Archive for the ‘Professional quilting’ Category

Art Inc, by Lisa Congdon–Book Review

Monday, August 27th, 2018

I love it when things come full circle.  I was reading a Studio Art Quilt Associates Friday e-Blast newsletter, which had a link to an article in the NYT about the 20 best books on business for artists. Let’s face it:  as an artist, we’d rather make art and not think about business.  But if you don’t, you may not be able to afford to stay an artist.  Book number 6 on the list is Art Inc.: The Essential Guide for Building Your Career as an Artist by Lisa Congdon, whom I first came to know about because her mom,  Gerrie Congdon, is a textile artist and SAS Member.  Find Gerrie’s artwork here.  Find Lisa’s website (and further links to her Etsy, Instagram, FB and other social media presence) here.   Full circle!

Art Inc.: The Essential Guide for Building Your Career as an Artist by Lisa Congdon.  Since she actually DID what she is talking about in this book, I believe her.  I also love that each chapter has an interview with an incredibly successful artist–from a very wide range of places and backgrounds and media–talking about things that pertain both to the chapter where they are included but also to life as a working artist no matter what.

I WISH I had had this book when I started out!   I was able to borrow it on interlibrary loan, but given the modest price, if you are anywhere near the start of your career, just buy it. Here’s the Table of Contents to give you an idea of the scope of this small but mighty book:

Table of contents for Art, Inc. by Lisa Congdon, available on Amazon both in print as a Kindle book. 

I was actually delighted as I read through the first four chapters to say “check!  Done that!”  BUT I wish I had known about all this when I began.  I have learned a lot from other quilt artists, first on the QuiltArt listserv, then on Facebook as many of us migrated to social media, and then more from my peers in SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates).  But I felt validated that someone who took The Big Leap into being a full time professional artist was saying to do what I had done.   But the book also helped me now when I feel like I am sorta mid-career.  What do I do now, how can I better market my work and myself?  What goals do I have and how can I achieve them?  The chapters on selling, exhibiting, licensing and managing workload were GREAT.

As I was reading I thought…OK, let’s buckle down and start making a cohesive group of works–perhaps 12-20–for a themed exhibit of my work, then market it…..   So I now have a daunting goal, but I also have a goal–a specific thing I want to do.  Will I make it happen?  Who knows, but the only way to find out is to try.  And I can use some of the guidance in the latter half of this book to help me find out how to get from where I am to where I want to be.  You can’t ask much more from a book than that!

So, I am going to get a few smaller projects done, get ready to teach at International Quilt Festival in Houston again this fall, but while I’m working on those I’m going to start mapping out that series of works, thinking about how I want to present them, create them, and then get going!

 

 

Janome Education Summit 2018

Wednesday, May 30th, 2018

Many of you know I have been a Janome Girl for a long time.  I was beyond fortunate to be able to attend Janome-America’s first ever Education Summit last week in New Jersey.  It brought together Janome Educators–those wonderful folks who work in show booths for Janome, Janome dealers, in classrooms at quilt shows, around North America, the National Spokespersons for Janome for both the US, Kimberly Einmo, and Canada, Tamara Kate, as well as many Janome Artisans (like me) and Janome Makers.   As someone said at the start, I am in awe of the talent in that room, and my awe only increased as the week progressed.   I’ll share what we did over several blogposts because it was WAY to much fun and educational to fit into one post.  A bunch of us from the summit are blogging, so I will link to their posts at the end (and perhaps in a separate post, too).  A HUGE HUGE HUGE THANK YOU to Janome America–I think all of us are still floating on the collective energy and inspiration!

Our welcome and first session were from Janome’s new US Spokesperson, Kimberly Einmo. She’s well known for her many books on Jelly Roll quilts, great traditional piecing techniques, and being an all around nice person.

We began by working on the Janome 9400, the machine I have in my studio.  You will have to pry it out of my cold dead hands.  I love what I can do on this machine. Stay tuned for different session work on it (as well as all my garment sewing and a lot of my quilting).

The swag that came from attending this Summit was unbelievable–thanks to ALL the donors.  Kimberly designed a ruler for flying geese and has a new line of fabric, Solid-ish which was one of our first delights. I had admired it on Facebook posts, but OMG it is SO much prettier in person!   And I am now a convert to specialized rulers.  This ruler makes it brainless and possible for even me to get perfect points (and I totally mean that, not just complimenting because we got a freebie, it really works).

Check with your local shop or online for solid-ish. There’s a warm pink and coral and yellow that I want some yardage! Well, the aquas too, and the greens…..

Even I can use a ruler like Kimberly’s Easy Flying Geese: the colors are pink and mint for breast and ovarian cancer awareness. If you can read the writing, in this case the pink, that makes the geese (notice the darkened triangle above the 3 1/2″ line?). If you can read the blue (flip the ruler over), it is for the background pieces. Easy peasy.

One of the first and most useful tips came at the start:  ya know how Jelly rolls and other precuts have pinked edges and shed bits of thread and lint like crazy?  Lint roller them FIRST, before you undo the package!!!!!   Brilliant!

If you lint roller your jelly roll, you end up with lots less floaty bits messing up your clothes and studio!

This shows my pieces laid out on my sewing machine table and a block in progress by Kimberly Coffin, my tablemate, whom you can find at her website Sweet Red Poppy.

I tend to stress in classroom situations and my brain freezes, so I don’t accomplish a lot.   But I do start thinking.  I totally want some play time to make more geese and maybe some placemats, a wall quilt of the modern persuasion…. I saw what Tamara Kate was doing and totally thought that I need to get out of my box and play.   Go check Tamara Kate’s website Kayajoy for inspiration.

My flying geese…. I need some new placemats for spring and summer, so think I’ll order some of my favorites…that magenta, and the bottle green, and the turquoise…oh dear…..

More soon!   Next post will be about ruler work with Amy Dreishbach Johnson of Sew Simple of Lynchburg VA.

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My book reviewed in MQU!

Friday, December 29th, 2017

What with the holidays, I hadn’t had time to sit down and savor the January/February issue of Machine Quilting Unlimited magazine yet.  Then a copy arrived today in the mail in an envelope–which usually means it is a complementary copy because you’re in a magazine.  So I went looking: SQUEEE!  Diane Rusin Doran reviewed several books, including my book of the quilts featured in the Rising Stars Exhibit in Houston (and will also be at International Quilt Festival in Chicago) and other work to illustrate my development as an artist.  To order The Art of Sarah Ann Smith…so far go to my store page and follow the link to Blurb or go directly to Blurb.  If you’d like an autograph, the books are print-on-demand and ship directly to you, so if you send me a SASE (email me via my contact page to get my snail mail address) I’ll send you a personalized, autographed label and sticker to put in your book.

What a delightful way to close out 2017–a lovely review (and the first of the bunch reviewed) in the Jan-Feb 2018 issue of MQU.  You’ll have to check the issue to read the entire review and see the other great books mentioned.  You can order individual issues and subscribe here, and MQU is also available at Barnes & Noble (yeah!).  

 

Thank you Diane and MQU for the shout out and great review.  It is always a privilege to be included in MQU!  I hope folks will now have time to sit and savor some inspiration and tips as winter sets in–at least today in Maine we got above zero–crazy cold even for Maine!

This is the issue with the review and lots of other eye candy.

The two page spread with reviews blurred–to respect MQU’s copyright. Please find a copy of the magazine (including at Barnes and Noble!).

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QA TV Series 2000, including me, is now on air!

Thursday, August 3rd, 2017

Hi everyone…a quick pop-in to share that Quilting Arts TV has begun airing.   Check with your local PBS station to find out when it will air in your area.  In Maine, it will be on Maine Public’s Create channel (I think).  If you’re like me and don’t have access to a PBS station (grumble) that airs it, you can download the episodes or series at Interweave, here.  I’ve even got a new badge:

Sarah’s on Quilting Arts TV again, Episodes 2001, 2007 and 2012.

 

I’ll be talking about my journey from hobbyist to professional in the industry (Episode 2001), how to get crisp corners when facing art quilts (Episode 2007), and  my way of using thermofax screens to blend collaged fabrics prior to quilting (Episode 2012).  I hope you’ll enjoy the journey with me–nothing of mine is earth shattering, but not much in life is.  It’s the little tweaks and changes that make the difference, and I hope my tips and techniques will improve your quilting and life.

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I’m on Quilting Arts Series 2000!

Wednesday, July 19th, 2017

Long time no see, eh? Don’t faint–it’s a new blogpost!  It has been crazier busier than usual in my life, which is saying something.  Lots of quilt made, shows entered,  accepted in more than half, taped 3 segments for QA TV in March, went to a dyeing fabric workshop in Massachusetts, son’s wedding came and went (three days ago), it was perfect.  It was a DIY (do it yourself) affair with daughter-in-law and me planning, and me absolutely delightedly doing a LOT of the prep.  I’m so happy it came off without a hitch, was perfect (will try to share pics before too long).   So now I get to SHARE all this good stuff I’ve been doing.  First is that I am on Quilting Arts again, episodes 2001, 2007  and 2012.  The series will air on PBS this fall but you can purchase the series at Interweave now; this link is to the download, but a DVD of the series is also available here.

On the 2001 show, the first of the season, host Susan Brubaker Knapp and I talk about how to get from where you are to being a professional, our own journeys on that path, and things we’ve learned about ourselves and how we each found our own “thing” in the industry.  You can see a recap of episode 2001 here.  Since I’ve known Susan for years, it is so relaxing to be around her, and she is such a professional and skilled at guiding those not used to being on camera all the time.   Thank you so much to Susan, Quilting Arts Editor Vivika Hansen deNegre and all at QA TV for inviting  me to be on again and making the process so wonderful.

On Quilting Arts TV Series 2000, episode 2001 with host Susan Brubaker Knapp

If you go to the page link for Episode 2001 and click on the photo (seen above) you’ll even get a download link to my hints and tips about finding your own path to being a quilting professional.

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