Sunday, December 30, 2007

SWAN Day (Support Women Artists Now!)

Support Women Artists Now Day is a new international holiday celebrating women artists. Saturday, March 29, 2008 has been designated for the first SWAN DAY which thereafter will take place annually during Women's History Month on the last Saturday in March.

"As a symbol of international solidarity, there will be
events all over the world featuring women artists on
SWAN Day. The public will be encouraged to attend
these events and to make donations to their favorite
women artists.

By focusing attention on the work of women artists,
SWAN Day will help people imagine what the world
might be like if women’s art and perspectives were
fully integrated into all of our lives. The long term
goal of SWAN Day is to inspire communities
around the world to find new ways to recognize and
support women artists as a basic element of civic

For full information, please visit the web site:

Wednesday, December 26, 2007


Symbols pack a lot of power. Following is a list of resources:
Adinkra Symbols of West Africa - 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 also can sign up to be notified whenever new Adinkra symbols are added to the index.

American Indian Symbol Dictionary

Ancient Symbols

Animal Symbolism – An alphabetized list of animals along with the meanings commonly associated with each.

Animal Symbolism – Another alphabetized list of animals along with the meanings commonly associated with each

Buddhist Symbols and Iconography

Dictionary of Symbolism – “This symbolism dictionary endeavors to provide some possible cultural significances of various symbols, and suggest ways in which those symbols may have been used in context. Most symbols are not code signals, like traffic lights, where red means stop and green means go, but part of a complex language in which green can mean jealousy or fertility or even both, depending on context. It is up to each of us to explore works of art sensitively, and decide for ourselves how the symbols in each work function.”

Gallery of Religious Symbols

Native American Symbols

Northern Native American Symbols\

Symbolism of Color: Using Color for Meaning – explore the world of symbols by using a graphic index, a word index, or by using either a text or random search – This is a directory to the world of symbolism.

Symbols in Christian Art and Architecture

The Blues – July 25, 2007 – March 2, 2008 exhibit at the Textile Museum of Canada – “The mystique of the colour blue - beautiful, elusive, reflecting the sky and the sea - pervades human life and culture around the world. The Blues examines the powerful symbolism associated with the colour blue.”

Curatorial Essay – Patricia Bentley

Saturday, December 22, 2007

The Mind of the Artist: Thoughts and Sayings of Painters and Sculptors on their Art

This is a book edited by Cicely Margarte Powell Binyon that was published in 1909.
“It is always interesting and profitable to get the views
of workmen on their work, and on the principles which
guide them in it; and in bringing together these sayings
of artists Mrs. Binyon has done a very useful thing. A
great number of opinions are presented, which, in
their points of agreement and disagreement, bring
before us in the most charming way the wide range of
the artist's thought, and enable us to realise that the
work of the great ones is not founded on vague
caprice or so-called inspiration, but on sure intuitions
which lead to definite knowledge…”
Now out of copyright, it is available as a free e-book from different sites - some of them provide you with the option to download it in several different formats including PDF, HTML, TXT, RTF, and IPhone (among others):

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

2008 International Fiber Symposium

Materiality + Meaning: A New Understanding of Fiber & Textiles in Contemporary Art and Culture – University of the Arts, Pennsylvania, PA – March 6-8, 2008

The symposium will “…address issues about the state
of contemporary Fiber, Textiles and material studies,
and interrogate, debate and consider the place of Fiber
and Textiles as an expressive force at this time.”
Symposium description:

A Contemporary Korean Fiber Exhibit also will be on display during the symposium at the Rosenwald-Wolf Gallery of the University of the Arts (exhibit dates: March 7 - April 5, 2008)

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Studio & Ventilation Ideas – Susan Louise Moyer

The information provided by Susan Moyer is detailed and accompanied by pictures. Topics covered include: Dyes and Pigments; Storing Dye; Natural & Synthetic Fibers; Melted Wax; Ventilation; Fire Prevention; Storing Flammable Products; Lighting & Color; Basic Studio Worktable; Basic Storage; Sink & Storage; and How to Make a Mixing Box.

Originally presented by Susan at the 2005 World Batik Conference in Boston, it was again presented at the 2007 Surface Design Conference in Kansas City. She states:
“This information, gleaned from many years
as a batik artist and silk painter, is intended
to suggest some options artists need to consider
when creating studio space for working with
various dyes, chemicals and melted wax. The
information will include recommendations on
how to construct inexpensive ventilation,
lighting options, basic safety precautions, and
storage for studio supplies such as dyes, fibers
and flammable material.”

Additional tips and techniques can be found at:

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Talking Prices: Symbolic Meanings of Prices on the Market for Contemporary Art - Olav Velthuis


"How do dealers price contemporary art in a world
where objective criteria seem absent? Talking Prices
is the first book to examine this question from a
sociological perspective. On the basis of a wide range
of qualitative and quantitative data, including
interviews with art dealers in New York and
Amsterdam, Olav Velthuis shows how contemporary
art galleries juggle the contradictory logics of art and
economics. In doing so, they rely on a highly
ritualized business repertoire. For instance, a sharp
distinction between a gallery's museumlike front space
and its businesslike back space safeguards the
separation of art from commerce.

Velthuis shows that prices, far from being abstract
numbers, convey rich meanings to trading partners
that extend well beyond the works of art. A high price
may indicate not only the quality of a work but also
the identity of collectors who bought it before the
artist's reputation was established. Such meanings
are far from unequivocal. For some, a high price
may be a symbol of status; for others, it is a symbol
of fraud."


"The book is an excellent, readable and thorough
analysis of how prices are set in the contemporary
art market." The Art Newspaper

"[Talking Prices] provides an excellent analysis of
the tension between art and commerce that
characterizes the art world."Stuart Plattner,
American Anthropologist

Sample Chapter -
PDF Format -

To view the Table of Contents and/or to order:

Saturday, December 8, 2007

On-Line Digital Archive of Documents on Weaving, Lace and Related Topics

Maintained by the University of Arizona, this archive contains an extraordinary amount of materials about weaving, basketry, lace, and related subjects. Free access is provided to thousands of items, all out of copyright or published with the author’s permission. These include 4,222 articles, 437 books, 1,310 periodicals, for example.

The main categories include:

Full texts of books about Weaving, Textiles, and Related Topics – links also are provided to tables of contents and sample pages you can review before downloading the entire book

A digital archive of articles about weaving and related topics

Digital archive of periodicals related to weaving

Manuscripts related to weaving

Monographs and Book Sections About Weaving, Textiles, and Related Topics

Illustrations About Weaving, Textiles, and Related Topics

Miscellaneous Material Associated with Weaving, Textiles, and Related Subjects

Patents on Weaving, Textiles, and Related Topics

Documents on Weaving, Textiles, and Related Topics Created for On-Line Publication

Online Periodicals about Weaving, Textiles, and Related Topics

Digital Archive of Documents Related to Lace

NOTE: You also can purchase CDs containing documents in this archive.

See for why you may want to purchase CDs when the information is available for free.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Just for Fun: Textile Related Oddities & Absurdities

Some of this stuff is interesting; some is just butt ugly; a lot of it lets you know that without a doubt, there are a whole lot of people out there with much too much time on their hands.

Quilt Squares created from the London Times cartoons

Exploding Knitting Needles

World's Longest Batik - This made the Guiness Book of Records - it measures 12,916 ft (1,200 m) and was created by 1,000 participants in Pekalongan City, Indonesia on September 16, 2005. It was completed in less than 24 hours. Several links:

Knitted Ferrari (Full Sized)


Animal Inspired:

Turkey – in case you need one for your holiday dinner

Turkey Hat - knitted

Squid Hat

Turkey Hat - crocheted

Turkey Tote Bag


Knitted Dino Skull

Their Pets Should Bite Them:

Bulldog Sweater

Lion Dog Sweater

Purple Nightmare

The Pupoose

You Wear this Where?:

Bunny Suit

Bank Holdup Ski Masks for the Entire Family

What the Hell???

Nobody has Ears this Big

When Your Head Needs to Be REALLY Warm


Mohair Catsuit

Gotta Be Road Kill

Even Sara Jessica Parker Wouldn’t Wear These

A Plethora of God-Awful Purses

Body Parts:

Museum of Scientifically Accurate Fabric Brain Art
- Techniques used include quilting, appliqué,
embroidery, beadwork, knitting, and crocheting.
Materials include fabric, yarn, metallic threads,
electronic components such as magnetic
core memory, and wire, zippers, and beads.

Knitted Digestive System
Crocheted Skull

Crocheted Lungs

Anatomically Correct Crocheted Childbirth
Education Doll

Crocheted Womb

Knitted Uterus

Knitted Boobs – British hospital using them to
teach new mothers how to breast feed

Eyeballs with Nerve Endings

– I kid you not…

Penis Cushions


Crocheted Vaginas

Anatomically Correct Sock Monkey

Not Your Grandmama's Embroidery:

Nava Lubelski – “My embroidery work explores
the contradictory activities of spoiling and mending,
using a process of hand-stitching over stains, spills
and rips. The marks are either found on ruined
linens and canvas or are approached after a
process of first giving vent to the impulse to
destroy, tearing holes and spilling inks onto a pristine

Orly Cogan – WARNING: Very Strong Sexual
– from the Artist Statement: “The
tableaux I create are inspired by relationships. They
evolve from the personal mythologies of my
memories…I am drawn to the space between
dichotomies, such as soft and tough, dirty and
clean, fantasy and reality, especially as they relate
to gender. My work explores common feminine
archetypes and stereotypes…In the process, I
aim to provoke certain questions…I hope to ask
all this within the context of constantly
shifting boundaries that define our relationships
and our identities.

GENERAL - Some of the above were found on the following sites - you need to go through all of the postings - there are so-o-o-o many others I could have/should have cited:

What Not to Knit

What Not to Crochet

Museum of Kitschy Knits?

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Overview of Feminist Legal Theory [Textile Related] - Ann Bartow

There have been three highly publicized quilt-related lawsuits over copyright issues of which I am aware, Brown vs McCormick (about the quilt used in the film "How to Make an American Quilt"); Ringgold vs Black Entertainment Television, Inc. (about the use of a poster with her quilt image on the set of Roc - see to read the full court opinion); and the recent lawsuit filed by Paula Nadelstern against a hotel that used her Kaleidoscope designs for their carpet (Ami Simms has a good post about this on her blog). - Gwen Magee

My scholarly specialty is intellectual property law, which is comprised of three discreet areas: Copyright law, patent law, and trademark law. Cyberspace law sometimes gets thrown in for good measure as well, since so many legal issues on the Internet involve some facet of intellectual property law. Using the personal narrative format, I will try to illustrate the categories of feminist legal theory I set out above, and I will do this by talking about quilts.

Quilting is a largely female identified art form that does not mesh well with copyright law because quilts are functional, rather than being merely decorative; because quilters use a lot of repetition, such as a particular pattern to represent a wedding, or to symbolize the birth of a child, and these features are intentionally echoed (indeed “copied”) in many later quilts; and because quilts are often designed and executed by amorphous groups (e.g. during “quilting bees”) rather than by a single heroic author. Congress has never attempted to write a provision of the Copyright Act that was specifically applicable to quilts, even though it has done so for many other discreet art forms, categories of writings, and specific technologies. Is this because quilting is viewed as unimportant? And if so, is quilting viewed as unimportant because it is perceived to be the provenance of women? These are the sorts of queries feminist legal theory raises.

The equality approach might ask whether there were “male identified” art forms that are similarly ignored by copyright law. The difference approach might ask whether women are better served by keeping copyright laws away from quilting. The dominance approach might ask why women were quilting at all, instead of using their time and talents to pursue more lucrative and culturally respected art forms. The intersectionality approach might ask whether women of particular races or economic classes quilted more than others, and if this could be part of the explanation for why copyright law ignored quilts. I would initially try to use all these approaches to analyze the interplay (or lack thereof) of quilting and copyright law. However, if I wanted to do more than describe the situation, I’d have to recommend either a change in the law, or a change in the way courts apply and interpret current law. This would require me to favor one theoretical approach over the others, based on what I though the superior normative solution was.

Because I believe that a “low barriers” approach to copyright law is best, I’d be reluctant to recommend adding a specific quilting provision to the Copyright Act if it meant that quilters could more easily assert copyright claims against each other. This would degrade the quilting culture of copying and group authorship that strikes me as socially valuable, so I would reject an “equality” approach that made quilting “equal” to drawings and sculptures. In doing so I would be embracing the “difference” approach, because my views clearly reflect a belief that quilting is different in part because it is women identified, and these differences are beneficial, so the law should preserve them. However, by reifying difference in this manner, I might also be condemning quilting to second class status. It is certainly possible that if the copyright laws treated a quilt more like an oil painting, society might follow suit, and this would elevate the social and economic status of quilters. Valuing “difference” too greatly might preclude this. Applying dominance theory would require me to recognize that women may turn to quilting because they are subordinated by men who deny them access to other creative outlets. It would therefore make more sense to devote resources to reducing impediments to women’s full participation in the fine arts, rather than simply attempting to amend the Copyright Act on behalf of quilting.

One problem with this approach is that quilters may be deeply offended, and wonder why what they do is not being valued. Some will question whether the merits of quilting are being disregarded because quilting is so closely aligned with women: Is quilting getting short shrift because it has “girl cooties”? Others will ask whether, because they prefer quilting to oil painting, they are being accused of “false consciousness,” meaning they are assumed not to recognize that by quilting rather than pursuing other artistic endeavors, they are complicit in their own oppression. I struggle with all this, because while I recognize that framing the world in terms of dominance and subordination tends to abrade the sensitivities of many women, it also seems intuitively correct to me. When I visit a major museum and notice that only a tiny fraction of the exhibited works have been created by women, I don’t blame quilting. I love well made handmade quilts, and I know that producing them requires a lot of specialized effort and skill. But I also recognize that the artistry responsible for them might have been channeled into more “museum worthy” forms of artistic expression if the talents and skills of women had been nurtured and developed for centuries along with those of men.

It is very difficult to reassure quilters that you value and appreciate their work, while simultaneously asserting that quilting is a symptom of subordination. How can upsetting and offending quilters possibly forward the goals of feminism? It’s a very hard question, and one that reappears in some form or another every time dominance theory is applied to social phenomenon.

The intersectionality approach requires me to consciously stop thinking about quilting from a white, middle class perspective and do some research about the role of quilting in the artistic, social and economic lives of women of difference races and in different economic groups than my own. If I specifically determine that the importance of quilting to (for example) poor women is greater than it is to more affluent women, I need to make sure my analysis, and any recommendations I make, take this into consideration. Maybe this means that I will recommend legal changes that would privilege quilt makers (who are mostly women) over quilt sellers (who may be mostly women), and also over quilt buyers (who may also be mostly women). Thinking about the relationships and conflicts between various groups of women can be difficult, but it is also both worthwhile and necessary. While it is certainly possible that if we took over the world, women would start acting just like men, I hold out hope (quite possibly “essentialist” hope, if truth be told) that we could do a bit better, and intersectionality theorists remind feminists that our true project is to build a better world for all women, not just ourselves.

The entire article is accessible at:
Ann Bartow is an active contributor
to the Feminist Law Professors Blog.
Please visit it for an eyeful of some very interesting
(though non-textile related) postings
Ann Bartow is an Associate Professor at the University of South Carolina School of Law teaching "...Intellectual Property Survey Law, Copyright Law, Trademarks and Unfair Competition Law, Cyberspace Law, and Constitutional Law II — Individual Liberties. She has also taught Patent Law and Property, and in practice specialized in patent litigation. Her scholarship primarily focuses on the intersection between intellectual property laws and public policy concerns."

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Artists Rights Society

The Artists Rights Society (ARS) is a rights licensing organization that acts “…on behalf of our members to streamline the process for reviewing and approving or rejecting requests for reproduction.” It is “…the preeminent copyright, licensing, and monitoring organization for visual artists in the United States. Founded in 1987, ARS represents the intellectual property rights interests of over 30,000 visual artists and estates of visual artists from around the world (painters, sculptors, photographers, architects and others).

ARS' membership derives from two sources. First, ARS represents American artists who become its direct adherents and it represents foreign artists who are members of affiliated arts organizations abroad…ARS is also a member of CISAC (Confédération Internationale des Sociétés d’Auteurs et Compositeurs), the Paris-based, umbrella organization which oversees the activities of international copyright collecting societies in all media. As part of this international network of rights organizations, ARS maintains relationships with like-minded "sister societies" abroad. Through reciprocal agreements ARS represents the artist repertories of its foreign sister societies in the U.S., and they in turn represent ARS' American repertory in their territories.”

There is no fee for membership. The revenue structure is stated as follows:

“Revenues received by ARS from reproduction and
license fees are remitted to members or their
designated representatives on a semi-annual basis.
Payments to our members are accompanied by a
report detailing the title of the work utilized, the
name of the publisher or manufacturer, the nature
of the usage, and the sum collected for same. ARS
retains a minor percentage to cover its
administrative costs. All the non-revenue producing
work done by ARS, such as lobbying, policing
and prevention, is done at its own expense, and none
is apportioned to the artist. Artists need to bear in
mind that ARS is not an agent and does not
promote the sale of artists’ works, nor does it
perform the functions of a gallery or assist our
members in finding a gallery.”

There is a database available to view all of the artists that are represented, as well as a listing of their most requested artists and a listing of their represented American artists.

To learn more about the benefits of membership and services provided, visit the web site:

Saturday, November 24, 2007

O. J. Simpson Coloring & Activity Book – Colin Quashie

“Using the medium of art in the form of the O.J. Simpson Coloring & Activity Book, the intent is not to rehash the merits or legal strategies employed during the trial, but rather to assess the social impact by surveying the extent of the cultural divide it exposed…we hope to communicate across social, racial and cultural boundaries in an effort to foster a greater awareness and understanding of each other.”

Insightful discussion questions are presented for each page of the coloring book.

To download a full size version (pdf format):

On his website, Colin Quashie states, “The Coloring Book operates on three different levels. 1) It allows me to skewer social inconsistencies in the most cynical of terms. 2) It looks at these situations from a child's perspective. How? With television being the preferred baby-sitter of choice, children are bombarded by advertisers and programming which affect them in ways we may never understand. Without the benefit of experience that comes with age, their developing sense of values are ripe for the shaping. 3) The most important component of this piece is the fact that actual children colored the images. After sketching and inking the originals, I passed out copies (minus the text) to friends with children and told them to do whatever they wanted. I chose the ones that appealed to me and used their pictures to color in the final painting. Though not seen on the picture, the children's names are signed below my name along with their age. I did this to underscore the first two points. It is by far the most compelling feature of this series.”

Vist Colin Quashie's web site to learn more about him and his art:

Monday, November 19, 2007

United States Artists - Unapologetic in LA (Los Angeles)

Our Mission, with no apologies:
To nurture, support,
and strengthen the
work of America's
finest living artists
[emphasis added]

On Thursday, November 15, the United States Artists Fellows for 2007 were announced with an award ceremony in Los Angeles on Saturday, November 17.
This unique organization is dedicated to providing significant funding and recognition to individual artists across a broad spectrum of disciplines. Following are quotations from some of the primary individuals who are intimately involved in making this resource for artists a reality:

"Bold vision and leadership are an irresistible combination for social investors. We hope this program acknowleges performance, helps sustain our artists, and inspires others to follow their creative instincts."
Douglas K. Freeman, USA National Leadership Committee; Chairman, Rose Foundation

“I am unapologetic about the unerring commitment to spanning this country, seeking the most innovative artists who represent the best of their medium, watching their excitement at the recognition, the network they are now part of, and the benefit they will derive from these resources.”
Judith Rodin, USA Board Member; President, Rockefeller Foundation

“It is important to nurture and honor the work of contemporary artists who take great personal risk to explore the outer edges of conventional thinking. They create an atmosphere in which we all can be more creative.”
Eli Broad, USA National Leadership Committee; Founder of the Broad Art Foundation

“I am unapologetic about rallying for recognition that our artists are indispensable resources for the life, economy, and legacy of the United States. I am unapologetic about enabling the support of USA Fellows, who represent the finest of American Creative practitioners, and about helping to bring them to the forefront of American awareness and appreciation.”
Samuel Hoi, USA Board Member; President, Otis college of Art and Design

“I am unapologetic about giving such talented artists the freedom to use USA’s support with no strings attached. If we want to foster artists’ creativity, we should allow creativity in the use of funds.”
Susan Berresford, Chair, USA Board of Directors; President, Ford Foundation

“I have learned how difficult it is to maintain financial security as an artist, even for some of our most celebrated, successful artists, and how few Americans appreciate that art comes from artists.”
Diane Kaplan, USA Board Member; President, Rasmuson Foundation

“We are unapologetic about going straight to the source in supporting individual artists rather than the circuitous route of supporting institutions.”
Arthur D. and Anne B. Collins, USA National Leadership Committee; Co-Chairs, Collins Family Foundation

“'Art comes from artists.’ This rallying cry from USA, I have really taken to heart. What has become clear to me is how complex it is to achieve the goal of making the public aware of this simple equation. I am part of the dream that is to have the contributions of artists and art making become part of the fabric of our society.”
Mark Bradford, USA Board Member; USA Broad Fellow 2006 in Visual Arts

“We are unapologetic about supporting excellence, originality, and the profound – uncoupling the need for deep thought and artistic innovation from the needs of commerce.”
Amada Cruz, USA Program Director

“With so many important causes to support in this country – such as poverty, medical research, and education – the arts are often ‘low man on the totem pole.’ I often feel the burden of having to justify supporting the arts. USA just does it: Here’s the money. Take it. Do what you must. USA puts into context why creativity, expression, imagination, and innovation are crucial to the health and prosperity of our country and the human spirit.”
Gillian Early, USA Board Member

“We are unapologetic about respecting and valuing the work of artists – both their external products, which bring us enjoyment, as well as the intrinsic process that produces the work.”
Susan and Pat Stevens, USA National Leadership Committee

“Contemporary art has often been controversial and difficult to support. United States Artists has made a powerful commitment to supporting living artists and, through its example, makes the rest of us wonder if we shouldn’t be doing the same.”
Paul Ha, USA Panelist 2006, Visual Arts; Director, Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis

“Being an artist is hard. Being creative is hard. Being original is hard. The artists I have met approach their work with the same rigor, dedication, discipline, and intellectual honesty that any scientist, inventor, academic, or philosopher does. Heck, these artists are, among other things, scientists, academics, inventors, and philosophers!”
Todd Simon, USA Board Member; Senior Vice President, Omaha Steaks

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Acrylics & Gels - Everything You've Ever Wanted to Know

The Acrylic Book – by Liquitex – This is a 122-page free e-book giving great information about acrylic paints and gels and how to use them.
Fabric Painting and Liquitex Products: explains the different products and how to use them on fabrics.
Use Golden Acrylics on Fabric – Application Information Sheet
What Are Gels? – Patti Brady – “[Gels]…are the undiscovered and under-utilized secret of acrylic materials. No other medium offers artists the incredible array of options in surfaces, viscosities, transparencies, textures, glazes and extending possibilities, while maintaining great flexibility and a relatively quick drying time.”

Monday, November 12, 2007

Quotable Quote - Lyndon Baines Johnson

" Our civilization will largely survive in the works of our creation. There is a quality in art which speaks across the gulf dividing man from man and nation from nation, and century from century. That quality confirms the faith that our common hopes may be more enduring than our conflicting hostilities. Even now men of affairs are struggling to catch up with the insights of great art. The stakes may well be the survival of civilization. "
Lyndon Baines Johnson

Thursday, November 8, 2007

The Creative Process of Pam RuBert

It's Only a Leaf, 2006
35" x 49"

Pam RuBert’s art is definitely distinctive – few would not recognize the signature style that combines her incisive wit and sense of humor through the exploits of a character named PaMdora. Pam (the artist) states:
“…PaMdora has become symbolic of how I see the
world -- a big jumbled mess of good, bad, joy,
frustration, beauty, and humor. The quilts are not
really about PaMdora, although she’s large in her
own mind. They are more about how she watches
the crazy world around her with a strange mixture
of astonishment, dismay, and amusement.”
Through the format of a slideshow, Pam provides us with insight into her design process for an artwork titled “Its Only a Leaf”. The slideshow starts with her first steps in the composition of the piece. It shows the fabric “auditioning” process, as well as the movement from arrangement of fabric yardage on the design wall, to final placement of each figure and the finished composition. The slideshow is looped so that it recycles through the sequence of images automatically.

By reading through Pam’s blog and the 2006 interview of her for the Alliance for American Quilts Save Our Stories project, you can glean a plethora [my favorite word – I just like the sound of it] of additional clues about how she works:

“I usually do little sketches in my sketchbook then I work on a more formal design and refine lots of the details on my laptop. Then I print out a big pattern and use that to cut the fabrics.”

“I always design standing up. This is probably due to the influence of a college painting instructor who said to never paint sitting down. His theory was that it’s too easy to be lazy if you’re sitting down, that the tendancy is to not get out of your seat enough, walk around, and evaluate your work from a distance.”

“…sometimes I cut out a character or object out of fabric and it doesn't seem quite right in the overall composition. Then I usually pin it to a nearby empty design board because I still like to look at these characters. When I need space cleared off my design boards, I put them all into a box under my worktable but usually with regret. Sometimes I go through and pick out a few of my favorites and pin them to an "inspiration board" above my sewing machine. Rarely do I use them in another work because it's just easier to start fresh with a new project.”

“…translating a drawing to fabric creates something entirely new. It’s not just copying one thing to another. The fabric has it’s own personality and either augments the drawing or takes away from it. So I’m working more towards the augment effect, but I don’t always know what will work until I try it. Sometimes I think a fabric is just perfect, but it looks horrible when I cut it into a shape. Sometimes the most unlikely fabric is a real sleeper, it’s either perfect…Sometimes the same fabric has a totally different look if it’s just laid out a little differently, like plaid that’s a little skewed.”

“I like to throw fabric on the floor when I’m trying to figure out a color palette. It’s fast, it gets messy, and I get frustrated because each time I add a new fabric to the mix, it seems to throw off everything else.”

“I work hard to make lots of different patterns and designs work together. Sometimes it takes a long time for me to find just the right fabric for a specific character or object but that fabric has to work within the context of everything else in the quilt.”

“Usually I start in the center, or with PaMdora’s face, which is this case is both and makes it kind of tough since there’s a lot of fabric to handle on each side. I start with the blacks to warm up and get my groove back, especially necessary after a long sabbatical from quilting.”

“During the cutting process, sometimes I find that I have to go back to the drawing and make changes—either because something isn't working in fabric or maybe I had a new idea that I want to add. Then, after I get the whole thing cut and pinned to my design wall, I fuse it together and then start to quilt.”

“…I keep cutting, pinning, and re-evaluating all the fabrics on the board…[I] try to work the whole “canvas” at once. This means, don’t ignore the whole design while focusing on one detail area. Every part of the design impacts every other part, and it’s always a balancing act to make it all work together well.”

“I try not to work until I’m bone-tired and at a total loss for what to do next. I find a place to stop when I still have energy and know what needs to be done next. This makes me excited and look forward to returning to the studio the next day.”

“It’s always exciting to take a design off the wall and start to quilt, and sometimes a relief. A relief after days (or sometimes months) of looking at, struggling with the composition, colors and patterns and finally committing.”
[Note: I really relate to this on a very personal level – for me,
this commitment comes when I finally can no longer avoid the
realization that instead of “honing” the concept, all I’m really
doing is just procrastinating – read, “avoiding doing the work”.
When all is said and done, at some point you simply have to
cut the fabric! I’m s-o-o-o glad to know that I’m not the only
one that has to cope with this. Pam, thank you for sharing.]

“I practice doodling on paper before I do the actual quilting. But now I’ve started doing it in color because it’s more fun that way.”

“When I’m getting ready to quilt a face or some detail, I lay some tracing paper over the shape and practice drawing lines, to ready myself to make similar patterns with the sewing machine needle. I do all my quilting improvisationally, so for me, it’s like a dancer practicing the dance to ready for the final performance.”

“I develop new stitch patterns for each part of the quilt. Because I match the thread to my fabrics, the effects are subtle — you have to get up close to see the different stitching motifs.”

“Sometimes the stitching is symbolic like spider webs representing the Internet or sound waves coming off a cell tower. But sometimes the stitching is just funky and fun. I think it makes the quilt more interesting when there is lots of variety and I like to use the stitching to make something that couldn't be done with a drawing or paint or just fabric alone.”

“I do design my quilts to look bold and simple from a distance, then up close there are small details in the story line, stitching and fabric patterns, that are, hopefully, a surprise to the viewer when they move in closer to the work. I want the viewer to spend some time looking for them but not so hidden that they can't see them at all.”

Pam’s Views on Creativity:

“Creativity is struggling with some half-cocked idea and trying to make something out of it. My history (as probably most people’s) is strewn with half-realized ideas, things I sort-of worked on, but abandoned somewhere at some unsuccessful and ugly stage of development.”

“I don’t think you can fail at creativity because it’s a process. The only way to really fail is not to try.”

Be sure to also check out Pam’s Illustration Friday posts

[NOTE: Illustration Friday is a weekly creative outlet/participatory art exhibit for illustrators and artists of all skill levels. It was designed to challenge participants creatively…It's a chance to experiment and explore and play with visual art.]

To view more of Pam’s work, please visit her website:

To keep abreast of her design process, please read her blog:

Monday, November 5, 2007

The Power of Art - Simon Schama

You can watch eight video excerpts from the mesmerizing PBS series on The Power of Art by Simon Schama, courtesy of the BBC, either on the web site or in your standalone player (Windows Media Player or RealPlayer). The segments range from 2 – 5 ½ minutes in length on Michelangelo Merisi di Caravaggio, Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn, Jacques-Louis David, Joseph Mallord William Turner, Vincent Willem Van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, and Mark Rothko (born Marcus Rothkowitz):

A 10-minute You-Tube video excerpt of the program on Rothko also can be viewed:

Friday, November 2, 2007

The Creative Process of Sonji Hunt

Medallion I
33" H x 22"W

We all struggle with and delight in the design process of our own work, and are intrigued by that of others. Rarely, though do we ever have the opportunity to be “the fly on the wall” and/or to peek over other artists’ shoulders as they make design decisions while creating in their studios. Sonji Hunt has invited us into her studio as she details step-by-step the process in which she was engaged during creation of “Medallion I”, her interpretation of a traditional medallion-styled quilt:

September 24, 2007 – New Medallion Series in the Works

September 28, 2007 – Medallion Progress

September 29, 2007 – The Borders Continue

October 2, 2007 – More Border and BlahBlah

October 14, 2007 – Rotated Border

October 22, 2007 – Saga of the Medallion

October 25, 2007 – Let Go Already!!!

October 29, 2007 – Hand Embroidery on Medallion

October 30, 2007 – 20 Minutes Later…It’s Done

On her website, Sonji has crystallized and collapsed the entire process involved in creation of “Medallion I” into a succinct series of images (“read” them from left to right)
To view more of Sonji’s work, please visit her website:

To keep abreast of her design process, please read her blog:

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Process: The Map to the Mind of the Artist

“Artistic process is valued because it gives us
insight into the mind of the artist. Artistic process
takes many forms and is as personal and individual
as the final works of art. Some artists work
intuitively, so content and development emerge
at the same time, during creation of the piece itself.
Some artists follow a strong pre-production schedule
(researching, sketching, and planning before making
the final piece). Some artists write. Some artists
work in solitude. Some artists only work collaboratively.
For some artists, the process is the art. Process pieces
offer insight and add depth and value to the work itself…

Process should clearly identify the creative,
conceptual, and technical processes involved in
making the work. This interest is sometimes
technical, but more often it is about development
of ideas, translation of ideas into images, and the
choices and decisions that were made along the
way. The goal is to make visible the creative
process of the artist.”
These words are taken from a 2002 Call for Entry to the Association of Computing Machinery’s Special Interest Group on Graphic and Interactive Techniques.

It’s interesting how closely this resonates with our own desire to understand how other artists work. Some textile artists, through their blogs and/or web sites, are beginning to share their process. Starting tomorrow I will begin to post information about some of them.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

CERF Responds to California Wildfires

The Craft Emergency Relief Fund (CERF) is taking action to respond to the community of craft artists affected by the Southern California Wildfires. We are reaching out to artists, arts organizations, galleries, businesses and others in the affected areas to offer assistance and to locate information about the arts community. While it is still too early to know the extent of damage, we do know that the situation is severe as news reports indicate. We also know that this area of California has a significant population of craft artists. We have already heard from a jeweler who lost both her home and studio and CERF Trustee and clay artist, Lana Wilson, had to be evacuated from her Del Mar home.

Please help us spread the word that CERF is available to offer assistance to craft artists in Southern California by forwarding this e-mail to your contacts or by sending your contact information of craft artists in this region to CERF. Please also be aware that your support of our work during these times is essential so that we can deliver aid quickly and effectively.

NOTE: I have recently been elected to CERF's Board of Directors

Monday, October 29, 2007

Salvaging Textiles after Water and Fire Disasters

Emergency Salvage Procedures for Wet Items: Textiles and Clothing - Minnesota Historical Society

Salvaging Water Damaged Textiles – The American Institute for Conservation of Historic & Artistic Works (AIC)

Salvage at a Glance Part V: Textiles – National Park Service

How to Care for and Salvage Your Textiles After a Flood – Historic Textiles Studio

Washing Will Remove Soot, Odors - New Mexico State University College of Agriculture and Home Economics

Cleaning of Fire Damaged Watercolor and Textiles Using Atomic Oxygen – NASA – this is very interesting and is apparently quite effective, but where and how would you or I get our hands on some atomic oxygen – and what would we do with it once we got it?

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Critical Response

"Untitled", 1994 - 12' x 18'
Douglas Argue

"Untitled", 1994 - 12' x 18' - showing scale of the painting
Douglas Argue

Detail of "Untitled", 1994 - 12' x 18'
Douglas Argue

This 5-minute audio (with pictures) is a fascinating example of an educator taking a student (who states that he is indifferent to art) through the critical response process. The level of understanding that he reaches during this process is amazing. His initial statement was, “I don’t get art.” The artwork is "Untitled”, a painting by Douglas Argue which is on exhibit at the Weisman Art Museum.
To view more of Douglas Argue’s art, please visit his website:
“Critical Response is a structured process that allows responders to pay close attention to a particular piece of art, text or a performance.” This process is one that we as artists can use when dialoguing with a viewer about our art, or on our selves when we find ourselves engaged with someone else’s art that we may or may not “get”. Five questions are to be asked and responded to (with emphasis on “There are no wrong answers”) - The Critical Response Tool:
Additional examples of Critical Response in action:
Developed by Minnesota’s Perpich Center for Arts Education for the Minneapolis Public School System, Critical Response was designed for artists who teach and for “artful” teachers.
Also available is the Artful Teaching and Learning Handbook
this 158 page free e-book ( is “Full of tools, processes and examples from its field sites, the handbook offers the practitioner research-based support for building arts based and arts infused learning.” (a hard copy version also is available).

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Investing in Creativity: A Study of the Support Structure for U. S. Artists

“Throughout our history, artists in the U.S. have utilized their skills as a vehicle to illuminate the human condition, contribute to the vitality of their communities and to the broader aesthetic landscape, as well as to promote social change and democratic dialogue. Artists have also helped us interpret our past, define the present, and imagine the future. In spite of these significant contributions, there's been an inadequate set of support structures to help artists, especially younger, more marginal or controversial ones, to realize their best work. Many artists have struggled and continue to struggle to make ends meet. They often lack adequate resources for health care coverage, housing, and for space to make their work. Still, public as well as private funding for artists has been an uneven, often limited source of support even in the best of times economically.”

Thus begins this 107-page document (available as a free e-book) from the Culture, Creativity, and Communities (CCC) Program of the Urban Institute. One of its findings:

"While 96% of Americans value art in their communities and lives, only 27% value artists."

The Urban Institute (a nonpartisan economic and social policy research organization) publishes studies, reports, and books on timely topics worthy of public consideration.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Call to Artists - The Gallery at Mount Ida College

This is a call to artists for an exhibition titled Wild life/Wildlife.

How is your wild life interpreted? Life as a human condition: its structure, wildness, rawness and crudeness or wildlife of the natural world: its order and disorder, incivility and savageness. How does the artist express the essence of Wild Life / Wildlife as a paradox, the perfect and the imperfect, order and disorder? Does the word wildlife still hold its original meaning or has human interaction destroyed what is wild?

All media eligible. We will look at up to 10 images from each artist. Please send a list of works with the submission in detail including; title, date, medium, and dimensions. Also, please include your name, address, telephone/cell and email address for contact. We will contact you by email by December 14, 2007.

Slides and digital images should be clearly marked with your name and the name of the piece along with the corresponding number on the list of works. For slides include a red dot in the lower left corner to help us orient your images properly. Send the requested materials no later than November 30, 2007 (post mark) with a SASE for return.

Dates for the run of the exhibition are March 25 - May 4, 2008 with a reception on Thursday, April 3 from 5:00 - 7:00pm with an artist's talk at 6:00pm.

The exhibition will be curated by Professor and artist John Tricomi (, and Associate Professor, Gallery Director and artist Kathleen Driscoll (

Mail or email entries to:

Kathleen Driscoll, Gallery Director
Mount Ida College
777 Dedham Street
Newton Centre, MA 02459

Kathleen Driscoll 617-928-4654 ( or
Sally Gray, Administrative Assistant, 617 928 4636 (

Monday, October 22, 2007

Emergency Assistance for Artists

The following is a listing of foundations and organizations whose primary mission is to provide emergency financial and other assistance to artists in dire need.

1. Craft Emergency Relief Fund (CERF)

The mission of the Craft Emergency Relief Fund (CERF) is to provide direct financial assistance to professional craft artists through the award of small grants ($1,500 - $5,000) and no-interest loans ($3,500 - $8,000), through the waiver and discounts of booth fees, and through donation of supplies and equipment. Since its inception in 1985, hundreds of craft artists have been provided with over $1.25 million in financial assistance, donated services, equipment and supplies.

Full information about CERF, criteria for assistance, eligibility requirements, and application forms is available on its website:

2. The Haven Foundation

The Haven Foundation is a national, nonprofit organization making grants to freelance writers and artists experiencing career-threatening illness, accident, natural disaster or other emergency or personal catastrophe. The Haven Foundation is a small fund providing grants of up to $25,000 per year, renewable for up to five years (pending approval of renewal application).

3. John Anson Kittredge Educational Fund

Grants awarded to artists in very special circumstances. $1,000 - $10,000. Initial contact by letter stating purpose, amount requested, period of funding, supporting letter.

Application Address:
P.O. Box 2883
Cambridge, MA 02138

4. Myer Foundation: Economic Relief Grants

Economic relief grants to needy individuals who are distressed or suffering as a result of poverty, low income or lack of financial resources, including as a result of natural or civil disasters, or from temporary impoverishment, loss of employment, death or incapacity of a family wage earner or damage to home and property; to provide health care to those who cannot afford health care or whose health insurance or financial resources are insufficient to cover medical needs. Grants range from $2,500 - $5,000

An application form is not required. Proposals should be made in letter form. See web site for details regarding information required:

Application Address:
20 West 64th Street, Suite 15-U
New York, NY 10023


5. Change Emergency Funds

One-time only emergency grants for visual artists of any discipline within the U.S.

Grants are to avoid eviction, pay medical bills, pay unpaid utility bills, address fire damage or any other emergency the board deems worthy.

Awards of up to $1,000 for medical, living, or other emergencies. Open to artists of all disciplines, with no U.S. geographical restrictions; students are not eligible. Each applicant must submit a detailed letter describing the financial emergency, copies of outstanding bills, medical fee estimates, etc., and current financial statements, along with a career resume, exhibition or performance announcements, slides or photos of work and two letters of reference from someone in the affiliated field (no video tapes). Only complete applications will be accepted. Change, Inc does not issue more than one grant per person.

Application Address:
Robert Rauschenberg, Executive Director
Change, Inc.

P.O. Box 54
Captiva, FL 33924

Phone: (212) 473-3742

6. Springboard for the Arts Emergency Relief Fund (ERF)

“Springboard's Emergency Relief Fund exists to help meet the emergency needs of artists in need of immediate monies to cover an expense due to loss from fire, theft, health emergency, or other catastrophic, career-threatening event.”

Update, August 23, 2007: The Emergency Relief Fund is recently depleted due to a high volume of recent requests for funding. Applications will still be accepted and reviewed in the order received, but cannot be funded immediately. [Emphasis Added]

Friday, October 19, 2007

Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts (VLA)

Voluntee Lawyers for the Arts (VLA) "... delivers pro bono and low cost legal services and information to members of the arts community each year. Access to VLA’s pro bono legal services is available to low-income artists and nonprofit arts organizations, but many other programs are more widely available to the entire arts community.” Unfortunately, not every state nor every country has an organization. Of those that do, the services offered vary considerably. They are:

Australia – The Arts Law Centre of Australia
Canada – Canadian Artists Representation
United Kingdom – ArtQuest

AlabamaAlabama Lawyers & Accountants for the Arts (ALAArts)
Executive Director – Marcus Hunt
4326 Eagle Point Parkway
Birmingham, AL 35242
Telephone: 205-408-3025 (main #); 205-936-9559 (alternate #)

California(statewide) California Lawyers for the Arts

(Beverly Hills) Beverly Hills Bar Association
Barristers Committee for the Arts

(Oakland) California Lawyers for the Arts
1212 Broadway St., Ste. 834
Oakland, CA 94612
(510) 444-6351
(510) 444-6352 Fax

(Sacramento) California Lawyers for the Arts
926 J St., Ste. 811
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 442-6210
(916) 442-6281 Fax

(San Diego) California Lawyers for the Arts
1205 Prospect St.
La Jolla, CA 92037
Phone: (619) 454-9696

(San Francisco) California Lawyers for the Arts
Fort Mason Center, Building C, Rm 255
San Francisco, CA 94123
(415) 775-7200
(415) 775-1143 Fax

(Santa Monica) California Lawyers for the Arts
1641 18th St.
Santa Monica, CA 90404
(310) 998-5590
(310) 998-5594 Fax

Colorado Colorado Lawyers for the Arts

ConnecticutConnecticut Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts

D.C.Washington Area Lawyers for the Arts

District of Columbia Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts
916 Sixteenth St NW
Washington, DC 20006

Business Volunteers for the Arts-Washington
1436 U Street NW, Suite 103
Washington, DC 20009-3997
Phone: (202) 638-2406
Fax: (202) 638-3388


ArtServe, Inc./Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts
1350 East Sunrise, Suite 100
Ft. Lauderdale FL 33304

Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts, Pinnellas County Arts Council
14700 Terminal Blvd., Suite 229
Clearwater, FL 33762
tel: (727) 453-7860
fax: (727) 453-7855

Volunteer Lawyer for the Arts
3233 East Bay Drive #101
Largo, Florida 33771

Business Volunteers for the Arts- Miami
150 West Flagler Street, Suite 2500
Miami FL 33130

Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts/Western Florida
(A division of Business Volunteers for the Arts)
14700 Terminal Blvd., Suite 229
Clearwater, Florida 33762
phone: (727) 507-4114

GeorgiaGeorgia Lawyers for the Arts

IllinoisLawyers for the Creative Arts

IndianaCreative Arts Legal League

KansasMid-America Arts Resources
c/o Susan J. Whitfield-Lungren
PO Box 363Lindsborg, KS 67456
(913) 227-2321

Kentucky - Fund for the Arts
623 West Main Street
Louisville KY 40202

LouisianaArts Council of New Orleans

MaineMaine Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts
tel: (207) 871 7033

MarylandMaryland Lawyers for the Arts

MassachusettsVolunteer Lawyers for the Arts of Massachusetts, Inc.

MichiganArtServe Michigan Volunteer Lawyers for Arts & Culture

MinnesotaSpringboard for the Arts

Missouri - Volunteer Lawyers and Accountants for the Arts St. Louis

MontanaContact the Montana Arts Council -

New HampshireLawyers for the Arts/New Hampshire

New JerseyNew Jersey Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts

New YorkVolunteer Lawyers for the Arts New York

Albany/Schenectady League of Arts Inc.
19 Clifton Ave
Albany, NY 12207
Phone: 518-449-5380

North CarolinaNorth Carolina Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts


Volunteer Lawyers and Accountants for the Arts-Cleveland

Toledo Volunteer Lawyers and Accountants for the Arts
c/o Arnold Gottlieb, Esq.
608 Madison, Ste. 1523
Toledo, OH 43604
(419) 255-3344
(419) 255-1329 Fax

OklahomaOklahoma Accountants and Lawyers for the Arts
c/o Eric King, Gable & Gotwals
One Leadership Sq., 15th Fl.
211 N. Robinson
Oklahoma City, OK 73102 tel: (405) 235-5500

OregonNorthwest Lawyers and Artists, Inc.

PennsylvaniaPhiladelphia Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts

Pittsburgh Arts Council

Western Pennsylvania Professionals
PO Box 19388
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Phone: 412-268-8437

Rhode IslandOcean State Lawyers for the Arts

South DakotaSouth Dakota Arts Council

TennesseeTennessee Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts

TexasTexas Accountants and Lawyers for the Arts
2917 Swiss Ave.
Dallas, TX 75204
Phone: 214-821-1818

Austin Lawyers and Accountants for the Arts
P. O. Box 2577
Austin TX 78768

Artists' Legal and Accounting Assistance
P.O. Box 2577
Austin, TX 78751
Phone: 512-476-4458

Lawyers and Accountants of North Texas for the Arts (LANTA)

P.O. Box 2019
Cedar Hill, TX 75106
Phone: 972-291-9010

San Antonio & El Paso Offices: contact TALA at Houston office

UtahUtah Lawyers for the Arts
PO Box 652
Salt Lake City, UT 84110

VirginiaVirginia Lawyers for the Arts

WashingtonWashington Lawyers for the Arts

WisconsinArts Wisconsin