The Holidays and Winter Aftermath – Effects on Art and Business

What is it about brutally cold winters and the aftermath of the Holidays? January was a month for wanting to hibernate. Like a bear. The week after Christmas and the first week or two of January usually finds me plotting my next year’s goals, coming up with a “theme” for the year and plotting strategy. Not this year, I floundered. I’d think of the year’s priorities for my creative and business life and five minutes later they would all change. What should I be doing? What should my goals and priorities be? Harrumph.

I’m going to blame some of it on the winter. I just don’t like being cold. It is also less painful than blaming all of it on me 😉 But, some of it was my review of 2014. I just didn’t make the progress I had hoped for a year ago. After some serious review of what I did and didn’t do, I decided I just cast my net too wide. To many fish to chase, too many ideas, goals and projects in the works, all at once. With so much that I wanted to do, I couldn’t focus on one thing long enough to do any of them. So, I spent a little time whining (not much, I’m not a whiner by nature). A little time being stern with myself. And a fair amount of time trying to suss out the cause of this “shot-gun splatter” syndrome I’ve had lately. Let’s face it. All of this soul-searching and mind delving stuff is pretty subjective. The bottom line? I’m tired of floundering and want to move forward. You can only stand at the fork in the road so long before you have to pick one. Even Gandalf finally made a decision based on nothing more important than the smell of the air.

So I decided one of my causes was too many distractions and my “theme” for 2015 emerged.

My Theme for 2015
My Theme for 2015

I made some decisions about what I want to focus on this year; buttons (obviously), wearable art (and all of it’s components), and growing the business. That will give me focus (well, more than I had) and still give me latitude. This could be dangerous but so is feeling creatively trapped. I still have some strategy issues to work out but, I have focus. Yea!

My hibernation (for want of a better word) was not spent sleeping though. I made my daughter some Dragon Paws.

Dragon Paws Fingerless Mitts for Ashland
Dragon Paws Fingerless Mitts for Ashland

I made some custom ones too.

Rainbow Dragon Paws
Rainbow Dragon Paws
Detail of Rainbow Dragon Paws
Detail of Rainbow Dragon Paws

 

I made a dear friend some hand warmers for her healing hands.

Healing Mitts knit for my Friend, Betsy. Pattern is Autumnal by Bo Jangles
Healing Mitts knit for my friend, Betsy. Pattern is Autumnal by Bo Jangles

I turned my “Simple Toe-Up Socks” class I teach into a pattern and it’s currently in the hands of my editor, so watch for that to be released on Ravelry soon.

I made some custom buttons

Aqua Fused Glass Buttons
Aqua Fused Glass Buttons

I have my taxes done 🙂

I played with fire. Yes, I need more practice 😉

A monthly challenge with GlassAct! sponsored by Reichenbach Glass
A monthly challenge with GlassAct! sponsored by Reichenbach Glass

My FiberArt Group has a Fiber Art exhibit hanging in Gallery 194 in Lapeer, Michigan this month and I have several pieces in that. The Artists’ reception was very well attended and we all got quite an ego boost ;-). Getting art ready for the show was hugely motivating and invigorating but, I’ll talk more about that another time.

Gallery 194 FiberArt Junkies Show, this month in Lapeer, Michigan
Gallery 194 FiberArt Junkies Show, this month in Lapeer, Michigan
Twinchies - mini art quilts for the Gallery 194 show
eight of us participated in the show, we all made “Twinchies” – mini art quilts for Gallery 194
One of my pieces, a detail os "Fleeting Shadows", acrylic, ink, and stitching on canvas
One of my pieces, a detail of “Fleeting Shadows”; acrylic, ink, and stitching on canvas
The "Twinchies" were fun and addictive, I got about 23 done!
The “Twinchies” were fun and addictive, I got about 23 done!

Meanwhile, my floundering turned into hyper-focus and the effects on my blog were the same. Ignored. Oops.

Spring seems to have brought me back into balance. I feel like I can move forward and still take a little time for life, tea, blogs, and chocolate (not that there wasn’t any before).

So, how have you weathered the winter, and the first Quarter of 2015?

Deb H

Art-scale Your Wearables
one button at a time…
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The Holidays and Winter Aftermath – Effects on Art and Business

Sleep? What’s Sleep?

My poor, neglected Blog. But I have been busy!

Radisson-1

I spent all last week at Fabrications in Kalamazoo, Michigan becoming a famous fiber artist.

Art + Quilt

Well, a girl can dream! I took a five day workshop with Lyric Kinard (I have her new book in my hands as I type – tricky, that – and it’s fabulous!) learning The Elements of Art. Give me a couple of more months and I’ll knock your socks off!

But don’t worry, I’ll teach you how to knit more  😉 (socks).

If  you have been reading my Blog, you know all about the best Fiber Art Retreat in all of Michigan (and several other states). It was the best 5 days of art, fabric, wine, friends, more art, wine, excellent food, colorful fabric, music, wine…

Did I mention wine?

balance
balance

So we did really cool things to fabric and had a generally great time. We did not sleep much but I guess a week of creative exuberance is a sufficient substitute  😉

Lyric-class-1

About my class; it was pretty much based on Lyric’s new book “Art + Quilt” (pictured above). For this ol’ ducky who has had very little formal art training, it was perfect. I absorb art and art knowledge in bits and pieces and odd places; reading books and magazines, watching videos, taking workshops aimed at fiber art, hobnobbing with artists, staring at artwork of all kinds, and playing with color,  fabric and yarn.

 4 days of learning
4 days of learning

To work through exercises on texture, shape, line, color and value made it clear to me that I had the knowledge, I just couldn’t control it. I now feel like I have the gift of (at least some) control. Knowledge is power they say. This is true for artistic endeavors as well. I now have the power to know why some of my pieces are triumphs and some are, well…

dismal disasters.

value

I know my weak spot (value) and to watch for it. I know my strong point (color) and will aim to capitalize on it. Although I even learned new stuff about color and I thought I had that one nailed. I learned about unity, focal point, balance, motion, rhythm (doesn’t that word look like it needs to buy a vowel?), how the eye travels through a piece.

All good stuff!!

amphitheater-sketch

I even learned about “seeing” in daily drawing exercises. That was tough! I’m the girl who dropped out of college Drawing 101 when my art teacher would not let me use my triangles, straight edge, and scale to draw a leaf. I had a nervous breakdown! I still can’t draw but at least I will try – progress 🙂

I learned about kicking the muse in the boot, finding inspiration when it’s being illusive, storing ideas for when inspiration is coming too fast and furious.

I learned about critiquing; our work and others.

New work started
New work started

I learned about my own creative nature. And I started a new work that I’m excited to explore!

Lyric teaching us
Lyric teaching us

The workshop was soooo fabulous. And so is her book. A must have for anyone who does not have that MFA after their name.

My cup is full.

Deb H

Sleep? What’s Sleep?

Ginkgo Leaves on Water

Ginko-leaves-water-1
Ginkgo Leaves On Water - Water Series #1 by Deborah Harowitz

12″ x 12″ – hand dyed and hand painted cottons and silks by me and multiple artists, commercial cotton, fused glass by me, clear vinyl. Machine quilted, hand stitched and beaded. Mounted on a stretcher frame.

The quilt is actually very square, my camera does this whole fish-eye thing which really bugs me but I haven’t figured out how to avoid it – yet. Any suggestions?

I gave you a teaser a few weeks ago about an art quilt I was doing for a barely made deadline. This quilt was for a juried exhibit called Blurred Boundaries in conjunction with Fabrications Fiber Art Retreat.

Ginko-leaves-water-2
detail of fused glass and beading

I cut a hole in the quilt through all layers and sandwiched in a piece of clear vinyl to create a window in the quilt. Holes were drilled in the four corners of the fused glass (2-3/4″ x 2-1/3″) and hand stitched with beads to the vinyl window to create a floating look.

I was going to wait until September 1st to post pictures of my quilt since that is when the show will be hung. Well… I’m posting it now because I didn’t get in. But that’s OK, I kind of knew when I sent it off that it was not really blurring many boundaries as far as being a mixed media piece. The judge’s comments were a reiteration of what the show was looking for; work a bit more edgy and mixed in techniques and materials/medium. She was gracious and diplomatic in her response and her decision became obvious to me as I read the guidelines. Not only am I OK with it, I agree wholeheartedly and am excited about stretching my creative self even more in the next project. I’m also very eager to see what did get in! I did a second quilt in this series (Water Equals Life – Water Series #2, 20″ x 24′) that will be exhibited in the MQAI (Michigan Quilt Artist Invitational) traveling exhibit from September of 2009 through August of 2011. I can post pictures of that after September 11th, the show opening. And, since MQAI is an “invitational”, it was a sure thing.  😉  Both pieces are more “quilty” than mixed media. For the MAQI exhibit, it is totally appropriate and blends well with the other entries.

Going for the "floating" look
Going for the "floating" look

As a summation, I’m very happy with my Ginkgo Leaves piece. I got to use some of my glass I made and I experimented with some techniques and ideas that were new to me. I’m happy with the colors and overall effect I got; being very much what I was going for.

Deb H

Ginkgo Leaves on Water

Busy, busy, busy…

Yes, I made my deadline. I had to have my digital submission in by midnight, June 28th. I made it by five minutes. So me  😉

Ginko Leaves on Water
Ginko Leaves on Water

The photo is a teaser, I’ll post the full view on September 1 (ish), as soon as the show is hung – that’s assuming I get in – I’m a great positive thinker  🙂  The show is Blurred Boundaries, a mixed media exhibit in conjunction with Fabrications this year.

And I have been busy doing other things as well, but since I have a whole ton of photos to process/sort through… that will be next time. I’m also working on another art quilt for a different show with a very near deadline (7/18), apparently I love pressure!

Deb H

Busy, busy, busy…

Fabrications – I’m Jazzed!

A Time for Change and Growth
A Time for Change and Growth

Fabrications is an annual Fiber Art Retreat that is the fiber art highlight of my year. This year (2009) is it’s 5th or 6th year (I’ve lost count, but I’m thinking it’s the 6th. I’ve attended 4 so far) and it has grown to a truly fabulous experience. Having spent it’s first 5 years in the Fall in Mid-Michigan, it has had an expansion; from the original two days to a full five
a date change; now the first week of September,
and a location change; Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Quickie Collage
Quickie Collage

Of all of these changes, I heartily approve! The longer session for the workshops from two (then three) to five days was so needed. Those of us who attend regularly were always feeling like things just ended when we were getting in our stride after the third day. Five will be better, longer strides  ;o)

My Wall of Work
My Wall of Work

Kalamazoo (yes, it has a very funny name) is a wonderful little college town with so many more perks than the small rural communities where we have been in in the past. Yes the scenery was luscious but, we will now have access to several wonderful restaurants, art galleries, fabric shops, bead shops, art stores, coffee houses (Water Street and Fourth Coast are my two favorites there) and other wonderful distractions.

Detail of "Too Many Directions"
Detail of "Too Many Directions"

We almost need to go two days early and stay and extra two days to take advantage of the extras K’zoo has to offer. There are even going to be some special Fiber Art exhibits just for us!

Art Drying in the Sun
A Productive Day

As for the class offerings – they are fabulous (as usual). There is a button to the right that you can click on to find out more (it’s worth the diversion), I’m already signed up for Elements of Art with Lyric Kinard.

Art Journal
Art Journal

I am so Jazzed. Just dreaming about the week to come; a posh hotel, most of my meals taken care of, immersion in fiber and art, incredible evenings with like minded fiber artists that totally understand me (the best part)… makes for a wonderful day dream. That will hold me until the end of August.

Portrait of Cathy
Portrait of Cathy

The photos are all of past years at Fabrications, as usual click to big-ma-fy. See you there!

Von and Cathy take art seriously
Von and Cathy take art seriously

Just so you know, all artists are not the serious Vincent van Gogh types  ;o)

Deb H

Fabrications – I’m Jazzed!