Karen Barbé: Colour Confident Stitching

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If you've been reading Stitch*illo, you've likely been enthralled with Karen Barbé's work. Located in Santiago, Chile, Karen's skills as a textile artist (and designer and photographer) are impressive. I was so thrilled when she agreed to be part of Stitch*illo. If you want to delve into Karen's approach to colour and design, I recommend her book Colour Confident Stitching.

Karen's opening spread in Stitch*illo.

Karen's opening spread in Stitch*illo.

Here are some excerpts from my Stitch*illo profile on Karen:

Karen says that through her stitches she translates the worlds of home, crafts and comfort onto textile surfaces. “As an embroiderer I find a deep connection with a vast tradition of needlework, which I contribute to with a fresh look thanks to my design background,” she says.

Karen was using her graphic design background in the corporate world, which she eventually left ten years ago to pursue her passion for textiles. “I realized they were a natural extension of a family tradition,” she says. “Becoming a trained designer enlightened this long, cultivated family practice with new tools, both conceptual and technical. To become a designer honoured this natural and affectionate tradition. Of course I didn’t see it as clearly as I do now. It was more about following my natural creative approach to everything. I’m thankful for how this discipline provided a rationale and methodological container that has shaped and improved my work, regardless if it involves textiles, stitching, photography or, lately, writing.”

Colour Confident Stitching has beautiful colour palettes to inspire your own work.

Colour Confident Stitching has beautiful colour palettes to inspire your own work.

For Karen, embroidery is a synonym of calm and peace. “It also provides an opportunity for conversation: to discover the interconnection between your eyes, neck and fingers with the fabric, needle and thread. I like to think about embroidery as engaging in a conversation or learning a new language. When we learn to embroider, all your focus is put into mastering the stitch—a precise and guided movement. At the beginning we only observe and get into this conversation step by step, much like making sure we are using the right words and grammar. But when we remember—without thinking—the right direction and sequence of every up and down of the needle through the fabric, that is when we can start having a more fluid conversation. I also like to see it as a negotiation, a set of questions, exclamations and commentaries. The needle and thread develop their own ways and we need to learn how to interpret and decode their signs and warnings, their postures and gestures. It is only after we have repeated a single stitch hundreds or thousands of times that we can engage in an endless conversation without thinking about whether or not we are being precise. It is almost like a dance with technique, shape and colour, all unified among the story, thread and fabric.”

A spread from Colour Confident Stitching.

A spread from Colour Confident Stitching.

“Embroidering takes so much time, attention and focus. Sometimes, and depending on the stitches being used, an area as small as one square inch can take up to four hours to complete. And so, approaching thinking, experimentation and creation in design through embroidery means having to reconceive and reshape creative and production methodologies so that they can fit and work with the time demands of today. It is also a declaration of an appreciation of life and design in a slower fashion, where mistakes and corrections are given the necessary time and consideration.”

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“I like to think about embroidery as engaging in a conversation or learning a new language.” 

—Karen Barbé

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Follow Karen on Instagram.

Feed Sacks Binding Project

"This project began with a very generous gift from Janine Vangool, the publisher and designer of Feed Sacks: The Colourful History of a Frugal Fabric written by Linzee Kull McCray. Ms. Vangool shared fifteen unbound copies of the book in with different binders who were tasked with creating unique covers based on the contents. The results are a variety of bindings using various covering materials, bookbinding structures and ornamentation techniques." — TODD PATTISON

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ERIN FLETCHER:

The culture around feed sack fabrics really inspired me to create something that would highlight the various levels of design and craft that emerged from this commodity. Many of these fabrics were reused by women as a means to create garments for themselves and their families. With so many families reclaiming these fabrics, companies caught on and began to dye the fabrics and print beautiful patterns. Some fabrics were even printed with embroidery guides for objects likes dolls.

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In addition to this element of renewal and craft, I was also struck by the language and graphic design used on the feed sack labels. For the design on my binding, I chose to recreate a paper label through hand embroidery. This label is wrapped around an authentic feed sack fabric.

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Bound as a 3-Part Bradel binding. The spine is covered in handmade Katie MacGregor paper in purple. Boards are covered in vintage fabric with a hand embroidered Japanese tissue wrapper. Embroidered with cotton floss. Red leather wrapped endbands. Endpapers are handmade Katie MacGregor paper in aqua and Hook Pottery paper in pale pink.

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WENDY WITHROW:

Woven through the history of the feed sack are ideas that are often of less value or prevalence in the 21st century… frugality, resourcefulness, conservancy, economy, and preservation. Feed sacks served a function, while also bringing beauty and design into the home. In designing my cover for Feed Sacks, I wanted to give a nod to the many ways in which these lovely, practical materials were used and reused and used again. Once emptied of their original contents, feed sacks were sewn into aprons or dresses. Scraps were used to make curtains or quilts. Even thread was recycled and reused to sew new household items.

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In my binding, I repurposed a scrap of a feed sack to make the endsheets, endbands, and the apron that weaves through the cover. The quilt in the background is pieced together using a cotton broadcloth and pieces of feed sack cloth from a sausage manufacturer, Delicious Brand. For the title, I cut a linoleum block and printed it in black ink on broadcloth, which I then sewed onto the cover using reclaimed red thread from the Delicious Brand feed sack.

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See more on the Feed Sacks Bindings project website.

BUY A BOOK!

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The specially bound Feed Sacks books will be on display at the Iowa Quilt Museum next year as part of a Feed Sacks exhibition curated by Linzee Kull McCray. 

The Feed Sacks book can be purchased from my webshop and I have a few limited edition books packaged in a contemporary dress-print sack. Perhaps you'll be inspired to sew your own special fabric cover for the book!

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True Blue by Linzee Kull McCray

Feed Sacks: The Colourful History of a Frugal Fabric is available in the shop as part of the Encyclopedia of Inspiration set or as an individual book.

Feed Sacks: The Colourful History of a Frugal Fabric is available in the shop as part of the Encyclopedia of Inspiration set or as an individual book.

Readers will know Linzee Kull McCray's writing from UPPERCASE magazine where she has been a regular contributor for many years. She is also the author of the first book in the Encyclopedia of Inspiration, Volume F: Feed Sacks. Recently, Linzee has experienced what it's like to be on the other side—not as researcher, writer or reporter of the fabric and craft industry, but as curator and designer of a product. Her new collection of blue-hued feed sack reproductions was debuted at the recent Quilt Market and will be in stores next April. Let's find out how her fabric came to be!

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This photo shows the original feed sack swatches (two of which didn't make it into the final line). It gives you an idea of how close the Moda fabrics come to the originals.

This photo shows the original feed sack swatches (two of which didn't make it into the final line). It gives you an idea of how close the Moda fabrics come to the originals.

"Last winter the folks at Moda called me and asked if I'd be interested in designing a line of feed sack fabric. I've written for Moda for several years, but was surprised (and delighted) by the suggestion. Moda's design director Cheryl Freydberg simply said to choose fabrics I loved—no easy task, given the thousands of feed sack prints! I decided to focus the line on a single colour in homage to the feed sack swatches I studied while doing research for our book at the Briscoe Center of American History at the University of Texas. I'd fan page after page of the glorious swatches, all carefully preserved in colour order, on the desk in front of me. It was heavenly!

All but one of the feed sacks I used as the basis of the line are part of my personal collection—one was from Moda's substantial collection. The print with squarish flowers was my first choice—it reminded me of my 1960s childhood in southern California (hence that print's name—Flower Power). Next I chose the graphic Starburst pattern, then a plaid because it makes great garments and quilt binding, and then fabrics of a smaller scale and several that included accent colors. At the last minute I found the big red rose pattern—I love its drama. I sent the folks at Moda my swatches and full feed sacks and they reduced the scale of a few of the patterns to make them more "quilt-appropriate" and some colours were lightened or darkened to make three colourways. 

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In the tradition of feed sacks, I've stitched everything from embellished dish towels and pot holders to baby bloomers and adult skirts to quilts with Feed Sacks: True Blue. It will be available in stores in April.

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My favourite comment so far has been "It doesn't look like a line of fabric. It just looks like someone collected beautiful feed sacks." I love that, because that's exactly what it is!"

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Congratulations, Linzee!

Sunday Crafternoons at UPPERCASE

Please join us in my studio for some crafty afternoons. There will be refreshments and activities for kids. The events are free for UPPERCASE friends, subscribers and customers. My books and magazines are available for your holiday shopping! 

UPPERCASE is in the Devenish Building above Ethos Bridal on 17th Avenue SW.
Suite 201b 908 17 AVE SW, second level, end of the east hall.

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English Paper Piecing

Sunday, December 3 from 1-4pm

Learn the basis of English Paper Piecing using fabrics from my new collection. What's EPP? We'll cut little hexagons out of paper, wrap fabric around them, baste, and then sew them together. And repeat as long as your heart desires. You're welcome to bring your own fabric scraps as well. My fabrics play nicely with others!

 
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Pom Poms

Sunday, December 10 from 1-4pm

We'll make simple and cute pom pom decorations with thrifted yarn using PomMakers—wooden donut-shaped tools that are fun to use. Bring your own yarn if you want a particular colour. If we're feeling even more adventurous... tassels! (Here's the wreath I made last year. Warning: it took weeks to make! But I'll show you how to get started.)

Make Something Monday

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Today's the day to create a good old-fashioned made-by-hand gift.
It doesn't have to be something complicated, just something simple showing your recipient that you took some time. Time is precious; showing someone that you took time out of the busy season to make something heartfelt is powerful and will be appreciated.

Create something that comes from YOU.
It could be a handwritten card, a little embroidery on a hankie, some cookies made from scratch, a simply sewn pin cushion, an ornament made from found objects, a collage of pretty pictures, a finger-painting made with your child, a snowman in the yard (Instagram him holding a message for your friend!), a crocheted granny square coaster, a handmade notebook of blank pages with a found-paper cover... these are just a few little ideas that pop into my head.

Stay away from DIY posts and Pinterest!
These days, it is too easy to get bogged down into the perceived perfection of Pinterest and the tyranny of step-by-step craft instructions. Today's the day to unplug from these distractions. Comparing yourself to others and following directions can be so detrimental to genuine creativity. Use your own ideas, your own resources, your own ingenuity... you will make something that is from you and your heart.

Make something out of nothing.
Be experimental. Be silly. Creativity comes from letting yourself go a little bit. If you worry about stitching a straight line, today's the day to zigzag. Just gather up all your creative supplies onto the table and see what emerges.

Enjoy the process. Making things is a lot of fun!

I've started the Happy Flower crochet project.

I've started the Happy Flower crochet project.


These sales and offers continue to Tuesday at midnight MST:

All RARE items are here.  •  $10 back issue sale here.  •  Items that are 50% off here.  •  Subscription discount code is holiday2017-V50N80V72JGZ for $15 off subscriptions, gift subscriptions and renewals.

thank you!

Botanica Book Launch

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The Botanica book launch was this past Saturday, November 4 at Plant in Inglewood.

By the end of the day, most of these books had been taken home by their new owners. There are also copies of Botanica, Stitch*illo and the Compendium available at Plant. (Photo of me by Finley.)

By the end of the day, most of these books had been taken home by their new owners. There are also copies of Botanica, Stitch*illo and the Compendium available at Plant. (Photo of me by Finley.)

Thank you to my son Finley for being so helpful!

Thank you to my son Finley for being so helpful!

Me and some of the local folks featured in the book: Kyle Chow, Irene Rasetti and Tiffany Freeman. (Photo by Finley.)

Me and some of the local folks featured in the book: Kyle Chow, Irene Rasetti and Tiffany Freeman. (Photo by Finley.)

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Thank you to my family, Glen and Finley, for all your help; thank you to Kyle for letting us spend a nice afternoon in your lovely shop; and thank you to everyone who purchased the book!

My mom's quilts

My mom, Bonnie Vangool, is a very prolific quilter! Here are some recent quilts that were shown at the Saskatoon Quilters’ Guild show on October 27 and 28. 

The pattern was designed by Nancy Mahoney and appeared in the Fons & Porter Scrap Quilts magazine, Spring 2015 edition. The fabrics are from UPPERCASE Volume 2: Dots, Dashes and Diamonds, with the exception of the solid white.

The pattern was designed by Nancy Mahoney and appeared in the Fons & Porter Scrap Quilts magazine, Spring 2015 edition. The fabrics are from UPPERCASE Volume 2: Dots, Dashes and Diamonds, with the exception of the solid white.

This quilt incorporates fabrics from both of my collections plus lots of scraps from her stash.

This quilt incorporates fabrics from both of my collections plus lots of scraps from her stash.

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Beautiful Botanica

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Gorgeous! This photo is by Antonio Valente, one of the many dozens of talented and creative people profiled in Botanica. You can see more on his Instagram.

Antonio is a flower grower in Ontario, Canada. He recently launched his new website in which he shares his story: "I’ve been gardening all my life, but I actually come from a long line of avid vegetable growers. I’m currently growing flowers where my father and grand-father once grew their veggies. While I never quite took to vegetable growing as they did, it certainly left a niche for me to fully explore flower gardening. As a child, I remember my dad setting aside a small plot just for me amongst his vegetables. It was here that I was able to grow whatever I chose. I’d grow flowers, make bouquets, and deliver them to family members. Each autumn, after my grandfather had completed the trimming of his small vineyard, I’d use the vines to fashion grapevine wreaths and baskets. Growing up as a creative young boy who was fond of flowers wasn’t always encouraged, however. “Boys don’t play with flowers,” as I was told by an elementary school principal. Passion, however, is relentless in its calling…"

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Read more about Antonio Valente Flowers in Botanica.

The Typewriter at 1888.center

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It has been two years since The Typewriter: A Graphic History of the Beloved Machine was released into the world. It feels so very long ago! But when I think of all the books and magazines I've released in those months... 8 issues of UPPERCASE, plus Feed Sacks, Stitch*illo and Botanica... it is safe to say I've kept myself busy since then.

It was a book I felt compelled to create—not only from a personal interest in typewriters and, in particular, their associated memorabilia and ephemera—but because there wasn't yet a book that chronicled this graphic history of typewriters. Since 2015, there have been a number of typewriter-related books released, each with their own perspectives. There's also a new film called California Typewriter by Doug Nichol (currently playing at Toronto's Hot Docs) that features famed typewriter collector Tom Hanks, among others. (Although the director originally contacted me about being part of his film, his project took a different direction. Alas, I missed my one-and-only chance to be in a movie with Tom Hanks!)

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So even if my brush with Hanks and Hollywood didn't come to pass, there's a bit of my typewriter project living on in the vicinity: a selection of my vintage ads is currently on display at 1888.center, a creative community writing space, coffeehouse and bookshop in Orange, California.

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I'm happy to say that my book is still very unique its direction and the quality of its graphic design and production. And since the subject matter is already out-of-date, the ephemera collected within the book only get older and more interesting. (Like the rest of us, one hopes!)

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The exhibition is up through November. I was also interviewed by Jon-Barrett Ingels for the center's podcast: The How, The Why. Click here to listen as we chat typewriters and publishing, two things that go very well together!

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The Typewriter can be purchased in person at 1888.center, via my webshop if you're in North America and for folks overseas, it is available through Central Books. It makes a wonderful gift for writers, typewriter lovers and design history enthusiasts!

Photo by The Paper Trail Diary. Read their review of the book here.

Photo by The Paper Trail Diary. Read their review of the book here.

Volume 2: Strike offs

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Strike offs are hand-printed silkscreened swatches to show colour and registration.

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This is the most stressful part of the process, because so much is left to personal interpretation when it comes to colour. Requested changes to the colour are communicated to the production manager at Windham, who passes them along to the print production folks, who are in this case, in South Korea.

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Some colours are too dark, others skew to bright. Some are perfect, others need a bit more yellow, or a bit less yellow... or need to be warmer, or cooler... I mark down my comments for each design in each colour and discuss the requested changes with the production manager.

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There isn't time in the schedule to see a second batch of strike offs, so the production team proceeds to make sample yardage based on the first round of comments. The sample yardage is used to make the projects for the look book, sample swatches for the sales team, plus sample fat quarter bundles and charm packs to give away at spring Quilt Market.

UPPERCASE Volume 2: Dots, Dashes & Diamonds

My second collection with Windham Fabrics will be available stores in November! Leading up to its release, I though I'd share some of the process and behind-the-scenes looks at how it came to be. Like my first collection, the designs are inspired by the patterns that appear on the cover and spine of UPPERCASE magazine.

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As you can see, there was a lot to work with! It was a matter of whittling it down to create a cohesive collection, while adding in a few new patterns to tie it all together.

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My design brief for Volume 2 was "the same but different." So designs that could work as basics, but also some with more colours within a pattern.

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The fabric swatches on the left are from my first collection. They're placed on some paper ink jet printouts to see how they work together. The common motifs for Volume 2 are dots (both circular and diamond-shaped), diamonds (squares on an angle) and dashes (repeated lines).

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The colour palette is similar to the first collection, with little hits of black giving some graphic punch to many of the designs. (Not all of the paper designs pictured in this post ended up in the final collection.)

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Researching and designing (and collecting!!!) swatches for the Feed Sacks book also influenced the collection. There were two specific designs that I reinterpreted to fit within the collection.

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These vintage feed sacks' diamond motif inspired some of the new patterns.

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I made lots and lots of printouts with various colours and designs before narrowing it down to present to Windham.

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In my next post, we'll look at the strike offs!

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Fresh: Joan Garcia

Whether you are a fresh graduate or mature artist, it is often a dream to be published for the first time! In the current (and future) issues of UPPERCASE, I have a new column dedicated to featuring such talents.

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In issue 35, we meet Joan Garcia, a recently retired public school teacher who would like to become a professional illustrator.

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“I have been drawing and painting all of my life and I would like to make this dream of growing as an artist and creating and selling my work a reality. My background has been as an educator of young children with an emphasis on children’s literature. Children’s storybooks and illustrations have always been such a strong part of my life. I feel my work reflects a love of stories and a strong love of colour. My dream clients would be people who appreciate a story told through art and my dream would be to illustrate a book.”

The acrylic painting of the white haired woman is my great aunt Antonia from Spain. The layers of this piece include dressmakers’ pattern tissue, sculpting medium used with stencils and hand-painted coloured tissue paper, giving the impression of Spanish tile in the background. 

The acrylic painting of the white haired woman is my great aunt Antonia from Spain. The layers of this piece include dressmakers’ pattern tissue, sculpting medium used with stencils and hand-painted coloured tissue paper, giving the impression of Spanish tile in the background. 

The girl with the bow is my grandmother Nina as a young girl. I have a photo of her in sepia and I have always loved it—especially the bow. She loved colour and was a very happy, optimistic lady.

The girl with the bow is my grandmother Nina as a young girl. I have a photo of her in sepia and I have always loved it—especially the bow. She loved colour and was a very happy, optimistic lady.

A combination of mono print and ink illustration, pieces in the Menagerie collection are created with archival inks from handcut stamps and detailed with pen and ink.  Image sizes are approximately 3x5 inches.

A combination of mono print and ink illustration, pieces in the Menagerie collection are created with archival inks from handcut stamps and detailed with pen and ink.  Image sizes are approximately 3x5 inches.

I always work in my journal while my paint dries on my canvas. It keeps the flow going!

I always work in my journal while my paint dries on my canvas. It keeps the flow going!

Paola 58 is part of my "influential women" series.

Paola 58 is part of my "influential women" series.

See more from Joan on her website and Instagram. Do you dream of being featured in print? Apply here.

For Courtney Beyer, a trip overseas led to a whole new career path

Here's an inspiring story from an UPPERCASE reader. It would have been a good fit to the content of the summer issue #34's Explore issue, but I had already finished that issue when I heard from Courtney. She writes, "I went to Granada, Spain for an Islamic Art workshop that I signed up for on a whim. It changed my life and now I am a pattern designer."

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"Last September traveled to southern Spain and Morocco to celebrate my 30th birthday and take in as much Islamic pattern tile as possible. At the time I was a web designer in Silicon Valley and feeling like I was going to more meetings then designing. Before the trip I came across a workshop in Granada, Spain called the Art of Islamic Pattern, a 5-day workshop to learn to draw Islamic patterns and visit the Alhambra." The dates of the workshop lined up with her itinerary and she signed up. "I am usually not this spontaneous," she admits. 

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But this leap of faith turned out to be life-changing. "I reconnected and re-valued the craft of drawing and pattern making," she says. "I also connected with other artist on the trip who were mostly Arab in background either from England or the Middle East. I learned so much from them, about history—and about how much is actually not taught in school."

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"The trip set me on a path to quitting my job." Inspired to start creating with her hands again, she decided to specialize in block prints and surface pattern designs through her company Courtney Beyer Design that she founded in January of this year. "I sell hand-printed cards, journals and tea towels on my Etsy shop and I am working on a pattern line."

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Courtney says that one of her instructors taught the class a prayer that she now recites to herself before taking on a creative assignment or project:

May we all be guided by truth
May we have beauty revealed to us
and may it result in the good 

There's more to Courtney's story and art over on her website.

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Lilla Rogers' Gorgeous Garden

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Illustration rep Lilla Rogers' home studio is inspiring (see this previous post) but her gorgeous yard is competing for attention. Full of pinks and lush greens, the yard has many places to sit, ponder and sketch, linked together with meandering paths and changes of elevation.

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Lilla worked with Susan Redmond of Redmond Design Group on this backyard design project, that was completed earlier this year. "We had redone the front yard the previous year," says Lilla. She so enjoyed the process and collaboration with Susan, that this year they redid the back.

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"We worked on the design together. It all started innocently enough," Lilla explains. "I simply wanted a fenced area to keep out the groundhogs, rabbits and chipmunks from my cutting beds and vegetables. Ha ha ha," she laughs. "Then project creep happened, happily." She added three garden arches "smothered in mandevilla and climbing red roses" along with lots of bird houses, a bird bath, many paths and an egg swing—"which is great for meditation."

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Walking up the path leads to a very cute potting shed, that Lilla uses for writing—and perhaps as a retreat and studio for visiting guest artists someday.

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A fenced area keeps critters out of her cutting garden; its symmetry offers a nice geometric contrast to the rest of the yard.

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With decorations by both Lilla and her artists, the yard is punctuated by personality and colour.

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Thank you, Lilla, for inviting me to your 2017 artists' retreat.

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Botanica is printed!

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I signed off on the proofs earlier this week and The Prolific Group in Winnipeg doesn't waste time... Botanica was on press today!

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4,000 copies are being produced and the book is 448 pages so that's a lot of paper! (UPPERCASE books and magazines are printed on 100% post-consumer recycled paper.)

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As indicated above, the next step is some drying time before the book is folded and bound. It's the Canadian Thanksgiving long weekend, so that's perfectly timed.

It will be ready to ship very soon, so make sure to place your order for Botanica on its own or as part of the UPPERCASE Encyclopedia of Inspiration.

Happy Thanksgiving!

A story of UPPERCASE connections

Kim Fox

Kim Fox

One of the fun challenges when putting together an issue of UPPERCASE is curating the various artists and topics that will appear within its pages. I usually have a few themes to help focus my attention when assigning articles to my contributors or when inviting artists to be profiled. Sometimes, the thread of connection between one article to the next is obvious, other times a bit more obscure. At least to me, all articles within an issue are related in one way or another. Once an issue is edited, designed and printed, it is out of my hands and into the world where I hope it will inspire readers and help them make their own creative connections.

How and why an issue might affect an individual reader's life isn't something I can typically know. That's why I was so happy to receive a message from Kim Fox, an artist from Pittsburgh. She wrote in to share "a little story about how your magazine changed my life." I first discovered Kim's work at Porridge Papers in Lincoln, Nebraska, where author Linzee Kull McCray and I were researching our Feed Sacks book. I just love Kim's upcycling of vintage tins combined with quilting motifs, so I followed her on Instagram right away.

Kim has been working with tin as a material for 5 years or so. Through her company Worker Bird, she straddles "the border between wanting to create fine art and making products for wholesale and retail."

"A couple of years ago I fell in love with traditional quilting and the array of patterns and the stories behind them. I started "tin quilting" on salvaged wood and my work took off in a new direction. I began thinking about wanting to put together a gallery exhibit of contemporary quilters with a mix of traditional fabric quilters and makers using other materials. I had in mind a fabric quilter and myself but it felt like something was missing—that a third component would really tie it together but I didn't know what that was." Lo and behold, issue 30 arrived in her mail and Kim read Linzee's article about cover artist Laura Petrovich-Cheney, who makes wooden quilts using salvaged wood (the cover art features debris from Hurricane Sandy.)

Issue 30 cover by Laura Petrovich-Cheney

Issue 30 cover by Laura Petrovich-Cheney

"I fell in love with her work immediately and knew that she was my missing link. But I'm new to this world and she's so established and wonderful so I didn't really know what to do with this new love." Kim kept Laura in mind for months until one day last October "I just thought OK—it never hurts to ask so just reach out to her!"

In fact, the cover for issue 30 was Laura's first major article and magazine cover. Laura decided to forego the usual fee that I pay my cover artists; instead she received that value in actual copies of the magazine. Laura smartly leveraged the magazine feature to send it to potential galleries and to gain interest in exhibitions of her work. When Linzee and I were in Lincoln, we toured the International Quilt Study Center & Museum and photographed a portion of their feed sack archives. I brought a copy of issue 30 to give to the museum's curator—which was the museum's first introduction to Laura's work. I am thrilled to report that Laura will have a solo exhibition at the International Quilt Study Center & Museum in 2018.

Laura Petrovich-Cheney

Laura Petrovich-Cheney

Back to our story... Laura returned Kim's email that day, excited by Kim's work and ideas. "She had been thinking along the very same lines about a similar exhibit," recalls Kim. "We began corresponding and chatted on the phone and decided to proceed together toward the same goal. We met in NYC in January for a coffee and then walked over to the gallery in Brooklyn where she had some work on show. The gallery, A.I.R., is a womens' co-operative gallery founded in 1972 to further the work of women artists and Laura is a working member of the gallery which affords her a solo show every 3 years. She proceeded to suggest that we do our quilting show at the same gallery this fall when she was slated for a solo show." 

The pair began to look for other non-traditional quilters. "We traded Instagram pictures of great work we found and also began forming our thoughts about the work that we're doing—issues of 'women's work' and 'men's work' along with the use of recycled materials and the environment."

Now a year later, their exhibition Beyond the Bed Covers featuring Kim Fox, Laura Petrovich-Cheney, Rachel Farmer, Ariel Jackson, Luke Haynes, Carolina Meyer, Faith Ringgold and Jessica Skultety opens on October 12 in Brooklyn. (Incidentally, Luke Haynes was profiled in issue 16 in 2013.)

Luke Haynes

Luke Haynes

Ariel Jackson

Ariel Jackson

And there's more good news! "I have since been asked to include work in an exhibit in Providence, Rhode Island," says Kim "and have been approached by a gallery in Morgantown, West Virginia for an exhibit in 2018. I owe this new direction to you and your magazine!!!!"

Kim Fox

Kim Fox

Although I'm certain that Kim and Laura would have eventually discovered each other, I'm thrilled that their connection was made through the printed magazine! It is a proud moment for me to know that such a ripple effect of positive experiences came about because of UPPERCASE.