8 July, 2019

Wiksten Shift: I thought it would be cute…

2019-07-08T19:10:33-05:00Everything Else|3 Comments

I don’t have a lot of time to sew purely for myself. A lot of my business is sewing for other reasons: making items to sell or creating pieces for exhibitions. A few weekends ago, I ended up with some free time and nothing pressing on my agenda. I wandered up to Knit & Bolt, my neighborhood fabric store, and I bought a copy of the Wiksten Shift Dress pattern.

I’d been seeing this one all over Instagram and the craft blogs. It’s a super simple shape and I could have probably drafted the pattern myself, but I like to support indie pattern designers and I honestly didn’t want to think that hard. I just wanted to spend an afternoon making a simple dress.

I had a perfect piece of fabric: a blue/green woven that I had bought to make a dress for my sister’s wedding. I ended up not having enough fabric for the dress I wanted to make for that event, so I used something else and this green went in the stash. It’s a cool weave that has blue threads in the warp and green threads in the […]

18 June, 2019

Intention and Expectation: Attending the Americans for the Arts Conference

2019-06-18T09:21:25-05:00An Artist's Life, Everything Else|Comments Off on Intention and Expectation: Attending the Americans for the Arts Conference

The Americans for the Arts (AFTA) conference was held in Minneapolis this weekend. It is a national conference for art administrators primarily to get together and talk about funding, sustainability, data, evaluation, and innovation and do it in a room with other people who get it. I love being an artist, but I was really good at being an arts administrator. Art is something I have to do because it is part of who I am and I can’t not do it; being an arts admin was something I was called to do by whatever little voice in your head it is that tells you that you need to do this because you can make a difference.

I left my arts admin job about 5 years ago. It was an organization that I deeply loved, a mission I believed in and a community with a lot of untapped potential. I worked way too many hours and there were some parts of the approximately 1 million cobbled together parts of my job that I was less than wonderful at, but by and large it was a good fit. I did good work and proud of the projects and connections I got […]

7 June, 2019

Fabric Review Part 2: Spoonflower’s Petal Cotton vs Sateen

2020-05-22T12:55:40-05:00Everything Else, Fabric Reviews, Spoonflower & Fabric Design|4 Comments

After I posted my initial comparison with Petal Cotton, Basic Cotton and Kona Cotton from Spoonflower, I had several people ask me about Cotton Sateen. Sateen is my favorite of the lightweight cotton fabrics and has been for a long time. Sateen has a different kind of weave structure. Instead of the warp and the weft threads being evenly distributed, a sateen weave lets the warp threads “float” across the surface of the fabric. I’ve always found Spoonflower’s sateen to be the best for printing fine details; designs always print very crisply. (It’s also 56″ inches wide, which means you get a lot more fabric when you order a yard of sateen.)

Holding the Sateen and the Petal cotton swatches in my hand, the Petal feels a little heavier/thicker, but when I weigh them on my postal scale, they show the same weight, so the difference is subtle.

As far as printing, Sateen still is the best for crisp sharp details. Petal is great (and a big step up), but Sateen is just a little sharper yet. On this design you can see it best in the grey-on-grey sections. The edges of the shapes are just a little more precise […]

14 May, 2019

Fabric Review: First Impressions of Spoonflower’s new Petal Cotton

2020-05-22T12:55:51-05:00Everything Else, Fabric Reviews, Spoonflower & Fabric Design|9 Comments

This week Spoonflower replaced two of its standard fabrics, the Basic Cotton and Kona Cotton, with a brand new Petal Signature Cotton fabric. I am a Pro member of Spoonflower so I got a sample swatch a week or two ago and I wanted to write up some of my first impressions of the new fabric.

First, I want to talk a little about the retired fabrics. I hardly ever use Kona Cotton. It’s really a quilting fabric and I am not a quilter so I don’t have a lot of reasons to use it. I always thought it was a nice quality fabric, but I don’t have a lot more to say about it since I use it so rarely.

I have always felt that the Basic Cotton was exactly that: basic. I consider it to be something like dressmakers muslin; great for testing things but nothing special. It was relatively light weight and I always felt like the print quality was a little lackluster. The colors seemed a bit dull. All in all it was an absolutely fine craft fabric but I never felt like it was something I wanted to make a finished project out of. (Sateen […]

10 April, 2019

Five years at the American Craft Council show

2019-04-09T23:04:19-05:00An Artist's Life, Everything Else|2 Comments

This year was my fifth year exhibiting at the American Craft Council Show. If you don’t know about their shows, here’s a little nutshell. The American Craft Council is located in Minneapolis (formerly in NYC) and they are an organization that promotes fine craft. They put on a conference, host lots of talks and small events, and publish two magazines that “champion handmade”. Each year (for the past 30+ years) they put together a large craft show in four different locations: Atlanta, Baltimore, St Paul and San Francisco. Each is a juried show with 200+ artists working in fiber, metal, jewelry, wood, or glass.

I started with their Hip Pop emerging artists program. That’s an image of my 2017 booth in its cardboard glory. (I actually think the cardboard popups are awesome and I think my work really popped against that kraft paper color.) Hip Pop is also a juried program but allows artists to share a booth with other emerging artists. The booth fees are lower (because of the limited space) and some of the display/lighting is included, so it is a way for new artists to try out the show […]

14 February, 2019

Making art is pay to play; I wish it wasn’t.

2019-02-14T16:32:53-06:00Everything Else|5 Comments

I was reading a post on a friend’s Facebook page a few days ago. Her daughter is a dancer; she was a dancer in her youth. The post (which my friend didn’t write, but was commenting on) was an open letter to some dance-related organization about girls showing up to audition for something and having to pay a fee to audition. There were a lot of comments, mostly that expressed outrage that anyone should be expected to have to pay to participate in an audition. I didn’t comment because I am not part of that community, but I snorted and thought to myself “Welcome to the club!”

As an artist, I have to pay to audition all the time. Nearly everything I apply to has a “jury fee” associated with it. I was talking with friends about this several months ago and we were all surprised. They had never heard of a “jury fee” and I didn’t know that my non-artist friends didn’t know this was a thing. So that seemed like a great reason to write a post about it.

Most of the shows and exhibitions my work would be a good […]

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