Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Artistic Introspection......Good Medicine

As some of you may know, I've been unable to create/make fiber art for quite a while due to surgery. It has been a very tough predicament for me. But as I endured this involuntary hiatus I decided to make the best of it. My first efforts involved the development of goals geared toward marketing myself as an artist. Probably the most useful effort involved creating a chart with explicit goals. It gave me a blueprint for getting my name out there and going after some things I've wanted to accomplish for a very long time. I'll write more about this in another post.

Most recently, as I gained use of my arms and ability to sketch I began to think about my own artwork and how to create better art. It was in part prompted by a discussion on one of the e-mail lists I belong to. I developed four (4) key questions for myself:

1. Do I have an artistic voice that is strong, clear, and distinctive?
2. How does my work compare to other well respected (fiber) artists in terms of having a strong artistic voice?
3. At this point has it become important to me that my work sells?
4. Of all the art I have created, are there a few that stand out in terms of excellence? If so am I still excited about that work and what can I learn from it?

I had a lot of time to think about these questions and it became clear that while I think I have a distinct could be stronger and more consistent. I visualize the work of Faith Ringgold, Dorothy Caldwell, Susan Shie or Lisa Call - you know at a glance that it is their work. All are gifted successful artists, able to garner acclaim that seems to translate into sales. (I guess you now know my response to question 4, lol!)

As for my own work I had a few observations. For a long time, I have been experimenting with how I use lines and shapes to create the map-like artwork that I love to create. I've been subconsciously playing with 2 languages:

1. an "architectural" language (to be expected since I am an architect) that yielded lines and shapes that were straighter and more precise - City Grid IV.
2. vs. lines and shapes that were more organic and expressive - Labyrinth of the Hidden Goddess. See below:

What excites me about the organic language is that is allows me more freedom of expression and emotion. And it recalls maps of more ancient places, something I find poetic and inspirational. I did some research on iron settlements and the following are inspired by this study (and the quilt above on the right) the bottom line is that I think I have a potentially strong series. Here are some very conceptual sketches:

We'll see where this takes me. I still can't sew much and will start teaching next week at the university. As a result I won't be following up on these sketches soon.

At some point I'l post conceptual sketches for a few other series. Hope you'll visit again soon! If you've had similar thoughts about your work why not add a few comments?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Desktop Background = GIANT Post- It Note

Forget about scenes of waterfalls, birds or snowflakes! I just used the "set as desktop background" function to make myself a BIG, GIANT post it note for some long range goals! Thought it would be a good way of constantly reminding myself of some objectives I've set for myself.

All I did was to create an image of the lists, ideas, even a quote from an article written by Michael James that I've been chewing over for the last few weeks.

So each time I log on or minimize my windows -- voila, there it is.....hard to ignore. (Well we'll see!)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Studio News from Cartographic Constructions

Check out my latest e-mail newsletter - Studio News from Cartographic Constructions:

One correction though- I will be teaching at Art Quilt Tahoe in November of 2011 at Lake Tahoe at Zephyr Point on the South Shore, NOT Nevada City.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

SAQA Creative Force 2010

A monograph showcasing the breadth
and depth of work being created by SAQA artists

The Best of SAQA.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

New Fiber Art Workshop


Yes, I've been thinking and thinking about what else I can offer to the fiber art workshop scene that is unique to my design background and will be valuable and interesting to teach!

Well here it is: "THE COMPLEX COMPOSITION" . I hope others will agree.

This workshop will focus on using basic principles of graphic composition used by many architects. You will learn to create rich and complex compositions from this inventive perspective using the principles of SCALE, MERGING, LAYERING/ OVERLAPPING, RANKING, AND FRAMING. Each student will create a cartographic art quilt that tells the story of a particular place.

Interested? Just let me know.........

Monday, October 25, 2010

Monday, October 11, 2010

I'll be teaching at QSDS next summer!

Yes, I am so excited! I've always wanted to teach there. At the beginning of my career as a fiber artist, I took a class at the Quilt Surface Design Symposium with Judy Hooworth and it was one of the best learning experiences I've had.

If you haven't ever been -- are interested in learning techniques and design thinking related to  contemporary quilting -- then this is the place. I will be teaching a 2 and a 5 day class:

Session 3:     Favorite Places    Length 5 days
Session 4:     Map Haiku            Length 2 days

 Instructor Page

Thursday, October 7, 2010

My work just sold in the Studio Art Quilt Associates benefit auction!

This small study started as a sample for one of my workshops called The Expressive Map see below). After completion I decided to donate it to a worthy cause, the SAQA Benefit Auction:

Good news today....the quilt just sold in the Studio Art Quilt Associates benefit auction! (See row 12 the piece in the middle column)


Saturday, October 2, 2010

Art Quilt Collection: Design and Inspiration from around the World

Hot off the press ---- well almost. Received my complimentary copy of "Art Quilt Collection: Design and Inspiration from around the World" a few weeks ago.

This beautiful book  showcases more than 120 fiber art quilts from many corners of the earth.

My work is found on page 154.....I am so proud to have my work included among the art of so many artists:

Friday, September 24, 2010

My quilt in an upcoming DVD film.....Excellent news!

It's been an excellent week.......

Kind of Cool....just signed the license agreement to have my art in the upcoming DVD film: "Why Quilts Matter"!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Upcoming Workshops

Goods News!  My workshop calendar is beginning to fill up for 2011and 2012. Still trying to meet some of my goals and am making a bit of headway.

Just got back a wonderful trip and gave a lecture trunk show fro Amelia Island Quilt Guild! Here is a summary as of today. 

1.)  Trunk Show/Lecture Amelia Island Quilt Guild Inc.  Sept 14, 2010,
2.)  Workshop La Connor, Quilt Fest  September 29 to October 2, 2011, *
3.)  Workshop  Art Quilt Tahoe November 6 - 11, 2011
4.)  Workshops   Quilt Surface Design Symposium June 13-17, and June 18-19, 2011 
(click here for pdf brochure)
5.)  Workshop North Suburban Needle Arts Guild – Chicago May 2nd & 3rd, 2012 
6.)  Workshop Hudson River Valley Art Retreat: July 12 - 15, 2012

Some of my workshops are listed below:


Thursday, September 9, 2010

Upcoming Exhibit -- MAPWORKS

If you live in the North California area.....check out this unique exhibit. Two of my cartographic art quilts were juried into this exhibit.

Rattler Country

Tale of Two Campuses

Monday, August 30, 2010


For those in Tallahassee I hope you can attend.I will have a piece in the exhibit. The opening reception is part of the First Friday Gallery Hop:

(WOW... I have reached the point where I can proudly be part of a "senior citizen" exhibit)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

My Map Art Inspiration of the Day

What a genius idea! This art project by architects Marcella Campa & Stefano Avesani, Instant Hutong maps the Hutong districts in  downtown Beijing. Here is one of the urban carpets:

urban carpet

Friday, August 27, 2010


I have not consciously used the left side of my brain in planning out what I want to achieve as an artist. So...this is definitely a new activity for me. Perhaps it has to do with the recession, I think a lot of people are being more serious about turning their avocation into a vocation

I finally took the time to write out where I wanted to be in 2011, 2012, and 2013. We'll see if this helps to make things happen.  I certainly hope to see if there is cause and effect in terms of  planning and achieving one's aims.....

Take a minute, click on the chart below.......any comments?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Strategy #3 for Developing a Personal Plan for Success as an Artist: Print media and Image marketing

Note Cards.....
I've been thinking about my previous post related to Developing a Personal Plan for Success as an Artist. To tell the truth, creating print media of my work to sell was on the chart, but not on my radar screen.....until:

I had a nice little chat and nudge from Tana one of the owners of  Humidity Gallery the other day. She suggested that I try to sell note cards at her gallery. So I may create some note card based on the wonderful parks in the Tallahassee area.

This is a mock up of one I may create for our beautiful Lake Ella:

We'll steps --!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Developing a Personal Plan for Success as an Artist

I was rummaging around in my little studio at home and came across a chart I had saved from the Art Calendar magazine back in 2006.  I hadn't looked at it since. But reading it again today, it dawned on me that this may help me develop a way of using my time off from making art. 

The following chart summarizes a possible road map. I put a line through the things I have accomplished.  The author has developed "7 Goal Categories": 

#1: Solo exhibitions and showing in museums, 
#2: Setting Prices for one's work,
#3: Print media and image marketing,
#4: Teaching,
#5: Documenting yourself and your work, 
#6: Selling at Festivals and
#7: Exhibits and judging.

I put a line through the areas I had completed. As you can see I have nothing to show for Categories 3 and 6, but I'm not sure I am interested in pursuing all the goals.  I'll have to think on it............any suggestions out there?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Time Off from My Creative Life can still be Productive

New Postcards -- Trying New Marketing Strategies
While on hiatus from teaching and my art studio work I have decided to focus on marketing the fiber artist side of my life.  So with use of my right arm, right hand and a pitiful use of my left hand - I designed two postcards. I plan to do a small mailing local campaign. My goal is get some interest in commissions from local architectural firms, interior designers, developers, and various potential private patrons.  With the slow economy and the old catch twenty-two, my expectations are kind of low.....but it is still a good move on my part.
Here are the postcards. I wanted to use images of work that might be of  local interest.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Where my work can be seen in Tallahassee

Why not cool off in a gallery setting and take a look at some of my work?

Check out my some of my larger pieces in the mid-town area of Tallahassee :

1020 ART
1020 East Lafayette Street
Tallahassee, FL 32301-4546

Their new Summer Hours are listed at the left.

On exhibit are some of my quilted maps such as Rattler Country, inspired by FAMU's campus or "A Tale of Two Campuses" based on our city's 2 great campuses. FAMU and FSU.

Or you may want to spend some time in Killearn where you can see my small format pieces at:

The Humidity Gallery
1355 Market Street #A-3
Tallahassee, FL 32312
(850) 222-0380

Please take a look at my "Tallahassee Park" pieces.

I have created a series of cartographic quilts about several local parks such as Lake Ella, Lafayette Park and Dorothy Oven Park where some of you may have tied the knot!

Monday, June 14, 2010

2nd Place Award in Art Exhibit

Good things sometimes happen when you least expect it! On a lark I entered a quilt in a local art show, the Artist League Annual Salon at the Florida State University Gallery- Tallahassee, Fl.

The piece is called Lifeline and I had designed it a few years ago, after a year long hiatus from creating art. It represented my "lifeline" into making quilts again. Not sure why but I had never entered into into any venue until this one came around.

But much to my surprise it won 2nd place. And, it was judged against all types of art -- sculpture, painting, etc.....

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Thinking Outside the Box

Where old skool architectural tools meet the process of completing a quilt....

Went to the studio space at the School of Architecture yesterday. I needed a table large enough to use for squaring up my latest quilt.

Had a eureka of the arcjotecture students from the Spring semester had left behind a drafting table. I was able to use it to square up the quilt, it was narrow enough to fit on the table.

How convenient it was to be able to use the table and the parallel bar to draw parallel and perpendicular lines along each side of the quilt!

Awesome moment!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

SAQA Benefit Auction

This small study started as a sample for one of my workshops called The Expressive Map see below). After completion I decided to donate it to a worthy cause, the SAQA Benefit Auction

Another study is already in the works...........

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Creative Force 2010

I was proud to learn that my quilt City Grid V was among the works of art chosen for Creative Force 2010. This exhibit showcases the art work created by artists that are members of Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA).

A list of chosen artists follows:

Abrams Linda
Allen Pamela

Attinger Geneviève
Baker Roberta
Barton Elizabeth
Bornemisza Eszter
Brewster Eliza
Brown Peggy
Chung Paula
Davies Fenella
de Vos Ruth .
Errea Grace
Gilbert Monique
Goodwin Valerie
Harwell Ann
Hawkins Patty
Helmericks-Louder Annie
Herman Jean
Jenison Leslie Tucker
Kovarik Paula
Kroth Pat
Krueger Susan
Larzelere Judith
McKie Barbara
McQuaid Salli
Nash Dominie
Nida Kathy
Pasquini Masopust
Pauly Pat
Pet-Jacobs Mirjam
Pfaff Julia
Pressma C.J
Randol Melody
Sargeant Dinah
Smith Lura Schwarz
Spiegel Virginia
Stuart-Head Averill
Timm Catherine
Tunnell Karen
Valya Valya C
Watler Barbara
Williamson Marianne
Willoughby Scott Jayne
Woock Sandra Blue
Wright Diane

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Map Haiku Workshop - Visions Art Gallery

The Visions Art Gallery, beautiful San Diego and the wonderful, creative women that attended my "Map Haiku" workshop......these were the ingredients for a memorable times! And to top it off I got to spend time with my dear college friend Gwen!

The exhibit entitled "3 Voices" was
excellent. The work of my fellow artists Katherine Allen and Kent Williams was stunning. Each of us had a room of our own and the Visions staff did a great job of promoting and creating an engaging atmosphere for the opening. It was held in conjunction with the 1st Friday art events taking place on the same night.

My workshop was held the next day. Everyone had the challenge of creating a mixed media map of an imaginary place. The inspiration was haiku especially written to conjure up poetic images of a place seen from above.

When I returned home I heard from Jo and Suanne who were kind enough to provide feedback on their experience with the class. As you can see they both chose the same haiku as inspiration.

"Valerie, wanted to thank you for a wonderful class at Visions last week. I thoroughly enjoyed it and got a lot out of it. I will keep track of your class schedule and hope to take a longer class someday. Here is my finished Map Haiku."

tracings on the land /

grace monochromatic spaces /

and serene dark places.

And I heard from part Suanne as well:


I had a wonderful time in your class and learned so much. I have a much better

understanding of using paint on quilts without feeling I have to paint the whole


Attached is a finished picture of my quilt. I plan to name it "Haiku Harmony"

and mention on the back how 3 of your Haiku's inspired the quilt.

It was a joy to learn from you and I am inspired by your work."

tracings on the land /

grace monochromatic spaces /

and serene dark places.

I will post more images of work done by other students later this week..................