Designing with Text, Up in the Cloud

In a nutshell, it's Wordle.

The graphic above is the word cloud generated by Wordle using the text in this blog site! You can use any site, any text block, anything you want to type into the program or copy and paste. It's fun to scroll through the gallery, too. Lots of design uses for this program!

This is a great word cloud design site, passed along to me from Caryl Gaubatz via Pat Schulz, who knows my interest in text on the surface. I'm posting it here, not only to share, but I find that it's helpful to use my blog as a kind of electonic filing cabinet of ideas I want to explore more!

MORE: the developer of Wordle referred me (via his posterous page) to another, newer word cloud design generator -- 

With Tagxedo, you can also put the cloud into a specific design shape or form and manipulate more of the criteria for the design. 

Fabulous Earth, Air and Water T-Shirts

This is an activity that's become a standard activity with the groups of Central American Youth Ambassadors who visit Alamo Colleges each year. We just wrapped up a week with 23 ambassadors from four countries, paired with 20 or so host kids from San Antonio's Legacy High School and the International School of the Americas (housed at Lee High School).

We start with some cutting and collage activities, then a little design seminar based on the Sensory Alphabet and then each participant cuts and pastes a logo design. The kids are in teams -- Earth, Air and Water -- serving as the "voices for the voiceless" for a short presentation that wraps up the activities each week. 

I wanted to share their designs and a little of the work-in-progress, because I think this design technique has some fine applications for coming up with art quilt designs, as well as screen print or stamp and stencil images.

The "warmup" design activities include learning how to cut notan designs, as you can see. But the kids often take the technique into new directions -- or use a different technique as they design their logo. After collecting each groups designs, I photographed them, ran each design through the "stamp" filter in Photoshop (that took out any variation in contrast and made each design a high contrast black-and-white image, even though my photos had shadows and backgrounds. Then I cropped and arranged the design images into an 8.5" by 11" design, printed it on the laser printer and made thermofaxes for each group to print in black on t-shirts. After printing, the kids colored their designs with fabric markers, and, later at the event, each autographed and wrote messages to each other.

Cutting designs.




Monoprints on Fabric


Just a few photos today, from the recent Southwest School of Art weekend workshop. We'll be reprising a few of these techniques with some natural items (leaves, sticks and stones) added this weekend at the El Cielo workshop. I just had a last minute drop out, so if you are interested, email me.


The first and third pieces were done with layers of textile paint applied from plastic plates of various kinds, textured with rollers and fingers and brushes. The second was with rainbow printing techniques directly on a screen. (You'll find more on this blog under rainbow printing in the search field.) Here's the link to Rainbow Printing.


Gifts in Order


Just in time for holiday giving, so says QA on the web today:




‘QATV’ Series 600This season we explore soy wax and flour paste resists, screen- and gelatin-printing techniques, and so much more!

Artists include:

Liz Berg, Andrea Bishop, Jeanne Cook-Delpit, Jane Dunnewold, Julie Fei-Fan Balzer, Karen Fricke, Terry Grant, Mary Hettmansperger, Carol Ingram, Liz Kettle, Kathy Mack, Lindsay Mason, Linda McGehee, Susie Monday, Diane Nuñez, Jennifer O’Brien, Luana Rubin, Jeanie Sumrall-Ajero, Terry White, and many more.


Watch a Preview Now!


Text on the Surface at SWSchool

Coming this spring to a school in SA:


2560 | Text on the Surface

Susie Monday

Learn to embed text messages into the surface of your art cloth or art quilts, with the form holding as much importance (and as much of the “message”) as any literary element. The words might disappear, remain legible, or become a surface texture; find ways to add letters and text with innovative materials. Some techniques to be explored include soy wax scrafitto, stitched paper cloth with word collages, direct printing on fabric with an inkjet printer, sun printing with letters and words using dye and paint, and making your own stamps and thermofaxes with words, collages and favorite quotations. The course includes handouts and other resources. A supply list will be posted on the SSA website.

Mon, Jan 31 – Feb 28 | 1:00 – 4:00P

Surface Design Studio | Navarro Campus

Tuition: $170 (Members: $155) | 5 weeks

Bookmaking with the Maestros/Maestras

We're doing another round of book-making here at Palo Alto with the international program scholarship teachers in Group 4. Everyone is writing and illustrating with photo collages their own "me books," as models and to take back to their schools as examples when they return to the classroom. The creativity is exciting -- and everyone is enthralled withusing copiers and photo printers -- technology not necessarily at hand back at home. But, as the digital world gets broader, as tools become more accessible, these teachers will return with the knowledge and experiences to dream with their students. And, the basic book-making and writing and illustration exercises can be done with low-tech supplies and tools, too.



Handmade Books by CASS Docentes


In case you've been wondering what all this teacher and school stuff has to do with art, here's an album of the kinds of work I do with the Central American teachers who study with the CASS scholarship program at Alamo Colleges. The teachers write stories from their personal experiences, then try out some design skills. I help them choose an illustration style to work with, and monitor the progress, provide critique and teach the simple bookbinding skills that hold the whole thing together. 

These are books from the 2008 class, and I am visiting some of these teachers on this trip.


Head over to the Escuela CASS What Can School Be? site for more pics of the teachers books, (The upload on that site is much better)

Infernal Machines


Some interesting thoughts on copyright, creativity and technology in this TED Talk (you DO know about TED Talks, I hope). 

P.S. I just found out that Larry Lessig will be one of the speakers at the TEDx San Antonio event on October 16. You can apply to be a participant at the event at the web site. TEDx is an independently organized (ie open source) event patterned after the TED programs in California. For more information go to

Interweave Customer Appreciation Sale

It's the final day for a customer appreciation Sale at Interweave. If you've been waiting to purchase my Mixed Media Textile Art (Or another) Interweave DVD, you can get big savings today.

Mixed-Media Textile Art (Download) Mixed-Media Textile Art (Download)
Contemporary textile artist Susie Monday demonstrates how to create artful and original screen-printed fabrics.
[more info...]

Video Download
Item Number: EP2015
Availability: Available Now
Was: $14.95
Sale: $8.97
Video Download

Mixed-Media Textile Art (DVD) Mixed-Media Textile Art (DVD)
Contemporary textile artist Susie Monday demonstrates how to create artful and original screen-printed fabrics.
[more info...]

Item Number: 10QM10
Availability: In Stock
Was: $19.95
Sale: $11.97

Susie's Newsletter & El Cielo Flyer

Finally. My intent to publish a quarterly newsletter has been shortcircuited for about two quarters! But I have it back on track and back on the publishing schedule. This electronic only newsletter summarizes some of my recent activity, includes a two-page text collage exercise, and previews the dates and topics for my upcoming El Cielo artist retreats here in the Texas Hill Country. Here's a link for a one-time download for this issue of the newsletter.

If you'd like to get your own copy AND be on the list for future editions, send me an email through the contact form on the sidebar with SUBSCRIBE in the subject line. If you don't get a newsletter today and think you ARE on my list, do the same, as I may have missed your email due to the vagarities of virtual and real life!

Meanwhile, in case you don't want the pdf, but do want to know more about the workshop schedule, here's the overview, details are availble as a downloadable pdf HERE and on the sidebar. You can also access the information on the sidebar link that says COMING SOON: Workshops.

El Cielo Workshops: Artist Retreat Calendar set for Fall and Winter 2010-2011
Continuing my on-going series of monthly workshops and retreats for artists, here’s the rundown for Fall and Winter, 2010-2011. Sign up early (at least 30 days in advance with a $25 deposit) for a $15 discount on the $175 fee. Email me at for details and to receive more complete descriptions. Accommodations and meals on site, $15 to $30 (or free for the sofa or sleeping porch!) Limited enrollment -- 6 to 8 artists. First come/first serve/best bedrooms are in demand! Note that some of the recent workshops have been filling early.

FIELD GUIDE TO COLOR, November 12-14: Explore your personal palette while learning the "rules" of color harmony with hands-on exercises. UFO WORKSHOP, December 3-5: Bring along work that needs finishing (perhaps a gift or two, or work that’s stuck for need of constructive critique. Enjoy the resources of the studio and the advice and support of peers. ARTIST'S JOURNEY/ARTIST'S JOURNAL, January 14-16: This workshop has become an annual tradition. Join me for a weekend of reflection, goal setting, and information about how the habit or journaling can benefit you as an artist -- and make a unique journal cover and artist calendar for your new year of creative work.    (HEART)YOUR INNER ARTIST, February 11-13: How do you nurture your creative self in a world that doesn’t always honor artists and artful work? This pre-Valentine’s Day workshop will provide that support while you learn more about your creative strengths with creativity exercises, learn simple yoga and breath work, and make an artist’s altar for your studio. NATURE-INSPIRED SURFACE DESIGN March 25-27: Find color, shape, form and inspired design for new surface design tools at this spring-is-sprung weekend in the blooming Texas Hill Country.

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.

Flying or driving in from afar for one of these weekends? Add one or two days of individual work in the studio for learning techniques that you are interested in -- dyeing, screen-printing, ink-jet transfer, soy batik and more. Each custom designed workshop and night’s lodging and meals costs $225 per person. Limit, 2 artists.