My name is Charlotte, sometimes known as Ms Lottie, occasionally as The Slightly Mad Quilt Lady. This is my blog, where you'll find me writing a lot about my quilting and textile arts and a little about my family's life in a small seaside town in New Zealand. Haere mai!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Dye a little every day

I've been using the hashtag #dyealittleeveryday on Instagram for about six months now.  It was my aim to dye little and often to build up my supply of hand dyed fabric without having to do marathon rinsing efforts (my least favourite part of the process).

No, I haven't managed to dye or post a photograph everyday!  But I have built up my supplies like I wanted.  And there have been other benefits to a regular dyeing practice.  I've honed my studio practice at the dyeing bench to produce fabrics without too much fuss and bother.  I also have worked out methods that suit me and processes to get quite different looks depending on what I want.  Basically, I've been increasing my skills.

There are lots of benefits to a regular creative practice.  I keep meaning to start a regular sketchbook practice but haven't quite got there yet.  I've seen people start daily photo practices or challenges, weekly mini-quilt challenges, printing, scrapbooking, painting, you name it - people will have done it.

Cynthia Morris, over on Original Impulse, wrote a nice blog post on regular creative practices.  She talks about how doing it can develop your skill, help you recognise your style, and learn to get pleasure out of the process.  It's worth heading over to read.

Do you have a regular creative practice?  I'd love to hear about it and how it works for you.  Or have you started one that fell by the wayside?  What do you think went wrong?

Happy creating everyone.

Friday, January 15, 2016

SAQA International Artist Webinar

Well hello there blog readers!  Nice to connect again.  It's been a while (a month to be precise) in which the Christmas Crazy has been and gone, camping has also been and gone - a little shorter than usual due to weather issues - and school summer holidays are still in progress.

Coming back to the blog after a break is hard.  What do I write about?  The stuff I did a month ago or the stuff I'm doing today?  It's almost a bit paralysing.  So I've decided to just start (now there's a piece of advice for all things difficult - just start!) and write about what I did today.

Today I was a panelist for the SAQA International Artist Webinar - Oceania Region.  Ok, so today was a little out of the ordinary, I don't do something so exciting every day!

(SAQA is short for Studio Art Quilt Associates.)

It was a pretty cool experience.  When Deborah Boschert, the webinar coordinator first contacted me to invite me to be a panelist, I was thrilled, but also a little taken aback.  I describe myself as an emerging artist and when I learned the my fellow panelists were to be Brenda Gael Smith and Jenny Bowker, both very established and well known textile artists, I was sure Deborah had made a mistake.  But she reassured me that she wanted artists across the spectrum and people with different styles and experiences, so I said yes and I'm so glad I did.

I put together my presentation in good old Power Point.  It works really well for presenting a slide show of photographs.  We were asked to talk about what influenced us as artists, especially in regard to our location.  It wasn't hard for me to show my influences; my work is pretty figurative and very much related to the natural world and what I see around me.

It was pretty informative for me to look back at my work and try and work out what was influencing me when I made it.  It's helped me get a clearer idea of my personal style and my artist voice too.

I also talked about moving to live aboard MV Cerego and how I ended up with my studio and art gallery.  I could have kept talking for another half hour (I've never been accused of having nothing to say) but our time was limited of course!

Apart from a few nerves as we were beginning, the only real stress for me was finding an internet connection with a good enough speed to make the whole thing work.  We had a practice session the week before and my internet here on the boat wasn't quite up to scratch.  I uplifted my computer and plugged in at my mother in law's up the road and luckily it worked without a hitch (and I bribed the kids with a special movie and threatened them with beheading to keep them quiet - it worked like a dream...)

SAQA members can listen to any of the webinars anytime by logging into the SAQA members resources page, and clicking the mentorship webinar recordings under the professional development heading.  

If you're not a SAQA member, perhaps it's time you were.  This is an example of one of the resources they offer to their members.  Aside from the International Artist Panels, they have webinars on writing proposals for grants, selling your artwork, organisation and productivity and finding your voice as an artist.  I'm working my way through the older ones and learning heaps as I go!  

So happy new year everyone and I look forward to journeying through 2016 with you.