Shibori Lessons Saturday, Jun 13 2009 

This year, QSDS is offering a two-day and a five-day shibori program. I am enjoying the two-day program this weekend. The instructor, Susan Cavanaugh, is teaching mokume, ori-nui and maki-nui in the two-day program. The five-day program (beginning on Monday) will teach these techniques and add karamatsu and kumo.

This is my first quilt symposium, and it has provided me with opportunities to see wonderful art and meet some amazingly creative people.


My first quilt symposium Sunday, Jun 7 2009 

Next weekend (June 13-14), I’ll be in Columbus, OH, for the first quilt symposium I have ever attended. The Quilt Surface Design Symposium (QSDS) is one of the biggest quilt conferences devoted to art quilting.

I’ll be taking a shibori class while there, taught by Sue Cavanaugh. I’ll also have an opportunity to go through the vendor mall, see demonstrations, meet other quilters.

I can’t wait!

Mellwood Figurative Collective Open House Wednesday, Apr 22 2009 

The Mellwood Arts and Entertainment Center has a great opportunity for artists and visitors alike on this FAT Friday (April 24).

Drink & Draw with members of the Life Drawing class.  From 7-9:00 pm  in Life Drawing Studio (2nd Floor).

The event is free and open to the public.  Easels and costume model supplied, You bring your drawing supplies, and anything else you may need.

Gypsy a la Penny Sisto Tuesday, Jan 20 2009 

On January 11, I had the opportunity to attend a workshop led by Penny Sisto. Penny’s quilted portraits are fantastic, and she took time with a group of probably 16 people to show the basics of how she creates an image.

I learned two things:

  1. Penny’s skills and imagination are far beyond anything I think I will ever achieve.
  2. Sometimes it’s best not to think too much, and let intuition guide the design.

Penny doesn’t hold that many workshops, and I am extremely grateful to her and to Angela Ramsey Robinson (Uzoma) for providing me with this opportunity.

This is the portrait I created based on Penny’s advice and instruction.


Penny Sisto Exhibit to Open at UzoMa Gallery Sunday, Nov 30 2008 

From Sisto's Immigrant Series

Fiber artist Penny Sisto’s exhibit “Rude, Crude and Lewd” will be on display at uzoMa gallery from December 5 through January 23, 2009. The opening receptino is Friday, December 5, from 6-8 pm, and she will hold an artist workshop January 11, from 2-4 pm.

For more information, contact Angela Ramsey Robinson at

Sisto’s work is passionate, intricate and beautiful. I am certain this exhibit will be no exception.

Painting Seasons Thursday, Nov 6 2008 

Tree in seasons. Check out the summer leaves.

Tree in seasons. Check out the summer leaves.

My silk painting class progresses, and it is time to put my new-found skills to the test. I have a 15″x60″ scarf to create. I have been looking at all the designs my classmates have come up with. They are amazing. Such variety. All I could think of with the proportions of 15 to 60, 1 to 4, is four blocks. Four blocks. Four seasons. And so I begin my work. A lone tree in the different seasons. My classmates laughed at my obsessive work on on the leaves (“you mean you make each one individually?”) But is so soothing to twist the brush into a comma and watch the paint creep into a leaf shape. And adding different shades of green is so much fun.

Of course, that means I haven’t gotten as far as the fall tree, but I wanted you to see the progress. The painting is soothing and fun, and I am pleased with the results. Hope you like it, too.

Learning to Silk Paint by a Watercolorist Friday, Sep 12 2008 

I’m taking a class in silk painting. It’s taught by Luci Mistratov, a watercolorist. Below is the kind of work she does:

Am I intimidated? No. No. No……


OK. I am. I saw her just “doodle” with color on the silk and it became something ethereal.  I think I will learn something. I hope I will be able to understand the concepts and translate the watercolor techniques into fabric techniques. I want to make my quilts my own … from development of the fabrics, to completion of the quilting. And I think this class may help.

Silk painting by Luci Mistratov

Silk painting by Luci Mistratov

KMAC’s Fall 2008 Workshops Friday, Aug 29 2008 

The Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft has a great selection of workshops planned for this fall. Workshops range from stone carving, to tapestry, to day of the dead shrines. To review all the programs, click here.

There are so many to choose from — I don’t know which to take! I know I will take the tapestry class by Louise Halsey (September 27).

Alana Alford (who teaches art at duPont Manual) creates some beautiful fabric pieces, but her workshop will be on altering clothes (October 11), and I am not a big altered clothing person.

Suzanne Martino will be conducting a Day of the Dead workshop on October 25. Suzanne’s studio is at the Mellwood Arts Center, and my husband has already purchased a couple of her mixed media pieces. We’ll both be going to this workshop.

Finally (for me) Mary Nehring will be conducting a class on creating small landscape quilts November 8. She’ll be using silk-painting techniques, and since I’ll be taking a class on that this fall, I think I should definitely attend this workshop — just to get things from another perspective.

Classes each run about four hours and range in price from about $50 – $60 each. (If you are a member of KMAC, you get $5 off the registration cost.)

Hope to see some of you guys there!

Fit to Be Tied: Shibori Workshop Sunday, Aug 17 2008 

On Friday, I took at class on Shibori dyeing taught by Kitty Uetz, a textile artist who teaches at Xavier University in Cincinnati. I’ve heard good things about the school’s textile art program, and if Uetz is any indication, it’s an excellent school. The workshop, Shibori to Dye For, was a part of “Unbridled Craft,” held at the Kentucky Museum of Art & Craft on August 15 and 16.

Shibori is basically compressed fiber dyeing. Tie-dyeing is a simplified version of some of the techniques shibori includes. (Don’t tell a shibori artist that his/her fabric is just tie-dye. It is much more, and much more beautiful, and it is rude to dismiss this art form by comparing it to the T-shirts one made in camp.) The techniques are intricate, and time-consuming, and the results are wonderful and unpredictable.

My favorite technique is Arashi, or pole-dyeing. You lay the fabric on a pole, wrap twine around it, and compress the fabric by pushing it toward the end of the pole. Everything from the angle on which the fabric is laid on the pole, to the thickness of the twine, and the distance between each wrap will impact the final result. All the results I saw in class were different, and all were beautiful.

I can see these techniques giving me wonderful, organic designs for quilts, and I think I will be spending quite a lot of time with my hands in dye.

Personal Enrichment Thursday, Jul 24 2008 

Sometimes we need to take classes to grow. They give us an opportunity to meet like-minded people, to learn new techniques, and to see things from a different perspective. With that in mind, I’m taking a couple “personal enrichment” courses from the University of Louisville this fall. Personal enrichment, I suppose, means these classes aren’t for a grade or a degree. Of course, some of the best learning I have ever received was neither for a degree nor a grade, so I don’t think that should stop anyone from trying new things.

The classes I am taking are from the Delphi Center and include Intro to Silk Painting and Intro to Drawing. The silk painting will be valuable to me as a fiber artist. The drawing should improve my ability to “see” a scene and recreate it (at least, that is my hope.) (Additional: they are also offering a course on Digital Photography that I am quite tempted to take.)

Louisville has many opportunities to grow and to learn. In addition to the personal enrichment courses through the Delphi Center,  Jefferson County Public Schools offer “Lifelong Learning,” programs that run the gamut from “leisure learning to career enhancement.” Bellarmine University also provides continuing education programs (though they have not yet posted their fall schedule).

I never want to stop learning. I hope you, too, never stop.

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