Mint Hill Fiber Arts Exhibition

February 11, 2010


Forgot to let you know about the other pieces I had hanging at Mint Hill Arts Annual Fiber Arts show last month. I chose 3 pieces, “Red Moon”, “At Odds” and “Stacked” to hang in their gallery.

I found out last week that each piece was also selected to be exhibited at the Gallery’s off site exhibition at Mint Hill Town Hall, the Chamber of Commerce and the local BB&T Bank after the MHA Fiber Arts show was finished. They were chosen to hang at BB&T.

Funnily enough, in my former life, I was an employee of that same bank in uptown Charlotte, oh so long ago. Full circle moment here.

Defining Work

My quest this year is to push my work out there a bit more and find more places to have my work juried and exhibited. I am so pleased that I’ve started off on the right foot, 2 straight months where my work is hanging.

Back in December I got a tip from Robbie Joy Eklow (on the Quiltart list I subscribe to) about submitting our work.

She suggested that we set our calenders up at least 6 mths in advance, noting all the exhibitions we want to enter, the entry deadline, acceptance and ship dates and remembering to update our websites and art records to reflect this.

This way we are not caught short trying to fill out paperwork, finish artwork or play catch up when the show/exhibition rolls around.

Just trying to keep my Word for the Year, D I L I G E N C E in the forefront.


Through Her Own Words

February 8, 2010

One of the artist I inner-viewed for my zine “The Inner Eye” has been chomping at the bit to read more on how the other artists answered questions I posed to them, so I thought it time to post another one, now that my group exhibition has been hung.

Today’s Inner-view is about Melinda Schwakhofer.

I first met Melinda a few years ago on her extended trip thru the States to reconnect with her heritage. Although born in the United States, she now calls Devon, England home.

Melinda is a very introspective and spiritual person who loves to cook but especially loves to eat GOOD food. As an artist, she love to tell stories with her art. At the moment she is on a “an inner journey” exploring the sacred aspects of her everyday life and artmaking. As she puts it, she is getting to know her ” Inner Monk and Artist.

Enjoy a little insight into artist Melinda Schwakhofer:

Journey Bundle

Inner Eye: What informs your artwork?
Melinda Schwakhofer: Nature, the ebb and flow of the seasons, certain architecture and urban environments, Jugendstil and Japanese design aesthetics, anything beautifully designed and exquisitely crafted.

inside detail

IE: Why fabric/thread/paint as a means of expression?
MS: I love the texture, fluidity and sensuality of fabric; the process of gathering and stitching materials together is like gathering my memories and experiences and making meaning from my life.  I’m currently exploring its sculptural qualities, combining opacity and transparency, surface design and incorporating text.


IE: Who continually inspires you?
MS: I’m inspired by the Divine Creator who makes the natural world around me and who ultimately inspires the music, literature, film and artwork which feeds me and my Mom who showed me how to put Love into everything that I do.

IE: What, if anything, precedes the full blow idea for a piece of art?
MS: Certain sights or experiences enter my soul and touch me on a very deep level.  Through my artwork I want to give it back to the world – the experience that I have had, the encounter and the depth of vision.

IE: What matters most to you about the work that you do?
MS: That I am able to infuse it with even a glimmer of the sacred and that the work is beautifully made.  That I make the work that makes me happy and is meaningful to me and that I don’t make work to bolster my ego or get caught up in competition/winning/justifying my work or myself via outside acclaim or recognition.

IE: What do you ask of yourself in terms of your art in the next 5 yrs?
MS: To make things that people can wear or meditate on (or both!), with words hidden on the inside, private and intimate.
– To make and sell my artwork – accordion books, prayer books, altars, wearable art via galleries, design shops and online.
– To make commissioned work for people who crave beauty and soul in their lives and to use my communication skills to connect with and discover what a person would like to have expressed in a piece of my artwork.
– To show my work in places where there is space for contemplation and which invite a sacred and soul experience.
– To work with people in a way that combines my counselling skills with spirituality and art-making.  Not necessarily Art Therapy, but deep, healing work via creativity.

IE: If you could not pursue your art, what other way would you spend your time?
MS: That’s like asking me if I couldn’t breathe, how I would spend my time!  Even when I’m not making art, there is an art to living.  It’s in my perception of the ordinary and every day, bringing mindfulness and creativity to all that I do and really seeing the world instead of just looking at it.

Melinda Schwakhofer


To read about other artist inner-views check here.

To purchase a copy of my zine “The Inner Eye” please check my Esty store.

Fiber Art Orchids at Daniel Stowe

February 5, 2010

Our Fiber Art group exhibit, Orchids: Sensuality Stitched opens tomorrow at Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden. Yesterday we gathered to hang our show and I must say it looks wonderful.

Cindy Klemmer, Director of Education at Stowe, greeted us warmly, showed us the hanging space and helped us get started.

First things first, we laid out  the pieces on the floor to we decide where they will hang.

That’s my piece on the lower left, “Ode to Gene”. My first foray into whole cloth painting and I loved it!

PJ Howard  “rose to the occasion” (I couldn’t help the pun) and was deemed our unofficial ladder climber. I did not volunteer for that job because the older I get the more I find that me and ladders just don’t get along.

She came prepared with her own tool belt made out of fabric (what else for a fiber artist right?).

The hanging system at the Stowe is the typical Walker System whereby long rods are hung from a picture rail running along the wall about 10″ down from the ceiling.

Hanging clips are attached and the work is hung from these.

Our one dilemma was how were were to hang fiber art that is usually hung using a rod/slat in a sleeve.

For each of our pieces we each made a sleeve that would still hold a rod (so the pieces can still be exhibited in a quilt show) but made it long enough to cover the foam core we used.

Wire was then twisted onto the foam core so that they could be hung gallery style.

After having made 4 of these revised sleeves I will be creating a PDF tutorial that I’ll put in my sidebar for those that want to know how to make one.

Let me just say there were few prototypes before I got to the one I eventually used for the backs of my artwork.

Here’s Deb Langsam (left)  rehanging one of her pieces after adding the wire to the foam core earlier.

Susan Knapp (right)  brought sewing supplies to finish adding a label to the back of one of her pieces.

While we were hanging, staffers occasionally popped in to see what we were up to, admiring all the work we had done.

The two ladies (below), on the way out of the Garden, walked in to have a gander.

Most people are still a bit uninformed about art quilts or fiber art and curiosity got the better of them. They spent a few minutes asking questions.

I love this part about exhibiting, answering questions about our work and the processes we employ and find it fascinating that people still marvel at the fact that these artworks are all made from fabric.

Included in the larger works,  we each made one piece, 18 x 12, using the same photograph as inspiration.

These pieces were hung in the Garden’s  atrium where we will also be doing our demonstrations (12-4pm) of some of the techniques we used in the artwork. Some of us will be available at different times to walk through the exhibition to answer questions.

To find our more info about each artist check out our blog at

The Exhibition will run through March 14th and we’d love to have you view our show.

Feb. 6 through March 14, 2010
Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden
Belmont, NC

Time With Quilting Friends

December 16, 2009

Last night one of the guilds I belong to,  Lake Norman Quilt Guild (a small guild of approx 55 members ) had our annual Christmas Potluck Dinner. It was a welcome and needed break from all the hustle and bustle of the season and all the artwork deadlines looming over my head.

This year we decided that, in order to commit to our group’s recycling efforts, each person would bring their own place setting (made clean-up a snap as well).

Each table was also beautifully decorated by a handful of members who were actually taking part in a table decorating contest (sorry, so caught up in festivities that forgot to take pics of each table).

We had gobs and gobs of fantastic food (someone even brought a delicious spiral sliced ham) and didn’t do too bad in the sweet department either. Just look at that table filled to the brim with our repast. And yes…..I went for 2nds (didn’t eat lunch so I could feast without guilt).

We were serenaded again this year by a local a cappella group who sang us into dinner. They sang wonderfully and even had some wonderfully fun moments as they dipped and swayed to their own music.

The last part of our evening was the “Dirty Santa” Christmas ornament exchange, you know the one where you pick a wrapped gift and each subsequent person either steals your gift or opens a new one.

It was so hilarious as people walked around trying to eye what others had (some even trying to hide the ones they wanted to keep). A couple of the ornaments got stolen so much that they were put out of action on the 3rd steal leaving some real sad faces.

I came home exhausted but with a smile on my face, aahhh…. I love hanging out with these bunch of women. Now back to the paperwork and artwork I need to finish.


See ya next time “In the Hayloft”,

Through Their Own Words

December 9, 2009

For my recent zine, The Inner Eye I had to include an interview. Since my zine is an inspirational art zine I, of course,  chose to interview an artist.

The only thing with that was that after I came up with the questions I was nosy enough to want to know how other artists would answer these same questions.

So I came up with a plan and chose to pose the questions to a few artist friends and include all their answers in the zine. Over the next few weeks I will post some of the answers from these individual artists. Since yesterday’s post was about Nancy, I’ll start there.

Meet Nancy Cook

I’ve known Nancy for a few years and was invited by her this year to join Fiberart Options, a fiber art group. In the last few months I have gotten a better chance to get to know her.

She is a wonderfully warm, engaging and inspirational artist, who is always willing to answer any questions we might have about our art in order to help us succeed. And…she loves to laugh, which is always good for the soul.

Her recent work is very much nature inspired. She paints her beautiful art pieces with Tsukineko inks on sumptuous hand dyed fabrics, then expertly enhances them with her quilting stitches.

Enjoy this insightful look into a wonderful artist, Nancy Cook…
Hospitality by Nancy Cook

Inner Eye: What informs your artwork?
Nancy Cook: My work is informed by the traditions of botanical illustrations and quilting mediums.

IE: Why fabric/thread/paint as a means of expression?
NC: I love the textures that result from the quilted line, it is a way that I connect with my past and women from many cultures and across time.

IE: Who continually inspires you?
NC: Women artists, especially fiber artists, women politicians and role models like Oprah Winfrey.

IE: What, if anything, precedes the full blow idea for a piece of art?
NC: Sometimes I wake up with an idea that is pretty close to full blown and that is a gift from the gods or muse.  Other times it is looking, really looking, at a tree seed specimen.  It takes time, perhaps a magnifying glass and, often, sketching the piece multiple times, before the full blown idea emerges.

IE: What matters most to you about the work that you do?
NC: That it satisfies me in terms of concept realized, quality of the production.

IE: What do you ask of yourself in terms of your art in the next 5 yrs?
NC: Have sufficient recognition that it will not be rapidly consigned to a garage sale upon my death.

This last question I thought was the best answer an artist can give…

IE: If you could not pursue your art, what other way would you spend your time?
NC: I haven’t the slightest idea.

I loved her answer especially because I believe that in in order to produce the best art we can, whatever medium we choose, our art should consume our souls. Nancy’s answer (to me) shows exactly this. You can find Nancy’s work on her website and more about her on her blog.

Stay Tuned

Be on the lookout for upcoming inner-view posts, including nationally known quilt artist and designer Sarah Ann Smith and one of our own local artists, PJ Howard.

NOTE: **you can purchase a copy of the first issue of my zine “The Inner Eye” in my Etsy shop.**


See ya next time “In the Hayloft”,

Fabric Folly

December 8, 2009

Yesterday I had a chance to spend some time with some friends and frolic with fabric.

Nancy CookNancy Cook decided that she needed to purge some the the fabrics she no longer uses so she invited a few of us over to help her get her stash in order.

Six of us sorted and sized and labeled …and talked and laughed and perused her fabric for most of the morning.

It was fun fondling someone else’s fabric because it was all new to us.

Elizabeth Miller

Well most of us.I was sitting at the table with Elizabeth (a wonderfully fantastic and funny friend) and I had to laugh because every 5th fabric she recognized as a fabric that she owned as well.

One of the bonuses in helping Nancy was that we got to choose a “bundle” of fabric for ourselves for helping her out.

Everyone took home their bundle and some even purchased a little more  than that (see part of Elizabeth’s stash at left..hee hee).

At midday Nancy’s husband, Don, treated us to a scrumptious lunch that included something I”d never had before, bird’s nest vegetables, sorry I forgot to take a pic of the meal but OMG how good were they! And I know where I can find them too…..Trader Joes.

Anyway, all this is to redirect some of that fabric into someone else’s stash. Soon she will announcing her fabric sale. I think she will do the grab bag….fill a gallon bag with fabric for a nominal price. Look for her announcement on her blog soon.


See ya next time “In the Hayloft”,

New Work

November 2, 2009


“Under the harvest moon,
When the soft silver
Drips shimmering
Over the garden nights…”      –Carl Sandburg


Our Guild logo is the sailboat to coincide with our name, Lake Norman Guild. One of the themes for a guild challenge this year was “Sailing under the Harvest Moon” (which also happened to be the name of our Quilt Show this past weekend).

Harvest Moon detail

Instead of using the whole theme though, I decided to concentrate just on the harvest moon.

In my research I learned that the harvest moon is the fullest moon occurring closest to the autumnal equinox.

An equinox, which happens 2 times each year, occurs when the centre of the Sun spends about the same time above and below the horizon at every location on the Earth.

Therefore the night and day are equally as long with no long period of darkness between sunset and moonrise.

The moon shines brighter, takes on a beautiful golden hue and looks larger than it appears because it sits so low in the sky.

It is so very bright at night that farmers work thru the night harvesting their crops working bymoon detail the light of the moon, hence the name “Harvest Moon”.

To depict this larger than life phenomenon, I painted 2 different Stewart Gill metallic paints along the edge of the hand dyed gold fabric, creating the illuminating moon.

fence detail

Using a silver grey Caron D’ache crayon, I extended the haze of the light around the moon and onto the field of wheat to show some reflection.

The thing that stumped me for a bit though was the fabric we had to use in our finished piece.

Originally I cut leaves out of the fabric to float on water (sailing theme) but they really looked out of place. In the end I liked the way I used it to portray a suggestion of a fence line across the field.

The quilt measures 20.5″ x 17″, a small piece again but the smaller size enables me to try out new techniques without committing to larger pieces.

I have been told lately that my work is taking on a particular “style” (big smile here) and that’s definitely something I’m striving for, to create a body of work that represents the essence of MY creativity.  I’ve got much more work to do to reach my goal and, in fact, I am a part of the year long SAQA Visioning Project to help me move forward.


See ya next time “In the Hayloft”,