1.  agreeably pungent or sharp in taste or flavor; pleasantly biting or tart
2.  agreeably stimulating, interesting, or attractive

Doesn’t that word just make your mouth feel a little strange, but good?  I’m working on my projects this weekend and am faced with a little sense of this odd flavor treat as I work on my “Onion” for the Salsa series.  I did something a little different from my Tomato and Tomatillos on this piece.  Rather than having everything be freehand machine applique, I put a layer of organza for the sliced face of the onion and just sewed in the lines of the layers of the onion.  This gives it a translucent, shiny appearance, like a real onion.

Now that I have the onion finished, I need to make the background on which to applique it. I’m a little unsure how I’m going to do the trapunto on this one, as it has a real sense of depth with each onion behind the other.  I’ll have to think on that.  I should have it finished in the next couple days and will post the rest of the pictures from the process of making it.

First two rows stitched
I’m also finally starting to get my Waterfall quilt UFO pieced together.  I’m planning to try our a quilt-as-you-go method, per Leah Day from her Freemotion Quilting Project.  I’ve put together these two rows and plan to quilt 2 rows together at a time.  I’ve been thinking I’d use Leah’s “Mesh Curtain” design to quilt this, but I’m a little worried that it will be too busy or will dominate the quilt, making the color shifts and curved pieces less noticeable.  Any thoughts or suggestions on how I should quilt it?

Waterfall quilt UFO on the design wall (some pieces
have now been changed.)

You might also be interested in:

Week 4 – Tomatillo 5 x 7 Week 3- The
 Start of Salsa!
52 Week – 5 x7 
Challenge to Readers
Curved Piecing 
Video Tutorial

Check out these other great blogs:

Stitch-by-Stitch… my quilting journey

“Twasser’s Pitcher Plant” by Susan K. Lenarz
Mixed Fiber and Stitch ($1500.)

I’ve recently been reading The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life by Twyla Tharp. A famous dancer and choreographer, Ms Tharp has written an inspirational treatise which is cross-disciplinary for all creative persons.  In fact, the approach Ms. Tharp uses really could be used for anyone who wants to be more successful, whether in business, scientifically, artistically, financially, or any other type of endeavor.  While I’m only partially through this book, I’d like to share some thoughts that I find particularly useful.

1.  Figure out what is the one tool that feeds your creativity and is so essential that without it you feel naked and unprepared.  From now on, don’t leave home with out this tool!  This could be a sketchbook and pencils, a camera, a stitch project, knitting, or any other item that you find helps spark innovation and creativity.

“Twasser’s Pitcher Plant” detail
by Susan K. Lenarz

2.  Build up your tolerance for solitude.  Creation is generally a solitary process.  When you have solitude with a goal or purpose, it’s not debilitating.  Learn to accept quietness without loneliness.  Your goal/ idea/ purpose can be your companion.  Being alone is just a condition where no one else is around.  Being lonely is one way you can choose to feel about being alone.  Choose to feel inspired by your time alone instead.  Solitude is an unavoidable part of creativity.  Self-reliance is a happy by-product.

“Dennis on the Colorado” by Maria Winner
Fiber ($2500.)

3.  Face your fears regarding your creative endeavor.  While each of us will have different things that hinder us due to fear, I’d like to share my personal fears:

  • Someone will have done it before
  • I have nothing to say
  • Once executed it won’t be as good as in my mind
  • People won’t like my work– I (or my work) won’t be respected or appreciated
  • I’m not sure how to do it
  • It may take too much time
  • Cost
  • It’s self-indulgent
  • My family won’t support me or will feel I’m not there for them
“Dennis on the Colorado” detail by Maria Winner  [Isn’t this stitchwork exquisite?]

Whew!  While it’s hard to share these deeply held anxieties, once you can state your fears, you have the ability to examine and overcome them.  They will probably continue to raise their nasty head from time to time, but maybe they won’t have such sharp teeth.  For instance, I can look at my first fear “someone will have done it before” and recognize that all art has been done before… nothing is completely original.  My job is to breathe my own essence into my art and see what comes out of it.  I’ve largely tackled much of my fear of not knowing how to do something by taking classes, reading books, and watching tutorials… then by practice, practice, practice at the things I’ve learned.  So, you can see how getting in touch with your fears allows you to overcome them.

“Split Infinity” by Kathie R. Kerler
Fiber ($750.)

4.  Look at your life and find out what’s distracting you.  What can you give up for a week?  Try picking a thing or two and not doing it for a week… use the time instead to focus on your creative endeavor.  When you give something up (a distraction) it clears time and mental space to focus.

5.  What is your creative ambition?  What obstacles do you have to meet this ambition?  What are the vital steps to achieve it?  If you don’t know where you’re going, it’s pretty hard to get there.  Think about and even commit to paper where you’d like your creative pursuit to lead you.  Do you want to be in art or quilt shows? Win them?  Have a solo show?  Sell your artwork?  Get your work represented by a gallery?  Begin with the end in mind and create a plan to get you to your dream.
6.  One way to get yourself in a creative space is to develop a ritual you do each time that it’s time to start.  This “triggering ritual” doesn’t need to necessarily be related to your art… just something you do every time you’re going to start.  Whether it’s brewing a cup of tea, doing some breathing exercises, taking a walk outside, looking through a book of inspirational artwork, or any other routine you can imagine, “by making the start of the sequence automatic,[you] make replace doubt and fear with comfort and routine” (Tharp p.17.)  By consistently using a ritual to start your creative process, you’ll find yourself more confident and self-reliant, as well as being able to access your creativity more quickly.

Detail of “Split Infinity” by
Kathie R. Kerler

I’ve included a few more of the photos from the “Complex Threads: Students of Gail Harker Center for Creative Arts” exhibit.  I’m awestruck by many of these pieces.  But each of the 41 students who have pieces in this show have had to face the same challenges and choices you and I do every day.  They’ve made the choice to forge ahead and let their fears be damned, and practice their crafts until they have developed the skill which is evident in their work.

“The routine is as much a part of the creative process as the lightning bolt of inspiration, maybe more.” (Tharp p 6).   By choosing to commit to a regular routine, you are developing your creative muscle, and able to see progression in your artistic development.  This is exactly why I decided to start the 5 x 7 Artist Challenge.  For myself, I need to have a commitment and be accountable to someone (you, my readers) for keeping that commitment.  More than that, I’ve always loved to be a mentor and teacher, so hope that through my writings and example, I’ll help others of you develop on your own path.

You might also be interested in:

Complex Threads 1 Complex Threads 2 Artistic Goals 2013 2013 Artist 
5 x 7 Challenge

Last week I promised to get back to my UFO “Waterfall Quilt.”  Well, I’ve made some progress with it:

Waterfall Quilt last week
Waterfall Quilt this week
One of the waterfall squares with
curved piecing

As you can see, I’ve added a couple rows (and I obviously need to get a larger design wall that my pieces can stick to!)  More importantly, I think, is that I removed pieces that I felt didn’t really work, either due to the patterning of the material, or more likely, the color flow wasn’t right.  Actually, now that I look at the photograph, I see a few other pieces that I’ll probably switch out, since they don’t have quite the right value. I call this my waterfall quilt as I wanted the curved pieces to make it feel like water trickling down, as well as the blues and greens to represent the water and surrounding forest.

I thought you might like to find out how I do the curved inserts which I’m working on adding to all the blocks. Believe it or not, it’s a fairly simple process.  Certainly simpler than doing the video… so please excuse me if my videography needs a little perfecting!

For other interesting blogs and tutorials:

Check out how other quilters are finishing up their UFO’s on Leah Day’s Freemotion Quilting Project

Carol’s portrait of Max, a yellow lab shows a great progression for doing a pictorial quilt.

You might also be interested in:

Fresh Poppy Design
Week 2 of the 5 x 7 
Artist Challenge
Fireworks Freemotion 
Quilting Design
How to Make a 
Knotted Blanket Stitch
Quilt Story’s Block 
Tutorial Links

Today was a fairly low-key day.  I’m trying to go along with Leah Day’s Freemotion Quilting Project focus on UFO’s each Sunday.  Today her FMQP blog post discusses getting negative reviews online.  I guess I’m kind of shocked.  I feel like Leah has given such a wealth of knowledge out for free and that she does a beautiful job.  Please stop by and give her some positive comments (if you haven’t seen her blog before, you really need to check it out!)

Back to UFO Sunday, here is the UFO that has been on my wall without progress for 6 months.  It’s a color progression with a contrasting curved piece through each block.  Although I don’t normally do block-based quilts, I wanted to practice some simple curved piecing and started on these 8″ squares.  I kind-of ran out of space on my design wall however and obviously haven’t finished up the curves in all the blocks I have up yet.

My thought has been to sew 1-2 vertical rows together at a time and then quilt them in those rows, putting the whole quilt together after doing the quilting.  I’m still struggling a little with how you put the quilt together after quilting, but want to try it out, since I hopefully have quilted my last king-sized quilt on my home machine after it was all pieced!  I’m thinking that using Leah Day’s “Mesh Curtain” pattern for the long vertical rows.

So, my commitment is to make some progress this week with this quilt, before the next UFO Sunday!

The other piece I’ve worked on today is my second week’s 5 x 7 Challenge piece.  I completed the paper piecing and now need to aapplique the center circle and rungs of the windmill blades, before I can start quilting it.

Beyond my indoor projects, my husband Randy and I, along with our two boys Ryan and Coleman and our dog Dexter, went for a winter’s walk at Marymoor Park in Redmond.  It was about 30 degrees and the frost twinkled on the trees and shrubs.

Reflections on the water
Partially frozen stream through the marshlands
Ice and frost in marsh grasses
Beautiful winter light and reflections
Christina with sons Ryan (left) and Coleman
(right) and Dexter (with the long ears)

Husband Randy with Dexter

Golden Hour at Penn Cove 
& Monet’s Haystacks
What I Want My Children 
To Know
Sunshine and Sand 
Design Inspiration

The build-up for the end of the world has been building for over the last year. Based on the end of one of the cycles in the ancient Mayan calendar, there are people who predict that Earth will cease to exist after Friday (12/21/2012.) So, here are the things I want all of my children to know… just in case:

Christina with Ryan (right) & Coleman at cub scouts in March 2002
  1. There is nothing I treasure more than you. Forget any frustrations, anger, disappointments. They’re just part of day-to-day living. Be secure in the fact that my love is with you regardless. 
  2. You are not perfect; nor am I. No one is. You don’t need to try for perfection, just doing your personal best. Be generous and forgiving of Yourself. 
  3. At the heart of all happiness is forgiveness. Resentment and bitterness only perpetuate unhappiness. 
  4. Trust is built by being trustworthy. When you demonstrate time after time that you are honorable, honest, and reliable, you create a foundation for trust. 
  5. The “Golden Rule” (treat others the way you would like to be treated) will serve you well throughout your life. 
  6. Don’t surrender to negativism, despair, or cynicism. Get help. There are people who love you (I’m at the top of the list) and will be there to support you with whatever you’re going through. 
  7. Be present. Listen carefully to what is being said (or unsaid) by others, rather than an internal monologue at the same time as when someone is speaking. Live life in the moment, rather than regretting or holding anger about the past or being anxious about the future. 
  8. Who we really are is our thoughts, words, and actions… they need to be congruent for true happiness. If you say you’ll do something, do it or renegotiate. If you’re thinking something different than what you say, your integrity is out of alignment. Hold yourself accountable to your promises and commitments. 
  9. When you make a mistake, acknowledge it, ask for forgiveness, and, if needed, atone for the failure. 
  10. You are responsible for being generous and loving in your close relationships with family and friends. Caring is shown by listening attentively, forgiving, having patience, granting dignity, showing interest in them and their endeavors, and consciously working towards being heartfully uplifting to them. 
  11. Choose to create your relationships through reconciling, being merciful and forgiving, being magnanimous, cooperating, easing tensions, being ethically persuasive and truly listening to others. When you are antagonistic, criticizing, tearing down, being petty, demoralizing, retreating from others to an internal dialog, or making meaning where it doesn’t exist, you damage both the relationship and yourself. 
  12. Be unique… there is no one else like you and your uniqueness makes you shine. At times, it’s a struggle to be accepted and it’s easier to try to fit in. Don’t give up your individuality… find people who accept and love you as you are. 
  13. Developing yourself as substantive person will give yourself freedom, happiness, satisfaction and peace of mind. Through becoming more worldly, learning to understand different viewpoints, developing marketable skills and cultivating interests, you’ll find your place in the sun, so to speak. Shallowness, immaturity, and ignorance will only lead to pain and needless suffering. 
  14. The primary place in my life that I expect perfection of myself is in my mothering. I suppose this is partially due to talking to myself over my disappointment that my marriage did not turn out successfully and the guilt I feel towards my children for this lack of providing them with the “perfect” (i.e. culturally accepted mean) family. Therefore, I strive to live up to my expectation of the perfect mother and consistently fall short. The times when I am closest to the ideal are when I am being the most autonomous—when I listen attentively, show compassion and interest, be empathetic and caring. However, I often feel my biggest regret in life will be the time I have missed with my children. (Refer back to #2- forgive yourself.) 
  15. Be empathetic. Put yourself in other people’s shoes. If you can’t understand and be compassionate to how someone else is thinking and feeling, you’re going to have difficulty with that relationship. 
  16. Don’t fear embarrassment! Yes, the feeling of heat sweeping over your body is uncomfortable, but it is fleeting. If you can free yourself from this fear, you’ll be willing to try more things and build a tolerance to the discomfort that accompanies embarrassing situations. Trying more things leads to being more substantive (see #13.) 
  17. Finally, don’t fear what you can’t change. So often we get ourselves worked up over imagined futures. Live your life to the fullest during the time you have. By the way, the world isn’t going to end on Friday. Just as our calendar ends on December 31 and it doesn’t mean that the world will cease to exist, the end date of the Mayan long-count period will just turn over to another long-count period. 

Well, if you haven’t checked out by now, know that I want the best for you. I have a deep longing for you to be happy in your life. I hope to always be a part of your life. Please be patient and forgiving with me when I make mistakes. All my love to you, Mom / Christina

I wrote this poem on June 24, 2001 and want to share it with you:

     Sweetly, sweetly, I gaze down upon your little head

     Nestled up to my breast

     I feel the love swell and know of nothing more precious.

     Tantrums, burgeoning independence,

     As you grow, we dance with closeness and pushing each other away

     Yet, I still feel the joy of just looking in your face.

     There are times that I struggle

     Times of disappointment, anger, worry-

     Yet not truly over you, my darlings.

     You’re growing so quickly – our time is so short

     How can I impart to you all that I wish – all that you’ll need?

     How can I be…?

Coleman and Ryan dressed up for “College Day” this year
Son David and his partner, Valori

Daughter Kayla (right) with her partner, Ryli

This weekend I took 6 teenagers to “The Hobbit- An Unexpected Journey.”  Parenthood can certainly be described that way (and I’m not talking about unexpectedly becoming a parent.)  The stages and changes you and your children go through take one by surprise.  I love being a Mom and getting to watch my sons (and their friends) on their live’s journeys.

I’m taking a bit of time to get ready for the holidays now, so my art and stitch are slowed down.  I’ve been practicing my hand embroidery stitches in the evening, as well as working on design ideas for the “Salsa!” exhibition at Mighty Tieton.  If I slow down in writing my blog over the next couple weeks, know I’ll be back with my 52 week 5 x7 challenge at the start of the year!

OK, I know this has been done before, in fact it’s been done in a much bigger way that I’m going to suggest. But you have to start somewhere and I know personally what my bandwidth might be able to withstand.

I’m so hesitant to type this out… I feel a tightness in my belly… fear. Can I really say that I’ll do this? Will it compromise my other art and goals that I want to do?

Artist: Gwen Lowery

As part of my journey this coming year, I’m going to make one 5″ x 7″ composition each week. I’ll post pictures along the way, here on my blog. Notice I didn’t say fiber composition. Part of the reason why is that I consider myself a fiber and mixed media artist. While fiber is my favorite chosen medium, I think I can learn a lot through using different materials. I also think combining techniques can be quite effective. Why did I choose this size? It seems doable, but it’s also more than an artist trading card… it feels like it can be be art in and of itself, rather than just a practice piece. Not that these items will necessarily be successful- that’s part of the process. But I do hope to find satisfaction with some of these pieces I create. I think that having a manageable size will help me really work at producing, something I think I need to do, to increase my skills.

Artist: Deborah Zibrik

One of my favorite teachers, Gail Harker, had an exhibition and online auction of some of her student’s work. The show was called Black White and Red and it was all 5″ x 7″ works in values of those colors. She still has the pieces up on her online gallery. I was extremely happy to be able to purchase three of these small works, which are pictured here, and which I am displaying as artwork in my home. I had planned to do a piece for this show/auction, but didn’t end up making it a priority. When I went to the opening, I was somewhat ashamed that I hadn’t. I could see that making a 5 x 7 piece wasn’t all that unattainable, even with the demands of work, a family, my volunteer work for other fiber organizations (CQA and SDA, primarily), and everything else that puts demands on my time. So, it’s time to put it to the test.

Artist: Judy Alexander

In case you’re wondering about my fascination with windmills or ‘moulins’ in French, I am passionate about France and Paris. My husband, Randy, works in the international aerospace industry, and travels abroad regularly. He proposed to me on the shores of the Mediterranean and we’ve enjoyed visits to Paris and many areas in France numerous times. I started studying French in the fall of 2008. Between the beauty of the French countryside and the iconic portrayals of the Moulin Rouge in late 19th century art, I’ve developed a fondness for the imagery of the windmill. Guess I should add Holland to my list of places to travel someday!

One of the most difficult things to deal with as an artist is being rejected for a show or by a gallery.  It stops many in their tracks… some simply don’t enter shows for the fear of being rejected, others get depressed or bitter over not being chosen, and the worst of all is those who stop creating.  If you look at any successful artist, they’ve experienced rejection countless times. 

Monet’s 1869 painting “The Magpie” was rejected by the Paris salon and now is
one of the most beloved paintings at the Musee d’Orsay
Between 1748–1890, the Salon, the official art exhibition of the Académie des Beaux Arts in Paris, was the greatest annual art event in the Western world. At the budding of French Impressionism, the selection committee for the Salon was conservative and felt that the impressionistic style was lacking in finish.  The list of those illustrious artists who were denied entry to the Salon includes Monet, Courbet, Millet, Corot, Delacrouix, Whistler and Manet, as well as many more.  In 1863, the Salon jury rejected over 3000 pieces, leading the rejected artists to hold an alternate salon, which became known as the “Salon des Refusés” or the Salon of the Refused or Rejected.   Subsequent Salons des Refusés were mounted in Paris in 1874, 1875, and 1886.  Now we look at some of the fabulous art and artists from this period as some of the most treasured pieces in history… yet they were all rejected.

In the world of literature, writers have to have perseverance to get through or even thrive in the face of rejection.  Here are some comments from publishers… Guess which book/author they refer to (answers at bottom of article)!1

1.      “An absurd and uninteresting fantasy which was rubbish and dull”

2.     “It is impossible to sell animal stories in the USA.”

3.     “We found the heroine as boring as her husband had.”

4.     “For your own sake do not publish this book.”

5.     “… so dry and airless, so lacking in pace, that whatever drama and excitement the novel might have had is entirely dissipated by what does seem… to be extraneous material.”

6.     “We are not interested in science fiction which deals with negative utopias.  They do not sell.”

7.     “Get rid of all that Indian stuff.”

8.     “Unsaleable and unpublishable.”

The list could go on and on.  But what really matters is how do you deal with rejection? 

It’s funny, I had planned writing this article for our Contemporary QuiltArt Association newsletter to help encourage all of our CQA artists to continue (or start) entering in the CQA shows.  Then, the same day I wrote it, I received the notification from the Rio Patchwork and Design Festival for the works selected to be sent to two Brazilian shows.  My pieces were not included.  In fact (and I don’t say this to get pity or with any ill will) while I was one of the artists chosen by the CQA jury, I was the onlyone that was not chosen by the show organizers to have any pieces go to Rio.  Whew!  That’s hard to say… I feel like I’m really putting myself on the line between embarrassment and vulnerability.  Why am I telling you this?  I want you to understand that we all have this happen.  There are many ways of combating the negative emotions that can occur with rejection.

·         Ask yourself what you can do better.  Or, if appropriate, ask the one (such as a gallery owner) making the decision.  By analyzing any weaknesses you may have, whether in technique, design, presentation (photography), or topic/content, you may decide if you need additional practice, classes, or other forms of learning to master your craft.

·         It takes many no’s to get a yes.  Sometimes you just need to soldier on and apply to the next show, and the next, until you find the one(s) that accept your work.  Count every rejection as a step closer to getting accepted.

·         Realize you don’t fit in everywhere.  You don’t necessarily know why you weren’t chosen, but it may just be that your style doesn’t meet the aesthetic desires of the person making the choice.  In another venue, they may sing your praises!  Find the people that get you and what you are doing… ones that appreciate you.  Your artist’s style or subject matter may not be compatible with other artworks, your work may be the wrong size for what is being looked for, or the subject matter may not be appropriate, such as when a gallery only shows artists who are local or whose work reflects local subjects.

·         Keep doing what you’re good at.  Don’t compromise yourself and start doing something that you don’t enjoy or doesn’t express what you want to express.  In fact, the more you do what you do and the harder you work, the better you will get at it. 

·         Many no’s are temporary.  The no may turn to a yes when the timing is right… when they are looking for your kind of work, or when a different person sees it.

·         What’s next?  A great way to get over a rejection is to decide what you’re going to do next… either in the studio or as a way to get your work shown.  I take rejection as someone blowing a bugle in my ear to wake me up and get going, rather than retreat.”  Sylvester Stallone

·         Don’t take it personally.  While your work may not have been chosen, it doesn’t mean that it is not valid or that you are not a good artist. 

·         Recharge your batteries.  Do something good for yourself… take a walk, go to a museum, get a massage, or nurture your studio space by adding something that makes you happy (an inspirational poster, plant, or new music to listen to while you work.)

·         Remember why you do what you do and to persevere.  While your art process may be a means of self-expression, there is joy when you share your art with the world.  Believe in yourself and persevere.  Persistence is probably the number one reason that most artists succeed.  Make lots of art.  Make lots of mistakes and learn from them.  Keep applying to shows and then make more art.

So, after licking my wounds for a day, I’m back at the sewing machine, starting my new piece for the Salsa! CQA show at Mighty Tieton.  Reading through different articles and artists’ experiences of rejection has been helpful… even inspiring.  While there may always be a bit of an initial sting when you find your work has not been accepted, you can use that as a poke to get you back in the studio, creating.


Authors & Books:

1.         William Golding “Lord of the Flies”  Rejected by 20 publishers

2.        George Orwell “Animal Farm”

3.        Mary Higgins Clark – short story

4.        D.H. Lawrence “Lady Chatterley’s Lover”

5.        Ursula K. Le Guin “The Left Hand of Darkness” won the 1969 Nebula Award for Best Novel and the 1970 Hugo Award

6.        Stephen King “Carrie”

7.        Tony Hillerman (when he started his Navajo Tribal Police mystery novels)

8.        Ayn Rand “The Fountainhead”

1Kerns, Michelle. “30 famous authors whose works were rejected
(repeatedly, and sometimes rudely) by publishers” Online: 

Oltuski, Romy. “Famous Authors’ Harshest Rejection Letters.” Online:

I find that the time between Thanksgiving and New Years is the perfect time to get a little introspective and to think about what you’d like to accomplish in the coming year.  There are many reasons to take this time and actually write out your goals. 

First, by writing out your goals, you help clarify them to yourself.  Is it more important for me to show in as many shows as I can get into or do I want to pick and choose?  Or do I want to forego a real push for exhibiting this year and work on developing my style and voice in my work?  By looking at where you’d like to be by the end of a particular period of time, you increase your ability to pick actions that will help you get there.

Similarly, if your goals help you pick proper actions, then you reduce “scope creep“.  When asked to do something, you can evaluate how it will help you with your goals.  I know it’s important to learn to say “No”, but it’s not always something I’m good at.  So, perhaps if I get really clear on my goals, I’ll be more likely to recognize when a request isn’t going to help me with the direction I want to go.  When you’re busily working towards your goals, you’ll find yourself presented with more and more opportunities.  You know the old saying, “If you want to get something done, ask a busy person!”  By focusing on your written goals, you can find keep yourself working towards them, rather than getting distracted by other potentialities.

As part of goal-writing, it’s a good idea to come up with a plan to help you accomplish the goal.  While there is plenty of data on the power of just putting the goal down on paper (and even then just sticking the paper away in a drawer somewhere), I personally believe that you get much further towards accomplishing your goal if you have a plan of action to accompany it.  Even if it’s just a list of to-do tasks, that will get you on your way.  If you want to go further, you can set objectives to accomplish for each goal, then make timelines, and evaluate what could potentially trip you up in your plan and how to overcome that (aka risk management) if the ‘risk’ occurs.
Ah, this is all sounding a bit dry.  I think it must be time to hit the sewing machine.  Before I do, I thought I’d share a link and a few photos from a fabulous textile tour to Guatemala I took a few years ago with my mother.  The hostess, Priscilla Bianchi, is a Guatemalan quilt artist.  She uses traditional Guatemalan textiles in her amazing quilts.  Tonight I found a book called Arte Textil Guatemalteco- Trabajo de Priscilla Bianchi, or Guatemalan Textile Art- the Work of Priscilla Bianchi online.  It is just beautiful, even if you can’t read Spanish, check it out! 

The photos here on today’s post are ones which I took when I visited Priscilla’s home in Guatemala City in February 2009. 



1. a traveling from one place to another, usually taking a rather long time.
2. a distance, course, or area traveled or suitable for traveling.
3. a period of travel.
4. passage or progress from one stage to another: the journey to success.

Moulin Rouge dans la Nuit
I’ve been on this journey for some time now… years, really.  It’s only been in the last few years that I’ve felt the need to look towards my destination.  Where do I want to go with my art?  How will I know when I’ve arrived?  How do I stay on track and not get distracted from my main objectives?

I’ve practiced goal-setting and creating plans to accomplish my goals for years, both in business and in my personal life.  I’ve seen the power of declaring your intentions publicly.  So, starting today, I’m beginning this new journey… one which I invite you to join, whether as an observer, or as an active committed participant. 
Whether I am detailing my plans for the future, documenting my ongoing progress, learning new skills, or sharing the things that inspire me to make art, I hope to both inspire and be inspired through regular writings on this blog.  I look forward to an incredible time of growth together!

Caverna Magica

To introduce you to a little of where I am currently at, here you can see my quilt, “Moulin Rouge dans la Nuit”, currently being shown at SeaTac International Airport in an exhibition named “Journeys” put on by the Contemporary QuiltArt Association (through January 2013.)  The original design is from photographs I took of the Moulin Rouge in 2009.  It is made of both artist hand-dyed and commercial cotton fabrics, which I have then freehand machine embroidered and quilted.

The Caves of Nerja
Also in the “Journeys” show is my “Caverna Magica” whole-cloth quilt. When I completed the dyeing of this fabric, it reminded me of seeing the Caves of Nerja, in Andalusia, Spain.  Filled with impressive stalactites and stalagmites, sections of the caves are open to visitors and are lit up with many beautiful colored lights.  I hand-dyed this piece of fabric and then densely freehand machine quilted it with cotton, rayon, and silk thread. 

Detail of Caverna Magica

Each day we can make a choice… to further our artistic career and take a step on the journey, or to postpone for yet another day.  When I look back at all the times I’ve postponed, I have to admit it makes me very sad.  Our time is finite here on this earth.  What do we want to leave behind?  How do we want to spend this limited amount of time?  I know that I want to create.  I want my children and hopefully others to have something tangible that I’ve created that they love and which, through it, they can feel connected to me.
Where are you starting from today?  Do you know where it is that you’d like to get to?  Do you have a plan for how you’re going to get there?