Tuesday, July 30, 2013

English Garden Fiber Folk Art Pillow is Pure Romance

Simply Elegant Home Decor
Romantic home decor is a comfortable style that is sweet, but never saccharine. Romantics celebrate the idealistic side of life, and like their home environment to be softly welcoming. All of the senses are addressed when romantic decorating is honored, with luxurious textiles, a creamy color palette, light filtering through draped windows, and lovely flower arrangements. In my most successful romantically decorated room, feminine energy may reign, but my husband also feels comfortable.

English Garden Fiber Folk Art Pillow, 18"x18"
The romantic in me was fully present on the day I designed and created the English Garden Pillow for Nestle And Soar! A mother bird is feeding her chick inside a swirly, gentle tree. A slight sparkle from the hand-applied seed beads adds a touch of glitz, and the organic linen I used is creamy and super soft.

Have you experimented with the romantic decorating style in your own home? Many of the textiles that I have inherited over the years come to me from the women in my family who lived in beautifully simple, Victorian-era lives. The fancy manor house living with rose gardens dappled around the English countryside is not my background, yet I like to pretend that it could have been! A lot of the romantic women I know enjoy incorporating a soft English-country style into their modern family homes. Do you? I'd love to hear about it.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Handmade Eco-Chic Pillow Giveaway!

Bright Peace Pillow
Giving away my fiber folk art to an enthusiastic fan of handmade is exciting to me! I am pleased to announce that YOU have a chance to win one of two fan-favorite designs from my pillow collection at Nestle And Soar. It is as easy as 1-2-3 to enter this fun giveaway. Here is a handy link for you to use!

Blue Jay Needle Felt Pillow
I will be collecting entries until midnight on July 29, 2013. The winner will be notified by email and their choice of one design from the two pillows shown will be sent to a lucky address in the 48 contiguous United States. Which pillow would look great in your stylish home?

The Bright Peace pillow is made with hand-applied wool felt circles onto organic linen. The Bluebird pillow is hand needle-felted and embroidered onto organic linen.

Hand-stitching is a fine craft technique that I just love! The wool circles in this statement Peace Pillow were appliqued using the classic blanket stitch. Decorating with colorful and luxurious pillows is one of my favorite home decor tricks. On a neutral sofa, you can pull in bright colors from elsewhere in the room. On a darker sofa, this creamy linen is a lovely contrast. All of my handmade pillow designs are made one-by-one in my Colorado fiber art studio, and I hope they will find a special spot in your one-of-a-kind space!

Thanks for stopping by and good luck,

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Creating a Bird Haven at Home

If you are a bird lover, chances are good that your personality is drawn toward bright colors, cheerful flowers, and a wide range of garden and landscape styles. I am the kind of bird lover who is always looking out her windows, at home and in the car, scanning for the flicker of colorful birds! I plant a lot of yellow in my flowerbeds, and I love the counterpoint of purples like hydrangea or climbing clematis. Have you taken the time to create a bird-friendly backyard?

Here are three tips I have found useful for making sure more birds visit my home! In my way of thinking, a landscape filled with beauty is not complete without a bird haven. Do you agree?

Two Major Bird Concerns The two biggest concerns for birds are finding food and being safe. I offer lots of vegetation like trees, shrubs, flowerbeds and vines, and this gives birds choices for safe landing spots. The foods that are most popular in my yard are insects, berries, and fruit. Seeds like no-mess blends are always offered, too, but alone, they are not ideal for attracting birds. 

Watch and Learn My large dining room window is my favorite perch for bird watching, and from there I realized that the neighborhood cat who is left to roam at will has been ruining my bird haven efforts! A friendly call to my neighbor has helped with that issue. The cover of sheltering tree limbs and ornamental grasses has helped birds feel safe in my yard. We often see hawks gliding in the thermals above our home, and a sheltering landscape helps small backyard birds rest easy about predators in the air.  

Stop Tidying Up By nature, I like to put things back into place at the end of each day. I'm a bit of a neat-freak. In my bird-friendly yard, a natural, more wild approach brings better results! Trimming back hedges and flowerbeds every week removes some of the insect-rich oasis for birds. It is good for me to be more casual in my yard work, as it lets me just relax in the lush, colorful space.

I would love to hear about your bird-friendly spaces!

Thanks for stopping by,

P.S. If you would like to see my latest colorful, handmade bird pillows, here is a quick link. Birds look great inside the home, too!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Her Point of View -- Cindy Grisdela, Fiber Artist

Coral Reef
The fiber art community is a warm and welcoming place, and meeting new friends around the Colorado fiber art and fine craft scene is a joy! Visiting with other artists face-to-face adds greatly to my understanding of the varied opportunities in my field as well as opportunities to stretch and grow as an artist.

Interestingly, meeting other artists over the Internet has become a more steady part of my outreach in the fiber arts community. While we may never meet face-to-face, I can certainly tell you that delightful friendships can blossom through cyberspace!

Cindy in her sunny studio in Virginia
I would like to introduce you to one such new friend of mine, quilt artist Cindy Grisdela, from Reston, Virginia. She has also spent her time and talent getting to know other fiber artists, and in a recent interview, I learned a lot about how this successful, exhibited artist has built her career, year by year. Here is Cindy's point of view--

Georgianne Holland: Have you always been confident in letting your art quilt designs develop without a firm (design) plan, or did you need to build up your courage to work this way over time?
Cindy Grisdela: I started out as a self-taught traditional quilter about 30 years ago. I loved the old patterns and hand-stitching and made many quilts for my family and to give away as gifts. I almost always would tweak a pattern slightly to make it a little different than described. About 10 years ago I looked around at my quilts and realized that all of them were someone else's design, and that it was important to me to begin doing work that was uniquely mine. I started out revisiting traditional patterns like Sunshine and Shadow and Drunkard's Path and recreating them in a more contemporary style. You can see Coral Reef and Splash of Color on my Etsy shop page. Over a period of time, I became more confident in using a completely improvisational style, where I begin with only a general idea of what I want to accomplish and let the design evolve on my design wall. One of the first pieces I did that with was Amber Harvest which won a juror's choice award at Art Quilts Lowell in 2010.
Splash of Color

GH: Congratulations on that award! How would you describe your business style as a fiber artist?
CG:  Although I'm a self-taught fiber artist, I do have an undergraduate degree in Art History, and a master's degree in Business. I'm very focused on the business side of my career, and I try to take advantage of opportunities that present themselves. Early on, before I could really afford it, I hired Gloria Hansen at Gloderworks to design a very professional website for my work. That has been one of the best business decisions I ever made, since having a nice website has helped me to get gallery representation, commissions and other opportunities that I don't think would have come my way otherwise. Having a blog integrated into my website has also been important, and I try to blog at least twice a week--summers are a little slower for that though. I also joined TAFA in the early days and have tried to give back to that community as well. Plus I have a shop on Etsy, I blog regularly and I have a presence on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest.

Amber Harvest
GH: What kind of community support are you finding in your hometown, and how has that impacted your work?
CG:  I belong to a multimedia arts group in my area called Great Falls Studio which has been tremendously important in the development of my work. It's been a huge advantage to be part of a group of creative people who support each other, even though I'm one of the only fiber artists in the group. I don't think I would be where I am today in my career without them. I started exhibiting in their local shows about 8 years ago. That was an invaluable learning experience that gave me confidence that I could have an art career at all. The key was to get involved though. I'm very active in the group, on the board of directors now, even though when I joined I only knew one other person. 

If you are a fiber artist who longs to build your professional presence, or you are a lover of colorful quilt art, I believe that Cindy is an artist whose expertise with both business and the tactile medium of art quilts is an ideal role model and guide. Thanks to Cindy for letting us see and learn more about the lovely world she has created in Virginia! I am a huge fan!

Thanks for stopping by,

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Betsy Ross -- American Entrepreneur and Patriot

Like schoolchildren across the USA, I've always believed that Betsy Ross sewed the first American flag. I thought of her as an inspirational fiber artist. Historians report that this iconic story about sewing stars and stripes is not fact, yet I do still hold Betsy as an inspiration in my fiber art career. 

The way I see it, this legendary American woman lived a life worth emulating! Having outlived three husbands in a war-torn country, during which time she gave birth to seven daughters, Betsy was strong and independent. She ran a successful upholstery business, and became a symbol of patriotism throughout America and across the centuries. Kudos to Betsy!

I like the part of the Betsy legend that has been passed on by her grandson, William J. Canby, that his grandmother taught George Washington how to make a five-pointed star with a single clip of her scissors!

My flag folk art in progress at Nestle And Soar
Do you believe that Betsy was the kind of American woman you would have enjoyed knowing as a friend? I'll bet she had great stories to tell! All of the political intrigue surrounding her husbands would have been an interesting topic over lunch. Having husbands in leadership positions, one who was a swaggering pirate-type rascal, sounds lively to me! Raising seven daughters, mostly on her own while running a business, sounds like the life of a woman who had high self esteem and strong leadership skills herself.

Many American homes will be decorated with our flag this month, and being a member of the Folk Art Society of America, the decorative use of flag images is a favored artistic source in my work as a fiber folk artist. Like the Betsy Ross I have imagined for all these years, I sew my flag-inspired items using tiny hand-made stitches---1000's of them! I have the calluses on my fingers to prove it. I hope that my efforts as an American woman, wife, mother, entrepreneur and artist leave a legacy that my kids and grandkids will be proud to pass on for generations to come! 

Thanks for stopping by,