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Colour Collective Fridays

Colour Collective Fridays—Cherry Blossom Pink

Fridays are fun on Twitter. The process actually starts the Saturday before, when Colour Collective (@Clr_Collective on Twitter) posts a color for the week. The idea is for artists to create a piece using that color, or to find a previous work that has the color in it.

On any given Friday, at 19:30 GMT (that would be early afternoon, here in Texas), everyone posts their work, including the tag #colour_collective, and the name of the color for the week. It’s a fun challenge, and my Friday afternoon Twitter feed is just beautiful!

Lots of illustrators join in, which I love, because I have been fascinated by illustration since childhood. However, artists in all media are welcome to take the Colour Collective challenge.

Making textile art takes me a while, so I had to go back to Puzzling Pinks, a piece from 2015, to find Cherry Blossom Pink for our May 11th challenge. (Read more about Puzzling Pinks here and here.) The pinks seem to match a lot better on my phone than they do here.

Colour Collective Fridays—Cherry Blossom Pink

Color Collective Fridays—Dioxazine Mauve

After working (and being distracted from working) on a large, complicated piece for quite a while, I needed a break. Usually, creating something small and relatively quick helps me feel like I’m accomplishing something, and I can go back to complex work with renewed enthusiasm.

So for the next two weeks, I made mini-quilts especially for the Colour Collective challenge. For May 18th, the color was Dioxazine Mauve, a dark violet. I put together previously-knitted purples with old and newly-crocheted stars in Stellar Perspective, a 10 x 14″ knitted, embellished quilt. (The star crochet patterns are in my book, Cute Crochet World.)

Colour Collective Fridays—Stellar Perspective

Doily and Fabric Match Made in Heaven

In February of this year, I posted about a wonderful discovery. A happy doily from my stash, with red, yellow, and green accents turned out to be the perfect match for some rainbow-striped fabric my friend Donna was giving away. On a whim, I had put the happy doily onto the rainbow fabric, and, as the young people would say…OMG! The happy doily and rainbow fabric were clearly made for each other!

I rolled together the doily and fabric and put them carefully away, to work on later.

Colour Collective Fridays—Gamboge

The time came in May, when the Colour Collective challenge was Gamboge. Of all the fabric I have accumulated, the rainbow fabric was the only one with any gamboge in it. Yay! I posted the mostly-finished Fiesta Flower in the Rainbow Jungle on May 25th.

Colour Collective Fridays—Fiesta Flower in the Rainbow Jungle

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Antelope Horns on Display at the Bastrop Library

Antelope Horns and Suzann at the Bastrop Public Library

We were back in Bastrop, Texas, last weekend for another Bastrop Art in Public Places event. This time my daughter came along, and our first stop was the Bastrop Public Library on Church Street.

For the next year, the library will be home to Antelope Horns and several of the sixteen 2-dimensional art pieces chosen from a field of about 60, back in April. We took photos to show to you and of course to my parents. They love that kind of stuff!

We also took the opportunity to change from our driving clothes to our party clothes, because our next stop was the Lost Pines Art Center, where we attended a reception for the artists represented in this year’s Bastrop Art in Public Places program. Delicious cheeses and chocolate mousse were on the menu, and we nibbled while the organizers talked about the program and showed us the various sculptures and 2-D pieces on display around town.

The most exciting part was the awards. Antelope Horns won an Honorable Mention and a cash prize. Hurray!

Texas artists, please consider entering your work in next year’s competition. Find links and more information here.

Antelope Horns wins a prize

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Celebrate Doilies in Austin360

verypink.com podcast about Celebrate Doilies

Hot Snakes and doilies? Yeah, I was kind of confused, too, when I read the first paragraph of this article in Austin360 by journalist Dave Thomas of the Austin American-Statesman. But read on. It all begins to make sense.

Many thanks to Dave for writing about the Celebrate Doilies exhibit during its time at the German Free School in Austin.

Next up for Celebrate Doilies:

  • The doily-inspired art quilts of Celebrate Doilies will be part of a group exhibit at the Clyde H. Wells Fine Arts Center gallery at Tarleton State University, June 26 – August 3, 2018.
  • The doily heritage posters may be on display at the International Organization of Lace conference in San Antonio, Texas, this summer.
  • The Celebrate Doilies exhibit will travel to Houston in 2019. More details to come!
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Celebrate Doilies on Red Heart Blog

Celebrate Doilies on Red Heart Yarns blog

Please enjoy a short, sweet blog post about the Celebrate Doilies exhibit on Coats & Clark’s Heart Strings, a blog by Red Heart Yarns, where you’ll get an insight into the secret power of doilies!

Here’s the link: http://blog.redheart.com/celebrate-doilies-exhibit-enchants/.

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Antelope Horns in Bastrop

By the time the sun came up on Saturday, April 21, my wall hanging Antelope Horns was in the back seat of the car, and we were on the way to pick up my friend Peggy. Our destination was Bastrop, Texas, and our mission was to deliver Antelope Horns for the second round of judging for the Bastrop Art in Public Places 2D program.

Antelope Horns waiting for judges in Bastrop

Nearly three and a half hours later, we arrived at the Bastrop City Hall, where friendly folks greeted artists and showed us where to drop off our work. Antelope Horns is second from the right in this photo.

Anne Beck, who organized the competition, explained why artists were asked to bring their works to town for judging for the first time this year. Previously, judging was accomplished by looking at photos of artwork online and ranking them according to a list of criteria. Once the chosen art was installed in Bastrop’s public buildings, judges took a closer look at the artwork, this time choosing five pieces for cash prizes. Judges were amazed how different the art looked online versus in person.

Things changed slightly this year, with one group of judges viewing the original group of entries online, and choosing 30 pieces for the next round. Artists brought their work so the next judging panel could see them in real life, and choose the sixteen works to be displayed in Bastrop for one year.

Lost Pines Art Center, Bastrop, Texas

While the judges worked, artists and their guests took a tour of the Lost Pines Art Center, a community-centered gallery with classrooms and a gift shop. Even on that cloudy, drizzly day, lots of natural light streamed in, illuminating paintings, photos, and sculptures by area artists. I loved the butterfly mosaic by Jim and Marlene Outlaw, in the floor just inside one of the building’s entries.

Butterfly Mosaic by the Outlaws, Lost Pines Art Center, Bastrop, Texas

Antelope Horns in Bastrop Art in Public Places

BAiPP provided a nice lunch for us, and Peggy and I talked with our table-mates until Anne came in to tell us whose works would be staying in Bastrop.

I’m very glad to tell you that Antelope Horns is one of the sixteen! It is on display in the Bastrop Public Library until mid-April 2019.

Artists, if you’re within driving distance of Bastrop, I hope you’ll consider entering your work next year. To get their news, which will include notification of next year’s competition, sign up for the Bastrop Art in Public Places newsletter at their website. Good luck!

If you’re wondering “How did she do that?” you can read about the process of making Antelope Horns in the first three posts on the list, when you click this link: www.textilefusion.com/?s=Antelope+Horns. Here’s the short version: it is knitted, quilted, and embellished with crochet and embroidery.

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Celebrate Doilies Podcast

verypink.com podcast about Celebrate Doilies

Installing Celebrate Doilies in Austin last week was an adventure, which became even more exciting when Casey of www.kcknits.com came by the German Free School to interview me for Episode 95 of the www.verypink.com podcast.

In a testament to how well social media can work, Casey told about how she found me through Twitter. I had tweeted about a crochet sample book on loan to me from Gwen Blakley Kinsler, the Crochet Kween. Casey saw a retweet, read about Celebrate Doilies, and messaged me.

For the interview, we both wore clip-on microphones, even though her recorder had very cool directional microphones attached to it. I’ve learned a lot about recording voices in the last few months, and you definitely need a microphone close to the person who is speaking. Clip-ons are a pain, because their long cords tangle so easily and they limit your movement, but they are much less expensive than the fancier alternative.

We talked about how the idea of Celebrate Doilies came to me, back in 2015. Casey asked about some of the stories people have told me about their family heirloom doilies, and I was glad to tell them. After the interview, she photographed the exhibit, which we had just finished putting up.

You can listen to the podcast online at https://verypink.com/2018/05/02/podcast-episode-95-celebrate-doilies/ or wherever you get your podcasts.

Casey added some history about the German Free School in her own blog post about the podcast, which you can read at www.kcknits.com/blog/doilies.

kcknits.com blog post about Celebrate Doilies

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Visit Celebrate Doilies in Austin

Celebrate Doilies in Austin, Texas

It’s May, so come and see the Celebrate Doilies exhibit at the German Free School, 507 East 10th Street, Austin, Texas! It is open for viewing on Wednesdays and Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. all through the month of May 2018.

The German Free School was built by German immigrants in the 1800s (I think), using rammed earth. It’s a lovely, historical building, and the perfect backdrop for my doily-inspired art quilts, Sandi Horton’s poetry, and doily heritage stories about crocheters of the present and past, and their work.

The exhibit will also be on display during Maifest, May 12, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Read more at www.germantexans.org/events/maifest-2018.

Celebrate Doilies in Austin, Texas

There’s metered parking just outside the building on 10th Street, and you should be able to see the big, blue, baling twine doily from the sidewalk.

Sandi and I will present “What to Do with Oma’s Doilies” on Sunday, June 3, 2018, at 3 p.m. That will be your last chance for a while to see Celebrate Doilies in Austin.

Many thanks to the staff at the German Free School and to my sister-in-law Carolyn and my daughter Eva for their work installing the exhibit last week.

Celebrate Doilies in Austin, Texas
Celebrate Doilies in Austin, Texas

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Celebrate Doilies, Comanche

Celebrate Doilies in Comanche, Texas

The Celebrate Doilies exhibit and the 4 North Event Center in Comanche, TX, were a perfect match for one week at the end of March 2018. The wedding venue married the vintage beauty of the building on the courthouse square to the vintage doily heritage and doily-inspired art.

You might say that Comanche is in northwest Central Texas, and it is one of the last few stops before the great expanses of West Texas begin. Buildings around the courthouse retain their attractive western flair, and decorated bicycles are permanently parked in front of several businesses. I passed this one on my way to and from the car, unloading wall hangings and doily heritage posters. Someone had fun embellishing it with old crochet, and I took it as a good omen for the exhibit.

I hung several pieces, including House of Crochet, Sweet Home, and Afternoon in the enclosed patio at the Event Center. The natural light is perfect for viewing and photographing artwork (and people, I’m guessing). The space feels good, and I told Charles I’d love to have my living room on that patio.

Celebrate Doilies in Comanche, Texas

Light from the patio streams through French doors leading into the elegant main room, where I displayed the doily heritage posters and several wall hangings, like Crochet Comets. I love how the celestial elements of comets and a sunray come together in this photo.

Celebrate Doilies in Comanche, Texas

Another set of French doors leads to the Beer Garden, which is welcoming and comfortable. German-style food is served a few days of the week. We are definitely coming in for a German meal someday, without doilies, to enjoy the Gemütlichkeit.

The Beer Garden at 4 North Event Center, Comanche, Texas

The baling twine doily at Celebrate Doilies in Comanche, Texas

Many thanks to Sloane Northridge for her enthusiasm for having Celebrate Doilies at the 4 North Event Center. The venue normally hosts weddings and other celebrations, and I recommend it for its elegance and for Sloane’s knowledgeable management.

I enjoyed seeing friends and meeting doily enthusiasts during the week Celebrate Doilies was in Comanche.

Celebrate Doilies is a traveling exhibit. If you’d like to see the exhibit at a gallery near you, please ask the venue manager to visit www.textilefusion.com/celebrate-doilies-exhibit-details. We can work it out!

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Fishy Cento

Britain’s National Gallery recently started #artgold on Twitter to promote their Art Gold film series. People and museums took over the hashtag, tweeting golden artifacts, golden jewelry, and art of gold. I got into the act, too, because my wall hanging Fishy Cento was partly inspired by a painting in the National Gallery.

Fishy Cento, a TextileFusion artwork by Suzann Thompson

I was preparing artwork for my first solo exhibit, which opened in the winter of 2002 at the Colour Museum in Bradford, U. K. In other words, I was preoccupied with wall hangings most of the time.

detail of Fishy Cento, a TextileFusion artwork by Suzann Thompson

“Mom, will you ever make me a wall hanging?” asked my then six-year-old daughter, Eva, with a look of yearning on her sweet face. How could I resist? She loved fish, so we agreed on a fishy wall hanging.

The fish in her own aquarium were the models, but they didn’t take orders very well. “Hey, fish! Hold still, so I can draw you!”

Nope.

They darted around, ignoring me. Eventually, though, I cobbled together a pretty good sketch Eva’s fish, and they appear in Fishy Cento. Speedy is the Golden Orfe and I think the red fish is Bulgey.

detail of Fishy Cento, a TextileFusion artwork by Suzann Thompson

When it came time to create a background for these woolly fish, my process came to a standstill. The aquarium water was clear, so the background to the actual fish was the wall behind the aquarium. Black makes bright colors pop, but black background seemed too stark. People think of water as being blue, but even if it is blue, you wouldn’t see the blue-ness in the small area the wall hanging portrayed.

My Sheffield friends Betty Spence and Helen Neale and I met for a coffee one day during my struggle (unbeknownst to them) with the background color. Helen had been to the National Gallery in London. She told about a painting of a horse, which had a golden background. No pastures or barns to distract from this horse—oh no—just the horse, surrounded by gold. The painting was probably Whistlejacket (c. 1762), by George Stubbs.

detail of Fishy Cento, a TextileFusion artwork by Suzann Thompson

Bingo! I had my background color. Thank you, Helen!

The next question is, what in the world is a cento? I found it one day when I was reading the dictionary, looking for words with “cent” in them. It can mean ‘a patchwork garment’ or ‘a collection of verse.’

The fish have patchwork garments, so there’s that. I also wrote some fishy verse to use on this wall hanging, but as the piece progressed, it became obvious that the poems wouldn’t fit into the picture. They’ll have to wait for Fishy Cento 2.

In closing, I recommend reading the dictionary. It’s pretty interesting. Also, next time you’re on Twitter, look up #artgold. You’ll see wonders.

See more of my textile art wall hangings in the Gallery section of this website.

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Make Your Own Buttons

Make buttons to match your projects

Do you have trouble finding the perfect buttons for your handmade garments? Don’t agonize—make your own! Take a polymer clay button workshop or two from me, Suzann Thompson, author of Polymer Clay for Everyone, learn basic polymer clay technique, and make several stunning button styles.

I offer two 6-hour workshops for beginners, about making polymer clay buttons. Each workshop stands alone, so you can take the workshops in any order. I cover polymer clay basics and hints in both workshops. You’ll take home at least two dozen delightful, machine-washable and dryable buttons.

Even if you’ve never tried polymer clay crafting before, you are welcome to spend a day or two playing—and I do mean playing—with polymer clay.

To book one of these workshops, please email me at knitandcrochetwithsuzann at outlook dot com.

Make Your Own Buttons Workshop

Faux Lapis from Suzann's Polymer Clay Button Workshop

In “Make Your Own Buttons from Polymer Clay” (sometimes I call it “Polymer Clay Button Boutique 1”), we start with a fake or faux lapis button technique. The buttons are complete with sparkly inclusions, just like real lapis.

Easy but effective swirl buttons are next. They are quick to make and customize with the perfect colors for your garment or other project. These are my favorites.

Swirl Button from Suzann's Polymer Clay Button Workshop Swirl Buttons from Suzann's Polymer Clay Button Workshop

Millefiori is a glass technique that polymer clay crafters have taken over and made their own. We’ll do a group millefiori project, and the buttons will turn out something like this:

Group Millefiori Buttons from Suzann's Workshop Group Millefiori Button Project

After lunch, we make crazy polymer patchwork buttons and learn a clever way to use clay scraps. Here are some crazy patchwork buttons:

Crazy Polymer Patchwork buttons

Make More Buttons Workshop

“Make More Buttons,” sometimes called “Polymer Clay Button Boutique 2,” is another six-hour workshop for beginners. It is completely stand-alone, meaning that you don’t need any experience with polymer clay to take this class. All the buttons we make in this workshop are different from the ones in my other button workshop.

We start with imitation or faux turquoise, then move on to a traditional millefiori design—a flower. The word “millefiori” means “thousand flowers. When you learn this technique, you’ll be surprised at how simple and versatile it is.

Samples from Polymer Clay Button Workshop

After lunch, we tackle mica-shift, a technique that results in sophisticated-looking and subtle buttons. Finally, we make polymer clay mosaic buttons and learn clever ways to use scraps.

Previous Workshops

Here are photos from button workshops I’ve done in the past. Participants had a great time and made lots of fun buttons!


Student Buttons from Polymer Clay Button Workshop  Polymer Clay Button Workshop  Polymer Clay Button Workshop

Grade school students made these buttons in a 4H sewing camp:

Buttons from 4H Camp  Buttons from 4H Camp  Buttons from 4H Camp  Buttons from 4H Camp

We bake buttons in class. Here they are, lined up for their turn in the toaster oven.

Baking Buttons

My book Polymer Clay for Everyone is out of print, but you can buy it online. Amazon.com often has the book for one cent plus shipping. It’s a bargain!

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