Mojo…Make it Work! May 9, 2012


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

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Creative Mojo with Mark Lipinski!

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Painter, Illustrator, Designer, Writer 



Michele Wood is an artist whose work defies all boundaries. For more than a decade, Indianapolis native Michele Wood has inspired the hearts and imaginations of readers with her books, entertained art lovers with her exhibits and educated students in her workshops and residencies. As a painter, illustrator, designer, and writer, she has gained wide recognition in the United States. She has been honored with the prestigious American Book Award for her first book, Going Back Home, and by the American Library Association with the 1999 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award for her book, I See the Rhythm. Her work, which has been exhibited in major venues nationally, reflects an essential sense of history and place. She lives in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Michele’s gorgeous artworks grace the new book, I Lay My Stitches Down: a rich and intricate collection of poems chronicling the various experiences of American slaves. Drawn together through imagery drawn from quilting and fiber arts, each poem is spoken from a different perspective: a house slave, a mother losing her daughter to the auction block, a blacksmith, a slave fleeing on the Underground Railroad.

This moving and eloquent set of poems, brought to life by Michele’s vivid and colorful artwork, offers a timeless witness to the hardship endured by America’s slaves. Each poem is supplemented by a historical note. From a cotton plantation in the deep south, to a Kentucky horse farm, to a small household in the North, the voices speaking in these poems reflect the rich patchwork of experiences and circumstances of African Americans affected by slavery. Using the American Folk tradition of quilting as a structural framework, poet Cynthia Grady weaves together spiritual, musical, and quilting references with evocative imagery to express the pain, sorrow and weariness as well as joy and hope sustained by those living in slavery in America. African American textile patterns and folk art motifs in Michele Wood’s vibrant paintings create a moving witness and beautiful complement to the poetry.

I Lay My Stitches Down is getting rave reviews–check out what the Washington Post had to say:

“[I]n the exceptional ‘I Lay My Stitches Down,’ quilts become an affecting metaphor for the patchwork lives endured by American slaves. Using a structure of 10 lines of 10 syllables to reflect square patches of cloth, D.C. author Cynthia Grady presents 14 poems touching on aspects of slavery, including moments of peace, a terrible lashing and an escape attempt. Grady incorporates references to needlework into every poem: ’I wait — then thread my way to freedomland’; ‘That overseer cut from the same cloth/as the devil hisself, the very warp/and weft.’ Michele Wood’s vibrant paintings are likewise wrapped up in quilts, each one a gorgeous hodgepodge of images, colors and patterns. In one illustration, showing an escaped slave crossing a river, the blue-green night sky is made of squares and ornamented by the North Star and the moon; the water’s rings seem part of another quilt with a circular pattern embellished by small animals and lily pads. Throughout the book, the interplay between pictures and words, including the poems and succinct historical background, is deeply impressive, as seamless as it is stirring.”

Michele’s paintings span generations of experience and emotion:

 CLICK HERE for Michele’s website!

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Author, Philosopher, Musician, Motivator



About TOM. . .

Thomas Sterner has studied Eastern and Western philosophy and modern sports psychology and trained as a jazz pianist. For more than twenty-five years, he served as the chief concert piano technician for a major performing arts center. He prepared and maintained the concert grand piano for hundreds of world-renowned (and demanding) musicians and symphony conductors, and his typical workday required constant interaction with highly disciplined and focused artists. At the same time, he operated a piano re-manufacturing facility, rebuilding vintage pianos to factory-new condition.  Sterner has parlayed what he learned from his profession into a love of practice. He is an accomplished musician, private pilot, student of archery, and avid golfer, and practicing these activities fills his spare time. He has also worked in the sound and video arts fields as a recording engineer, audio and video editor and processor, and composer.  He has produced a radio show about The Practicing Mind and continues to teach his techniques to businesspeople and at sports clinics. He lives in Wilmington, Delaware.

Tom says, “As a child growing up I was very creative with a wonderful imagination. Unfortunately, I was also quite undisciplined and didn’t stay with any task for very long. A creative mind without the discipline to propel it forward is like Cinderella with her beautiful coach and no horse to pull it. You never get to the ball.   What saved me from a lifetime of unfulfilled potential and goals that were never reached was my self-awareness.

“From an early age I was aware of both my internal dialogue and the feelings I experienced by listening to it. I was aware that I followed the same path almost every time I undertook any new endeavor, certainly the ones that took longer to accomplish. Because I was aware that I usually gave up on my goals, I felt I had no real self- power. If I couldn’t see a goal, which I had chosen myself, through to its completion than what power did I really have in regards to choosing my own destiny? What could I really look forward to? I felt a lack of self-confidence and I am sure it affected my self image.   Things began to change during my late teens and through my college years. By the time I was in my late 20’s, I realized that I had done a complete turn around and become extremely focused and even known by those around me as possessing a very disciplined mind. That was when I began to want to understand the changes that had occurred within me seemingly very quietly and without struggle. It was that contemplative reflection and the desire to share what I had learned with others that inspired me to write The Practicing Mind.

“We all have this sense that what we need to feel fulfilled, to feel happy and to feel at peace is somewhere outside of ourselves, in some place and at some time other than where we are at right now. ‘After I get through this I’ll be happy or when I get that thing I’ll be happy’. These are common emotions we experience. They represent a false sense of perfection that we haven’t yet reached or acquired when all will be right in our lives. This perspective fuels an impatience to get to the next step (the future) so that we can resolve these feelings or it causes us to worry about things we have already experienced (the past) which are causing these emotions. The present moment is the only thing that is truly real and most of us ignore the opportunity to experience it in favor of living in the past or future.”

This is Tom’s engaging new book:

CLICK HERE for Tom’s website!

CLICK HERE to follow Tom’s blog!


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Quilters, Co-Authors, Teachers, Guild Leaders, Modernists





Jacquie Gering serves on the executive board of the National Modern Quilt Guild and is founder of the Kansas City Modern Quilt Guild. Her work has been featured on Apartment Therapy and in Stitch magazine. She lives in Chicago, Illinois.

Jacquie says, “I live on the outskirts of the loop in Chicago, IL. I’ve been sewing all my life, but discovered quilting in 2008 and have been obsessively making quilts ever since.  Chicago is my new home as of September 2011.  I am a midwest girl and my blog name comes from the Tallgrass Prairie which is near my former Kansas home. I sew in a 9′ x 10′ studio in my apartment.  I do my best to fit all my fabric and everything I need into my small space. I love to sew and I try to spend as much time during the day as possible sewing, designing, or thinking about sewing and designing.  Despite the fact that I make many quilts, I’m not really a quick quilt kinda gal.  I try to savor every stitch, every part of the process.  If the quilt takes a day or two, great, a year or two, that works for me too. I try and look to myself, my experiences, and my surroundings for inspiration. I love art and tend to spend as much time as I can in galleries and museums.  I’m am teaching myself to ‘notice.’  I’ve found that I can go through a day with blinders on if I don’t consciously think about what is around me.  I find inspiration in shapes, lines, emotions, etc…all those things that surround me each day.  It’s important to take time to ‘notice.'”

About KATIE…

Katie Pedersen is a founder of the Seattle chapter of the Modern Quilt Guild. She teaches quilting locally and is a featured artist for Amy Butler Software. She lives in Seattle, Washington.

Katie says, “I was born in Tokyo. Growing up with the lakes of Michigan and Summers in the East made me a water girl. I had an obsession with the Southwest, so I moved there.  No water.  Meant to be so I could meet my man and move to his hometown of Seattle. It’s home. I’m an urban girl. I’ve always been artistic, but a whole world opened up to me when I discovered that fabric is my medium.

“I only sit down when I’m sewing. This comes in handy when you have a sweet little boy that keeps you on your feet.   I teach what I think about quilting.  My students help that thinking evolve. I remind myself every day to keep it fun.  Life’s not perfect. I hope you’ll join me.”

Jacquie and Katie have merged their ideas, inspirations and style into a fab new book!

Talk about modern! Their quilts simply stun:

from Jacquie…

from Katie…

CLICK HERE for Jacquie’s blog!

CLICK HERE for Katie’s blog!

[BOTH blogs are chock-full of tutorials and inspiring projects! Feast your eyes!]

Jacquie’s on TWITTER!

Katie’s on PINTEREST!

Don’t miss their shared space on FLICKR for quilters inspired by Quilting Modern to share images!



Artist in Many Media, Teacher, Author, Encaustic Expert



Daniella Woolf has worked in fiber, collage, jewelry and metalsmithing, and installation and encaustic art. She teaches for R&F handmade Paints and WaxWorksWest and conducts workshops around the world. She wrote the book and produced the DVD Encaustic with a Textile Sensibility. Daniella’s work has been widely exhibited and published. She lives in Santa Cruz, California. Daniella Woolf grew up in a movie biz family in Los Angeles, and holds an M.A. in Design (Textile Structures) from UCLA.

Encaustic was the magic medium that brought everything into focus for Daniella. She exhibits nationally and internationally, and explores issues of privacy, security and identity. She is a recipient of the Gail Rich Award for excellence in the Arts in Santa Cruz, and the Rydell Visual Arts Fellowship. She toggles between studios in Santa Cruz and Whidbey Island, and is active in IEA and the Surface Design Association. She blogs at Encausticopolis and EncausticFiberopolis under the name Dotty Stripes.

Daniella says, “I limit the materials I use to create my work. These self-imposed restrictions increase my ability to investigate expression. Integral to my practice is daily handwritten journaling. I deconstruct this information, fragmenting and restructuring language. The secret contents are intact yet undecipherable.

“I bring a textile sensibility to the ancient medium of encaustic. In merging these two disciplines along with my limited choice of materials, I create a newly formed language. This becomes a structural vocabulary created out of thousands of units of information. The resultant spinal form emerges as a module for my work. They first were embedded into a two-dimensional plane. Lately they have become more sculptural, freestanding in space. They are luminous and transparent totemic installations. Within these structures I explore identity, privacy and memory.

“This amalgamation of processes transforms remnants of time, personal history and the environment into a language of artifacts and personal archaeology.”

Many different materials…a consistent voice:

CLICK HERE for Daniella’s website!

CLICK HERE to check out Daniella’s new book!

Follow Daniella’s BLOG!

Daniella’s on FACEBOOK and TWITTER!


And, when your Mojo listening’s done…

Get your small-quilt thinking caps on (mine is total haute couture, mais oui!) and make a resolution with me to enter the NEW Alliance for American Quilts contest (the prizes are amazing – and your small quilt isn’t due until JUNE!!!)

The 2012 theme is “Home Is Where the Quilt Is,” celebrating the form and the meaning of Home. All techniques and materials are encouraged. Entries must be 3 layers–top, filling and backing and must conform to our contest guidelines–click here to download the “Home” entry form (3 pages).

THE CONTEST IS OPEN TO QUILTERS FROM ALL OVER THE GLOBE (yes, you too, Australia, Canada, Italy, France, England, Ireland, Poland — anywhere and everywhere there are quilters!)

CLICK HERE to read more about this awesome opportunity to let your craftwork shine! DO IT DO IT DO IT WITH ME, cupcake!!! And thanks! xoxom


If you’ve never used Auriful Thread. . .

. . .  then you haven’t really sewn!

Why not start off with my BASICS ?

Go to my web site to order YOUR collection — CLICK HERE TO GET STARTED.

Many thanks to Nessa Reifsnyder of Fabricate, for assistance with Mark Lipinski’s Blog!

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2 Comments on “Mojo…Make it Work! May 9, 2012”

  1. May 8, 2012 at 5:42 PM #

    Looking forward to the show tomorrow!

    I love how the quilting in Jacquie’s and Katie’s quilts is an integral part of the design rather than an afterthought or an allover pattern that bears no relation to the patchwork.


  2. May 9, 2012 at 1:20 PM #

    FYI, Mark, I do traditional patchwork with modern fabric, and I both piece and quilt by hand, and I use scissors to cut my fabric. I don’t even own a rotary cutter, and I don’t how to use my sewing machine.

    I work this way for a few reasons. First and foremost, I enjoy the process. When I first started quilting and I found out that most people were doing it by machine, my reaction was “but that takes all the fun out of it!” I stitch because I enjoy the act of stitching, not because I want a quilt done by tomorrow.

    I don’t use a rotary cutter because a) with hand piecing you don’t have to make precise cuts — you mark precise sewing lines and pin match the corners and seams, and b) I have rheumatoid arthritis and I’m clumsy besides — if I tried to use a rotary cutter I’d slice my fingers off!

    Third, I have a weird mental block when it comes to needlework and machines. I usually get along well with machines and even fix them when they break down, but I can’t even manage to thread my sewing machine correctly.

    Mind you, I don’t have anything against quilters who use a sewing machine & rotary cutter, but it’s not for me. And I do wish that quilt shops and pattern designers would remember that there are a few of us out there that still like to do things by hand. Last time I went to a local shop they had very few thimbles and the clerk couldn’t locate the few hoops they had, and I usually have to rewrite patterns before I can do them.


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