Paying Attention

The just-past post covered a lot of territory. As I take on this new expanded adventure of art out into the world, it's a good idea to think about my story, and what I bring to the table. (Perhaps you should do so, too! Post a link in the comments to your blog about your creative path and we'll see where this takes us...)

Where does my story as an artist begin? With paying attention.

Paying attention, this skill, like any other, needs focus, practice and to be honored within the environment (culture) of its practice. Fortunately from my childhood, I had mentors, parents and teachers who gave me that skill and fostered it's development.

First, a family who loved nature and beauty: Birdwatching was the usual activity on any trip; a geology pick was always in the back seat; composition books for note-taking are STILL a Christmas stocking standard. We looked at plants and creeks on Sunday afternoon drives as we searched for farmland (soon thereafter purchased with the GI Bill). My chemist father shared his love of observation and my intellegent stay-at-home mom nurtured beauty in the everyday life; both of them honored the skill of paying attention and modeled it to us four.

The concepts in The Missing Alphabet speak to my second set of lessons in paying attention. When 12, I was enrolled in a Children's Theatre at Baylor University, part of the department of drama headed by legendary regional director Paul Baker (he also headed the Dallas Theatre and worked with Frank Lloyd Wright on the design of that forward-thinking structure on Turtle Creek). His wife Kitty, and the young woman who became my mentor for decades, Jearnine Wagner, had started a children's program based on the same principles and ideas that were at the heart of the college drama program. These were: that each of us is creative and has a unique story to tell in our art and that all art/perception and creative thinking can be discerned through a vocabulary of form: line, color, shape, movement, light, rhythm, space, sound and texture. These perceptual/sensory tools could be harnessed by the artist (no matter his or her genre or field) as tools for telling that unique story. These, called by Baker "the elements of form," have moved into our missing alphabet book as "the sensory alphabet," a change of language that helps us explain to parents and educators that these are not just "art" words.

I've been able to take these perceptual and creative tools into my life in so many ways, I use them daily as "screens" for my thinking and inventing and imagination. They are the tools that I teach to the participants in many of my workshops, retreats and courses. I find them invaluable in defining and critiquing, in helping other artists find their own strong suits, their own voices and their best ways of working, simply by asking them to pay attention to these perceptual elements in their lives and work. The Missing Alphabet, while its a book targeted at parents, is still a useful resource for emerging artists who would like some specific information about the sensory alphabet, as well as lots of activity ideas that have no expriration date according to age!

Art school introduced me to another set of tools for paying attention, principally, that of drawing. I am not a natural "drawer." In fact, as a young woman (and even in art school) I pretty much decided I could never be a "real' artist because my drawings in junior high and high school never measured up to the cpaturing of reality that I expected as artist should be able to achieve. And though my college drawing classes at Trinity University were dully attended, I still never really fell in love with drawing until much later -- like a couple of years ago.

Paired with the sensory alphabet, some simple ways to approach the blank page have helped  me to get over my fear of drawing and to actually treasure the time I can carve out to pay attention through drawing.* I have a new group of "drawing" mentors, in real life, my friend and artist Sarah Jones, in the digital and print world, the work and writing of John Berger

 

That's why I am looking forward to the next Fearless Sketching workshop here at El Cielo. It's scheduled for April 12-14, costs $180. There is still room for a couple more participants, so if you are interested, send me a note through the comments or on the contact form on the sidebar to the right. 

 

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

Hours:
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

 

Screen Printing Free Form Letters

This blog post is intended as a bonus for those enrolled in my More Text on Textiles online course that started on Joggles today. 

Now, it's not too late to join in the fun, so if you are interested in this 4-week, PDF based course (with an online forum during the next 6 weeks), head on over to this link for enrollment info --http://www.joggles.com/store/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=75_1235&products_id=24165

It's an affordable way to get your feet wet with putting words, quotations, pithy comments and other thoughts (yours and others) on your art quilts, art cloth, wearable art or mixed media pieces.

Using letter forms for screenprinting stencils is another way to use your cut letters. P.S. This post assumes you have a basic knowlege of screenprinting. If not, go to this site to see a demo at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wogKeYH2wEE. This is a demo that takes you through the entire process, making your own screen. You can purchase them ready-made at many art supply stores. This demo shows all kinds of stencils, and you will be using your cut letters as the stencil. YOU don't need a clamped frame, I just move my small screen over the fabric. 

Because these letters will be used as a one time stencil, then thrown away, I usually just use old newspaper or sheets of newsprint, or recycled copy paper. Newspaper is really great because it is really thin and adheres to the screen and wet ink really well.


Any thin flat paper will work, but if you want a reusable stencil, cut your letters with contact paper (backing side up, the sticky side goes against the back of the screen).

 You can use any clean silkscreen for your tool. Occasionally I even use one with defects or blocked areas, for a distressed kind of print.

 Free-hand cut your word or words from your choice of paper (instructions are in the first lesson of More Text on Textiles). Then use small folds of masking tape (one or two per letter only), and tape your letters on the back (bottom) of the screen. Your words should read correctly through the screen unless you are intentionally reversing them. This is a great time to teach yourself to cut serif letters or letters that enlarge some iconic type (like those used by Corita Kent in her work).

Screenprint onto ironed flat fabric with thickened dye (see the Dharma catalog for easy instructions and supplies), textile screen printing ink, or other inks. Use a padded surface under your fabric.

Use your word as a repeat, or as a one-time print. When finished wipe down the screen, remove the letters and wash. Let textile ink prints dry, then iron to set. Thickened dye prints need to be batched, as with any dye painted fabrics.

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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.

 

TEXT ON  TEXTILES

ONLINE course at JOGGLES.com

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

FROM SCRIBBLE TO SYMBOL; PERSONAL MARK-MAKING 

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 

CHANGE OF DATE

Optional potluck 

Friday night

KITCHEN ALTAR   WORKSHOP

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 

NATURE INSPIRED 

SURFACE DESIGN

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.

 

SEPTEMBER 7-9

FEARLESS SKETCHING

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.”

WHAT PARTICIPANTS SAY ABOUT SUSIE’S CLASSES & WORKSHOPS:

“ 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...”

 

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.

 

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.


Two Weekends for Play and Passion

 

Not to mention: pears, peaches, pool (cool), plenty, and well, just lots of fun.

Coming up: July's Play Art and Attention and August's El Cielo Workshop will be hot-as-lava, fired-up with spirit and full of heat-based artcloth techniques that take advantage of the weather, the countryside and the grand vistas to inspire a new perspective on life, the artist's path and your place on the road.

First, we'll put play to the work of imagination and inspiration, with a variety of surface design techniques and creative exercises that open up possibilities for all kinds of new mixed media on paper and fabric. AND, we'll take a mid-year look at your annual art goals, how to reinvigorate your artistic studio focus, and set up some targets to hit with intention. Play and focus come together with a bit of yoga, some time in nature, and your hands in a zappy happy mix of new and fun materials.

In August, spend a couple of days exploring heat related techniques: textile paint sun-printing, rusting (afterall, a slow oxidation -- or burning -- process) and kitchen utensil and vegetable printing. We'll put your new fabrics together in a small art quilt art  Kitchen Altar, using a wooden frame and stitched work. Enjoy an August retreat from city's heat -- sure South Texas and the Hill Country are hot even up here in on the ridge, but it's always 10 degrees cooler at night than in the asphalt-ribboned city (and there's the pool, too). 

 

We'll be taking advantage of the  heat, with dye processes, using batik on fabric and to create screen-printing and more. Use the heat of the season to ignite your creative imagination, enjoy a convivial time with other artists and feast on the bounty of the season (some of it from El Cielo's own new veggie garden). 

If you're interested in making artcloth like the ones you see here

PLAY, ART AND ATTENTION

July 29-31

Making time to play with odd-ball materials; learning to focus upon artful tasks at hand -- sounds like opposite sides of the coin? At this exploratory and full-of-play weekend, we’ll explore the relationship between the time, play, art and focus. Where does time management intersect with open-hearted fun? Expect bubbles, playdough, sparklers, jello, yoga and seeing the world from new angles and attitudes. 

BURNING WOMAN WORKSHOP

August 19-21

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 heroine, angel or other meaningful design as the centerpiece for the altar. 

For more information, email me with the contact form on the sidebar. 

 

From Photo to Fabric

Time is running out to register for the next Photo to Fabric workshop at the Southwest School of Art:

The workshop is Saturday and Sunday, June 18-19 from 10 am to 4 pm. We'll be working both with digital media and with photos as a design inspiration for paint, stamps, color palettes and composition.

Class Sessions: 2

Maximum: 10

Location: Surface Design Studio | Navarro

Take your favorite photos and use them in original fabric art - both directly printed on your own fabric and as inspiration for a fabric collage to stitch later. Bring an assortment of photos, print or digital (on disk or flash drive) to the first class in order to select those that work best with each technique. You'll learn to make two different kinds of photo prints on fabric using an inkjet printer, and also enlarge, simplify and transfer a photograph to a larger wall fabric art quilt format, for later quilting or stitch work at home. Please see SSA website for a materials list. Bring a lunch each day.

Spring and Summer Workshops at El Cielo Studios

Here is a link to a downloadable pdf brochure with the dates and topics for new workshops at El Cielo Studios.

files.me.com/susiemonday/rvq162

  It's my pleasure to share my home and studio and a nurturing environment for your creative journey -- and the  workshop is less than what you'd spend for a bed-and-breakfast weekend alone! I hope to see you sometime this spring or summer for a weekend of inspiring and creative work and play here in the beautiful Texas Hill Country.

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 and strolls down the country roads. A spa and pool, and large screen media room are also available to participants. The fee for each workshop retreat is $175 for a 2-day event with discount for early enrollment. Comfortable accommodations (double and single rooms with baths and shared bath rooms) and meals are available from $15 - $30 per workshop. Most supplies included. Call 210-643-2128 or econtact me through the email form on the sidebar of this blog.

Sign up early (at least 30 days in advance with a $25 deposit) for a $15 ndiscount on the $175 fee. Workshops generally start with an optional Friday night potluck and fun activity or two, then continue through 3-4 pm on Sunday afternoon. Most supplies included.

MARKMAKING, MAKING YOUR MARK

May 13-15

Markmaking can be what distinguishes one person's work on paper or fabric from another's - their personal style. Using color, line, shape, rhythm and textures, students will explore traditional and new media as well as techniques for personal markmaking. Techniques to be covered include deconstructed screenprinting, stamping, using paint sticks and monoprinting with gelatin plates. No matter what your experience level, you'll gain confidence in working with layered media and find your strongest media for the marks that make your work unmistakably your own. 

UFO WORKSHOP

June 3-5

UFO, “unfinished fiber object.” Bring along work that needs finishing, needs one more layer, needs some concentrated time and attention (or work that’s stuck for need of constructive critique). Enjoy the resources of the studio and the advice and support of peers. We’ll customize the techniques to the tasks at hand.

PLAY, ART AND ATTENTION

July 29-31

Making time to play with odd-ball materials; learning to focus upon artful tasks at hand -- sounds like opposite sides of the coin? At this exploratory and full-of-play weekend, we’ll explore the relationship between the time, play, art and focus. Where does time management intersect with open-hearted fun? Expect bubbles, playdough, sparklers, jello, yoga and seeing the world from new angles and attitudes. 

BURNING WOMAN WORKSHOP

August 19-21

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 heroine, angel or other meaningful design as the centerpiece for the altar. (This workshop has an additional $12 fee per person for the altar boxes that the quilts are stretched upon.)

OTHER CLASSES 

This spring and summer I also will be teaching occasionally at the Southwest School of Art: June 18-19 - From Photo to Fiber (using various techniques to design art quilts from photographs), August 1-5, mornings, New World Kids: for parents wishing to nurture creativity in their children.

I am also teaching a course for teachers: Fiber Arts for the Classroom at Southwest School of Art on July 23-24 (The wrong date is in the SSA catalog, I had to change the date after it was printed.)

 OTHER POSSIBILITIES:

Flying or driving in from afar for one of these weekends? Or just want some solo supported work time in the studio? Add one or two days of instruction in the studio for learning techniques that you are interested in. Each custom designed workshop and night’s lodging and meals costs $225 per person. Limit, 2 artists per session Many of Susie’s workshops go on the road! Please write for available dates and fees.

WHAT PARTICIPANTS SAY: 

“A workshop at Susie’s is always money well spent.  I learned techniques I have read about but never tried ... I also now feel confident that I can make art quilts!”

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

“This weekend was totally awesome! I am humbled by Susie’s talents, her teaching abilities and her hospitality. I will come back as often as possible.”