Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Scary Times at the International Quilt Festival in Houston!

I have been looking forward to attending the Halloween-week event of the year for months, or maybe for 14 years, depending upon how you do the math. This extravagant trade and retail show for the quilting industry has happened on the frightful Halloween week for as many years as I can remember. My first trip to this landmark event happened in 1987 and this week's trip will mark my 10th year of attendance!

The gap between my last trip to Houston, to play with all of my quilting peers, happened in 1999, and during the space between then and now, my fiber art passion has decidedly moved away from the heritage fine craft of quilt making into other hand needle art techniques like embroidery and felting. My street cred for quilting expertise has long-since worn off. I am looking forward to seeing how many other mixed-media and felt-loving fiber artists will be represented at this annual show. I expect to be stunned by the variety of offerings and all the talented artists and businesspeople represented. That's what always thrilled me about this event in years past...the unbridled creativity in this huge convention center.

My beautiful Mom, Bonnie Leman
A bit of anxiety is bubbling up for me regarding my opportunity to meet with many of the wonderful folks who have been friends of my mom's over the years...folks who have had personal relationships with Bonnie Leman and were often featured prominently in my family's stellar publications, Quilter's Newsletter Magazine and Quiltmaker Magazine. I have contacted Karey Bresenhan, the driving force behind the International Quilt Festival, and one of my mom's life-long friends, and I am looking forward to catching up with Karey. There is a little scary feeling about seeing so many women whom I often saw standing side-by-side with my mom. We lost mom 3 years ago this September, and this will bring back tons of memories for me. I want to feel strong about all of this, but I will admit to you that I am teary just thinking about it all.

Cruella Inspiration
The last Halloween-type scare I just know will happen Thursday, October 31st, is the impact that my three fantastic friends and I will make as we enter the Quilt-a-Palooza ballroom in Texas dressed up in our costumed-best!! Now, it's been about 20 years since I last dressed in costume for Halloween, and that right there tells you how much I look forward to this sort of thing. Regardless, I have created, along with my pals, a Beauty Contestant Costume theme
that will just knock your socks off, or so is the plan. Yes, the four of us are each going as beauty pageant contestants, tiaras and all! When my son saw my costume, his response was, "So, you're going for a little Cruella Deville, huh mom?" Well, yeah.

This little Halloween journey began when the four of us visited a Goodwill store after lunch one day, in the hunt for prom dresses we could embellish. I found a striking black and white Jessica McClintock gown, which would have pleased Cruella Deville to death! My costume takes that strapless taffeta gown and with some fiber-friendly embellishment, and a little inspiration from the brightly-colored spiders of Australia, I will present my interpretation of Ms. HighFiber. (I thought that was more appropriate than entering the contest as Grandma Colorado...) You know, beauty contests are pretty silly, even by those who take them seriously, so we figured, let's have a laugh.

And you know what, when you are laughing, no matter what kind of challenge faces you, it is easy to celebrate. I hope to blog later in the week...along with a photo of the International Quilt Festival in full swing. It will be a homecoming for me of sorts, don't you think? I'm really glad I found a fantastic prom dress to wear.

Thanks for stopping by,

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Inspirational Tuesday: Enjoy a New Dance

In the past couple of weeks in my Nestle And Soar Studio, I have been dancing around all of the fiber art projects I have in some stage of creation. By dancing around them, I mean I have been circling them, looking at them, touching them and feeling love for them...but I haven't been adding to them. Today is a good day to stop the dance of the familiar, and to instead fill my mind and heart with new inspirations...the creations of others! Do you ever feel almost bored by what you have going on in your creative life? When this happens to me, I know it is time to get out of my own head, out of my own studio, and seek inspiration from outside! Besides a fun online journey to find inspiration, it is important to actually go into your actual community and visit with other creatives (do I sound stuck, or what?!). Today in Colorado, it is supposed to be 67 degrees with clear skies...stepping into this beauty will be very inspirational. What inspires you today?

Ibihaj Jneid

Owl Jones Art

Meg Hannan, Fabric Jewels

Textures Gallery, Along the Stream Bed, Alice Pickett Lewis
Thanks for stopping by,

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Uplifting and Nurturing Yourself and Others

When was the last time you spent four full days unplugged, surrounded by vibrant women of all ages, while being encouraged to rest and be completely well-fed and pampered? If this sounds appealing to you, I highly recommend the event I just attended in Colorado!

Emerging Women 2013 is an event I attended October 10-13, and as a entrepreneur and family-centered woman, I found it to be important both personally and professionally. Emerging Women is a new movement and event designed to support and inspire women to express themselves authentically through the work that they do. This energetic group strives to provide the tools, knowledge, and networking needed to help women lead, start and grow businesses in ways that integrate feminine values such as connection, collaboration and heart.

I did feel included and nourished by this event and am glad that I invested both time and money as a participant. Do you know about any heartfelt events such as this near your hometown? Do you give yourself permission to take personal or professional-growth mini-vacations? I hope you will consider finding a special time-out in your upcoming schedule. Here are some of the inspirational ideas that female thought leaders I visited with presented...along with the part of their message that I found most inspiring!
  • What role does creativity in my work as an artist play in my health and wellness?
Brené Brown
  • Eliza Reynolds, a 20 year-old woman asks me about the crisis of perfectionism, and the message young women misunderstand today. She reports that being told "You can be anything," actually is heard as "You have to be everything." She has asked me and all the women at this conference to be a teacher to young women about what it means to be a Whole Woman, instead of a dissatisfied woman who fractures herself by seeking perfection.
Alanis Morissette
  • Tara Moore encourages all women to pay loving attention to our biggest challenges and our true calling in life. She reminds me that the human body is beautifully designed to give each of us hints and clues about what arenas in life are part of our greatest good. For instance, when was the last time you felt goose bumps on your arms and the thrill of excitement in your chest when you began a project in your work? Living your true calling would provide you with this physical response, as it is your body's way of telling you that you are in your true flow.
Eve Ensler
  • Sera Beck was unknown by me before this event, and her presentation was dramatic and heart wrenching. She gently reminds me to put my energy into my soul's work ahead of any sort of business template or to-do list. As a determined A-type person, I needed to hear this advice.
  • Elizabeth Gilbert, author of the popular book, Eat, Pray, Love reiterated Sera's message when she told the crowd that her best work has always been accompanied by ease and joy. 
Elizabeth Gilbert
  • Kristen Neff is a researcher and college professor who reminds us all that self compassion is related to well being as the flip side to self disregard. When was the last time your inner critic told you that you don't know what you are doing? How easily I can speak harshly to myself, in a manner I would never speak to another person!
  • How would you describe your one most true and natural talent? 
  • How do you take care of your future self? Do you sometimes think that living a long life would be great, as long as you never become a burden to your family? What could you do now to reduce the chances that you will be feeble in old age?
  • How do you give yourself creative license?
Georgianne Holland
  • If you make a product or an artistic object, or if you have a service to provide, how do you decide the price folks should pay? Do you feel that a fair price is paid for your skills or expertise? Did you know that if you charge less than a fair price, the transaction is unhealthy for both you and your customer/client? No one wants to be belittled, or sell themselves short. Exchange value for value.
  • Women are designed to be interdependent and relational. Being truly happy for one another instead of feeling competitive toward one another is attending to your wellness. Can your work be pursued while you attend to your primary relationships and make self-care a priority?

As I revisit my notes from this dynamic weekend, I know in my heart that being "all that I can be" is at times an overwhelming responsibility. Women have such potential for greatness, and when we think big and live large, like I did this past weekend with 375 new friends in Boulder, I am reminded that the great success of my dreams will largely depend on the support and encouragement I both receive and give. Yes, my friends, we may have many skills and goals, but we are not, in my opinion, designed to function as an island. We are meant to succeed as a community, helping one another rise/fail/rise again/learn/trust/nestle/soar.

Thanks for stopping by! I appreciate being able to share my journey with you.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Top 10 Tuesday -- Autumn Splendor

The color palette of Autumn is thrilling to me, and perhaps you feel the same. I decided to find 10 inspirational fiber artists who have created gorgeous items in this blaze of fall colors: orange, gold, purple, and romantic reds. These are the colors that fill the Colorado landscape this time of year, and I love them! Are you ready to have your cozy socks knocked off by Autumn joy? Enjoy this Top 10 list and be sure to visit with these talented artists, as each one is a member of the exceptional Textile And Fiber Artist List (TAFA). I highly recommend this professional and vibrant fiber art community to everyone who knows and loves quality handmade craftsmanship and healthy independent entrepreneurship from around the world!

Fall Scarf Hand Woven by Loom On the Lake

This handwoven scarf is luxuriously supple with a sheen and graceful drape. Contents include a mixture of bamboo yarns, which is soft yet strong. 7 3/4" x 68", $175 USD, LoomOnTheLake in Lake George, New York.

Felt Pendant Necklace by LenteJulcsi

Fall days are a great time to adorn yourself with warm colors and textures, and I cannot imagine a softer way to add sparkle to your fashion! Decorated with playful freestyle machine stitching, this fun pendant includes a cotton cord with a metal clasp closure. $15 USD, LenteJulcsi in Hungary.

Indian Summer Embroidered Pouch by LaTouchables

When you carry this hand-crafted envelope-style purse, know that you will be enjoying a one-of-a-kind stunner that has the touch and heart of many hands! Created by LaTouchables in Germany, this beautiful item includes South Asian embroidered cotton, Indian Banjara, glass beads from Germany, two antique buttons from the maker's great-grandmother, and Italian cotton in bright fall colors! A real compilation of styles and places...a global work of art! $96.25 USD

Warm Your Floor with Stunning Fiber by Odpaam

This colorful rag rug is a one-of-a-kind treasure that brings color to your floor and warmth to your feet. Crocheted using t-shirt yarn and remnants hand cut by Odpaam in Jerusalem, Israel, this free-form rug is soft yet durable, with a simple machine wash and air dry, it will stay crisp and playful for years to come! 40" x 30", $160 USD.

Rich Coiled Rope Basket by Sally Manke

This cheerful basket would look great filled with bath or body lotions as a gift for an Autumn bridal shower or filled with burp clothes and baby wipes for a baby shower! Beautiful warm colors and embellishment with a bright glass bead, this clothesline basket by Sally Manke in Arcadia, Michigan is a great find! $38 USD.

Hand Dyed, Multi-Fiber Skein by The Rainbow Girl

Here's a fun way to add some sparkle to your Fall creativity! This multi-fiber selection of hand-dyed threads of coordinated colors and textures has been combined into a single, 118 inch (running length) skein. TheRainbowGirl in Bishop's Stortford, United Kingdom has combined cotton, silk and viscose yarns, which are perfect for embroidery, embellishing scrapbook pages or altered books, tassels, braids or any other project which comes to mind!! $4.94 USD.

Jewel Toned Beauty by Dianne Koppisch Hricko

This crinkled silk chiffon scarf is almost poetic, the way it gently folds and billows around the neck. Dyed multiple times using the ancient shibori method, DianneKoppischHricko in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, says it well when she tells us this scarf provides a sculptural beauty as it frames your face. You can see all of the jewel-tones in this gorgeous scarf in her online shop! $60 USD.

Autumn Free-Form Crocheted Handbag by Rensfibreart

I love a new handbag as the season's change, don't you? This one is colorful and just the perfect size, with two internal pockets (one that zips), and a secure zipper for top closure. Rensfibreart in Landsborough, Australia has included gum leaf motifs and bamboo handles in this 14" wide and 8 1/2" tall handbag. $231.59 USD.

Thread Painted Art Quilt by RubyWingsArt

The colors of Autumn just would not be complete here in Colorado without something created in a majestic royal blue! If you haven't seen our Colorado skies this time of year, you are missing a real treat. This lovely 12 1/4" square wall art quilt is a lovely tribute to your beautiful blue sky! Applique, satin stitch, hand embroidery, and bead work are among the fantastic techniques on show in this piece by RubyWingsArt in Saint Paul, Minnesota. $150 USD.

Ode to the Garden! Needle Case by LornaBateman22

My final choice for this top 10 list is a tribute to all the flowers and gardens we enjoyed this spring and summer. Do you walk around your garden spaces in the fall and give a little loving farewell to the blossoms as they start to fade? I know that I do! This luxurious needle art kit by LornaBateman22 in the United Kingdom will allow you to make a 5" x 6 1/2" needle case of your own. It is a family heirloom in the making! $89.95 USD

I hope you will let me know which of these master-crafted items is your favorite!
Thanks for stopping by,

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Garden of Gratitude Exhibit at Mile Hi Church

I am pleased to announce that one of my favorite fiber art pieces has been accepted into the Garden of Gratitude exhibit at Colorado's popular church, Mile Hi, in Lakewood. This special exhibit is a mixed media exhibit featuring wonderful examples of both fine art and fine craft, all created in the garden theme. I entered my piece entitled Garden of Eden, which is one of a nine-part installation. I am loving the process of creating this series, which includes a mix of fine needlework techniques: quilt art, beading, embroidery (hand and machine), and hand needle felting!

The nine pieces in this series are being created to hang as a unified grid with three rows of three panels, each mounted on a birch box frame. The piece you see here is the centerpiece of that group.

I expect to have the entire installation, which will measure approximately 100" x 70", finalized by early 2014. I am hopeful that a collector will snap up the entire series for display in a lovely public space setting. I hope you will let me know if you or your organization are looking for fiber folk art in this eco chic garden theme! I am excited to be planning more large mixed technique fiber art pieces from my studio here at Nestle And Soar, and hope to show them all to you in the months to come!

Thanks for stopping by,