Thursday, September 15, 2016

Where are They Now - Nikki

Where have I been -- definitely not doing the art thing.  Being a twelve was so inspiring creatively and the timeline forced me to be focused.  Art was a priority in my life and my family's lives because of these wonderful women.  Since our last challenge the demands of family have drove me (literally about 500 miles a week) in different directions. My four kids are busy playing sports.  I'm working full time with my husband at his engineering firm.  Since his partner decided to retire at the beginning of the year, we are now full owners and have the joys and challenges of owning our own business.  Most days I go to bed very tired.  We do have plenty of fun and excitement though.

Two years ago we bought a small, fixer up on the water.  We have been working on renovations and using it more like a vacation home even though it is just on the other side of town from our old house.  We wanted to move in permanently, but 1200 square feet with four tween and teenagers is a little challenging.  

While mowing the lawn last spring I had the brilliant idea to buy the little 1922 bungalow next door that has been for sale for several years.  We took possession last month.  After a crazy month of ripping out 60's wallpaper and old carpet, painting and repairs, we are now living in two houses. Its a little unconventional.  Everyone sleeps in our first house, but we use the other house for the living spaces and the two extra bathrooms.  And I once again have a studio.  I claimed the upstairs bedroom that looks over the water for my own.  I am still very much moving in, but one day soon I will be creating again.  Plus it is like Christmas rediscovering all my supplies.

I have my desk set up to look out the window.  The moorings are especially beautiful with the sun rising over the water.

My bookshelf is packed to the brim.  I do need to get a countertop for cabinets.  I still don't know where to put everything, but I'm sure it will find a home.

We have some strong friends who were willing to help us get the letter press and metal backers cabinets up the very narrow stairway.  The did say that they wouldn't be available I we decide to move again.  I was impressed because I didn't think they would fit.  I'm very glad they did though.

One day soon I will have to unpack my Twelve by Twelve quilts from those envelopes and proudly display them on the walls.  

I do have our book out on my shelf though.  I need to buy another copy though so all my children can have their own.

And living here is what makes all the crazy hard work worth it!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Update From Terri

Hi All! Sometimes when I think back on my involvement with this group, it sort of seems like a dream. Did I actually make all those quilts and participate? Well I did and I have the quilts to prove it. It is all a wonderful memory and it will always have a special place in me. I'm so fortunate to have been able to participate with this great group of talented artists and I cherish their friendship.

Seeking Red
40 x 40" mixed media quilt

In the time since, I have been keeping busy. I am still very creative and make art quilts, although not quite as many. I have, recently, (like some of the others here) been making more traditional quilts. Some of these are on the modern side and some are improvisational piecing, which I really enjoy.

While I've always enjoyed working with mixed media and fabrics, it seems I have become even more enamored with my desire to create my own fabrics. I love designing and took an online course on surface pattern design. I have become more involved with screen printing and stenciling and creating fabrics to use in my quilts and other projects.  I have designed several stencil designs for StencilGirl Products and I have several other stencil designs that I sell in my Etsy shop. Most recently I have been teaching myself how to create my own silk screens and screen print fabric yardage.

I also taught myself how to weave. I started out with a rigid heddle loom and then graduated to a 4-shaft floor loom. My favorite things to weave are scarves and kitchen towels.

I don't post a lot on my own blog anymore. I am finding it much easier and convenient to share what I'm doing on Instagram and Facebook. When I'm not busy with my creative activities, I enjoy spending time with my family. My grandkids bring me a lot of enjoyment. My granddaughter just turned 4 and my grandson is not yet 2. I still have my cats. They are aging now and a couple of them have developed some health issues. I still live in North Dakota, where it seems like nothing exciting, "quilt-wise", ever happens. Thanks to all of you who have followed along on this journey. I feel so blessed to have been a part of it.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Where Are They Now? Brenda

right here, right now
Greetings from the Serendipity Studio at Copacabana.  This was the outlook this morning:

On the design wall, I have some studies and samples for my Lines of Beauty workshop as I work on refining some teaching notes.  I am really looking forward to teaching an expanded, 4-day version of this class at Grampian Textures retreat in March 2017:
On the workbench, I have fabrics sorted for my next project.  I feel a dyeing day coming on. More purples are required!
On the studio floor is a half-packed suitcase for my trip to Adelaide next week.  A selection of my works will be on display at the Festival of Quilts Morphettville Racecourse, Adelaide from 30 September - 2 October 2016 (open 10am-4pm daily).

On the spare bed, two large new works are rolled up, ready and waiting for an appropriate time to be revealed to the world (note the pink Diane!):
And next to my TV chair, is a project made from luscious wool felt.  Stitching has such transformative power:

the bigger picture
When we wound up our final cycle of group challenges on 12/12/12, I embarked upon a personal challenge to deeply explore certain themes and motifs first arising in my Twelve by Twelve works.  In particular, I was keen to concentrate on working in a larger format.

This graphic shows the development of my lupin-inspired works since the PurpleYellow challenge in 2010:
High Country Lupins #3 (80x143cm) was juried into Art Quilt Elements 2016


Other examples include:

From Bush Tucker Tracks (12x12in) to Desert Tracks: Not Terra Nullius (57x109cm 2013) which was juried into  Art Quilt Australia 2013: People, Place & Nation and also Quilts=Art=Quilts 2014. deserrt-tracks-600web

From Binary Code #2 (12x12in) to Dreamlines#7: Dreaming in Colour (131x72cm 2014):
From Sweet (20x12in) to Kelp Pods (106x84 cm 2016): Kelp Pods
I look back to the Twelve by Twelve years and marvel at the number of works that I produced - not just the official contributions but the scores of other small studies I made along the way. No doubt our collaborative project was a great stimulus along with regular deadlines and group accountability. Moving to working in a larger format brings new challenges: physical - handling large works is taxing; engineering - corralling all those small pieces on the design wall; and, of course, time - especially when you stitch works as intensively I do.

a matter of time

The notion of time is intriguing and sometimes paradoxical. It is at once rigid and fluid, fleeting and interminable, tangible but elusive, and abundant yet scarce.  How the ‘fourth dimension’ of time is observed, manifested and experienced is at the heart of my latest curatorial project - a matter of time. This is a travelling exhibition of 32 works each measuring 100x40cm.  Deborah Boschert's work Rising and Setting is pictured below second from the left:

The exhibit is currently on tour in South Australia.  My next curator floor talk is at the Craft & Quilt Fair, Adelaide at 12.30pm on Thursday, 3 November only.  If you can't join me in person, check out the online gallery.  A catalogue is available for purchase too.
The exhibition continues on tour until late 2017 (see tour program).  It is booked into New Zealand National Quilt Symposium: 5-10 October 2017 where I will be teaching and judging (AND catching up with Kirsty!) and further international venues are under negotiation.  I'll keep you posted!

Being a Twelve has had an enduring impact on my creative practice.  I am so grateful to Diane for inviting me to play and for the support, encouragement and enthusiasm of the other Twelves. The internet is a wonderful thing! You can follow my current projects on Facebook, Instagram and my blog.

Wanna Play?

Monday, September 12, 2016

Where are they now? - Helen

Where am I now? That's  the question I was told to answer for this blog series. But you know me. Rebel to the last.... I think the most interesting question actually is: how did you get where you are today? Because today has been a day I would not have imagined last time I posted here ( which was February 2014, with  this post.

I started the day out on the golf course. Not what you expected? No, me neither, but read on and I'll explain. Then I packed up some of the art from a solo show I did at the View Two Gallery in Liverpool in May and popped it in the car to take to the Stockport War Memorial Art Gallery third ( and for me the final) show with the Etcetera Group. Whilst at the gallery I talked to the curator and agreed to do a little mini show of six more of my pieces later this year. then I got in the car again and drove to talk to a different gallery owner about a proposal for a duo show with another artist. then I came home to deal with a contact for representation by a second Liverpool gallery. None of that was even in my imagination in February 2014!

So what happened?
Urban Myth - 20/12 series

When the Twelve by Twelve Project ended, I was a person who still had a great deal of difficultly believing my myself as an artist. I wanted the group environment because it gave me an identity/ If they were artists and I was a member then I must be an artist. Identification by Association if you like. I was only just finding my voice - if you look back the 20/12 series shows a big leap in how my work looked and was when my current voice started as a tiny exploratory whisper. But in the intervening years I have done a lot of coaching and Masterclass Work with Lisa Call on redefining myself in my own mind and coming out boldly as an artist and I have dome that so much I almost don't recognise myself now!
Brick Lane A - Transitions Show, Etctera

Last year I had just done the first Etcetera show which hung in the Platform gallery in Clitheroe and had sold art work from that show for the first time. I was yearning to be an artist not just within what I perceived as the 'safe environment of the quilt world where I was known and accepted, but in the wider art work and also by people in my day job. But boy was I scared. Some of that was due to the peculiar constraints what is and is not acceptable in  my day job. and I was worried about crossing boundaries when I wasn't sure where the boundaries lay.  But far more was that  I was scared people would pity me. That they would say whisper, behind my back, that I was the person who thought I was good enough to be an artist and I didn't even know I wasn't. Scared I would be the Florence Foster Jenkins of the textile art world!

And then I had an Idea. Its a long story ( which you can read here) but it involved a charity project with other artist/barristers called Artists-in -Law and it required me to stay up in conference rooms full of colleagues and actually say the words "I am an artist'.  Effectively I leapt out of the closet and once out I just had to keep going because saying I was an artist and not being very good was better in my mind than saying I was one and not actually producing any art! Plus I didn't catch anyone sniggering at me. So I put some of my art on sale and people bought it. For real money.

Here I will always stay - Liverpool Skyline

At that stage I was playing around with the beginnings of my graffiti based work. the first quilt in that series went to the SAQA Wide Horizons IV juried show and I was playing with adding paper collages over graffiti backgrounds to make Liverpool scenes, which turned out to be commercially popular but not quite where my soul was. I was still stretching, trying to find the real me.

Graffiti from Berlin

In December 2104 I went on a city break to Berlin with my family to celebrate my Dad's seventieth Birthday. Now I love my family but really, we all needed some respite  from each other, so the deal was that we all got to do one thing alone if we wished. I chose to go on  a walking tour of graffiti in the old East Berlin. I took photos every step of the way, finding huge inspiration in the overlap of tags. The close up photos of the edges of other peoples art seemed to me to create new, unintended pieces of abstract art.  The tour ended in an abandoned margarine factory where we were given an A4 piece of canvas and access to spray cans. My mind went into overdrive and I called the tour guide over and explained, with the aid of pictures of my quilts on the iPhone exactly why I needed much much, more canvas and much much more information about spray can suppliers! That night I usde the hotels wifi to shop online at a Graffiti supply shop back home. (Who knew such places even existed!)

Note to Self

On my return home, I made a quilt in my old style and then took the cans and spray painted it. I maintain it is interesting but truly ugly but others clearly went with just the interesting as it was juried into the European Quit Triennial. That quilt was called Note to Self and it contained both readable (just) and disguised messages to myself about being bold and having belief in myself. It was the first thing I made that felt to me like something no-one else was doing (probably for very good reason!) and its acceptance gave me huge confidence.  Months before I had been talking with my coach about the artists I looked up to  and I made made a list of them in my journal because I had been reading an about the power of physically writing down goals and aspirations and dreams. When I got the list of participating artists in that show, all bar one on my list were in that show and the missing one was  a juror!
Then Sings my Soul - Urban Scrawl 

Then one day I was at work and I decided to go for a little  lunch time stroll. I remembered that someone had told me about a gallery I had not heard of before so I went to try and find it. It was open and I climbed up many flights of stairs to find the top room and found the owner. We got chatting, he asked to see my work, he liked it, he asked me to give him three pieces for a Christmas show and I nearly fell down all these stairs again with joy and shock. I had, entirely by accident obtained gallery representation!  Email correspondence followed and within the week we had agreed that I would have the whole room - 100 feet - for a solo show which I called Urban Scrawl. I maintain that that only happened because of all the work with Lisa to get me to a point where I could both say those words : I am an artist and here is my portfolio"  and actually have a portfolio on my phone!

Paving Stones - From Urban Scrawl Show

I had four and a half months to prepare for that show and, as most of the work I did have I either deemed unsuitable or had committed to Etcetera shows, I had to start from scratch. My husband (who we call Thirteen because of his role in selling the Twelve by Twelve book some time ago at Festival of Quilts) was a star in supporting me by feeding me on my arrival home from the day job and sending me up to the studio to work. You can read some blog posts about the preparation and the work in the show on my blog at It was the intense work put in for that show that helped me finally, finally (finally!) make art I was proud of and actually would hang in my own home! The preview night was heaving with people and I sold seventeen pieces, most to the very people I had at first been afraid to tell I was an artist in case they laughed at me.

 Again, the work I had done on the Masterclass and reading other artists blogs on subjects such as setting up studio systems, publicity, how to present myself on social media and the like played a huge part in that show.  I used to have a keyring that said; behind every successful woman is a pile of washing and ironing. That remains true but I also want one which says: Behind every artist is a legion of fellow artists who have gone before and are generous with their experiences.

Empty Street - Urban Scrawl Show

Once the show was over I decided, pretty much on a whim, to learn to play golf. I had tried at the instigation of a dear, golf obsessed friend about 20 years ago and was dreadful. Really, humiliatingly bad. So I had spent 20 years defining myself as someone who was not sporty. Someone who couldn't even  though I wanted to. However, the process of redefining myself as an artist allowed me to see that I could refine myself as a golfer if I wished. So I took lessons and joined a club and now I am a baby beginning golfer (and loving it and improving quickly) much as I was a baby beginning art quilter when Twelve by Twelve started off my art career.

So the short answer to the questions are:

Where are you now?
Deeper in in the art world than I ever thought possible when I started making log cabin quits. Exploring  more graffiti based ideas, contemplating moving those ideas into encaustics as well as textiles. Making what I want to make even if its unconventional or I think people wont 'get it'. working on showing in art galleries where there are no other textile artists. Trying hard to balance time in the studio with time on the golf course and time at the day job.

How did you get there?
By other people believing in me and taking a chance on me before I did that for myself. And learning overcome fear of people laughing at me, of being a beginner. That started with the day Diane Perin emailed to ask if I wanted to join  an art quilt group. I remember telling my husband and he asked, a little confused, "Do you make art quilts?' "I do now,"  I said. and so I did. I still have fears of being the Great Pretender but I like the line at the end of the Florence Forster Jenkins Movie: "They may say I couldn't sing, but no one can say I didn't sing."

They may not like my art but no one can say I am not now an artist.

More images from my Urban Scrawl show can be seen at

Where Are They Now? Karen Rips

I would say that the nine years since I was invited to join Twelve by Twelve have been more artistically rewarding than I could ever have imagined. Through the experimental pieces I made with the group challenges, I have found the art I love to make and have been very successful in exhibiting my work around the country. My collaboration with Paula Chung in A View Within is currently on exhibition at Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, Ruth Funk Center for Textile Arts, and Schmidt Art Center.  A new piece from my 3-D series on Loss will also be in this year's World of Threads in Oakville, Canada. My continuing friendships with the other Twelves are very important to me.
Losing Touch © Karen Rips
PS: Brenda has put up this post for me as I am currently travelling in Iceland and the Faroe Islands with irregular internet access:

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Where is Kristin Now?

When I was first invited to join Twelve by Twelve, I was living in Germany. Halfway through our Theme Series, my family and I moved to Hawai'i. And then during our 20x12 Series, we moved to Virginia. As of one year ago, we've joined two other Twelves, Terry and Gerrie, in Portland, Oregon. They may not have been the primary reason our family chose to settle Portland, but our connection was definitely a factor. The friendships made because of Twelve by Twelve have been lasting and true, and it pleases me to no end to have finally settled down near family -- not just the biologic kind, but my quilt-mom and quilt-aunt who I found through the magic of our amazing online adventure.

There is no doubt that my different environments have informed my work, and as Twelve by Twelve was a large part of my artwork for five years, it's been interesting to see the changing influences over that period of time.

In Virginia, I had the good fortune to become a member of McGuffey Art Center in Charlottesville, where I enjoyed several years of attending a weekly life drawing group and where I was able to realize the goal formed several years prior of showing my Army wife series of art quilts and other domestic textiles in a gallery setting.

The Army Wife :: McGuffey Art Center, Sept 2014

While in Charlottesville, had the pleasure of being part of another group of talented female fiber artists, Fiber Transformed, and in it found like-minded friends.

With my husband's time in the Army winding down, and our proximity to Washington, DC, my artwork shifted from my personal story towards larger themes of social commentary. My quilt, 'Murica was accepted into Quilt National '15 which realized another goal for me.


Just after moving across country to Oregon, and purchasing our very first house, I finished up a work that I had started in Virginia, and am proud to say that it was accepted into the joint SAQA/Textile Museum show Tales of Migration, which has just closed, but enjoyed many months of positive attention and press both in the DC area and in broader reaching publications. My piece, Home is Where The Army Sends Us is about creating community wherever you go.

Home is Where The Army Sends Us :: photo by Mark Frey

Since this piece however, I have been focusing my creative energies on our fixer-upper house. It's been deck build overseeing, bathroom tiling, and lots and lots of painting for the last twelve months. I also took on a part time job at my local quilt shop, The Pine Needle, to help pay for the home renovations. It's been that and so much more, as the job has connected me with many local quilters, and given me the opportunity to sew samples, write patterns, and begin to teach a class or two. Being at the Pine Needle has reignited my love for more utilitarian bed quilts, but there will always be art just below the surface.

Foursquare Quilt :: Pattern available at The Pine Needle Quilt Shop

2015 was a year of transition for me, and I'm not sure where I'll be headed artistically in the years to come, but there is no doubt in my mind that I'll be keeping in touch with my fellow Twelves, and we'll be sharing our stories of art and discovery for many years to come.