Shows and Exhibits, WCQN

Black Pioneers: Legacy in the American West show opening weekend, Part III

Here is the final installment in my series of posts about opening weekend of the Women of Color Quilting Network (WCQN) show Black Pioneers: Legacy in the American West at the James Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida where my quilt Langston Hughes, Pioneer Poet was showing.

If you are just joining us, here are the two previous related posts:

Black Pioneers: Legacy in the American West show opening weekend, Part I 

Black Pioneers: Legacy in the American West show opening weekend, Part II 

Before I share more about the show’s opening weekend, here is a little about my time in St. Petersburg, Florida.


I’ve been to several cities in Florida in the past, but I do not remember ever visiting St. Petersburg, so let’s call it my first visit to St. Petersburg, FL. The James Museum is located in downtown St. Petersburg and although my partner John and I had a rental car, we primarily explored the downtown area where our hotel was also located.

One day between opening weekend events, we walked down to the pier area and ran into some very friendly pelicans hoping for us to feed them (which we didn’t – we listened to the posted sign!)

One of the pelicans was following me around and after a while appeared annoyed that I hadn’t fed her/him yet!

There was all sorts of interesting birds wandering around downtown St. Petersburg, here are some curious birds we ran into at a public park:

They were sort of flamingo like but I am not sure if they are in the same family. If you know what they are, let me know!

And of course I had to take some Black & White photos while wandering downtown St. Petersburg, here is my favorite of the photos I took (the rest were “nothing to write home about” so I will spare you a B&W photo essay of downtown St. Petersburg):

John and I had lunch one day and a fun restaurant, Oak and Stone, that featured a self-sampling craft beer area where you got a wrist band that you scanned and selected whatever sampler craft beers you wanted (though they did have a limit of how many samples you could buy during one visit!). Each tap had information about the craft brew selection.

We had a lot of fun sampling beers!

John and I discovered that St. Petersburg has an unusually large number of museums for its size of city – 31! We joked that since there is a lot of wealth in St. Petersburg, “everyone and their brother” wanted to have their own museum!

And now we’ll return to the show’s opening weekend.


On Sunday September 11, 2022 the museum held a brunch for the artists and the show’s sponsors. After the brunch there was a panel presentation with the show’s curator Dr. Carolyn Mazloomi and 6 of the artists discussing the topic “In Search of Freedom: The Black Presence in the West”.

Each artist discussed their piece in depth and responded to Dr. Mazloomi’s discussion questions about the topic. It was an amazing panel presentation by amazing women. The women in the panel are educators, college professors, a civil rights attorney, historians, and professional artists. Dr. Mazloomi is a retired aerospace engineer and she was not the only PhD level educated artist in the room.

Some of the members of the WCQN have art quilts permanently installed at the Smithsonian Museum and the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC.

I cannot begin to put in to words how it felt to interact with this entire group of talented and brilliant women that are part of WCQN during the Black Pioneers show’s opening weekend. Here is the group photo I shared in the previous post about the show opening:

image credit: James Museum facebook page

How lucky I felt to stand among this group of women! I had so many engaging conversations with the other artists during the show’s opening weekend and there are rumors that in the future we might have WCQN artist retreats and I cannot wait to be in their presence again!

If you’d like to read about how I first got involved with the WCQN, this post tells the story – Creative Inspiration: Stories My Father Told Me (re-post). Thank you Universe for letting me run across that magazine that led me to reaching out to Dr. Mazloomi while browsing at Barnes & Nobles in 2016!

I will close this series of posts with this recent interview of Dr. Mazloomi, a National Heritage Fellow of the National Endowment for the Arts (highest award given in the U.S. to an artist), that played on a loop on one of the museum’s walls during the exhibit. I think it is worth a listen.

We as African Americans have participated in the making of this country since we stepped off the boat. African Americans have been explorers, they’ve been business people, they were cowboys, they’ve been part of the fabric of every facet of this country and people will see that the quilts…Quilts have jumped off the bed onto the wall and they are now seen as works of art…these are not the quilts that your grandmother made, they are truly seen as works of art…with the use of cloth we tell the stories not only of our cultures but the making of America…

Carolyn Mazloomi

Blogging for Quilters

The Invitation to Speak

I was invited to speak on Blogging for Art Quilters at our October SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates) meeting, as the featured presenter.

In my “pay the bills” career in the health care industry, for the past 20+ years I have done numerous training and workshops for those in staff and in leadership positions. So my first thought when accepting the invitation to speak was: “No problem, I have done like a zillion presentations and I can give any group ‘Death by PowerPoint'”. 

I once even did a presentation for “the dead”. Or people I thought were dead (I mean a long time dead, they just hadn’t started to smell yet). I was the head of Medical Management for a Worker’s Compensation carrier and I had to do a presentation for the management group of a large retail organization.

When I got up to the podium and saw a sea of very blank and disengaged faces (basically they all looked “dead inside”), instead of having stage fright,  I thought “Screw it, I am going to have fun”!

I removed the microphone from the podium, walked into the glassy-eyed audience and began to work the crowd with my presentation like I was a nightclub act.  They suddenly came back to life and I had a blast (and maybe they did too) giving the presentation!

So I have little fear of public speaking as I have overcome some challenging audiences…that is, little fear in the health care industry

Fear Creeps In…

So our local SAQA group contains nationally and internationally known quilters, teachers, published book authors, and some seriously talented (like mind blowing-ly talented) art quilters. This was my first time ever presenting/speaking in the art quilting industry (I am usually thinking at each SAQA meeting “so what I am doing here with these people?”).

One of my friends in the health care industry said to me when I told her about the upcoming presentation: “Well Tierney, if you lose them you during your talk on blogging for art quilters, you could always start wowing them with your knowledge of medical cost management!”

Additionally I am no expert on blogging. I started in 2013 and I have been learning as I go and continually reading tips from other bloggers. My only saving grace was I knew I could put together a nice “Death by PowerPoint” for the group!

The Actual Speaking Engagement

The SAQA group was wonderful and it was easy to engage them, I had no need to be worried.

Highlights from my presentation “Blogging for Art Quilters”:

WHY BLOG? To have an online presence; to showcase your art; to connect with other quilters & artists; to connect with potential customers.


Kristin Shields ( introduced the group to an incredible website and blog option for art quilters: Square Space, This platform also allows artists to directly sell their art to customers (

WRTING BLOGGING CONTENT: Engage your readers and get them coming back with interesting posts, “cliff-hangers”, and ongoing series; learn the blog hosting platform’s tips to make navigate your site easy for readers; brainstorm on ideas for posts and keep a journal of ideas; find your own voice and be true to yourself.

BLOGGING ETIQUETTE: (adapted from Idiot’s Guide Blogging Rules & Etiquette): Respond to and appreciate your readers they took the time to read your posts and comment; stay away from “hard sales” and controversial topics (religion, politics, etc.) unless that is the purpose of your blog; respect copyright laws.

SPELL CHECKING IS IMPORTANT (okay so sometimes I fail at this…but it is still important…): A tip I use (or try to use) is to read aloud my posts before posting to see if they are close to resembling standard English usage!  (So Tierney, are you actually a “native English speaker” or did you just recently learn via online instruction?)

PUBLICATIONS: Before I started blogging or starting my tierneycreates Etsy shop I did a lot of reading. Here are some of my favorites and I thank all the wonderful authors who wrote either the books or articles I enjoyed!

•  Artful Blogging Magazine, Stampington

  • Blogging for Creatives: How Designers, Artists, Crafters and Writers Can Blog to Make Contacts, Win Business, and Build Success (Robin Houghton, 2012)
  • Writers Can Blog to Make Contacts, Win Business, and Build Success (Robin Houghton, 2012)
  • Blogging for Dummies (Susannah Gardner, 2011)
  • How to Sell Your Crafts Online(Derrick Sutton, 2011)
  • The Handmade Marketplace (Kari Chapin, 2010)
  • Grow Your Handmade Business (Kari Chapin, 2012)

The Real Reason I Blog

At the end of my presentation, I shared why personally I blog: Connection.

At first my blog was to be a vehicle to gain potential customers for my Etsy shop, but then it became more than that – it became a vehicle to connect with other individuals with shared interests and discover other blogger and their blogs.

I so appreciate my readers and I now follow many blogs myself (trying to keep up with them all as best I can).  I love reading the life adventures of other individuals and the experiences and lessons their share!

“Death by PowerPoint” – only 23 slides, I did not torture the audience too badly…