Pattern Play

Tile Deck patterns are amazing and beautiful!

Certainly this is one obvious strong suit for most textile artists: PATTERN. Pattern, to me, is the visual rhythm that moves me around a textile, or through the story within a piece of art. I posted a short blog on our new and wow, so cool, MISSING ALPHABET site -- and thought I would expand and make a more textile related post here, as well. 

I've been exploring pattern TOOLs in the world of apps, in anticipation of my next iPad workshops (one in Alaska in January and one here at El Cielo March 1-3). I admit to a combination of looking at referals when I see them (that's where Tile Deck came from -- an online magazine article by Jane Davila in the last issue of IN STITCH) and also just in random app store surfing using interesting search terms. It's become my latest recreation, such so that I think I may have to make a firm budget line item for app store purchases!

Here are the apps I have downloaded recently. Some of them are really easy right off the bat, others take a little bit of learning curve. If you want the blow-by-blow (and fiber art specific applications for the art that these apps help you make) sign up for the March workshop soon. It's filling up fast!

TileDeck -- the best of the lot and an amazing tool for making repeating patterns, then changing them around with mirroring and flipping functions. This one is definitely worth paying for.

Playing around with Stencils

Kaleidoverse -- one of many digital kaleidoscope tools out there, and one that I like most

Doodle Dandy -- particularly easy for little kids to use, but with plenty of sophisticated controls

überdoodle -- an app version of the spirograph, with gears, pen sizes, and other variables to play with. The free version offered enough for me to start with, but there's a paid one with more variable options included.

Amacolor -- another kaleidoscope that makes black line patterns to color in -- the black line patterns will be great for thermofaxes.

Amacolor kaleidoscope design

Stencils -- Make multiples with predrawn stencil shapes for interesting art applications, alter and overlap them, use the letters and numbers for textured designs using the different brushes.

Shaping Symbols into Art Quilts

Would you like to transform some surface design fun into a small art quilt? In just one day, at my Wednesday Quilt Festival workshop (#330 in the catalog), you'll take a journey from shape to quilt composition -- with original fabrics, fused and ready to stitch. The date is October 31, 2013, starting at 9, lunch 12-2, finishing at 5.

I'm offering a full day and full of fun with these ideas: Master design skills with free-form patterns, cut-paper shapes, and original stamps as you explore personal imagery and iconic symbols. Learn to simplify photos for original quilts, printing and more using a computer or iPad, and also just by hand-and-eye. One of your designs will be made into a thermofax screen and mailed to you later. You'll layout a small quilt, with critique and assistance, with lots of custom fabrics on hand from my stash to use for your project.

The advance workshop registration for Festival is over, but there is lots of room in this one if you want to register onsite. Just go to the George Brown Convention Center in Houston. The workshop fee is $65 for the full day event! Plus the supply fee of $25 for printer inks, copier paper and card stock, erasers, craft foam, mounting block, textile inks, thermofax mailed to student after Festival. 

More info about Festival this year:

International Quilt Festival Houston 2012

November 1-4, 2012
George R. Brown Convention Center
Houston, Texas

Wed., Oct 31 (Preview Night): 7-10 p.m. 
Thurs., Nov. 1-Sat., Nov. 3: 10 a.m.-7 p.m.
Sun., Nov. 4: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. 

Ticket prices:
$12 daily adult
$9 seniors & students
Children 10 and under free.
$12 Preview Night (includes one free additional day)
$42 Full Show Pass (includes Preview Night)

The pre-enrollment deadline was Friday, September 28th. Onsite enrollment will be available to sign up for classes, lectures & events. The onsite enrollment hours are as follows:

Sunday, October 28 3:00pm - 6:00pm
Monday, October 29 7:30am – 6:30pm
Tuesday, October 30 7:30am – 5:30pm
Wednesday, October 31 7:30am – 8:30pm
Thursday, November 1 7:30am - 5:30pm
Friday, November 2 7:30am – 6:30pm
Saturday, November 3 7:30am – 3:30pm
Sunday, November 4 8:30am – 10:00am


Shape, Shapely and Shaped

Today at my Southwest School of Art class on Finding Your Artist Path, we will be looking at and thinking about and working with SHAPE and CONTRAST. Here are a few of the notes, some things to think about as you go about your creative work today!

A shape is a self contained defined area of geometric or organic form. A positive shape in a painting automatically creates a negative shape.


Contrast is the juxtaposition of opposing elements eg. opposite colours on the colour wheel - red / green, blue / orange etc. Contrast in tone or value - light / dark. Contrast in direction - horizontal / vertical.
The major contrast in a painting should be located at the center of interest. Too much contrast scattered throughout a painting can destroy unity and make a work difficult to look at. Unless a feeling of chaos and confusion are what you are seeking, it is a good idea to carefully consider where to place your areas of maximum contrast.

These design elements and principles work together (as they all do!) But I think that working with shape gives the artist the perfect laboratory for investigating contrast in a very concrete direct way.

What kinds of shapes do you doodle on napkins, notecards and the item formerly known as a phone pad? What shapes show up at the tip of your pen or pencil.

Do you like clear, well defined shapes that are simple and concrete, easy-to-describe? Or amorphous, vague, or organic shapes?

Do you work with shape in a “flat” 2-D world? Graphically, all one plane? Or as three- dimensional shapes, whether you paint or sculpt them?

Where is the strongest shape contrast in your work? Do you have big shapes, little shapes and medium shapes (remember the “rule of three”)?

Do you layer shapes in your work? Are the layers close together or far apart? Can you see through them or around them? DO you show space through layering? Or light? Or size? Or all of the above?

What shapes your art practice? The time available, what’s left over after everything else, what you think you SHOULD do? What if you gave it another shape?

Try cutting NOTAN shapes as a studio shape practice for a week to develop your shape muscle. What happens?


From Jane Dunnewold 

From my blog.


Some “SHAPE” artists and their work (please add other suggestions to the comments section!):

M.C. Escher --especially his mathematical tesselation art

Lee Shiney’s CIRCLES 

Robert Motherwell 

Henry Moore -- Sculptor 

Ilsa Iviks Textile artist 

Paul Klee  

On Developing a Visual "Voice"

Here's what we'll be tackling during my next course at the Southwest School of Art. I think the class is full (whoppee!) or nearly so. However, I think this is such an important facet of our work as artists. Discovering our own certain and individual voices as artists is what can take us past our own limited view of our work and in new and exciting directions.

Here's one of the handouts I'll be doling our during the first session -- you're welcome to try out the ideas on your own!


It seems to me that there are several parts to this process, and several important approaches to this self discovery process.

Pure Form: I believe – and my belief is supported by more than 30 years of work with children in creative learning environments – that each of us is born with an innate preference/leaning toward a particular way of perceiving and giving form that is directly connected to what I (and my colleagues in this work) call the sensory alphabet. This vocabulary of non-verbal qualities – line, color, shape, space, light, texture, movement, sound and rhythm  -- is a way of thinking about and organizing one’s individual strengths of perception and invention. Looking at one’s preferences and natural tendencies through this lens serves as both a way to self discovery and as a bridge to understand other creative work. This vocabulary is not just an artistic one – it can hold as true to creative work in business as in design, in science as in art.  (This, by the way is what our new book, THE MISSING ALPHABET is all about.)

 Think about which  of these constructs is easiest for you to notice, to manipulate, to play with –is it pattern (rhythm) or texture or color? What did you love as a young child?  Which of these elements are most important to you in your home, your environment? What artists do you resonate to? Design exercises and experiences for yourself that feed your mind’s natural interests, or find teachers that share your sensibilities (look at their work and see what they say about it) who can provide classes that feed your perceptual strengths 

An understanding of your own creative style in terms of this vocabulary can be the starting place for finding your voice – and even help you find the best and strongest medium for work.  For example, if color is my strong suite, I might take time to do dye and discharge samples, study Albers and other colorist’s work, take photos exploring color themes, investigate watercolor and glazing, look at color as understood by chemists and physicists, etc. If movement is a strong suite, I might see how to incorporate moving elements in my textile work, take up techniques that use my body in strenuous and challenging fashion, look at how movement blurs an image and how to capture that sense with dyeing or printing, I might even want to dye fabrics and construct garments for dance performances or architectural installations with moving components.

Most of us have three or four of these strong suites that interact in interesting ways and can pose intriguing puzzles for our work. Tracking down your strongest perceptual elements is usually just a matter of paying attention to preference, to what you notice in a space, to the materials that call your name. Journaling about childhood preferences and doing detective work in your closet, your home, your memory bank can help you name your sensory strengths.

 Content and themes: Another part of personal voice has to do with content and subject matter –Many artists who are just starting out jump around from one topic to another, one genre to another and this is an important part of learning. Sooner or later though the time comes to get beyond the surface of a topic or interest, whether it is rural landscapes or flowers or political activism or portraiture. Committing to solving the same problem different ways has a real benefit In the process of finding one’s voice. How do you pick?  Start with something that holds some passion for you – something with enough personal interest that you might have a chance of making it interesting to someone else.

Sometimes the content of one’s work is directly related to “formal” interests (for example, an artist interested in rhythm, might find a study of African mudcloth patterns particularly inspiring and influential, or maybe exploring the visual idea of windows would appeal to an artist who likes spatial concepts.) For others, a theme or content is something important because of experience, story and memory – journaling can help you identify these kinds of themes.

Themes and content lead one to develop personal imagery, ways of handling materials and tools, narrative content sometimes.


Materials and media – Part of one’s voice has to do with the materials and media that are central to the form. Both experimentation and fluency play a role. Experimentation means taking the time and having the will to push a media or material beyond what you have seen others do with it. Fluency means playing with possibilities and with the borders between media, combining it with other materials and using new tools with the medium. Fluency also requires “just sticking to it” long enough to get beyond the first easy idea, and this I think is the dirty little secret behind developing facility and technical skills. A lot of artists want their first of something to be fabulous, but most of us who have stuck with it long enough know that expertise does clarify the voice. Experience with the technical handling of the media, the tools, the physical material of one’s art and craft means that the message becomes clear, the hand of the artist is consciously visible rather than intrusively visible. You’ve simply got to keep at it and the “it” has to be something you like enough to carry you over the drudge, slog and boring parts.


Creative process – Finally, the entire process that you as an artist use to come up with and bring to life original work is part of your voice. No two people have identical creative processes. Some of us need lots of incubation and collection time. We want to look at other people’s work and make sketches. Other people need to amass piles of materials to dive into with no idea of the outcome; other artists are meticulous planners, with sketches and maquettes. Some need people around, music, noise and lots of feedback; other artists require long periods of solitude and silence. The more you know about and respect your own creative process, the clearer your voice will ring.

Knowing and respecting your creative process is again a matter of paying attention, of doing personal detective work through journaling, of metacognitive investigation—ie. thinking about thinking.


Houston Quilt Festival is Around the Corner

And I am one of the lightposts. Well, one of the cazillion instructors who somehow can't resist the prospect of toting too many bags and boxes around the acreage of the George Brown Convention Center, walking our feet off in the exhibits, gaping at the amazing array and approach to quiltmaking that shines in the world, and, usually. spending more money in the vendor's stalls than we make in the classroom. BUT, I wouldn't miss it for the world. And you shouldn't either. This is the Kentucky Derby equivalent of the Quilting World, and the winners are eye-inspiring and the sheer volume of things to see, do and experience make it definitely worth the trip.

If you are attending, and are looking for a class to take, please join me for fun and fabulous adventure. My work will also be on display in the RITUALS exhibition presented by Dinner@8. 

Wednesday, 9-5, Shaping Symbols into Art Quilts

Master design skills with free form patterns, cut-paper shapes and original stamps as you explore personal imagery and iconic symbols. Simplify photos for original quilts, printing and more. Thermofax screen mailed later.

Thursday, 2-4, Mixed Media Miscellany, Inkjet transfers with Wet Media Film demonstration

Friday Sampler, 10-noon, Stamp out Your Message, demonstration

Saturday Sampler, 10-noon,  Your Own Alphabet on Fabric, demonstration

Sunday, 9-noon  Inspiration is in the Cards

What inspires you? Create a one-of-a-kind card deck to spark creativity, take you out of your creative rut, and move you into art-making and imagination. Collage and design your way to a new studio ritual with a variety of mixed media techniques.

For more information and to register on line, see the Festival website and catalog. My events are #330, 460, 545, 735 and 806.


Want to See My Newsletter?

I am learning to use Constant Contact, finally. I am tired of never getting my mailing lists straight (as I am sure some of my mailing list victims are) and I think this will really help. I have found the process mildly, but not overly frustrating, about on par with learning any other web-based tool.

However, having written the darn thing on the site, I now have to figure out how to make a link here to the blog, and put it on as a downloadable pdf. I think this LINK may do the trick, but it's not exactly the format I am looking for (and whoever Charlotte is, thanks for letting me use your copy) However. Slowly, slowly is my advice for using any new computer aided process!

Sign up for our Email Newsletter

Coming up at Southwest School of Art

Registration has begun for classes at the Southwest School of Art.  (210-224-1848, ext 317/334)

2349 | Finding Your Artist Voice  
Instructor:   Susie Monday 
Dates:    Mon, 10/1/2012 - 11/19/2012 | Time: 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM 

Distinguish your work by finding a vocabulary of shapes, images, marks that are personal and explored over and over - find your artist voice by refining, repeating and elaborating a process. This course will not be technique-or media-oriented, but will help you define and focus your work though the active creation of a series (five to 10 pieces) within the parameters of your self-selected direction. 


Coming up at Southwest School of Art


Here are the next two summer classes that you might be interested in. Both are at the Southwest School of Art in San Antonio, and both are perfect for teachers and/or parents interested in helping kids be more creative -- the weekend course will focus on classroom fiber arts activities, including collaborative and individual projects. The parent's class will give anyone who works with kids the vocabulary of "The Missing Alphabet." a powerful tool to help kids face the future we can't predict.

2381 | Fiber Art: Fit for the Classroom

Whether you teach 4th grade or high school art classes (or just want some fiber art fun with your own kids or grandkids), there's a fiber art technique that will add texture, print, and even a bit of sparkle to your creative activities. Monday, whose experience with a wide range of classrooms and ages of students, will teach a variety of fun and manageable fiber art techniques and design approaches for use with children. Examples include mono-printed fabric art cards, easy screen-printed portrait tee-shirts, fabric paper collage, and fused fabric banners. These activities can be part of a formal art curriculum, or used by any educator to integrate the arts through new skills. Please see SSA website for a list of materials; bring a lunch each day. 

Level: All Levels 
Instructor: Susie Monday 
Dates: Sat & Sun, 7/14/2012 - 7/15/2012 | 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM 
Studio: Surface Design Studio | Campus: Navarro 


6-9550 | Creativity and Kids

special class for parents & teachers

Susie Monday

Mon – Fri, Jul 16 – 20 | 9:00am – 12:00pm Tuition: $145 (Members: $130) | 5 sessions

Discover more about your child’s learning. Explore their world of creativity, and find ways to stimulate and enhance it. With artist-educator Monday, co-author of

New World Kids: The Parent’s Guide to Creative Thinking as your guide, find out how to support, focus and direct your child’s creative thinking at home or at school. Hands-on activities, handouts, and an interdisciplinary approach characterize this invaluable class for the parents and teachers of creative kids. 

Special Class for Parents & Teachers 
Instructor: Susie Monday 
Mon - Fri, Jul 16 - 20 | 9:00a - 12:00p

TO SIGN UP. go to


New Workshop Schedule

The new (and somewhat revised) schedule is out and about. Here's a copy:

Nurture your creativity as you come away from a weekend with renewed energy, new  materials and techniques in surface design applicable to fiber, ceramics, jewelry, painting and mixed media work. Susie Monday leads artists’ retreats and workshops throughout the year at her studio near Pipe Creek, Texas, about an hour from downtown San Antonio. El Cielo Studio workshops are designed with the needs of the participants in mind;  free time is scheduled throughout the weekend for reading, reflection and personal work in the studio. You are welcome to bring projects in process for Susie’s critique and for peer feedback in an environment of trust and respect. You’ll share meals, poetry and stories, music and advice for living an artist’s life. Enjoy the 25-mile vistas from the deck, hot tub and pool time,  and strolls down the country roads. The fee for each workshop retreat is $175 for a 2-day event with discounts for early enrollment. Comfortable accommodations are available from $15 -  $30 per workshop. Most workshops offer a Friday night potluck option. Limited enrollment. Most supplies included. 

Susie has taught creative process and art techniques to adults and children for more than 30 years. Her art is in private and public collections around the world.



ONLINE course at

JUNE 15-JULY 14 includes 4 fully-illustrated weekly lessons, plus a bonus week, $45

Have you ever wanted to incorporate a favorite word, poem or quote into an art quilt, garment, art doll or other textile project -- going beyond simply writing or embroidering the text? This all new surface design/mixed media class will give you a set of process tools for making text and words an integral part of artfully designed fabrics that you can use in a wide variety of projects. Learn soy wax lettering, freeform cut letters, sunprinting and more.

JUNE 15-17

Optional potluck 

Friday night


In this workshop, start with simple sketches and doodles and end the weekend with an arsenal of new surface design tricks and tools.   Explore doodles and scribbles as sources of  uniques and personal imagery that will give your art quilts, wearable art, or mixed media work personal depth and layers of meaning. take a favorite symbol -- for example a heart, star, spiral, circle -- and by taking it (and yourself) through a series of creative generative exercises, you’ll make something new and different to incorporate into your design, composition and surface design. Tools and techniques explored include paper lamination on fabric, large scale “mark-making” rollers and monoprinting.

JULY 6-8 


Optional potluck 

Friday night


Embrace your inner goddess of summertime. Design and make a small art quilt “altar” for kitchen or dining room with tools and materials that depend on heat, sunlight and passionate delight: sun-printing, vegetable prints, fusing, hand and machine stitching and “found” fabrics from attic, thrift store or kitchen closet. We will recycle napkins, tea towels and other like objects and design a thermofax featuring a meaningful symbol, favorite fruit, icon, saint, culinary relative, heroine, angel or other meaningful design as the centerpiece for the altar. (Altar frame, $12 supply fee).

AUGUST 17-19 



Optional potluck 

Friday night

Let late summer colors, shapes and even heat inspire your surface design. The weather is perfect for dyeing, dye-painting and soy wax! Sketching from nature, and from collected natural objects (don’t worry, you can do it), we’ll design one-of-a-kind fabrics, silk scarves and mixed media pieces.




Face your fears of drawing head on, as Susie takes you on a sketch and draw adventure, with no failures allowed. You’ll try different approaches, learn so me classic tips and tricks, and find out how drawing is a learned skill, not something you had to master as a 6th grader who “couldn’t draw horse like your best friend.”


“ The exercises we did this weekend were freeing on the one hand, but will also help me focus.”

 “This workshop was a fabulous, uplifting, nurturing environment to create in. The journaling was particularly helpful, I would definitely recommend it to a friend.”

“Thank you for creating such a fun, yummy, comfortable, and inspirational experience...”


Archetypes and Artist Identity

Above: Photo of Suzanne Wright Crain's altar in progress.

Deep work and deep play took all of us into wonderful work this past weekend. Here are some photos of artists at work -- some made altered books, some altars. Everyone, including me, found some insights pertinant to our particular time, space and needs.



Robin Early and Suzanne Wright Crain and Martha Grant work on their Archetype projects.

As we looked at various approaches to exploring our "inner teams," I had found some work by creativity coach and author Eric Maisel that shed light on the ways identity as an artist (or should I say identities) can both help and complicate our work, identity and paths. Am I artist the beautifier, artist the visionary, artist the businesswomen, artist the  producer, artist the activist...??

Recently an infographic came across my path that also informed this pondering:

Certainly teaching a workshop such as this Archetype workshop calls on my skills as teacher and mentor, while I also try to do my own work ast least part of the time as a way of modeling and demonstrating the processes and products involved.

Then, as the weekend came to a close, a friend called and told me one of my large textile pieces was included in a "home" section report in the San Antonio Express News. I called the collector and thanked him (and his wife Suzi) for giving the reporter my name (read the story for more info!). Ah, another artist identity -- published and out there. 

The dining room in the home of Suzi and Dennis Strauch, near Pipe Creek, has a quilted piece of fabric art on one wall. Photo: BOB OWEN, San Antonio Express-News / © 2012 San Antonio Express-News

The dining room in the home of Suzi and Dennis Strauch, near Pipe Creek, has a quilted piece of fabric art on one wall.

Photo: BOB OWEN, San Antonio Express-News / © 2012 San Antonio Express-News

Read more:

Explore Your Inner Team

A spot (or two) in my Archetypes workshop this coming weekend just opened up. Here's the scoop:

Calling All Archetypes

March 23-25 (Friday night optional)

Explore the inner team that keeps you going, makes a difference, inspires your best --- and sometimes holds you back. With journaling, fabric printing, collage and mixed media techniques galore, you'll explore the inside-operators that are part of your life story: empress, playful child, journeyer, pilgrim, maker... who knows who will come out to visit? Create a unique fiber art quilt altar to one of the archetypes. Learning fusing techniques and how to make a small art quilt "altar" stretched on a frame. Suitable for all levels.


Cost is $185, including $10 supply fee for altar frame. One private bedroom is still available, with two beds and private bath -- shared it's $15 each, single occupancy, $30. (Includes both nights.) Also a free sofa or sleeping porch bed is available. Most supplies are included.

We'll start on Friday night with optional journaling exercises, then begin at 9 am on Saturday. The workshop usually ends about 3 on Sunday.

Email me with the contact form on the sidebar if you are interested.

Below are two photos from previous workshop, the first is Julia's altar in progress, the second, Martha's.


Designing with Type Shapes

As part of my online Joggles course (get the full story here) I'll be doing an occassional post here that my online students can use for further ideas; maybe those of you reading along can pick up a tip or two as well.

I've been pondering collage design with type and "found letters," those cut from magazines and newspaper or even spit out in differing sizes from your computer font library. Putting them together quickly, then arranging, rearranging and copying out bits and pieces in differing sizes is how I like to work on these random text collages -- I am not necessarily going for a literal message, more just the feel of type as shape and form and texture. But there is also an interesting challenge in using the letters of a meaningful or intriguing word that you might want to have as a kind of hidden message in a piece.

For example, this piece, while primarily a strong and bold composition, with text that pops out -- mas (Spanish for more) and LIFE from the classic magazine title -- also includes the "hidden message" "music." Each horizontal pieced  band of fabric is a repetition of each letter M, U, S, I, C in order. 

Here are some tips that may help you make some interesting collages with your type collections:

1. Work with CONTRAST:

SIZE -- Use as wide a variety of sizes as you can. Collage the letters with varied sizes as neighbors to those of other size.

VALUE -- Use strong contrast in value for the best copies -- black on white, red on white, dark hues on light pastels (AND vice versa) Avoid type -- or limit it -- that is too close in value to the background. Yellow reads as white and pale blues disappear on almost all copy machines

DIRECTION -- GLue the letters down in different directions, try to make a "patchwork" of letters facing different ways, upside down, left to right, right to left.


Try these different ideas as ways to glue down a text collection -- think of different rhythms and different patterns to develop collages that have different feelings and messages in their composition:

swirling letters

marching across the page letters

letters lined up and making another shape

a tornado, a wave, a spiral, a crawl, a race, a path, windows in a house, people in a crowd, letters arranged to make animal shapes or objects. (Like concrete poetry, but letters only) See the alphabet video here for examples:

Letters on stage performing for other letters

3. Follow the rule of 3s

Use similar elements or copies of the same letter forms in odd-number arrangements: 3s, 5s, 7s. For some reason odd numbers of related shapes (etc.) always seem to work better in compositions.


Arrange letters and elements close enough together that your eye "reads" the design with continuity -- just enough space between the elements (shapes, lines, dots, stripes, letters, etc) that your eye can easily leap to the next element, especially if it is a repeated element. Also, try to vary elements spacially, paying attention that you don't set up too regular a pattern (like polka dots) unless that is the rhythm you are trying for.





Susie Goes Live on Joggles



 It's here! This week I launch my first online (for real) course on Joggles, Text on Textiles.

I'll be teaching this on on the Joggles forum, and have been working on ways to provide meaningful help and feedback. I am considering adding some experimental videos (on the side, with links on the course materials) so this will be have a learning challenge and curve for me as well. The video's won't be part of lesson one, since it's less a technique than a getting-started design lesson, but I'll work on the videos for others of the 5 lessons. 

The workshop is only $45, so if you are interested, click over to the site and sign up now. The first of the lessons will be posted on Wednesday.










That link again:



Onward to Festival -- Save the Dates

I've received my contract for teaching at the International Quilt Festival in Houston in October, 2012. It's an honor to be among the 100 quilt/art/mixed media instructors selected to teach this year -- I've been off the roster for two years, and just squeeked in with my application this year!

So if you are planning to attend and want to take one of my workshops, here are the relevant dates:

Wednesday, October 31, full day workshop, Shaping Symbols into Art Quilts

"Master design skills with free-form patterns, cut-paper shapes, and original stamps as you explore personal imagery and iconic symbols. Simplify photos for original quilts, printing and more. Thermofax screen mailed later."   

I'll tell you more about this as the time approaches, but the picture above provides a bit of info, too. 

Sunday, November 4, Inspiration is in the Cards, half day workshop 9-noon.

"What inspires you? Create a one-of-a-kind card deck to spark creativity, take you out of your creative rut, move you into art-making and imagination. Collage and design your way to a new studio ritual with a variety of mixed media techniques."

This one is part of my annual agenda in the January Artist's Journey workshop (usually), but its a fun way to make a mixed media deck using collage, paint, paper and an inkjet copier.

In between, I'm on the circuit of the Mixed Media Miscellany, 2-4 on Thursday, the Friday Sampler, 10-noon and Saturday Sampler, 10-noon, with stamping and inkjet transfer demos.

Hope to see you there! And if you know someone who is planning on attending and taking classes this year, please reccommend these if you think they would suit. I'm looking forward to the wild, wacky, inspiring, overwhelming experience of festival, and I think everyone in our community of textile artists deserves the experience at least once in a lifetime. It's our tribe.

Artists Inspired by Focus, Movement & Delight


Murmuration from Sophie Windsor Clive on Vimeo.


 2. A poem shared by one of the Archetype Workshop's* registrants, Valerie, about the elemental forces she is working with for an exhibit entry:

A poem by Rumi: Answers from the Elements: from Coleman Barks book, The Big Red Book.

Writes  Valerie:"I love Rumi's work, and will enjoy finding a way to illustrate it in an 84 " by 14" format - that long vertical is challenging! Here's the stanza with the responses of the elements to the question, Where is God?"

The moon says, I am dust stirred up
when he passed by. The sun: My face is pale yellow
from just now seeing him. Water: I slide on my head and face
like a snake, from a spell he said. Fire: His lightning,
I want to be that restless. Wind: why so light?
I would burn if I had a choice. Earth, quiet 
and thoughtful? Inside me I have a garden
witn an underground spring.


3. And some thoughts from John Cage about work, (Did I already share the second...nevermind, it bears repeating).

These were found on the wonderful blog Intense City:

RULE ONE: Find a place you trust, and then try trusting it for awhile. RULE TWO: General duties of a student – pull everything out of your teacher; pull everything out of your fellow students. RULE THREE: General duties of a teacher – pull everything out of your students. RULE FOUR: Consider everything an experiment. RULE FIVE: be self-disciplined – this means finding someone wise or smart and choosing to follow them. To be disciplined is to follow in a good way. To be self-disciplined is to follow in a better way. RULE SIX: Nothing is a mistake. There’s no win and no fail, there’s only make. RULE SEVEN: The only rule is work. If you work it will lead to something.

“Something my father remembered the composer John Cage saying to him during the 1950’s often came to his mind: ”When you start working, everybody is in your studio – the past, your friends, enemies, the art world, and above all, your own ideas – all are there. But as you continue, they start leaving one by one, and you are left completely alone. Then, if you’re lucky, even you leave.” — Musa Meyer, “My Father, Philip Guston” (Image by Jon-Kyle)


 * That Archetype workshop (almost full) 


MARCH 23-25

(optional Friday night potluck & work-in-progress critique)

 Spend some time thinking and working on using your inner crew for work and support. In this workshop we’ll explore archetypes, inner voices, gut reactions and their influence on your art and art-making with lots of improvisational exercises to loosen up your approach to art. Make a small artist's altar using fabric and mixed media techniques including mono-printing, collage and digital printing on fabric to remind you of a practical and sacred part of your life. (artist altar frame, $10 supply fee) Workshop fee $175, Lodging, free to $30 on site.

Save the date...

Coming to an internet near you:

Text on Textiles online 4 classes (5ths optional and free) at JOGGLES. 

And more specifically here.

Start Date: Thursday March 15, 2012
Class: Text On Textiles
Instructor: Susie Monday
Cost: $45/4 lessons

This class is scheduled to begin on March 15, 2012.

NOTE: This class requires use of an all-in-one printer/copier or desktop copier with the ability to enlarge and reduce printed images. The techniques used make use of copies and prints from such a copier/printer. Optional techniques included also involve use of a computer and digital camera.

Have you ever wanted to incorporate a favorite word, poem or quote into an art quilt, garment, art doll or other textile project -- going beyond simply writing or embroidering the text? Or do letter forms and shapes appeal to your sense of design? This surface design/mixed media class will give you a set of process tools for making text and words an integral part of artfully designed fabrics that you can use in a wide variety of projects.

Starting with design exercises that encourage a unique expression of your creativity and interests, you’ll learn three specific techniques for transfers of text, words and writing to fabric using ink-jet printing, polymer medium and textile paints. 

Onward Artist's Journey

The weekend's Artist Journey/Arthist Journal workshop was, again, a wonderful gathering.  We each made posters 9with many differnet sizes of prints to take away) of a slogan, motto or theme for the upcoming year. (Mine, above). With a spattering of writing exercises, some short meditation sittings, a bunch of great meals, and deep conversation about our acomplishments, challenges, work-in-progress and life in general, we left the workshop renewed and with direction and intention. What more can a teacher/facilitator ask?



The photos here are just a bit of our work. First, Pat's notice to herself:


My cool calendar, above (each made her own version).

Pat's artist trading card size verison of her SATISFACTION poster (as shown during production in a screen shot.) an

PS As a little subnote, anyone who wants more information about why I opposed the current legislation before Congress dealing with internet issues may want to watch this video explanation of the proposed legislation PIPA/SOPA:

It looks as though the bills are tabled for the time being.

Are You Still Blank?

Your journal I mean? The blank book syndrome I call it. We artists often get these lovely gifts of blank books. They can stay that way without conscious effort. I am the last to guilt trip anyone into using a sketchbook or journal. I am erratic, to tell the honest truth. I am frenetic about sketchbooks at time and absolutly immune to their charms at others.

The key, as I noted in a previous post, is to have a reason. Whether its to make an artful record of one's crative life, or simply to have one spot in which to record, paste, glue, stick and stack all the bits and pieces that float in and out of consciousness (that's usually my approach), a blank book can be your friend.

Here are a few more ways to approach the use of an artist's sketchbook, blank journal or all-too-precious book of emptiness:

1. Glue in every scrap of loose paper you can find in your purse or backpack. Alter the papers (unless their content is crucial) with paint, crayons, colored pencils, cutting and wrinkling. See what you can make with nothing.

2. Save a book to designate for a trip journal. No trip on the horizon. Start planning the dream trip of your artistic creative life. It might even come true. Paste in internet printed documents, research ticket prices, look on AIrBNB bfor the best possible place to stay. Instead of watching another mindless TV show, start planning the dream reality trip of a lifetime. Who knows?

3. Take a magazine picture, cut it in half, glue it down on a blank page, draw and color the missing half your own way.

4. Cut colored paper shapes. Glue. Tear out the page, cut and glue again.

5. Cut and glue a NOTAN a day.

Other ideas? List them in comments. Thanks

PS. Still need help? consider coming to El Cielo this next weekend for Artist Journey, Artist Journal. Or one of the other workshops this spring....

(optional Fri. night potluck & critique session)

This annual workshop has become a tradition at El Cielo Studio. Spend the weekend in creative activi- ties that help you set the stage for a 2012 filled with productivity, imagination, focus and artistic goals. Using original and time- tested exercises gleaned from sources around the globe, we’ll banish procras- tination, make an annual love letter, work on a goals and artist date calendar for the year, and find ways to remind us of what really matters in our artistic lives. Meanwhile, you’ll work with mixed media and surface design techniques to start your artist’s journal.


(optional Friday night potluck & heart-centered gentle yoga session)
In this workshop, you’ll start with common and familiar symbols -- like the heart shape of Valentine’s Day for example -- and through a series of creative genera- tive exercises, you’ll make something new and differ- ent to incorporate into your design, composition and surface design. And then, in honor of the season, make some one-of-a-kind Valentines, too. Tools and tech- niques explored include paper lamination on fabric, hand-cut stamps, and gelatin plate monoprints.

MARCH 23-25
(optional Friday night potluck & work-in-progress critique)

Spend some time thinking and working on using your inner crew for work and support. In this workshop we’ll explore archetypes, inner voices, gut reactions and their influence on your art and art-making with lots of improvisational exercises to loosen up your approach to art. Make a small artist's altar using fabric and mixed media techniques including mono-printing, collage and digital printing on fabric to remind you of a practical and sacred part of your life. (artist altar frame, $10 supply fee) 

And at Southwest School of Art: FINDING YOUR 
ARTIST VOICE, Monday afternoons, Feb 6-March 26


The Blank Sketchbooks

A recent discussion on the Quiltart list about using and hoarding blank sketchbooks has led me to my new year's commitment- make journaling a part of my daily life again. I have shelves of journals, but I have let the habit drop the last two years, except when I was working on a specific project that took pen and paper.

My January workshop (artist journey/artist journal) is one with a journal habit focus -- and I'm a bit embarrassed to admit my own laxity. So, guess this is a good time to resume. One decision: now that I'm relying often on my iPad for day-to-day notes and resources, do I go to an electronic journal, like a special notebook on Evernote or Circus Notebooks, or even Bento? Or find another software (a task in itself!) Or use paper book and iPad both? Or make a back-to-paper decision, since it's just more of an object that has the sensory pleasures of tactile and linear time inherent and intact. I really love electronic media, and unlike many artists and non-artists alike, find that it has amazing and interesting and full of creative potential. I love taking photos to spark art work; like the instant alterations possible with photo and art apps; just love exploring the mixed media aspects of the screen. I still want to buy a stylus and try working enscreen with that kind of interface.

A commitment to daily private journaling would be different than the (not so regular) blogging I did this year. one doesn't like to whine in public, does one? But electronically, would it feel the same?

And back to the Quiltart discussion -- seems there are a lot of people out there who collect the beautiful books, blank sketchbooks with lovely papers, but rarely use them, at least not beyond a few days. I do have some suggestions, ones that work. And, those I'll be tackling myself to get back in the habit, before my workshop January 21.

First, answer a why: Why do you want to keep a sketchbook or artists's journal? What purpose can you imagine it serving? We are all too busy to do things without reason. Here are a few reasons to consider:
To deepen your work and path as an artist
To document your work process and creative process so that you can be more productive and more conscious of your process
To give you references and resources and inspirations for a particular project or series of work
To organize all those scraps and bits and pieces that you collect in a month, a season, a year
As a way to move past blocks, the inner critic, the unexamined things that keep you from your work as an artist ( for this, I recommend Artist Pages a la The Artists Way by Julia Cameron)
To record your work in process
To record creative action and work so that at the end of the year you know what and where you have been
As a work of art in itself -- artist journaling as an art form can combine or contain any of the other reasons and purposes, but the opposite is not necessarily true. I have never thought of my journals as works of art, and no one would think so to see them, but I do enjoy seeing the work of those who do journal that way.
As art and skill practice. For example, journals with a drawing a day, an art quilt journal with a small quilt each week, a sketch diary carried and used daily to improve drawing skills, etc.

So what's your purpose?

And are you committed to that purpose?

Here's what Seth Godin had to say about that today:
The reason productivity improvements don't work (as well as they could)

GTD, 18 minute plans, organized folders... none of them work as well as you'd like.

The reason is simple: you don't want to get more done.

You're afraid. Getting more done would mean exposing yourself to considerable risk, to crossing bridges, to putting things into the world. Which means failure.

The leap the lizard brain takes when confronting the opportunity is a simple formula: GTD=Failure.

Until you quiet the resistance and commit to actually shipping things that matter, all the productivity tips in the world aren't going to make a real difference. And, it turns out, once you do make the commitment, the productivity tips aren't that needed."

You don't need a new plan for next year. You need a commitment.

Tomorrow (or next day) i'll Iist some fun ways to engage in journaling, no matter your purpose,-- and, if you're in the area, there is still room in the workshop next month at El Cielo Studios.

Coming up in Fiber Philadelphia 2012

Art Cloth Network will have an exhibit among the diverse, intriguing and far-flung offerings in the new year at Fiber Philadelphia 2012, a citywide two month long celebration of textiles. Thanks to member Diane Hricko, we will have two of our juried exhibits combined into one called Lines and Numbers, showing during the festival:

Lines and Numbers
White Space, Crane Arts' Old School
1417 N. Second Street, Philadelphia, PA 19122
Open Wed-Sun, 12-6pm

March - April 2012

FiberPhiladelphia is an international biennial and regional festival for innovative fiber/textile art. Exhibitions are planned for 40 locations including major institutions and independent venues. They will include work by renowned international artists and a new generation of artists breaking into the field. 

"In the past 20 years, the boundaries between High/Low art and medium specific recognition have been blurred. Unlike the other major craft media, textile artists have the freedom of transcending materials, unbound from tradition. Although many choose to continue to work with historic materials and methods, many have branched out to explore the infinite possibilities of materials and techniques. One can weave metal, clay, even light. Quilts are not necessarily bound by thread or cloth and vessels can be more than objects to contain physical matter; they can reject functionality and explore conceptual notions of spiritual and metaphysical containment.

"FiberPhiladelphia is partnering with InLiquid, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) membership organization dedicated to providing opportunities and exposure for visual artists and designers."

Art Cloth Network artists whose work will be shown include:


Laura Beehler
Janet Hadingham
Sue Copeland Jones
Lisa Kerpoe
Dianne Koppisch Hricko
Judy Langille
Mary Ellen Latinio
Russ Little
Susie Monday
Barbara Schneide
Peggy Sexton
Jeanne Sisson
Priscilla J. Smith 
Katherine Sylvan
Connie Tiegel
Deborah Weir

The two combined exhibits include one that had a size requirement and another with both a size and a line placement requirment but all the art meets our groups' definition of art cloth

Art Cloth - It’s all in the process

 The Art Cloth Network is dedicated to exploring and promoting art cloth. Art Cloth is cloth transformed by adding or subtracting color, line, shape, texture, value, or fiber to create a compelling surface.

If you'd like to know more about FIber Philadelphia check their website at and for more about Art Cloth Network, see

My piece in the exhibit (detail in the photo above) pushes the definition of art cloth since it's a strange combination of painting, screen printed stencils and watercolor washes on black-out curtain fabric, fused to a poly felt background. I used the multicolor screen printing process to make the hummingbird and Century Plant images That process is one that I teach in my CLOTH PAPER SCISSOR DVD Workshop video and one we'll be playing with during the February workshop at El Cielo. I love the feeling of individual hand and spontaneity that this process gives a piece.

Here's more about the DVD:"Making use of a fun and accessible screen-printing method, Susie shows how to design a screen with water-soluble pigments, and then how to print the image using a polymer medium. Complementary fabrics are designed using stencils, water-soluble crayons, and textile paints. And next, using simple fuse-and-stitch layering and piecing, Susie demonstrates how to construct a colorful, improvisational piece of fiber art. Further design elements are considered and added, including painted details and another layer of screen printing. Finally, Susie shares strategies for turning the piece into a three-dimensional piece of artwork, by wrapping and attaching it to a wooden frame (such as a house shape). Hand stitching and embellishments can be added to personalize the piece."