Friday, December 12, 2014

A great review for “Point, Click, Quilt!”

Gabi Maier has just published a review of my book, Point, Click, Quilt! on the website QuiltArtNews. It is a lovely review (she calls it “one of my favorite quilting books of all time.” WOW!!! What a thrill to hear that!

And it contains a trailer that somehow I forgot about. C&T Publishing has produced these book trailers (similar to the movie trailers that you see when you search for online information on movies or see in the movie theaters). Fun! 

The first edition of the book has sold out, and it is now only available in print-on-demand and e-book format. I bought the remaining stock of the first edition, fewer than 100 copies, and I’m selling them when I teach and through my website until they are gone. Snif!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

“Creative Journeys” by Lisa Walton

Fiber artist Lisa Walton has a new e-book out called Creative Journeys: Fun & Easy Textile Surface Design Techniques. If you are new to surface design or have never tried it, I encourage you to take the plunge with this book. It’s perfect for the beginner, as it walks you step by step through many surface design techniques, with simple explanatory text and photos. And for the price, this book can’t be beat!

Note: This is an e-Book, and it is not designed like a printed book. Each idea is presented on its own page, with photos on the following pages that show the steps. There are also many links to videos or related books, and Lisa does a great job of explaining the tools and materials you need. An excellent resources section toward the end of the book will help you locate the supplies you need. 

There is a wealth of information here! Lisa covers fabric painting, stamping, rubbing (with Shiva Paintskiks), metallic foils, simple screen printing, and creative stitchwork (bobbinwork, hand embroidery), felting, and more. 

Pleated fabric colored with transparent fabric paint
A rubbing using oil paint sticks
A stamped design from a hand-carved stamp
Paint screened on dark fabric
One of Lisa’s thermofax designs

She also shares a few ways of combining fabrics you create into beautiful art quilts. (Learn more about how to use your fabrics in Lisa’s first book.)

One of Lisa’s “Fantastic Fusion” quilts
Lisa’s quilt “Mottainai”

Lisa plans to release future books in the Creative Journeys series that focus on other techniques, such as beading embellishment.

Lisa, with students, on a recent trip she led to Japan
Lisa lives in Sydney, Australia, and runs her business, Dyed & Gone to Heaven, with her husband Peter. She teaches all over the world. She is vice president of Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA). Her first book is Beautiful Building Block Quilts: Create Improvisational Quilts from One Block (C& T Publishing, 2013). This book is available for purchase here on

Creative Journeys costs $8.95 and is available here on (To read the e-book, you need to download the free Kindle Reading App. But you don’t need a Kindle; the app allows you to read the book on your smartphone, tablet or computer. There’s a link to the app on the page where you order the book.)

Want to know more about Lisa’s book? Other artists are posting reviews on the dates below:

Dec. 8 – Sarah Ann Smith –

Dec. 9 – Lyric Kinard –

Dec. 10 – Erica Spinks –

Dec. 11 – Susan Brubaker Knapp –

Dec. 12 – Brenda Gael Smith –

Dec. 13 – Judy Coates Perez –

Dec. 14 – Shelley Stokes –

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

“The Little Spark”

I’ve read a fair number of books and articles on creativity. It is a topic that fascinates me the longer I teach fiber art classes. Why is it that some people know they are creative, and some people absolutely deny that they could ever be creative? I always insist that everyone is creative, but some people have simply shut down this essential part of themselves. Artist and author Carrie Bloomston agrees with me. She’s just written one of the best books on creativity that I’ve ever read. Not to sound overly dramatic, but it’s already changed my life.  

It’s called The Little Spark: 30 Ways to Ignite Your Creativity (C&T Publishing, 2014), and  it is 128 beautifully written, photographed, and designed pages to help you try new things, think about things from a different angle, and get motivated to build the artistic life of your dreams.

Carrie writes with great passion, joy and honesty about her creative life. She shares her enthusiasm, her struggles, and her discoveries on her path to greater creativity and personal fulfillment. This is a deeply spiritual book. Not a religious book, but a book about finding meaning and contentment through personal growth, connections, and giving back. It’s about harnessing your essential core – your creativity – and why it is so important to finding your bliss.

Want to get inspired? Watch Carrie’s short video here:

So much of what Carrie says resonates with me. Much of it is stuff I believe, stuff I’ve been telling my students, too. Some of it is stuff I know, but need to be reminded about. “The fact about a creative life is that it is messy and imperfect,”says Carrie. Don’t you love that? Permission to make messes and screw things up? Yes, yes, yes! 

You can buy of The Little Spark copy at bookstores, or here on It would be a great holiday gift for a creative person you know. Or a person you know who wants to be more creative, but just needs a little friendly encouragement to achieve greatness.

Want to see what other people think about the book? Twenty-four other bloggers are posting reviews of Carrie’s book this week:
  1. Fat Quarter Shop’s Jolly Jabber
  2. Amanda Herring of The Quilted Fish
  3. Shea Henderson of Empty Bobbin Sewing
  4. Shelly Figueroa of Figgy’s
  5. Anna Graham of Noodlehead
  6. Karen LePage of One Girl Circus
  7. Rachael Gander at Imagine Gnats
  8. Amie Plumley wrote Sewing School 1 & 2!
  9. Sam Hunter of Hunter’s Design Studio
  10. Generation Q
  11. Cheryl Arkison
  12. Erica Sage of Craftyblossom
  13. Heather Givans at Crimson Tate
  14. Tia Curtis 
  15. Jill McNamara Photography
  16. Susan Brubaker Knapp
  17. Verena Ehrhardt at Einfach Bunt
  18. Kerry Green from very kerry berry
  19. Sally Keller
  20. Reets Rags to Stitches
  21. Cristy Fincher
  22. Stephanie Kendron at Modern Sewciety
  23. Anne Beier
  24. Jennifer Sampou
  25. Amanda Haas
Carrie is giving away five copies of her book on her blog! Go to her blog, and leave a comment there by midnight Dec. 9, Mountain Time Zone. (Don’t leave a comment on this post on my blog, because it won’t count.) Also, play along with her Instagram giveaway where three additional people will win a copy. (U.S. winners will receive a copy of the book. International winners will receive the digital copy.)

Registration is open for my retreat!

Blue Ridge Center at Blue Ridge Assembly YMCA
Details of my “Once in a Blue Moon” Fiber Art Retreat with Lyric Montgomery Kinard are now up on my website. You can download the registration packet, which contains information about the classes, pricing, supply lists, and the registration form, by clicking here. It will be Oct. 1-3, 2015 in Black Mountain, NC.

We are so excited about this event, and are trying to make it very special. So we had to start with a special place: Blue Ridge Assembly YMCA, near Asheville. I held my 2012 retreat here. It is a place with a lot of soul, and a lot of beauty. The grandeur of the Blue Ridge Mountains, lush forests, lovely creeks and walking paths, and amazing historic buildings that have stood here for nearly 100 years.

Lyric and I want this retreat to be more than just three days of classes. We are building an event that will be a time to center yourself, to make new friends, and relax. That’s why we are planning special things like photography hikes, a campfire, sketching sessions, and creativity exercises. (Maybe even some simple yoga!)

Most of all, we want it to be a safe, supportive environment to take risks and stretch out new places inside yourself for your creative spirit to thrive. 

For 1-1/2 days, you’ll study realistic wholecloth painting with Susan:
Learn the basics of creating wholecloth painted quilts based on photos. Working from your original photograph, you’ll use acrylic textile paints to bring it to life. Don’t worry if you’ve never painted anything before.… this may look complicated, but my technique breaks the process down into simple steps. I’ve seen students who were utterly terrified to try painting, and then completely astounded at what they were able to achieve. You will learn how to select the right photos; trace your photo to create a pattern; transfer the design to fabric; mix colors, shades and tints; choose paints and fabrics to use; transfer your design to fabric; and paint and blend colors. 

For 1-1/2 days, you’ll study abstraction with Lyric:
Abstraction: Freedom from representational qualities in art. Taking away or removing characteristics from something in order to reduce it to a set of essential characteristics. Abstract-a-licious: Freedom from pressure or the need to make it real. Taking away or removing fear and the need for perfection in order to enlarge the artist’s essential joy in creation. If you’ve looked with hidden longing over an imaginary wall to the world of art quilts but don’t know where to start, this is the class for you. Lyric will gently guide you through concrete exercises designed to help you create ideas for original abstract quilts. Doodles will be scribbled, eyes and minds will be opened, and fun will be had. You will learn the basics of fused collage as you assemble your quilt top. Even students who have never created their own designs before will end the class with at least one small and unique art quilt top. Learn more about Lyric at

We hope you can join us!

Monday, December 1, 2014

“The 100” Fundraiser is coming!

I am excited to announce that I am an invited artist for “The 100” to be held on Wed., Feb. 4, 2015. The goal for this fiber fundraiser for the American Cancer Society is to raise $10,000 in one day.

How? You guessed it: Virginia Spiegel is at it again! Fiberart For A Cause has already raised $240,000 through the generosity of fiber artists and patrons. In 2015, her goal is to bump that amount up to a nice, round quarter of a million dollars.

I’m sure you will want to be one of the very exclusive 100 patrons who will be randomly assigned artwork from an extraordinary line-up of international fiber artists.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Planning, planning…

Lyric Montgomery Kinard and I spent some time yesterday brain storming for our 2015 retreat, “Once in a Blue Moon.” It’s going to be Oct. 1-3 in Black Mountain, NC. We are planning an event where students will not only learn new techniques, but discover ways to conquer their artistic fears and inhibitions to create original work that they did not know they could do. We are so excited to be planning something very unique and amazing!

It’s going to be a lot of exploring and taking risks in a nurturing environment, mixed with big does of fellowship and friendship (think campfires, sketching, music, photography hikes and group dinners at fabulous restaurants). We’ll be in a gorgeous location, Black Mountain, North Carolina (about a half hour drive from Asheville) at the perfect time of year. I’ll have the registration forms, as well as prices, and all the details, on my website (and here on my blog) next week. 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Sue Reno’s new Quilting Arts Workshop

I’ve admired Sue Reno’s work in exhibitions for years, wondered about her techniques and swooned over her fabulous echo quilting, but I first got to know her when she came to Quilting Arts TV to shoot several several segments for Series 1400. In Episode 1404, “Inspired by Nature,” she shows how plants, animal skeletons and photography inspires her work. In episode 1410, “Quilting Medley,” she demonstrates her trademark echo quilting. 

Me, with Sue on the set of Quilting Arts TV

While she was on set in March 2014, she also shot a Quilting Arts Workshop, “Surface Design Essentials for the Printed Quilt.” It is now available as both a DVD ($24.99) or a digital download ($19.99) from the Quilting Daily Shop. I watched it yesterday, and now I can barely contain my excitement. I want to run out right now and buy a few supplies, and get started. I want to make cyanotype prints, heliographic sun prints, Thermofax®, and collagraph prints. I want to play!

These are techniques I’ve been wanting to try forever, so why haven’t I? Maybe because I didn’t know exactly what to do. Maybe I was a bit intimidated. But not anymore! Sue’s patient, concise explanations and demonstrations make everything perfectly clear, and very easy to understand. I think I’ll be trying all of these techniques, and incorporating them in my future work.

Sue’s heliographic sun printing
Sue with me, in front of one of her larger pieces.
Sue places animal bones before a segment of QATV

Sue covers a different technique in four of the “chapters” in her Workshop. She shows how to make cyanotypes, gorgeous blue-and-white prints, using plant materials (I’m eager to try both plants and objects to print!) and pre-prepared, purchased cyanotype fabric. Then she covers heliographic prints, using watered-down transparent textile paint and the power of the sun; and collographs using a reusable Gelli Plate. Last, she explains how to prepare original photographs, and have them made into Thermofax® screens, and shows how to screen print from them.

Along the way, she shares her knowledge about good design, and practical tips for making the techniques easier. At the end of the Workshop, she shows examples of her work that she made from fabrics using these techniques, while explaining her composition, design and quilting decisions. 

If you are like me – curious about these techniques, but not knowing how to get started, this is the Workshop for you! I highly recommend it if you want to work with these surface design materials.  

Several other artists are participating in a blog hop to launch Sue’s workshop. You can read their posts by following the links below!

Blog hop!
11/5/14: Sue Reno
11/6/14: Susan Brubaker Knapp
11/7/14: Allie Aller
11/8/14: Diane Doran
11/9/14: Vivien Zepf
11/10/14: Virginia Spiegel
11/11/14: Cynthia St. Charles
11/12/14: Natalya Aikens
11/13/14: Lyric Kinard

and oh!… a giveaway! Leave a comment after this post, telling me about a handmade gift you made, or about a surface design technique you’d like to try. At 6 p.m. EST on Nov. 14, I’ll draw one name at random. The winner will receive a copy of my latest Quilting Arts Workshop, “Fabulous Finishes.” Make sure you leave me your e-mail address, or some way to reach you.

Note: If your comment does not show up right away, please don’t freak out. Please post only one comment. I now have to moderate/approve all comments, because I was getting a ton of Japanese porn spammers leaving comments on my blog!

We have a winner! Juliefeldhaus has won. Thanks for reading, everyone!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Come take a class with me at Asilomar!

Photo from
I am beyond excited to be teaching an Empty Spools seminar at Asilomar in Pacific Grove, California, next year. I’m teaching in Session V, April 26-May 1, 2015. Why not put this experience on your Christmas or Hanukkah wishlist? Now is the time to plan your trip!

My class is called “Start With a Photo: Paint, Fuse and Thread Sketch.” I’ll be teaching students how to recreate their original photos as pieces of fiber art. You’ll use two different techniques – wholecloth painting and fused raw-edge appliqué – for constructing two to four pieces based on your photographs, and then learn how to add detail with thread sketching. This is a fabulous opportunity to make original work under my guidance during a five-day class in a spectacular setting. I can’t wait!

Photo by Jan Krentz (
The venue is amazing! You can see more photos on the Asilomar website. The price for the week is $1,360.00 (with a shared room for two) and includes all your meals. There’s more information about costs here.

I love teaching week-long classes, because I get the chance to watch my students develop their own original work, and to bloom as they discover just how much they can do. The joy they express when they figure this out is simply amazing

Here are some photos of my students with their work from multiple-day classes, and some comments from my students about my teaching:

“Your workshop was sensational… Your artistic talent, as great as it is, is second only to your enthusiasm and your spirit. In your face, I can see the joy that is in your heart when you talk about what you do, and it is contagious. You are totally comfortable and pleased with what you do and that makes you willing to share it with others…. Today was a magnificent day; I feel like I found something that will be a part of me forever. I am smitten!” 
– Sandy Clark

“You are a fantastic teacher, well prepared and armed with loads of patience. I was very impressed by the fact that you didn’t leave anyone behind, but then didn’t impede the progress of those who were ahead. As a 20-year-teacher in a former life, I really notice those things. I also appreciated your generous sharing of your finished quilts… Thank you again for being such a highlight of my trip to Houston this year.”
– Annick Harris


“I just wanted to let you know that of all the classes and lectures I attended over the last few days, yours was the absolute best. I learned so many good things and the clarity and flow of your presentation was just outstanding. I am so inspired thanks to you.” 
– Denise Ostrom

“You are the perfect teacher; you share your successes, strategy, tips, mistakes, wisdom, artistic insights and encouragement to just try and see what happens. I respect your ability as an artist and appreciate that you have workshops to encourage others to see what is inside them. You are a blessing and a beneficial presence on the planet.” 
– Carroll Grant

“I was a high school teacher for almost 40 years and a college adjunct 8 years along with that. I've been an educator and student my whole life. I've been to Create, and Art & Soul retreat, plus too-many-to-list workshops, retreats, etc., over the years. I’ve had great teachers and perfectly awful ones. And I’ve taught numerous workshops as well. I think I have the experience to tell you that you rank as one of the truly truly BEST teachers I’ve ever had. Your easy style, simple approach to a well-defined and organized project, handouts, and your approachability all make your classes a truly memorable experience.” 
– Marilyn Foell

“I must say the three days were absolutely GREAT! So much information presented with encouragement and belief that each of us really could accomplish our goal. That transferred the belief to us… what fun we had!” 
– Georgia Beville

Monday, October 27, 2014

Fish, fish, fish…

Indo-Pacific Sailfish
Here are some more fish I’ve painted in the last few days on “We All Swim Together.” If you are curious about this piece, please read my previous posts. Stay tuned… I still have a lot of fish to paint!
Indo-Pacific Sailfish
Black Catfish
Indian Scad
Indian Scad
Sydney Skate
Sydney Skate

Yelloweye Rockfish
Yelloweye Rockfish