In July 2020, I am teaching a 5-day class at the Touchstone Center for Craft in Farmington, PA. It is a masterclass in designing your own digitally printed fabrics with Spoonflower, with a focus on using Photoshop as your main digital design tool. I haven’t taught a class like this in more than a year, but not for lack of interest, just for lack of opportunity. It’s hard to put together a class like this without somewhere like Touchstone to help coordinate it.
You may have found my blog because of the Masterclasses that I used to teach at Spoonflower in Durham. We had to put those on hiatus, unfortunately, because the space we were using to teach in was needed for other things and we couldn’t make the budget stretch enough to be able to rent classroom space. (Space is always the biggest challenge I have in getting a class like this put together.) So I am really excited that Touchstone invited me to be there! I call it a masterclass because of the amount and depth of material we get to cover in class, but you can take the class even if you have never designed anything before. You don’t need to have any special skills and you don’t need to have ever used Photoshop.
This is a description of the class:
Learn to design your own fabrics with Spoonflower, working with Adobe Photoshop as a fabric design tool. Using photographs, paintings, drawings and cut paper textures as starting points for your designs, class time will be focused on practice with digital tools and techniques for creating seamless textures, learning how to work with layers, and understanding the techniques to accomplish specific effects. You will see hands-on samples of all of the Spoonflower fabrics and talk about optimizing your design […]
It’s time for another GameNight post to tell you about what we’ve been playing lately. This week we wanted something quick and easy, so we pulled out “Tiny Epic Quest” by Gamelyn Games. There are a whole series of “tiny epic” games: western, zombies, galaxies, kingdoms. They even have a dinosaur themed one coming out this summer that I am excited about. We also have Galaxies and Beyond the Black in this series.
They are all games that fit in a box about the size of a paperback book, hence the “tiny” in the name. One of the things I love about these games is that they can’t be very complicated, because there just isn’t space to do that. They have clever mechanics and ways of playing, but you don’t have to worry about reading an 89 page rulebook.
In Tiny Epic Quest, you have three “meeples” which are your little characters that go questing around a map. The map is built from a deck of map cards, so the arrangement changes a bit each time you play, making no two games the same. Each turn has two kinds of actions you can do. First you send your meeples off around the map to explore, and then in the second half of your turn, you roll the dice to try and fulfill the quest you’ve sent them off on.
One of the clever parts of this game is that moving your meeples is limited to only 1 kind of movement each turn (vertical, horizontal, diagonal, around the outside of the board, or a single step any direction) and players take turns choosing which one it will be. I had fun thwarting a move of my husband’s when we played last night by […]
Just before Christmas, we lost our beautiful Chester. We adopted him and his brother Leo when they were 6 months old and we got a message from a friend that there were these puppies in need of a rescue. We thought we might be nuts getting two puppies at once, but it turned out to be messy, chaotic and ridiculously affectionate fun. Chester had a cancer of the blood vessels that had spread from his abdomen to his lungs. We had no idea that anything was wrong until very early one morning when he woke us up whimpering. The emergency vet was the kindest and most gentle person who had to break the news that the tumor had ruptured, he was bleeding internally and there was nothing that we could do but say goodbye. The cancer had taken over. It was a shock and it took us a few days to be able to talk about it without sobbing. He was much loved and he will be missed. My sincere thanks to everyone who heard and reached out to us with love. The photo above is one of my favorite pictures of him ever, blissed out and panting after fetching the ball a million times.
The rest of 2019 has just faded away into a blur. I had a couple of blog posts planned out; I often write a recap post of my year and a goal for the year ahead. But instead, I just took a social media hiatus. I stepped away and de-scheduled the posts and put my Etsy shops on vacation and I just took a break. In all honesty, the idea of having to deal with a panicked last minute online customer, a shipping issue or a negative comment on something was more than I could deal […]
Every week, Spoonflower posts a design challenge theme and asks designers to create something that is their interpretation of that theme. Themes this year have included pollinators, fitness, color-blocking, pirates and dinosaurs. In 2018, I made a goal for myself of designing something every week of the challenge. I decided to continue that in 2019, so this week was my 97th consecutive design. If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, I post them there every week and often talk about how the design is made and what inspired my interpretation.
I was really happy this year that I had 6 designs that placed in the top 50 in the challenge at Spoonflower! My Color Blocked Elephants was my top finisher. It came in at #17. I also had one design – Eucalyptus Blossoms – featured in the Spoonflower holiday magazine. Most of the designs are also available in my Spoonflower shop in my 2019 Design Challenges collection.
I put together this slide show so you can see all 48 designs from this year and I marked my personal top 10 for the year and the six that placed in the Spoonflower Top 50. Some of these designs I love a lot – Striped Stegosaurus, Elizabeth, Moon Landing – and there are some that I am not so happy with. But I am super proud that I finished something every week. Practice! I am hoping in 2020 that I will break into the top 10.
Which was your favorite design from 2019? I’d love to know!
I spent this morning at a middle school being one of the guests at a middle school career fair. It’s part of a program that the local school district is doing to help kids see what kinds of things are out there and to help them get an idea of what classes they might want to take when they get to highschool and have more choices. A good friend of mine is the art teacher at this school and she invited both my husband (a software engineer) and I to come and talk to students.
We were there with representatives from the Marine Corps, nurses, a sports photographer, a midwife, a theater lighting designer (another friend), firemen and my table neighbor who has her own event photo booth business. The students had a list of questions to ask us about what we studied in school, what a typical day of our job was like or how much money we made. I thought it might be fun to write about some of the conversations we had.
Almost all of the kids I chatted with asked me about my degree. It was on their list of questions. I don’t have a degree in art. That really surprised them. I told them that really you don’t need to have a degree in art to be an artist, you just have to really love making art. (My degree is in education, with a specialty in middle school math. You should have seen the look on their faces when I told them that.) With one student I talked about how art is only a part of my job and that being an artist for me means that you also have to be able to communicate by writing and talking about your work, you have to make budgets […]
For my next board game post I am going to talk about a new-to-me game called Sagrada. My husband and I help host a monthly game night at the co-working space where he works. We teach people how to play some of our favorite games and sometimes someone brings along something new that we get to learn. This week we got to try Sagrada, which is a sort of puzzle game with dice.
Each player’s game board looks like a stained glass window and players take turns rolling a handful of brightly colored dice and placing them in the window spaces. Each person chooses a pattern for their window from a deck of cards. This part of the game is clever because the card slides into the player board, so you get a new pattern to play each time you play the game.
The game play is really simple. Players take turns rolling dice, picking and placing them. The interesting part of the game is figuring out how to place them. There are a few rules: the same color or number value of dice can’t be next to each other. The pattern in your window has symbols that tell you what can be placed there. A white tile means it’s like a wild, but there are colored spaces where you can only place a dice of the same color and numbered spaces which can only hold the same number.
There are also a collection of patterns that you are trying to make that will score you extra points. I lost my first game because I totally wasn’t paying enough attention to that. In our game the goals were to have sets of all 5 colors (red, yellow, green, blue, purple), pairs of 3s and […]