This is a Very Long Post!

From June 6-10, 2016, I attended a workshop, Abstract Quilts in Solids, taught by Gwen Marston (Gwen Marston). The Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs (MCACA) partially funded my participation with a Professional Development Minigrant of $900.00.  Madeline Island School of the Arts (MISA) was the setting of the workshop, located in Wisconsin on Lake Superior.  My art goals for the workshop included the potential for incorporating ideas from my mixed media collage into sewn fabric constructions.  Plus, I had attended a one-day quilt workshop with Gwen in 2014 and loved her teaching style.

The trek to Madeline Island meant driving myself to Marquette, Michigan, on the 4th, continuing on to Madeline Island on the 5th.  MISA hosted a wine and cheese reception in the late Sunday afternoon to meet fellow students and the two resident instructors.  I shared a comfortable suite with one of the writing workshop students, who was delightful.  Classes were held, 9AM-4PM, Monday-Thursday, while we finished up about 3pm on Friday. Then I drove to Marquette and stayed overnight before returning to Lansing on Saturday afternoon.

Gwen graciously shared her extensive knowledge of quilt construction and history, piecing techniques, and Beaver Island human interest stories. Each morning she would demonstrate concepts and processes; such as spikes, stars, inserts, triangles, bindings, log cabins, making bias tape.        She encouraged us (thirteen students) to use solid colors in order to emphasize the fundamental shapes and colors involved.  She provided an extensive collection of her own samples and quilts to illustrate and expand on the instructions. She stressed experimentation, freedom of expression, individual exploration and enjoying your work.  Her liberated style of quiltmaking embraced a lack of patterns and perfection.  I benefited greatly from creating various small fabric pieces as examples of Gwen’s teachings.  The workshop oozed with creativity, inspiration and joy!

I am incredibly lucky to have participated in Gwen’s workshop—2016 is her final year of teaching before retirement.  This most special experience will provide creative fodder for a long time.   MISA is a gorgeous environment with friendly, helpful staff and beautiful accomodations. I appreciate the gift of the Professional Development Minigrant enabling learning so much at Abstract Quilts in Solids!acdc

Tangled Landscapes

Please check out my Zentangle-inspired drawings on display this month!  I have ten drawings hanging in the Arts Council of Greater Lansing office in Old Town Lansing (1208 Turner Street Lansing MI 48906, 517.372.4636).  Facebook Page The exhibit ends August 31st and can be seen 9AM-5PM, Monday-Friday.  The opening reception is tonight, August 4th, 5-7PM.  Please stop by and let me know what you think!  Retread Art  NOTE:  The wonderful matting and framing was done by Absolute Gallery in Old Town Lansing.

Women’s Caucus for Art Michigan Provides Artwork on Buses

The Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority (TheRide) has partnered with the Women’s Caucus for Art Michigan (WCAMI) to feature artwork inside its buses this summer. The WCAMI held a competition for poster designs which resulted in eight finalists. Their artwork will be featured inside buses throughout TheRide’s expanded and improved service area.
The “Women, Yes!” campaign provides exciting and thought-provoking visual artworks that represent the stories of women’s lives and how those stories change as women take charge of their own destiny. “When a woman is empowered, it transforms not only her own life but also the lives of her family, her children, and her community,” said Margaret Parker, President of WCAMI. “This is a story that the Women’s Caucus for Art of Michigan is proud to share with the widest possible audience by exhibiting this work in conjunction with TheRide’s public transportation system.”
“Women, Yes!” enlivens city buses with visual art and serves as a forum to initiate positive change through art. The Michigan Chapter of the Women’s Caucus for Art is one of 24 chapters around the country that are part of the National Women’s Caucus for Art.
Winning Artists:
Jane Reiter: “Think About It”
Jane Reiter is a librarian, artist and Zentangle teacher who lives in Lansing.  She creates art with mixed media collage, fiber and Zentangle, a meditative drawing process.
“Think About It” presents a woman with an intense, piercing, and strong gaze into the viewer’s eyes.
Eloise Hirlemann: “Dancers on Blue”
Eloise Hirlemann, a Sister of Mercy, lives and works in Farmington Hills. Her work has been exhibited in and around Detroit.
“Dancers on Blue” speaks about women enjoying lives of affectionate respect, equality, compassion and union with others.
Barbara Melnik Carson: “We are all Sisters 3”
Barbara Melnik Carson is a Detroit-born sculptor living in Ann Arbor. Her work has been exhibited in New York and around the Midwest and is held in private collections from Detroit to Ukraine.
We are all Sisters 3” represents my teachers in a diverse Detroit neighborhood, sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, who taught us that educated women could be strong leaders in faith while teaching empathy and social justice.
Carol Morris: “Lady in Green and Red Dress,” “Mona Lisa in a Business Suit”
Carol Morris is a published poet and multi-media artist who has exhibited nationally. She is a retired Senior Policy Analyst for the State of Michigan who lives in Ann Arbor.
“Lady in Green and Red Dress” is a watercolor collage on Yupo paper that includes an original cover illustration of a woman from Redbook Magazine, 1936.
“Mona Lisa in a Business Suit” is a watercolor collage on vintage wallpaper.
Margaret Parker: “Day in the Life”
Margaret Parker is an artist whose paintings, sculpture and installations have been shown nationally and in Canada and Mexico. Her work is in the collection of the United States Capitol, the State Department Art Bank, the University of Michigan Rackham Graduate School, and many private collections.
“Day in the Life” is a painting in gouache that follows a woman down all the exuberant paths of her daily life.
Cat Jackson: “Flying,” “Fab”
Cat Jackson is an artist and printmaker who lives in Norton Shores and shows her work throughout the state and on etsy under catjacksonstudio. 
“Flying” is linoleum cut block print that encourages us all to be fearless and follow our path, no matter how challenging it may be. 
“Fab” is linoleum cut block print that encourages fierce, beautiful and strong femininity.ThinkAboutIt_14x9.5_2016

Abstract Quilts in Solids

I attended a fantastic workshop June 6-10 at the Madeline Island School of the Arts in Wisconsin.  Gwen Marston taught Abstract Quilts in Solids and it was much more than a “quilting class”–WOW!!!  She is so inspirational and fabulous–I loved every minute of it!  My participation was funded, in part, by the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, which is a great gift.  Gwen’s approach to visual art is so freeing and liberating–just what I needed.  If it’s too long, cut it off.  If it’s too short, add a piece.  Start simple.  Do what you like.  If it doesn’t work, do something else.