Friday, September 30, 2011

Laurie Brainerd's new quilt series

Laurie Brainerd is an exceptionally talented artist and maker of contemporary quilts who has just recently begun her journey into surface design on textiles.  Laurie and I were formerly partners in the short-lived Fiber Artspace venture at the Blue Star Contemporary Art Complex in San Antonio.
In her recent newsletter (which I encourage you to subscribe to!) she wrote something that truly resonated with me.  Because I feel so strongly that this is important I asked if I could share it here.

Laurie is a planner.  She is one of the most (if not THE most) organized people I know!  Her words are compelling because, in our artistic lives, we are often surprised at where the journey can lead us, if we remain open to the possibilities.  Asking "What if?" is often the first step into a great adventure with new possibilities in your work.  Read on..

Following the Energy
This summer, I have been working with new materials and new techniquues--new to me that is.  I had a crisp idea that was so strong that I was naturally compelled to follow it.

The idea was about representing happiness.  It seems that I have figured out the formula for my own happiness, and since that is where I am at right now, naturally that is showing up in my artwork.

The finished, but unmounted piece below, is my first happiness quilt.  The blocks represent the different aspects of our lives that we learn to balance and adjust for maximum well-being.  From personal experience, I know that sometimes a block has to be removed altogether, others are perfect just the way they are, and the rest need to be adjusted.  And this process never ends!

So, while I was dye-painting the fabric that was eventually going to end up  as happiness blocks, I noticed the interesting patterns left on the sheets that I used as drop cloths.  I found it so interesting, that I added a layer of cotton fabric to capture the dye that drips through the silk/cotton blend fabric that I'm painting on.

I even had to start a new top piece in order to finish a lower piece.  Now I'm not so sure which fabric is the product and which is the by-product.  I have definitely found my happy place--the land of happy accidents.

It is amazing what you will find when you follow your energy or intuition or inner guide--whatever you call that special knowing.  One simple idea for me has exploded into more ideas than I can count.  I have had to start writing them down.

I just find it really fascinating how one starts in one direction thinking that it is somewhat of a destination, but ends up being just a mile marker on the journey.  And just a corner around the last destination is an even richer view.  

Please visit Laurie's website and blog for more inspiration!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Tune in to Artistically Speaking this Sunday!

I will be the featured guest on Artistically Speaking this Sunday, October 2nd, at 5:30 CDT.  I need your moral support!  Please tune in!

AS Rebecca Parsons

Monday, September 26, 2011

Sketchbook Challenge e-zine!

Here's Some BIG News!

The first Sketchbook Challenge E-zine is now available for purchase!

The Sketchbook Challenge E-zine is 83 full color pages of creativity, inspiration and projects!

What you’ll find inside...
Learn how to draw a pinecone with Jane LaFazio
Exploring Text Collage with Kelli Nina Perkins
Make a Scrappy House Quilt with Jamie Fingal
Working in series by Jane Davies
Make bad art with Lyric Kinard and become a better artist
Sue Bleiweiss shows you how to make a sketchbook sleeve
Carol Sloan shares her remedies for blank pages
Take 5! with Carla Sonheim
Screenprinting for the Mixed Media Artist by Leslie Tucker Jenison
Take your sketchbook out to eat with Susan Sorrell
Stacked Journaling with Judi Hurwitt
Learn how to use your inner GPS to create journal pages with Violette
Learn a trio of pamphlet binding stitches from Diana Trout

Important information regarding printing this document for binding:This e-zine has been formatted for on screen viewing. If you want to print a copy to have bound then you must scale the document to 90% to allow for a wide enough left side margin. In the print box, select the scale option and change it to 90%. Please print a test page first (we recommend page 5) to make sure that the setting is appropriate for your printer before printing the entire document.

The Sketchbook Challenge E-zine is in pdf format and include step-by-step instructions and full-color photo illustrations. You must have Adobe Acrobat Reader 5.0 or higher to be able to open the lessons. Adobe Acrobat Reader is a free software that you can download from the Adobe Website. 

Post a review of the sketchbook challenge e-zine on your blog or website and we'll enter your name into a drawing to win a piece of mail art from one or more of the Sketchbook Challenge artists!  Send a link to your published review by 12/1/11  to sue at to be entered into the drawing.  Winners will be announced in December - good luck!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

We Need YOU!

This is an all-star team already, but we will need many more volunteers! Depending on how many morning and afternoon sessions each volunteer takes on we will need between 22-48 volunteers per day. So I need your help with recruiting! Please help us by circulating this call for volunteers to any websites, blogs, lists, newsletters, FB pages, cork boards or refrigerator doors you manage or contribute to. 

I am attaching the following:
  • "We need volunteers" event graphic —gif format
  • "I'm volunteering" graphic—gif format
  • Publicity text describing our search for volunteers (long and short versions included)--pdf format
  • Volunteer flyer—pdf format

The "I'm Volunteering" logo can be used on your own website, blog, FB page that tells everyone you are volunteering. Please direct all potential volunteers to this page on our website, which contains a link to our volunteer registration survey:

Let me know if you have any questions about this publicity. Any help you can provide in spreading the word is much appreciated.  I'll also be distributing a press release widely on Monday. This will go to media outlets, guilds and AAQ members. I will also make posts to FB, Twitter and our website. Other ideas? Please let me know!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

"Bead It Like You Mean It" dvd review & giveaway

I was honored when Lyric Kinard asked me to review her wonderful new dvd, "Bead It Like You Mean It" and participate in a blog hop and giveaway.  In addition to being an artist whose work I admire a great deal, Lyric is truly an excellent teacher.  After viewing this dvd I can tell you that it was time well-spent!  Are you a bead collector?  Check out this little teaser on YouTube.  
 I must tell you that everything I know about beading (up until watching Lyric's dvd) I learned the hard way.  When I think back to one of my first beaded quilts, a small journal quilt that was LOADED with heavy beads and traveled to several quilt show venues for a year, I am a bit mortified.  When the quilt returned home there were beads that were barely hanging onto the surface of the quilt.  Yikes!   Oh, how I wish I had watched Lyric's dvd before that quilt left my studio!   I would have known the proper way to secure heavy beads to my quilt surface, how to protect bead thread from those sharp-ended bugle beads, and more.  I consider this dvd a visual reference guide and "how to" for beading.

"Bead It Like You Mean It" is an excellent dvd for everyone from the novice beader to the experienced bead artist.  Techiques include learning basic beading techniques to more complex configurations, all demonstrated in a clear, concise manner.  Information is included about choosing beading thread, needles, and other helpful tips.  I feel certain that there is somthing here for even the most experienced bead artist.  After watching this workshop I now know how to create beaded bezel cages to house a cabochon!  Woo Hoo!  And, the best part about it:  Lyric explains the process so clearly that I had no difficulty understanding the steps.

I appreciate how the workshop is divided into chapters.  It is so much easier to refer back to a specific technique.  The workshop is well-edited with two camera inputs:  one of the instructor and her work surface, the other a close-up from above her hands, allowing the viewer to really scrutinize the technique.
Hats off to Bonnie McCaffery, who is the videographer of the dvd.
Another stand-out demonstration is Lyric's technique for attaching beading to a finished quilt in a manner that completely hides the knots and beading thread on the front AND back of the quilt!  

Now for the fun part:  I have a copy of "Bead It Like You Mean It" to give away on September 24th!
For a chance to win, all you have to do is leave a comment on my blog about your last bead-related project.  How did you use beads in the project?  I will draw from the list of comments and the lucky winner will receive Lyric's dvd!  
Please stop by the other participating artists on our blog hop:
Sept 15  Larkin Van Horn
Sept 16 Susan Sorell
Sept 19 Kelli Nina Perkins
Sept 21  Sharon Chapman
Sept 23 Leslie Tucker Jenison
Sept 26 Carla Sonheim
Sept 28 Gloria Hansen
Sept 30 Laura Wasilowski
Oct 3  Carol Sloane
Oct 5 Sue Bleiweiss
Oct 7  Jill Berry
Oct 10 Jane LaFazio
Oct 12 Tracie Lynn Huskamp

Don't forget to leave your comment here for a chance to win!
Thanks for stopping by.

And the winner is:  Cat Stone!  Thanks so much for leaving comments, everyone!  Those of you who did not win, don't forget to stop by Lyric's website to purchase your copy of "Bead It Like You Mean It"!  I hope you will continue to stop by my blog, too.  It has been a pleasure.    Leslie

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Amsterdam/Den Haag/Delft-Day 7

Tim left the show early today so we decided to have a little adventure.  He really wanted to visit Mauritshuis museum at The Haag, and Cheryl and I tagged along.  Later, Cheryl took the train back to Amsterdam to meet her husband and Tim and I went on to Delft.
not many of these old windmills around any more!

A beautiful day in Den Haag

We were fortunate to see this on exhibition before the official opening

I have seen several of these small knights atop houses in Delft.
I wish I knew what they are called.

So we walked into old Delft square and.....a carnival!
Delft Square is always full of surprises.  Two years ago,
we were able to watch a huge bocci ball tournament, 
followed by several wedding parties.
The people of Delft like to have parties!

It was crazy and surreal to see all this American stuff in the middle of Delft.

This was so crazy and ironic.

We had dinner at Den Waag, then meandered back to the train.
It was nice to walk in the rain.

It is beginning to look like fall here.
A few leaves starting to kiss the ground.

Tomorrow we leave for home.
Thanks for traveling along with me to the Netherlands.
I look forward to returning again next year.

Amsterdam Day 6 Random images

The following are images I captured while wandering yesterday in Amsterdam:
cool "animal" sculptures created from scrap metal,
seen in what looks like a community garden

This sculpture installation resides inside the Opera House lobby


weird seed pods laying on a metal grate

Monday, September 12, 2011

Verzetsmuseum (The Dutch Resistance Museum)

Thanks to someone on Facebook I was made aware of a special exhibit at the Verzetsmuseum about embroideries done by women held captive in camps during WWII.  The museum was so interesting and informative in all respects.  Our first interaction was with the most unpleasant, authoritative woman at their front desk.  Unbelievably brusque and rude, to the point of making us laugh.  Aside from that, the museum was full of very poignant, bittersweet memorabilia, and we were educated about the resistance in a way that made this part of history come alive.
I was, of course, particularly moved by the samples of embroideries made by women held captive.  I simply cannot imagine being in their place, but somehow the story of how they held onto their sanity came alive through seeing these small works.  I took a sampling of photos so I could share with you.  It was unbelievably touching.

The description below this image is of the woman featured here.
What a gutsy broad!  
The "Winter Help" project was a propaganda move on the part of 
the Nazis to improve their image with the Dutch.

 women began to take threads from sheets, edges of garments, anywhere they could 
get them, and steal a needle from their repair kits from their workloads for the Germans.
Any small bit of cloth and thread was used to create their embroideries.
With this small defiant act, they found a way to express themselves.

 description below

 description below

 this bra was made by piece-mealing together bits of cloth.  It is
embroidered with the symbol of her work camp.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Westermarkt observations/purchases

 plastic and knitted finger puppets.  Had to have them.