Monday, June 28, 2010

Friday, June 25, 2010

Free Web Resources - Part 2

More free online resources to investigate...

West African Wisdom: Adinkra Symbols & Meanings – “This site's mission is to make available high-quality renditions of these African symbols at no cost for personal and non-profit uses.” – You can sign up for updates to receive alerts when new symbols are added.

Adinkra Cloth Symbols: Asante Wisdom - Aaron Mobley - This is a "...PDF ebook, with 110 symbols, a brief history of the Adinkra Cloth, an image gallery of Adinkra cloths and stamps, and a resource list with links to more information on Adinkra cloth and African textiles." Please be patient as it downloads.

Adinkra Cloth Symbols Chart - Aaron Mobley - Click chart to enlarge

PictoBrowser - a free web application that displays Flickr and Picasa images on websites and blogs.

Penzu – “Penzu is a free online diary and personal journal that is focused on privacy. You can keep your thoughts and ideas to yourself and share only if you want to!” – CNET and PC Magazine both give it a big “thumbs up”.

ARTSBOWL: A Creative Courses Hub – A new platform for promoting art classes, courses, workshops and creative activities. It is designed to raise your profile as a creative course provider as well as a way to stay up-to-date on new courses and competitions, to post blogs and show off your creative projects.

Pattern in Islamic Art – “This website offers a FREE download of over 4000 images of patterns and other design features drawn from the rich cultural heritage of the Islamic world. Historically, the decorative arts have always formed a major part of Islamic aesthetic expression. Its remarkable achievements in this direction (much of which are represented here) make it an invaluable resource for designers of all kinds as well as for art-historians and art-lovers generally.”

TextureKingHigh quality texture photos that are free for personal and professional use.

MapMuse – this website has interactive mapping of quilt shops, and fabric stores across the country, with relevant info given for each store.
Quilting Stores -

Fabric Stores -
FabSearch This site is sponsored by the Fabric Shop Network and provides three ways to search for products: Keyword search for fabrics, books, patterns, notions, etc.; Keyword search for products, newsletters, class information, etc.; and E-mail search in which you "Provide as much detailed information as you possibly can. For example: If you are looking for a specific fabric, include a written description, the manufacturer, name of the collection (if known), pattern number, color name and number, and number of yards you need." This e-mail request will then be sent to 1,000 fabric and quilt shop owners.


How To Videos of Embroidery Stitches – “Hand embroidery is easier if you have someone around to show you how to do it. You can certainly find just about any hand embroidery stitch illustrated in a book, but it’s not quite the same as sitting down next to a friend who can walk you through the stitches. There are quite a few videos available on embroidery stitches, but I’ve noticed that they are either for special techniques (such as “crewel embroidery” or “ribbon embroidery”) or they are very expensive for only a few stitches. So I thought I’d see if I could manage a library of hand embroidery stitches on video.”

Embroidery Stitch Dictionary – Click on the magnifying glass beside each entry to view a large image of the stitch.

Dictionary of Stitches for Hand Embroidery and Needlework - Sharon Boggon -includes illustration of how to work each stitch.

Embroidery Stitch Identification Guide - Henry Art Gallery - ""The Embroidery Stitch Identification Guide presents a standardized nomenclature and classification system for embroidery stitches based on seven structural and three usage categories. The goal is to provide consistent nomenclature for designers, ethnographers, textile historians, curators, and others who wish to identify embroidery stitches or create embroidered textiles. The project includes names for stitches previously undocumented in embroidery literature, variations of named stitches, and stitch combinations. The index cross references stitch names that deviate from this standardized nomenclature. The focus is on surface stitches, joins, edges, withdrawn element embroidery, deflected element embroidery, and cut work." - "As you move your mouse over the name of the stitch, a large image of it appears.

KG-Stitch - This is a highly professional free cross stitch software application. Instead of loading and transforming pictures and photos, this piece of software is used to design your own cross stitch charts and graphs. It has a color palette based on DMC embroidery thread colors. There is also a blog to keep you updated and a Support Forum.
User's Manual

KnitMap – “Knitmap is a searchable catalog of yarn stores from all over the world…anyone can review, rate and help keep Knitmap up to date!”

Standards and Guidelines for Crochet and Knitting - "The publishers, fiber, needle and hook manufacturers and yarn members of the Craft Yarn Council of America have worked together to set up a series of guidelines and symbols to bring uniformity to yarn, needle and hook labeling and to patterns, whether they appear in books, magazines, leaflets or on yarn labels. Our goal is to make it easier for...consumers to select the right materials for a project and complete it successfully."

StitchMinder – iPhone Knitting Application

Yarndex the Yarn Directory – “The yarn directory is created to offer knitting enthusiasts a never before available guide to the world of yarn. It is the goal of Yarndex to present every quality yarn from all manufacturers across the globe in a single source that is easy to search, intuitive to use and that provides quick results to Yarndex users.”

YARNIA the final product isn’t free, but the service provided is unique – “Yarnia is a revolutionary yarn store in Southeast Portland, and the only place where you can design your very own custom blend of yarn. You choose the fiber, color, thickness, and amount, and can have your custom cone of yarn wound for you right on the spot.” – Click the Custom Yarn link at the top of the page to get started creating your very own skein(s). You’re able to control all of the variables from color to fiber to thickness to amount.

KnitPro – “KnitPro is a free web application that translates digital images into knit, crochet, needlepoint and cross-stitch patterns. Simply upload jpeg, gif or png images and knitPro will generate a graph sizable for any fiber project.”
The Nike Blanket Petition – “From 2003-2008, a diverse group of international knit and crochet hobbyists participated in a microRevolt project called the Nike Blanket Petition, a 15-foot wide handmade blanket of the Nike swoosh. Each 4 x 4 inch stitched square creates the Nike logo, acting as a signature for fair labor policies for Nike garment workers. Over the five-year period, virtual and hand-made squares were collected on tour, electronically and by post mail, representing over 30 countries demonstrated above.”  

Monday, June 21, 2010

How Not to Talk to an Artist

Have you ever been conversing with someone
about your art when all of a sudden you feel
you've somehow wandered into the Twilight Zone?

How to Talk to an Artist - Gigi Conot

How to Talk to an Artist - Gail Gregg

 What is the most ridiculous question or comment about your art that anyone has made to you?
For me, the zenith of ridiculousness occurred just this past week. You know requests you get from various organizations asking you to donate one of your artworks to be used as a fundraiser? I actually recieved an email from an acquaintance asking me to donate one of my quilts to be used as the grand door prize for her family reunion.

I sat at my computer in a state of shock and actually reread the message several different times to be certain that I had not misread it. Once I ascertained that she had indeed asked me that, I indulged in a series of curse words during which I called her everything but a child of God. When my blood pressure finally came back to normal, I responded by sending a one word reply - "No".
I'm still pissed!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Textile Designer: Lois Mailou Jones

Although primarily known as a painter, Louis Mailou Jones
began her textile design career as a freelancer in 1927 with
the F.A. Foster Company in Boston, and for the Schumacher Company in New York

However, in the Summer of 1928, she moved to Paris after experiencing
continuous discrimination including being told by a decorator,
"How could you have designed that? You're a colored girl."

On Jones' career move from textile design to painting:
"I wanted my name to go down in history.
For this to happen, I realized that I would have to become a painter."
NOTE: Because textile designers were anonymous

                                Lois Mailou Jones Textile Designs for Cretonne fabric

An Interview with Lois Mailou Jones - Charles H. Rowell for Callaloo

Loïs Mailou Jones textile design - Brooks Robards

Louis Mailou Jones
Timeline - Begins career as a freelance textile designer for F.A. Foster Company, Boston and Schumacher Company, New York.
School of the Museum of Fine Arts Hosts Lois Mailou Jones

Jury Duty and Lois Mailou Jones - click to view the slide show full size

The Life and Legacy of Lois Mailou Jones - Reprint from Howard Magazine, Winter 1999

Monday, June 14, 2010

Quotable Quotes

"Women who strive to be equal to men
apparently have little to no ambition."
Edna (a.k.a. Anonymous Female Artist and Militant Art Bitch)

"Anytime a woman picks up a paintbrush,
it is indeed a feminist act, and by this fact alone,
every piece of art made by a woman is revolutionary."
Edna (a.k.a. Anonymous Female Artist and Militant Art Bitch)

"Think outside the box, collapse the box,
and take a f____g sharp knife to it."

"Art is not a mirror held up to reality,
but a hammer with which to shape it."
Bertolt Brecht

"Artwork that is only about wanting to be famous
will never make you famous. Any fame is a by-product
of making something that means something.
You don't go to a restaurant and order a meal
because you want to have a shit."

"Some of the greatest works of art and the
most important works of peace were created by people
who had no need for the limelight. They knew that
what they were doing was their call, and they did it
with great patience, perseverance, and love."
Henri Nouwen

"Fame and significance have nothing to do with one another"
Dennis Prager

"What is fame? The advantage of being known
by people of whom you yourself know nothing,
and for whom you care as little."
Lord Byron

"Accept that some days you’re the pigeon,
and some days you’re the statue."
Roger C. Anderson

"Move out of your comfort zone. You can only grow
if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable
when you try something new."
Brian Tracy

"The creation of art is not the fulfillment of a need
but the creation of a need. The world never needed
Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony until he created it.
Now we could not live without it."
Louis Kahn

"When I stand before God at the end of my life
I would hope that I have not a single bit of talent left
and could say, "I used everything You gave me."
Erma Bombeck

Friday, June 11, 2010

Essential Services for Aging Artists

"Age gives you the freedom to do some things you've never done before.
Great work can come at any stage of your life."  Will Barnet

"With age, art and life become one." - Georges Braque

Essential Services for Aging Artists is a 233 page document that is the May 2006 final report to NYFA (New York Foundation for the Arts). It was produced by The H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management at Carnegie Mellon University.

"The project’s goals were to gain a more thorough understanding of the problems and needs that visual artists face as they age, to research potential services that exist to address these needs, to pinpoint and explain needs still unmet, and to make recommendations for addressing these unmet needs."
The Overall Conclusions and Recommendations, and the Lessons Learned segments start on page 114. Also, be sure to look at Appendix H - the Artist Cheat Sheet. Additionally, there is an extensive Annotated List of Existing Services which, while a number of them are specific to the state of New York, many others are cited which are available to artists nationwide.

A copy of the survey used to collect the data is included - you may want to print it out and take it for yourself - use it as a tool for self-awareness and to help crystallize your thoughts about who you are as an artist.

You also may want to review the March 12, 2009 post on
Artists and Aging: Better with Time - This is a 100-minute video of Part 1 of a 3-part professional development series sponsored by the Artist Trust and broadcast by the Seattle Channel: Taped on 4/24/10, it is "A discussion from a multidisciplinary panel of senior artists that have continued to create new work through the tides of personal and social change." Part 2 (Now and Forever: Legacy Planning for Artists) and Part 3 (Where There’s A Will There’s A Way: A Guide to Estate Planning for Artists) are not yet available.  

Monday, June 7, 2010

Strange but True

Tidbits of "out of the ordinary" happenings
involving quilts & Very Unusual Fabrics

Plummeting Quilt Paralyzes Man 
In China, a man has been left paralyzed by a quilt which fell on him from a four-story building:
China Hospital Fire

In Beijing, a 43 year old patient saved himself and his wife from a hospital fire in which 39 people died by tying a quilt to a heating pipe and climbing down from his 3rd floor room. Unfortunately, his wife lost her grip and fell from the second floor level, seriously injuring herself.
Chinese Woman Survives Fall from 18th Floor
She fell while airing out a quilt
Killer Wins Pounds 1400 For Warder Bite; Prison payout over bus clash
Fight was over a quilt
Quilts are Hot and Vanishing Fast
Quilts now have the cachet of fine art or antique jewellery, and discerning thieves know it. 
Inmates Master Quilting while Serving Time
These male quilters are killers, thieves, sex offenders.
12 Unexpected, Surprising, and Downright Weird Eco Fabrics Used in Fashion
"Organic cotton, wool, and bamboo are familiar enough to anyone who's only casually acquainted with eco-friendly fabrics. Ingeo, made from corn, doesn't require a huge leap of the imagination, either. But chicken feathers? Used fishing nets? Milk? Cigarette butts? There are some offbeat sustainable materials shimmying down the runways these days, and we're betting we've only just scratched the surface."

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Artists Need to be Wary

"A vanity gallery is an art gallery that charges artists fees to exhibit their work
and makes most of its money from artists rather than from sales to the public.
Some vanity galleries charge a lump sum to arrange an exhibition,
while others ask artists to pay regular membership fees and then
promise to organise an exhibition with a certain period." Wikepedia

"A vanity gallery is one that charges artists fees in order to exhibit their work.
The shows are not legitimately curated and will include as many artists
as possible. Most art professionals are able to identify them
on an artist's resume." 

But vanity galleries aren't all we need to be concerned about -
there are vanity art shows and "competitions" as well...

The Vanity Gallery - Joanne Mattera

Vanity  Gallery - This site posts a list of well-known vanity galleries/exhibitions along with the participation fee the artist must pay upfront. [Note - and you think $25 exhibit fees are exorbitant???]

Vanity Galleries: Pay to Play at your own Risk - Renee Phillips

Art Contests, Competitions, Shows and More-- Will They Get You Somewhere or Are They Dead Ends, Time Wastes or Scams? - The title says it all. This article goes into detail about an incredible variety of things on which you should not waste your time and money trying to advance your recognition as an artist.