29 December 2012

New Work: “Masked Self Portrait”

This week Viewpoints 9 unveiled our 5th challenge “Masks”.  This one is mine. 

Themel_Mask (2)

I’ve spent most of my life hiding from photos, preferring to be the one BEHIND the camera.  Case in point:  Here are 2 pictures of me. One from 1992 and one from 2012.  The more things change, the more they stay the same.


To find out more about all the challenge pieces on the Viewpoints9 blog:


09 December 2012

“The Stash”

Holy $%*#!@ that’s a lot of fabric.


Okay, the time has come to organize – I mean REALLY organize- the studio.  The time has come to confront…. the stash.

I’m pretty sure I’m not the only fiber artist with a ridiculous amount of fabric, thread, do-dads and sewing notions stashed in every corner of their studio and/or house.  But knowing it and seeing it for myself… well, those are two different things.

This week I’ll have my studio appraised for insurance reasons.  That means I have to collect and inventory each one of my books, tools, sewing machines and bits of fabric.  That last thing – that’s the kicker.  As I went around to various shelves, boxes, bags and drawers finding fabric, I felt more and more like an alcoholic retrieving hidden bottles from every nook and cranny of the house.

DSC_0020Seeing it all in one place was disturbing.  Where did this all come from?  I have a half-serious theory that cotton fabric can breed in captivity.

Did I really BUY all this??  If so, I’m going to ask my accountant if I can list as one of my dependents.

The next step was to sort it all, then weigh it.  That’s how the appraiser will determine it’s value.  I’m not too proud to admit I paid my 7 year old $3 to help me sort all this into commercial prints, solids, specialty fabrics and hand dyed/batiks.  I am proud that he can now spot a real hand-dyed vs. the commercially printed made-to-look-like-hand-dyed by looking at the back to see if the color goes all the way through.

Okay, 30 pounds of commercial prints? Some of them must be 10 years old!  From the looks of it I must have had some brilliant idea to coat the world in fat quarters.

And why do I have this much satin brocade?  Seriously, why?

Moving on…. Now I have the evidence in front of me.  I consider myself to be a neat and organized person most of the time.  But this stash makes me realize I’m about one bin shy of being a hoarder.  (But I LOVE THEM SO MUCH! Is that so wrong??)


All right.  No sense beating myself up.  There it is.  The question is what to do about it. 

I began to see the bright side.  The process of organizing my studio allowed me to put aside a bunch of items that have never been used and/or never will be used again.  I put the majority of them into 2 tote bags, and gave them away at the last SAQA-CT regional meeting.

Now for what was left: I need to use what I have and NOT buy any more fabric any time soon. 

… oh, okay.  I bought ONE more yard. Yesterday. Carol Eaton’s gorgeous handmade ice-dyed cotton.  It’s perfect for a project I have in mind and I don’t have anything else like it (oh no, isn’t that the typical hoarder’s rationalization?)  I don’t care.  I love it and I’m not sorry!

My name is Kate and I’m a fabric-aholic.


26 November 2012

Solo Show is Up! See it at the Funky Monkey


This morning I hung the “New Light” exhibition at the Funky Monkey Café & Gallery in Cheshire, CT.  The final collection includes 12 pieces, including NYE in NYC (shown on postcard) and Blood Iris, which ended up coordinating perfectly with the café’s purple couch and lime green chairs.

Please stop by and see the show if you are in the Cheshire area from now until the end of December. 

The Funky Monkey Café & Gallery is located at:
130 Elm Street
Watch Factory Shoppes
Cheshire, CT 06410

Monday 10am – 4pm
Tues, Wed, Thurs 10am – 8pm
Friday 10am – 10pm
Saturday 9am – 10pm
Closed on Sundays

19 November 2012

“New Light” Solo Exhibition Opens Next Week (Cheshire, CT)

Next week I’ll hang all the work for my solo show at the Funky Monkey Café & Gallery, located in the Watch Factory Shoppes of Cheshire. 

Please stop by, have some fair trade coffee and enjoy the artwork.  There will be a few never-before-exhibited pieces, such as NYE in NYC (featured on the postcard) and two of my Viewpoints9 challenge pieces, Nomad in the Desert and Copper Lily.

Happy Holidays!


The “New Light” exhibition runs November 27 – December 30, 2012

The Funky Monkey Café & Gallery
130 Elm Street
Watch Factory Shoppes
Cheshire, CT 06410

Monday 10am – 4pm
Tues, Wed, Thurs 10am – 8pm
Friday 10am – 10pm
Saturday 9am – 10pm
Closed on Sundays

14 November 2012

VP9 Challenge 5: Behind the Mask

“Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask and he will tell you the truth.” ~Oscar Wilde


As long as human beings have lived together, we have worn masks.  They allow us to step outside our ordinary life, tell a story, be the person we wish we could be.  They can also be used to deceive, manipulate or frighten our fellow man.  Ceremonial masks and theater make up are put on over the face, and are usually easy to recognize.  Others are more subtle; we might mask our true feelings when a friend asks for an opinion, or put on “a brave face” when we’re scared.  We may write provocative comments on line using a false name.  But like a plastic Batman face with eye holes cut out, wearing a mask can also obscure or limit our own vision of the world.

This month’s challenge is to explore the masks we use in our lives, the literal and/or figurative.  Does the mask protect you, hide you or allow you to be your true self?

You can follow along with the members of Viewpoints9 here: 
Each week a different artist shares photos and thoughts about the current challenge.

The “Behind the Mask” Gallery opens December 26.  Stay tuned!

10 November 2012

New Year’s Eve in NYC - DONE!

It was down to the wire, but I finished “NYC” in time for my first self-imposed deadline.  Here’s the proof:
I’m so happy to have it done on time, but more importantly I feel good that it meets my criteria for a major work.  If I had this in September I would have entered it into QN.  Who knows, maybe this will be a good candidate for next year’s Art Quilt Elements!

For now I don’t have any specific show I plan to enter it, other than my solo show at the Funky Monkey.  Stop by and see it in person next month!

The Funky Monkey Café & Gallery
130 Elm Street
Watch Factory Shoppes
Cheshire, CT 06410


The next major work will be a Connecticut-themed piece, which I hope to enter into SAQA CT's regional exhibition "Local Color".  Stay tuned for updates

05 November 2012

Last Progress Report for “NYC”

It's down to the wire!  My self-imposed deadline of November 10th is right around the corner, and the very REAL deadline of November 26 (to hang my solo show) is only a slight safety net.

Luckily, with some helpful advice from the SAQA Visioning team, I was able to build a quick-and-easy design board.  This made it SO much easier to see my work from far away, and to really get a sense of perspective.  It allowed me to see that one of the street lights was tipping way over.  In real life they do lean a little bit, but not that much. 

So I ripped out a bunch of stitches and made the necessary changes.  I also decided I wanted to darken the outer edges.  There were a couple fabrics that looked darker when viewed close up but from farther away they were too light. It was distracting, and kind of took away from the street "glow" I'm trying to achieve.  So again, ripped out some fabrics and covered others.

Now finally on to the quilting!

I've been furiously stitching away, adding details and small reflections.  While I fill in the background, I'm also using some batik scraps that might have been thrown in the trash.  I cut them into tiny squares or rectangles and put them onto the quilt as I'm at the sewing machine, and quilt right over them.  (See detail)

For NYC I'm not concerned with making it exactly accurate, just believable.  I'm trying to capture the energy and movement of the place at New Years Eve.
So here's where I am at this point.  5 days until the deadline.  I'm feeling cautiously confident.

The next time you see “NYE in NYC” it will be done!

Thanks again for the advice on the design board, fellow SAQA members!.  I'll include a photo of it below.  It's made from a piece of 2 1/2" thick insulation board, 4 ft by 6 1/2 ft.  Then covered with a big canvas drop cloth, duct taped in the back.  It took about an hour to make it.  For now it's just leaned up against my book case.  It makes taking photos of my work a breeze too.

26 October 2012

New Work: “Copper Lily”

CopperLily (4)For the Viewpoints9 Scent of a Memory challenge, my inspiration was the IV drug Heparin.


Read more about this piece and the other challenge quilts on Viewpoints9 blog.

19 October 2012

Progress on NYC

Checking in with my latest progress: I’d say I have about 3/4 of the cutting and piecing done on “NYE in NYC”. 


My goal is to complete this phase and move on to quilting by next Wed. Oct 24th.   That will give me roughly two and a half weeks to finish it by the November 10th deadline.

I was very excited to find this striped batik fabric, replacing the solid turquoise-blue one.  I also like the light blue batik with the circle pattern.  I’m really thinking about using more prints or patterns for this piece, instead of the modeled hand dyes. There’s just more energy to the batiks.  It’s a risk – not only design wise, but searching for new fabrics might cause me to miss my Nov 10th deadline.  I’ll have to take that chance.  It think it’s better to make it right than to make it fast.  But I definitely want to have it done by November 26 so I can include it in my solo show at the Funky Monkey.

Looking forward to the NYPD car – I can’t wait to get into those reflections, the headlights and most of all the siren!

14 October 2012

“Boston Harbor”– Signed, Sealed, Delivered!

This weekend I traveled to Needham, Massachusetts to deliver the 3 Boston Harbor paintings to Jennifer Wolfsberg, Managing Principal at Centerpoint Advisors LLC.

Installed (14)a 

Here they are hanging in Centerpoint’s seating area. 

Installed (6)a

I’m very happy to say Jennifer was thrilled with the finished artwork.  (Whew!)

I was also relieved that the paintings blended well with the overall style of the office.  The florescent lights seemed to make the yellows and oranges stand out more intensely than I expected.  But as long as the client is happy, so am I!

Here are photos of the individual pieces:  




I’m so glad I had the opportunity to do some painting again.  Thanks, Jennifer and the team at Centerpoint!  Best of luck and success in your new office location.

I hope you all enjoyed your weekend, too.  Tomorrow I’ll be trading my paintbrushes back for scissors, fabric and thread.  Next update will be the Copper Lily, the Vp9 Challenge coming up on October 26.

11 October 2012

Progress on NYC


Now that I’m finished with the Boston Harbor paintings (photos coming soon), I’m spending my studio hours on the NYC piece.  Here it is as of 3pm today.

Whoa, that giant piece is due November 10th?  Yeah okay don’t panic!  I’m talking to myself here.  There’s still four whole weeks left.  Plenty of time, right?  Still, I’m starting to worry if I bit off more than I can chew with this schedule.  BUT we’ll never know until we try.  So… BACK TO WORK! (insert whip-cracking sound here)

I made quite a bit of progress on the larger blocks of color, and now I’m starting to flesh out some of the buildings and lights.  I decided to start with the buildings that appear farthest away, which is also the brightest area. 


One of the reasons I’m doing this part first is so I can get a sense of where the light source is, then build the rest of the composition around that.  As I go along, it will help me judge where certain highlights and reflections belong.

The other reason I’m doing the brightest part is for personal motivation. What can I say, neon lights just make me happy. I love that unnatural glow!  Seeing the lights start to pop off the surface really puts me into another state of mind, and kind of energizes me to keep working. 

More updates to come.  Stay tuned!


10 October 2012

“Morgan’s Flight” Accepted into Quilt National ‘13!

Morgan’s Flight will be flying to Ohio next year, for Quilt National 2013 at the Dairy Barn Arts Center.  I’m so thrilled!  Mine was one of 85 pieces chosen for Quilt National 2013. Artists from all over the USA and around the world participate in this biennial juried competition, now in its eighteenth season. 

I’m very excited and proud to represent Connecticut in this show.  But not just because I’m the only exhibiting artist from the Nutmeg State.  Morgan’s Flight depicts a nighttime aerial view of Bridgeport Center (Bridgeport, CT).

As I’ve mentioned before, this piece was inspired by the photography of Bridgeport native, professional pilot and photographer Morgan Kaolian.  The title of the piece is my way of acknowledging and thanking Morgan for letting me use his beautiful photos for inspiration and reference material.

Congratulations to all the QN’13 exhibitors!  To see a full list of participating artists and titles, visit the Dairy Barn’s website:

QN_logoQuilt National ‘13 runs from May 24 – Sept 2, 2013
Dairy Barn Arts Center
8000 Dairy Lane
Athens, OH 45701
(740) 592-4981

03 October 2012

Progress: Copper Lily

The Viewpoints9 deadline is 3 weeks away, but (miracle of miracles) I’m finished with my challenge piece.  As in, EARLY.  I’ll leave the binding until the last possible moment of course.  But that’s irrelevant.  Point is, I have 23 whole days to slack off…  Oh wait.  No I don’t.

Even if it wasn’t for the November 1st deadline for the big NYC piece, I’ve been commissioned to create a 3-painting mural (24x36 ea.) to be delivered to Boston MA on October 13.  Free-wheeling down time between projects?  HA!  Don’t' make me laugh!

I’m not complaining.  It’s a great problem to have.  Painting is fun.  Plus, who am I to turn down a paying job?  And the tight deadline guarantees I don’t go into daydream mode after finishing Copper Lily

I realize that I spend way more time thinking of ideas and planning out the composition than actually making the piece.  For this challenge I had a clear idea of what I wanted to do almost right away.  It turned out to be good practice for me; just pick a direction and get something concrete done, rather than hem and haw over all the possibilities for weeks at a time.

For the “Scent of a Memory” challenge, I decided to use a copper color palette to reference the penny, along with the image of a Stargazer Lily.  Here’s the basic color scheme I settled on:

CopperLily (1)

If you know me at all you’ll understand that the thread is a major component in my designs.  So I usually pick out a wide range of colors in the thread as well as the fabric. 

I’m happy with how this piece turned out.  I feel like it met my goals: incorporating both elements (copper and lily) into the design, and making something I’d be willing to hang on the wall.  I’ll post a full-view photo of the finished piece on October 26 after the Viewpoints9 gallery opens.  Until then…


I’ll give you a peek!  Smile

Here’s a detail of the finished “Copper Lily”:

CopperLily (5)

In the meantime I’ve turned my attention to Boston Harbor triptych, so for the next two weeks I’ll be trading my sewing machine for a paintbrush.

Working in a different medium has been a nice change of pace and focus.  I’ll try to remember to switch things up during the year to avoid getting burned out on fiber art. 

WIP1 (6) 

More photos of Boston Harbor coming soon.  Have a great week!


20 September 2012

VP9 Challenge: The Scent of a Memory

This month’s VP9 challenge deals with memories and how they can be triggered by certain smells...

florastrology_liliesWhen I read Diane Wright’s description of our 4th challenge, I immediately thought of the IV drug Heparin.

Strange but true.

For me, heparin has very distinct taste and smell which evokes a vivid memory. During cancer treatment the nurse would inject this blood thinner to kind of ‘clear out’ the vein (sorry if that's gross) before starting the heavy hitter chemo drugs. Every time they injected the heparin I would get an absolutely definite taste/smell right in the back of my nose & throat. Penny_tails

The best way I can describe it: take a deep whiff of a Stargazer Lily while you hold a copper penny in your mouth. Not exactly a pleasant flavor combination.  Also, not a very pleasant memory. To this day I can’t stand the scent of Stargazer lilies. It makes me nauseous.

I thought it would be interesting to make something positive or beautiful (or at least visually appealing) from this negative association. I’m not interested in creating art that either celebrates/memorializes chemo or cancer. I don’t want that hanging on my wall.  So I concentrated on the smell/taste itself and not the memory it triggers.

I gave myself the following parameters for my design:

1. The design must reference stargazer lilies and copper pennies in some way

2. The finished piece has to be visually appealing

I’ll post the results on October 26 when our Viewpoints9 gallery goes live. 

07 September 2012

Goal for this Year

It’s September; back to school for the kids and back to the studio for me!

Time to evaluate my progress as an artist and set some goals for the future.  So here’s my big IDEA:

lightbulbMy goal (between now and August 2013) is to complete 5 major works of fiber art rather than my usual one.  I consider a major work at least 36x36 in size, strong design and exceptional quality –  meaning I would have no hesitation entering it into a highly competitive exhibition like Quilt National or Art Quilt Elements. 

It’s not that important to me that I actually enter or get accepted into any of these shows. This is about holding my artwork to the highest standards of design and also maintaining a good sized collection of available pieces, for sale and/or exhibition.

In order to reach my goal I’ve established regular studio hours and some hard deadlines. I’m the type of person that works better under pressure, even if it is self-imposed. When I have forever, it takes forever. I work more efficiently and get a lot more done when I see a big red square looming on the calendar.

I’ll have to complete a large composition (min. 36x36) about every 8-10 weeks.  And since I’m also signed on for the Viewpoints9 challenge, I’ll also need to finish a smaller (18x24) piece every 9 weeks.

KThemel_NYCnye5Yes, it’s a lot to get done. More than I’ve gotten done in past years for sure.  It will take a lot of discipline and hard work and even then I’m not entirely sure I’ll get there.  Then again, if I KNEW I could do it, it wouldn’t be much of a goal.

So.  First up is “NYE in NYC” – inspired by a photo taken on New Years Eve 2007.  I’m still exploring this idea of darkness and radiance, especially artificial light. This one could be a nice companion to “Morgan’s Flight”, possibly the beginning of a series.

The self-imposed deadline on this one is November 1st, 2012.

Stay tuned for updates Smile

26 August 2012

New Work: “Nomad in the Desert”

It has been a while since my last post, but luckily the Viewpoints9 Challenge Group has kept me busy in the studio.  This month’s challenge was entitled “Horizon”.  Read more about it here:

The inspiration for my challenge piece is an exploration of concrete and transient lines.  The design is based on a photo of my brother sitting at an outdoor café in Aqaba, Jordan.

I love the crisp lines of stone architecture contrasted with the organic shape of a person sitting on a soft couch.  The intense sun creates sharp shadows at this time of day, altering the shapes and colors by the hour

The title “Nomad” refers to the nickname I have for my brother Patrick.  Born to travel, he never lives in one place for more than a few years.  Although he is constantly venturing into unfamiliar territory and adjusting to new cultures, customs and languages, he has the uncanny ability to remain completely true to himself.  He’s like one of these shadows gliding easily over the architecture, becoming part of the scene but only temporarily.

To see more of the Viewpoints9 Challenge quilts, visit:

26 June 2012

Viewpoints9 Challenge 2: “Turas”

“You never know where life will take you”. I’ve heard that phrase many times. But does life really take us like we’re riding along on a rollercoaster’s track or do we forge our own way, one of many possible paths? 

My made-up symbol represents a collection of choices and influences, big and small, seen over a lifetime, spilling over from one generation to the next. I’m calling it a Turas, which is the Gaelic word for journey.


Here's a bit more background on Turas: My friend decided to enter her first marathon the same week she was diagnosed with cancer. She went on to run TWO marathons in the 2 weeks before she started treatment. Her husband told her a marathon is approx 50,000 steps, and they would get through each one together.

I love that idea, especially when dealing with (what seems to be) an overwhelming challenge. One step is manageable. Then one more... Before you know it, 50,000 steps are behind you. (shout out -> Thanks, Kim!)

You can read more about this piece on the Viewpoints 9 blog: 

12 June 2012

Notes: Viewpoints9 Challenge 2

For a quick refresher on the focus of Challenge 2, read Betty Busby’s post here:

NonicLukaWalkingIn the spirit of this challenge, I think I’ve found an idea that cannot be accurately expressed through numbers or formula. 

The short version: things in life that have no “formula” for success. These are things most people agree are VERY important to do well, yet have absolutely no agreement on how to be successful. 

Some examples: What’s the secret formula for a strong relationship? a close-knit family? happy, well-balanced kids? Really. I need a formula, like do these things A-Z.

There are just too many variables, it takes too long to see results and there’s no way to evaluate your progress along the way by a set of accepted standards.  (Imagine this Parental Success Report: A+ for dinner conversations, C- for significant events attendance, B for moral support, D+ for helpful advice… Oh no, you failed that big test on “What am I angry about?” Ouch. Better study up for next semester!)

There’s more of a long, drawn out explanation on VP9’s blog:

Now to create a symbol for this convoluted idea! Surprised smile

18 May 2012

2012 Auction Quilt Done! “Just Roll With It”

I’m getting ready to ship out my 2012 SAQA Auction quilt, tongue-in-cheek entitled “Just Roll With It”.

JustRollWithItSMThis is my second fabric homage to sushi, but this time with a lot more color.  Finally all those scraps of hand-dyes and batiks are being put to use.  At the risk of being immodest, I love this little quilt. It just makes me happy... and hungry! When’s dinner? 

Hopefully that fun feeling will appeal to someone else too – someone willing to bid on it in September!

To learn more about SAQA’s auction, visit 

01 May 2012

VP9 Challenge 2: Invention, Symbolism… the inexplicable

Ooooo… Betty Busby has come up with a fun, brain-twisty idea for the next Viewpoints 9 challenge!

“When Martha first came up with the concept behind this challenge group, and we took the online quiz to see what our strengths and weaknesses were, I realized my least inspirational field was math.  Never liked it since the answers were either right or wrong, black or white.


It's an invaluable mathematical constant, a ratio that has been known and used since the time of Archimedes, but it can't be precisely expressed through mere numbers.

So a symbol had to be invented for it.

So, my challenge to you is to think of a situation that needs to have a symbol to represent it- and invent that symbol!”  - Betty Busby

noun_main1Hmmm.  Interesting.  A concept, idea or situation that doesn’t have a specific name and can’t be accurately described with numbers or words or formulas. Just off the top of my head:

  • The moment of breathing, between inhaling and exhaling
  • The way a helium balloon hovers without sinking or rising; that perfect balance of helium + the weight of latex or Mylar + air current + air pressure
  • The feeling of drifting/falling/losing awareness just as you fall asleep

I might find a way to depict these things visually, through pictures. Pictures that would call to mind a scenario that the viewer is familiar with, to create a story line through common experience. But then we hit the tricky part – INVENT a symbol to represent it! 

Good thing we have 6 weeks to work on it.  I like it, Betty.

27 April 2012

It’s On: Viewpoints 9 First Challenge Quilt Complete

Themel_ItsOnThe Viewpoints 9 Gallery is on display now.  9 artists interpreted a musical piece by Vivaldi.  Check out the Viewpoints 9 blog to see them all, and read a statement from each artist about her work:

My piece It’s On is inspired by the feeling of excitement and speed I experienced while listening to Vivaldi.

The music reminded me of the first few minutes of a race… A lot of adrenaline, energy, momentum, a feeling of being chased.  The moments after the starting gun can be a little chaotic (which is why I tend to stay on the outside edge and hug the curb). Everyone is going in the same direction at different speeds. I sometimes feel like I’m being swept along, almost out of my control.  It takes a few minutes to calm down and get my bearings.  But pretty soon I get into a good rhythm and have fun.


23 April 2012

Kate’s Work Featured in MQU Magazine, Current Issue

May 2012 Cover PageSMThis month’s issue of Machine Quilting Unlimited (MQU) Magazine contains an article about Portraits in Fabric, written by you guessed it, Me. The 5 page article includes over 20 photos of my portraits and work in progress.

But that’s not all! MQU has filled the pages with beautiful color photos and valuable information. I can’t get over this cover image; a detail of “Poised for Flight” by Caryl Bryer Fallert.  Wow!  You’ll want to get a cup of coffee, find a comfy chair and take your time going through it all.

Need another reason?  Also included in this issue are the MQU Seasons Challenge art quilts.  Twelve fiber artists were invited to create an 18”h x 24”w piece based on one of the seasons.  My quilt, “Bundled Up” is in the winter category (image below).

The full collection of 12 quilts will travel around the country for 18 months, starting with the Denver National Quilt Festival May 3-6, 2012.  Then it’s on to the Home Machine Quilting Show in Salt Lake City, Utah from May 10-12, 2012.

Please check them out if you have a chance!


03 April 2012

Wow! Exciting Weekend in Philadelphia, Opening of AQE 2012

I’m back home but my head is still swimming from all the stunning artwork I saw during Fiber Philadelphia!  I visited at least half a dozen galleries but barely scratched the surface of the crazy, jam-packed fiber festival going on all over Philadelphia right now.

Themel_AQEThe best part (to be selfishly honest!) was the Opening of Art Quilt Elements 2012; seeing my work next to artists I admire such as Betty Busby, Mary Pal and Diane Firth to name only a few.

Jurors Elizabeth Barton, David Revere McFadden and Sandra Sider viewed nearly 800 images from 300 artist entries and chose just 45 pieces for the exhibition.

Here I am next to my AQE piece “Stars Not Included”. As you can probably tell, I was thrilled to have my work chosen for this incredibly diverse and inspiring collection. 

(photo by Diane Wright)

You can find a list of all 45 AQE exhibiting artists and titles on AQE’s website:

More great news? YES! My quilt is included in the spring issue of Fiber Art Now magazine, part of an article about Fiber Philadelphia 2012.

Subscribe or purchase a single issue here:

27 March 2012

On a New “Track” for the Viewpoints9 Piece

The first couple times I listened to the Vivaldi clip, I got these images of being chased; I had feelings of fear/excitement/panic. This might have had something to do with feeling overwhelmed by my immediate surroundings, schedule, home improvement mayhem, etc. 

My first sketches were a little too “caricature” like Red Riding Hood running through the woods or panicky Scooby Doo.  Meh. Cliché.  Not working!

My running-on-the-bike-path imagery was too far on the opposite end.  There’s no “panic” on those runs.  I’m out there to enjoy the day and get some exercise.  Even when I’m running fast, I don’t feel like I’m being chased or anything.  I can stop or walk anytime I want (which is more often than I should).  It’s relaxing. The trees are pretty, everything is quiet. Not generating a lot of excitement here.

I was missing the mark as I tried to illustrate how the music really made me feel.  Maybe because, although I did have feelings of fear and panic, there was also a positive vibe to it… but not a carefree, relaxing vibe. Something like scary-fun.  Like being on a rollercoaster. Or flying down a hill on a bike.

I ran a 5K on March 18th and realized the feeling I got from the music was exactly like the first 5 minutes of the race. It’s crowded and chaotic – with all these elbows and knees flying, hearts racing, crowd cheering. With me being a little bit claustrophobic, the experience is somewhat scary but in a fun way.

The first couple minutes I usually struggle to find my own pace and control my breathing. I have to ignore the people speeding past me or the ones I’m passing. The thing ‘chasing’ me is my previous finish time, which I am always trying to beat.

After the first couple of crazy minutes, I had the rest of the race to think about my VP9 piece. It was really meditative and calming which helped me stay on pace. I went on to beat my personal best time, and crossed the finish line with a smile on my face.

Unfortunately I could not take any photos as I was “fighting for my life” (not really) during the race start. So I’ll have to come up with some other solution.  How do I interpret that feeling into a visual composition….?  hmmm


06 March 2012

VP9 Challenge: Music

The first challenge for Viewpoints 9 is the brainchild of our group’s founder, Martha Wolfe:

Music comes into our lives in so many ways.  We know what we like.  We associate it with certain events (weddings, holidays) or specific people ("our song").  Music has the ability to transport us to other times and places in our lives.  
But in the absence of words or context, what can it conjure?  So, this is my challenge for all of us.  Listen and create....enjoy!

The 3 minute music clip is from Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons - Summer”. I listened to the piece at least 3 or 4 times with my eyes closed & just paid attention to the images that came into my head.

After that I listened again, this time writing words & thoughts that had come to mind. These are a few of the phrases I jotted down:
scarf flying
maybe teasing/fun kind of scary
path, woods
moonlight or sunlight flashing through trees
moving quickly
face paced

I’m picturing myself running on the bike path near my house.  It’s lined with trees and sometimes you get a kind of staccato flashing effect from the sunlight coming through.  So far I haven’t figured out how I’ll interpret this feeling into a quilt.  Normally I use photos as my guide & inspiration.  But I don’t have very many pictures of myself running.  And the few I have look pretty dorky.  Not really what I’m going for.

Another option would be to make the viewer part of the scene – through the eyes of the runner.  My challenge will be to create an illusion of movement and speed.  How?  I have no idea.  I’ll keep you posted!

29 February 2012

“Viewpoints 9” Starts Tomorrow

Possibilities_detailVertI’m nervous and excited to start a new artistic project: a series of 9 art quilts – led by creative challenges from 9 different artists.  The big leap for me: letting go of control.

For the first time I’m agreeing to create 9 different 18” x 24” art quilts, having NO IDEA what the subject matter will be for any of them.  And I’m signing on to create each one in 8 weeks or less.

Here’s a bit more background on the project, from the Viewpoints 9 blog:

Viewpoints 9 is an international collective of fiber artists from 5 countries.
Commencing March 1, 2012, the group will begin a series of challenges exploring sources of inspiration.

Over the following 2 months, each artist will respond to a challenge proposed by one of the members, creating an art quilt, 18"x 24".
Weekly discussions will be posted by members, reflecting on their creative process, sharing their work in progress, or other aspects of the challenge.

On the 26th of April, our first Virtual Gallery Opening will be held, here on our blog.  Each artist will share their creation as well as their reaction to the challenge.

Starting the 1st of the next month, the cycle will begin again, for a total of 9 cycles over the next 18 months.

Readers are welcome to join in the discussion either here or on our Facebook page as we explore what inspires us.

I can’t wait to see what the first challenge will be! 
Wish me luck…

08 February 2012

Quick Update: “Morgan’s Flight”

On Saturday, January 28th I was thrilled to hand out the two “Guess What This Is” contest awards in person – at the SAQA CT Regional Meeting in Guilford, CT.  Fiber artists Carol Eaton and Mary Lyn Page guessed correctly, that Morgan’s Flight is inspired by the architecture of Bridgeport Center in Bridgeport, CT.

To give you a bit more background on this piece, it was inspired by an aerial view of Bridgeport at night.  The pilot/photographer/Bridgeport native who took the original photo is Morgan Kaolian.

I was awestruck by Kaolian’s photos in his solo exhibition “City Under Lights”.  So I tracked him down through his company AeroPix and sent him an email.  Mr. Kaolian graciously gave me his blessing to use his photography as inspiration for an art quilt.

I love working on this piece; at the same time I’m nervous about doing justice to Kaolian’s beautiful photography.  The title “Morgan’s Flight” is a reference to the piece’s inspiration and an expression of gratitude to the photographer himself.

I still haven’t worked up the nerve to book a ticket on Sky Rides

22 January 2012

Last Installment: Mystery Picture

No one has guessed the building or the city yet, so I’m going to post one last photo update before the contest ends.   Maybe you can pick out some distinguishing characteristics. And now for a few hints:
The city depicted here is in Connecticut
It is not Hartford
The title of this piece is “Morgan’s Flight”
Good luck everyone!

This will be the last photo update of “Morgan’s Flight” as a work-in-progress.  The next time I post a photo of this piece it will be finished.  Stay tuned Smile