Art Inc, by Lisa Congdon–Book Review

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!

 

 

SAQA Auction 2: Five Circles and a Grid

August 20th, 2018

The season is coming soon for the SAQA / Studio Art Quilt Associates annual fundraising auction:  bidding begins September 15th.  To learn more about the auction, go here. For my first Dream Collection, I chose Five Circles and a Line. Here are Five more Circles, with a Grid:

Karen Hansen’s Celebration, part of the SAQA 2018 Benefit Auction.  I love the play of the curved red against the starkness of the black and white.  http://www.saqa.com/auction-viewdetail.php?ID=3666

Lynn Koolish, Black on White #7. I’m usually not one for abstracts, but I love the spontaneity of the line…reminds me of a portrait Lyric Kinard did of her daughter one year that is one of my favorite art quilts ever. http://www.saqa.com/auction-viewdetail.php?ID=3887

Laura Jaszowski, Sturgeon Moon. LOVE the color, the calm, the thin clouds drifting in the sky. http://www.saqa.com/auction-viewdetail.php?ID=4002

Patricia Gaska, Blue Moon. Another abstract-meets-representational quilt (and yes, I recognize and have that striped fabric LOL). I wonder if I have an abstract trying to happen in my brain? http://www.saqa.com/auction-viewdetail.php?ID=3773

Martha Wolfe, Koi. Perfection in the quilting. Perfection in the complex simplicity. http://www.saqa.com/auction-viewdetail.php?ID=3727

Alicia Merrett, Somerset Village Green. This NEEDED to be in a collection. What better spot than as a colorful counterpoint to the circles? http://www.saqa.com/auction-viewdetail.php?ID=3966

Will you bid on one of these?  Will I?

Teaching at IQF Houston — Fine Finishes, an Album of Techniques, MQForum

August 7th, 2018

YES, I’ll teach you how to get perfect miters that match your seam measurement, no matter what it is, without having to measure! Today I’ll talk about my Fine Finishes workshop, #525 from 9-5 on Friday, November 9th, at International Quilt Festival Houston.  Link to register is here and at the bottom of this post.

This class is all about what to do with the edges of your quilt…and not just straight edges:  curves, inside points, sharp angles, facings not just bindings.  Using techniques adapted from high end garment construction, you’ll achieve precise results, perfect corners, perfect miters, without measuring your seam allowance!

You’ll learn about all of these and, depending on how fast you work, make at least four samples, maybe more. In Houston, it is class #525 on Friday.

 

Fine Finishes has proved a perennial favorite –sign up soon!  If the PERFECT bias binding hasn’t happened for you, or the PERFECT facing for an art quilt, one that doesn’t roll and bulge, you need this class.  Have you ever considered piping?  Time consuming, but OH MY what a wonder!  So worth it … try these and more as time permits.

Last but not least–and it usually fills up fast–is the Machine Quilting Forum on Thursday morning.   Think of it as not-so-speedy dating for machine quilters.  We meet in one of the large “ballrooms” at the convention center. The first hour is an introduction to the presenters (I think there are six of us, or maybe seven, this year):  each teacher gets a few minutes to share about 7 slides representing who they are as quilters.  Then the participants break up into six (or seven) groups.  Each group goes to a certain teacher, then after 20 minutes (15 presentation, 5 Q&A) a bell rings and the participants move to the next teacher.  This is a fabulous way to learn a lot in a short time, get a great idea of a teacher’s style teaching, see if you want to take a class with them or have them come teach for your guild.

Registration is OPEN for classes for International Quilt Festival Houston 2018, including my four classes.  For more info on the other workshops, my first class, Birch Pond Season,  is covered here.  Collage the Garden, one of my newest classes and proving to be one of the most popular, is covered here.

Teaching at IQF Houston 2018: Collage the Garden

August 3rd, 2018

Interested in trying your hand at art quilts? Not sure where to start? This class has proved a perennial favorite at IQF Houston (and elsewhere)–sign up soon!

Yes, registration is OPEN for classes for International Quilt Festival Houston 2018, including my four classes.  I’ll recap my four classes (well, three full day classes and the Machine Quilting Forum). My first class, Birch Pond Season,  is already covered here.  Today, I’ll share about Collage the Garden, one of my newest classes and proving to be one of the most popular.  I hope to see some of you in it!

This workshop is all about how I –and now YOU– can create imagery from a photograph to create your own fused, collaged art quilt.  In Houston, this workshop is offered as a one-day class.  I’ll provide photos to teach you how to use a photo to map out your shapes and values, then you will start (and maybe finish?) creating the pink water lily or the orange tiger lily.  For this outing in Houston, you will be bringing and fusing up your own fabrics (or bring them pre-fused–I prefer Mistyfuse and will have it available in class–it has the lightest weight and softest hand of any of the fusibles).  This is a no-sewing class, but we will talk about how to quilt your fused artwork when you get home.

Collage the Garden: I’ll teach you “how did she do that” so that you can create your own art from your own photos

Detail of the Pink Water Lily

Here’s the Tiger Lily option fused in batiks

And the tiger lily done in hand-dyes….it’s the same but different. What fabrics will you choose?

You can see the supply list here.

Click on this link to sign up for Class 339 and spend Wednesday playing with me!   Class ends at five–just in time for IQA member preview opening at 5 (and general public preview at 7).

In other venues, a guild can book this workshop over to two or three days to allow students to bring in their own photographs and begin work on their own artwork with Sarah to help guide them.  The workshop can be booked in conjunction with Quilting the Garden:  Thread-Coloring the Flower to create a three-to-five day workshop.

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SAQA Auction 1: Five Circles and a Line

August 2nd, 2018

The season is coming soon for the SAQA / Studio Art Quilt Associates annual fundraising auction:  bidding begins September 15th.  To learn more about the auction, go here. For my first collection, I chose Five Circles and a Line.

 

Lune Rouge by Gerrie Congdon. This quilt just about jumped off the screen at me. Although I have never been an abstracts person, I have always loved circles. The hand stitching and combination of red-orange and blue is wonderful!

Susan Else is a master at what she does and her stellar work always goes quickly. “Chorus” reminded me of what I called the “Sleepy Hollow dog bark” growing up. Each evening, around 9:30 to 10 pm, a dog would start barking in our little valley called Sleepy Hollow (in San Anselmo, California). The next dog would hear, then the next. Pretty soon, dogs all up and down Butterfield Road would be barking–I’d open the car windows and listen as I went home.

Lorraine Roy’s tree quilts have inspired me for years. Her series of tree rings with imagery is inspiring and it is all I can do NOT to copy they general idea!

Judith Content, best known for her shibori dyeing and kimono-shaped art quilts, is having fun here with these 3-D chocolate truffles.

Again, I’m not much of an abstract person, but I love the motion and spontaneity in Sherri Lipman McCauley’s piece Subtle Circles. The careful use of blue and black/gray in different weight lines and values (light/dark) is just right.

And I had to add Sarah Entsminger’s perfect line–her recent work has really spoken to me. I love the simplicity and perfection, the minimalism with lots of quilting, the careful use of dyed fabric with ideal placement of value and line…just SWOON!

Stay tuned for a few more collections in the coming weeks.  Which pieces would you bid on, budget permitting?   If I ever win a Mega-Millions (which would of course require me to buy a ticket or two first), I vow here and now to buy a couple SAQA Auction pieces each year!   As it is, I save my pennies and every couple of years hope one of the ones I want most lasts until I can afford it!