Monday, September 19, 2016

Process to Production

Prologue: I've been thinking about this post for several days.  I wrote a bit, saved it as a draft, and thought some more.  I originally titled it, "To Market, to Market"...but as you can see, I've changed that. What follows is an up-dated version of the original...

For the past few weeks I've been spending a great deal of time -- or so it seems to me -- doing something that makes me and many -- if not all -- of my artist colleagues queasy.

That something?  "Shameless self-promotion" -- also known as "marketing".

It's tough doing it even if one is an extrovert, and I'm not; rather, I'm somewhere on the introvert spectrum: capable of speaking and singing in public, capable of "schmoozing" at an art opening, capable of enjoying a retreat or conference with friends, capable of enjoying time with family...but requiring a day or two or three in solitude thereafter simply to recharge my batteries.

So going out into the community with posters and postcards to advertise the forthcoming opening of my first installation is pretty tiring.  Blessedly Maureen, the person at the City who is coordinating the event, has no trouble with such things, and is doing a stellar job for me in Lacombe and Red Deer and beyond...leaving me with far less of it to do than I expected -- much to my relief.

But Maureen's not my art agent (grin).  I don't have one of those.  So...when I discovered a new gallery in Sylvan Lake -- a town about an hour from here -- on a visit in late August...I had to speak up, to engage the gallery owner in a chat about my work, to arrange to show it to her...and then to prepare it for exhibit there.

Though still on a consignment basis, for the first time my work will be hanging in a gallery that features predominately paintings.  There is work in other media there -- glass, sculpture, metal -- and fine craft such as pottery and jewellry -- but mostly paintings.  Mostly what people in this part of the world think of when they hear the word "art".  I am thrilled at the prospect of being shown on the same walls...and hoping that will give people a different way to define 'art'.

This means that this week I was attaching wires to the backs of my pieces mounted on stretched canvas...

And writing up a 'descriptive inventory' that included the sort of things I generally put on a label on the back of my quilts: materials and techniques.

I couldn't help but notice that my materials list was much more than "acrylic on canvas" or "water colour on canvas" or "mixed media".   Hmmmm.

The pieces have now been delivered, and the consignment agreement signed, with an official start date of September 24.  Once Denise, the gallery owner, figures out how many she has room for, and hangs them, I'll go and pick up the rest.    Then...we shall see.

Meanwhile, I continue to work on assembling MOB for hanging (a month from today!) , as well as my latest piece for the 15 x 15 Group...

Sneak Peek at a Detail...

And several projects for gifts; first, for the two new babies in my life....

Christmas Stocking Under Construction

Soon to be a "Blankie"

A terrible "selfie" of me in a cloche recently finished, a commission...

When did my neck get old?!

There's another hat (commission) on the needles as we speak, and plans are underway for the Annual Christmas Boxer Shorts, as well as a variety of knitted gifts for friends and family...

What am I doing sitting here typing?!  Time for breakfast and the sewdio!

P.S. I'm linking late into Nina-Marie's Off the Wall Friday.  Thanks for reading!

Monday, September 12, 2016

SAQA's Annual Benefit Auction - 2016 Edition

For only the second time since 2008, this year I didn't put a piece in the annual SAQA Benefit Auction.  With all that's been going on -- my 15 x 15 Group participation, the Lacombe Art Show and Sale in April, My Corner of the World in MayThe Wedding in July (with its accompanying quilt), and the up-coming Mark on the Body work in my final year as SAQA Co-Rep (Alberta)...well...I just ran out of days!

I didn't even make the deadline to create a SAQA Dream Collection for posting on the website, darn it!  :-(

To make up for that, though...earlier this month I posted a Dream Collection on the SAQA Western Canada I am linking it HERE for you to enjoy.  I plan to watch this  year's auction unfold and see if I can make a winning bid on a special piece by one of my colleagues.  I owe them -- and SAQA -- a great deal for bringing out the 'artist' in me.'s my piece from last year's auction, inspired by Steve Martin's "Daddy Played the Banjo", which found a new home with a banjoist and fan of Mr. M...

Yellow Tree - (C) 2015

Why don't you enjoy the music while you plan your own Dream Collection?  Till next time...

Friday, September 02, 2016

Don't Let Your Halo Pinch Your Ears

It's easy this week with all that's happened, with all the kudos and praise and 'likes' for the book, with the first flurry of pre-orders, to get caught up in the whirlwind...

But as I crawl into bed with my cuppa and my book this Friday evening, a Sabbath eve for my Jewish friends and family, I too need to pause, as my mentor Bonnie suggested, and as Tim McGraw reminded me...and now, Carrie Newcomer...

Three Feet or So
When I'm weary lost or sad, Overwhelmed or just fed up, I say grace for what I have. And most the time that is enough.
We are body, skin and bones, We're all the loss we've every known, What is gone is always near, We're all the love that brought us here.
Chorus: And the things that have saved us Are still here to save us. Its not out there somewhere Its right here, its right here.
If I start by being kind, Love usually follows right behind. It nods its head and softly hums Saying "Honey that's the way it’s done."
We don't have to search for love, Wring our handsand wring our hearts, All we have to do is know The love will find us in the dark
Chorus: And the things that have saved us Are still here to save us. Its not out there somewhere Its right here, its right here. 
I can't change the whole world. But I can change the world I know, What's within three feet or so.
We are body, skin and bones, We're all the love we've every known, When I don’t know what is right, I hold it up into the Light.
I hold it up into the Light.
I hold it up into the Light.

--  Words and lyrics by Carrie Newcomer - 2016 

Or as my mother would have said, "Don't let your halo pinch your ears."  :-)

Love you, Mom!

It's a Book!

The 'action' this week has been focused on Mark on the Body, where I posted -- as is my custom, on the 29th of the month -- about preparations for the installation, now just weeks away.

The book of the same name, to accompany the exhibit, is now available on; it's bright red cover is grinning at you from the side bar!  Click that link -- the picture of the book -- and you'll receive a preview of the first dozen or so pages.  I received word this a.m. from a Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA) colleague in Texas that she's already ordered her copy!  What a way to start the Labour Day weekend -- I'm over the moon!

Meanwhile, the good folks at the City of Lacombe are working on posters etc. for publicity.  They've received my head shots (thanks again to my sweet daughter, Gina, whose photography skills are stupendous!)  and soon I'll have more information about the time of the Artist's Reception, scheduled almost a week into the show, on October 26.

Here's where I stand on the checklist:

  • Quilt the background for Mark on the Body now that the hand-stitching is finished, and prepare it for hanging; Done! - Pinned for sleeve; pinned for stitching to finish edges. - Sept. 5.  Sampling done for 'syringe fringe' - Sept. 7.
  • Assemble MOB II squares in a mobile;
  • Finish knitting the ninth and last stump sock for MOB III;
  • Put into final form the draft of my book for the MOB installation, and publish it;
  • Approve and select final head shots for MOB publicity;
  • Order post-cards for MOB. Draft done; proof sent to mentor for review;  Ordered! - Sept. 7
  • Design and create the next piece for 15 x 15 Group, with the theme, "Botanicals".  Photos printed for tracing, inspiration;
  • Finish a commission knit hat and start on another knitting commission (more hats);
  • Work on three baby gifts (two knitted, one cross-stitch).  One baby (boy) born -- need to speed up knitting on blanket!
  • Work extra days for The Shop, at two out-of-town Creative Stitches and Crafting Alive! shows -- one in Edmonton and one in Calgary.
I'm linking this to Nina Marie's Off the Wall Friday, where this week she's channelling Sonia Delauney, one of the artists I studied in one of my classes with Elizabeth Barton.

I'd say with the work on this book, I seem to have been channelling writers of memoir -- perhaps Joan Didion, who, like me, was widowed, and whose book, The Year of Magical Thinking, was an immense comfort...but in truth, I'm not in her league!

Who are you "channelling" this week?  Who's inspiring you to keep making your mark with art?

Something to ponder as we move into the weekend...Onward and upward!

Monday, August 29, 2016


Author at work.

All the action's on Blurb these days.

Meanwhile...over on MOB...

Stay tuned!

Friday, August 26, 2016

A Page from Judy's Journal

Today on her blog, Judy Martin's post reminded me of this...

October 1987/October 2012

And this...

At Sylvan Lake - August 2009

And this...
Sometime in the late 1990s/July 23, 2016

"Think with your heart", she wrote.


Where did August Go?

Heaven's Gate Detail
Hello, Gentle Readers!

Just a quick note to assure you I'm still here and all is well.  This month has dissolved into thin air somehow...

"I've been busy" is such a trite phrase, but it's been true in this neck of the woods!  Following my son's wedding, and finishing my 15 x 15 Group piece for July 31, as well as that one that came 'out of the blue', I've been focused on Handwork and Home Maintenance!

On the Home front, I finally swept last winter's detritus out of the garage, cleaned my eaves troughs (gutters), painted the railings of my back stoop and with the help of my neighbour, repaired the bottom step.  I still have to strip the last of the wall-paper off one wall in my bedroom, paint said wall, and while the furniture is out of place, clean the carpet!  Then...clean the carpet in the hallway and living room.  Oh...and freeze or bake up the last of the rhubarb.

On the Handwork/Sewdio front...

I sent my trusty Husqvarna Lily 555 sewing machine to the 'spa' for a check up, and am picking it up today.  Lily's in good health -- no repairs needed -- so she should be ready to go again right away.  And she'll have a new companion in the sewdio...

A good year or so ago, my friend B gave me an old Pfaff mechanical machine.  She'd been given it and her DH had cleaned it and installed a bolt (!) to replace its missing presser foot lever.  That said, she didn't want it and passed it on to me to use as a spare.  I played with it worked like a charm till said bolt snapped off! sat around till I could get my act together, and I took it into the 'spa' along with the Lily a couple of weeks ago.

The good news?  No repairs needed other than the new presser foot lever -- which was in stock.  Ta-da!  I end up with a decent machine for about $100 CAD all in, and  Ms. Pfaff is now ready to pick up any unfinished work that Lily leaves behind!

I've so much to do this fall that I'm seriously considering setting Ms. Pfaff up on my kitchen table, with Lily in the sewdio.  That way I can have two projects going at the same time and not have to worry about changing thread colours etc.

Here's the sewdio To-Do list for the next few weeks:

  • Quilt the background for Mark on the Body now that the hand-stitching is finished, and prepare it for hanging;
  • Assemble MOB II squares in a mobile;
  • Finish knitting the ninth and last stump sock for MOB III;
  • Put into final form the draft of my book for the MOB installation, and publish it;
  • Approve and select final head shots for MOB publicity;
  • Order post-cards for MOB.
  • Design and create the next piece for 15 x 15 Group, with the theme, "Botanicals";
  • Finish a commission knit hat and start on another knitting commission (more hats);
  • Work on three baby gifts (two knitted, one cross-stitch);
  • Work extra days for The Shop, at two out-of-town Creative Stitches and Crafting Alive! shows -- one in Edmonton and one in Calgary.
And that'll be September and early October accounted for...

Oh...and keep an appointment with a new-to-me gallery owner about showing/selling my pieces in her space...That's September 4...

So if I seem a bit quiet in blog-land, do please forgive me.  There will be MOB progress reports over on that blog around the end of each month (29th - 31st) at least until the Opening (October 20).

Right now, I've got to get going to Red Deer to pick up those machines!

Meanwhile, I'm linking up to Nina Marie's Off the Wall Friday...and hoping you all stay in touch.  Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Out of the Blue

If you read my last post, you might remember that I was hankering to start something new -- probably related to the next challenge posed by my 15 x 15 Group.

That's not quite what happened.

Oh, I got an idea, alright, but not for that piece.

For the last long while (since June, at least), I've been meditating on the song by Tim McGraw, "Humble and Kind".

Since the RNC and the DNC (Republican National Convention and Democratic National Convention respectively) in the U.S. -- to which I paid more attention than is probably healthy for a Canadian -- I've wanted to do something -- anything -- to keep our borders open, our long, historical friendship safe, to get rid of the vermin in the GOP -- but none of that is really within my power or abilities.  

I thought about posting a prayer a day, but in the end that's a bit "preachy" least, for a Canadian...

Then last night I got a picture of an art quilt -- dimensions, pattern, layout, etc.  This has happened to me before.  Anyway, it was based on the idea of staying humble and kind...a reminder to my American friends and family, and a warning to anyone (wherever) seeking any position of (perceived) power on this earth...

So first thing this morning I went into the sewdio and began.

I wanted lots of colour, so I created a 13 1/2" square string-pieced block:

I applied Wonder Under fusible web to the back, and drew the shapes of butterfly wings...and then cut them out:

Here they are, ready to apply to the background:

Once fused to the background, I backed the piece with freezer paper to stabilize it and wrote this phrase over and over around the butterfly: "Always be humble and kind."  I quilted around that in thread to match the background, and then quilted in the ditch of the strips on the wings using Superior Thread Monopoly "invisible" thread:

I decided it needed more quilting, though, so stitched around the outside edges and then echo quilted around the butterfly:

This evening I applied a facing to the piece, and so can basically call it 'finished':

Humble and Kind (C) 2016
12" W x 12" L

It uses so many traditional quilting techniques that I'm not sure it would sell in the SAQA Benefit Auction...and it's too late for this year's auction anyway...but it's what had to be quilted.  I don't think I've ever done an entire piece like this -- from inception to completion -- in one day.  Go figure.

It will end up where it's supposed to end up, I guess.  Meanwhile, this remains my daily reminder and my prayer for my American colleagues, family and friends...and especially for all seeking positions in the next U.S. election:

God be with you, every one.

Linking this up to the Canadian group, WIP Wednesday over at The Needle and Thread Network...and heading off to bed!

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Three Posts -- but Not Here

This weekend I created three blog posts -- but not here.

MOB I - thigh
First, I updated Mark on the Body for July 29.  The first section of this project -- MOB I -- is now in the home stretch, and you can read about that HERE.

Second, as part of my work as a Regional Co-Rep, I updated the SAQA Western Canada Blog to showcase one of our member's latest achievements.  You can read about Diane and the Alberta Society of Artists' touring exhibit HERE.

Heaven's Gate - detail
And third, I posted my contribution to the 15 x 15 Group's latest "Reveal"; this one's on the theme of "Architecture" and required the use of a stencil somewhere in the piece.  (You'll recall from my last post the challenge that presented for me!)

You can read about my piece and see and learn about all the wonderfully unique interpretations of this theme HERE.

As we move into August, I find myself with much to do...and more of the same.  I have a hankering to start something new, and as the next 15 x 15 Group theme has already been announced, I might just make a start on that -- with Scarlett O'Hara -- tomorrow.

Meanwhile, I'm linking this up with Nina Marie's Off the Wall Friday...and am going to enjoy some Sabbath time.  Have a good week!