Women in the Abstract

Detail of Kate Dwyer's "Roundabouts", 2013.  Spray paint on aluminum.  17x23 inches.  Showing at the "Women in the Abstract" show.

Detail of Kate Dwyer’s “Roundabouts”, 2013. Spray paint on aluminum. 17×23 inches. Showing at the “Women in the Abstract” show.

Several WA SDA members are showcased with other women artists in a new exhibition at Bainbridge Arts & Crafts in November, including Barbara Zander, Barbara Lee Smith, and Lynda Rickey.


Form, shape, color, and texture can challenge and mesmerize when freed from the anchor of representation.  This powerhouse group of women artists invite us to revel in a profusion of abstraction.  The artists showing at this fascinating show are: Carole Barrer, Marilyn Bergstrom, Caroline Cooley Browne, Leah Clark, Marcella Diamond, Kate Dwyer, Jeannie Grisham, Victoria Harrison, Barbara Kowalski, Suzy Kueckelhan, Kari Bergstrom Mackenzie, Elizabeth Moga, Jeane Myers, M.J. Orcutt, Joan Stuart Ross, Lynda Rickey, Selene Santucci, Barbara Lee Smith, Sharon Strauss, Diane Walker, Helga Winter, Cathy Woo, and Barbara Zander.

Bainbridge Arts & Crafts is located at 151 Winslow Way East… walking distance from the Bainbridge ferry terminal.  For directions to the gallery, click here.

The opening reception will be held Friday, November 1 from 6-8 pm.  There will also be an artist demo of “Surface Exploration” on Saturday November 2 from 12:30-1:30 by Carole Barrer.  Surface texture plays a big role in Carole Barrer’s paintings, emphasizing what she calls the “everyday tension” between images and brushwork.  This is a great opportunity to see some fabulous art and get a little instruction at the same time!

“Hive” Installation Art on Camano Island


Barbara De Pirro

Barbara De Pirro

Many of you have heard of or attended a Golden products lecture or workshop led by Barbara De Pirro.

A wonderful artist and SDA member, Barbara shares her knowledge regularly on how to use all sorts of acrylic art materials, from gels, pastes and mediums, to paints, grounds, and glazes!  Barbara’s most recent project is an installation piece- “Hive” which flows out of and over a grand old Cedar tree at the Matzke Sculpture Park on Camano Island.

Barbara created this amazing sculpture using reclaimed plastic bottles, stitched together with staples and stainless steel pins.  Light plays off of the material, illuminating it in an organic way.

Detail view of "Hive"

Detail view of “Hive”

Barbara is “fascinated by the brilliance and resilience of nature while at the same time its fragility & vulnerability.”  She states, “I surround myself with its many forms, surfaces and textures. Nature is as much a part of my life as it is the impetus for all my artwork.”

The Matzke Fine Art Gallery and Sculpture Park is located at 2345 Blanche Way, on Camano Island.  Make sure to stop by, if you’re in the neighborhood!


A detail shot that shows how "Hive" is stitched together with stables.

A detail shot that shows how “Hive” is stitched together with stables.

Bring Your Best Ideas To Life


Dreams are the stuff of meaning, purpose, calling, our life’s work. Following them or ignoring them impacts our income, health, weight, emotional well-being, and more. What creative projects and dreams have you deferred or left unfinished?

You know what I’m talking about. That novel, that work of art, that album, memoir, show, tour, play, movie, website, business, garden, or other creative project that’s been bouncing around in your head or maybe you’ve even begun. Still, deep down, you know, your life won’t be complete if you let it stay hidden inside of you forever. And, you’ll miss out on the chance to confirm your gifts and make the impact in the world you know you could.

This project may be all that stands between you and:

  • The success of your business
  • The legacy you leave to your grandchildren
  • Your recognition as an artist
  • Becoming a (well-) paid professional
  • Proving all the doubters wrong (including yourself)
  • Changing the world

Time to admit that a dream deferred too long is a dream denied and make your dreams a reality! The world needs your gifts and vision. Let’s bring them to life!

Join us for a FREE Workshop, Bring Your Best Brilliant Ideas To Life on Monday, November 4 from 7-9pm.

In this workshop, you will discover:

  • Why it is so important to finish that/those project(s) anyway
  • Mindset traps that are holding you back
  • Behavior patterns that prevent your gifts from being born and shared
  • How a big creative project is different from creative play and how to have both alive in your life
  • The 4 Key Steps To Completing Your Work while getting the income, fans, recognition and meaning you need

PLUS, receive a complementary 1-on-1 Creative Project Jumpstart Session to help you gain clarity, focus and direction about bringing your ideas to life.

Patricia Morrison, Founder of Inner Fire, Outer Light will lead the workshop

Patricia Morrison, Founder of Inner Fire, Outer Light will lead the workshop

In this engaging workshop, Inner Fire, Outer Light (www.innerfireouterlight.com) founder, Patricia Morrison, will help you leap over your creative blocks. Working with creative people across disciplines, Patricia has many suggestions and tools that will help you gain clarity about what’s holding you back, overcome your creative and organizational challenges, complete your projects and gain the income, recognition, fans, and impact you’ve been missing.

Monday, November 4th 7-9 PM
Spark Studio in the BallardWorks building
2862 NW Market St, Seattle WA 98107

Please RSVP by November 1st to patriciamorrisonmusic@gmail.com  to claim one of the 10 available spots.


Building a Body of Work

Detail View of original artwork by WA SDA member Peggy O'Heron.

Detail View of original artwork “Don’t burn the Day Away”  by WA SDA member Peggy O’Heron.

In our breakout sessions for the WA State SDA meeting last week, one group, dubbed “The Fabricators” were drawn together by the desire to “build a body of work, prepare for a sale, or have a solo exhibition.”  Here are some thoughts drawn from their session:

When asked “What part of Jane Dunnewold’s presentation (click link to see a write-up of SDA president Jane’s talk_ can you relate to?” there were numerous reactions.  One of the main things that blocks many in this group is what Jane calls “The Committee.”  It’s so easy to be hard on oneself.  The committee resides in our own minds and points out our mistakes and every little shortfall, reducing our confidence.  To overcome this, we need to learn how to play… and then learn by playing.  Rather than being afraid to make mistakes, we need to make more!  We learn a great deal by making mistakes and if we aren’t making any, then we’re not trying hard enough.  Both playing and making mistakes are part of building creative stamina, which is important to develop our artistic muscles.  Some of Jane’s suggestions for gaining creative stamina resonated with this group: free association exercises with a list of words and the image that they conjure; a form of journaling and sketching; taking a photo every day; and the art of intentional noticing.

The next question the group was asked was, “Why did you chose this group?”  Some of the artists are needing some direction or feel they way to learn the logistics of working in a series.  There are those who are interested in developing and preparing a body of work for an exhibit, or working in the direction of putting work in an exhibition.  A few are working to develop the courage to enter a piece in a show and need the confidence to move forward.  Finally, many participants expressed the desire to find their own voice.  They’d like to put some constraints on their body of work.  It was suggested they ask themselves: “Why am I creating this?” and “What is it that I’m trying to say?”

the-first-series-of-time-clocks-30147“What things do you need to further your art?”  Overwhelmingly, Time!  This includes making a commitment, finding ways to stop being non-productive, and coming up with creative ways to stop avoiding the studio.  Another related factor is to be Focused.  Eliminate or ignore distractions… this means “Just say NO to more cleaning!”  Some people discussed needing more confidence and others wanted to set some perimeters or work with the constructs of deadlines, to ensure they’d get their work done.

The interaction and support shared between group members was remarkable.  Some of the tips shared might be things you’d like to try too!

  • Just do it! ENTER a show. Rejection is hard, getting in a show helps validate what you do and instills more confidence, but even when you don’t get in, you learn from the rejection. Even if your piece just didn’t fit the criteria on that given day, within that set of jurors, it may appeal to a juror who remembers your work at a future date and you may be accepted then. Your rejection has then paved the way for future success. Resubmitting your work to a different jury can an often does get a different result. Get your work seen!
  • A good beginning place is to look for themes of upcoming shows to see what appeals to you, or make the choice to enter into a specific show, or a show in a particular place.
  • The first step is the most frightening. The application process might be intimidating but is a confidence builder. Another good entry point is to practice being a juror yourself, it helps you realize that rejection is not to be taken personally. For fun, “google” famous artist rejections.
  • Ask yourself if you are making the act of getting into a show the point, or are you passionate about sharing your work and your message with others. This may reframe the process for you and force you to think about who you are as an artists.
  • Create and keep a “studio log” where the days accomplishments get recorded so you can track what actually does get done in the studio. Log the time you start, end and what you did. Don’t forget to include the time you spend thinking about making art even when you don’t get to work. Adapt as necessary to meet your own needs and style.

    Studio Log book

    Studio Log book

  • The log book can also be a place to record “next steps”, helping to kick start the next session in the studio by taking the element of overwhelm out of the “what should I do today” syndrome we often experience when we finally get into the studio.
  • Have portable projects that can easily be moved to another location outside the studio. There is a lot to be said for a change of venue when looking to be inspired.
  • Establish a regular “work time” but not so rigidly that you kick yourself when you can’t get into the studio. No beating yourself up! The Committee does enough of that.
  • To handle guilt about not finishing the many projects dangling in your studio, donate the pieces you no longer love, give away, throw away or in some other way, part with things you probably never will finish and make you feel like a slouch for not finishing in this lifetime. Someone else may really want to finish.
  • Self-promotion is one of the most important parts of showing your work. Create a self-promotion packet, create an artist’s statement with a professional polish that presents you in the best light. It speaks loudly about who you are.
  • The “Artist’s Trust” is a great resource for the business side of art. http://artisttrust.org/index.php/for-artists/career-training and http://artisttrust.org/index.php/support-artists/creative-career-center. Edmonds Community College has an Artist’s Trust program as well.
  • Set a timer and allow yourself a five minute (or other amount of time) clean-up period each day when you first arrive in the studio. Make it a part of your studio entry ritual if need be. Twyla Tharp in her book, “The Creative Ritual” advocates this sort of thing. (See Below for a couple of great examples from Twyla’s book–a great read if you need to get your creative juices flowing.)
  • If you look at what has lasted through time, art is clearly one of the more valuable things we have to offer. How can we as a group support one another in the future? Create an emailed list of resources and calls for entry.

“You may wonder which came first: the skill or the hard work. But that’s a moot point. The Zen master cleans his own studio. So should you.” The composer Igor Stravinsky did the same thing every morning when he entered his studio to work: He sat at the piano and played a Bach fugue. Perhaps he needed the ritual to feel like a musician, or the playing somehow connected him to musical notes, his vocabulary. Perhaps he was honoring his hero, Bach, and seeking his blessing for the day. Perhaps it was nothing more than a simple method to get his fingers moving, his motor running, his mind thinking music. But repeating the routine each day in the studio induced some click that got him started. ― Twyla Tharp, The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life

In the end, there is no ideal condition for creativity. What works for one person is useless for another. The only criterion is this: Make it easy on yourself. Find a working environment where the prospect of wrestling with your muse doesn’t scare you, doesn’t shut you down. It should make you want to be there, and once you find it, stick with it.  To get the creative habit, you need a working environment that’s habit-forming.

Studio of Laurie Kathleen Clark, WA SDA member, artist, and sacred space consultant for "Heartitude: Art + Soul"

Studio of Laurie Kathleen Clark, WA SDA member, artist, and sacred space consultant for “Heartitude: Art + Soul”

All preferred working states, no matter how eccentric, have one thing in common: When you enter into them, they compel you to get started.” ― Twyla Tharp, The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life

Thanks so much to Laurie Clark, for taking such comprehensive notes for the Fabricators group session! Laurie will be leading a special retreat and art-making workshop called ‘Honoring Our Ancestors with Art & Prayer” on November 1st.  Please see our SDA WA calendar https://surfacedesignwa.wordpress.com/calendar/ for more info!

Seattle Weavers’ Guild Annual Show and Sale- Oct 24-26

Come see the works of SDA members: Gay Jensen, Barb Zander, Cyndi Wolfe, Natalie Olsen, Lois Gaylord, Judith Warren and Margaret Wheeler at the Seattle Weavers’ Guild Annual Show and Sale on October 24-26. We invite you to this fun event showcasing a wide array of fiber works by members of the Seattle Weavers’ Guild.

Seattle Weavers Guild Show & Sale- Oct 24-26, 2013

Annual Show and Sale dates and times:

Thursday, October 24, 2013     5pm     –    8pm
Friday, October 25, 2013    10am     –    8pm
Saturday, October 26, 2013    10am    –    5pm

Lower Level, Bloedel Hall – St. Mark’s Cathedral
1245 10th Ave. E. Seattle, WA 98102-4398
Free event with Free parking!

The making of cloth is one of humanity’s oldest endeavors. In this digital and electronic age, the members of the Seattle Weavers’ Guild are keepers of this antiquated technology. While some weavers use computers for design or computer controlled looms, the majority still use the tools that have been used for hundreds if not thousands of years.

The annual sale showcases one-of-a-kind hand-crafted items, including towels, rugs, blankets, tapestries, exquisite jewelry, accessories for pets, children’s items, handmade cards, household goods, hats, bags, wall art, jackets, scarves, wraps, sculptural basketry, liturgical weaving, handspun and/or hand-dyed yarns along with weaving and spinning tools. There will also be demonstrations of spinning, weaving and other fiber crafts during the sale.

For more info go to the Seattle Weavers’ Guild Show website: http://www.swg-sale.com/

SDA Pres Jane Dunnewold meets WA SDA

SDA President Jane Dunnewold speaks to WA SDA

SDA President Jane Dunnewold speaks to WA SDA

 A wonderful treat for Washington state SDA members, Jane’s talk on October 12 focused on the psychology of being an artist.   Here are some points that this artist pulled out from her speech:

We should always be in a cycle that includes studying, analyzing, thinking, making, and critiquing our art.  We can feel as if we haven’t done enough… learn to be satisfied with the work you’re doing.  Look to find what’s your best path and turn inward to find it.  Connect with the mystical-the mysterious part of life we can’t understand.

Jane’s definition of “Alignment”:  when what you love to do is what you’re good at.  There is a learning curve to doing something really well- you need to practice.  Often, you start out wanting to play at something.  If you play around long enough, you start to understand it a bit and want to get good at it.  You need to keep at it to get good.  Persistence can be undermined in many ways.  You might feel you aren’t talented at something.  You shouldn’t look at comparing yourself… accept what you’ve got and go with it.  We’re all challenged with the difficulties of having a busy, crazy life.  Building time into your schedule for your art is important.

WA SDA representative Barbara Matthews introduces Jane Dunnewold

WA SDA representative Barbara Matthews introduces Jane Dunnewold

A huge negative influence on our artwork which we all feel is what Jane calls “the committee.”  These are the voices you hear or faces you see in your mind whom you want to please or for whom you want to have your artwork be good enough.  You may hear a specific voice saying “What are you going to do with that?”  Or you might compare your work with the work of an admired artist and feel you come up short.  It’s important for you to think about who you have on your committee… then fire them!  Learn to Say YES to your distinctive style and choices you make for your art.

We also need to develop our “Creative Stamina.”  Jane suggests we develop a program of creative strength training… like cross training in the gym… go back and forth between different activities that support your development as an artist.  These may include:

  • Cultivating looking- take a photo each day and post them online- engage seeing-closer,richer, in a more detailed way
  • Writing- even if not a writer it helps us organize and keep track; can do a Free Association- write a term at the top of a page and free associate for 2 minutes- can lead to design inspiration and ideas; write descriptions to help see more thoroughly and cultivate curiosity
  • Visiting museums & galleries
  • Reading about other artists
WA SDA members

WA SDA members

Work on being proud of every aspect of what you do.  The detail, materials you choose, and the finishing work- all of the craft needs to support the message of the piece.  You should practice “intentional making”, limit variables and simplify.

Each of us has a life that has elements that are fascinating… bring that out in your work!  Craft a statement about your work and practice saying it aloud so you can comfortably talk about your work.

WA SDA members

WA SDA members

Finally, don’t be afraid to make mistakes… it’s how we learn and grow.  Jane joked, “I’ve made so many mistakes and have been so good at it, that I’m thinking of making some more.”

Thanks so much to Jane and to all our members and guests who attended.  Coming soon- reports from our small group breakout sessions!

Okan Arts- Japanese Fabrics & a Whole Lot More


Seattle’s SDA group had the pleasure of having Patricia Belyea speak to them recently.  Patricia is both the owner of Okan Arts and the powerhouse that created “Stashfest”- a fundraiser for the La Conner Quilt and Textile Museum.  Her passionate voice in the Northwest quilting community encourages and cajoles others to try using unusual fabrics in their artwork, as well as contributing to and building the Northwest as a major quilting center.

Okan Arts imports vintage Japanese Yukata Cottons, as well as being Patricia’s business for selling her artisan quilts, being a speaker and teacher, and leading retreats.  There are a few places still available in the 2013 Okan Arts Quilt Retreat with Joe Cunningham and Patricia Belyea.  In their retreat, students mater techniques for creating simple yet innovative quilts, learning directly through cutting and sewing.  Held on Hood Canal (2 hours from SeaTac airport) the 5 night workshop includes instruction, programs, ALL meals & snacks, and group accommodations.  The dates are Sunday Nov 10- Fri Nov 15, 2013.  Patricia and Joe are generously contributing a portion of the proceeds from this retreat to support the  La Conner Quilt & Textile Museum.  For more information or to register go to the Okan Arts website at: http://okanarts.com/learn/retreat/


Patricia also leads some fun classes out of her Ballard-based Okan Arts classroom, including “Counterintuitive Piecing”, “Doodle Piecing”, and “Freemotion Quilting”.  You can check out more about these classes at: http://okanarts.com/learn/seattle-classes/

Looking to spice up your fabric stash?  Contact Patricia to come see and buy some of the lovely hand-dyed yukata cotton fabrics from Japan.  She has more than 450 bolts available!  http://okanarts.com/contact/

“Palace Yurt: Deconstructed” Opening October 10

WA SDA member, Janice Arnold, is installing her exhibit “Palace Yurt: Deconstructed” on the Evergreen campus.


Palace Yurt was a site specific installation at the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in New York City and featured in the NY Times Arts section.  A contemporary translation of traditional Mongolian structures, Palace Yurt was the centerpiece of the museum’s 2009 Fashioning Felt exhibition.   Janice, an Evergreen alumna, is re-installing the exhibition in the TESC gallery on the Evergreen State College campus.  The exhibition gives visitors a rare look behind the scenes of this groundbreaking work of textile art, including many pieces from the original installation. See how it all came together, from inspiration to logistics and technical drawings, the raw materials to the full artistic vision.

The SDA South Sound meeting on October 22 will feature a talk by Janice describing the making of this installation, as well as a tour.  All SDA members are welcome to join in this opportunity, starting at 12 noon at the Evergreen Gallery.

The exhibition opens Oct 10 and runs thru Dec 11, 2013 with an Opening reception Oct 10th from 5-7pm.  The Evergreen Gallery is located in the Evergreen State College Library building, main entry level, room 2204.

For more photos and video of the installation at Evergreen, go to (and LIKE) the JA Felt page on Facebook or Janice’s website at http://www.jafelt.com/palaceyurt.html

Janice will also be giving a lecture at Evergreen on November 20, 2013 from 11:30 am – 1 pm at Lecture Hall 1, as part of the Everngreen State College Art Lecture Series.

Study Surface Design with Jane Dunnewold

JaneWork directly with Jane Dunnewold in a 5-day workshop!  Three spots are  now open for this opportunity to learn mixed media techniques on textiles directly from the master.  Her workshop, “Surface Explorations” is at the Pacific NW Art Center on beautiful Whidbey Island from October 14th-18th.  Jane Dunnewold is the President of SDA, the creative genius behind Art Cloth Studios, and a well-know author.


Spend the week exploring a large subset of processes that can be used on paper and fabric – all of which should be in every mixed media artist’s toolbox.  These include photocopy solvent transfers, paper and metal leaf lamination, gilding, water media crayons, a French process called “devore'” – which literally “burns out” cellulose fiber when it is combined with synthetic paper or cloth, and the unexpected beauty of sanding into dry paint to generate gorgeous distressed surfaces.

HomePage1_lgFor more information,  registration, and the supply list go to: http://www.pacificnorthwestartschool.org/all/mixed-media/dunnewold-jane-october-14-18-2013-deposit-only

Pacific Northwest Art School:  15 NW Birch St, Coupeville, WA 98239

For directions and lodging recommendations: http://www.pacificnorthwestartschool.org/directions-lodging.htm

What Direction Would You Like To Take Your Art?

–Have you thought about mentoring or teaching a class or workshop?

–Would you want to build a body of work, prepare for a sale, or have a solo exhibition?

–Do you want to branch into a new material, do installation art, or make your art bigger?

–Do you want to get better at a technique or just have fun?

JanePlease join us October 12th for an SDA meeting open to everyone in WA State featuring Jane Dunnewold, SDA President.

Meet like-minded artists to share ideas about Jane’s presentation on Making and Meaning, as you think about your future, and about what could further your art.

See blog post on September 17th for more details by clicking HERE.