Category Archives: Out & About

on the town

More art making! This time I will be in NC!

Please join us in the Spoonflower Greenhouse for a knitting, crocheting, and sewing social with special guest, Becka Rahn, co-author of the Spoonflower Handbook!  Bring your project of choice or learn how to make your own mini origami paper dress with step-by-step instruction from Becka. You can find all of the event details and register here.

I am coming out a day early for my master class so I can spend an evening in the Greenhouse making some art. If you are in the Raleigh/Durham area, please stop by.

Footpath and the Midwest Weavers Conference

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Footpath.  The design for this moebius scarf was inspired by one of the patterns in the WGM’s 75th Anniversary “A Thread Through Time” book.  I used the basketweave tie up pattern on page 56 and translated it into a colorful geometric design, created with bits of colored and patterned paper pulled from junk mail and catalogs.  I assembled the geometric design, scanned it and created a seamlessly repeating pattern that was digitally printed on to fabric.

This last week was the Midwest Weavers Conference here in Minneapolis.  This is a regional conference hosted every other year in a different city.  Our local Weavers Guild were the hosts for the conference and I was asked to teach two technology classes as part of conference seminars, one about marketing yourself online and one about photo editing.  The piece above was my submission to the Instructors Exhibit.  Since I am only a little bit of a weaver, I didn’t want to have my little pieces on display with the masters, so I decided to go with what I am good at, but with a weaving twist.

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Our Weavers Guild is celebrating their 75th birthday this year.  As part of the celebration, they put together a book.  For years, as I understand it, the guild newsletter included a weaving draft and a tiny swatch of fabric made by volunteers, so in each newsletter, you not only got the pattern, but an example as well.  For their birthday, they pulled drafts from the archives and had guild members make contemporary pieces based on those designs and they put it altogether into a book.  So I decided to do the same, but with my twist.  So, I used the tie up pattern from a basketweave draft and translated it into color.  The design was made with paper punches and recycled paper from junk mail, receipts, newspaper and an Art-A-Whirl catalog glued to a piece of black card stock.  I call it Footpath because the tie up pattern is the part of the draft that tells you how to tie up the treadles, which are the pedals you control with your feet when you are weaving on a floor loom.  So I made this design into a piece of fabric and stitched a cowl scarf to be a part of the exhibition.  I love that it is fun and bright; I think I might keep this one for myself.  I didn’t get a photo of the finished piece, but that is the printed fabric in the top photo.

The conference was awesome!  I volunteered for several days at the Guild to help with their fiber shop and I taught two classes with really wonderful groups of students from all over the country.  I met a lot of cool people and the sense of fun and enthusiasm throughout the conference was infectious.  Everyone seemed to be really enjoying everything about it.  I am so glad that I was invited to be there.  Thanks to the organizers, advisors, attendees and volunteers who made it great!

This Weekend: Art-A-Whirl and Shepherd’s Harvest

GirlwithArtThis weekend I will be doing nothing but art.  And I mean literally nothing because I am participating in not one, but two great events and I am spending my time split between the two of them.

First, I will be at Art-A-Whirl, which is a giant open studio event in NE Minneapolis.  I am the guest artist in studio 401-B with my friends Ingrid and Eric.  It’s my first Art-A-Whirl and I think it’s going to be fun.  We are on the 4th floor in the Northrup King Building.  There are lots of good signs, just look for 401.  I will have all digitally printed fabrics there.  I have 3 dresses that are “show pieces” and a bunch of skirts, scarves, ties and hankies that are for sale.  I will be at AAW Friday, Saturday after 2pm and for just a bit on Sunday morning.

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I will also be at the Shepherd’s Harvest Festival at the Washington County Fairgrounds on Saturday morning and Sunday afternoon.  Thanks to my awesome booth mates who are helping me be at both events!  This is my 5th year (or something like that) at Shepherd’s Harvest and I will have laser cut jewelry and looms and some new really cute zipper bags featuring all kinds of knitting and fiber puns.  I even made a new day-glo pink laser cut loom just for this year’s festival.

 

 

Thank you to the American Craft Council!

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A huge thank you to all of the artists at the American Craft Council show in St Paul.  I was part of a “Hip Pop” pod, which is ACC’s new emerging artists program.  They curated pods of 6 new emerging artists and we shared a double booth space at the show.  The artists, the shoppers, and the staff were all so enthusiastic and supportive of our pod, I can’t say enough thanks to them.  We felt loved!

A special shout out to veteran artists John Jameson, Sharon Rosenthal, Arlene Wohl and Kay Chapman.  They were our neighbors at pod #303 and were absolutely welcoming and supportive (and funny when we all started to get a little tired).

I was in amazing company with my pod mates who are all so talented.  I am so glad we got to spend the days together and I hope we run into each other many times again.

Matthew Krousey.  Matt works in richly textured ceramics that have a strong connection to nature and organic designs.

Nick Lundeen  Nick’s jewelry has a sense of agelessness in style and texture.

Betty Jäger  Betty’s work has as much personality as she does.  Organic, unexpected, lots of sparkle.

Lauren Mayhew Lauren incorporates bold graphic designs into whimsical knit hats.  The pops of color with the soft neutrals remind me a lot of her personality.

Elizabeth Pechacek  Elizabeth’s work has a sense of fragility with soft colors and fine lines that is in juxtaposition to the classic forms of her pieces.

Betty, Nick, Elizabeth and I will all be at Art-a-Whirl, Matt does tons of shows around town and keep your fingers crossed for Lauren who has a job interview this week. Please say hi to them if you see them out and about in the art world.

Thank you to all of YOU who stopped by to say hi at the booth.  I can’t begin to name all of you, but it was so great to see all of your smiles and to get to show off the work I have been doing.  Thank you to Rachel for the Advil and Andi for the tea.  You are both life savers.

Today I caught up on all of the emails I have been ignoring and feel like I need a nap.  What a weekend!

Upcoming Classes: Digitizing Lecture

Screen Shot 2015-01-08 at 4.22.33 PMIt’s the month for classes for me.  Another fun class you can come to is a panel discussion called “Digitizing for Dollars” that I will be participating in on January 29 at 6:30 pm at NE Bank Community Room in Minneapolis.  It is presented by WARM (Women’s Art Resources of MN).  Several panelists will be talking about digitizing your original art and selling it online.  I will be talking about Spoonflower and using your original art to make fabric.  The other panelists will be talking about things like making patterns, digital prints and putting your artwork on objects (totes and coffee mugs).  I have worked with this group before and there is always great discussion and good questions, so I am looking forward to it.  (The event is free for WARM members, $5 if you come as a guest of a WARM member or $10 for the public.)

Giving doesn’t always = dollars

IMG_7463Many of you know I work for a non-profit arts center and I have for 9 years now.  I have worked for and volunteered for and advocated for a number of non-profits throughout my entire life and all of them have been pretty amazing creatures that do pretty amazing things.  So, I have had a couple of conversations lately with a number of different people about “I love this organization, but I can’t afford to donate anything and I feel bad about that and so I don’t know what else I can do.” and I wanted to say that there are TONS of things that you can do that don’t cost you anything, but can be enormously valuable to a non-profit.  So here’s my list of 8 simple things you can do that will cost you very little and can add up to a lot.

1.  Participate.  A lot of grants that non-profits write to help support their free concerts and exhibitions and make and take programs are all about the number of people served.  There are whole sections of grant applications that require the organization to talk very specifically about the audience and who will be participating.  So, everybody who shows up gets counted and the more people attend a concert or sign their name in the guest book, the bigger the impact the organization can show.  So just by showing up and seeing the art in the gallery and then signing your name in the guestbook, you are saying to that funder or sponsor “I think this is valuable” and that makes a big impact.  Downloading the email, clicking the link, or showing up at the event are all ways for you to be counted.

2.  Comment.  Good or bad, take the time to write a comment or complete an evaluation:  “I really loved seing this work in person because it was so amazing to be able to see the detail up close.  I will come back again for your next exhibition.” or “My kids and I attended the concert in the park and they spent the rest of the afternoon pretending to play violins and conducting their own imaginary orchestra.  What a great afternoon!”  One of my very favorite REAL quotes from a teacher that brought a field trip to my art center:  “The second grade says weaving is better than recess!”  (We named our annual youth programs exhibit after this quote.)  Quotes are also a valuable way for non-profits to communicate with sponsors and funders as a way to say “We know this project is successful because we have this feedback from people who participated.”  Evaluations are required by many program funders and feedback good (or not so good) is all really important.

3.  Like it or tweet it.  Every non-profit would like to reach more people.  If you see something on your favorite organization’s website and you hit the “like” button, you become part of the magic algorithm that networks like Google and Facebook use to rank search results.  Very simply put, the more people “like” something, the more the search engine thinks that it must be “important” or “relevant” to whatever it is looking for.  So something as simple as clicking “Like” on a post about an upcoming class about shibori silk scarves can mean that more people will discover that art center you think is really cool when they are searching around on Google.

4.  Link it.  Have a facebook page or a website or a blog?  Post a link to your favorite non-profit’s website.  Links to organizations work the same way as likes and tweets.  The more connections to the site, the more important the search engines think it is and the bigger the potential reach for your favorite organization.

5.  Spread the word.  The next time you are at your art center or a concert in the park, take an extra postcard or flyer about an upcoming event and stick it up on the bulletin board at work.  Or at your favorite coffee shop.  Or at your church.  Let me tell you from experience that getting those beautiful postcards out into the world is one of the hardest jobs ever.  There is just never enough time in the day (or postage money in the budget) to get everywhere you would like to get them.  If you get an email about an event, pass it on to a friend or post it on your Facebook page.  (Or print it out and put it on the bulletin board).  Even just talking about it is great!  Word of mouth is a really powerful tool, especially if you tell your story.

6.  Donate stuff, but ask first.  Speaking for my own non-profit program, I am delighted to get donations of stuff, but I have about zero square feet of storage space to put it in.  So although I would LOVE to have your yarn, I might have to store it on my desk until I can make room to put it. Which isn’t really ideal.  But there are really goofy things that I need (that you might not even think of) that I could put to good use right now.  Like a gallon or two of vinegar or a salad spinner or some empty yogurt containers.  We used all of those items at summer camp today and we could have used a few more.  Other useful stuff?  Rulers, sticky nametags, tablets of white scratch paper, flexible tape measures, a crock pot, a wall clock, a really big color wheel…  Many organizations have a “wish list” that might contain something you have collecting dust at your house.  Win win.

7.  Time.  Do you have an hour?  Would you be willing to hand out programs at a concert?  Or stuff envelopes for a mailing?  Or weed the garden around our building? Or help clean up after an event?  Volunteering seems like an obvious one, but sometimes the hardest jobs to fill are the ones that sound boring.  Everyone wants to attend the XYZ Event for free in exchange for some volunteer hours, but maybe you would be just as content to listen to the radio in your car and deliver these concert flyers to all the public library branches in Minneapolis.  Or maybe you would be happy to look up the address and contact info for all of the afterschool programs in the metro area and address some envelopes for me so I could send out some field trip applications?  Also if you have special skills, tell someone.  Are you a lawyer and would be willing to read over contracts for me, just to point out anything I should be concerned about?  What a great resource!

8.  Photos.  Do you love to take photos? As staff at an event, I am lucky to have a minute to snap a few pictures because I am busy making the event happen and although I would love to hire a photographer for every event, that is just not in the budget.  But I would LOVE to have your photos if you are willing to share them.  Photos are another great tool for spreading the word and showing the impact of a program or event.  They are a handy way for us to document who was there and what happened so we can refer to it next year when we start to plan the next one.

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So in the spirit of “walk the walk”, here are links to some of my favorite non-profits or community organizations:

Textile Center.  This is the art center where I work and I am pretty proud of what we do.

Weavers Guild of MN.  A sister organization to Textile Center with some of the greatest staff and members ever.

Northern Clay Center.  Ditto.  Amazing people, great work.

Upper Midwest Great Dane Rescue.  My friend Danielle volunteers like crazy for these guys and the photos of those giant floppy faces just make me smile.

Orchestrate Excellence.  My friend Paula dedicates a lot of time to this group that is advocating for the MN Orchestra musicians and their endless lockout situation.

Star of the North Concert Band.  My husband is a member of this band and there is nothing I like better than a summer evening in the park with my knitting and listening to them play a concert.