New & Improved

February 19, 2010
photo courtesy of Jana

For the past few weeks I’ve been revamping, refurbishing and doing a little polishing up of the ole image.

The Beginning

I started this blog way back when, after I had chosen the name for my company, REDBARN STUDIOS.

I’ve been in love with red barns (not blue or brown but RED!) for as long as I can remember. They absolutely fascinate me. In trying to come up with a name for my company I tried all sort of different names, including that ever famous exclamation of mine…Flippity Dippity Designs (remember that one Susan?).

So the hunt was on to find something that tied well into what I know of my past and what I wanted for my future……..and REDBARN STUDIOS was born.

(In my best Britsh voice: Can you discern that I have intense feelings of deep affection for the colour RED!)


Now back to this blog. I wanted to name it something in keeping with REDBARN of course. And in those humble beginnings is how Barnyard Chatter got started and also why I always signed off with…….See ya next time “In the Hayloft”.

I wanted my blog to be a place of art foremost, but also a place for friends, new and old, to come sit, chat, laugh and romp in the hay while we have fun creating and learning. That idea about why I blog hasn’t changed. It’s really me who’s evolving.

(you still with me? …thanks)

The Revamp

Over the last couple of years my work has evolved as well and I’ve had a few rethinks about what I want to pursue……always asking “what did Grace want to achieve?” If I could do “IT” (whatever it was) any which way, what would I do? How can I best let my art, my creativity manifest itself through me?

*Remember this quote form an earlier post “Clarity trumps practicality. When someone is clear, and they take action from that place of clarity then practicality has no choice but to move aside and let manifestation occur”…… Christine Kane*

I’ve picked up a few things, run screaming past some and, others still, I’ve just left by the wayside knowing that that was not the course I wanted to pursue.

What I know for sure (yeh I know, I sound like Miss Oprah) is that I want to create art….period! All that extraneous stuff…..I’ve found over time that I really was not that committed to and if one is not committed to something wholeheartely then it’s not really worth doing.

With all that said, this will be my last post from this blog, Barnyard Chatter. All right folks, stop the fluttering…..I’m not going anywhere. She’s been a good place to rest my non-stop thinking and pondering and working through. But her time has come.

Da   da   da-da   da   da-da   da-da   da-da      (overkill much…..nah I like it! the girl’s still gotta have fun)

New and Improved

Remember that revamping, refurbishing and polishing that I spoke about earlier? I’ve decided to move forward using that wonderful company name I took all those months to come up with, and actually try to brand myself.


(and the crowd goes wild…YIPPEE!  HOORAH!  YOU GO GIRL!)

So my NEW blog is named…..(yeh you guessed it) REDBARN STUDIOS.

Y’all know that I love, love, love colour, the saturated the better, and what better way to showcase all that colourful artwork of mine than a deep rich background. All I’m saying is don’t be stunned when you get there, okay?

And just so you know, the water is in deference to my homeland, the Bahamas…we’re surrounded by it’s shimmering beauty.

…check out the new ME here:

Now I must tell you and I’m not ashamed to admit it….I want friends! I want followers! I want you to jump at the chance to find out what I’m up to over at REDBARN STUDIOS, so go change your RSS feeds and sign up to follow me below….

Subscribe to RedBarn Studios by Email

or better yet Subscribe to the JOY-Love Tribe and get updates and extra goodies in my newsletter.

That leads me to the best part. I’m feeling so good that in celebration of my new blog address I’m doing a special Give-a-Way. The first person to leave a comment and sign up on my “new and improved” blog will receive a half yd of my beautiful hand dyed fabric AND one of my hand-made journal notebooks, a new design not yet published.

{ NOTE: giveaway has ended }

And because I’m in that happy place, the next 4 people to do the same will each receive one of my hand dyed FQ’s. What the hay….let’s celebrate! So……

Welcome to the “new and improved”Me!

….and all this to say “come visit my new blog” you say? Now really! How else would I/me/moi do it????

See ya next time “In the Studio”


Still Here

December 30, 2009

I have been a bit absent of late….blogging in a rather hit & miss manner (no kidding, you say!).

Although I have been working on my fiber art and journal projects

(above – new canvas journal I’ve been working on & below – cropped photo of orchid quilt for group exhibition…see, told you so!),

and taking pics of in progress work,

and pics of cool and interesting things,

and thinking and sometimes starting blog posts (new post from my Inner-views with another fiber artist in next few days)

but….for some obscure to me reason…..never actually sending these thoughts of mine out into the blogosphere.

My thinking right now as to why that is?  To some extent, it’s that my art is evolving/changing enough in what I’m producing, probably more than I can keep up with or formalize a goal for, so catching you up in blog posts is almost near impossible. New year…new habits (maybe, sorta kinda…mmmh).

Also been thinking A LOT about my Word For The Year (a la Christine Kane). I’ve gone thru at least 7 different words that I thought might be good to implement as I go forward but none have captured the complete essence of where I am in my life and in my art at the moment.

I also didn’t think any of the words I came up with would propel me to excel or push me forward any……that is until a few days ago  while reading a blog I ran across…

…you know, you click on a link on someone’s blog list and when you get to that blog, as you read you click on another link in their blog list then another and another and before you know it you are at a site you’ve never read before but it resonates with you then you have another blog to add to your RSS feed…(deep breathe here..ahhh) — but I digress, big time!

So, with ALL that said, I’m still here, plogging along, doing my thing. **Just a heads up…this post became way toooo long (a lot to say after that absence huh) so I’ve divided it up into 2 individual posts. See next post for my word of the year**

(Note: please take the time to read Christine’s post about your 2010 word, she explains it so succinctly and has a tool that you can use to help YOU choose your word).


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”,

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”,



A Long Uninterrupted Quiet Moment

January 15, 2009

Yesterday, after making dinner (something I don’t have to do that often thankfully because my wonderful husband loves to experiment on us..yippee!) we decided we would head to the bookstore for a coffee and some alone time…no kids or appointments looming.

FOUR hours later…..yes a whole four hours….we rolled out of Barnes and Noble quite satiated, complete and whole again. Upon entering the bookstore hubby went off to commandeer the comfy chairs and purchased the coffees (although mine is usually a chai tea latte) while I walked the store gathering my stash of books and mags I wanted to read….all 20 or so of them.

We sat down, comfortably settled into our chairs, sipped our drinks and started reading, occasionally talking or showing one another something that caught our eye. I knew I would be purchasing that night cause for my birthday my friend and neighbor got me a B&N gift card so I was happy contemplating which book(s) I would be bring home to savor some more.

As I got to the cash register hubby noted the time with a horrified “Is that the TIME?????”. I calmly asked him what the offending time was and he broadcast to the unperturbed store clerk that we had spent the last four hours there. Her response, much practiced I’m sure, was “it happens”. Still, we left the bookstore at 10:15 pm a happy crew. The best part of this is that I got 2 new books and a magazine and only spent 45 cents (how flipping cool is that?).

A Creative Journey

creative-entrepreneur-bkI call myself the perpetual student because I am always on a constant quest to learn anything and everything. I gladly take in all I can to help myself succeed in life and in business and would take a course on a subject in an instant if time were on my side most times. So instead I devour books.

My new book that I’m recommending to all is….”The Creative Entreprenuer” by Lisa Senora Beam. Lisa takes you on a visual journey rather than just a read-what-I-wrote-here-and-follow-it journey.

The publisher says “…the book offers a dynamic left brain/right brain approach to developing a business focus. [Lisa] helps the artistic types develop and harness their business savvy and takes readers on an inner journey of creative exploration”.

At first Lisa has you answer a list of questions that explore different pathways about you personally and you the artist as a businesswoman. Catch is (which I think is so cool) you have to turn your left brain off when answering these questions and just write….write without  thinking…..without worrying about punctuation and grammar. I think they call it stream writing or some such thing.

As I get more and more into mixed media and paper arts, combining it with my love and use of fabric, I am encouraged by Lisa’s informal but strategic approach. I have read a few places where you are told to visually map out with magazine pics and such the life you want.

That is what this book helps you do…visually mind map what you wish for yourself.  And, as this is a year of INTENTION and SELF DISCIPLINE for me, this guidebook fits in well with how I like to approach things, without having to re-read my goals and aspirations for the coming year. They’ll all be in pictures on my wall just above my desk. Nice!

Mind you I have not even begun to get into the book (only perused it in the part of the four hours at the bookstore),  but from what Ive read so far…it’s gonna be a good ride. Go check it out for yourself.

See ya next time “In the Hayloft”,

Creative Art Journey

November 25, 2008

Remember me talking about an art book I had recently bought , Kelly Rae’s “Taking Flight“? Well I so thoroughly enjoyed the book that when I saw that a group had been formed from it I had to join. So when Laura from the takingflight group asked us to share our “Creative Art Journey” and also posed some questions to help us along I felt compelled to respond.

Some of the questions she asked were:

How long have you been creating art?     What & where do you like to create?     How do you get your inspiration?     What are your favorite themes?   What are your creative goals?     Share anything else about your Creative Art Soul.

What truly resonated with me was the use of the word “SOUL” because I truly believe that’s where my art comes from….my creative soul. So here is my response:

creative-soul-journeyMy Creative Art Soul is always a work in progress. I started off with quilting (15 yrs now) that then evolved into art quilts (and pattern designing) and that has now evolved into mixed media, hence me finding (and loving) Kelly Rae’s book.

When I get stuck in my creative journey I like to visit new blogs (I regularly read about 50) and get inspiration from a new technique or the way a particular colour is used or the way an image (or artwork)
resonates with me.

My latest muse is using artists canvas to make my new mixed media art pieces. I love the serendipity of what can be done with these little gems. Just like my art quilts I work in a mosly abstract manner but I do have favorite images I like to use in mixed media pieces.

These last 2 years I have dubbed the “year of me” to find out what I like to do, what I want to do and to see where my art takes me. I love creating new pieces whether in fabric or paper. A long time passion of mine however, is to find a way to inspire other women to find their creative soul. Wish me luck in my journey…..the same I do for you.

So now you have it, a little about my creative art journey. Where is your journey taking you?

See ya next time, “In the Hayloft”,

Standing S T I L L

November 12, 2008
Standing Still detail

There much to be said for standing still,
contemplating silence…
and really S E E I N G all that the universe has to offer.

New Direction

My artwork has taken a turn. I seem drawn to create mixed-media/collage art on artist canvas. I have always love looking at paper, seeing the textures and, of course, eventually purchasing that paper. When I enter a craft store I am inextricably drawn to the scrapbook paper aisle and usually take a stroll down the aisle down to try to spur ideas for my art quilts. In an art store I like to touch the wonderful papers others make (mulberry, rice, etc.) then it dawned on me I can use them in my work along with fabric. Who says I have to make scrapbook pages, right?????

Anyway, my new favorite things are gel medium and the oh-so-gorgeous Golden Fluid Acrylic paints (and no, I haven’t forgot my Lumieres). Some of you might know that I treat myself to a book a month…mainly reference books of ideas or processes (not books with patterns in them). Two that have caught my eye are “Taking Flight” by Kelly Rae Roberts and “The Art of Personal Imagery” by Corey Moortgat. Both offer kinda the same thing but in oh so different ways.

Kelly Rae’s book is more introspective with an intention of helping you find your own artistic spirit. Each chapter features a different artist and goes on to tell how they explore their own creative paths.  Kelly poses questions to the reader at the end of each chapter called “Winged Thoughts” then heads into techniques to inspire and experiment with.

Corey’s book gives you a myriad of ideas for telling stories of your life (or those of your loved one) thru collage and, in doing so, giving your artwork more personal meaning. She openly shares stories of her family life with the reader..the joys and the sorrows… and tries to personally connect us with the artwork that comes from this.

The Poem

Why the poem at the beginning? An excerpt from chapter 4 in Kelly’s book begins: “…look closely at the moments of our ordinary lives….find the sacred in the ordinary…” These words resonated with me so much that after finishing Corey’s book, I had to make a piece to voice this same sentiment. This one is called “Standing S T I L L”.

Standing Still

My first love will always be fabric but I can now employ the two fibers in my work and be a happy gal. How’s your art journey going?

See ya next time “In the Hayloft”,