Tuesday, November 27, 2012


I was thrilled to have two art quilts accepted to the very competitive Quilts=Art=Quilts at the Schweinfurth Memorial Art Center in Auburn, NY.  One of the pieces "Circus Time" had been exhibited in the Artist As Quiltmaker exhibit in Oberlin, Ohio, but the other piece "Going In Circles" made its premier debut at the Schweinfurth. I was really happy it was accepted because I think it is the best work I have done for awhile, and because Jan Myers-Newbury was one of the judges, and I am in awe of her work! Here's an image of Going In Circles:
c.2012 Going In Circles 32" x 38"
detail of Going In Circles

The exhibit runs from October 28 through January 6, 2013. I went for the opening - had to see my babies on the wall - and really enjoyed it. The museum does an excellent job of curating the show, and they were very gracious and welcoming to the artists at the opening.

The museum had sold a few pieces at the opening. I haven't heard if any others have sold, but that's always of interest. If you can get to the show, I highly recommend it.

You can see "Circus Time" here- February 4, 2012 post.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Ego less

Robert Genn's twice weekly letter had this quote yesterday:

 "Artists shouldn't enter competitions until they are tough enough to realize it is only opinion and not a reflection on their worth. It is equally dangerous to lull yourself into thinking you are great just because you place in a show." (Mary Moquin) 

A good reminder that we make art, not to please others, but to express ourselves. The end result should be the the expression of an idea, feeling, thought, along with an exploration of color and composition.

There are so many stories of an art work being turned down by jury after jury, and then being accepted into a prestigious show. The jury, venue and cohort are all variables we can't control. And, as they say about the lottery, you can't win if you don't enter.

Others have written about the thrill of being accepted into Quilt National, and the feeling of "is that all there is?" after the opening. I haven't entered QN, or an IQA show, but I'm feeling like it is time to make that leap. For me, putting the work out there is about 1/4 of the pleasure of creating the work. Hearing someone say they really responded to one of my works is very gratifying - I like that feeling of connection and communication. But it's the time in the studio that is most satisfying. Trying to make an idea come to life is like doing self therapy. I'm mostly talking myself through a problem, and if the result speaks to someone else on the planet than that's an extra bonus. 

Every artist's motivation to create, and exhibit, is probably a little different. If you're an artist, why do you create - and do you exhibit too? Some artists can create just for themselves, and don't need, or want to exhibit.

Robert Genn's site

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

SAQA Auction 2012

Here's my contribution to the SAQA Auction - I titled it "Spring Moons". Working in 12" square is a real challenge for me. The composition has to look good as a thumbnail photo, and as a small quilt. It's a good exercise in using design principles. This little beauty took about two days to design and put together.
The SAQA auction starts in September. It is a great way to collect art that is small, and can be hung in small places, or as a grouping. Like every non-profit, SAQA is in need of more support than it can get from membership fees. Please save up and support the auction!
Spring Moons 2012 12" x 12"

Sunday, April 8, 2012

The Benefits of Community

Spending time with people who share a passion is a confirming, and rejuvenating experience. The SAQA/SDA conference had speakers who were interesting and even thought provoking at times. But the time spent at meals, over coffee or drinks, or late at night in hotel rooms with other artists, is the reason to attend a conference.

It's an opportunity to learn from others. To talk about our struggles as artists. To build a network of friends who know who you are, and what you do. It's a chance to be in a room with over 200 people who speak your language, and hear your voice.

It's also an opportunity to have free flowing conversations that sometimes lead to new ideas, invigorate the desire to succeed, and laugh out loud - a lot! It is a freeing environment, because for the most part, artists at the SAQA/SDA conference are happy to meet a new person, and know they may find a new friend/mentor/student. Or just someone to say hello to at the next conference. We put names to faces, and to their work.

Most of us are middle aged or older, dress comfortably, and like Clark Kent, are mild mannered women (in public). We don't look like we make fantastic pieces of art. It's wonderful to look around a room and see people who you know love color, line, shapes and textiles, just like you.

Being part of this community event has many advantages. The results are enhanced networking, learning, laughing, understanding, inspiration, perspective and probably many others I can't think of right now. Next year the SAQA conference is in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and I'm already looking forward to it!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Fiber Philadelphia and SAQA/SDA conference

The Fiber Philadelphia exhibit and the Studio Art Quilt Associates conference are this weekend, and I am anticipating a thought provoking, inspiration inducing, and laugh out loud good time. The conference is jointly produced every other year by SAQA and the Surface Design Association, and they are intense learning experiences, and great networking opportunities.

The exhibits, including, Art Quilt Elements, and Fiber Philadelphia should make for a very full weekend. After the conference, I'll be attending a 3 day shibori workshop with Jan Myers Newbury. I've taken two workshops with Jan before, but I learn something new every time. She's been dyeing fabric on a pole for 25 years, so her knowledge would take a long time to dispense. I'll soak up all I can get in her workshops.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Taiwan International Quilt Exhibit 2012

I think I'm going to start singing that Mary Chapin Carpenter song "I'm feeling lucky", although we wouldn't be referring to the same thing at all.  But 2012 is starting out very well for acceptances to juried exhibits.

The Taiwan Art Quilt Society holds an international exhibit every two years, and I've never entered a piece before this year. It just seemed too far away to be real. But others who entered where excited by the quality of the exhibit, and praised the organizers. So I took a chance, and my piece was accepted. I'm feeling lucky!

The acceptance to the Artist As Quiltmaker makes two acceptances within 3 months. My goal for the year is 4 acceptances, so if I can keep myself producing new work, entering and being accepted, I'll be pleased with my work. I've entered 4 exhibits, and been accepted to 2. The 50/50 acceptance rate is the same as last year. Instead of being discouraged about rejection, I look toward the next entry.

The theme for the Taiwan exhibit is Rivers/Waters, and I had an art quilt that was about the melting glaciers that are caused by climate change and global warming. I fine tuned the quilt, and entered it. It's pretty amazing to think my quilt will be in Taiwan - wish I could travel with it. Wouldn't it be a thrill to be in Taiwan at the opening?
Melting c.2012 by Jeanne Marklin

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Why Pinterest feels icky

Pinterest has taken off as another social media site, or a time sucker, however you perceive it.
An art group I belong to organized a group board about 2 months ago. After pinning for a couple of days, I lost interest in it. Without discussion, just looking at images as a group seems pointless. I need the verbal discourse to keep my brain stimulated. And it was time that could have been better spent in the studio, where time is at a premium.

A couple of list serves have had intense discussions about the pro's and con's of Pinterest. A member sent a link to this website that advocates for Artist's rights: Artists Bill of Rights
It points out the fact that when you sign the contract for being a member of Pinterest (and who reads all those pages of words in those contracts?) it includes
By making available any Member Content through the Site, Application or Services, you hereby grant to Cold Brew Labs a worldwide, irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, royalty-free license, with the right to sublicense, to use, copy, adapt, modify, distribute, license, sell, transfer, publicly display, publicly perform, transmit, stream, broadcast, access, view, and otherwise exploit such Member Content only on, through or by means of the Site, Application or Services. Cold Brew Labs does not claim any ownership rights in any such Member Content and nothing in these Terms will be deemed to restrict any rights that you may have to use and exploit any such Member Content.

I read that as the parent company can do anything with any image you post to your boards.

Some of the concerns that people have expressed are about images and artwork being used to make retail products, patterns, cards, mugs, mouse pads, posters - the list goes on. This has happened, so it isn't as far fetched as it seems. If you find that a company, or individual has violated your copyright, you can file with Pinterest - but their terms say that they will go after repeated copyright infractions. How many times is repeated? And who has the time to keep up with this stuff? They also strip the metadata that you put in your images, so it can be very difficult for people to give you credit, if they understand that there should be credit given. Copyright law is not understood by the general public.

My work is extremely personal, and I love sharing it. But it feels kind of icky to think it is out there for the world to see, without even my name on it. Since I put so much time, energy and thought into the work, it's difficult to think it can just be sent off anywhere in the world.  For those who don't create original work, and understand the effort that goes into it, this may be hard to understand. But it is hard work, and should be respected just as any work deserves respect.

So far, it looks like a website that may be valuable to retailers. Until they are more respectful of copyright, I'll stay off it. And be in the studio!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Drenched in Orange

I'm posting a couple of images of "Circus" Roses, just because they are beautiful.

When the buds are closed, they look like they are yellow with orange and red tips. As they open, the orange deepens and there are hints of different colors from orange to rust all over the petals. The single rose photo represents the color best. My last quilt was titled "Circus Time". Maybe I was channeling the color from my favorite roses.

 I've been thinking they are the perfect antidote to cold and grey skies - hope they lift your spirits too!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Selling off my fabric stash

I've finally decided to commit to only using my hand dyed fabrics. Since learning to dye using shibori techniques, I have fallen in love with the process, and the finished fabric. After 15 years of being a quilter, I've decided to clear out the commercial fabrics, because they are a huge distraction.

I'm selling them in Medium size Priority Mail boxes on Ebay. They are all wonderful, but I can only love so many! I'm skyforeveryoung on Ebay - don't ask me how I came up with that one - I think I must have been on a mind altering substance at the time :-)

Here's my Ebay page if you're interested: http://www.ebay.com/sch/skyforeveryoung/m.html?item=300668472831&sspagename=STRK%3AMESELX%3AIT&_trksid=p3984.m1558.l2649&_trksid=p4340.l2562

Friday, February 24, 2012

The answer is within you

Robert Genn is a successful Canadian painter who is also an excellent writer. He sends "Twice Weekly" letters about art, and many of them have given me brain food to chew on. The letter that came today was about taking a second look at your work to figure out how to either move it along, or relegate it to the circular, plastic bag. The paragraph below struck me as a possible mantra for an artist.

"What could be?" might well be the artist's credo, but a different type of thinking is required than when you are painting. It's speculation mode, and you need to think outside the box--even if you don't end up going there. The human imagination is far richer than we know. Understand this, and you will need fewer books and teachers. The answer is within you. Self-anointed genius awaits all canvases. "

The reason it speaks to me is because for a long time I thought that I needed to keep building my knowledge base, and took workshops, bought books, hung out on list serves...but produced little work.
And yet, I am always happiest when I'm in the studio. So why look outside - or for validation from a teacher or juror? The process is the best teacher, and the results are only ours. It is always a real boost to sell a piece of work, or be accepted into a competitive show - but that can't be the reason to do the work, can it? The growth that comes from the process is far more rewarding. The answer is within you.

Looking for validation from others can be self-defeating. The answers are inside each of us. We have to learn to trust our inner voices, and commit to growth, rather than self criticism. As Robert Genn writes, turning a painting to the wall (or an art quilt) for awhile and looking at it with fresh eyes is a good way to grow that piece. And it is that growth that is so satisfying. When you know the answer came from within, it's a joy to get to know something about yourself, and to feel your work is successful in the way you want it to be successful. No one else can do it for you.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Mary Pal's blog

My artist friend and SAQA buddy has started a blog. Mary Pal is a wonderful artist who uses cheesecloth to make portraits, mostly of elderly people. Each one is thoughtful, respectful, and shows the person behind the image.  Mary explores the world of the elderly - which will be all of us, someday.

Take a look at her work, and enjoy her voice on her blog:

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Can I take it off the wall now?

I've been struggling with this piece for a week - I think I'm finally finished adding circles. But I had already basted the piece about 6 months ago, and since working more in this series, had learned to look at it a little differently.
In process - basted with white thread. It's about 36" square. The lighter circles are white organza. Just trying out the placement and sizes.

I've photographed it numerous times, and then look at the photo's either in my camera, or on the computer screen. My studio printer isn't printing right now, and I don't have time to fix it. Decided I liked the additional circles, so the paints came out and the white organza was painted to look more like the other circles.

I like that better. But how about if I make some of the additional circles solid, instead of transparent?

 And add more to the darker side of the piece? I almost finished adding - just have to figure out how to attach those circles with the basting already done. And...how to quilt it! I spent an hour looking at books to get ideas for the kind of lines I want to use. There's an app for the IPad called Skitch, that I'm trying out by drawing potential quilt lines over the photograph.

Do you have a way to think about the quilting design? I tend to start quilting and let the hum of the machine guide me - but I'm trying to be more thoughtful about those lines. It's hard to make round shapes, so going around those circles would be a challenge. And straight, radiating lines would be on the bias of the fabric. Back to the studio to mull it all over!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Artist as Quiltmaker XV Acceptance

Circus Time c. 2012  36" H x 31.5" W
Detail of Circus Time

I received an email with an acceptance for the Artist As Quiltmaker XV exhibit!  The exhibit was juried by Jean Druesedow, Director of the Kent State University Museum. The Firelands Association for the Visual Arts in Oberlin, Ohio will be the venue. The opening reception is May 13, which is also Mother's Day in the U.S. The closing date is July 29, 2012. It's a wonderful opportunity to have a work hang for almost three full months as part of this exhibit.

This work was started in Lisa Call's "Working In A Series" online workshop, and I am gratified that it started me on the road to this series. The work is coming along, and leading me in a new direction and I'm pleased with the results. I'm finding that it is more enjoyable to work in a series, because it helps me close doors to ALL the possibilities that my mind comes up with, and stay focused. 
Staying focused is a big challenge for me, as is procrastination. I think it may be part of an artist's personality!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Racism exhibit at Williams College - Accomplished!

The "Unspoken Truth About Color: A Dialogue in Art Quilts" was a successful exhibit at Williams College. What made it successful? It was displayed in a cohesive and attractive way (pat myself on the back there) and there were many comments from viewers. Betty Warner, another Fiber Artists for Hope artist came to help hang the exhibit with me, and meet and greet the attendees.

The viewers noted how different each of the art quilts were, the many techniques implemented, and that the subject matter was treated in thought provoking ways. Planning and hanging the exhibit for 2 hours seemed a little crazy at times, but my goal was that someone's mind would be awakened to new thoughts about race. That goal was definitely reached!

My piece about White Privilege evoked a conversation from a White woman who said she had never thought about her race, and recognized that privilege as something taken for granted. Never having to think about your race would not be possible for a person of any heritage other than White. The privilege is akin to the privileges gained just by being male, which all women are aware is a privilege, but men rarely recognize.

Here's a few photo's from the exhibit in the lovely lobby of the '62 Center for Performing Arts at Williams College. It was the first time the lobby had been used for an art exhibit, but I hope it won't be the last.

L-R: Work by artists Michele Flamer, Diane Bracy, Nancy Cash

L-R: Jancy McClellan-Ryan,  Connie Heller

L-R: Sabrina Zarco, Carol Krueger, Betty Warner

L-R: Sue Walen, Jeanne Marklin
Betty Warner from Connecticut with her work. Betty came for the exhibit - thanks again Betty!

Diane Bracy on left, Nancy Cash on right

L-R: Work by Laura Gadson, Mary Scales, Sherry Boram 

Taj Smith the MLK coordinator for the Williams College Multicultural Center and me. Thanks Taj!

Friday, January 13, 2012


About 12 SAQA members signed up as a group on Pininterest, a new (at least to me) website for posting images of design examples. It's also a place to post photo's of travel photo's, which I can never get enough of! Images from websites can be "pinned" to your Pininterest board, and then others pin things they like to their boards.

It's eye candy that is a quick way to get a bit of inspiration! Here are a couple of images I'm going to post to my board - sharing images you love is easy, and just might inspire someone else.

Light and shadows in NYC. Jeanne Marklin c.2012

Gray and Blue by Jeanne Marklin c. 2012

Light and shadow Jeanne Marklin c. 2012

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Racism exhibit at Williams College

The Fiber Artists for Hope will exhibit their art quilts at Williams College on Sunday, January 15th.

"The Unspoken Truth About Color: A Dialogue in Art Quilts About Racism" will be the opening event for the Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration at the college. The beautiful, light filled lobby of the '62 Center will have 24 art quilts that address racism. The '62 Center is the theater building for the college and the Williamstown Theater Festival, and is on Main Street in Williamstown.

This exhibit came about after the election of President Obama. The online group felt that there were many instances of racism raising it's hateful head, and the artists wanted to respond with a thought provoking, and inspiring exhibit. The works have been seen around the country, and for a short time, will be at Williams College.

The reception for the opening event will be from 4-6 pm on January 15, 2012. Another FAFH, Betty Warner will join me for the event, and we'd love to have you there too!

If you can't make it, take a look at the photo's on the FAFH blog, and watch for it to come to your area.