Whidbey’s Pacific Northwest Art School to offer Sewing/Garment Design and Construction Program

Lovie Class mannekinPacific Northwest Art School (PNWAS) is pleased to announce a new program to add to its extensive fiber arts class offerings. Beginning this spring PNAWS will present classes taught by Fashion Institute of Technology-trained and SDA member Brenda Lovie. Lovie is known nationally for her work in the world of competitive ice-skating and dance performance. She’s also in demand as a maker of high-end couture garments for special events, weddings, and the performing arts. Lovie is a member of the Whidbey SDA chapter.

 

The new Sewing Program at PNWAS kicks off this spring with two linked classes. Other sewing classes such as Working with Fine Fabrics will be added to the schedule in the future.

 

Making a Flat Sewing Pattern from an Existing Garment

Website: https://pacificnorthwestartschool.org/(look under fiber program)

Time: 9-4, Saturday, March 15

Cost: $110

Cutting and Sewing a Garment from a Flat Paper Pattern

Website: https://pacificnorthwestartschool.org (look under fiber program)

Lovie Class toolsDate/Time: 9-4, Saturday, March 22

Cost: $110

 

Brenda Lovie of Lovie Couture will be instructing the new sewing classes at the Pacific Northwest Art School

Brenda Lovie of Lovie Couture will be instructing the new sewing classes at the Pacific Northwest Art School

 

 

Your instructor, Brenda Lovie, the right brain of Lovie Couture, has been designing and making ice skating wear for over 20 years.  She is a member of SDA and a resident of Whidbey Island.

If you’ve been wondering what to do with that beautiful cloth you’ve created in another class or frustrated by using commercial patterns, these two classes will provide the logical next steps in the process of sewing a simple garment from a garment you already own. Register now as these classes will be limited to ten students.

The Pacific Northwest Art School is an Art School located on beautiful Whidbey Island in Washington State.  Each year they hold workshops and classes in Fiber Arts, Mixed Media, Painting, and Photography.

Barbara Nepom Converges with Lopez Island

"Converge" by Barbara Nepom

“Converge” by Barbara Nepom

WA SDA Member Barb Nepom takes her love or order, patterns and geometry which she used in a career in medical research, to a fantastic new level in her art quilts.  Her pieces feature her own hand-dyed fabrics, discharged materials, and geometric stitching.  She feels her pieces seem to portray “how nature builds beautifully functioning organisms from an array of lifeless fragments.”

Barb’s home and studio are on Lopez island, where she is presented with inspiration every day, just by looking out the window.  Not only that, but a vibrant artist community abounds on the island.  One of the many places that supports the arts is the Lopez library.

"Urban Red" by Barbara Nepom

“Urban Red” by Barbara Nepom

Should you be on Lopez this week, Barb invites you to stop in the Lopez Island library to see a display of her quilts through November 21.  The library is located at 2225 Fisherman Bay Rd, Lopez Island, WA.  Their hours are:

Mon, Sat 10-5
Tues, Thu, Fri 10-6
Wed 10-9

You can read more about Barbara and see additional photos of her textile art on her website at http://barbaranepom.com

Quick reminder… if you’re interested in showing opportunities with Washington state SDA, please make sure to take a few minutes to fill out the WA SDA exhibitions survey at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/G69JM7C  We’d love your input on  holding future shows for SDA members!

“Hive” Installation Art on Camano Island

DePirro.hive.001

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!

DePirro.hive.003

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

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

Member Spotlight: In the Studio with Margaret Liston

Every month Lorraine Edmond will give us a closer look at an SDA member, their studio and practice.  This monthly post is a great opportunity to get to know our fellow SDA members a little better and to be inspired by our community. 

1. Describe your current medium and how you came to it.

Margaret-portrait seriousWhen I have to explain what I do to someone new, I describe myself first as a fiber artist, then an art quilter, but I explain that I print my own fabric.  I screen print and I also use a printing press.  (I mix some commercial fabrics into my quilts as well.) I got an MS in physiological psychology. While in graduate school, I saw a picture of an optical illusion, what I’d later know as a baby block quilt in traditional quilting.  I tried to construct one, but I could not do it! After that degree, I decided “no more school—ever!” I would just be self-taught. I ended up in art school anyway—for 6 years—in my mid-40s.  I went to the UW and because I had a degree already, I got to take only art classes. I would work all day in the surface design studio on campus.  I studied mostly surface design and painting, and near the end, I took printmaking and got totally hooked.

I’d go in on a sunny Saturday and no one else would be there. I’d print on fabric and fill the studio up with pieces that were drying.  Printing and layering were such a high—I thought each piece was great! (Then the next day, I wondered where all those great ones went.)  I’d try every printmaking technique—they were all exciting to me. Mike Spafford was one of our teachers—he was very challenging and always made us think.

I took a quilt-making class from Marcia McCloskey—just so I could learn how to make the corners of my quilt pieces meet.  Back then, calicoes were just about all that was available for quilt-making. I started using big graphics, Margaret quiltHawaiian prints, whatever I could find. I made only tops at first—they take up less room and you can do so many more in the same amount of time! I made wall quilts, too. My machine was set up in the dining room—I had to clean everything up each night so the family could eat. Then I moved to a corner with one small bookshelf in the master bedroom.  Then I moved across the hall, then to a spot in the basement, then to an upstairs bedroom, a more studio-like space.

Finally I moved my studio out of the house, to Pioneer Square.  The building was cheap and I shared the space with two other artists who were never there. My third of the rent was something like 70 dollars a month, but I felt like I really had to work hard so I’d deserve that. I had been told that most people who graduate art school do not continue to be artists. They have to make money, life happens… I was determined to stay an active artist.  I got involved in the early days of the Contemporary QuiltArt Association.  I brought in the first non-quilters as program speakers— Marita Dingus was one of the early ones.

2. What is your creative process like? (How do you begin? Do you draw to work out your ideas? Do you have a vision before you start or does it develop as you work?)

Margaret-quilt2I always have 15-20 things in my head that I could make next, usually continuations of things I’ve been working on. It can be pretty random as to which one I land on in the moment I’m deciding what to do next. It may be because of a pile of fabric I see on my table.  I make baby quilts for friends, the store I show work in needs more bed quilts, or I need to make work for an upcoming show. I do use a sketchbook, both for doodling around and for problem-solving for specific pieces.  Most of my quilts are done improvisationally, though. I pull out colors, start with two, then think of what type to use—silk or not?  Then I arrange and rearrange the pieces on the floor (I have a design wall, but it got covered up by stacks of boxes and stacks of fabrics!)

3. What is your current workspace like?

I’m in the Rainier Oven Building. It’s a wonderful old brick and not so long ago, they actually manufactured commercial ovens here.   And it has an incredible art collection in the halls and even the bathrooms! I’ve been here for twelve years now. It has several art studios and other businesses.  A drapery shop down the hall lets me go through their trash before it goes out—I snatch up slivers of fabrics that cost hundreds of dollars per yard, lots of silks.  My studio space is a cube, 20 ft x 20 ft x 20 ft.

4. If this isn’t your first studio– tell us about some the other work spaces you’ve had– what worked and what didn’t. How does your physical space influence your work?

I was in the Pioneer Square studio for 6 or seven years, until the earthquake send the front of the building into the street.  I had 700 square feet there, so printing was easier. This space is smaller at 400 square feet plus my fabric collection has grown, so I have to shuffle things around a lot. I used to be able to stop and print a fabric in the middle of making a quilt—now I have to switch back and forth and set up for each process.

5. Do you have a favorite piece of equipment or technique for keeping your  studio organized?

Margaret-stashFirst: the fabric shelf!  I made it after I graduated.  To get an art degree, we had to take wood shop, so I was able to make this myself out of plywood.  I sort each color from dark to light and then there’s a section at the top for Margaret-threadlarger pieces of that color. Second: my secondhand industrial Bernina sewing machine.  It looks like a home machine, but the motor is below the table. It sews about twice as fast as a home machine.

6. Do you have particular habits that you think support your art practice?

When I got the Pioneer Square studio, I would drive my husband to work downtown, then go to the studio. I didn’t pick him up til 5:00, so although I could waste time, I was at least “in the studio” for the whole day. So I just ended up putting a lot of time in. Then he retired and now I might get in by lunchtime and at least have a productive afternoon.  (I also took up the ukulele and got grandchildren so most of my studio time is now weekends and half days.)

7. What is the best art tip you’ve ever received (or discovered)?

From Jacob Lawrence: (1) always put something repetitive in your painting—something to provide a pattern. (2) For each color you have in a painting, it should also be present in a tint (the color plus white) and a shade (the color plus black). In the case of red, the tint will then read as a highlight, not as “pink.”  (3) from Hazel Koenig, who taught fiberarts at UW: always have a piece of a black and white patterned fabric near you when working. It encourages you to use the full value range in each piece—you may or may not use it in the piece but it affects how you work.

8. What inspires you to work and how do you keep motivated when things get tough in the studio?

If I don’t come in, I’m just not whole. Making things is what I like to do and this is where I do it. It’s just a part of me. It’s what I do. It’s who I am.

You can see Margaret’s quilts in person at the Northwest Woodworker’s Gallery in Seattle. See hours and directions here: http://www.nwwoodgallery.com/.

Member Spotlight: In the studio with Maude May

Every month Lorraine Edmond will give us a closer look at an SDA member, their studio and practice.  This monthly post is a great opportunity to get to know our fellow SDA members a little better and to be inspired by our community. 

Maude-21. Describe your current medium and how you came to it.

Currently I’m working with collage and mixed media and want to make work that incorporates stitching and painting as well. I’ve revisited felting, too, making tea cozies and hot pads from wool sweaters sourced from Goodwill. Hand stitching is an obsession and I can never have too many French knots on a piece. Custom invitation work and graphic design still pay the majority of my studio rent and recently I had the opportunity to design a series of books for a client. My daughter did the illustrations and it was fun to work together on this project. “Making stuff” is just what I am compelled to do

2. If this isn’t your first studio– tell us about some the other work spaces you’ve had– what worked and what didn’t. How does your physical space influence your work?

This is my seventh studio away from home. Having a space I can that I can leave is paramount. Leaving projects out, in mid-process, allows me the opportunity to work on more than one thing at a time.

Originally my studios were wherever I was doing the work (school, classroom, etc.) My first undergraduate degree was a double major in photography and ceramics and after graduation I taught photography to children and adults. I also taught ceramics for a while, but I gave it up as I hated having my hands feel so dry all the time. Returning to school and getting an art education degree seemed like a logical step, but after one semester I bailed and moved to the fibers department after meeting the department head while I was working at the Univ. of Oregon’s art library. At that time no MFA at the University of Oregon was offered, so I got a second BFA. Upon graduating (again) I did a lot of weaving – receiving several commissions (weaving a “bajillion” yards of upholstery fabric for an attorney’s office and a series of five tapestries for a bank).

With another weaver, I helped start a cooperative studio in Eugene. We rented an enormous open loft in a warehouse situated above a spice factory, near the train tracks. To pay the rent I made other items – mainly elaborated-pieced silk and cotton wallets, covered with ribbon and embellished with antique buttons. This path started when I’d purchased a handmade wallet at a holiday show, but it was so poorly constructed that the contents fell out when the wallet was open. “I can make this better” was my immediate reaction and I decided to create an improved version. I didn’t know much about sewing, or the whole “right sides together” thing, so I covered the raw edges of the seams with ribbon.  A business making and selling those wallets all around the country was the result, but I didn’t know how to take that business to the next level, so I moved on. For me, it’s all about the making.  How to make it, how to make it better and learning from the process.

Upon moving to Washington, DC, for my husband’s job, I fell back on my cooking skills for work and was employed as a pastry chef. On the side, I’d been designing T-shirts for a Eugene charity for several years and wanted to learn the “correct” way to create the artwork for press so I took a class called “Design for Camera-Ready Mechanicals.” The instructor set me up with a friend of his who was a Creative Director at a large DC PR firm, who hired me as a freelancer and then later moved me to the position of  art director. I worked on a wide variety of projects including: the first Food Pyramid, the renovation and re-opening of Union Station, the Walt-Disney/Amtrak golf tournament (got to design a traveling miniature golf course). It was a wonderful learning environment.

In 1990, we moved to Seattle, with our two-year-old daughter and I really wanted to work from home.  I started painting kids furniture, which was sold at galleries and at Best of the Northwest. Re-designing their marketing materials subsequently led me back to graphic design. Through a series of random circumstances I ended up designing custom invitations for all sorts of Seattle events, but my fascination with fabric continued as well.

We built a studio behind our house and I worked there until we down-sized when our daughter went to college. Then I rented at the ActivSpace building in Ballard, which is where I was during the studio tour that was part of the SDA symposium last spring.  During that studio tour, I came here, to the BallardWorks building, and I wanted to move in immediately!  The place I was in was roomy, and had nice western light, but it was isolating. This studio is much more social—there’s activity outside—it’s Spark Studiojust more interesting. It’s inspiring to be around other creative people.

I didn’t know Leah Adams that well when we decided to take the plunge and rent a studio together. We have very complementary skills and we brainstorm and bounce a lot of ideas off each other. She is helping me learn Etsy and I designed the labels for the felt coasters she makes.  We have somewhat different hours, so we both have time alone as well as time together in the studio.

When people come in, they usually ask “where’s your space?” but it’s really a shared space.  We both have work tables, but the bookshelves I brought have both our books, the storage shelves have both our stuff.  We are respectful of each other and we are both willing to share, so it’s been pretty seamless.

3. Do you have a favorite piece of equipment or technique for keeping your studio organized?

My materials have to be pretty organized. It’s often less expensive to overbuy for a project in order to get the wholesale price. But everything has to be labeled, so I can find it again. I work to put everything back at the end of each day, but right in the middle, it’s organized chaos.  But that works, too– I see things out of the corner of my eye, even just a flash of a color sometimes, and think “Oh! That’s a good combo!”

I create packages of components and spare parts from different projects called “My Trash Becomes Your Treasure.”  I sell these at studio sales and other events. Because I don’t like to repeat myself with my custom invitations, I don’t save them for new client projects.

My hands are my most important tools. They enable me to make stuff. As for conventional tools, I couldn’t live without my tape guns—I have three of them. I was using double-stick tape on a roll, and before that, spray mount. Such a huge improvement!

4. Do you have particular habits that you think support your art practice?

I like to go around and look at stuff—seeing what people are doing in stores and other places. It’s not about art specifically, just about tracking what’s going on in the world.  I am a huge reader of newspapers, New York Times and others, and I’ll read about what’s happening in a lot of different mediums. It’s about gathering visual inspiration. For example, I belong to a group that makes Maude_handspostcards and mails them to each other, so I went to a Mail Art expo recently. There are these weird little niches you’d never know about— like people who make their own stamps. I often work small, so that was inspiring, to see what others create at that scale.

5. What is the best art tip you’ve ever received (or discovered)?

I once took a class on colored pencil drawing and the instructor taught me how to sharpen a pencil (Really! How to do it without ending up with just a stub), and how to choose colored pencils. Here’s the tip: Never buy the whole set. Look at the end of each one, and buy the pencils where the lead is the most centered.

6. What inspires you to work and how do you keep motivated when things get tough in the studio?

If I didn’t create stuff, I would perish! It’s just a matter of figuring out what to make next. Like every artist, when I make something that’s successful, I wonder “How did you come up with that?” and “Was that my last good idea?”

It’s the process of figuring out HOW to create something that drives me. I DO like making multiples—this may come from making invitations, but I don’t like to actually repeat myself from project to project. Recently I’ve started incorporating collage into my invitation designs and my clients have been very receptive. So now I’ve got a new direction – one that is bringing everything full circle. How cool is that?

To see Maude’s work online, go to http://www.maudemakesart.com. To see it in person, check out the Ballard Art Walk, May – December, the second Saturday of each month.

Member Spotlight: in the Studio with Leah Adams

 

Every month Lorraine Edmond will give us a closer look at an SDA member, their studio and practice.  This monthly post is a great opportunity to get to know our fellow SDA members a little better and to be inspired by our community. 

1. Describe your current medium and how you came to it

I studied communications in college, but I had roommates who were in design fields.  I was interested in their creativity, but thought “I could not do that.”  When my first child was young, I took up knitting, but I was impatient with it.  I wanted to make too many things, but they took too long, and I ended up with unfinished projects.  One Christmas, I think it was 2006, I decided to make felt-wrapped soaps as gifts. I got a book out of the library to find out how to do it.  For the first time, I didn’t feel like “done that” when I was finished. Instead, I wanted to make everything in the book! I was immediately hooked, and I liked everything I made. I made slippers, bags, vases, anything I could think of. I began thinking about it all the time—“what would that be like in felt?”

I love that felting is what I call a “no-fail” medium, and without any significant barrier to entry, unlike other activities such as ceramics, or weaving, for example.  It’s inexpensive to get into, it’s accessible, you can do it on a Saturday. Results are so immediate, especially compared to knitting.

I turned it into a full-time business by 2007.  (I had to start selling things so I could keep buying materials!)  I knew I didn’t want to go back to my previous work as a copyeditor when my youngest child started kindergarten, and I ended up being asked to teach felting classes almost before I knew what I was doing. I did workshops for friends at first, as our kids played on the floor around us while we felted. It was great experience though, and made me a better teacher and got me teaching much sooner that I would have otherwise.  Now teaching is a big part of what I do.  (Note: see Leah’s website for a schedule of current workshop offerings.)

2. What is your creative process like?  (How do you begin? Do you draw to work out your ideas? Do you have a vision before you start or does it develop as you work?)

I have an idea or an inspiration when I begin. Sometimes I literally see things in dreams.  Recently, I got a call from the Bellevue Arts Museum shop asking what I had that was new. (The answer was “nothing,” but that didn’t satisfy me.) I ended up taking a day off with a friend and just walking all around Capitol Hill for five hours. Afterward, I had a vision for a new product to try next—felted   coasters based on topographic maps, which were not even consciously related to anything I saw or thought of that day. After the idea comes, it’s a trial and error process. I start by making a prototype and go from there.

Sometimes I see a space for a commission and just immediately think “what needs to go there?”  I may do a small sample for a big piece so that I can predict the shrinkage rate, for example, but in general, I don’t use sketches, plans, or samples.  I do keep notes to refer back to in case I get an order for something similar.  But even though most of my work is production work, rather than what I’d call “fine art,” I’m the first to say that no two pieces can ever be exactly the same—it’s just the nature of the medium.

3. What is your current workspace like?

Since September, I have been sharing a 700 square foot studio with another artist, Maude May. It’s called Spark Studio, and it is in the same building as my previous studio, but on the first floor, and opens to the street (which has both pros and cons). There’s actually probably 500 square feet of working space after you subtract the bathroom and loft stairs. It has great windows and beautiful light.

4.  If this isn’t your first studio, tell us about some of the other work spaces you’ve had—what worked, what didn’t and how your physical space affected your work.

My space is a big, big deal to me.  I worked on my kitchen table at first and everything had to be put away by 3 PM when my kids came home from school.  Then I moved to a windowless basement (with no sink) and worked there for three years.  I felt very confined, and everything I made was small.  I didn’t have the space to imagine bigger.

A friend who was visiting told me “this isn’t good enough—you deserve better. You’ll be more productive.” Other friends and family were of the opinion that it would be too stressful, that renting a studio would add too much financial pressure.

In 2010, I moved to my first studio outside my home.  I had 250 square feet and high ceilings.  It made a huge difference.  I had water and light. I started working messier, using raw fleece. I could leave projects out.  I had several large tables and could have quite a few students working at a time.

When I was working at home, there was no playing or experimental time.  I felt I had to justify spending time on felting instead of cleaning house or grocery shopping.  When I moved to a studio, I was so excited to get to work in the morning, I’d be heading out the door before my kids made it to the bus stop on their way to school.

Earlier this year, I wrote a long article for my brother’s blog that goes into more detail about this. It’s called “Becoming an Artist on a Mother’s Schedule.”  (http://www.beamsandstruts.com/articles/item/926-felt).

5. Do you have a favorite piece of equipment or technique for keeping your studio organized?

The structure of monthly participation in the Ballard Art Walk helps—I have to clean up for that! Actually, I am pretty organized—more organized than neat.  Everything has a place and I put things away, but I don’t dust a lot and don’t look under the couch!  As for equipment, I do have some great hanging shoe organizers from Ikea that I use to store my patterns in labeled pockets.   I used to keep really detailed notes as well, but I found I never went back to use them.

6. Do you have particular habits that you think support your art practice?

I come to the studio all the time. There is always something to work on. There’s always a backlog of ideas as well—those thoughts you have that “if I ever get the time, I want to try this.”

7. What is the best art tip you’ve ever received (or discovered)?

The best advice I ever got was hard to hear. An experienced felter looked at my work and said “you need to work on this longer—it isn’t quite done.”  She thought the physical felting was not adequate.  So working with a mentor who has more experience can be really important.  You have to be able to take constructive criticism with humility. The best advice is to not become defensive or proprietary. It is also good to have the humility to take classes from others, or to work collaboratively with those who have more experience.  Be open to critique, be open to having your work judged. Take the risk to do things that are different.

8. What inspires you to work and how do you keep motivated when things get tough in the studio?

I don’t have that struggle.  I do mostly production work, not specifically surface design in the sense of embellishment beyond that.  All my work has to be done as I go—it’s the nature of the work. Pieces may be done from start to finish in 4 or 5 hours, so there’s no time to get “stuck.” I envision the process from beginning to end.  Deadlines are inspiring, though!  (As is remembering that the rent is due every month.)  I am trying to do this as a business—with the holidays approaching, I know when I have to deliver things and how long they take to make, so that’s always on my mind.

 

For more information or to see Leah’s work:

You can see beautiful photographs of Leah’s work on her web site. Both finished work and kits are available through her Etsy shop:
http://www.spiderfelt.com/ and http://www.etsy.com/shop/kneek.

You can see Leah’s work in person at the Bellevue Arts Museum shop, Venue in Ballard, the Columbia City Gallery, Made in Washington stores and Tasty on Greenwood Ave.  Or check out Spark Studio during the Ballard Art Walk.  The address is BallardWorks, 2856 NW Market St, Seattle.  Leah and her studio-mate Maude May are also having a Studio Sale December 8 and 9.

To keep up with Leah’s felting activities, you can also “like” her Spiderfelt Facebook page, where she posts frequently. https://www.facebook.com/pages/SpiderFelt/41296859673

SDA Member Spotlight – In the Studio with Patti Shaw

Studio Spotlight in a new feature for the SDA – WA blog.
Every month Lorraine Edmond will give us a closer look at an SDA member, their studio and practice.  This monthly post is a great opportunity to get to know our fellow SDA members a little better and to be inspired by our community. 

In the Studio with Patti Shaw

Interview by Lorraine Edmond

Patti’s Ballard studio was on the Studio Tour held as part of the SDA-WA Surface Matters symposium last March, so many of you had an opportunity to see it then. But whether or not you’ve had a chance to visit Patti’s studio in person, you are invited in now as we feed our curiosity to look behind the scenes and see how this accomplished SDA member approaches her studio practice.

1. Describe your current medium and how you came to it.
My current work could be described as mixed media.  I’m primarily working with the aluminum tabs left behind after votive candles are burned.  I’m also making some embroidered pieces and drawing on fabric. I’ve made 75 quilts in the past but haven’t made a quilt in over a year.

How did I come to this work?  I had a show at St. James in the chapel—I was showing some of the icon quilts I had been making. When I was there, taking down the show, a worker was changing out the votives, popping the aluminum bases out and putting them in the trash. It was one of those “lightbulb moments” —I thought “those mean something, those stand for someone’s prayer” and I asked him to save them for me.  Now, two or three times a year, I pick up a large box from the church.

For quite a while, I didn’t know what to do with them, so I just stuck them away. Then I saw a call for entry for a show of art made from recycled materials, and I remembered them.  I glued them on to a stretched canvas for that piece, but I later began to sew them together. First, I have to drill holes in them, then I stitch them together to create a metal “fabric.” I realize that connects this work back to my quilts, many of which were based on a grid, were tied, and had loose threads as a source of texture.

2. What is your creative process like? (How do you begin? Do you draw to work out your ideas? Do you have a vision before you start or does it develop as you work?)
I don’t plan ahead.  I use the last piece to move forward.  I like to take things that seem to be unrelated and find a way to associate them to reveal something new. I like to find objects and look for relationships among them.

3. What is your current workspace like?
I work in our previous home, across the alley from where we live now.  I use the living room, dining room, an upstairs bedroom, and an adjacent storage area.  (We are currently getting set up to rent out the rest of the house to visitors through the Air Bnb* program.)

4. If this isn’t your first studio– tell us about some the other work spaces you’ve had– what worked and what didn’t.
When we were living in the house, my studio was the small bedroom upstairs. It didn’t even have a closet, though it is adjacent to an attic storage area. I set up a couple of card tables and pushed them together to create a work surface. One of those was actually the same table I used as a child for my “crafty” activities!  (The second one was one my husband and I found in an alley and it was identical to the first one!)

It was a small space to work in, but had some advantages, especially when my son was young. Fiber work with a small child nearby is relatively quiet and safe – no chemicals like resins, oil paints, mineral spirits, etc.  Plus, it is easy to stop and pick up where you left off – a perfect medium for those brief moments of time you have available when taking care of a young one. Even in that small space, though, I had to be very organized, because I don’t work well with visual clutter surrounding me.

5. Do you have a favorite piece of equipment or technique for keeping your studio organized?
It’s not for staying organized, but my favorite equipment in my studio is my old Singer sewing machine. My mother bought it for me when I was about 13 after I learned to sew on an old treadle—I guess she thought I must really want to sew!  It just goes forward and backward, but it does everything I need.  I can even maintain it myself!

I do like to stay organized, though. I find a place for things and I put them back at the end of the day or when I’m done with them.  When I arrive in the morning, I know where to find things.

6. Does your physical space influence your work in any way? If so, how?
Taking over a larger space really freed me up—I thought “I can make things really big now!” I did start making larger work.  I also started making little installations around the house, just for myself.  It has allowed me to play more and has inspired me to make things.

Bigger space means bigger work. Lots of light means a better mood. Less clutter means more focus.

7. Do you have particular habits that you think support your art practice?
I go to my studio every day, even on weekends.  Not eight hours, but it’s the first thing I do after getting ready for the day.  On the weekends, it may only be for an hour or two, but I make a point to do something.  There’s always something to do!

I don’t take my laptop to my studio—it’s too easy to get sucked in—even looking up a word can take you off somewhere you hadn’t planned to go.  I come home at lunch and check email then. I do listen to music in the studio.

I’ve also had three interns in the past year (one quarter each.) That’s been interesting.  They come for 2-3 hours a couple of days a week, so for that time, I have someone to talk to, but there’s still enough solitude during the week. I find it has forced me to think ahead to make sure I have enough to keep them busy!

8. What is the best art tip you’ve ever received (or discovered)?
I think about what I’m working on the night before, so that when I get to the studio in the morning, I already know what I’m going to do.

9. What inspires you to work and how do you keep motivated when things get tough in the studio?
I do have times when I feel lost and am not sure what to do next.  This often happens after I finish a project or a body of work or prepare a big show—I feel like I’m fumbling around for a while.  It helps to have other artists to talk to—either for support or to listen as I brainstorm the next idea. I recommend having artists as friends (or marry one, as Patti did!), belonging to small groups, or being involved in larger art organizations.

To see more of Patti’s work, go to http://www.pattishaw.com/

Looking for a place to put up out of town guests? Check out her studio listing at AirBnb: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/699460