Little Surprises

Last fall C&T Publishing invited me to draw up some illustrations for their next quilt label collection CD. I happily jumped on board and sent several cool designs off to them. Then I forgot all about it. So last week when I got my copy in the mail it was a nice little surprise. It has a ton (and I really do mean a lot!) of really cool illustrated label illustrations ready for your next project title. So go check it out. Its called Quilt Label Collective CD from C&T Publishing.

Label Illustrations

Paint and Fabric

My work table

Here is the aftermath of a rather large project I’ve completed recently, but unfortunately this is all I can show you.  It came out great! But that is all I can say for now. It has also been quiet because I’ve been doing the whole graphic design thing. I’ve been helping out the gallery that I show my work in by laying out ads for various print publications. I just finished a full page one for Detroit Hour magazine. I’ve never designed anything for such a big publication so I welcomed the opportunity to add it to the experiences on the resume. It comes out in December.

Also been working creating small product to sell this Christmas season. Lots of assembly line work making coasters, fabric flip journals and maybe bookmarks. Here’s just some of the fabric that is slowly being sewn into coasters. Some of it is commercial, some of it is hand-dyed, hand painted, some of it is recycled clothing.

Cut for coasters Stitching coasters


I’ve been using quite a bit of the ProFab paint from Pro Chem. I love, love this stuff.


If you check out the clearance section on their website you can find an 8 oz jar of the paint for $2.95. The paint is smooth, with a bit of a pudding consistency and it works great for screen printing and painting. I’ve even mixed a few together to get my own colors. The brighter colors will stain screens and whatever else they come in contact with but it won’t clog screens if you don’t let it dry. I’ve only used the transparent so far (because that’s what’s in the clearance section) and the coverage is lovely. I work in layers so I usually want images or texture to show through the paint anyways.

My extra fabric that I keep handy to use up any paint left over from a project is really starting to fill up. It maybe worked into a project soon.

Use up the paint


Oh! My friend Lynn and I got accepted to have a show in 2012. Super excited! I don’t know when its happening yet and I do know that I need to get crackin’ on some new big pieces. But before that, Halloween is next week and Batman’s costume needs to get shortened.


Pantone Book

I got an updated essential tool this week. My Pantone color book. A lovely system of colors and numbers that helps designers, clients and printers all communicate about the same colors. Never trust the computer monitor when it comes to judging your colors. What you see on your screen is not likely to be what another person sees on their screen. It is possible to calibrate a good monitor to be pretty true to actual colors but even then a color book is essential.

I have some really awesome graphic design projects coming up. Yes, I’m actually excited about these, but I can’t share yet. In the meantime though I can share a pro bono logo design job I completed a short while ago. Seedlings is a company that makes braille books for children. I know someone who works there and they asked if I would help them out. So if you go to their website you can see their new logo at the top of the page (the book with the plant growing out of it). They also said I could have any scrap braille paper for art projects. I will take them up on that offer.

What’s New

I have been busy the past few weeks assembling several new little pieces for the gallery. These little pieces were once a robe, then that robe became one art project and now one art project has become many pieces of art. I thermofax screen printed them to build a bit more visual texture then attached them to some black gesso’d 6×6 canvases.  And because I couldn’t just leave them alone I stamped the edges using some Golden metallic paint. Stacked up they make a cool photo.

Resurfaced Block Edges

Here’s a pic of several of the blocks:

Resurfaced Block Series

I made a screen out of a blueprint design from my brother the brilliant builder. Came out so darn cool. Kind of looks like a circuit board. Seriously addicting screen.

Oh, here’s the Log Cabin blocks:

Log Cabin Blocks Log Cabin Blocks

I worked at the gallery for the first time this past Saturday. I was reminded why I hadn’t been to a mall on a Saturday in years. It was so packed full of people, which if you are selling stuff is a really good thing. Not that anyone was buying my stuff, but people were buying. The store had great sales that day and lots of amazing artwork was purchased. I also got to meet and work with some very cool artists as well. I got to see all sorts of people and for the most part the crowd thought the store was very exciting and they loved that it was all Michigan artists. By the end of my eight hour shift I was very tired and my feet were ready to leave me. They still haven’t forgiven me.

Here’s my work up in the gallery:

My work in the gallery My Artwork in the gallery

Here’s my snappy new tags for my work in the gallery. Love!

Item tags

Quick, Quiet, and Shiny

That’s how I would describe my new computer. Yes, a new desktop computer. I’ve had a few customers requesting 8ft banners or projects with twenty high res photos and everything must have drop shadows with gradient fills. I’m happy to build whatever they want but the little laptop was starting to become not so accommodating.  So we got a sweet deal on a cute little PC that is only twelve inches high and really powerful. Weee!

Where’s the artwork, you ask? Collecting dust at the moment. I’ve been buried under several graphic design jobs with big deadlines for the past few weeks. All very good for business, but I’m rather tired out by the days end and not feeling creative. I’ve been feeling guilty about this but there just isn’t a whole lot I can do about it. But I may have a very welcome break this weekend. I’m hoping to dive into several projects and make some sort of progress.

I did work on a little fun thing Lynn asked me do last week. She is working on selling thermofax screens and she asked me (along with a few other artists) to make some designs. So here’s the only new photo I have at the moment.

Evening Designing

My little laptop (before the new computer) set up on my work table, drawing tablet attached, a glass of wine, surrounded by neglected art tools. I have some other ideas for thermofax designs stuck in my head, the plan is to get those worked out very soon.

Oh! West Winds Studios Flickr page is up and running. I have lots more things to add to it but there is a lot there to look at now. I’ve been reading letters and articles from Irene’s papers for a few weeks now. She was quite a character and she had an amazing life. She took a life study drawing class (yes, naked people) taught by an old man who was an artist in Paris with the original Impressionist artists. Seriously! How cool is that! We still have all of her drawings from that class. They are on my list to photograph, but that list is pretty long at the moment. So be patient.

Hopefully by Monday I’ll have photos of some of  my artwork for you.

A Drop in the Bucket

Yesterday we began the task of photographing Nana’s (Victor’s Grandmother) paintings. I knew there were a lot of paintings. I heard stories of ‘the closet of paintings’ yet in the ten plus years I’ve been around the family, I had never seen this closet. Then there are more paintings on the office shelves and in almost every room of the house, the walls are filled her paintings. They have never been cataloged. But when I finally got going on this and started to see the amount of paintings we had to go through I realized that whatever I got done this first day was just a drop in a very big bucket. With that being said I love this project. I love seeing all these paintings that span most of her life and all the different subjects she explored. I find it all fascinating. The goal is to eventually have some shows displaying her work, but we have a ways to go before we can talk about that.

Photo Shoot

So I worked all afternoon and got nine done. Yup, 9. I knew there would be some trial and error, learning curves and all that, so I kept my expectations low. The last one, I took it totally crooked and didn’t even notice until I had on the computer. Next session I’ll bring a pot of coffee.

The other thing on my mind of late has been setting up an Etsy shop. The graphic design business did well last year but not so much this year. I know this year is still getting going but getting clients to pay has become a giant issue. These are good clients that I have worked with for several years and have just hit hard times. So I can’t really be mad, just very frustrated. It has made it impossible for me to keep up with some of my stuff. I can’t continue to supplement my fiber art (and other hobbies)  needs from our regular income. Usually the graphic design would keep that afloat. So I need to at least try to sell some of my stuff. I don’t know if it will work, but I have to try. So I’ve been reading lots on the Etsy community, learning all I can. With my experience in marketing, I want to have some things thought out -packaging, labels, cards, logos and so on. But I have to careful not to get hung up on it all, because that is something I would do. Sometimes I’m just a little too cautious. I’m working on that.

I pulled out some items this weekend to add to my box. These were pieces of craft metal that I embossed with use of a stamp and clay tools. I then painted them with some glass paint, added the embossing powder and got the heat gun out.

Embossed Metal

Now I need to go finish my journal page. The due date is quickly approaching and I keep getting distracted with things like laundry and dinner for the family. Details, details.

Crazy Thing…

Whenever I start a new fiber art project, a graphic design job arrives on my doorstep. Victor’s comment was ‘well, keep starting new projects!’ And yes, I suppose he is right. When I keep both the graphic design and fiber going, both seem to do well. My fear has always been that I wouldn’t do well on either. Key word in that previous sentence is fear. Dangerous little word. It can keep me tied up for crazy amounts of time, more time than I want to admit. But recognizing it is a big part of the battle, right? So with lots of prayer and determination I am working through that scary little word and good things are happening. Never as fast as I want them to, but they are happening.

And I know, I know! I started the new year off with a bang on the blog and then disappeared. I was working on a volunteer design job for my church. I made several great new contacts, and possible future design jobs with this project. So all in all, not a bad deal. But it also deals with an area of the Catholic Church that has bugged me to no end, the graphic design, marketing and anything artistic for that matter has been visually pathetic for years. This person sums it up very well in his blog entry. So I am always happy to lend my skills to this area. Here’s a picture of what I developed for the religious ed department.

OLGC Display Board

Then over in the fiber arena I’ve been brainstorming on how to produce more than one piece at a time. Maybe for an Etsy store, maybe a future art bizarre. Here I’ve set out several hand-dyed doilies on black fabric.


I then cut the fabric and I am working on embellishing the black fabric before I adhere the doilies. Eventually there will be six different pieces. We’ll see how that goes.

But in the meantime, I’ve got a book challenge to prepare for, a group challenge, a puzzle theme challenge from the 3 Creative Studios, plus a stack of my own ideas. And with all that I just got a new design job this morning. So if I disappear, don’t worry, I will return. But I will try not to disappear.

Some Non-Fiber Art

Being a graphic artist, I still love seeing my design work in print. I love the smell of freshly printed materials and new paper. So it only took me a year to get a hold of this:
Faith & Family Magazine Ad

I designed this for long time client Dr. Greg Popcak. Even did that logo in the corner there. I’ve also done some re-designs of book covers for some of his best sellers. I haven’t gotten a hold of this one yet. I’m told I have a credit inside for the cover design. Eventually, I’ll get my hands on a copy.

We also created a website for a local company. Hopefully that will go online in a week or so here. So we have been rather busy with lots of stuff. And yup, still working on the ‘secret project’. I should be able to reveal it at the end of August.