29 September 2010

Artsplace Teachers’ Art Show: Friday, Oct. 8th (Cheshire, CT)

ARTSPLACETeachersShow2010Cheshire Performing & Fine Arts, Artsplace presents:

Teachers’ Art Show

Friday October 8th

5:00- 8:30 pm

CPFA Artsplace (upstairs)

1220 Waterbury Road

Cheshire, CT 06410

(203) 272-2787 / (203) 272-ARTS

I’m proud to have 2 quilts included in this special multi-media exhibition.  “Weighing the Options” will be on public display for the first time and “Ode to a Kiss” is just back from the Whistler House Museum of Art (Lowell, MA).

Please join me at Artsplace on Friday, October 8th!

27 September 2010

REMINDER: Opening Reception for “Intertwined” is FRIDAY Oct 1st, 6 – 8PM at the NAC Co-Op Gallery (Norwich, CT)

Please join me at the NAC Co-operative Gallery this Friday!

Opening Reception Friday, October 1st, from 6 to 8 PM 

Intertwined Fiber Arts Invitational

NAC_IntertwinedFiber Art and textiles in every fantastic form!  Four artists who specialize in fiber art have been invited to exhibit their work in the NAC Gallery.

Check NAC’s website for Gallery hours and directions

The NAC Cooperative Gallery

60 Broadway

Norwich, CT 06360

(860) 887-2724

“Poison Dart” - SOLD

Themel_PoisonDartI’m happy to announce: Poison Dart, the art quilt I donated to SAQA was sold during part 1 of the 2010 Benefit Auction.    I hope the new owners will enjoy seeing it their home or office as much as I enjoyed making it. 

Part 1 of SAQA’s Auction ended on September 26th.  Part 2 begins TODAY, with 96 new quilts now up for bid.  Check them out on SAQA’s website:

Last year's Benefit Auction raised $47,325. The funds raised through the Auction are critical to supporting SAQA's exhibitions, catalogs and outreach programs. 

“How Do I Get One of These Beautiful Works of Fiber Art?”

You bid by filling out the online bid form (which is "live" now until the auction ends). You can bid on up to 7 pieces at a time. The first bid on each piece wins!  SAQA will then ship the artwork to the winning bidder by insured USPS Priority Mail.

If you missed the deadline to purchase a quilt from Part 1, there is still a chance for you to grab one.  Unsold pieces will be for sale at the SAQA Store through the end of October. If they are still unsold at that time, they will be returned to the artist.


24 September 2010

Inspiration for the NEXT one…


I took this photo on a ferry from Valbiska, Krk to Lopar, Rab (two Croatian islands).  I clicked it on a whim while I was waiting for my cousins to stand together and pose near the railing (I took their photo a minute after this).  

For some reason I just love the rusty streaks and bolts that look like they’ve been painted and repainted a million times. 

I know by fine art standards it’s not a good idea to have the focal point, especially a circle, dead center in the composition like a bull's-eye.  But I’m going to try it anyway.

22 September 2010

“Options” is complete!

DSCN1987As promised, I am posting my Wednesday check-in.  The short & sweet news: Weighing the Options is complete – with the exception of the binding.  Still debating what to do with that; I’m testing out different colors or considering folding the edges toward the back with no binding at all.

The free-motion quilting on this project was so much fun.  It was almost like stream-of-consciousness journal writing.  Some of the images I admit I drew on water soluble stabilizer first and then used them as a template to sew on the lines.  Okay, I couldn’t sew the O’Brien Coat of Arms just freehand on the machine, so sue me!  :-)

Inspired by my Celtic heritage and its mythology, I included the coiled serpent, representing transformation and untapped power.  And the twin salmon representing wisdom and longevity.  (detail photos below).  Other symbols are straight forward like the scissors and thread and the clock.

But most of the writing within the meandering stitches were random thoughts that occurred to me in the moment.   It was so therapeutic – like meditation.  Some of my ‘note to self’ messages include stuff like “be kind” and “get more sleep” and “roll with the punches”.  The more I stitched, the calmer I became.  Too bad I ran out of room….  maybe I’ll have to start another journal quilt.   But that is another topic for another day.KThemel_WeighingOptionsDetailBLOG5 KThemel_WeighingOptionsDetailBLOG4

20 September 2010

Hidden Messages

Weighing the Options is coming along nicely.  Working on the final quilting now.  I’ll probably just finish it in time for the deadline, but what else is new?KThemel_WeighingOptionsDetailBLOG3 

Here’s something that has emerged while I’ve been sewing…  I realized that I don’t believe in the term “Reinvent Yourself”.  Reinvent?  What am I, the bionic woman?  Stronger, Faster, Better!   Yeah, I wish.

IF I could reinvent myself, I’d definitely make me out of some kind of non-wrinkle, fat resistant, indestructible material with UV protection.  I’d add cool features too, like X-ray Vision, Mind Reading and Time Travel.   Maybe I’d even make myself taller!  But the truth is, I’ve got to work with what’s already here. 

What I do believe in is “Recognizing the truth about yourself”.  I don’t think people change who they are.  Not really, not their true selves.  But there are many facets to each person.  Some character traits shine all the time; others nervously shuffle around the back of our minds forever, others burst out during a crisis and surprise everyone.  

So all is not lost.  I can only be who I am…  BUT maybe I don’t know everything about myself yet. KThemel_WeighingOptionsDetailBLOG2

Trying to define my identity has put me into a maze of self reflection.   So as I stitch the quilting lines, I’m writing a few “messages” to myself with thread.  Some things that I want to remember as I go through the  process (Details, right)  Trying to decide ‘who to be’ – maybe it would be better to find out what I like about the person who’s already here… nurture those traits. 

I guess I’ve matured past the fantasy of being someone else, or inventing a new Me.   Besides, what would I do with the old me?

16 September 2010

Weighing Options


So here I am.  Asking myself “Who am I now?” and “What do I want?” not to mention “Is it true that life begins at 40?”

Sometimes there are so many possibilities you can become frozen.  I would call it a classic identity crisis – but crisis is not the right word.  I don’t feel worried or lost, in fact I feel quite peaceful here in my own personal limbo.  Maybe rather than a Crisis, I’ll call it an “Identity Pause Button”?  Not sure where I’m going with this obviously, but I’m enjoying the process. 

Now I’m attempting to interpret this strange time in a quilt for the “Identity” exhibition of fiber art at Windsor Art Center.   

One thing I know is that I am an artist at heart and I want to make it a career.  But how do I translate that into a practical plan?  Earning a living as an artist: should I concentrate on teaching? get an agent to sell my work, try to market myself with a signature style?  Sell how-to books, update my website into a full fledged online store?  See – too many possibilities! 

KThemel_WeighingOptionsDetailBLOGThat’s why my Identity quilt is a bit of a jumble – it has a rough order to it but pieces are overlapping and not quite structured.  Things are kind of floating out there.   The working title is Weighing the Options.   Here’s a sneak peak (photos are work in progress).  In the quilting lines are words and pictures that have meaning to me – they represent my perception of myself now, and who I could be.  I have more to add; will post a final photo when it’s done.  Just trying to sort my thoughts for now.  Hopefully I can get my life’s vision or at least my quilt vision in focus before the entry deadline!

15 September 2010

Starting a New THREAD

This year my older son started High School and the younger one started Kindergarten.  As I watched the school bus drive away I had this weird feeling… like my mommy job has been downgraded from full-time to part-time.   Something has definitely shifted – the baby days are over.  One part of me feels old and nostalgic; the other part feels like a kid graduating from college, full of ideas and setting out to find a job. 

But since kindergarten is only 3 hours a day, I still feel tied to the stay at home role for one more year.  This is like a ‘pass’ year.  It’s an in-between.   I’m here for the kids when they’re home.  But I also have a bit of freedom in the day to be alone.  Next year when they’re both in school all day, I will be faced with the new weekday reality.  I can’t justify the title Stay at Home Mom when there’s no one home with me for 6 – 7 hours.  There will be enough space in my day for a full time job.  So what should that job be?

This year is a blessing.  It’s like a time-out so I can think and plan the next move.  I fully realize that not  everyone has the luxury of choice, especially in this economy.  For some people, choosing to pursue a career as a professional artist may seem selfish or even stupid.  But I believe in that old expression, something like Do what you love and the money will follow…

So I’ve decided to make a career in art.  Full Time.  Part of that means I’ll have to pay more attention to the practical business of making art… treat it like a “real job”. 

First step is to use my 3 hours a day as my regular working hours.  That means studio time EVERY day!  (I’m yelling at myself here, not you innocent readers). 

At least once a week I’ll update the blog.  Why have a blog if it’s going to just sit there unchanged?  That’s what a website is for!  And I already have one of those.  :-) Okay, so I’ve decided to chronicle the year via blog.   Writing helps me clarify my thoughts anyway.  Hopefully as time goes on I’ll zero in on a solid plan for the future.

Realization 1:  My life is a complicated balance of individual and family priorities.  However, this blog is dedicated to my own artistic journey.  Other than being the catalyst for artistic expression, I’ll keep my family stuff out of my posts.

Realization 2: It’s time to go to the bus stop, so my studio time is up.  Man, these days are shorter than I thought!  Note to self: Work on Efficiency.

14 September 2010

“Intertwined” Fiber Arts Invitational

The Norwich Arts Council (NAC) Cooperative Gallery Presents:

INTERTWINED Fiber Arts Invitational

NAC_IntertwinedFiber Art and textiles in every fantastic form!  Four artists who specialize in fiber art have been invited to exhibit their work in the NAC Gallery.

Come to the Opening Reception on Friday, October 1st, from 6 to 8 PM 

Enjoy this beautiful and varied collection of work by Connecticut fiber artists:

Hooked Rugs by Liz Alpert Fay

Art Quilts by Kate Themel

Felt Work by Roz Spier

Hand-Printed Textiles by Lauren Cotton

“Intertwined” will be on display at NAC Cooperative Gallery October 1 – 30, 2010

Check NAC’s website for Gallery hours and directions

The NAC Cooperative Gallery

60 Broadway

Norwich, CT 06360

(860) 887-2724