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.

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!

Sew a Softie Day

Finley and I hosted a Sew A Softie party at our house today! Founded by UPPERCASE reader Trixi Symonds, the yearly event encourages passing on the love of hand sewing to the next generation.

Trixi writes, "It encourages parents and children to turn off their computers, put down their smart phones and discover the fun and fulfillment that comes from creating a simple-to-sew softie together. This year Sew a Softie will take place from July 1st to 31st."

I've been teaching Finley to sew for a while and he was proud to be a Kid Ambassador for the event. We invited a few friends and parents over and had some fun making creatures (with a break for cookies and muffins, of course.)

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Rather than have a set project that we were going to make—and set up expectations of what something is "supposed" to look like—I simply offered the framework for what were going to do.

1. Draw the body shape of your creature on an 8.5" x 11" sheet of paper (this way, it won't be too large and take too long to sew).

2. Cut out your paper pattern and trace around it on two pieces of fabric. Or have a parent cut around the pattern. We used fleece, felt and various remnants.

3. Cut out eyes, ears, feet, beaks, wings or any other embellishments out of felt. Use a simple running stitch to attach the features to the front fabric piece. Attach any button eyes at this point. We used contrasting thread so that it was easy to see what we were stitching.

4. Put front and back together and stitch around the perimeter, leaving 2-3 inches open so that you can stuff the softie. A running stitch is easiest. Finley used a whip stitch, which was a new technique for him to learn today. Sandwich any feet or wings between the front and back layers and sew them in when you're going around the edge. We used safety pins to hold things together in the meantime.

5. Stuff your creature and then finish by stitching the opening closed. Done!

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Our friends were ages 5 through 7, and although some attention spans started to wander we were able to finish our softies in about two hours.

To find out more about Sew A Softie, visit Trixi's website and join the Facebook group!

Mrs. Williams: an homage to a homemaker

 The "Ready for Dinner" Housedress

The "Ready for Dinner" Housedress

Artists Melanie Thompson and Judith Barnett have created a stunning installation in praise of women's work. "We are the makers of every item in the show," says Melanie. Melanie is a basket maker and mixed media artist. "Judith," describes Melanie, "is an accomplished seamstress with no formal art background but boundless enthusiasm."

 Installation view.

Installation view.

 Triptych by Melanie Thompson

Triptych by Melanie Thompson

"The installation of a 1950s kitchen was inspired by an old wooden recipe box given to Judith by her 93-year-old neighbour Mrs. Williams. The box held a lifetime's recipes, all beautifully scripted in pen and ink. The idea that this box represented the lifetime of one woman's work seemed too great not to acknowledge in art. The strong emotional and nostalgic feelings it provoked felt like a call to make a body of work that referenced the era of the homemaker in the 1950s-honouring women’s work."

 The "Everyday" Housedress

The "Everyday" Housedress

 Installation view.

Installation view.

"We have made a wide variety of art pieces evoking the homemaker style of the 50s," describes Melanie. "The iconic apron and house dress have been rendered in knitted copper wire, pattern paper, tea stained canvas covered with written recipes, cotton embroidered and dyed with onion skins, image transfer on painted organza, recipe pages, black garden netting and pieced material remnants. There are mixed media wall pieces using stitching, buttons, collage, embroidery, and acrylic paint. Mixing bowl sets made with looping copper wire, handmade paper, and chicken wire as well as stitched samplers on baking trays and a cutlery box with utensils from the era. We have stitched and repaired clothing, small wire houses, recipe books deconstructed, handmade books, a set of pot holders and a tea cozy made from used tea bags and so many more items too numerous to describe. It needs to be seen to be fully appreciated."

 Apron made from chicken wire.

Apron made from chicken wire.

The work is on view at the Artcraft Showcase Gallery on Salt Spring Island, British Columbia until
July 5, 2017.

 Editor's note: Below these paper dresses, the third card from the left is from the UPPERCASE book  Feed Sacks: The Colourful History of a Frugal Fabric  by Linzee Kull McCray.

Editor's note: Below these paper dresses, the third card from the left is from the UPPERCASE book Feed Sacks: The Colourful History of a Frugal Fabric by Linzee Kull McCray.

LanaBetty: Leaving the Corporate Life

 Photos of Lana Lepper by Jeanie Ow of  Stu-di-o by Jeanie . "I didn't know a photograph could make me feel so happy or beautiful until I saw her work," says Lana.

Photos of Lana Lepper by Jeanie Ow of Stu-di-o by Jeanie.
"I didn't know a photograph could make me feel so happy or beautiful until I saw her work," says Lana.

Lana Lepper designs and makes contemporary geometry-inspired jewellery. “I love my craft fiercely and passionately,” she says. “It’s unparalleled to any other task or job I've ever performed.” She lives in Vancouver with her husband and dog. “We live in a small (but not too small) apartment overlooking the city of Vancouver.” She has a bachelor of science in biology and enjoys snowboarding. (“And I'm cocky about how good I am,” she admits.)

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Nearly two years ago, Lana was laid off from a corporate job. “I was devastated. I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed, worrying about how I would pay my mortgage or how I would share my perceived failure with my husband and friends.” She felt like she had failed, that she wasn’t good enough. For the job, for anything. “What if I never worked again? Would my husband still love me? Think of all the nasty terrible fears you have deep down inside you about your performance or job expectations—those fears hit me like a wall and nearly drowned me in their miasma.”

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Fortunately, Lana’s husband showed his support. “He told me that we would adjust. Find our centre and continue to achieve our goals. He said he trusted me. He believes in me.” Her friends rallied around her as well as she tried to find new footing.

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For years she had been living a double life, one in the corporate world, the other as a jewellery designer LanaBetty in the off hours. With a holiday season fast approaching, Lana and her husband decided she should give the holiday markets her absolute best effort. “I decided that I would attack the markets with ferocity and passion. I would get angry about my job loss and funnel that energy into design, production and sales. I would fix up my website. I would set targets and hit them.” The backup plan? “If it all tanked, I would put LanaBetty on hold and look for another corporate job.”

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Lana’s primary goal, though, was to be happy. “No more working with stress so high I couldn't sleep. No more working so hard I forgot to eat. No more pushing papers for a company that didn't care.”

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“It's been almost two years now and I can honestly say I am happy. I have never worked so hard in my life. Every moment is spent on social media or in the studio. Everything I have done before this moment has prepared me for the next. I have had my jewelry featured in blogs, on models, in magazines, doubled my sales and have kicked up quite a niche market in custom jewellery.”

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Lana has found that the most satisfying aspect of running her creative enterprise is that she is accountable to herself. “There has never been anything more empowering or satisfying.”

She is quick to share some hard-earned advice:

“Dive head first into your passion and let every single moment be the best moment. Be happy with who you are and content when you get into bed every night. Strive for greatness and (sometimes) be humble about it. Be proud of yourself and always, always, do what makes you happy.”

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Visit LanaBetty's website and instagram

A new design for the new year

 I ordered a  Pom Maker  tool and went a little overboard on making pom poms this Christmas!

I ordered a Pom Maker tool and went a little overboard on making pom poms this Christmas!

 I got this far and ran out of yarn! fortunately, my mother in law haD a good supply of yarn and I was able to keep POM and carry on.

I got this far and ran out of yarn! fortunately, my mother in law haD a good supply of yarn and I was able to keep POM and carry on.

 The wreath wasn't done until after Christmas, but at least it will be ready and waiting for next year's festivities! Or perhaps I'll just bring it indoors to enjoy year-round. It's nice to pet it once and a while!

The wreath wasn't done until after Christmas, but at least it will be ready and waiting for next year's festivities! Or perhaps I'll just bring it indoors to enjoy year-round. It's nice to pet it once and a while!

Happy New Year!

I hope you had a lovely holiday and are feeling rested and ready for the year ahead.

As I mentioned in my newsletter today, one of my goals for 2016 was to revamp this website. It's the digital window into what UPPERCASE is all about and very often the first in-depth experience someone will have with the magazine before they subscribe or see a copy in person. The site really needed some focus and a much stronger home page. And in the backend, I've had my site hosted with Squarespace for a decade (!!!) and the navigation and organization was getting out of hand.

I've been thinking about the redesign for months—gathering ideas, jotting notes, saving urls on websites that I like, musing about it, wishing it would magically get done by itself... but my print projects always necessarily take the forefront of my to-do list. And readers will know that I put out a LOT of pages in 2016. Four magazine issues and the 544-page Feed Sacks book! 

With my workload done for the holidays and some mental space to tackle a medium that's quite a bit different than print, I started fleshing out the site redesign. I selected a new Squarespace template (I'm using Five) and got the basic framework ready. Full screen video on the home page has been on my wish list for years and I'm happy that there's the support to make that very easy to do now. With issue 32 fresh from the printer, I shot three different videos, trying to get the best possible result. I'm still not 100% satisfied with the video on the home page, but I'm sure I'll improve it with each subsequent issue. I'm a learn-by-doing sort of person!

After a very pleasant and mostly technology-free Christmas, on New Year's Eve—in that concentrated flurried feeling of having to get everything clean, sorted and ready for the change of the calendar—I dove in to the redesign. (Do you feel like that on New Year's Eve? I even felt compelled to clean the inside of my microwave. And I enjoyed doing it!)

The new design went live yesterday and there are still some elements to smooth out and improve upon, particularly on the blog page and some typographic elements... but the best thing about it is how this online renovation makes me feel enthusiastic and energized about the work I'll be doing in the coming year. A fresh new home for the new year.
 

coming up next

There are two new volumes in the Encyclopedia of Inspiration in progress: Botanica and Stitch•illo will be coming your way in the first half of the year. (You can still order the set and Feed Sacks will ship right away or you can purchase the books individually.) I have more plans and projects that I look forward to sharing with you soon.

And of course, the mainstay and core of what I make and do: UPPERCASE magazine. The January/February/March issue is on its way to subscribers and will soon be at stockists worldwide.


be published in uppercase

Want to published in the spring issue? The open calls for submissions are posted and submissions are due January 16.

Vancouver event: Salt Spring in the City

I love a good craft and art fair and there's one in Vancouver this weekend that I'd attend if I could. Salt Spring in the City brings artisans from Salt Spring Island into the big city to show and sell their wares. "Over thirty vendors have been invited to attend Salt Spring in the City," write the organizers, "It's a curated, pop-up village market, where the criteria for inclusion means the product must be designed, and produced on Salt Spring Island. The Vancouver showcase will include food and fashion, paintings and pottery, wine and crafts, and a sense of nostalgia for the West Coast’s homesteading practices. Visitors will discover the wares of woodworkers, designers, jewellers and potters, artisanal cheese makers and preservers, weavers and painters, artists and foodies."

Heritage Hall, at 15th & Main Street
Friday, March 4: 4pm to 9pm
Saturday, March 5: 10am to 6pm
Sunday, March 6: 10am to 5pm

 Deanna Milligan, Cherry Blossom Eco Clothing   Cherry Blossom Eco-Clothing  is made from materials that are sustainable, comfortable and pack in a pinch. The style is flexible enough to ware for comfort by day or add accessories for a night on the town, and turn that little black, eco-friendly dress, into an after dark staple.

Deanna Milligan, Cherry Blossom Eco Clothing

Cherry Blossom Eco-Clothing is made from materials that are sustainable, comfortable and pack in a pinch. The style is flexible enough to ware for comfort by day or add accessories for a night on the town, and turn that little black, eco-friendly dress, into an after dark staple.

 Rachel Hughes, End of Her Rope  These hair accessories, including headbands, will thrill you with their versatility.  End of Her Rope  uses a unique sculpt-able wire that bends on the inside of the headband, so you can sculpt the materials for the customized fit your head has craved. Non-breakable, and fun, wear them in different ways to create a unique look daily.

Rachel Hughes, End of Her Rope

These hair accessories, including headbands, will thrill you with their versatility. End of Her Rope uses a unique sculpt-able wire that bends on the inside of the headband, so you can sculpt the materials for the customized fit your head has craved. Non-breakable, and fun, wear them in different ways to create a unique look daily.

 Julie Mackinnon Ceramics   Julie Mackinnon , who refers to her people as “clay people”, will bring her high-fired porcelain designs that are gaining fans daily including Canada’s most beautiful tea store, Silk Road Tea, who wants her contemporary handmade work in their stores, look for the announcement this spring.

Julie Mackinnon Ceramics

Julie Mackinnon, who refers to her people as “clay people”, will bring her high-fired porcelain designs that are gaining fans daily including Canada’s most beautiful tea store, Silk Road Tea, who wants her contemporary handmade work in their stores, look for the announcement this spring.

 Cheyenne Goh, Salt Spring Tweed  Vintage clothing, like jackets, kilts and thrift store finds are upcylced into one of a kind bags and accessories. Salt Spring Tweed transforms quality jackets and coats into usable wares like iPad Sleeves, cushions, messenger bags, camera bags, flatpack laptop bags and purses.

Cheyenne Goh, Salt Spring Tweed

Vintage clothing, like jackets, kilts and thrift store finds are upcylced into one of a kind bags and accessories. Salt Spring Tweed transforms quality jackets and coats into usable wares like iPad Sleeves, cushions, messenger bags, camera bags, flatpack laptop bags and purses.

 Zandra Stratford, West Coast abstract painter  A former Art Director, and the designer of all the savvy marketing materials for Salt Spring in the City is abstract West Coast painter  Zandra Stratford . Her artwork is described as textural, bold and topographic in nature, and punctuated by an art series that features equal parts sumi ink painting and cyberpunk.

Zandra Stratford, West Coast abstract painter

A former Art Director, and the designer of all the savvy marketing materials for Salt Spring in the City is abstract West Coast painter Zandra Stratford. Her artwork is described as textural, bold and topographic in nature, and punctuated by an art series that features equal parts sumi ink painting and cyberpunk.

For more information, please visit the Salt Spring in the City website.

Jake Weidmann, Master Penman

Pick up your copy of this gorgeous issue right here.

Sweet spot

I'm in a sweet spot in my creative projects right now. For ongoing projects, it means that the momentum of being nearly finished motivates me to get them done. For new projects, there's the excitement of seeing something that was in my mind start to be made real on the page. And best of all, there's room for new ideas to emerge and future projects to dream about!

The fall content is assigned and so in the hands of others momentarily, Glen and I are writing the Compendium profiles and are about halfway, I've got the book design and page layout underway (I bought a new font for this project, it's always fun and inspiring to work with a new typeface), a still-secret project is incredibly exciting, the granny square blanket I've been working on for SIX YEARS needs just a dozen more squares...

Everything is ticking right along, but none are so demanding that it is becoming overwhelming... yet! I know it's the calm before the storm because a week from now the fall content starts rolling in, The Typewriter book preorder data needs to be compiled and the Compendium will be in full production and my projects will shift from creative bliss to "what have I gotten myself into!?"

So I'm definitely going to enjoy the time right now.

To see the rest of today's newsletter and read excerpts from issue 26, click here. Sign up for my weekly newsletter for weekly free content.

The Maker's Atelier

The Maker's Atelier, in Brighton, UK, is celebrating its first birthday. I thought you'd enjoy reading about this lovely place with impeccable design, so here's an excerpt from their press release:

 Frances Tobin

Frances Tobin

Frances Tobin and The Maker’s Atelier

Designer Frances Tobin has been making clothes for as long as she can remember, her mother taught her. When she left home, she trained in fashion and textiles graduating from The Royal College of Art in London. She went on to design for many leading fashion brands in Italy, the US and the UK, including Gucci, Les Copains, Esprit, French Connection and Warehouse.

Throughout her design career, Frances has always continued to make her own clothes. But she has never used shop bought patterns, as they don’t have the look that she wants. When someone suggested she publish her own dressmaking patterns, she thought yes, why not! Here was an opportunity to create something special.       

So she created The Maker’s Atelier for women of any age or shape - who know how to dress well, but can't always find what they want. Her aim is to help fashion-conscious women, create beautiful clothes to wear with style. She takes the key shapes from current fashion trends, refines them into clear dressmaking patterns, and then sources the perfect fabric. Frances believes that the simplest shapes in the finest fabrics make the most successful clothes.

The patterns and making-kits are sold exclusively from the website, and the making-experiences take place in a beautiful, vaulted atelier in Brighton's Kemp Town. The courses are suitable for beginner and intermediate dressmakers; they focus on fabric selection and making an individual item from the current range. Lunch, refreshments, maker’s gift bags and, of course, the finished garment, are all included in the experience.

Mapping Memories (in Washi Tape)

We featured illustrator and blogger Sara Barnes in issue 24 and she recently got in touch to introduce me to her latest project, Speckled Canary. Speckled Canary produces "fun, sometimes-collaborative art projects on a global scale."

Let's let Sara describe the inaugural project:

The project is called Mapping Memories, and it revolves around washi tape. Isn't that stuff great? It has so many bright colours and patterns—everything is more fun with washi! Mapping Memories takes advantage of these slightly-transparent tapes and invites participants to make art with it. 

Theme: The project theme is "memories," (your memories, specifically). Once someone is done, they will send their finished piece to me and I will add it to a special map showcasing everyone's washi tape memories around the world. See what that map looks like—it's a custom Google map

Partnership: Speckled Canary has partnered with the wonderful online ship, Omiyage. They've generously provided an exclusive discount code for participants.

Contest: There's a contest aspect to Mapping Memories, with prizes for the top three artworks. Omiyage and Speckled Canary are providing prizes. 

No tape? No problem! There are so much variety in washi tape that it can be overwhelming to choose! For participants who don't have any tape, we're offering a special "Washi Tape Starter Kit" that comes with 5 rolls of custom-selected tape from the following brands: MT, maste, and Classiky. The kit is $15 and available internationally. 

For those who already have a ton of tape, the cost to participate is cut by a third - $3 gets you into the project + an exclusive promo code for 20% off anything in the Omiyage shop.  

The deadline for signing up is August 16.

New Craft Coalition spring sale Friday and Saturday

Please join me and a roster of talented Western Canadian artists and artisans at the New Craft Coalition craft fair this Friday and Saturday. 

Friday, May 22, 4-9pm
Saturday, May 23, 10-6pm

Festival Hall, Inglewood (1215 10 Ave SE, Calgary)
Admission $2

I'll have the current issue (with free printmaking samples while they last) plus back issues, books, papergoods and special offer: subscribe/renew and get a free issue!

I hope to see you there!

Barb Skoog: Clouds on Water

A Journey into the world of Marbling

Barb Skoog is one of 75 printmakers profiled in the current issue. When I was going through the many, many submissions (250!) to curate the content for this printmaking-themed issue, I was delighted to see a paper marbling submission. Barb generously donated a delicious stack of hand-marbled papers for subscriber copies (for those subscribed prior to the end of March).

It was tempting to keep this beautiful stack all to myself, but I know there are dozens of subscribers out there who now have the joy of holding her papers in person.

Barb is a Los Angeles-based artist specializing in the Turkish form of marbling called Ebru. She writes, "This centuries-old art form involves floating paint on thickened water, making patterns and designs using special tools, and then placing paper, fabric, wood, or other materials on top of the water where the image is immediately and permanently transferred. In addition to having my work featured in art and lifestyle magazines, juried shows, and galleries, my marbled pieces have been used in bookbinding, in mixed media, as fashion accessories (purses, scarves), as home décor, and more."

If you'd like to learn this technique, Barb has a freshly-launched eCourse. The video below offers a happy teaser on what you'll learn in the course. It looks like so much fun!

Barb has a special offer for UPPERCASE readers. Using the promo code UPLOVE, you can get $80 off the regular price ($259) and take the course for just $179 if you sign up by May 31. Class officially begins on June 8 (6 weeks guided instruction) but students have access to all info for six months.

Thank you to Barb Skoog for her support of UPPERCASE through a Calling Card. If you'd like to purchase a Calling Card ad for the next issue and for the blog sidebar, please visit this page for more details. 

Compendium entries close March 31

 Image by Sophie Stock

Image by Sophie Stock

BE BRAVE

This is a snapshot from surface pattern designer Sophie Stock's inspiration board, one of the recent submissions to the Compendium. I hope you'll be just as brave and enter your creativity into the UPPERCASE Compendium of Craft and Creativity.

The entry form for this book project closes in a few days: Tuesday, March 31 at midnight MST.

You've got the rest of the weekend to pull together your images and answer the questionnaire. You can do it!

Read the latest news about the Compendium and get to know Sophie here.

Vancouver: Salt Spring in the City

 Erin Morris Ceramics

Erin Morris Ceramics

Salt Spring in the City is an event later this week (March 27-29th) in Vancouver that celebrates the artisans of Salt Spring Island

 Salt Spring Island Candle Co

Salt Spring Island Candle Co

"We will be bringing the island’s bohemian lifestyle and fresh finds from our hottest artisans with over 30 unique brands to discover," write the organizers. "From the modern to the rustic, chic to traditional—there's something for everyone. Salt Spring in the City will take over Heritage Hall (3102 Main Street)."

There looks to be a nice assortment of vendors at the event. If you're in Vancouver this weekend, please go check it out!

 Big Bear and the Wolf

Big Bear and the Wolf

Doors open on Friday at 4pm and the event is open until 9pm. On Saturday, March 28, 10–6 and on Sunday the event is from 10–5. 

 Julie MacKinnon Ceramics

Julie MacKinnon Ceramics

Thank you to Salt Spring in the City for supporting UPPERCASE by placing a sidebar ad! Visit their blog for plenty of artisan profiles and for more information.

 Zandra Stratford

Zandra Stratford

Still time to enter the Compendium!

 Images from Elyse Wigen's submission

Images from Elyse Wigen's submission

I've been practically around the world and back since I last sent or posted a message about the UPPERCASE Compendium of Craft and Creativity, but now that I'm back from Australia, I'm in full design mode to get the next issue of UPPERCASE off to print. Which means... I'm keeping the Compendium entry open until the end of March since I won't be doing final reviews until April anyway! So please take a chance, gather your images, and submit to the Compendium today!

I just sent out an email sharing more of Elyse Wigen of Prim Society's submission (sent to those who have expressed specific interest in receiving emails about it. You can sign up for those emails here or on the sidebar. To read more about Elyse and see her beautifully made children's products look here.

QuiltCon: Panels and Patchwork

Guest post by Linzee McCray

 Vanessa Christensen class "Working with Ombre Fabrics", student work

Vanessa Christensen class "Working with Ombre Fabrics", student work

For day two of QuiltCon, I wasn’t up for the 7:45 a.m. yoga session, but did enjoy the Maker to Making a Living panel at 9 a.m. on Friday. Four industry professionals whose experience ranged from a few to 40 years shared their career paths, their aspirations vs. the reality of “making it” in the quilt industry, and the challenges of small-business ownership. While each panelist (Denyse Schmidt, Mary Fons, Heather Givans, and Brenda Groelz) looks for personal fulfillment and a life filled with making things, they acknowledged that making money to pay the rent (or “buy the kitties food” as moderator Jacqueline Sava called it) was of equal importance. I loved hearing these women riff off one another’s comments and acknowledge the satisfactions, but also the hard, hard work that goes into making careers like theirs happen.

 Panel: Maker to Making a Living

Panel: Maker to Making a Living

Next up was one of my favourite lectures: Modern Materials: Quilts of the 1970s with Bill Volckening. This Portland resident found his first quilt rolled up under a table in an antique store and though he didn’t buy it at first, he couldn’t get it out of his mind and returned for it. He was initially seduced by the colors of the quilts of this era, but also became intrigued by the fabrics themselves—Dacron, polyester, and some quilting cottons—and the context in which they were stitched. (He compared one quilt to the painted bus used by The Partridge Family.) A number of quilts from his collection are on the show floor, so it’s possible to admire them in person. They’re pretty wild.

 Log Cabin medallion, unknown maker, c.1975 from the Bill Volkening Collection

Log Cabin medallion, unknown maker, c.1975 from the Bill Volkening Collection

 Tile Blocks, unknown maker c.1977  from the Bill   Volkening C  ollection

Tile Blocks, unknown maker c.1977 from the Bill Volkening Collection

 Woven pattern, unknown maker c.1979  from the Bill   Volkening C  ollection

Woven pattern, unknown maker c.1979 from the Bill Volkening Collection

 Grandmothers's Fans, unknown maker c.1979  from the Bill   Volkening C  ollection

Grandmothers's Fans, unknown maker c.1979 from the Bill Volkening Collection

At noon I gave a talk about UPPERCASE and expanded on the story I wrote about feed sacks for issue #24. Audience members ranged from people who had never heard of feed sacks to two women who had worn feed sack underwear as children. I shared a photo of a doily crocheted from the strings used to hold feed sacks shut and an audience member recalled a relative knitting a pair of socks from the strings she’d saved.  Another pulled the loveliest piece of feed sack material from her purse—the pink, grey, and gold apples had such a contemporary feel.

 Feed sack example shared by an audience member.

Feed sack example shared by an audience member.

All day long I ran into people who wanted to talk—about quilts, about feed sacks, about fabric, about a quilt they’d seen on the exhibition floor. Those conversations are the real highlights of QuiltCon. Even after the convention center doors closed for the day, Austin was full of people talking about textiles in hotel lobbies and over dinner and drinks. The quilts and the lectures and the workshops provide fodder for getting a conversation started, but the shared love of stitching keeps them going.