Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Textile Art vs. Fiber Art -- Which words do you use?

Work by Nancy Crow
I have long defined my work as fiber folk art and it is usually a comfortable way for me to talk about what I do in my studio. Because I communicate with my collectors over the Internet, I have learned that art lovers in different parts of the United States and abroad use other words to describe the kind of objects/art I create. Outside of the conversation about the relative value of art as opposed to craft, which is a subject that often carries a bit of tension, I've been thinking about the choice of calling myself a fiber artist over a similar term, textile artist. Have you ever thought about a geographical or a perceived sophistication difference in the words used?

In common usage today, any type of artwork which uses pliable, organic elements as the major material can be labeled as either fiber art or textile art, and I notice when I do an Internet search that a large variety of examples come up when either term, fiber or textile, is used. However, I am noticing that there seems to be a difference between artworks that are created using traditional needlework techniques like stitching, weaving, spinning, felting, or quilting and those artworks that are made using a more expansive toolkit, like combining fiber with other mixed-media, adhesives, heated tools, or non-organic structural elements. Another clear reference to the word textile can be seen in ancient textiles to those of the 21st century, where a lineage of makers/artists created yardage of fabric, each baring the fingerprint of the artist.

Work by Miriam Schapiro
How does any of this history or word play make a difference in my profession? I believe that the way in which a person thinks about him or herself is a foundational element to whatever it is they do to earn a living. I am a professional artist, meaning my creative process is undertaken in a manner that addresses my economic goals and traditional business practices. When I use certain words to describe my artwork, words that feel apologetic or self-limiting, this has an impact on not only my own self expression but also on the manner in which the public views my work. I do sometimes feel hesitant to tell others I am a fiber artist, as if I am a poor cousin visiting the art world. Does this ever happen to you?

I believe that the art community, and especially the textile art community, has a strong heritage of skills that are passed down through both professional communities as well as domestic circles, and my work as an artist in in keeping with those who came before me. That means I can stand with some of my favorite artists who broke free of traditional and perhaps limiting art world boxes and now represent innovation in the fiber and textile arts--favorite artists like Nancy Crow and Miriam Schapiro come to mind.

Work by Georgianne Holland
When you consider making, buying or talking about fiber art, I hope that you also hold an expansive view about what it can mean within the larger artistic community. Beyond gender, beyond education, beyond cultural boundaries, there is a space for creativity using pliable organic fibers that speaks to humans in a very textural, seductive and accessible way. I have grown to think highly of all of this manner of communicating beauty and ideas, as I'm sure you have as well, and it is my hope that others will also help us sing the praises of creativity, using whichever words and mediums  ring most true.

Thanks for stopping by,

Find my work at

Friday, June 6, 2014

Decoupage Anyone?

My light table decoupaged as a cheerful patchwork!
I love Mod Podge! If you know what I mean, then you are likely ready to tackle another decoupage project. I have used a variety of glues and techniques to decorate the surface of many objects over the years. I've embellished large pieces of furniture all the way down to teeny tiny balsa wood circles. It is a fun way to make my home decor a one-of-a-kind piece.

One thing I have never done is decoupage the backside of clear glass trays, allowing my art of choice be showcased in this DIY upgrade. Have you tried this yet? I found an artist named John Derian who makes glue and botanical images look classy on the wall, and with only a few dollars invested in supplies. This is a great home decor bargain!

STEP ONE Locate a copyright-free image of your choice in the size that will fit on the back of your glass tray. The folks at Behrenberg Glass sell a variety of tray sizes.
Places in the Home Tray
STEP TWO Clean the back of your glass tray with window cleaner, wiping to remove any residue. After it dries completely, sponge brush a think layer of Mod Podge over the entire tray back. Place your image, right side down, on top of the Mod Podge. Quickly flip the tray over to make sure the image is centered as you like it. Smooth the paper against the glass, then place the tray back side up on a clean work surface. With a cylindrical object, like a clean wine cork, roll out any air bubbles until the paper fully molds to the glass. Dry for 30 minutes.
STEP THREE Brush a thin coat of Mod Podge onto the back of the tray, from edge to edge. Place a clean white sheet of paper onto the glue, flush against the back of the image you already glued there. Smooth it with your fingers and roll out any air bubbles, as with the first layer. Dry for 30 minutes.
STEP FOUR Cut away any excess paper around the tray edges with a craft knife. You may want to cut away a thin line all around the edge of the glass. That way, you can in a later step, apply a paint color that from the front of the piece, will look like a colorful edge treatment. After your trimming is complete, seal the back side of this white paper layer with a thin coat of Mod Podge and a sponge brush. Dry for 30 minutes.
YouTube has many decoupage tutorials.
STEP FIVE When you tray is completely dry, paint the tray's back side with an acrylic color of your choice. This is when any cut away edge around the white paper will sport a color that will show through on the front of your piece.

I am having fun going through my own catalog of nature, bird, tree and flower images, looking for a few ideal decoupaged tray choices. I think we all know that there will be birds involved in the end!

Thanks for stopping by,

P.S. I would love it if you'd follow my blog and share it with your friends. It is my goal to surround myself with people who love textiles, art, creativity, vibrant living, colorful home decor, healthy food, loving friends and inspiration! Best wishes, Georgianne - See more at:
P.S. I would love it if you'd follow my blog and share it with your friends. It is my goal to surround myself with people who love textiles, art, creativity, vibrant living, colorful home decor, healthy food, loving friends and inspiration! Best wishes, Georgianne - See more at:
P.S. I would love it if you'd follow my blog and share it with your friends. I am inspired by this community of creative, passionate, and friendly women! Best wishes, Georgianne

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Artists' Unhealthiest Habit and How to Stand Up to It

I have some NEAT advice for all my fellow artists, as well as my charming friends who: love to read, love to relax in their porch swing, are computerized office workers, or those who love to take long road trips. This advice is perfect for all of us who lead lives primarily from the seated position. Stand Up for your Health!
Two recent studies show that being sedentary for long stretches might be one of the unhealthiest things we do each day -- even if we regularly exercise. Guilty!

The second we sit down, three important things stop or slow down in our body: the calories we burn, our enzyme activity (digestion), and electrical activity in the leg muscles shut off. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the average American spends 9.3 hours each day sitting. As an artist who creates behind a sewing machine and operates an online boutique, I am certain I meet or exceed this statistic.

What is my NEAT advice for everyone who thinks their chair is the best place on earth? 

NEAT is an acronym for Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis, a term used by James Levine, MD, PhD, for all the incidental movement you do throughout the day that is not considered formal exercise. I believe that my smart phone is my greatest advocate in this goal to increase my movement throughout the day. I set my timer to ring every 60 minutes with the song Happy by Pharrel Williams. Have you ever tried to not move around when this song is playing? It has become the cue in my fiber art studio to stand up, dance around, and shake my backside. This is a healthy and silly prompt to reinvigorate my circulation.

Here are some more NEAT ways to get moving:
Strap on a fitness-tracking device. I use a BodyMedia armband to keep track of how much I move each day. It is incredibly motivating to me!
Watch TV while doing chores. I fold clothes, dust my furniture, and go up and down stairs throughout commercial breaks. I don't feel like I am missing any plot points...heck, does TV even have a plot anymore?
Learn a new hobby. I've gone old-school and am taking up again some of the playground favorites of my youth. I am determined to relearn how to jump rope! Yes, think Mohammad Ali and his quick-step jump rope training. I especially want to master those awesome cross overs and double jumps!
Give up a few conveniences. Operating a fiber art studio is a physical job. There is a lot of moving around, heavy lifting and bending/twisting action. To make sure my body is not sedentary for long stretches of time in the studio, I have learned to be a little less efficient with my seated tasks and instead, add in bouts of action throughout the day. Is it inconvenient to interrupt a lengthy machine-quilting session with cleaning duties? Yes. Does it decrease my risk of future cardiovascular disease? Yes.

Let's all stand up for good health!

Thanks for stopping by,

P.S. I would love it if you'd follow my blog and share it with your friends. It is my goal to surround myself with people who love textiles, art, creativity, vibrant living, colorful home decor, healthy food, loving friends and inspiration! Best wishes, Georgianne