SDA Retreat: Why I go to a retreat

Hello all,

The last week of May,I was able to attend a SDA (surface design association) retreat here in town at Cottonwood Center for the Arts. Oh how much fun and inspiration we had!!!

Let me go back to last summer when we had the first retreat over on the western slope. We met at Color Creek Dye Studio in Grand Junction owned by Mary Hertert. What a great time we had! I had never dyed synthetics before and it is a totally different process so it was a real learning experience for me. I did find that no matter what dye you use the shibori techniques do work. I don’t think I will do a whole lot of synthetics simply because it is not my style but it is always good to learn something new and expand your knowledge. We had such an inspiring time we had already planned the one over here by the time we left to come home.

I was able to dye a piece of silk in Grand Junction that I am still gathering other fabrics to go with it. When I have everything gathered up, I will create. Anticipating creating is so exciting.

On Sunday, Liz made gelatin plates and we started mono printing. She also made a very large gelatin plate 20 x 45. Liz used soft clay as the edges to hold the gelatin. What a great idea!  We were able to print larger pieces of fabric and got some amazing fabric prints. There is a short video on my Ruth Chandler Designs facebook page if you want to see what we did.So much fun!

Monday we were able to finish up most of what we had started. Each of us had our own things to work on but the sharing and talking and throwing ideas around was the best part.

I cannot express enough the value of taking time with other artists and just creating. The time you spend is an investment in yourself and your art. I feel a change in the feel of the room and the creative juices start flowing and it is really exciting. Do not pass up opportunities to get together with like minded people and just create. No plan, just go with it! You will be energized and build some great and lasting relationships.

I went to Spring Market

Spring Quilt Market was in Minnesota this spring. I had hoped to leave the rain behind in Colorado but alas, it was no different there.

I had a relatively stress free time, only 2 schoolhouses,1 take and teach, and 1 book signing. It was a piece of cake! 🙂 The only blip was having our flight home delayed over 2 hours and not getting home until Monday morning around 2 a.m. You just can’t control the thunderstorms in the spring.

I didn’t find any great new product, but it was so great seeing friends I see twice a year at markets.

I am writing another book to be presented at Fall Market. There isn’t a working title yet but it will be about more and newer embellishments. Liz Kettle and I are splitting up the techniques so we will each have a book. I guess they will be a sort of companion books each with our own style. I am looking forward to getting it going past the outline phase. I will be able to write it long hand and my hubby will input it for me. What a great guy!

I am having rotator cuff surgery tomorrow. I hurt myself last November and can’t deny it any longer. It needs to be fixed. Good news is, my knees are great so I hope this is the last thing to be fixed with my arms! 🙂

I found a company at market to take a look at my bag patterns and give me an estimate on getting them printed. I am anxious to hear back from them. It would be so great to have them ready for Fall Quilt Market.

I will try to peck out one-handed posts the next few weeks, and hope your summer is a great one!



Getting Back to My Roots

I have spent the last year since Modern Hand Stitching came out trying to figure out where to go next. It is difficult to start in another direction when you have spent a year and a half working towards one goal and then all of a sudden it is finished! My question then became, now what!
Last fall when I began to develop the Boro classes, I also began to feel like I was going in too many directions. I felt like I needed to sit back, regroup and decide what my unique style really was, and begin to concentrate on developing MY style instead of trying this that and the other. Trying new things is great but not if I could not bring my own style to it. It seemed the more I tried to do the more scattered and frustrated I became.

So, as the year came to an end and I felt more frustrated than ever, I came across a post on the Slow Stitch Movement blog with Mark Lipinski. It was talking about purging the things out of your life that you didn’t need. It really resonated with me and so the first thing I did in January was to purge my studio. I mean I really PURGED my studio. I not only got rid of about half my fabric, (it went to charity so that made it even better) I had my design table cut down to better fit the space and moved my machines so I could look out the window when I work. It’s amazing how just being able to look out changes my perspective. My studio once again became my inspiration and haven. I realized all that “stuff” was having a very negative effect and was stifling my creativity. I felt as if a load was lifted off my shoulders!

I also began a routine. Every morning I hand stitch for at least 30 minutes with NO distractions. We spend too much time with noise and media bombarding us for the rest of the day. That 30 minutes becomes a way to center my day. (I do confess to checking Facebook first thing to see if I have any new grand kid photos 🙂 ). It is amazing what you can get done in so little time. I have also found that I look up and it has been more than 30 minutes sometime and I have the luxury of working from home so I can do that.

Next I started water aerobics again, it gets me moving and the water is great for my joints. I encourage whatever you enjoy, just move your body parts. I found that it allows me to stitch longer! If I’m loose my stitching is relaxed and I enjoy it more.

Finally after much thought and bouncing ideas off some great friends, I realized I had travelled far from my roots. For me it was way too far. I grew up in Japan and have always loved the style and simplicity of Japanese art forms. For me, trying to be a traditional, modern, contemporary fiber artist,or any other word I could come up with was not me. I have a style that grew in me as a child and I love it! I still don’t have a description or word for it, but it is distinctly Japanese and me. When I realized that and quit trying to find a new style I began to create again. It is amazing how much that fighting against myself was stifling any artistic ideas I had.

I have some great new opportunities coming up for me. I am excited and energized about it all!