Hitting the Reset Button at Craft Napa

It is a rainy, rainy week in Northern California. I see rainy days as a great time to hunker down, do some organizing, planning, scheduling, and catching up. That’s the agenda for my day. January is my wrap up month for unfinished projects. February finds me excited to plan out all the projects and ideas that have been brewing in my mind! On that subject, I thought I would share some of my creative goals for the upcoming year with you.

The short list: journaling, sketching and exploring ideas.

The long list: This one is a bit tougher. I am hoping to stop dragging my feet on a few big projects. Working on a book idea, entering more exhibits and getting more focused on lectures and workshops. Maybe if I put this out to the social media world, it will pressure me to make it happen!

One of my projects for the year has already began. I joined a group last September that would commit me to producing a 12″ x 12″ piece each month for 12 months. As a supportive group, we meet, we talk, and we encourage each other. I am so glad that I joined, but have not exactly been thrilled with my work after the first few months. My plan was to explore new techniques, textures, and alternative ways to manipulate fabric. All to be used later in larger pieces. To be honest, I haven’t been as worried about the finished 12 x 12 pieces, as much as where the explorations would lead me. As I said, things haven’t gone quite as well as I had planned, so I felt like I needed to hit the reset button.

So, I went off to Craft Napa 2017. (If you are not familiar with this event, I did a write up on this event last year, In Search of My Creative Spark.) It was perfect timing for me. I look at Craft Napa as an opportunity to explore new techniques in a week of creative play. I took some awesome classes this year and am now busy applying them to my 12 x 12’s, with much more success!

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My first workshop was with Jenny Lyon and machine quilting. It was a great class for me. I have taken many classes on machine quilting in the past, but the machines we used in the workshop were very similar to my new Bernina that I bought last year. This was a great chance to ask lots of questions, try some new stitches, and really get comfortable with the whole process. Jenny is a wonderful teacher. It was a great day.

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The next two days I spent with Judy Coates Perez. This brought a lot of “aha” moments for me! I had done a lot of fabric printing in college, and had wanted to be a fabric designer at one point in my life. But, this was the first time that I thought about taking advantage of these processes to create original work. Wow! It was so much fun!
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I even brought along some vintage lace to play with. I dyed the lace, then placed it on fabric to dry. I might have to go back and play with this idea a bit more.

After painting, stamping, scrunching and swirling for two days, I came home with some amazing, original fabrics that I can’t wait to cut up and sew back together! To be able to mix my own colors and create my own patterns was really eye opening to me. It is a great way for me to bring my love for drawing and painting into my quilts. I am so excited to get started. I have already bought a lot of the supplies and am planning to spend this year creating fabric to incorporate into my work.

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The big plus in all of this? I immediately started cutting up my samples and incorporating them into my 12 x 12 projects. They are now beginning to emerge into what I had envisioned. Thank you Judy Coates Perez, for opening my eyes to a whole arena that I have not explored since college. I think I am going to have a busy year full of exciting new projects!

Levanto, Italy

I have a mix of hand dyed fabric, along with a few solids and “Grunge”. I love the way the hand dyed fabric have a luminous glow to them.

Cinqueterra, Italy

Murano, Italy

Burano, Italy

As for other projects? I see more work playing with selvedges. I love the striated, line work that can comes from this technique. I have been playing with some images from a beautiful botanical book that my son gave me a few years ago. Who knows where this will lead.

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I am also intrigued by pairing modern design elements to traditional and classic prints. I have been sketching out ways to get back to my Civil War reproductions, but in a more contemporary aesthetic.

I think it’s going to be a great year for me, creatively. As long as I don’t allow myself to get wrapped up in what I can and can’t do. Just do it! In my world, if I forever remind myself that it is the journey, not the end result, I am always happier with my finished product. And that, my friends, is what I love to share with you, the readers and my students! Enjoy the process and you will enjoy the end result.

I hope that you find inspiration in my plans for 2017. I wonder what Laura and Darci are up to?

Pati

 

 

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A Look Back at a Year of Quilts

In past years, January has always been my catch up month. Not this year! I have been in a whirlwind since I shouted “Happy New Year!” a few weeks back. I have been on both a quilt retreat and an art retreat, met and spoke with 2 wonderful guilds at their monthly meetings, and then jumped on a plane to Mexico. As you are reading this, I am hoping to be causally sipping a margarita on a warm and sandy beach. Aaaah! Writing this post gives me a chance to reflect on the past year, and draw a few plans and goals together for me in 2017.

2016 was quite a year for me, with many firsts. I started the year out with a few days at Craft Napa 2016. I used the time to dig in to my creative side. I made a conscious effort to map out what was important to me, and permit myself to say no to anything that I had not enjoyed in the past year.

It was a great decision and made for a year of inspiration and adventures. I followed politics closer than I ever had before. I began speaking and teaching workshops to guilds. I was honored to be invited as the featured artist at a guild quilt show. I spent an inspirational month travelling in Italy. I made many new friends and reconnected with old friends. All in all, it was a glorious year. It is interesting for me to consider how my design work was influenced by my escapades.

give-me-liberty
Give Me Liberty

 

Give Me Liberty - close up
Give Me Liberty – close up

 

Finding My Way
Finding My Way

 

conversation-in-color
A Conversation in Color – Achoo! pattern

 

holiday-workshop-sample-beauty-shot
Holiday Table Topper – Workshop Sample

 

tweaking-tradition-close-up
Tweaking Traditions – Workshop Sample

 

safe-with-kaffe
Continuous Braid – Workshop Sample

This last quilt is an interactive quilt, designed to be a quilt version of the Subway Therapy Wall created in New York City. It is a work in progress.

Wall of Words
Wall of Words

Fabric “post its” are being added every day by friends, family (or anyone that wants to contribute) and will eventually cover the entire quilt. Heartfelt and positive thoughts, quotes and comments have become the overlying theme of this project. I have a stack of notes to add when I return home. If it gets too full, I will simply make another wall!

Wall of Words - close up
Wall of Words – close up


2017 is off to a great start in my little quilty world. I can’t wait to share those adventures with you! See you soon!

Pati

Craft Napa – In Search of My Creative Spark

Crafting a Life - Craft NapaI spent the first few days of the new year attending the very first Craft Napa, an amazing, three day retreat in Napa Valley. Craft Napa is the creation of Pokey Bolton, founder of Quilting Arts and Cloth Paper Scissors magazines. Pokey moved to Napa Valley with the dream of hosting a retreat for those driven to create. She invited inspiring instructors, organized a lovely venue and put it out to the quilting and art world.

When I heard about Craft Napa, I knew it was exactly what I needed. I have been feeling a bit lost the past year or so, creatively speaking and had been looking for a new direction in what I make. I had just finished reading Carrie Bloomston‘s book, The Little Spark, 30 Ways to Ignite Your Creativity, and although the list of instructors was quite enticing, I decided that spending three days with Carrie might be the perfect way to begin the new year. To understand why, well, it would probably be easiest to suggest you take a moment to read her bio, here on her website.

I knew I missed the feeling of creating with my hands, rather than always going to the sewing machine. I missed holding a paintbrush or sketching with a pen. But it had been so long since I had done this, to be honest, I didn’t even know how to begin. Which is why I read her book.

The Little Spark by Carrie Bloomston

The Little Spark is a wonderful book that guides you through finding (or in my case, rediscovering) your creative energy. Carrie’s workshops were filled with activities that allowed us to play, explore and simply make. We worked quickly, and sometimes with our eyes closed, which was actually quite freeing for me, because it didn’t allow me to “think” about what to do. We ripped paper, we glued, we painted, and we drew.

Craft Napa workshop

There is something lovely about making without planning. The unexpected happens. The end result becomes secondary to enjoying the process and simply embracing the moment. It felt wonderful to just let the paint flow, and watch the textures and layers begin to appear. The two samples in the center are my attempts with layering paint. The others are samples are from my fellow students. I wish I had names to credit them with their work – aren’t they beautiful?paintings from a craft napa workshop

I had not picked up a piece of charcoal in 30 years, and yet, I had this comfortable feeling rush over me as we were asked to do quick, charcoal sketches of Carrie as she held some very graceful yoga poses. The end result? Ok, maybe not quite Edgar Degas – but it was such a special moment for me, I didn’t care.

charcoal sketches by pati fried

Just for that moment, I was back in art school, where my spark was once a full flame.

Our final project was to make a collage, a chance to use all the tools and techniques that we had worked on throughout the course. Mine is the third from the left, with the white background.

students work, craft napa workshopAgain, I wish I had the names of the other artists to share with you. Each one is so unique and interesting.

students work, craft napa workshop

students work, craft napa workshop

Every collage had a story to tell, which we shared as a group on the last day. It was fascinating to hear the thought process from each student. Carrie’s supportive critiques warmed my heart. Her excitement and joy in viewing each piece made stepping out of my comfort zone downright fun . I loved hearing her comments to all the students. It caused me to take a second look and see something that I would not have noticed otherwise.

Carrie is on the right, sporting an apron from her fabric collections, Paint, a line she designed for Windham Fabrics.
workshop, craft napa

Our glorious weekend ended with a visit to Pokey’s Barn, which is not just an ordinary barn, but actually, an awesome art studio. The barn was all dressed up for the occasion  in a perfect combination of art, textiles and wine in honor of celebrating the success of the first Craft Napa. It was a chance to relax and visit with all the amazing people that were a part of this special event.

craft napa

And, an opportunity for me, to thank Carrie for such an inspiring experience. Carrie’s energy and passion as a teacher were instrumental in my rediscovering my spark. I went to Napa with an open mind, willing to try something new and different. . .

carrie bloomston and pati fried

I came home from Napa, with my eyes wide open, ready to do something new and different. Thank you for that, Carrie! And thank you Pokey, for following your dream to share Craft Napa with us. I loved every moment of it.

 

Giveaway

And now for the Giveaway Winner for last week’s

Good Hair Day blog hop!

This was really hard – there were so many hilarious stories that our readers shared on their worst hair day. If you haven’t taken the time to read through them, you should! So many perms, Dorothy Hamill haircuts, blue and pink hair debacles – I debated (and laughed) long and hard as to who should be the winner of the Good Hair Day charm pack. But, I had to chose one – so the winner is. . .

Frances Quigley, who used to rest her head on the ironing board, while her sister’s ironed her hair. Frances, you definitely deserve a charm pack! You may have invented the flat iron! I will be contacting you to get an address to mail your gift to you. Congratulations!

Have a wonderful week everyone!

Pati

Starting out the New Year – Creatively!

Happy New Year everyone! I hope you are enjoying these first few days of January. Both Laura and I are starting off the new year creatively.

Retreat

Laura is off to spend a few days quilting with friends on an annual quilting retreat.

2016-01-06 14.59.21I am in Napa Valley, attending the very first Craft Napa.  Obviously, my pup, Betsy was not as excited as I am about this.

So, we will get back on track next week with lots of new and interesting blog posts. For now, we invite you to follow along on Instagram and Facebook to see what creative fun we can get into over the weekend!

Click here for Facebook at See How We Sew and  Pati Fried

Click here for Instagram at See How We Sew and Pati Fried.

Have a great week and see you soon!

Pati