Creative Inspiration: Peek Inside My Journals

As part of my ongoing series of posts on my sources of Creative InspirationI thought I would continue the discussion begun a couple of weeks ago by Melanie @ Catbird Quilt Studio and Chela @ Chela’s Colchas y Mas on Creativity, by sharing how I work out my creative ideas – using my two journals (and give you a peek inside!)

First here are the two posts that inspired this post:

Catbird Quilt Studio (I love her tagline: “Be powerful. CREATE!”): Creativity Tips from Experts — and Me

Chela’s Colchas y MasCreativity

If you have an interesting post on Creativity/the Creative Process, please share the link to your post in the Comments section to this post. I know I’ve read such posts on other blogs I follow, however these are the posts that recently come to mind.

I’ve posted about on of my journals previously, in my 01/16/2016 post Creative Inspiration: My Journals, but I thought it would be fun in this post to share a peek inside these journals (a glimpse inside the madness…smile).

As I shared in the 01/16/2016 post, I originally got the idea of keep an art quilt ideas/inspiration journal from Jean Wells Keenan‘s brilliant books Intuitive Color and Design: Adventures in Art Quilting and Journey to Inspired Art Quilting. I was also fortunate enough to take her series of classes, Journey to Art Inspired Quilting, twice and see in person her wonderful inspirational art quilting journal.

Journal One: Art Quilt Sketchbook (Windows to My Creativity)

My journal for sketching out quilt ideas and keep clipped images (like from magazines) or photos of inspirational ideas, has a handmade cover:

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It is called “Window to My Creativity” (thus the window like pieces images on the cover); and here is the inside page:

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Before we go any further, I need to warn you that you might be underwhelmed with my drawing/sketching abilities and as a bonus I have terrible, difficult to read handwriting – but it works for me!

Here are examples of some of the images pasted into my journal to inspire future art quilt projects:

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I sketch out and write notes on any art quilt idea.

Example #1 – from The Recycled Door

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The original sketch

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The finished piece: The Recycled Door (2017) by Tierney Davis Hogan, quilted by Betty Anne Guadalupe, photographed by Marion Shimoda

Example #2 – The Lesson & The Equation

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The initial sketch and working out the concept of the piece and the draft Artist Statement

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Individual page 1

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Individual page

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The final version: The Lesson & The Equation (2016) by Tierney Davis Hogan. Image courtesy of Dr. Carolyn Mazloomi

Example #3 – Recycled Love

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The initial sketch

As you can see originally I had quite ambitious plans – I was going to stitch or appliqué the following words onto each of the “folded quilts” in the piece: kindness, empathy, integrity, compassion, joy, respect, honesty or unity (I was going to have to get rid of one of those words to get to 7). Instead I decided to just do a different piecing of recycled materials to create each “folded quilt”.

There was a great quote (in the book Art & Fear: Observations On The Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking (1993) by David Bayles and Ted Orland about ideas being larger than ability or desire to execute. I forgot the specific words to, so I will just very loosely summarize: Your ideas for a piece and might be greater than your ability or desire to execute the piece.

After reading that book I accept that how I initially conceptualize, visualize, dream about a piece is likely going to be larger and more ambitious than how I can translate it into an physical quilt. This leads to much less frustration.

Recycled Love is still in progress and you can see it in progress in this recent post – Recycled Love (“What’s On My Lap” and Artist Statements, Part III).

By the way, I did decide to do a “facing” to finish the piece. I am nearly done with the hand quilting and hope to finish this piece soon (and share complete photos)

Journal Two: The tierneycreates Journal

I use my other journal, which does not have a handmade cover, for writing down ideas for my tierneycreates blog posts, and planning of my artistic journal.When I had an Etsy shop I wrote out the original ideas and planning for the shop in this journal. I also keep  inspirational quotes I come across, and notes from self-improvement books or small business/craft business books for future reference and inspiration.

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Below are some journal page examples:

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Fun with Sharpies

Finally, I love Sharpies pens/markers, I think I have them in nearly every color made and keep them in a pouch by my journals.

I use Sharpies to write in my journals and the fun of using these markers (and other cool colored markers I’ve picked up over the years) is also a source of creative inspiration for me!

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Sharpie Marker/Pen Collection

So – what about your journaling practice: do you keep a journal to work out your creative ideas? Pleas share!

Hiking the Highlands

No, alas, not the Scottish Highlands. This post is about a hike on the Cascade Highlands Trail in Central Oregon. Not as glorious as hiking in the Scottish Highlands but still quite lovely (and a significantly less expense trip – no airfare or accommodations required!)

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I do not work on Mondays and once a month I’ve been going on a hike (followed by a yummy lunch) with my friend Laurie and her Bernese Mountain Dog Luna. I thought about creating a category for these posts called “Adventures with Laurie & Luna” but I decided to create a new blog category called Outside Adventures! which includes my various solo Pilot Butte hikes and any other interesting outdoor adventures.

Laurie who is new-ish to Central Oregon (I think she has lived here between 1 – 2 years) thought it would be a great idea to explore Central Oregon together by going on hikes we have not been on before and trying out restaurants we have not dine at before (or at least one of us has not tried before). We plan one at least once a month.

Hiking the Cascade Highlands

Here are photos from the hike (which were more breathtaking in person than the photos capture):

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Good smells!

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I am also adding this post to my blog post category Creative Inspiration as there was much potential art quilt inspiration on this hike!

Bend, Oregon (not that I am encouraging any more people to move to Central, Oregon – ha!) has over 44 miles of urban trails, where you can go hiking without leaving town! Here is a 2005 (when I first moved here!) article from the Bend Bulletin (and I bet there are more than 44 miles of trails now): Get outdoors in town: Bend’s urban trails system allows for hiking without leaving town.

Lunch Time

Laurie and I both enjoy yummy food and finding new places to enjoy yummy food. After the hike we went to a place we’ve never tried before, Chow, and it was quite delicious.

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We decided to split a crab cake sandwich and each had our own special sides – I selected the most exquisite tasting sautéed (and finished with truffle oil) Brussels sprouts!

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Creative Inspiration: A Surprisingly Beautiful Monday

We have a break in our Winter weather and I went on a beautiful hike at Shevlin Park this past Monday with my friend and her Bernese Mountain Dog.

I thought I’d share photos from my hike as part ongoing series of posts on my sources of Creative InspirationMy blogging buddy Mary @Zippy Quilts had a recent post about Inspiration from Nature, and her post inspired this post!

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I think several of the photos above would make awesome art quilt compositions! Especially the one of Luna the Bernese Mountain Dog!


Postscript

After our hike we went to a lovely bakery for lunch (salad and sandwiches, not pastries for lunch!) and then wandered a well curated small indie bookstore nearby, Roundabout Books.

I have an old post about the joy of spending time in an Indie bookstore Dudley’s Bookshop Cafe – Independent Bookstores; Wonderful & Magical Places, and I also enjoyed wandering around Roundabout Books.

Here are a couple photos from my visit:

Like Dudley’s, Roundabout Books has an antique typewriter on display:

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They have a wreath made from recycled book pages:

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The entire shop is peppered with Staff Suggestions of great books to read (I did purchase the science fiction book The Fifth Season to read after discussing with one of the staff):

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Their counter was made from books (I did not want to bother the patron to move so I could take the photo):

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And they had a great quote above their backdoor:

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Creative Inspiration: Recycled Textiles

I thought I’d share a little about my love for recycled textiles as part of my ongoing series of posts on my sources of Creative Inspiration.

Unlikely Materials for Quilt Making: Recycled Textiles

Nearly 2 years ago (March 2016) I did a post on “Unlikely Materials” as part of the Blog Tour for my friends Wendy Hill and Pat Pease’s new book,  Creative Quilt Challenges (C&T Publishing, 2016), and shared the story of how I transitioned from only using quilting cotton fabrics to experimenting with using recycled textiles in my quilt creations.

Since 2012 I have experimented with recycled textiles such as recycled clothing (not suitable for clothing donation) and recycled garment and home decor fabric samples – all items that were likely headed to the landfill. I feel a great sense of joy when I create art with those items that would have been discarded.

Recently I pulled out my entire collection of recycled textiles to work on my piece for our annual Central Oregon SAQA art quilting group exhibit which opens at the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Shop in July. This year’s theme is “The Threads That Bind” and the piece like previous years, must meet the dimensions of 18″ x 40″.

For the past couple years I have made 18″ x 40″ pieces, based on the selected annual theme, from recycled materials such as “Recycled Door” (the theme was “Doors”) and “The Recycled Road” (the theme was “Pathways”):

If you would like to read about the development of these pieces, just search their names in the search box on my blog. You can also check out these pieces on my art quilting blog, Improvisational Textiles.

For this year’s piece I am again working with recycled textiles, but this time using different recycled textiles since I used up most of the recycled clothing in the above pieces.

My piece is in progress (it was one of the two art quilts with deadlines I mentioned in my post Art & Fear, etc., that I had yet to start) and it is called Recycled Love.

I am not ready to reveal my current piece while it is in progress, it feels private right now.

Interestingly in the book Art & Fear: Observations On The Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking (1993) by David Bayles and Ted Orland, they discuss that the artist needs time to work on their work in private without feedback from the world.

(See the Postscript section for more on this book and the post Art & Fear, etc..)

Creative Inspiration From Playing with My Recycled Textiles

As I mentioned earlier in this post, I’ve pulled out my entire collection of recycled textiles while I work on my new piece, Recycled Love. Just having my entire collection laid out before me was a huge source of Creative Inspiration!

They were a little too huge a source of creative inspiration and I ended up designing in my mind 5 – 10 future art quilts until I finally calmed down and made my mind just focus on the art quilt with the deadline!

So I thought I would give you a peek into my recycled textiles collection, most of which were donated/given to me by others.

Recycled Wool

My collection of recycled wool includes manufacturing scraps from wool suit making and Pendleton blanket manufacturing scraps. It also include some felted wool scraps and  various crafting wool scraps from other crafters’ projects.

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Recycled Denim

This collection includes our old jeans and old denim shirts; jeans given to me by friends; and an old denim duvet cover. I also keep my denim scraps from previous projects using recycled denim (as long as they are bigger than 3″ x 3″).

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Home Decor Samples

These were given to me by a couple who did remodeling work on our home. A client of theirs gave them a large box of home decorating upholstery samples and they shared the box with me! Some of the fabrics seem hideous for a sofa or chair but they would be awesome in an art quilt!

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Dyed Silk Scraps

A friend gave me these scraps as samples from a hand dyed silk class she took years ago.

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I took them out of the sample book there were in and discovered if I gently ironed them and then sewed them onto muslin I could use them in an art quilt! Below is an example as I have used them in my piece in progress, Recycled Love:

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Couture Fabric Scraps (Silk, Linen and Wool)

These are my post precious scraps and to read the story behind these couture fabric samples and scraps from New York City Fashion District Circa 1990s, see this page on my Improvisational Textiles website: Quilting Meets Couture.

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The photo does not do the fabrics justice. You can see on the Quilting Meets Couture page the many art quilts made with these beautiful recycled fabrics (all of which were scheduled for destruction by the manufacturer had they not been rescued).

Below is an image of some of my art quilts that I made with these recycled couture fabrics which are in the book 1000 Quilting Inspirations: Colorful and Creative Designs for Traditional, Modern and Art Quilts by Sandra Sider (2015). They are all quilted by Betty Anne Guadalupe.

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Postscript

I was going to do a follow up on the post Art & Fear, etc. that I mentioned in this post, and share/discuss some additional quotes/passages from the book that really resonated with me.

However, on further thought, I decided that this is a book you should experience on your own and read first hand the brilliant insights on the nature of creating art and dealing with the inherent fear and sense of vulnerability and risk that comes with putting your art “out there”.

So instead I will share one more quote from the book and then return to talking about recycled textiles:

“In the end it all comes down to this: you have a choice (or more accurately a rolling tangle of choices) between giving your work your best shot and risking that it will not make you happy, or not giving it your best shot — and thereby guaranteeing that it will not make you happy. It becomes a choice between certainty and uncertainty. And curiously, uncertainty is the comforting choice.”

― David Bayles & Ted Orland, Art & Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking

Creative Inspiration: Autumn in Central Oregon

Monday I went on a field trip to the Wintercreek Nursery with my friend Jenny. The Nursery was filled with glorious examples of the beauty of Autumn in Central Oregon.

I thought I would post a couple of those photos as part of my ongoing series of posts on sources of Creative Inspiration. I think these photo compositions could be inspiration for an interesting art quilt. Feel free to use them for inspiration and if you repost the photos, please credit me as the photographer, thanks.

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Here is my absolute favorite of the photos I took:

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And here is a tiny little house that I think was covering some plumbing that looked like a real house tucked away in forest growth:

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Finally here are a couple photos of Autumn at my house in Central Oregon:

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We have a lot of reds, yellows, yellow-greens and greens. We do not have the purples of the Autumn in Vermont (when I lived in New York we used to drive to Vermont in the Fall to see the exquisitely beautiful palette of colors) but I think Autumn is an exceptionally lovely time of year with the Fall colors and the backdrop of an impossibly blue Central Oregon Autumn sky!

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Thanks for reading my photo essay of Autumn in Central Oregon!

One of the “non-Wordpress” blogs I love to follow is that of a fellow Central Oregon SAQA member, Kristin Shields. On her blog Kristin Shields: Artist & Quiltmaker, she has a visually beautiful post on Fall Color – October Color.


Postscript

I’ve made quite a bit of progress on the table runners I am working on (see recent posts) and will sharing a peek in a future post.

Now that the weather has changed (it has dipped into the 60s and 50s during the day and 20s – 30s at night!) it is time to start making knitted hats again in the evenings while watching TV.

I love to wear my knitted hats (yes I only know one pattern) on brisk Fall and Winter walks!

As I mentioned in the post Not Working On What I am Supposed to be Working On, I love to wear my nearly finished hat around the house with the double pointed needles sticking out of the top, as a tradition right before I finished off the hat.

So here is another silly picture of me with my nearly finished hat!

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Terry the Quilting Husband puts up with me weirdness!

Oh and here is the full image of the featured photo – I would like to find fabric in this color:

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Spiritual Quilting – Sherri Lynn Wood at QTM 2017

Continuing my series of posts on the Quilters Take Manhattan (QTM) 2017 event I recently attended that began with the Sunday 09/17/17 post The “Dance Partner” – Michael Cummings at QTM 2017.

I could not decide whether to title this post “Spiritual Quilting”, “Quilting for the Spirit”, “Soul Quilting”, or “Quilting for the Soul” related to sharing highlights of Sherri Lynn Wood’s presentation at the QTM 2017.

Sherri Lynn Wood, author of The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters: A Guide to Creating, Quilting, and Living Courageously (2015) is not only an improvisational quilter but is also a former Divinity School student who I feel now practices a Ministry of Healing through Textile Arts. 

You might be familiar with Sherri Lynn Wood if you follow her blog, dainty time.net and/or if belong to her Facebook group The Improv Handbook For Modern Quilters. Here is Sherri at QTM 2017 in front of one of her iconic pieces; as well as her signing copies of her Improv Handbook:

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Here is another one of her iconic improvisational quilts:

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You might also be familiar with the Artist in Residence (AIR) residency she had a Recology in San Francisco where she and a group of other artists were given free reign of materials from a city’s dump to create art for a Modern Art exhibit of recycled art. Ms. Wood presented an excellent presentation on her Recology Residency and the amazing pieces of textile art she made from discarded items. Ms. Wood stated she even found a sewing machine, sewing supplies, thread, materials for batting, etc. in the city dump to use to create her art!

Below is an example of one of those pieces she had on display at QTM – a quilt made from discarded military uniform pants, using the length and lines of the pants as part of her quilt design.

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What you might not know about Sherri Lynn Wood, is that she has what I would consider a “Quilting Ministry” and part of that ministry is her Passage Quilting program where she helps individuals deal with grief and loss through creating a quilt (even if they have never quilted before) made from clothes of the deceased.

Ms. Wood shared this heart wrenching, amazing and beautiful story of a young woman who lost her fiancé due to a sudden tragedy. A short time after that loss, Ms. Wood helped this woman to make a Passage Quilt from her fiancé’s favorite clothing. It was an incredibly difficult process but the woman stated it had a tremendous impact on having her work through her grief. Ms. Wood had on display at QTM one of the Passage Quilts:

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She also has a project where she works with individuals and families who have lost a loved one in combat/while serving in the military to sew a coffin onto a remembrance quilt as part of their healing process. She shared several powerful stories and images of families who lost their military family members sewing together as part of their healing. Below is one of these quilts:

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She also works with communities to create community quilts where anyone no matter what level of sewing skill can participate.

The general themes of her presentation were:

  • Building community through craft
  • Honoring the earth through working with recycled materials; and by creating art from the discarded
  • Healing and grief work through tactile textile experiences

I was already a “super-fan” of Sherri Lynn Wood before meeting her and I have read Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters: A Guide to Creating, Quilting, and Living Courageously from cover to cover. I was deeply touched by Ms. Wood’s presentation (tears filled my eyes at times) – my spirit and my soul felt stirred and moved by her stories and images.

This is the reason for the title to this post – “Spiritual Quilting”. I am not referring to religious or a specific faith-based quilting. I am thinking of quilting, fabric, textiles, as a medium for hope, healing and community. For me, these are part of the foundation of spirituality.


Postscript

I did have my “fan-girl” moment and upon arriving at the QTM conference center in the morning and spotting Sherri Lynn Wood setting up her quilts for display, I thanked her for her wonderful book, the inspiration, and gave her a little wallet I had made from scraps specifically for her:

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Speaking of “fan-girl” moments for me at QTM 2017, I got a chance to meet in person Dr. Carolyn L. Mazloomi, founder of the Women of Color Quilting Network (WCQN) . I of course made her a special little wallet too, just tiny tokens for great women who inspire me! Her little wallet was inspired by her incredible Black & White art quilts!

More on that in my next post and at some point I will share my experience going on a behind the scenes tour of the Antonio Ratti Textile Center at the Metropolitan Museum of Art; seeing one of my blogging buddies pieces at QTM 2017 (Mary P. of Zippy Quilts!) and meeting a fellow blogging buddy of Mary’s at the event; and more (I have a lot to share but I not mapped out the organization of this series of posts, ha!)

(Plus I will share a valuable lesson of how you should not try to cram too much into one weekend…I am currently recovering from a wicked cold!)

 


Feature photo credit: Nadia Szopińska, free images.com

 

The “Dance Partner” – Michael Cummings at QTM 2017

Sitting in an airport waiting for a flight seems like the perfect time to write a blog post.

I am flying back home to Central Oregon, to the other side of the country from where I have spent the past four days – New York, New York (aka NYC). I spent time with my family who lives on the East Coast and joined me in NewYork; I attended the Quilt Alliance’s 2017 Quilters Take Manhattan (QTM) event, which featured speakers Sherri Lynn Wood, Merikay Waldvogel, and Michael A. Cummings, interviewed by Dr. Carolyn L. Mazloomi; and I went on a behind the scenes tour of the Antonio Ratti Textile Center at the Metropolitan Museum of Art!

It was quite the four-day weekend (I am planning a series of blog posts to share various snippets from this inspirational weekend) and what is currently resonating in my mind (and my heart) is the inspirational interview Dr. Carolyn Mazloomi held with the NYC based art quilter, Michael A. Cummings.

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Mr. Cummings and Dr. Mazloomi in front of one his incredible pieces from his African Jazz series – African Jazz #10

The Dance Partner

During the interview, Mr. Cummings referred to his sewing machine as his “dance partner”.

The first time he mentioned this my heart smiled (I felt it in my chest!). What an exquisite and beautiful way to refer to one of the primary tools an art or traditional quilter’s uses to express their creativity.

Mr. Cummings stated he has been using the same sewing machine for 40+ years and if I remember correctly, it is just a standard department store sewing machine. Colleagues have suggested he upgrade to an industrial or more modern sewing machine, but he stays faithful to his “dance partner”.

Mr. Cummings and his “dance partner” tell stories through his art. He shared during the interview that he has been influenced by cinema and music to include musical storytellers such as Bob Dylan.

Here are some examples, on display during the Quilters Take Manhattan Event of the incredible dances that Mr. Cummings and his dance partner have performed (please check out his website michaelcummings.com for his official portfolio – he has exhibited his art quilts and sold works to public institutions and private collectors around the world and has work in the permanent Smithsonian Folk Art collection):

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These are very large quilts and Dr. Mazloomi (a longtime friend and colleague of Mr. Cummings) states that most of his pieces are around 8 x 9 feet. All of this huge quilts are pieced, appliquéd, and machine quilted on his 40+ year old “dance parter”.

Lesson: You do not need a fancy new sewing machine to create incredible art. You just need to have story to tell and a creative mind to translate that story in fabric!

Mr. Cummings had a bounty of inspirational answers to Dr. Mazloomi’s questions. Some other inspirational answers he provided included:

  • When asked when does he know a quilt is done, Mr.Cummings responded “I let the quilt tell me when it is done” (paraphrased).
  • Mr. Cummings shared that for years he worked full-time for the Department of Cultural Affairs for New York City and made himself find time every evening after work to work on his art quilts. At times he wanted to do something else in the evenings (relax after work, attend social events, etc.) but he knew that if he truly wanted to be an art quilter he would have to sacrifice and “do the work”.

Postscript

To say I was creatively inspired after the interview, would be an understatement.

I feel like I am ready to go home and continue working on my Stories My Father Told Me Series (see post Creative Inspiration: Stories My Father Told Me).

Sorry little wallets (Little Wallet Madness) it’s time to return to art quilting and tell some stories – I am ready to dance with my partner!

Well it is time to go get on my plane and return to quiet Central Oregon (quite different from NYC in so many ways) but I have much more to share in future posts from my trip and this incredible weekend!


Feature image (cropped) credit: Yan Moura, freeimages.com

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Creative Inspiration: Just Cut Out the Bad Parts and Keep Going

This post continues my series of posts on sources of Creative Inspiration.

One of my quilting mentors, Jean Wells Keenan, once said in a class (paraphrased): When you are really stuck on a piece and you want to give up, don’t give up. Just push through your discomfort or unhappiness with the piece; keep going and you will be surprised how it evolves.

So what does this have to do with my featured image for this post – a pile of sweet potatoes?

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Well, at lunch today (I am a telecommuter), I pulled out the remains of a bag of several weeks old sweet potatoes. I forgot about them in the veggie drawer in my fridge and I hoped I could possibly use them (I hate wasting food) in a salad or veggie bowl if I boiled them.

As I washed the sweet potatoes, a first glance, they looked kind of icky and their only future was compost. However on closer inspection, I realized there were good viable parts to each sweet potato – all I had to do was cut out the bad parts.

While trimming each sweet potato to remove the “bad parts”, I thought how this relates to creating a piece of art. I have worked on several art quilting project when I wanted to just give up, crumple the piece into a ball (and burn it) and discard it.

Occasionally I did just this, throw away the piece and try to forgot the time I spent on expending my creativity on the piece. This was until I took a series of art quilting classes with Jean Wells Keenan and heard her statement about not giving up – it resonated with me.

I learned to work or rework what I have created already, cut the bad parts out, and keep going with creating the piece.

An example of an art quilt that I wanted to throw into the trash pile (or burn as an effigy of what-not-to-do-when-creating-an-art-quilt) was my piece Abandoned Water Structure.  This piece, which was eventually sold to the City of Seattle/Seattle Public Utilities for their Portable Works Collection  nearly made it to the trash or fabric recycling pile several times (or as potential kindling).

It began as an art quilt project based on a photo of a beach structure for a series of classes I was taking with Jean Wells Keenan, called Journey to Inspired Art Quilting. I absolutely hated the piece and it seemed like to would never go anywhere (I felt like I was stopped in my journey anywhere, much less to inspired art quilting).

The series of classes ended, and I took the unfinished piece back home with me to sit in the abandoned project pile (where projects go to die..).

Randomly rummaging through my abandoned project pile a couple months later, I rediscovered the piece and I was suddenly struck with the feeling that I was not using the correct inspiration for the piece. The piece WANTED TO BE SOMETHING ELSE.

I had a photo on my inspiration board of an abandoned/closed water power facility in Central Oregon and I knew this is what the piece was to become (or at least be inspired by)!

After reworking the piece for a couple hours, I was tempted to return it to the abandon project pile (or just soak it in lighter fluid) but luckily I heard Jean in the back of my head to “just push through, keep going“. I cut out the bad parts, the parts that were not working in the piece, and eventually it became the Abandoned Water Structure art quilt.

If I were to summarize my thoughts and advice from this experience (and my ramblings above) for my fellow crafters and artists, it would be:

Creating can be like working with a partially rotted sweet potato. 
You know there is yumminess still there but you don't want to eat 
"the bad parts".

So cut out the "bad parts" and keep the good/viable parts!

Keep going, don't give up, be patient with yourself and the piece.
Let it become the yumminess it eventually wants to become.

Well I have stretched that analogy as far as it will stretch, thanks for reading to see where the heck I was going with my sweet potato story.

Oh and in case you were curious, my trimmed and boiled sweet potatoes were delicious (full of yumminess) in my salad at lunch!


Feature image credit: khongrithSV, free images.com

The Beauty of Moss and Fungi

Scrolling though my digital photos yesterday, I came across a group of photos I took last year during a rainy Portland, Oregon trip of several fence posts and tree stumps covered with interesting moss and fungi.

I thought I would post a couple of those photos as part of my ongoing series of posts on sources of Creative Inspiration. I think these compositions could be inspiration for an interesting art quilt:

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Nature is beautiful and magical and an endless source of inspiration, eh?

I took several photos of fence posts in B&W and here is one of those photos:

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“Nature doth thus kindly heal every wound. By the mediation of a thousand little mosses and fungi, the most unsightly objects become radiant of beauty. There seem to be two sides of this world, presented us at different times, as we see things in growth or dissolution, in life or death. And seen with the eye of the poet, as God sees them, all things are alive and beautiful.” – Henry David Thoreau

Speaking of nature as inspiration, I am currently toying with the idea of creating an art quilt for a local nature-themed exhibit based on some photos of the Central Oregon. More to come on that project, along with more details.


Postscript

In yesterday’s post, Basket of Challenges, I shared that I was inspired by my art quilting mentor, Betty Anne, to appreciate fabric scraps and curate a collection of coordinated “challenge bags” of fabric scraps. (I also have a collection of uncoordinated fabric scraps, see post When all else fails, reorganize your fabric scraps). 

Betty Anne has been busy lately working through her own “challenge bags” of fabric scraps and if you check out the link to the post below from our collaborative art quilting website/blog, Improvisational Textiles, you can see one of her latest creations made from fabric scraps, saved from the landfill:

Improvisational Scrappy Explorations

Creative Inspiration: Pilot Butte Hike

This post is a continuation of two series of posts:

Monday, I went on my first 2017 Pilot Butte hike! Nearly a year ago, last Spring, I started back hiking our local “mini mountain”, Pilot Butte.

Every Pilot Butte hike I take photos, it is like I cannot control myself, even if I am taking the same photos over and over again!

Monday’s hike I experimented with taking both color and B&W photos of the same scenes. I shared one of my B&W photos with some friends, and my friend Lisa mentioned the photo below would be a great inspiration for a quilt:

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The steps to the viewpoint at the summit of Pilot Butte.

A light bulb appeared above my head: my Pilot Butte photos could serve as inspiration for a future art quilt.

So I thought I would share some of the photos from Monday’s hike that I would consider “creative inspiration”:

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You likely noticed, except for the photos of the steps, the photos above feature trees.

Hiking up Pilot Butte affords 360 degrees views of Central Oregon; and I took many photos that looked like this featuring the wonderful Cascade Mountain Range:

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However I am not attracted to mountain landscape scenes for art quilting inspiration as I am to structures such as trees. I think trees are among the most magical organic structures on earth! (Check out previous posts featuring trees such as Creative Inspiration: Winter Trees and Creative Inspiration: Fall Foliage).

As much as I love the trees, I will likely give the steps photo priority as creative inspiration for a future art quilt, I love the composition:

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To see more photos of the Pilot Butte hike in B&W check out my post from 09/04/16 – Friday at the ‘Butte’ in B&W.

Postscript

Listen While I Walk

I always listen to an audiobook or podcast while I hike Pilot Butte.

On Monday I finished the last two episodes of a six-episode podcast – Missing Richard Simmons. This podcast explores the story behind the fitness guru and eccentric celebrity Richard Simmons’ disappearance in 2014. It is very interesting, I was completely drawn into the story by the middle of the first podcast.

Richard Simmons, whether you loved or hated him, helped and inspired a lot of people. This podcast gives you insight into his world from interviews from clients and friends.

“No tricks, gimmicks, special pills, special potions, special equipment. All it takes is desire and will.”  — Richard Simmons

I love podcasts, I cannot believe how many free podcasts there are to download off of iTunes – on so many topics!

Watch for the Wildlife

One more photo to close out this post – I love this sign at the base of Pilot Butte:

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I have hiked Pilot Butte for nearly 12 years and luckily no cougar sightings for me. I hope my record of 0 cougar sightings stands.

I wonder if any new hiker to Pilot Butte sees this sign, turns around and gets back in the car!

Creative Inspiration: Encouragement from Others (repost)

I was browsing through the tierneycreates archives and I thought I would share this post from 08/21/15. 


Encouragement from Others

As John Donne said: “No man (or woman) is an island”. I guess one could live as a hermit somewhere, locked away, working on your art,  encouraging yourself creatively. That would not work for me. I appreciate and I am inspired by encouragement from others. 

Continuing my series on sources of Creative Inspiration, this post is actual inspired by asurprise I found that last evening.

We all have those precious items from our past that we keep tucked away somewhere. One of my most precious items was a book of William Shakespeare’s Sonnets from my 9th Grade English teacher. I have not seen it in many years and I thought that for some reason during a move it got lost; or I accidentally donated it to a thrift shop in a stack of books for donation.

I mourned its loss.

Last night I was checking the far recesses of my nightstand cabinet, which I store books I am going to “read someday in bed each night before I fall asleep”, but never get around to reading. I was curious what I had way in the back and found my old beloved book!!! I had not opened it in 8 or more years and forgot exactly my teacher had inscribed inside the cover.

My eyes flooded with tears when I read her inscription which included the words “in recognition of her excellent writing ability”. I have always loved writing (and have written a lot in my professional pay-the-bills RN career) and I forgot how much I loved it when I was in grade school through high school. (Disclaimer: I may not have mastered grammar or proofreading but I still love to write!)

Just reading these words again from my 9th grade English teacher made me feel as inspired in that moment as I did all those years ago. Her words of encouragement from the past resonate with me now, like she is right here with me saying: “Tierney, keep writing, I believe in you“.

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As far as quilting projects, I am inspired creatively when I receive encouragement on a piece I am working on or on one I have completed.

I am also encouraged creatively when I am feeling uninspired to work on an art quilt and a friend encourages me to just start playing with the fabric and the inspiration with come.

One of my favorite recycled silk art quilts, Color Change, came out of sitting around with a friend having her throw fabric scraps at me for fun, saying “Here, why not try putting this combination together”, when I was feeling too intimidated to work on another recycled silk art quilts.

Creative mentors who encourage you to do your art are important and wonderful to have in your life. See my old post Creative Inspiration: Quilting Mentors, for more on mentors.

So let’s all go out and encourage someone, you never know what lasting impression it will make!

“A word of encouragement during a failure is worth more than an hour of praise after success.”

– Author Unknown

Creative Inspiration: Winter Trees

A bit of time has passed since I continued my ongoing series on sources of Creative Inspiration.

I cannot promise I am going to create an art quilt based on every inspiration I have shared in the Creative Inspiration series of posts, but I use this series of posts as an online catalogue/resource for future art quilt ideas!

In January 2016, I posted about the beauty of Winter Trees. If you peek at this post, from nearly a year ago, you will see bare trees against a blue sky. January 2017 looks much different – the trees are bare of leaves, but they are filled with snow!

Here are a couple of photos from my daily walks (recently I upgraded from an iPhone 4S to an iPhone 7 so my photo quality has improved…at least in my mind):

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A snapped a couple photos of birds in the snowy Winter Trees:

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If any of my photos inspire you to create please feel free to use them!

It has been a beautiful Winter Wonderland in Central Oregon, even if I refer to it as “Snowmageddon”. I do have proof we have had serious snow – the Bend Bulletin recently published this story: “Central Oregon sees historic snow depths”. (See I am not being a drama queen over this snow, ha!)

Postscript

Follow up to my recent post Diving into a quilt (and other stuff) – I have made 192 half square triangles and in the near future I will have a “What’s on the Design Wall” post with my progress!

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Today I finished two books – an audiobook (Scrappy Little Nobody) and a paper novel (Girl on the Train).

Anna Kendrick’s Scrappy Little Nobody was delightful! It is narrated by the author and filled with charming and very funny stories from her days as a child actor, awkward adolescent, and struggling young adult. The end of her book contains a hysterically funny “Book Club Discussion Questions” written by the author and making fun of herself as a celebrity who writes a memoir.

Scrappy Little Nobody ranged from PG to an occasional PG-13 rating in my opinion. It was quite different than Amy Schumer’s The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo which was R to NC-17 rated (but absolutely hysterically funny).

Just to give you a sense of the difference, Amy Schumer opens her book with a graphic letter of apology to her “lady parts”. Anna Kendrick on the other hand kept acknowledging that her mother would be reading her book so she had to leave some stuff out of her book…

I realized I have now listened to many memoirs by current pop culture female celebrities. Here is my ranking of these books:

  1. Scrappy Little Nobody – Anne Kendrick
  2. The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo – Amy Schumer (Amy Schumer’s book was the funniest – like stop my walk to bend over laughing funny – but Anne Kendrick was more endearing)
  3. Bossypants – Tina Fey
  4. Shrill: Notes From a Loud Woman – Lindy West
  5. You’ll Grow Out of It – Jesse Klein (this would have had a higher ranking if not for the unnecessary Triple XXX chapter that took oversharing to a whole new level)

Am I rambling? There was something else I was going to add to the Postscript section but it left my mind. (Hope I have not been “oversharing”…)

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At least we have blue skies…


If you would like to see what Sassy the Highly Opinionated Miniature Schnauzer thinks of all the Central Oregon snow, check out her blog at schnauzersnips.wordpress.com/blog/

Creative Inspiration: Stories My Father Told Me (re-post)

I am re-posting a blog post from April 2016 from my ongoing series on on my sources of Creative Inspiration. I am dealing with the “strife” that fills the television news and social media by  remembering the inspirational stories my father told me as a child.

His stories, words and lessons keep me centered and focused. 


Friday Night at Barnes & Noble Bookstore: A Discovery (April 2016)

Life is filled with serendipitous events. Several Fridays ago such an event occurred.

wild Friday night in Central Oregon involves hanging out at the local Barnes & Noble bookstore. I love browsing in bookstores. I love bookstores, period. They are nearly as magical as libraries (except the discoveries at bookstores are not free to take home!)

While browsing the magazine section of Barnes & Noble, I came across a magazine I had not seen before – American Craft Magazine (and I thought I knew all the magazines in the “crafting” magazine section). This magazine is published by the American Craft Council.

Flipping through this magazine I found an article on an exhibit by the WCQN (Women of Color Quilting Network). I did not know, as a woman of color, that there was a Women of Color Quilting Network! I made a mental note of the acronym and immediately upon returning home I googled the WCQN.

The WCQN , according to their website “is a non-profit organization founded in 1985 by Carolyn L. Mazloomi, a nationally-acclaimed quilt artist and lecturer, to foster and preserve the art of quilt making among women of color.”

Wow. What a discovery for me!

I contacted the Director of WCQN, Dr. Carolyn L. Mazloomi, to find out how I could join.


WCQN Inspiration

After several wonderful exchanges with Dr. Mazloomi, I am now a member of the WCQN. I had the opportunity to view her website, www.carolynlmazloomi.com and view her amazing art. I also spent a considerable amount of time looking at the the WCQN website, www.wcqn.org, and viewing their past exhibitions (www.wcqn.org/exhibit.html).

I was overwhelmed with inspiration to explore an additional direction in my art quilting – telling stories with my art quilt.

The WCQN art quilts poignantly share stories from a people of color’s perspective and shared experience.

Wanting to explore this theme in the future, I am inspired to create a future series of art quilts called Stories My Father Told Me.


Stories My Father Told Me

My father, Raoul A. Davis, Sr. was an amazing man. He passed in 2008, and left behind a legacy of stories and inspiration.

Born of the 4th of July, he was the son of two teachers and grew up the segregated South (Charleston, West Virginia) in the 1930s. He faced many hardships and challenges but always forged ahead to achieve his goals and dreams. He was the first black to attend Kiski School in Pennsylvania, received a bachelor’s degree from Central State University, and obtained his master’s degree from Columbia University. He also served his country in the US Army.

He served as a leader in the nonprofit sector for over 40 years. His service included working with gangs and underprivileged youth as a Social Worker in NYC; founding the Urban League of Long Island, NY; and creating the first Empire State Black Arts and Cultural Festival (today known as the African American Family Day Art Festival).

He retired as the Deputy Commissioner for the Office of General Services for the State of NY. In his retirement he volunteered and consulted for local nonprofits and community agencies.

His resume was impressive, but what I remember most about him is his stories.

Starting from my earliest memories as a child, I remember him telling me stories of his challenges growing up in the segregated South, stories of his athletic pursuits (he was an accomplished multi-sport athlete), stories about the intense hazing he received as the first black to attend Kiski Prep School, stories of overcoming shocking physical and psychological abuse in the US Army in the 1950 by his drill sergeant, and many other inspirational stories from his life.

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A couple of years before he passed he decided to write his autobiography and I offered to help him by transcribing his handwritten notes and pulling them into a rough draft. It was so wonderful to read the stories I knew well from hearing in my youth; and I was honored to help him with this project.

Unfortunately my father passed before finishing his autobiography. I did take what I had and make it into a book for my sister and brother (two incredible individuals who continue my father’s legacy and inspire me daily); and for his grandchildren (one of which he did not get to meet before he passed).

I am still left with all his stories in my head and in my heart, and I think I want to share them in another medium beyond the verbal and written word: in my art quilts.


His Stories into My Quilts

I am in the early stages of thinking of how I want to translate some of my favorite stories into a textile story – will I do something abstract, or will I do a pictorial quilt (time to brush up my appliqué skills!).

An ongoing theme in all his stories is: Here is a challenge, it may seem impossible, but you can overcome it!

One of my favorite stories that my father told me, is a story from his growing up in the segregated South and a bus ride experience that embodied his outlook on dealing with racial prejudices:

As a teenage in the 1940s, I was riding on the bus and a white guy was forced to sit next to me because no other seats were available. He turned to me and growled – “I hate you, you  #%%$%%!”  

I calmly replied to him “Well, you would like me if you got to know me”. 

We ended up having a great conversation and when we got to his bus stop, he exclaimed as he exited the bus: “Raoul, you are alright”.

My father likely did not change this man’s racist outlook on people of color, but he may have left an imprint in this man’s mind and heart to evaluate people based on their character not their color.

My father, who was also active in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s and fortunate to have met Martin Luther King, Jr., believed in focusing on getting to know each other as individuals and not judging an entire group or population.

He believed change came through dialogue not violence. He taught his three children to be brave, no matter what adversity life threw at them; and to as Mahatma Gandhi said “…be the change you wish to see in the world”.

He also taught us to be proud of who we are as individuals, as a people and of our heritage, and not to listen to those who tell you otherwise.

“I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet.” – Gandhi

I would be honored to share his stories through my quilts.


Postscript (11/16/16)

In Spring 2016, I  begin the Stories My Father Told Me series with quilt #1 – The Lesson & The Equation, discussed in the post Stories My Father Told Me: Quilt #1 

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The Lesson & The Equation (2016) by Tierney Davis Hogan

This quilt is now with the curator for a future exhibit (not yet announced, so more later…and in the future I will include a photo of the entire quilt, this is a partial photo)

Right now I am sketching out the next quilt in the series.

Free Webinar: CREATIVE QUILT CHALLENGES

In several previous posts I have mentioned the book, written by my friends Wendy Hill and Pat Pease, Creative Quilt Challenges (C&T Publishing, 2016).

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I wanted to let you all know they are having am hour long, free webinar sponsored by Sewing Online with Sulky on Tuesday, November 15, 2016, 9:00 pm EST (6:00 pm, Pacific Time).

There will be prizes and other perks according to the authors! 

If this interests you, you can click on the link below to get registered:

CREATIVE QUILT CHALLENGES

Wendy Hill and Pat Pease, authors of Creative Quilt Challenges invite you to Take the Challenge to Discover Your Style & Improve Your Design Skills. – Sewing Online with Sulky

I am signed up for the webinar, so maybe I will see you online!

Creative Inspiration: Fall Foliage

Continuing my ongoing series on sources of creative inspiration, I want to share my love for the colors of Fall and the beautiful fall foliage of Central Oregon.

In January 2016, I posted about the austere beauty of Winter Trees –  Well, before they become “Winter Trees” first, they are beautiful “Fall Trees“!

I love the deep oranges, reds, yellow and browns of the turning leaves. I took a series of photos over the past couple weeks for future quilt palette inspiration:img_5335img_5345img_5342img_2740img_5346img_5399img_5397img_5339

And speaking of creative inspiration – I came across an interesting quote in the book Inspired: how creative people think work and find inspiration by Dorte Nielsen and Kiki Hartman:

When creativity kicks in, a large amount of resistance inevitably also comes with it.

– Carouschka Streijffert

Inspire is one of the books from my The Library (Mega) Stack that I shared in an October 2016 post. I am about halfway through that stack of library books!

That is an interesting quote to mull over, eh? I would love to hear what you think that quote means in the Comments section.


Postscript

A couple of random follow up items…

  • In my post Fabulous Thrifting Fabric Find! I shared how I took down from the wall and donated a framed poster about Solitude, as I was ready to move on. Well, I did not share what I put up in its place. He Dresses Up, He Dresses Down (designed and pieced by me, quilted by Betty Anne Guadalupe) is now hanging in my entryway. It is a recycled fabric art quilt made from old denim jeans, wool scraps (Pendleton® Wool clothing and blankets) and scraps from mens suiting manufacturing.

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  • In several recent posts, I shared that I listened to the audiobook, The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. The first time I listened to this audiobook it was an emotional experience as there were a lot of truths I was hearing and trying to absorb. I listened with tears running down my cheeks for several sections of this audiobook. Well I decided to listen to it again (it is only a couple hours long) and this time there were no tears, there was only a great sense of peace and deeper understanding of The Four Agreements. On my second listen, I discovered that I had not fully grasped the First Agreement: “Be Impeccable with Your Word”. I thought this agreement was focused on keeping your word, being true to your word. It is actually focused on being careful with the words that come out of your mouth and the power of words – to hurt and to heal.

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  • In the post When all else fails, reorganize your fabric scraps I shared an interesting except from the audiobook – Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life by  Bill Burnett and Dave Evans on “Gravity Problems”. Later in the audiobook, the authors discuss another type of problem that gets you in the way of moving forward – “Anchor Problems“. As the authors describe – “Anchor Problems are like a physical anchor, they hold us in one place and prevent motion…” I am really enjoying this book and nearly at the end of this inspiring listen! Here is another gem (quote) from this book:

Anchor problems keep us stuck because we can only see one solution – the one we already have that doesn’t work. Anchor problems…are really about the fear that, no matter what else we try, that won’t work either…

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Anchor Photo credit – Nicholas Sales, free images.com

Creative Inspiration: Fiery Orange & Red Clouds

Continuing my ongoing series of sources of creative inspiration…


Last evening I wished I was a painter.

We had a glorious sky in Central Oregon as the sun set yesterday. During our evening dog walk, all I could do is stare at the sky filled with fiery orange and then red tinged clouds, dappled with the light from the fading sun.

I wished I was a painter and could paint what I saw – I would have run outside, set up my easel and start putting images upon my canvas.

But I am not a painter, I am a quilter (and maybe a budding textile artist), so I took the photos below to save for future creative inspiration for a quilt’s palette.

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These photos were taken on my smartphone and of course not the quality of professional photography. I could just imagine the photos a professional…or amateur photographer would have taken…okay anyone who know how to take decent photos (I am not in this group, ha!)

Even with professional photography, I am not sure the camera still could not capture the beauty of viewing it in real life. I think I stopped breathing for a moment while I stared at the sky!


POSTSCRIPT

Mini Vacation In My Mind

I have always loved staring at clouds, imagining various shapes in the clouds and daydreaming.

In my backyard I have an old outdoor bench with weather resistant cushions and pillow that is sort of an “outside love seat” type of two person seating. During late Spring, early Summer and early Fall, I like to go on “mini vacations in my mind” in it.

I will lay on the bench with my head propped up on one of the pillows and my leg bent and feet resting on the end, and stare at the clouds floating by in the endless blue Central Oregon sky.

I love how slowly clouds change shape while you watch them, but if you look away or get distracted for a moment, it seems like a quick change. I love to watch “raptors” – hawks and eagles soar overhead, riding the thermals. I love to see small private planes fly by and occasionally a jet far overhead and wonder where it is headed.

It seems like nothing else at the moment matters, but the sky….

Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time. – John Lubbock

Stories My Father Told Me: Quilt #1

 


Stories My Father Told Me: The First Quilt in the Series

In my 04/23/16 post Creative Inspiration: Stories My Father Told Me, I shared how I want to translate some of the inspirational stories my father, Raoul Davis, Sr. told me as a child, that inspire who I am as a person, into textile stories.

Two things happened since this post: 1) I was invited to participate in a special exhibit where I could draw from my the inspirational stories and words I listened to from my father as a child; and 2) I watched an excellent presentation on “Working in a Series” through the art quilting organization I belong – Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA) that further inspired me to work on this series.

I created my first quilt in my Stories My Father Told Me Series, and it is titled “The Lesson & The Equation“. At this time I cannot share details on the show that it will be a part of as the exhibit has not been announced yet. However, I did receive permission from the show’s curator to share a photo of the quilt on my tierneycreates blog.

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The Lesson & The Equation (2016). Designed, pieced and quilted by Tierney Davis Hogan

Below are excerpts from my Artist Statement for this piece to provide some understanding of the inspiration for this piece:

My father grew up in the segregated South in the 1940s and embraced at an early age that change comes from respectful dialogue, not violence. He taught us that regardless of what adversity we faced in life, we must face it with grace; and treat others with respect, dignity, and brotherhood….  (THE LESSON).

In this quilt, a father (modeled after my own father in the 1970s) is teaching his children, on the main blackboard, THE EQUATION to achieving a world in which people are Free and Equal…I am from a family of educators, beginning with my great-grandfather. The blackboards in the quilt honor that legacy.


POSTSCRIPT: The Instagram Experiment

I have decided to experiment with the mysterious social networking app Instagram (yes, it is only mysterious to me). I mentioned in the “POSTSCRIPT” section of the post Back to the Butte how clueless I am about Instagram. Experimenting with it might be the only way to become less clueless!

I have added an Instagram “widget” to my blog page and now you will see my Instagram feed on my Home page. (Of course ow I need to add more than the 4 or so photos I had in Instagram when I first signed up a year or two ago,  got very confused and stopped using it).

We have magnetic erasable board on our refrigerator. I write menu plans and grocery shopping lists on this board. I have a habit of taking a photo of my grocery list on my smartphone to take shopping (I figure that is “greener” than using paper to write it down). I was laughing to myself: wouldn’t that make a terribly dull Instagram feed – just photos of my messily scrawled food shopping lists?!?!

I promise to try to keep the feed a wee bit more interesting than that!

Creative Inspiration: Lying in Bed

It’s Sunday, a day (like Saturday) when many people have the opportunity to sleep in (or at least sleep in a little later than on a workday).

Continuing my series on sources of my creative inspiration, I realize that lying in bed and quietly thinking can be a source of much creative inspiration!

A very creative friend of mine told me a couple of years ago that she could will herself to dream quilt designs while she sleep; and when she needed it, inspiration would arrive while she slumbered.

I do not remember many of my dreams, and those I remember are not necessarily sources of creative inspiration, but I do have moments of intense inspiration when I am laying in bed preparing for sleep or lingering in bed upon waking.

Worrying and reviewing the day used to fill my mind before going to sleep until learning to  essentially “chill out” a couple of years ago. Now I can bring my mind into focus before going to sleep on a quilt design or other crafting project. It is amazing how what was a challenge to me in my studio during waking hours, now has a clear resolution as I quietly ponder it in bed.

My first experience with idea was at the end of 2014 while I was making a piece for our public library’s Novel Idea Book (all of Central Oregon is encouraged to read the same book and then the book’s author speaks at the annual Novel Idea book event). That year’s book was A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki. I loved the book so much I wanted to make a small art quilt inspired by this thought provoking novel.

I was stuck for weeks on the design of this piece until one night, while lying in bed and before falling asleep, I focused all my mental energy on the what I wanted for this piece. It is difficult to put into words – I did not force myself to think about the piece, rather I relaxed and asked for inspiration to come to me.

Hope I do not sound too “New Age” or mystical here, but it was like what the piece needed to be just flowed into my mind and through me. It was a wonderful feeling – as if the Universe was telling me how I could translate what moved me in this book into textile art. When I woke in the morning, I had a clear vision of what the piece would look like and felt tremendous relief and a sense of peace.

And it all happened lying there in bed. Since that experience I have used the time lying in bed before falling asleep or upon waking to explore options in creative design. Bed can be a good place – keep those worries out of your mind and invite the creativity in!

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Jiko’s Secret Robe (2015) – inspiration for this piece arrived while lying in bed

Postscript

For more on “clearing your mind of worry before you fall asleep” see my post Monday on the “Butte” in which I briefly discuss Arianna Huffington’s audiobook – The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time and share this Ralph Waldo Emerson quote:

Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day and you shall begin it well and serenely. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Advance your Art

Unlikely Artistic Inspiration in a Business Publication

There is a professional publication that arrives every month in my mailbox – Healthcare Business Monthly. It comes as part of a professional membership I have in the healthcare industry.

I appreciate all the work that goes into this publication but many times the articles are fairly dry and technical; however an article by Tara Cole in the June 2016 issue (page 58), really caught my attention.

The title of the article is “Advance to the Career You Want”. In this article the author provides tips on how to develop yourself professionally and move into the career you want.

I thought the author’s tips in this article could translate into how to “Advance to Where You Want to Go with Your Art”, “Artist Development”, “Advance Your Creative Journey” or something like that.

Here is a listing of the author’s eight (8) tips which I am going to apply to advancing my creative journey:

  1. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable
  2. Be open to change
  3. Be curious
  4. Stay connected
  5. Get technical
  6. Challenge yourself
  7. Be honest
  8. Use your time wisely

I embrace all these tips! Lately I have been working on #5 – Get technical: taking classes, talking to mentors, reading up on new quilting techniques, etc. I have definitely been challenging myself (the secret quilt I am finishing for the by invitation exhibit – I have been quilting this quilt myself – gasp!)


Time for a Random Photo

And now here is a random photo: Recently I returned from a long weekend visiting a friend in the Denver, CO area (see post Creative Inspiration: Travel). During on weekend together, we went on lovely walks on nature trails. One of the trails had many gopher or prairie dog holes along the path and I was fascinated looking at the prairie dogs popping up and talking to one another.

I was not fast enough with my smartphone camera to capture the adorable prairie dog that was popped up from its hole, but here is a photo of one of the holes, right after the prairie dog seeing my camera disappeared into:

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But wait – I will connect this photo to this post:

  1. Sometimes on your creative journey you have to retreat into a metaphorical hole and focus alone on your art.
  2. Sometimes on your creative journey you have to venture into an unknown hole to move forward in your art.
  3. Sometimes on your creative journey, you have to follow someone into a hole and see where it leads (but I was too big to follow after the prairie dog!)

Please share any thoughts you have on how this photo could relate to an artist’s creative journey (or how you are concerned that I obviously need my “special medication” adjusted! Ha!)

Creative Inspiration: Travel

Continuing my series on my sources of Creative Inspiration, I share in this post photos from a recent trip that inspire my creativity.


Let’s Begin with a Disclaimer

If you have followed my blog for a while or if you are new to my blog, it is apparent I am not a very good photographer. Reading books on improving my photographic skills has not helped. So I thank you in advance, for accepting me as I am, bad quality photos and all.

Traveling, and photos taken while traveling are sources of creative inspiration for me. They may not inspire a specific piece, but they do inspire to me to create – especially when they are photos of the works of other artists (if I dare refer to myself as an “artist”) that stimulate my creativity!

Recently I returned from a long weekend visiting a friend in Denver, Colorado. I took many photos, primarily with my smartphone camera. Below are photos from the Denver Chalk Festival, the Seattle Airport’s Ship in a Bottle Exhibit, and the Redmond-Bend Airport’s Chris Cole kinetic fish art exhibit.


Denver Chalk Festival

We attending on Saturday 06/04/16 and the sidewalk chalk art pieces were still in progress (my apologies to all the talented chalk artists who I am not individually crediting in the photos):

Here was my favorite piece: a canine interpretation of the famous painting American Gothic (which I once got to see in person at the Art Institute of Chicago). Poop scooper instead of pitch fork!

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Although the one above was my favorite, the most impressive piece was the one below (imagine what it looked like completed!):

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Seattle-Tacoma (SeaTac) Airport Ship in a Bottle Exhibit

As a kid I was fascinated with ship-in-a-bottles. I thought they were magical. Seeing the exhibit at SeaTac airport (a layover on my way back to Central Oregon) really inspired my imagination and creativity:


Redmond-Bend Airport’s Chris Cole Kinetic Fish Art Exhibit

Awaiting my flight to head to Denver, Colorado (via a connection at SeaTac), I enjoyed looking at Chris Cole’s Kinetic Fish Exhibit. The Redmond, Oregon City News website has information on this exhibit: Redmond Municipal Airport Adds New Art.

The two fish sculptures had motors and various parts of the fish moved inside the glass exhibit enclosure. Very cool!


Postscript

Now it is time for an example of higher quality inspirational photography. You guess it – it is not by me, and it is not from my trip. My friend Miles quit his job and is traveling the world, going to all kinds of awesome exotic and historic locales.

He is a skilled photographer and here is one of his photos, from his travels to Dubrovnik, Croatia:

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Photo Credit: Miles G.

Now that is a truly beautiful photograph and the colors and composition may inspire a future quilt!

Creative Inspiration: A Pot of Tea

Continuing my ongoing series of posts on sources of my creative inspiration, I would like to share how a simple pot of tea inspires me creatively.

Above is a pot a green tea being poured into my favorite mug. One side of the mug reads: “live in wellness” and the other side reads “the universe knows”. This mug reminds me to take care of myself and to trust my intuition and the flow of the universe. (Hope that did not sound too “new age” and scare away some readers, ha!)

Behind the mug in the photo is a teapot warmer I found 9 years ago at a Tea Shop in Sisters, Oregon (the shop is now closed/out of business).

Every morning, I make a pot of green tea, place it on the warmer and sit in the front window each morning before work, and on the weekends (when I can really linger) and daydream about current and future creative projects.

I keep my journal nearby to jot down any notes, thoughts, drawings, or other inspirations. (and yes, I have spilled tea on my journal…)

Sitting quietly with a pot a tea, even if for 10 – 15 minutes, really centers me and inspires me creatively. Many new ideas for fiber art pieces or blog posts have come from my time with the pot of tea.

In one of my profiles on a social media site, I describe myself as “an obsessive tea drinker”. I suspect there are worse things in life to be obsessive about, so I am happy with this obsession!


Postscript

A reader asked me to share what I thought of the audiobook The Path: What Chinese Philosophers Can Teach Us About the Good Life by Michael Puett and Christine Gross-Loh (I mentioned this book in the post Tuesday…an update).

Overall, I thought the audiobook is worth a listen and many sections inspired deep contemplation as I walked and listened.

As shared in the previous post, the author is a Harvard professor and the book is filled with “scholarly” like discussions that are at times rather esoteric (but not tedious); however the wisdom and insights into human nature by the ancient Chinese philosophers are highly accessible and timeless.

In addition to addressing the key teachings of several seminal ancient Chinese philosophers, the authors discuss the cultural, social, economic and political climates during the time in which the different philosophers lived, which influenced their writings and teaching. 

Words for thought from ancient Chinese philosophers:

The effect of life in society is to complicate and confuse our existence, making us forget who we really are by causing us to become obsessed with what we are not.

– Zhuangzi (Zhuang Zhou)

The person attempting to travel two roads at once will get nowhere.

– Xunzi

Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.

– Confucius

He who knows that enough is enough will always have enough.

– Laozi (Lao Tzu)

The sole concern of learning is to seek one’s original heart.

– Mencius

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Monday 5/23/16 was an overcast day, but I found time for a walk around the base of Pilot Butte. I hope to return to hiking up the Butte next Monday!

Creative Inspiration: Stories My Father Told Me

This post continues my series on my sources of Creative Inspiration.


Friday Night at Barnes & Noble Bookstore: A Discovery

Life is filled with serendipitous events. Several Fridays ago such an event occurred.

A wild Friday night in Central Oregon involves hanging out at the local Barnes & Noble bookstore. I love browsing in bookstores. I love bookstores, period. They are nearly as magical as libraries (except the discoveries at bookstores are not free to take home!)

While browsing the magazine section of Barnes & Noble, I came across a magazine I had not seen before – American Craft Magazine (and I thought I knew all the magazines in the “crafting” magazine section). This magazine is published by the American Craft Council.

Flipping through this magazine I found an article on an exhibit by the WCQN (Women of Color Quilting Network). I did not know, as a woman of color, that there was a Women of Color Quilting Network! I made a mental note of the acronym and immediately upon returning home I googled the WCQN.

The WCQN , according to their website “is a non-profit organization founded in 1985 by Carolyn L. Mazloomi, a nationally-acclaimed quilt artist and lecturer, to foster and preserve the art of quilt making among women of color.”

Wow. What a discovery for me!

I contacted the Director of WCQN, Dr. Carolyn L. Mazloomi, to find out how I could join.


WCQN Inspiration

After several wonderful exchanges with Dr. Mazloomi, I am now a member of the WCQN. I had the opportunity to view her website, www.carolynlmazloomi.com and view her amazing art. I also spent a considerable amount of time looking at the the WCQN website, www.wcqn.org, and viewing their past exhibitions (www.wcqn.org/exhibit.html).

I was overwhelmed with inspiration to explore an additional direction in my art quilting – telling stories with my art quilt.

The WCQN art quilts poignantly share stories from a people of color’s perspective and shared experience.

Wanting to explore this theme in the future, I am inspired to create a future series of art quilts called Stories My Father Told Me.


Stories My Father Told Me

My father, Raoul A. Davis, Sr. was an amazing man. He passed in 2008, and left behind a legacy of stories and inspiration.

Born of the 4th of July, he was the son of two teachers and grew up the segregated South (Charleston, West Virginia) in the 1930s. He faced many hardships and challenges but always forged ahead to achieve his goals and dreams. He was the first black to attend Kiski School in Pennsylvania, received a bachelor’s degree from Central State University, and obtained his master’s degree from Columbia University. He also served his country in the US Army.

He served as a leader in the nonprofit sector for over 40 years. His service included working with gangs and underprivileged youth as a Social Worker in NYC; founding the Urban League of Long Island, NY; and creating the first Empire State Black Arts and Cultural Festival (today known as the African American Family Day Art Festival).

He retired as the Deputy Commissioner for the Office of General Services for the State of NY. In his retirement he volunteered and consulted for local nonprofits and community agencies.

His resume was impressive, but what I remember most about him is his stories.

Starting from my earliest memories as a child, I remember him telling me stories of his challenges growing up in the segregated South, stories of his athletic pursuits (he was an accomplished multi-sport athlete), stories about the intense hazing he received as the first black to attend Kiski Prep School, stories of overcoming shocking physical and psychological abuse in the US Army in the 1950 by his drill sergeant, and many other inspirational stories from his life.

A couple of years before he passed he decided to write his autobiography and I offered to help him by transcribing his handwritten notes and pulling them into a rough draft. It was so wonderful to read the stories I knew well from hearing in my youth; and I was honored to help him with this project.

Unfortunately my father passed before finishing his autobiography. I did take what I had and make it into a book for my sister and brother (two incredible individuals who continue my father’s legacy and inspire me daily); and for his grandchildren (one of which he did not get to meet before he passed).

I am still left with all his stories in my head and in my heart, and I think I want to share them in another medium beyond the verbal and written word: in my art quilts.


His Stories into My Quilts

I am in the early stages of thinking of how I want to translate some of my favorite stories into a textile story – will I do something abstract, or will I do a pictorial quilt (time to brush up my appliqué skills!).

An ongoing theme in all his stories is: Here is a challenge, it may seem impossible, but you can overcome it!

One of my favorite stories that my father told me, is a story from his growing up in the segregated South and a bus ride experience that embodied his outlook on dealing with racial prejudices:

As a teenage in the 1940s, I was riding on the bus and a white guy was forced to sit next to me because no other seats were available. He turned to me and growled – “I hate you, you  #%%$%%!”  

I calmly replied to him “Well, you would like me if you got to know me”.

We ended up having a great conversation and when we got to his bus stop, he exclaimed as he exited the bus: “Raoul, you are alright”.

My father likely did not change this man’s racist outlook on people of color, but he may have left an imprint in this man’s mind and heart to evaluate people based on their character not their color.

My father, who was also active in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s and fortunate to have met Martin Luther King, Jr., believed in focusing on getting to know each other as individuals and not judging an entire group or population.

He believed change came through dialogue not violence. He taught his three children to be brave, no matter what adversity life threw at them; and to as Mahatma Gandhi said “…be the change you wish to see in the world”.

He also taught us to be proud of who we are as individuals, as a people and of our heritage, and not to listen to those who tell you otherwise.

“I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet.” – Gandhi

I would be honored to share his stories through my quilts.

Creative Inspiration: The Scents of Spring

Continuing my series on my sources of Creative Inspiration, I explore in this post how certain scents inspire my creativity.


In January I posted about the austere beauty of trees in winter in the post Winter Trees. It is now Spring in Central Oregon and today on my morning walk, I was overwhelmed with the beauty of trees blossoming in Spring, especially the Dogwood Trees.

Their fragrance enveloped me on my walk and I was filled with a sense of joy, peace and a desire to go home and create something.

This is what Spring is about – creating. Dormant bulbs will now grow and create beautiful blooms; trees will awaken their buds to create leaves, nuts and fruits; and creatures such as insects now rustle and fly and in creation of new life and pollination of the flowers.


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When I returned home from my walk, and opened all the windows in the house, the delicious scents of Spring wafted into the house through a soft sweet wind.

Spring is Nature’s way of saying “let’s party” – Robin Williams

Postscript

While on my walk today I listened to a wonderful audiobook – 101 Ways to Transform Your Life by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer. During his discussion of one of the “101 ways to transform your life”, Dr. Dyer shared this Robert Frost poem which gave me pause for thought on this beautiful Spring day:

We dance round in a ring and suppose,
But the Secret sits in the middle and knows.

– Robert Frost

Maybe the “Secret” is learning to be quiet, centered, and peaceful enough to be in the moment and enjoy the beauty that surrounds us in Nature.

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 Inspiration is in the air and in my heart, it is time to go create something!

 

Creative Inspiration: Books I Own

Continuing my series on sources of my creative inspiration, today I explore a couple of books in my personal collection that inspire me to create.

Unconventional & Unexpected: American Quilts Below the Radar 1950-2000 (Roderick Kiracofe, 2014)

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Photo credit: Amazon.com

This inspirational book was a gift from a friend. I have read it cover to cover and refer to it when I need inspiration. I even keep it on display at my house at the top of one of my bookshelves, to remind me that everyday people have beautiful art inside of them.

This excerpt from an Amazon.com review, summarizes how I feel about this book:

Artistic, joyful, visually and emotionally awakening
Beautifully designed and written from cover to cover, Unconventional and Unexpected: American Quilts Below the Radar 1950-2000 is a piece of art in and of itself. The collection of quilts in the book look like modern paintings and poetry created through stitches. Each quilt is made for personal use with most humble materials; it makes you wonder about the personal story of its maker. Like any other form of modern art, it allows you to make your own interpretation through the fabrics they used or the pattern they followed.

The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters: A Guide to Creating, Quilting, and Living Courageously (Sherri L. Wood, 2015)

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Photo credit: Amazon.com

I originally borrowed this book from our local library in Spring 2015. After an hour or two with this book, I had to purchase it and add it to my collection.

“Improve Is…Setting Limits to Expand Horizons” – Sherri L. Wood

I think this book is the seminal guide on quilting improvisation. It is not a pattern to follow quilt book, but a guide on strategies to allow yourself permission to be free and initiative in your quilt design. The author provides wonderful exercises to try out your improvisational skills. These “Scores” are intended to help art quilters gain confidence in their “improv” skills.

This also features work by other art quilters (in addition to the author) to include a very talented Oregon Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA) colleague of mine, Marion Shimoda.

This book has been read cover to cover a couple times and shared this book with my collaborative art quilting parter, Betty Anne Guadalupe. Betty Anne loves challenges – after purchasing this book herself, she made a piece with recycled silks, based on one of the “Scores” (Setting Limits) in the book.

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Intuition (2016) by Betty Anne Guadalupe

Postscript

My collaborative art quilting partner, Betty Anne, sent this wonderful comment in an e-mail the other day and I wanted to quote her and share with my readers:

Art that breathes and expresses itself is the art that speaks to us from within” – Betty Anne Guadalupe

Hope you have a creative and inspirational week!

Creative Inspiration: Library Books

(Be sure to check out Sassy the Highly Opinionated Miniature Schnauzer’s Schnauzer Snips page for her latest adventures and musing)

But First, More on “Trees of Winter”

Before I continue my series on sources of creative inspiration, let’s talk about winter trees a little more. I am still musing over the Winter Trees I discussed in yesterday’s blog post by the same name.

This morning, during our daily 2 mile am dog walk, I was struck again by the beauty of winter trees against an impossibly clear blue winter sky. Living in the “High Desert” of Central Oregon our winters have many days of clear blue skies. Compared, say to when we lived in Seattle, WA. (A fun town to live in, but blue skies were not that common; grey skies were considerably more popular there!)

So here is one more winter tree that captured my attention this morning, and then I will stop with the “Winter Trees” for a while (perhaps):

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Creative Inspiration: Public Library Books

Since I was a child, I have been in love with the public library.

I remember a summer in my 10th or 11th year that I spent many days of my summer vacation at my small town’s public library. Books are magical. To have free access to all those magical books is even more magical.

For a time in my life I wanted to become a librarian, so I could spend a career among the books. I did not pursue a career in library science as an adult, but I kept my intense love of public libraries and of books.

I frequently patronize our local public library and I find their shelves filled with sources of creative inspiration. It would be very expense to buy all the books I would love to have in my personal library, and if you have read my post Craft Book Hoarder?!?!? it appears that I once tried to do that!

Embracing the minimalist, “scale back your life”, “living with less” movement, I borrow from the library, books that inspire me creatively. If the book turns out to be a “must, must, must have” then I will purchase it, but rarely.

Here is a recent stack of public library books filled with inspiration:

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I have e-mailed our public library’s material purchasing department and thanked them for the wonderful selection of crafting, gardening, and home decorating books. I think it is important to let them know a patron really appreciates their well curated collection!

Postscript

In future posts I will share an update on “craft book hoarding” (yes, I actually let go of a large amount of craft books); and discuss one of the recent crafting books I borrowed from the public library that I absolutely had to own (The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters: A Guide to Creating, Quilting, and Living Courageously by Sherri L. Wood).