navbar

30 December 2014

"Fabric and Thread": My Solo Exhibition at The Funky Monkey (Cheshire, CT)

POSTCARD

I'm happy to share the news that I am this month's featured artist at the Funky Monkey Café & Gallery in Cheshire, CT. 

Many of the pieces in this show have never been on display in public before, including "Looking Back", from the exhibition postcard.  I've also added a few smaller, framed pieces from my new "Dancer" series.

"Fabric and Thread" will be on display until the end of January.  Artist Reception: Friday, January 9, 2015 at 7pm
Please stop by and say hello!

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


Photo Dec 30, 12 12 52 PM

Photo Dec 30, 12 12 25 PM

Photo Dec 30, 12 12 12 PM

12 December 2014

Committees and Commissions

It's now mid-December, so here's what's up.

I've served on SAQA's Education Committee for about 2 years, helping to set up student activities at the last conference.  This year I have the exciting job of organizing SAQA's first "Maker Space", to take place at the 2015 conference in Portland, Oregon.

What's a Maker Space?  I'm glad you asked. A Maker Space houses a community of "Makers" - creative people who like to work with their hands. It’s a place where someone would come to learn how to use a new tool or material in a new way, or to see what others are working on because they might want to help out on that project or start something similar. Ideally, a Maker space should be conducive to inspiration, collaboration, and conversation.

Basically, the SAQA Maker Space will be a social event where people participate in hands-on activities, talk with other artists about their work and explore new ways of creating art.

So I've been spending a lot of time recruiting artists to offer their expertise and enthusiasm to the Maker Space event, creating a "SAQA Maker Space" Facebook page where people can learn more about it, and trying to come up with a reasonable layout for the ballroom so people can walk from one activity to the next and also have a place to gather or work independently.  I'm very excited about the plan, but the idea of organizing a never-been-done-before event AND on the opposite coast is pretty intimidating.  Luckily, the rest of the Education Committee is very supportive and willing to help!

With that going on, I still have studio work to do.  A lot of it.  And it has been piling up.  Coming up in January the Funky Monkey Café will exhibit a solo show of my work, so I'm trying to create a collection of small framed pieces to offer an attractive price range.

At the same time I have 3 commissions in the queue and one that was JUST finished & delivered yesterday: Here's Jack (finished size 15" x 15").

Jack

For Jack, I used very soft, realistic skin tones which I don't do very often.  Mostly because it makes it harder to show the contours and structure of the face. But overall I think it captures the little guy pretty well.  Before I delivered the finished piece, I attached it to an 18x18 painted canvas with a hanging wire on the back.  The customer was very happy with it, and that makes me very happy!

JackDetail1
(Jack, detail)

Next up: 2 more dog portraits. One is 99% done; just needs to be bound and attached to a canvas.  The second one is in progress. That makes 4 "dog" and 3 "human" commissioned portraits this year. And one more commission coming up, which may be a landscape or another kind of animal.  Details to be confirmed.

So what's the best way to budget my time?  I have no idea, except to get into my studio and not emerge until 2015.

Today I'm working to finish stitching the Viewpoints9  challenge, due Dec 27. Next week I'll add the binding and hanging sleeve onto "Grandmother" so I can bring it to the New Britain Museum on Dec 18. After the VP9 piece is done I'll wrap up the 2nd dog portrait (that may be delivered around New Year's).  Hopefully I'll have a few days to get small pieces ready for the solo show.  Oh yeah, and some where in there I need to spend time with my family for Christmas! I see a lot of coffee with peppermint sticks in my near future…

Busy busy busy, but it's all good stuff.

Happy Holidays, everyone!

04 December 2014

Grandmother is Going to the New Britain Museum!

Wow, it has been a while since I last posted but it has been a busy few months.  Great news to share: "Grandmother" will soon be hanging in the New Britain Museum of American Art (New Britain, CT) as part of NOR'EASTER: The 45th Annual Juried Members Exhibition.

KThemel_GrandmotherSM

The Annual Juried Members Exhibition is the New Britain Museum of American Art's opportunity to expose contemporary visual arts to a wide audience. This prominent showcase in the Northeast region highlights the exceptional work of emerging artists in all media. The show runs from January 10 - 25, 2015.

Please join me at the Opening Reception on Sunday, January 11
1:00 - 2:30 p.m.

New Britain Museum of American Art
56 Lexington Street
New Britain, CT 06052

A list of all participating artists and prize winners can be found on NBMAA's website:
http://www.nbmaa.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=198

13 October 2014

Around the World Blog Hop

Tag, I'm it!

Welcome to this installment of the "Around the World Blog Hop".

I was invited to join the hop by Jeanne Marklin.  I met Jeanne through SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates).  We have caught up with each other at various fiber art shows around New England and also at the annual SAQA Conference.  Take a look at her blog to see some of the beautiful work she's doing lately: http://jeannemarklin.blogspot.com/

So the basic format of the Around the World blog posts is a set of Questions & Answers. 

What am I working on?

At the moment I'm finishing a composition for the latest installment of Viewpoints 9 gallery. The challenge centers on the number 9 as described by Lin Hsin-Chen:

"In Chinese culture, the number “9” also means “lasting for a long time” (久)….  when we apply this word to natural environment, it means everlasting existence."

Each Viewpoints 9 member is challenged to make a quilt of 40 cm (width) x 80 cm (height) in portrait orientation, based on the theme of environment and ecology”.

Photo Oct 09, 11 15 20 AM(Work in progress, detail)

My piece was inspired by the sharp decline in bee and butterfly populations in North America.  The expansion of industrial farmland using powerful herbicides like Roundup is wiping out many species of plants that are essential to pollinating insects. It's a worrying trend, since these great swaths of farmland and orchards are dependent on pollinators to succeed and sustain themselves.

How does my work differ from others in my genre?

I tend to use pretty traditional quilt materials in my work – cotton fabrics and batting, cut pieces of fabric and machine stitching.  I think what makes my work different than other art quilters' and fiber artists' work is my use of multiple layers of fabric to create the composition.  And I consider the free motion stitching as a drawn line.  I use it to blend colors, enhance contours and add details.

Why do I create what I do?

Why indeed. I guess I'll take this one to mean "why do I choose to work with textiles vs. other art media?".  I find the process entirely relaxing and transformative. The soft texture of the fabric, fuzzy batting, a warm iron, the humming white noise of the sewing machine – it is very comforting to me. The cloth scraps around my studio often pile up to form a giant colorful nest around me while I work. I just feel at home.

How does my writing/creating process work?

I'm a planner.  Usually I have a clear vision of the finished piece before I start "production".  So I spend a lot of time sketching, choosing fabrics and basically creating an overall game plan in my mind.

466821_373979565975780_1310589193_o (Pattern for Dandelion, detail)

Once I have a good handle on what I want to accomplish, I set about cutting pieces of fabric and layering them together. It's a very methodical process. 

However, after the fabrics are tacked into place, I change gears for the hand-guided machine stitching.  For me, the quilting (stitching) process is much more organic and spontaneous.  I don't plan out the quilting lines beforehand, unless I want to include something extremely precise and specific like text. I'm very comfortable with my sewing machine after all these years.  That allows me to let go of the mechanical worries and get into my drawing "zone".  I'm only thinking about the lines I want – sketchy, dynamic, smooth or rough, a small reflection or wisp of hair.  To me, the thread is as crucial to the finished piece as the fabric.

Photo Sep 20, 11 54 52 AM (finished, After the Wake)

As part of the blog hop, I get to invite other artists to join.  Look for these posts next week:

Carol R. Eaton – I love Carol's hand dyed fabrics! I use them all the time in my own work and for the past few years Carol and I have teamed up to create a workshop/kit project.  Using my instructions and patterns and Carol's fabrics, students create compositions of Magnolia flowers in various colors. Check out her stunning work at http://carolreatondesigns.blogspot.com/

Deb Cashatt and Kris Sazaki – Kris and Deb are members of SAQA as well as the dynamic duo and creative force behind "Pixeladies" http://www.pixeladies.com/blog/. I first met Deb and Kris at a SAQA conference.  I am also a happy customer – Pixeladies created a gorgeous custom-designed silk scarf for me a few years ago.  I gave it to my new sister-in-law as a wedding present.

More Blogs to Discover

There have been many exciting participants in the hop in the past weeks. Here are links to a few so you can enjoy learning about them:

I hope that you enjoy this opportunity to explore what all these amazing artists are doing lately!

11 October 2014

New Exhibition at New Britain Museum Opens Oct 12 (New Britain, CT)

Please join me tomorrow afternoon for the Opening Reception of "Let Me Quilt One More Day" at the New Britain Museum of American Art. 

Themel_NYE_sm
Kate Themel, New Year's Eve

Let Me Quilt One More Day
Saturday, Oct. 4–Sunday, Jan. 4, 2015
Opening Reception
2-5 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 12, 2014
4 p.m. Remarks by Douglas Hyland

http://www.nbmaa.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=32&Itemid=56

Let Me Quilt One More Day explores the long-standing practice and art of quilt making in the United States. This exhibition, curated by Dr. Douglas Hyland, brings together an extraordinary selection of over 40 historical and contemporary quilts ranging from traditional to modern designs and demonstrating both the practical application and artistic range found in this medium. The themes of Industry, Emotion, and Art loosely group quilts that vary greatly in material and artistic style.

Noted quilt authority Lynne Z. Bassett, advised on the selection of objects for this exhibition, and her catalogue essay adds immensely to our understanding of this craft and art form.

The exhibition contains works from the Lyman Allyn Art Museum, Mattatuck Museum, New Haven Museum and Historical Society, Fenimore Art Museum, Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum, and Connecticut Historical Society.

In addition we are fortunate to have works by contemporary quilters: Barbara Barrick McKie, Richard Killeaney, Todd Knopke, Norma Schlager, Denyse Schmidt, Marlene Shea, Kate Themel, Anna Tufankjian, and Victoria Findlay Wolfe along with works from the collections of others.

New Britain Museum of American Art
56 Lexington Street
New Britain, CT 06052

p: 860.229.0257
f: 860.229.3445
www.nbmaa.org

SAQA Members: In case you miss the opening reception, our next  SAQA-CT regional meeting will be next Saturday, October 18 at the New Britain Museum.

24 September 2014

New Work: "Grandmother"

Grandmother1

Just finished! "Grandmother" (24x30) is based on a photo I took of an antique sewing machine at the Windham Textile Museum (Willimantic, CT).

You know I can't resist a good set of gears or piece of machinery with bits of shiny metal!

Photo Sep 24, 4 13 18 PM

 

15 September 2014

My Work Featured in New Book "Color Play" (C&T Publishing)

Photo Sep 08, 2 46 01 PM

I'm thrilled to share some news – my fiber artwork "Teapot" is featured in a full page photo in Joen Wolfrom's newest book Color Play: Second Addition just released by C&T Publishing.

Photo Sep 08, 2 45 44 PM

This book is full of gorgeous color photos of art quilts as well as expert advice and insights about creating with color from Joen Wolfrom. I'm very proud to have my work included.

03 August 2014

A New Perspective

I just got back from the opening reception of "Five Fiber Friends" in New Haven, CT.  Along with Diane Cadrain, Diane Wright, Mickey Lawler and Trish Hodge, I had the pleasure of seeing my artwork hung in a new context.

Fairhaven Furniture sells artisan wood furniture and other home accessories, and they regularly showcase local artists in their gallery.  The walls are currently adorned with our textiles - framed or hung on slats and dowel rods; felted, sewn, painted, knitted - displayed together in really interesting combinations.

I love the way Kate Paranteau arranged the show in a series of small seating/viewing areas, with artwork and furniture complimenting each other.  It created such a warm and inviting environment.

Photo Aug 03, 2 06 16 PM

Some of the pieces I have in the show are over 2-3 years old, which is often the cut-off age for exhibition calls for entry. But seeing them today, paired with work by other artists, in a casual "home" environment, gave me a new appreciation for those older pieces.  They still work, and they still make me happy.

THAT led me to think about the next regional exhibition I'd like to help organize with Diane Wright.  Why have size or age limitations?  Why not hang things in combination with each other, sometimes stacking work vertically?  Artwork doesn't always have to be hung in a straight horizontal line, in uniform size or style or even with an over-arching theme.  Totally random, diverse artwork CAN make sense when hung in the right combination.  My mind is racing.... in a good way.

28 July 2014

Fiber Art in a Home Environment: "Five Fiber Friends" at River Street Gallery (New Haven, CT)

Please join us for the Opening Reception August 3, 2014

RSG_FiveFiberFriends_WebFlyer

The Five Fiber Friends exhibition runs Aug 1 – Sept 21, 2014

Opening Reception Aug 3 at 2pm

Fairhaven Furniture
72 Blatchley Ave
New Haven, CT 06513
http://www.fairhaven-furniture.com

This was a first for me – installing an art exhibition in a furniture showroom and "curating on the fly" with Fairhaven Furniture's gallery organizer Kate Paranteau.

The five of us: Diane Wright, Mickey Lawler, Trish Hodge, Diane Cadrain and I showed up last Friday morning with a bundle of available artwork. Not knowing exactly how the collection would shake out, we each brought a dozen or so pieces.  When it was all unpacked, I thought we'd be lucky to fit HALF of it on the walls.  It was overwhelming!

But Kate P helped the five of us make sense of all the colorful, diverse artwork by grouping pieces in small sitting/viewing areas. 

RiverStGallery (9)  

The result is a wonderful, vibrant exhibition full of charming "art stories" to explore.  Comfy sofas, cool lamps and handmade tables compliment the artwork and give viewers an idea of how fiber art might fit into their own home or office.

 RiverStGallery (7)

When we left that afternoon, the artwork was firmly in place but the furniture may still be moved around and changed before opening night.  I can't wait to go back and see it.  Hope you'll join me!

Five Fiber Friends - 49

23 July 2014

Demonstration at Windham Textile Museum Aug 16 (Willimantic, CT)

In connection with the Inspiration Quilts: Then and Now exhibition, I've been invited to lead a 90 minute demonstration at the Windham Textile & History Museum (WTHM).

Please join me at WTHM on Sat. August 16 from 2:00 - 3:30 p.m.

WTHM

I'll present my raw-edge layering technique using freezer paper to trace, cut, and layer fabric into a fiber art composition, and I'll answer questions from the audience as time allows.

This is the same technique I teach in my Magnolia workshop.  However, I'm working on a fun new design just for WTHM.  Hope you can be there!

Windham Textile & History Museum is located at 411 Main Street, Willimantic, CT. Registration is strongly suggested.

The event is called “Building A Picture.” Admission is $10 per person. To register, call 860-456-2178 or email: themillmuseum@gmail.com 

18 July 2014

"Iris" and Local Color Featured in Quilting Arts Magazine (Aug/Sept 2014 issue)

QAcoverAug2014 
(image: Quilting Arts Aug/Sept 2014 cover)

This month's issue of Quilting Arts Magazine features an article about SAQA Connecticut's regional show "Local Color", including images of eight exhibition quilts.

That's my "Blood Iris" on the gallery's opening page! Woo-hoo!

Photo Jul 18, 10 24 16 AM

As one of the managing curators, I was asked to write a brief description of the show.  The gallery continues onto the next 4 pages, featuring artwork by Ruth Anne Olson, Phyllis Small, Catherine Whall Smith, Barbara McKie, Kendell Storm, Norma Schlager and the show's Co-curator Diane Wright. These 8 quilts were hand picked by QA and professionally photographed for the magazine. Each image is labeled with the artist's name, title and statement about the piece.

Seven of the quilts (including mine) will travel to Atlanta, Georgia for Quilting LIVE! at the Sewing & Quilt Expo, September 11 – 13, 2014. http://www.sewingexpo.com/QuiltingLIVE.aspx

Check it out if you can!

01 July 2014

New Work: Viewpoints 9 Challenge

Our latest challenge: Interpret the following words…
One universe
Nine planets
Two hundred and four countries
Eight hundred and nine islands
Seven seas
And I had the privilege to meet you.

Themel_Ch5_SM

I usually listen to music in my studio. The song "Whole Wide World" by Wreckless Eric came up on random rotation. The words to the song made perfect sense for this month's challenge.

When I was a young boy, my mama said to me
"There's only one girl in the world for you
and she probably lives in Tahiti"
I'd go the whole wide world
I'd go the whole wide world just to find her

I started thinking about the distance Tom and I traveled before our paths crossed in Westbrook, CT.  And how lucky I am that we ended up in the same place. Which led me to the idea of maps.

I pulled out one of my favorite photos of Tom, a very rare one of him sailing, as inspiration. This background fabric by Carol R Eaton reminded me of vague land formations and water. I used similar colored fabrics and shapes to create Tom's portrait, and used echoing lines within the shapes to make him look more like part of the map.

Themel_Challenge5SM

The red dots are like push pins you might use to mark your travels. The numbers next to them are coordinates – latitude and longitude – related to 9 important places for Tom and me.  They range from Rijeka to Dublin to San Francisco as well as our home in Cheshire, CT.

To see and read the stories behind the latest Viewpoints 9 challenge quilts, visit: http://viewpoints9-2.blogspot.com/

24 June 2014

New Work: Aubrey and Jacob

Why the long pause between posts?  I've been working on 2 commissioned portraits for a private buyer in California.  They were purchased as a gift for the kids' mom, so I didn't want to post any photos before now (didn't want to spoil the surprise!)

So here they are, Aubrey and Jacob.

Aubrey

-

Jacob

Each one is 12" x 12" finished, sewn onto black canvas which was then stretched over 14" x 14" wooden stretcher bars.  A wire is attached to the back for easy hanging.

I love getting a commission when I'm free to "play" with color and composition!  For these adorable munchkins, I chose colors to reflect their bright, energetic personalities (as described by the client). And since the pieces are small, I thought the bold colors would add visual impact, but it needed a palette that would work for a boy and a girl. I went with some playful color combinations, hopefully not too cutesy-cutesy.

My frequent partner-in-creativity, Carol R Eaton, created hand dyed color packs intended for my Magnolia workshop. But I had other plans for some of them! I rummaged through several packs to find just the right colors and shades for these portraits.  Guess I'll have to find other uses for the leftovers! LOL

Here are a couple detail photos:

Aubrey – I loved working on her hair, with those wispy lines and cool braid.  Fun!

Aubrey_detail

Jacob – Just wanted to pinch those cheeks.  LOL

Jacob_detail

20 May 2014

New Exhibition "Inspiration Quilts: Then and Now" is Open (Willimantic, CT)

Please join me at the opening reception on Saturday May 24, 2014 from 1:30 – 3:30pm at the Windham Textile & History Museum!

Many of the artists will be there to see the show, mingle with our fiber art buddies and talk to visitors.

Inspiration Quilts: Then and Now
May 16 – September 7, 2014
Windham Textile & History Museum

WTHMpostcard_front

The exhibit celebrates the museum’s 25th anniversary by featuring 25 special quilts: twelve antique quilts from the museum’s collection, twelve contemporary quilts created by artists inspired by the antique quilts, plus a group quilt composed of 25 blocks by members of the Connecticut chapter of Studio Art Quilt Associates.

This month's issue of Connecticut Magazine features an article about the show with photos of my "Honey Bee" as well as the quilt that inspired it: Ruth Snow Bowden's "Grandmother's Flower Garden".

CT_Magazine_Write-up

To find out more about the Inspiration Quilts show and other special events, visit www.millmuseum.org

Windham Textile & History Museum
411 Main Street
Willimantic, CT 06226
860-456-2178

27 April 2014

New Work: Looking Back

My latest portrait was created as part of the Viewpoints9 challenge "Memories of the Movies and September."

For as long as I can remember, September has meant the beginning of school.  This month, my son and I have been on the road visiting colleges. Hours of driving, talking and sharing music have allowed me to get to know the amazing person he is today.

This piece is a an exploration of nostalgia and how it prevents us from seeing the truth about the past as well as the present.

Photo Apr 19, 6 38 48 PM

Title: Looking Back
T
echnical details: hand dyed cotton fabric, cut and layered, raw edge applique, machine quilted using free motion stitching.
Finished size: 18" H x 27" W

17 April 2014

Upcoming Exhibitions: Windham Textile History Museum and New Britain Museum of American Art

"Honey Bee" will make its debut at the Windham Textile & History Museum on May 16, 2014. 

I made this piece especially for the Inspiration Quilts: Then and Now exhibition.  Twelve artists were invited to create a modern interpretation of one of the museum's antique quilts.

The show runs from May 16 – Sept 7, 2014
Opening Reception is May 24, 1:30 – 3:30 pm

HoneyBeeSM

Windham Textile & History Museum
411 Main Street
Willimantic, CT 06226
http://www.millmuseum.org/

Then later this fall…

I'm thrilled to share the news that I've been asked to loan my fiber artwork "New Year's Eve" to the prestigious New Britain Museum of American Art (NBMAA), for their upcoming show:

"Stitched in Time: American Quilts 1758-2014" 
October 4, 2014 – January 4, 2015

New-britain-museum-of-american-art

Museum curators have selected examples of masterful quilts and fiber art from over two centuries of textile history.  I can't wait to see the show and visit NBMAA's beautiful gallery.

New Britain Museum of American Art
56 Lexington Street
New Britain, CT 06052
http://www.nbmaa.org/

I'm grateful to SAQA for this opportunity, because my work was brought to the attention of NBMAA by way of the Studio Art Quilt Associates' annual "Portfolio" book. 

SAQA-Portfolio20-cover_lgThe SAQA Portfolio contains full page color images of fiber art by SAQA's Juried Artist Members.

It is available for purchase through the SAQA online store.

10 April 2014

New Work: Three Amigos

I decided I had too many projects "started" and not enough of them finished.  So why not take a nice little one and just get it done?

Done!  The Three Amigos: Dawson, Brady and Darby
finished size: 12"x12"

Photo Apr 10, 11 39 50 AM

I'm not sure where this particular piece will end up.  It might make a good candidate for the SAQA Benefit Auction. But for now it's adding a bit of adorable fuzziness to my studio.

Photo Apr 10, 11 40 12 AM
(Detail)

07 April 2014

Working on the Next Portrait, "Joe"

It has taken over 10 years for me to work up the courage to attempt this portrait! One of the last photos taken of my dad before he passed away in 2000, and one of my favorite images:

Dad
Joseph P. O'Brien 1939-2000
Photo by Patrick O'Brien

My mom and each of us 4 "kids" have this particular photo hanging in our homes.  It's just such a perfect representation of my dad.  From the loving smile and the scarf he always wore, to the rolled up sleeves and coffee mug.

So you can see why this is particular composition is very personal and dear to me, and the members of my family.  Which is probably why I have always "chickened out" of starting it before.

However, this is "The Year of Stepping Outside Comfort Zones!" Okay I just made that up, but let's go with it.  As Hippocrates reminds us: Ars longa, vita brevis (Art is long, life is short).

14 - 1 (1)
"Joe", pencil sketch by K.Themel, 2014

30 March 2014

Work in Progress: Three Amigos

Here's a sneak peek of a little quilt I'm working on.  Right now it's about 14x14 but will probably end up being closer to 12x12.

The "models" for this piece are my "dog-niece" Darby (the Shih Tzu) and her two Maltese buddies, Brady and Dawson.

3amigos

No quilting on it yet.  But I think it's going to be fun adding all that moppy hair! 

29 March 2014

Raising Prices

Photo Nov 02, 3 38 23 PMLast week I attended a terrific SAQA-CT Regional Meeting at the Guilford Art Center and participated in a panel discussion on Pricing Artwork.  I enjoyed sharing my own experiences with the group, but I learned so much more by listening to panelists Mickey Lawler and Jane Davila and other SAQA members.

I left with a realization: A lot of artists find it easier to discuss the deeply personal, emotional stories behind their artwork than explain the logical, professional reasons behind the PRICE of that work.  As if pricing our work is more scary and revealing than the whole creative process.  But since I am serious about having a career in art, I must get over that squeamishness.

So Here's the Honest Scoop About My Pricing

It's important to me to have a simple pricing plan, so I can A.) remove the emotion from it and B.) answer potential buyers' questions and quote a price without a lot of hemming and hawing (confession: I'm familiar with hemming but have no idea what hawing is.)

Themel_MuscleMemory_fullI don't like the idea of pricing artwork based on the amount of time it took to make.  I'm not a lawyer or psychiatrist; I don't charge by the hour.  Besides, there are too many variables (when does the timer start…when I think of the idea or when I draw the pattern…?  Do I include all the time I spend choosing fabrics and staring at a piece wondering what to do next??) Plus I don't want to punch a time clock when I enter my studio, parsing hours and minutes into categories.  That would just distract me and put my brain into business mode vs. creative mode. 

What matters to me is the finished piece, not the amount of time it took to create.  A piece is finished when I love it and I say it's finished.  Sometimes that happens quickly, other times the thing seems to drag on forever.

I decided to use a price-per-square-inch system because it is consistent, justifiable and transparent. And I don't have to think about it until the piece is DONE.

Photo Nov 02, 3 33 17 PM

After the SAQA-CT meeting, I went back and looked at all my available artwork.  The prices seemed to be all over the place regarding size-to-price ratio.  Over the years I increased the price on NEW work but I rarely went back to increase the price on older work to keep up.

May 1, 2014 is "Price Change Day"

My next step will be to adjust the prices on ALL my work to be at least $2.30/sq.in if it's not there already*.

Crunching Numbers: The Not-So-Secret Formula

How did I come up with the $2.30/sq.in figure?  In a nutshell, I let the "market" decide.  I used the size dimensions and sale prices of all the work I've SOLD in the past 3 years to calculate the average price per square inch, and used that as the new baseline.

*NOTE: Some pieces are valued higher because they have been juried into major shows, published in a book or magazine, won awards, or simply because I love them too much to let go of them very easily. Okay, so there is SOME emotion involved in pricing.  But I am trying to keep it to a minimum.

Now is a Good Time to Buy

If you have been on the fence looking at your favorite Kate Themel artwork, you have until May 1, 2014 to buy it at the current price.  After that, most of the pieces will be more expensive.  A few of the older ones will nearly double in price, since they haven't been updated in years.  Good news for collector's who already bought one!  

My Commitment to Offering Pieces of Various Sizes and Prices

Some people fill their homes with beautiful, inspiring artwork that speaks to them in a personal way.  Other people buy art as an investment, because they believe the artist is going to continue to produce quality artwork that will increase in value.

I realize for most people, buying art is a luxury.  I understand some of my pieces may be priced outside the typical household budget.  So I plan to create smaller pieces that will be beautiful and of the same high quality as my larger pieces, but available for a lower price.

18 March 2014

Workshop: Ready to Launch

14 - 14Thanks to the helpful feedback from my first group of students, I have made some improvements to my Magnolia Kit Workshop.

Carol R Eaton and I got together to talk about different fabric choices. The students' work has been so inspiring, we can't wait to do this again!

14 - 3So I guess that means I'm ready to go forward with phase two – advertising and booking the next workshop.

So far I have added a blurb on the SAQA website, under Resources, "Art Services Directory" http://www.saqa.com/pro-directory.php?ID=1968

14 - 13I'm also working on changes to my website, to include information on workshops and presentations.  Here's a look at the prototype page, to see a list of classes and workshops:

http://katethemel.blogspot.com/p/classes-and-workshops.html

Thank you again, Sisters in Cloth and Carol R Eaton, for making the first workshop so much fun!

18 February 2014

Workshop 1 Complete. On to Step 2

2-15-2014Last Saturday was the first "Magnolia Kit" workshop, and I must say it was fun and educational.  Well, it was for me, hopefully for the students too! 

Everyone was happy to participate and share their own ideas.  I left with a lot of great feedback and notes to improve the workshop. 

As students picked their fabric sets, I noticed which color schemes were popular and took a few requests for next time.  KT

People loved the complex and beautiful background fabrics, which were hand dyed by Carol R Eaton.  Even if 2 people had the same flower colors, they would not end up with an identical quilt.

We all made the same flower during class, to practice the technique from start to finish (some examples are shown here). 

14 - 4After we got a handle on the process with the first flower, the students were free to create any of the other flowers or buds they liked.  My job was easier because these particular artists are very self-sufficient. 

They only needed small corrections and advice as we went along, and by the end most of them were ready to run with their designs.  Luckily we wrapped things up just before it started to snow.

IMG_3061

I can't wait to see what everyone puts together this week!  On Saturday 2/22 we will regroup and work on free motion quilting.

And since we were hit with YET another 5 inches of snow this morning, I was happy to stay inside and get some quilting done on my own sample project:

quilted2

I am SO looking forward to spring!