spend your time. I spend my time as an artist. So, when I am asked what I do, I say I am an artist; sometimes someone is interested enough to then ask to see my work, and sales happen from there.

Themes? And Fabrics? Describe the style you like to use in your quilts.

Originally, I primarily used P & B fabrics – I call the ones in my stash my “Fun Fabrics.” For the most part, though, I buy what speaks to me. My photo imagery is self-created, and much of my dyed fabrics are also. There are wonderful dye artists out there, and I have collected pieces from many of them to incorporate into my work. Another passion is collecting vintage lace and buttons and other findings. These also find their way into my textile books, sculpture, and hangings.

My themes vary. At times I use simple geometrics and try to express a feeling, emotion or impression. Other times, the theme is what I am familiar with – the simple pleasures of the world around us. I also am taken with cultural diversity and sharing with one’s fellow man. Some of my pieces attack injustice. Many of my quilts are folk art. I frequently use quotes and vintage images.

I have a huge collection of silk ties. Sometimes a wall quilt or garment is made entirely of them. When my youngest son got married, I created the coat I wore for his wedding from his grandfather’s ties. His friends made my day by telling me I was “awesome.”

If you would like to read more of Eileen’s article on Christine Adams, it’s included in our Fall 2012 issue of The Professional Quilter and available to IAPQ members. The International Association of Professional Quilters offers resources and networking opportunities for you to create a success from your quilting business. Learn about all the benefits of IAPQ membership and join here.

Please share your thoughts on being an artist below.


Book Review: The Sketchbook Challenge

Sunday, August 12th, 2012

The Sketchbook Challenge
Sue Bleiweiss
Potter Craft; $21.99

Do you have a blank sketchbook, i.e., one you bought with the good intention of using for sketching, only it’s still on the shelf and still blank? I’ll cop to that one. The blank book can seem daunting. With help from Sue Bleiweiss, you’ll soon be on your way to filling your sketchbook and adding a new tool to your artist’s toolbox. Subtitled Techniques, Prompts, and Inspiration for Achieving Your Creative Goals, Sue’s book came about after she started the Sketchbook Challenge to keep her own resolution to be more consistent with her own sketchbook. She invited a group of artists to join her, and soon others began participating on their own. By the end of the first month her website had more than 43,000 visitors. The challenge was a yearly project, and the book is set up to offer you 12 themes to challenge yourself. Each theme also includes a look at the sketches of two of the artists participating and a spotlight on a particular technique. Even the book shape with its smaller size and rounded corners is encouraging. So, take Sue’s challenge and expand your creativity. You’ll love your results.

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

Book Review: No Sewing Until You Quilt It

Sunday, August 5th, 2012

No Sewing Until You Quilt It
Ann R. Holmes
AQS Publishing; $24.95

Long-time stained glass artist Ann Holmes turned to quilting in 1999 when she wanted to recreate some of her original designs into fabric without incorporating the lead line. What resulted is her No Sewing Until You Quilt It technique that incorporates fusible interfacing and glue-basted turned down edges to her appliqué pieces prior to any quilting. What she ends up with is the nice smooth edge of a turned appliqué edge. The book includes complete instructions for learning the technique followed by seven projects of increasing complexity. The accompanying CD includes patterns, an additional gallery with one of Ann’s stained glass pieces, and a discussion on inspiration.

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


Book Review: Quilt Blocks From Around the World

Sunday, July 22nd, 2012

Quilt Blocks From Around the World

Quilt Blocks From Around the World
Debra Gabel
C&T Publishing; $21.95

Following up on the success of her first book, Quilt Blocks Across America, Debra takes you on a world tour, well, at least to 50 international cities. The finished six-inch square blocks can be used in a variety of applications, from small wall hangings to a sampler quilt of your travels. The book includes a CD so you can enlarge all the patterns, and almost all the gallery pieces are made at a large size. In fact Debra recommends enlarging 200%. You’ll also learn Debra’s Translucent Patterning technique that allows you to trace each piece and see color, positioning and overlap in one block.

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


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