Thursday, August 29, 2013

goodies in the mail!!

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I opened the mail today to find this bag of fiber goodies! Over at my Stitch Therapy online workshop on FAMM (Fiber Art and Mixed Media) website a few members participated in an exchange of scraps to inspire each other. I can't wait to incorporate some of these pieces into my work. The workshop has been such a great experience for me, and I've thoroughly enjoyed meeting everyone who has joined. There is still time to sign up for this workshop. The last to do register is September 30th. It is divided into four sections and designed for you to work at your own pace. The conversations developing on the discussion board have been inspiring. All are welcome to join us.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

inspiration image

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I love all the inspirational quotes floating around the internet and I've been wanting to make some of my own. This is my first attempt:

a little more progress...

It may not seem like much, but I did make a little more progress on this new piece. Now I need to put in some more hours on the large burst embroidery...

Monday, August 26, 2013

organizing, clearing clutter, and focusing

I've been trying to clear out and organize my studio so that I can actually find things that I know I put away... I have more supplies than storage space, so something needs to change. I'm trying to figure out if I need to just focus on one thing - like the fiber art - and get rid of everything else - like the collage supplies for my Daily Visual Journal (which doesn't happen daily anymore).

I often feel like I would like more time to work on my art, but when I do have time I don't know where to start because I have so many projects in progress. My studio and office space is cluttered with papers, books, supplies, half-finished projects... I'm surprised I can get anything done. As I write this I am getting annoyed just thinking about how much clutter I accumulate. I tell myself I'll be able to focus better with a clean space, but somehow immediately after I clear everything away, different things appear in it's place.

I'm going to try again. I'm going to clear out my studio and put back only fiber related supplies. My collage supplies will be relegated to one box. All my unfinished projects will either be scrapped or put in line to finish. Time to get serious!

here are the before pics of my studio (slightly embarrassing but now I must get it organized!):

Friday, August 23, 2013

Starting a new fiber composition.

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I decided to start a new fiber painting composition to take a break from the burst stitching. These compositions are much more intuitive and organic, which is a welcome departure from the very specific and controlled pattern of my burst pieces. 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

new finished embroidery Burst on vintage fabric 20x20

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I worked on this new piece all week while I was taking a break from this one. Yes, it's basically stitching the same type of thing, but the large piece I have to work on standing up and using a five inch needle from the front only, I can't reach around to the back. So, this smaller piece allowed me to get something done a bit quicker, even though stitching is slow no matter what. I was posting all the in progress pics on Instagram as a way to keep myself motivated to get it finished quickly. I have a habit of starting lots of projects at one time and then not finishing most of them. I sometimes find a project stashed away (after I "organize" everything) and think, "oh yeah, I remember when I started that two years ago. I should finish it", then I put it away again. Although, now I have actually written a list of most of my "in progress" projects, basically so I can look at the list and and say, "oh yeah, I remember when I started that two years ago. I should finish it".
Anyway.... I did finish this:

Vintage Burst, 20x20 inches, vintage cotton fabric, cotton thread, acrylic paint

Vintage Burst detail

Vintage Burst detail

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

my inspiration board on Pinterest

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I love the variety of styles and media that I see on Pinterest - it's amazing! So much inspiration is there.... I know some artists don't like to use Pinterest because of copyright issues, but if you put your art online anywhere people will be able to see and take the file and post it somewhere. I have found that there are way more good people than bad. I've linked the picture to my Inspiration board on Pinterest if you're interested : )

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

marketing or just connecting with people?

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I've been thinking a lot about marketing my art - how to market it, should I write a marketing plan, who are my customers and how do I reach them, what are the demographics...  and I don't think traditional business plan processes are always the best way to go with art, especially with the internet. I remember when I got a job at an art gallery, I was so excited to be working in my field until I realized it was just working retail. I was in sales, not art. The art was a product and whether I liked it or not, it was my job to talk with everyone who came in the door and apply all sorts of tactics (I had to go through sales training) to get them to buy. I had learn how to "close" a sale and anticipate objections so that I could negate them before the customer said it. I could never ask a yes or no question, had to keep them engaged in the art... It was stressful and not enjoyable at all.

After a while I realized my commission was barely anymore than my hourly, so I switched gears and just had conversations with people that came in. Conversations about whatever felt natural or whatever came up - if we talked about the art that was good, if not that was good too. I would see people around town and continue our conversations because they felt like friends, not customers. I'm still friends with some of those gallery customers because of that switch in my approach. It felt a little like anti-sales and it became fun. 

Yes, it's a product - I create a piece then you can buy then I can ship it to you. Art is also an extension of the artist. But the more I read about marketing, online or not, the more I find it all comes down to relationships. The relationship you build with your customers, who become more than that when you talk with them and learn about them and in turn they learn about you and your art. It's an exchange, or sharing. Either way, the majority of people who have purchased my work are people I know. I either met them at a gallery opening, through a friend or family member, a lot are family, or I have met them online. So, I guess as I stress about how I'm supposed to market my work, I should realize that I already am just by sharing the story and the process (even if it's difficult).  So, I'll just keep connecting with people and see how that goes.

This is the latest piece I've been working on. It is another burst design, this time on vintage fabric. I wasn't sure if I would like the idea of a patterned background, but I think it is great and it has given me a lot of ideas about manipulating the fabric before stitching. I have one more color to add to this before it's done, and then I may paint the paint like I've done on others before mounting it on stretcher bars. I have been posting the "in progress" pics of my work on Instagram - if you're there, please let me know - it is currently my favorite photo app : )

Saturday, August 17, 2013

new pins (button, brooch, whatever you call them) on Etsy

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I've been updating my Etsy shop today with all the little fiber composition pins that I have available. Also, been thinking about offering these as pendant necklaces... on a chain, on string, on a crocheted necklace... I'm thinking if I make these as necklaces then using string or something that I already have will be in keeping with my goal of not wasting and not buying supplies if I don't need them. Your input is welcome :)

New pins available on Etsy! mini fiber compositions = wearable art

just like my fiber compositions only smaller and easier to wear

Friday, August 16, 2013

Another embroidery beginning

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The beginning of another burst embroidery (It's a 14" hoop) - this time on vintage fabric with flowers. I'm still debating whether I should leave it in the hoop for display or mount it on stretcher bars...

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Thursday: think about epic stuff, and other suggestions from a 7 year old

This is one of the best "to do" lists ever - written by my son age 7. I first posted this on facebook after he wrote it. I still think it's great and everyone could benefit from a shift in priorities. 

Sunday sing a song
Turn the music up and sing loud

Monday play Minecraft 
Play any game that encourages you to solve problems and build on your own ideas

Tuesday play tag
Or just get outside! Go for a run, a walk, swim, garden, spend time outside and just feel the amazing nature that surrounds you. 

Wednesday wake up early
Make time for yourself to relax, meditate, or get some work done. By yourself without interruptions. 

Thursday think about epic stuff
What would be Epic for you? Dream big!

Friday fun day
Enough said. 

Saturday sleep untill 8am
Get that extra rest needed after a long week of singing and playing!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Inspiration from my garden

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I took some pictures of my Morning Glory flowers this morning - I love the way the vines are wrapping around themselves creating such interesting texture, lines, and negative space. 

Monday, August 12, 2013

my Daily Visual Journal, minus a few days...

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I have another blog called Daily Visual Journal. The idea started in 2009 when I was having a lot of trouble finding time to work on my art and not knowing what direction to take. Like many artists, I have a lot of interests and not a lot of time. I've always liked the idea of a journal, or diary, but recording the events of the day seemed like a waste of time to me until I realized I could record things visually. I decided to start creating a small piece of art everyday to record a part of the day or a feeling from the day. Sometimes, the journal pages were a quick scribble because I was tired and didn't have time to make anything better. Sometimes, I would take an hour or more working on a multilayer collage with meaningful images and elements. I did this everyday for a year and a half. The intention was to get myself back into the habit of making art. And it worked. I have been much more dedicated to my art practice and it feels like a great accomplishment. I've been consistent with producing work and showing at galleries, although I would like to produce work more quickly but I can only stitch so fast.

So, after a while my Daily Visual Journal started to feel like a chore. I needed all the extra time in my studio to work on fiber pieces, and making a journal piece just so I wouldn't miss a day felt inauthentic and wasn't enjoyable. I even tried to create videos of the process, which ended up taking more time and completely took away the fun. So I stopped making those. I have decided that even though I really like the process of creating the journal pages every day, I'm not going to worry about a few days, weeks, or months that I miss. It's not a big deal.

In the beginning of this year, 2013, I created (actually finished it since I had been working on on and off all 2012) my first Daily Visual Journal ebook of 5 techniques that I have used in my journal. I made a version of that ebook that is just the .pdf, images without videos. I also started a new website to showcase other artists working on daily projects. My intention is to interview and show the work of artists - I haven't started that yet. So, if you have suggestions of artists you'd like to see featured there, please let me know. Daily projects are so great for setting the habit of creating without waiting for inspiration, but if you're busy making other art, don't worry about missing a few days.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

It's not as if I'm super insecure...

Lets talk about the difficulty of sharing your personal, honest thoughts with the world - a blog feels like a diary - like trying to explain my art - I feel like it's a very personal exposure. The fear of failure, the fear of success, or just the fear of judgement - we all make judgements, it's human. Every one wants to be liked and accepted - even if you think you don't care what others think about you, on some level you do care. It's no coincidence that basically all the social media networks have easy ways to 'like' or appreciate other peoples thoughts, ideas, and images. I'm trying to get over his difficulty, or just share my work anyway.

I have been reminded lately that there are others out there - at least other creatives - that feel the same way I do. This is not a new discovery, just a recent discussion I had with fellow artists. They also feel the anxiety of sharing artwork with others, sharing their ideas and processes, and how it does take strength and personal risk to put yourself out there. I know some people who would say that it's ridiculous to be afraid to share your work - it's not hard - there's nothing to be afraid of... but I would just guess that they've never felt it before. Never felt the vulnerability of sharing art - putting our souls out on display and asking for a critique. That's what we do with art, we judge it. It's good or bad; high or low quality; valuable or not; we talk about it as if it's not connected to the artist and we try to make sense of it through the filter of our own life. If you think of the art work as if it is the same as the artist, then you might get an idea of what I mean when I say it's personal and can be difficult to share.

I have gotten over the disappointment of rejection letters from galleries and juried shows, but it is still anxiety inducing to talk in public about my art. It's abstract. It's embroidery on cotton or linen, maybe with paint added to it. The end. But really I spend hours and hours with each piece, choosing colors based on how I feel when I look at them together. I stitch for hours, my fingers get sore. It's relaxing, meditative, and it calms me down. Which I need  - I go through too many "to do" lists in my head all the time and often feel like there's never enough time. But, I'm beginning to realize that there is plenty of time for what's important. I think about how the process feels healthy and positive and I think about how amazing my life is and how I'm working on being more present at any given moment. I think about how each stitch I make is with love and how I want that to be embedded in the work and go to the person who receives the finished piece. So, even though I find it difficult to talk about my art there is a lot that goes into producing it.

It's not as if I'm super insecure, but maybe just a bit sensitive. Maybe it's the whole introvert thing, I don't want to be the center of attention, I don't want people looking at me, and I don't want to have to explain or defend my art. This might sound like I don't like people, I do. And I like talking, just ask any of my teachers from school, my friends and family - I like to talk to people I know - actually I also talk to people I don't know (I'm the one in line who strikes up conversation with anyone who will listen). But talking feels a lot different when it's about my artwork.

A New Map - 28" x 28" - embroidery on hand dyed cotton

Friday, August 09, 2013

Indie Interview at Hey Paul Studios

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I really enjoyed doing this interview for Kristen over at Hey Paul Studios as part of her Indie Interview series. "The purpose of this series is to create an opportunity for independent embroidery artists to connect, tell stories of their creative ventures, and to share their art work." I really appreciate that she takes the time to ask relevant questions about my work and process that drives what I make. I also really appreciate that she emailed the questions to me so I would be able to take my time and give more thought out answers. I sometimes struggle with live interviews, or even questions at an opening. I struggle to find the right answers, or just feel nervous that someone is waiting on my answer... which is a little strange since with people I know well, I will talk endlessly. I think there is something so personal about creating artwork that when I need to explain it, it feels like I'm reading my diary or something (I don't actually keep a diary). It's just a very personal experience. However, the more I write about my process of creating and my intentions for my work, the more comfortable I a with it and the more I learn about my own process - I work very intuitively and don't always have a finished product in mind, but after things are finished I can more easily see a direction or a theme and look at the work critically to understand what I was doing. I'm not sure any of that makes sense. Anyway, go over and read the interview!

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

instant gratification with recycled materials - color and texture

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I've been working with scraps as part of my online Stitch Therapy Workshop. I love the instant gratification of recycling materials by machine sewing small compositions. I'm not sure what I will use these for, but the colors and textures are an inspiration for my work. I begin to see possibilities in using a similar design for a larger piece, or maybe combing all these small pieces into a large one.

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