Superhero Tool, aka (GYST, Artist Software)

Check out the deal that our sponsor-- Karen Atkinson and the GYST Team are offering through January 2, 2017. Great job, Viv, I added my thoughts at the end in italic.  I'm proud of you for allowing us to share our interactions publicly on my blog. I left your original title in the parentheses, balancing specifics with a little punch of fun. If you decide to add more words, use bold font or some other way to show what you changed. Letting the world see inside the experience is part of my Seams and Dreams!  


and now Wise Words from Vivien Wise... __________________________________________________ I have started using GYST for my own work and also to help Amalia in her FUNfromAtoZ business. It's a great tool! There are two main functions; the database and resources.screen-shot-2016-10-26-at-11-15-50-am The database allows you to store an enormous amount of information -- everything you could imagine you might need for your art practice. You can enter your artist statement, artwork (with some seriously extensive information), bibliography, calendar, contacts, exhibitions, grants, resources, planning, sales invoices, supply inventory, and more! And with all the information in one place, applying to teach workshops or submit to shows is simple and easy. The resources provide information on business issues (how to write an artist statement, rules for commission, how to present yourself, etc etc etc), checklists (exhibition, lecture, event), contracts (SO USEFUL!! exhibition loans, lecture contracts, etc), and much more advice on legal issues, finances, and presentations. "Written expressly for visual artists, the dynamic GYST software is a highly efficient platform available for both Mac and PC  that houses all of the art business related paperwork and educational needs for artists. Written by and for any and every visual artist, GYSTBasic and GYSTPro are database programs to help artists keep track of their artwork, business aspects, proposals, mailing lists, etc. They also include tons of information on every aspect of an artists' career, including links and resources for additional perspectives on business aspects of the arts, and over 400 pages of vital information for artists." (from the GYST website) __________________________________________________   Thanks Viv, for writing up your thoughts as you start using GYST. I've used GYST for several years now, so your fresh perspective is awesome! You went to art school, what are your thoughts on using this tool as an art student and an art graduate? How many of your artworks have you entered in it? I like what you wrote, but I would connect to you more with this if you included some personal experiences. Does this make sense?  Here is some of my story...

I love not having to do it all myself.

Instead of creating a special tool or spreadsheet to do this myself, I found that Karen Atkinson and the GYST Team did the work for me! I am in awe that she provides free resources on her website, helping to build a community of artists. I love not having to do it all myself. With GYST, I track art pieces are on loan--like those featured in Deborah Boschert's new book, art pieces supporting great causes like Unconditional State of Awe, donated to Quilts of Valor, and my loved special art pieces like Empty Stoneware, that travelled, won awards and now are in private collections.  Yes, indeed--I have the audacity of asking--thanks for answering the call!

Be You and Be Awesome,


IMG_2939 check out the latest from GYST
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Old Jeans, Seams and Dreams

Sometimes opportunity knocks, in the form of old jeans in need of new life--and with just a few hours to do the hack. I thought, if you give a fish, vs teach to fish... I have time to make a tutorial video on #snapchat. I spent about an hour doing the first pair BECAUSE OF THE VIDEO!!!  That pair was left with raw edge, but had reinforcement stitches (low tech, aka hand sewing) on the side-seams so pants don't come apart at the seams.  The second pair took maybe 10 minute total, well maybe 5-7 minutes max, and I finished the seams on the sewing machine.  I will do a machine tutorial later, but now, with the technology I have, here is the first cut, you get the most important parts in this video. I have a dream to teach sewing to those who want to learn on their terms and on their time--so yes, video is perfect!  Someday, I have a dream to have a videographer, but for now--good enough is good enough. Many of my dreams have been achieved.  Some I mentioned during Permission, Perfection and Other Fairy Tales at Mid-Apalacian Mid-Appalachian Quilt retreat last Friday.  I'm so happy that sewing, engineering, humor and joy can all play well together. Yes, I know some of my dreams are not realistic--like living in a place with awesome sunrise AND sunset views.  That dream drives me to appreciate those sunsets and sunrises that I do see. I want to enjoy daily life as much as vacation life--please don't laugh, but I'm finding joy in the simple act of everyday cleaning up.  When over 200 pounds of Bernese Mountain Dogs are in your life, if you can laugh at and enjoy sweeping the dog hair tumbleweeds you will have a better experience. So in the last few years: I saw the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) I used Spanish and sign language in my day job (not much but some) My baseball team won the Championship and I clapped so hard that my hands hurt I made great friends and business associates who help others achieve their dreams I got a theme song--thanks Colin Kemper!  Someday that will be known as my first theme song, cause I know it was only several hours worth of composing.  It's perfect, and I'm privileged that I was able to find you while I can afford your time.  Best of luck as you head off to study Music Composition in Alabama next month. Okay friends, thanks for listening--I gotta run to bed, and then off to engineering work tomorrow.  Yes, I like many of you have a day job and am also a superhero doing the audacious act of finding good in the world and helping it grow--oh, and I sew. Can't wait to share more stories and also to reveal more dreams--what are your dreams?   So here's the stats 7min- alter jeans to shorts with sewing machine, they look store-bought--got trust me, I returned them before taking a photo. 1hour- alter jeans to shorts with raw edge, while making video on snapchat 3hours, 40 minutes- create with iMovie, laying music in and writing this blog post.  Oops, actually only 3 hours, I forgot to clock out while walking the pups around the block. Posting to YouTube now and off to sleep! Peace! AtoZ   Full Disclosure--certain words are hard to spell: Appalachian is one of those for me--that sneaky H and double P.  I found this mistake myself, before others commented.  It's a balance of accepting my imperfections and doing my best.  So I've updated my post correcting the error and I did a strikethrough on my  correction.  6:15PM 25-July.    
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super elite group with 3 very tough requirements--do you qualify?
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Hanging on with Thread

  A friend asked about my thread racks, and a photo seemed like a good answer.  I have the large 120 spool thread racks, and I added hooks to hang on the wall. Then I cut straws to lengthen posts and topped it all off with #ikea #pictureledge for large #spools #studio #sewing #quilting #manageyourmess #makeityourown thread rack hack. Then a surprise message from Joen Wolfrom, reminded me of my Permission Slip project, so I adjusted the photo collage.  Stay tuned for more news on Permission!
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FUN is coming, will you be there?

Rocking this sew stuff my way!  No brochures or flyers, just awesome videos!  Check the fun! promo2.001 MG.001promo2.002
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Thinking Big – Studio Secrets

Masterminded by fellow superhero, Cheryl Sleboda, the "spring cleaning your studio" blog hop is on a roll.  My reveal is on May 14! Here is a secret... I started by thinking, not doing... IMG_1418 Have you ever thought so hard that it made your eyes googly? Secret #1 - Dream - Think Big Years ago, I scribbled out some pie-in-the-sky big-dream goals.  Yep, really out there, big dreams. Like turning my studio into a collaborative workspace that was interchangeable like Legos - I can rearrange to adjust as needed.  "Fold and roll" was a part of the plan - almost everything in my studio is on wheels, and various cabinets/tables can be expanded, or are tucked in under another.  Want to guess the surface workspace or the number of wheels? Secret #2 - MindMapping - Think on Paper So my question was "what do I have in my studio"  not "what should...".  Watch along as I think on paper. Mind Mapping is a good tool for getting the stuff out of your head and onto paper - seriously, I find it to be a good way to dig deep into an idea, a problem, and help answer a question. Sometimes I'm Amazed.  Not just a great phrase, but also a sweet song, thanks Frank Parra!    Secret #3 - Think Not I'm a big fan of GTD - one of David Allen's Getting Things Done philosophies is to have an empty mind.  His first step of capture, makes it so I can think less.  Take the ideas that pop into my head and record 'em with trusty paper, audio reminder, or a dry erase board (I make it permanent by taking a photo of what I wrote). Making that list of what needs to happen, means I can come home, not think and just do...  I think Yoda would be proud, there is do or do not, there is no think...  Well, the time to think and the time to do can be separate, if you record your thoughts. Don't think about it, just follow the Spring Clean Your Studio blog hop! May 7 Kathy Matthews
May 8 Misty Cole Http://
May 9 Heather Kinion
May 10 Jessica Darling
May 11 Lisa Blevis Filion
May 12 Peta Minerof-Bartos
May 13 Mandy Leins
May 14 Amalia Teresa Parra Morusiewicz   
May 15 Sam Hunter
May 16 Debby Ritenbaugh Brown
May 17 Debbie Kleve Berkebile
May 18 Michelle Mattingly
May 19 Cheryl Sleboda   wishing you fun! a-to-z_logo_7     Stay tuned, my next secret has to do with a kids show.  Can you guess which?  
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Lucky 13’s – treasures found

Happy January 13! Thinking of luck and one of my favorite quotes "no fate but what we make", why not have 13's be lucky?

So far in 2013, I've been lucky enough to find 2 of my favorite tools that were lost!  They were hanging out together in a crossstitch kit, that obviously I had not been working on recently.

Funny these two tools had a few things in common that I wouldn't have thought of if they weren't found together.  Both came from "Falls", Omstead Falls and Great Falls, both from really unique quilt shops, and both were splurges.  If you ever have the chance to visit Abigayale's Quiltery in Omstead Falls, Ohio or Jinny Beyer's in Great Falls, Virginia, enjoy the adventure!

Several years ago traveling to Cleveland area for work, I happened to find Abigayle's.  I was in sewing withdrawal and the ladies working there were beyond friendly and welcoming.  I started up a handsewing project so I could sew on the go, and picked up my Roxanne open ended thimble - it allows you to have a longer nail and the thimble stays right where it should on the pad of the finger.  Abigayle's in is an old Victorian house, each room held different treasures: a room for the threads, another for novelty prints, then the flannels, etc.  In one of the upstairs rooms I found scraps by the ounce - a giant barrel of scraps, you pick out the ones you want and they get weighed at the checkout - kinda fun to dig thru a barrel of scraps!

Jinny Beyer's shop did not involve any digging thru barrels!  Jinny's shop has a museum quality to it, there is an awe I experience in seeing the precision and handwork of her quilts.  There is a genuine beautifulness to the display cases of the handsewing tools (including a pair of Dovo folding scissors, that came home with me).  I love the colors of the Palette Collection, and of course the border prints!  I went to Jinny's with a few of my quilt bee-mates, made a day of the adventure including lunch.  Food, friends and fabric: key ingredients in a fun adventure.

I love these two tools, not just cause they are great tools, but together they have remind me of these adventures - one I experienced alone and the other with friends.  Now having found them together, it adds to their history.  So I'm saying it aloud,  "I'm lucky to have misplaced them!"  It allowed me remember these stories and share them with you!  Plus, these tools came back to me at a time, when I am ready to spend more time on my handwork. 

Gotta say that was lucky!

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Unravelling the Lace

Come along on a design journey with me!
A glimpse into my creative process for my Arts and Old Lace Challenge...

Once the challenge was issued at the Power Suit Reveal, I started humming or outright singing "Chantilly Lace", by the Big Bopper, J.P. Richardson, I thought it was too silly a song to be an inspiration. I pondered and sketched out a closeup of a rose; roses go with both Arts and Old Lace. But the song kept playing and I decided I better give in to this inspiration,
you just can't always pick what inspires you.  
Images such as the one on 
show a guitar (a great circle, some nice curves and straight lines)
behold my design inspiration. the way, the lace I used is not "chantilly lace", chantilly lace is actually a very delicate fine lace, whereas this lace is quite thick and may be chemical lace.  Check out 
what do you think?

I was lucky enough to spend Memorial Day weekend at a good friend's house.  I packed up all my possible supplies for this project  - in fact this first image shows where I started the weekend..  I made this handdyed, by mixing green and blue; I added a circle for the sound chamber with one of the laces in my kit, and used a nice blue Ultrasuede for the pick guard.  Music give us wings so I added a bird.
But the bird didn't add to the overall feel I wanted- so bye bye birdie!
I like the curve of the double pico trim - it's kinda rockabilly...
So I say let's go crazy with the rockabilly.... and I added the words "chantilly lace", just in case, and a pony tail hanging down, oh baby you know what I like.  This project has me breaking into song way too much.  I blame (or credit)  Judy Gula and Cyndi Souder for this frivolity, that I am so enjoying!
I love all Ultrasuede but uh-oh noticed this cream Ultrasuede was starting to unravel with a light touch and this quilt needs to travel . 
So I somehow need to cover it...
let me try this sheer blue ribbon...

Okay, that was too crazy, even for me!  I lost the feeling of the guitar, but love the loops of rick rack (save idea for future fun)  
The blue ribbon adds a line that is ok, but not great.  
Let's take some more stuff off and add some buttons
Hmm, better, but what's up with the double pico trim ? looks weird...
Added strings - maybe to couch down - plus used the frog as the "bridge" 
I'm learning guitar terminology!

Those strings don't add to the guitar as much as an over all outline of the guitar would do... My friend had left overs of brown and blues of a mosaic project so I used those for the outline and background - plus I put a cream colored tulle over the whole thing - it tones down the blue pick guard and keeps the words from unraveling. 
I fused down the outline shape mosaics - I'm committing to it!

Next, I laid out some funky rectangle buttons to "tone down" the "brown" (hope my rhymes don't make you frown!)  
Used 4 buttons to represent the tuning pegs.

 Tried the curve of buttons along bottom again... and the strings...
 I think it needs to be simpler...

Tested out the rectangle buttons as if the pickguard got the measles - interesting, but not adding to the feel of a rockabilly guitar
Nah that's doesn't add to the guitarousity of it... 
Those buttons need to be on the brown squares, both to tone down the brown and add a little sparkly shape element

Trying the curve of buttons again on the pick guard....

Nope, I like the right side of the blue to be a clean stark edge.  
I love the frog trim, I want to use it.

The frog cannot stay there, moved it below.
Added the 4 buttons in the top spot.

Hmm, don't know why, but I must kiss this frog goodbye...


Voila,that's how I came up with this design.

FYI, I used a facing edge - my favorite edge, I hand stitched the buttons after the facing edge was complete.  I also tacked down the floral trim with a few hand stitches, since the quilt (I'm hoping!) will be on tour for quite a while!  The only elements that are "above the tulle" are the floral trim on the pickguard and all the buttons.

I really enjoyed the process of this design, 
thanks for coming along on this journey with me. 

Design Tool -  the digital camera.

I find the camera on the iphone to be very helpful in the design process.  Any digital camera will let you audition and flip between options. Most of the conversation here was played out as I would keep looking back at the phone and analysing the photos.

Bonus Two-fer -
The camera is also a great Memory Tool - capturing inspiring images, great ideas, someone's contact info (snap a photo of the business card, I can type it into a digital phone book later), take a photo a fully used white board so I don't lose the info, but can erase and have a nice blank space to scribble again, photos of steps in a complicated process (that I might not remember in 2 months), or  the cover of a book I want to order.  In fact I even use my phone camera to remember where I parked my car in a parking garage.  True story - when my sis was in the hospital (I was exhausted, I worked a full day- then was heading to the hospital to relieve my mom and be the overnight shift).  I knew the next morning I would have no clue where I parked, so I stood in front of the elevator (turned around so I would have the same view as when I emerge the next day) and just pointed the camera in direction of my car, typically there are numbers/letters or colors on poles/posts/walls and those will show up on your photo - remember, the cars are likely to change, but the building will still be the same! 

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Contrast and Commonality

In Quilt University's Playing with Paint online class with Lyric Kinard  I've been having a lot of fun and learning some good painting techniques. The painting on silk reminded me of a book, that I saw once.

I use my phone camera as a memory tool, so I looked in my photo album to remember...

On Reveal Day 12 I wrote "But is there some contrast and commonality I ask?".Reading Kees van Aalst's blog for July 1st, I see the terms cohesion and variation while discussing color and the need to have some balance.

Some of the fun I had painting thru the Playing with Paint included, learning that the back of what I'm working might be more interesting than the front.  Here I loaded the brush with multiple colors ala Donna Dewberry's One Stroke painting.


Plus if you don't like something... add more paint.
I like step 2's sponge painting addition to the mix.

step 1
step 2

Somethings you need to take with a little grain of Sodium Chloride. 

wet color wash

wet color wash with salt

It's fun to play with your food!

thanks for having fun with me today!

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Bloom – Reveal Day 7

I love my flower cogs (flogs), I find these to be a happy shape. I love when Art makes me happy!  Many happy mornings were spent watching Bob Ross painting happy clouds.  Again I diverge, but wait, isn't divergence part of the journey?  So I take this moment to thank those who came before and inspired me and taught me I can be myself and I can be silly, you don't need to be what others think is a serious mopey artist to be making art, seriously! 
  • Flogs cut from Artfabrik handdyes (leftovers from class with Laura Wasilowski last year) - circles drawn with Staedtler Halfpipe Pen Style Compass, circles cut and wedges cut out
  • Free cut stems on the bias
  • McTavishing Free Motion Machine quilted the background first then applique stitched since I wanted to overlap the applique over the quilting
  • Orange Flogs appliqued with a tighter freemotion zigzag
  • Red/Yellow Flogs appliqued with a free motion zigzag keeping the quilt oriented the same way no mater where on the flower I am, then turning quilt 90degrees and repeating
  • Hand sewed french knots in each flower - using DMC variegated floss (90, 106 and 51) - the Yellow Flogs have strands 90 and one each of 106 and 51, Orange has 2 strands 51, one each of others...  For the 2 strands that are the same floss, turned one so that the result is a more mottled look of color rather than the distinct color variations.

The birth of "Flog"...
Once upon a time in a challenge project long long ago, a tiny artist wanted to show the inner workings of her mind, so a cog or gear shape was in order.  She cut out a circle that was too static and round - so cut some wedge shapes out of it, kinda free and kinda messy like.  The cog was born, and all was good, but the cog looked kinda like a flower, and the tiny artist called it a "Flower Cog" for a while, but that is too long a name, so Flog it is!   I was pleased to find that Flog is an acronym: "For Love of God". Found that on Wikipedia, for the love of God!

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