Tag Archives: Artistic Practice

Waking up from my nap!


My word of the year was NAP and I think I am finally waking up!








In January I announced my word of the year as “Nap”. In that post I was reflecting on the transition to my new life as a retired person. Part of that transition was to rest, then to reset my priorities and  now to find a new rhythm to the day that supports what I want to accomplish. 

After coming back from a conference of Studio Art Quilters I have found a new creative energy which has allowed me to spend more time in my studio and to focus my work on the goal of becoming a juried artist member(JAM)  of SAQA.

It Begins Within My first step in becoming a JAM member means that I will have to complete a cohesive body of work. After my first meeting with a JAM mentor I set up a plan to have 10 quilts in a JAM portfolio to be submitted a year from now.  

I have selected a starting point with a quilt called “It Begins Within”.  I selected this quilt because I get really good feedback from people who know little or nothing about art quilting. I also wanted to work with the figure and place the figure in a “magical” or surreal setting. 

Now comes the work: When an artist wants to get something BIG done like creating a serious portfolio, writing a novel or a play;  you need to set up your environment for success. That is not just your studio or workplace, it’s arranging your life to sustain an artistic practice. 

My studio Storage Took out closet doors and put in shelving

My studio Storage
Took out closet doors and put in shelving

At any gathering of artists there is lot’s of talk about how to get the work done. People talk about how they schedule studio/creative time. Visual artists discuss what tools work effectively or which storage systems help to keep materials organized.

Artists  are  often interested classes or forming critique groups that are motivational.  Many artist need to get out of their studios and travel to cities around the country or world to see exhibits that will inspired them when they return home. 

At the SAQA conference, Maria Shell shared a great deal about how she manages to be a mother of three boys living in a cabin during the summer and braving the Alaska winter while still creating a significant body of work.

Post your projects, deadlines and progress.

Post your
projects, deadlines and

Maria  logs her progress on each quilt  on handwritten charts. Her creative process goes beyond studio time and includes keeping up with a website, blog, updating records on the computer, using folders and spreadsheets to monitor each submission or grant. 

Maria is an upbeat, not uptight person. Like many of us she is rejected from exhibitions as often or more often than not. Her attitude is that part of the process of creating and sharing art is taking the risks in stride. I was really impressed. I came out of that lecture thinking about what could do enhance my artistic practice to sustain me through making a new body of work. 

When I came home I read a number of blogs by writers who said very similar things about how they get writing everyday. Many keep records of the time they spend writing. Some have a specific number of hours, while others have a time of day or day of the week in which they schedule writing time. All were working toward some kind of goal.

Many artists who get the work done share their progress with a larger community. Like me they may have a blog, facebook or twitter account with which they reflect on and share their work. It is also place in which a community can provide valuable feedback.

Head and Shoulders #3 20 x 20 work in progress

Head and Shoulders #3
20 x 20
work in progress

The other day I posted a picture of some thread painting I was doing on Twitter  and Instagram. From the reaction I knew I was on the right track.  I had multiple shares, likes, etc…..  It was like having multiple people walk into your studio and say “wow” that looks really good. 

This week I have three head and shoulders quilts that I am working on. I am  ready to start on a final “Geisha” quilt which I plan to thread paint on the face and I am going to work on a  submission to Quilting Arts Magazine. I log these projects on a dry erase board over my cutting table and in a small journal on my desk.

Truth be told I am not going to the gym or out to dinner much. I am not reading on the patio after lunch, but I am still logging calories and having a really good time!

Until next time.


Lost 3.75 lbs