Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Rose Hughes, Quilt & Fiber Artist, Tells Her Story

It was a warm day in August 1990 when the darkroom came down in my Long Beach, California apartment. The family knew that this ‘quilt thing’ had taken hold, for a sewing machine had entered our home. Little did any of us know just how life changing this would become.

I had stumbled quite innocently into quilting that summer – seeing quilts in different places where before I had seen none. The invasion took hold in bits and pieces; literally pieces of fabric came into the house in one state and were transformed by needle and thread.

Years one and two were spent learning the basics – taking projects on the road to be stitched at hotels around the country while I traveled for work. Then there was time spent just breaking enough rules set in place by my traditional guides to have them take long second glances at the quilts I shared. By 1994 I was in search of a way to add curves to my quilts, for I loved the curves found all around me in nature and traditional square construction methods no longer worked to express what I wanted.

By studying with some amazing teachers I soon was taking a little bit from here and a little bit from there to pull together a construction method that did not require the time (and ok, the discipline) of traditional applique in order to express the curves of the world around me.

Then, once I began dyeing, painting, printing, beading, embroidery and playing with other non-traditional quilting elements I soon left the quilt police behind without worry. My quilt art finally took on my voice – I could use fabric to tell the story of what it felt like to stand in a field of poppies, leave the beaten path to confront a Suaraguo cactus while it bloomed, or stand at the entrance to the chapel in Yosemite – under the weathered rock of Half Dome, ready to marry my sweetheart.

Art has always played a role in my life, but it took thread, needle and fabric to transform me into a working artist. Since 2003, I have travelled and taught my methods, I’ve written 4 books, magazine articles, appeared on television and newspapers; making a living, thanks to those simple tools; and the ideas keep pouring in – so I am forever grateful for those long ago quilters that left bits and pieces of themselves for me to find on those hot summer days. 

In 2012 my husband retired and we left our California life behind and headed to Paducah, Kentucky. This small town is known amongst stitchers as Quilt City USA. This move allowed us to be closer to my sweetie’s family while living alongside some amazing artists. There is always something happening here! Quilt Week 2015 just ended, and a long week of exhibits, demos, book signings has also ended. But, the new friends I’ve made this week and time spent with some old quilt artist friends will be remembered for a long, long time.

Currently, my latest book (#4) hit the streets this past January. My book titles include:

Fast Piece Applique, 2015
Design, Create, Quilt, 2012
Exploring Embellishments, 2010
Dream Landscape, 2008

My website provides information about me, my work and my offerings.

I teach on-line workshops throughout the year on Academy of Quilting. My favorite – Shaping-Up with Fast-Piece Applique is scheduled to start on May 1
, 2015.

To keep up with me, and have some fun along the way you may want to check out my Blog, Like my Facebook page and you can click here to get my monthly Newsletter.

If you happen to be in western Kentucky, Rose is part of the current exhibit Two Voices at Jefferson Street Studio  - Paducah, Kentucky, through May 1, 2015.

This is Week 16 of 52 Artists in 52 Weeks. Thank you for reading and sharing Rose’s story today!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Laura Kramer, Writer/Songwriter, Tells Her Story

In an apartment, sometime in the mid-90s, a rare three feet of snow outside in Maryland, with my two young children and my husband (at the time), nebulous tension floated in the air and in my stomach. I was in the bathtub. It was my sanctuary – a place for my thoughts to be still. Or, for me to be still and let my thoughts rise like steam to my awareness. 

I spent a lot of time in baths that winter. On this day, though, in this bath, as my feelings, my identity, my life direction continued their ceaseless percolation, I suddenly understood. “I’m an Artist!” 

I remember telling my husband, a talented jazz musician, “I figured it out (my career decisions, my general restlessness), I’m an Artist!” He wanted to be nothing but supportive of me and was in so many ways – and he said, “You don’t just become an artist by declaring yourself an artist.” In some respects he was, of course, right. But this conversation was the jumping off point for the rest of my life, to date. 

I believe, yes, a writer is one who writes. An artist is one who “makes art.” And, the talent, beauty, grace, truth, wisdom, storytelling and experiential pleasure offered by the artists in this Artists Tell Their Stories blog holds a high bar for that truism.  

And, there is something inside of all of us, something about our relationship with the process of creation, the Creative Process – both when we are actively creating and producing, and when we are Being – living as experiential human beings – that defines us as Artists. My passion is right here:  swimming in my own experience of Creative Process and exploring and expanding the many contexts in which I can access that Sea of Oneness, of Possibility, of Creation. 

The peace, delight, healing and, sometimes awe-producing energetic experience of being in “the flow” as I write is directly tied to my experiences in and with Nature – and my experiences of myself as a spiritual Being. The beauty and gift for me in being (I dare say) an Artist is the interplay of those aspects of myself that are connected to Nature, the Here and Now, and All That Is.   

I write and think about this way more than I can share here – I call it articulating the intangibles of human existence. It’s my incessant need to keep licking away at the sweet tootsie pop of human experience (the human condition, what I call the “accoutrements of human existence”), to get at the tootsie roll center of pure Truth: Timelessness, God, Love, Spirit, Source, Oneness, the Loving Consciousness that Connects All of Us, the Thread of Light through All That Is, the Voice of Nature that speaks to us and through us On the Breeze of Time - in forms eloquent and clumsy.  

So, under my larger “Voice of Nature on the Breeze of Time”, I am Treevibes. Treevibes is my poet, spirituo-philosophic writer, performer, ritualistic, Shamanic, Creative Expresser-Self in the Artistic world (per se).   

Seavibes is a new branch of the Voice of Nature on the Breeze of Time and is emerging as a consultancy, along with Fresh Air at Work.  These are new-born venues to bring forth – in more typically professional realms – gifts, tools and less visible or tangible realms to which we have access as human beings.

Here is a video of me, intended to embody a sense of my perspective, singing a chant-song I wrote. Hope you enjoy!

I’d like to do a shout-out to the Hawk behind me in the tree out the window in my yard that winter day – telling me to record these songs, then and there.  I’d like to thank the Sun, Birds, the Trees, and the stillness of the Air that quiet January morning.  And I’d like to thank Whatever Connects Me with All That Is – for continually refreshing my intuitive awareness of that Connection.

Peace and love and thank you,

Editor's Note: 
To see more of Laura's work, please visit her YouTube channel. She is in the process of revising her website.

This is Week 15 of 52 Artists in 52 Weeks. Thank you for reading, listening, and sharing Laura's story today!