So apparently these are the best nine images on my Instagram account for 2016. I guess that’s one way of looking back on the year.
To be perfectly honest though, I’m glad to see the back of 2016. There are so many things that can’t be shared via a pretty picture (or that we choose not to share!). What stands out for me when I look back is an overactive mind frustrated by an ‘under active’ body. Much of my focus this year went to dealing with severe adrenal fatigue and related complications. A major requirement was to relax more and reduce stress. For someone who has always thrived on being busy with many different things, this is challenging!
And yet there where still so many good things in this past year! God carried us all through another year. I am deeply thankful that He gave me a husband who encouraged me through the tough times and helped me to do the things that were good for me. He was patient through all the frustrating moments, as he experienced me fighting against the challenges placed on my path. I was also blessed with many very dear friends who helped to carry me through this year – putting up with my frustrations, providing listening ears and encouraging me along the way.
As far as my artmaking goes, highlights from this year include making botanically inspired art quilts with my daughter Hannah’s class, the annual Armadale Hills Arts Trail, participating in the Illustrating Children’s Books workshop, and creating a very special custom childhood textile portrait.
I have no idea what 2017 will hold. If God allows it, I plan to teach at the Quilt Symposium in Christchurch in October (more details will follow in a separate post. Other than that, I hope that there will be faith and health and quality family time and faith-building relationships and of course, drawing and stitching and creating in between it all! And I especially hope and pray that it can all be done to God’s glory!
Thank you so much to all of you who have shared in my journey here over the past year. The fact that you take the time to read, comment and enjoy means so much to me. May God bless you richly in 2017!
The past five weeks were taken over by drawing! I was privileged to participate in Make Art That Sells' first 'Illustrating Children's Books' workshop, and loved every bit of it. I cleared out as much of my calendar as possible, and spent a good part of every day drawing.
There were several purposes to this workshop: improving our drawings, especially our characters; learning more about how the children's book industry works; and producing a bunch of great pages for our portfolio. Every week we had a major assignment to complete, although the week began with a mini-assignment which got us focussing on something more manageable to start with. Being part of the class Facebook group was also extremely valuable – sharing our struggles, our advice, and our thoughts on what would improve our artwork before submitting it at the end of each week.
I've learned more than I imagined. Our teachers, Lilla Rogers (an art agent) and Zoe Tucker (a children's book art director) used many different children's books to demonstrate the kinds of things we should be thinking about in our drawings. It's not such a simple matter to illustrate and design a great picture book! We spent most of our time focusing on what makes a great character, and how to make that character come to life. I'm really excited to apply a lot of what I learned about this to the children in my quilts!
Of course, eventually it would be awesome to illustrate a children's book one day. For now I will continue to practice what I've learned in order to build up my illustration portfolio!
Thank you so much for the experience, Lilla, Zoe and Make Art That Sells!
I suppose nothing replaces a real life studio tour, but I hope you at least enjoyed the little glimpses! And yes, I am very blessed. When we built this house, a functional and family-friendly studio was a high priority. It has helped a lot with enabling the art-making to happen within and around family life, and I certainly don't take it for granted!
Follow me on Instagram for more regular glimpses into my creative spaces!
September is going to be a busy month here. I'm really looking forward to our second Armadale Hills Open Studios Arts Trail which opens on 8th September. I'll be opening my studio again, along with 19 others. I've been stitching away, and have a batch of new artworks to share with you when you visit!
Then, on the following weekend, I'll be teaching a workshop as part of Ozquilt Network Inc's annual conference. The conference will be held in Bunbury, Western Australia, and in the workshop we will work through a process for designing our own artworks drawing inspiration from the awesome street art that forms part of the Re.Discover initiative in Bunbury. (The Bunbury Visitors Centre has that show where to find all the paintings that are part of this initiative. They are all in the Bunbury CBD, and finding them makes for an enjoyable walk through Bunbury. I travelled to there and back between school drop off and school pick up recently, and had such a nice day out. Marcus (nearly 4 years old) loved helping me try to find the next artwork. It felt like hunting for treasure, and would make a fun outing for kids of all ages!)
You don't need to be an Ozquilt member to participate in the conference! Visit the Ozquilt website here for more information.
And finally, I also have some botanical artworks travelling to York, as part of The York Festival. They'll be on display and for sale in The Emporium.
While I stitched, Daniel kept me company with his home-reader. Usually we try to do his homework in the car on the way home from school, but we forgot today!
Now though, the house is finally quiet, and it's time to get on with that hand-quilting. Yes, that is one asleep on the couch – we'll move him later on!
I hope you had a good day too!