Ten tips for Textile Artists

Ten tips for Textile Artists Textiles are an essential part of all of our lives. Those who work with textiles enjoy an intimate understanding of the warp and weft, the pattern and design, the drape and weight of cloth and the beautiful metaphors that textiles offer us in our creative life. Whether you stitch, loop, weave, or paint, expressing your individual spirit through cloth can be a joyful and challenging endeavor. Remembering to start from your own heart , and developing tools for managing your time, space and materials will support your passion for the colors, textures and diversity of a life filled with textile art.   1) Start with your Spark Each one of us has a spirit or spark that is uniquely expressed only through us. That spark includes the sum total of our experiences, skills, strengths and challenges. Journal about what makes you unique. Write a statement that clearly defines why you make art and hang it somewhere you will be able to read it often.   2) Feed your Passion. Passion is fuel and we need to keep connected to our source if we are to continue to create. Notice what gives you tingles; what make … Read More

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Flight, Space and Light

Flight, Space and Light “I put it on and I feel transformed!” Sarah cooed when she wrapped up in one of the silk creations I call GloryUs Wrapture. I love creating wearable art work that captures the ethereal sense of weightlessness and wraps the wearer in a sense of glorious joy. I use a combination of my hand dyed silk fabrics and an off loom weaving technique to create the desired effect. Loosely weaving torn strips of fabric then stitching the pieces to secure it, allows for light and space to become a part of the finished wrap. Leaving ends trailing on either side gives the wrap a feathery look and allows the wearer to experience an effervescent feeling of flight. Creating textiles that are light and airy is made possible with the help of an amazing plastic that dissolves in water. I use the water soluble plastic as a base to stabilize assemblages of   fabric in order to stitch them together. I first encountered the magic of light weight water soluble plastic in a workshop given by Leslie Garber. She created fabulous wearable art garments using the plastic as a stabilizer. Although you can find several different types, I … Read More

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Dye, Cut, Knit

Dye, Cut, Knit Like peanut butter and chocolate, the combination of yarn and silk fabric strips creates a yummy sensory treat that is eye and hand candy for knitters. The colors and textures we wrap around our needles are what makes knitting so inviting, and expressing our creativity with our knitting is what makes it so satisfying. I teach workshops on Creative Knitting to encourage knitters to use alternative materials and methods to create one of a kind knit work. Being able to dye your own knitting materials in colors you love is especially exciting. As the founder and director of a fiber arts education program in the Santa Barbara schools I spent 10 years teaching fiber arts to children. I loved the way that kids could easily create with everything from recycled cardboard to abandoned cassette tapes. When I began refocusing on my own artwork, I supplemented my love for alternative materials with daily doses of silk. Once I developed a taste for working with silk, I was consumed with ideas for playing with this amazing fiber.   I ordered bolts of chiffon, habatoi and gauze   fabric in different weights from Dharma Trading Company. I began exploring Shibori dying techniques … Read More

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Organizing Our Creative Stuff

The Creative Journey: Organization Organizing Our Creative Stuff   Order is the shape upon which beauty depends. – Pearl S. Buck When we moved to Washington from California about a year and a half ago, most of my boxes containing my art supplies were stacked up in the garage. When I finally organized the space in the basement to create a studio where I could work, I was anxious to revisit all of the materials that I hadn’t seen since we moved. After a trip to Costco to buy 2 new large metal baker’s racks with wheels, I was ready to tackle the job of organizing. My husband did the heavy lifting and I spent hours poking around in boxes and reacquainting myself with the crazy array of stuff that had past the test and was deemed worthy of being moved from one state to another. I spent hours sifting through fabric, thread, yarn, metal, shells, beads, papers, reed, vines, stamps, stencils, paints, felting supplies, toys, photos, books, DVD’s and more. By the end of the day, each box was readily accessible, stacked neatly on shelves and had been lovingly inventoried by me. I was a happy camper! Summer is … Read More

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The Landscapes of our Individuality

The Creative Journey: Individuality The Landscapes of our Individuality   “Do you know what you are? You are a marvel. You are unique. In all of the years that have passed there has never been another child like you… ” Pablo Picasso Each of us truly is a marvel, a complex and wondrous being capable of amazing feats. We all have a distinctive way of interpreting and translating our life experiences, approaching our daily challenges and relating to our fellow beings and the world around us. Our unique inner landscape is formed by our attitudes, thoughts, beliefs and emotions. As creative artists, we can benefit from taking the time to explore what thoughts, attitudes and beliefs we are experiencing and practice nurturing those that support and energize us. When we pay close attention, we may find that over time, certain thoughts have evolved into stories that are limiting our creative potential. I call these “Minimizing Myths.” Minimizing myths are the stories that we have told ourselves that keep us from stretching beyond our comfort zone. Everyone loves a good story. We hold onto the story of how we can’t do something, or that we haven’t got the right kind of … Read More

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Creating Intuitive Goals

The Creative Journey: Intuition Creating Intuitive Goals   “What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.” Henry David Thoreau As a creative artist my mantra is: Play. Explore. Discover. I love to spend hours looking at and handling my art materials by sorting them, making piles, grouping things together and imagining combinations of color and texture. I love to daydream and play with possibilities. I love to wonder about the “What If’s.” I consider myself very intuitive. I also love to use goal setting as a powerful tool for guiding my daily choices. How about you? Do you work intuitively? Do you set goals? In the past, I have determinedly set goals to create artwork for some future exhibit and then after the initial burst of enthusiasm I’ve gotten distracted, or lost my momentum to follow through on all of the steps needed to make that happen. I even used the popular SMART acronym which reminds us to set goals that are: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-Oriented. SMART goals are intended to help us define the specific details of what we want to accomplish, what that will look … Read More

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Procrastination, Permission and Progress

The Creative Journey: Procrastination Procrastination, Permission and Progress   A few years back, when I was in the middle of writing my book, I entered a magazine contest that asked people to submit their best house cleaning tips. My submission was simple: Challenge yourself to a big creative project. Set a deadline. Then you will find yourself noticing every tiny speck of dirt in your house as you try to focus on your big project. Instead of writing, drawing, painting, or sewing, let procrastination take over. Spend all of your creative time scrubbing, dusting, and sweeping, and your house will be immaculate from top to bottom! I didn’t win the contest. I did distract myself from my feelings of fear that arose from writing my book. It just seemed less risky to be reading the magazine, entering the contest, cleaning my refrigerator, and dusting my rafters. I was procrastinating big time. Why is it that even when we are passionate about our work and truly motivated to create something new and original, we find ourselves putting off our project and choosing to do just about anything else, including cleaning our house, instead? On a good day we feel like intrepid … Read More

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Cultivate Curiosity and Caress Wonder

The Creative Journey: Curiosity & Wonder Cultivate Curiosity and Caress Wonder   An artist… must actively caress wonder: for fascination, like the desire to play, can be eradicated by the rigors of living.  – Eric Maisel When was the last time you opened yourself to “caress” wonder? A couple of weeks ago I found myself marveling at the gorgeousness of the Japanese gardens in Portland. At each turn in the path I found myself drawn toward some fabulous combination of moss, water and stone. The fat golden koi swimming under the wooden bridge; the dew glistening on the bare branches of the cherry trees; the circular patterns of raked sand; I was delighted and awed by the natural beauty and the carefully contrived simplicity that I discovered as I explored the gardens. I felt a tingle of excitement as if there was some kind of magic afoot. I felt my sense of wonder activated and energized. With our culture of busyness it can be challenging to find ourselves in the state of fascination that feeds our creative imagination unless we consciously cultivate a practice of curiosity. That may require us to physically slow down and make way for our playful … Read More

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Claiming Your Inner Authority

The Creative Journey: Authenticity Claiming Your Inner Authority   The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are. – C.G. Jung As a teen in the 70’s I remember being surrounded by bumper stickers with slogans like: “Question Authority” and “Get Real.” I had a large poster on my bedroom wall that encouraged me to “Do your own thing.” Those messages really spoke to my heart. I grew up ensconced in a strict authoritarian Catholic school culture and had a law enforcement officer as a parent. Being surrounded by outside influences that reinforced the established norms, my individuality and originality became treasures for me to cherish and defend. Figuring out how to live and work in sync with my own inner authority, to be authentic, has been a lifelong pursuit. Authenticity refers to living one’s life according to your own inner guide and not looking to outside sources to define you. You could say that authenticity is the degree to which someone is true to their own personal spirit. Authenticity, creativity, and individuality all go hand in hand. These attributes act as fuel for our self-expression and they inform the process we use to create original work. … Read More

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Creative Vision Boards

How Can we access our Winter energy to guide us toward our spirited goals and authentic actions? Creating a vision board is one way that we can use our intuitive powers as a guide for creating authentic change. There are many different ways to approach this exercise. Here is my favorite way to use the Vision Board: * Gather a variety of old  magazines * Have a large piece of poster board, scissors and glue ready * Take a deep breath to center yourself and invite your intuitive wisdom to come forward. * Enjoy perusing the images in the magazines and notice whenever an image resonates with you. Cut out any and all images that make you smile, that you see and like, or that seem to be calling to you. Notice that you didn’t write out specific goals and then hunt for pictures to illustrate them.  That is perfectly okay- and I do recommend doing that- but for this board we are doing deep listening. * Assemble the images on the board in a way that pleases you You may find that there are images on the board that you aren’t sure why you chose them. These can be … Read More

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