Thermofax Screen Printing on Paper & a Giveaway

I have been thinking for a while now how I could promote my business, and one idea I had was to screen print cards with the rendering of my art barn. I have written a lot of blog posts over the years about Thermofax screen printing on fabric, but I have historically had minimal success on paper; I often end up with blurred imagery.  However, I was really glad I was able to watch Lynn Krawczyk’s brand new DVD,  Thermofax Screen Printing Essentials because she had some fantastic tips for screening on all types of substrates:

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It’s easy to see why Lynn was asked to create a DVD on Thermofax screen printing. Just check out all of these luscious fabrics of hers (currently in my possession…I am hesitant to send any of them back because I can’t stop petting them)!

 

Krawczyk Fabric

 

After watching her DVD, I thought about giving it a go to create greeting cards.  I first created a photocopy of the image in Photoshop that I then burned onto a screen.

Chalk rendering

 

And for the first time, per the DVD,  I used Jacquard’s Puff Additive, and mixed with Golden Fluid acrylics. The Puff Additive has just enough tooth to it to yield a very sharp image on paper, whether you later want to apply a heat gun to emboss it, or not.

Barn screen

 

I experimented with different colors, different amounts of pressure when pulling the paint down the screen to get a more organic result.

Screened barn

 

And now I have my first set of cards to send out to the greater world.

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Lynn has a lot of wonderful tips in her DVD and she masterfully and easily explains the processes from start to finish. In celebration of her DVD launch, she is giving away two screens of choice to a randomly selected reader of this blog entry. A question I have is, if you could create a screen of an image, what subject matter or image would you choose?  Just leave a comment below and you’ll be in the running!

To check out other ideas for screen printing and surface design, have a look at these bloggers also participating in this blog hop:

Maddie Kertay

Lisa Chin

Briana Goetzen

Dawn DeVries Sokol

Pam Carriker (goes up tomorrow)

Lynn Krawczyk (Sunday)

 

News, Updates & Opinions Wanted!

What is my new favorite four-letter word in the English language?

SOLD!

After having my Houston house on the market for more than six months, and flying back a lot to tweak some things and getting this deal done, I can now cross this task off my list. Those who visited my Houston pad I hope would agree it was a great home, and my eyes smarted when I got this special bottle from my realtor at my closing:

Wine bottle

I will miss many, many things about this house and ‘hood, including this outdoor community chalkboard at the end of my street, which just illustrates how cool my neighborhood truly was:

Before I Die

 

And bike riding along the bayou with my little man; I will miss our rides…and him, always.

Louie Bolton biking

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But thankfully the flight from San Francisco to Houston is an easy and fast one, and I have some very good reasons to go back rather frequently, including visiting friends like Leslie Jenison in San Antonio. It just so happens I caught my last visit this past week when Victoria Findley Wolfe was there, and we had a lot of fun experimenting with Leslie’s outdoor kitchen and pizza oven!

Lesley, Victoria, Beatrice

Leslie, Victoria, and Victoria’s daughter, Beatrice

 

Now just back to Napa, things are progressing at a good clip in my world. Some progress pix:

 

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Waving from where my future office will be.

 

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Closing up roof

Construction crew nailing down the porch roof.

 

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interior dry wall

Interior ceiling completed.

 

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office before dry wall

Upstairs loft/office is framed.

 

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office with dry wall

Upstairs office with windows drywall, and most of the paneled ceiling.

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before paint

Structure before painting, glass garage doors, and metal roofing.

 

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painted barn

Current status today with metal roof and first application of paint.

 

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Office view

Future view from my home office.

 

I have received a lot of inquiries asking when my studio/ art barn will be completed. The answer is…I don’t know. There is still quite a bit to be done, and I am dependent upon schedules and when items (like garage doors) arrive and can be installed. 

In the meantime,  I have been collaborating with some venues in Napa to coordinate retreats in the greater Napa Valley, and I have some pretty exciting news to announce soon. When I can spill, this blog will be migrating over to the new site, and I will have a lot more information for those who want to come visit Napa and create! 

So here’s where I would love some feedback.

Want to opine on a logo? 

craft nappa badges

 

 

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View from Hartwell Vineyards

 

Cheers,

Pokey

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It Takes a Group of Quilters to Build an Art Barn Foundation

Some SAQA friends, my first round of artists, stopped by my place this past Friday afternoon:

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It was a lovely visit! We toasted with champagne, rifled through some discarded wood for mixed media projects from the art barn construction site, plucked lemons from lemon trees, and talked a long time about sewing machines.

Having these talented friends over was a total boost and affirmation of what I am trying to do here in Napa. And their visit inspired me to put together a short video of the progress made thus far for the art barn.

I hope you enjoy! The website reference on the final clip–craftingalifellc.com– it’s not live right now, but will be in less than three weeks!

 

 

Signs of Spring (Finally)!

Ooooooh, it’s here! My favorite season:

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Below is a collage of springtime images I’ve taken over the last couple of weeks. (One picture may seem a little out of place, though.)

PicMonkey Collage

But to me, the picture on the lower right symbolizes new beginnings, too…because when they put a porta-potty on a construction site, you know this (:::insert profane word:::) is getting real! :)

Construction is starting to really take off for the art barn, and once the foundation is poured, I will have a definitive launch date and can share more plans. But in the meantime–when not filling out a lot of paperwork, number-crunching, re-crunching, re-crunching again, and doing all of the behind-the-scenes stuff to get a new business going…I am determined to enjoy every step of this journey.

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And Clarences agrees.

Clarence

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Happy Spring!

 

 

 

How a Quilter Takes a Hike

I recently moved from Houston to Napa Valley, driving nearly 2000 miles solo (with three dogs in my backseat). It was challenging, but looking back, I wouldn’t have done anything differently.IMG_0679

I did have two offers for co-pilots, but frankly…as a pet-loving quilter with a lot of precious cargo, I responded to them, “Where the heck would I fit you in the car?”

A Quilter on the Move

What I refused to put on a moving truck, nor put in the temperature-controlled cargo of an airplane:

-3  Dogs

-2 BERNINAS

-1 thermofax machine

-An enormous suitcase containing my most precious quilts, some made by family, some purchased, one by me.

-Jewelry that had a lot of sentimental value

-Crucial documents

-A backpack with jeans, t-shirts, a toothbrush and other essentials.

 

For every night I was on the road (and no, I didn’t drive past sundown), I brought all of this cargo into the hotel room. It meant a lot of trips from car to room between pets, dog food, supplies, quilts, and docs.

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The  hours of driving each day–and being on guard while driving–were pretty exhausting for all of us…

 

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But we saw some very interesting sights along the way, including this Exxon station in West Texas, where, understandably, while I filled the gas tank, I couldn’t let the dogs out to relieve themselves:

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We encountered a wreck on I-10, 90 miles east of El Paso. I would have been stuck in this for five hours (plus) while they righted this semi that had tipped over and blocked both lanes, but with the help of some empathetic truck drivers, I was directed onto the feeder, and again on my merry way.

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After about 23 hours driving and two nights in hotels, I encountered this sign (below).  Admittedly, seeing this was emotional, and I cried. It had been 26 years since I drove my own car in my home state.

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The next day, after driving up I-5,  I was on my property in Napa and saw these pink little flags whipping in the wind. They mark the art barn for Crafting a Life.

 

I cried again.

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The next morning, I woke to this greeting.

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And I cried. Again.

I found this cluster of lemons on a tree on my property.

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You’ll be happy to know, I didn’t cry. (I just plucked ’em.)

Later, Clarence discovered his first hot air balloon and…he cried. (Video can be found on my Instagram feed.)

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And I let the dogs out to run run run. And we all cried…tears of sheer joy and gratitude.

 

Great news! I’m done crying. And better yet…I’m almost done unpacking! And soon ready to get busy and on with the Next Big Life and Business Adventure, here in Napa Valley.

We made it.

Cheers all around,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Looking Forward and Looking Back

I have gotten a lot of great business and life advice in 2014, but the below quote I spotted in Magic Kingdom might be one of my favorites:

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2014 was a crazy, whirlwind year for me, yet ended on a very high note.

2014

 

I traveled the world; met one of my favorite actors in London when I accidentally ran onto the set of “Downton Abbey;” I witnessed my high school best friend get married in Maui to the greatest guy; and also nearly lost my hand to a hungry swan in Zurich. I also decided to take a leap of faith and go home to California and start a new endeavor, after 26 years away.

This past year Allison Stilwell left all of us with vital advice: Do what you love—nothing else matters.

That’s damn right.

And my college friend Fr. TJ Martinez also had a motto that he said over and over and over: Do the difficult now, and the impossible soon after.

I feel they bear repeating:

Do the difficult now, and the impossible soon after.

And do what you love- nothing else matters.

Pokey

My best wishes for a very happy new year!

Bring on 2015,

 

 

 

I’d Rather Be Printing Than Packing

Well, I have a bit of an update: I have decided to fast-track my move to the Frisco Bay and make the drive next month. This is a bit sooner than I had originally thought, but I just don’t rest well on my laurels and I am ready to embark on the next leg of my life adventure. I know I will make quicker progress out in Napa, “glamping,”  than trying to build the business remotely from my house in Houston…so California here I come!

What’s slowing me down as I pack is a dilemma I know other surface design aficionados face:  I am surrounded by bubble wrap, corrugated cardboard, styrofoam peanuts for goodness sake…all great stuff with which to low-tech print!

I recently received Julie Booth’s book for review, Fabric Printing at Home, a great starter book for those new to fabric printing, and a wonderful refresher for those of us who need a little coaxing and coaching to re-evaluate everyday items as potentially exciting objects for printing.

Fabric Printing at Home

All of the ideas in this encyclopedic book are creative and low-tech (meaning they are on the cheap), and for those with restless kiddies at home over the holidays, this is a comprehensive resource to inspire an afternoon (…or two or three) of indoor printing activities.

I do have a copy to give away, and I’ll randomly select a winner early next week from those who respond to the following question:

What is the object you have used to print with that has yielded the most surprising results? (I will say I am particularly eager to hear this answer!)

Now back to packing…

 

 

 

 

 

Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

 

I am honored to share that I am a part of the “100 Artists to Fight Cancer” to help Virginia Spiegel reach her overall goal of $250,000 for the American Cancer Society! She’s just $10,000 away! Mark your calendar—10:00 AM CST on February 4, 2015 is when you could win a piece of art from one of your 100 favorite fiber artists. (Details can be found here.)

FFAC2015logo

 

If you have just a couple of minutes to read further, I’d like to tell you about the piece of art I am going to make, and why.

For 100 Artists, I am making a piece in honor of my college friend Fr. TJ Martinez, who at the age of 44 lost his battle against cancer just this past Friday.

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TJ’s smiling face was was one of the very first to greet me when I arrived at Boston College. During our college days, we were both rather involved in our undergraduate government; both were a part of a two-year leadership program; both helped run a student center for activities on campus; and even dated for a short spell (but realized we were better as good friends). He was also my confirmation sponsor, and when the confirmation mass was over, he gave me a giftwrapped book, Oh, the Places You’ll Go! By Dr. Seuss.

And the places he went. He earned not one…not two…not three…not four…but FIVE post-graduate degrees, including a law degree from UT-Austin and a Master’s at Harvard (where, not surprisingly, he gave the commencement address).

A man of deep faith, TJ eventually became a Jesuit priest, and his most stunning feat to date: raised millions of dollars in Houston to found a college prep school for children from impoverished families—children who otherwise most likely would never have dreamed of going to college.

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His school, Cristo Rey Jesuit has had two graduating classes thus far…and, wonderfully, all of the students have gone on to college!

This past January TJ invited Cesar Milan, the Dog Whisperer, to keynote a luncheon at his school that I was fortunate enough to attend.

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The Dog Whisperer’s presence in Houston caught the attention of the local media. Here’s a video clip of TJ with Cesar: http://www.click2houston.com/news/dog-whisperer-cesar-milan-visits-local-high-school/23950332

At that luncheon TJ said something so funny, so embarrassing to my entire table. With his arm around me, he shouted, “Hey everybody, this is my friend, POKEY! We went to BOSTON COLLEGE together! We dated but she turned me DOWN…so I had to go to JESUS!”

(TJ could be cheeky too.)

That is the last time I saw my friend. In the spring, TJ was diagnosed with stage 4 stomach cancer, a diagnosis he accepted with grace. His message to all after he was diagnosed was not to be sad, but to live joyfully.

I am choosing the joyous colors of TJ’s school (with a little pink thrown in) for my 100 Artists piece:

TJ's Fabrics

 

I don’t know what I am going to create yet, but I know what the title will be: “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!”

That title feels pretty perfect, just like my perfect, always smiling friend.

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Homecoming Dance, 1990. (TJ wasn’t just an incredible scholar but he could cut up the rug pretty good, too!)

 

I promise I’ll do right by you with my artist piece, TJ!

In loving memory,

Pokey

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Celebrating Allison Stilwell: Do What You Love

I feel very blessed, I was one of the lucky ones who was able to go to Florida this past weekend to celebrate the life of Allison Stilwell at the Jeanine Taylor Folk Art Gallery in Sanford.

Tribute sign

A whimsical and colorful outsider artist, Allison had a huge fan base, and her art graced the pages of Cloth Paper Scissors, Quilting Arts, Studios, Art Doll Quarterly, among other publications. She and her sister Tracy also were hilarious(!) guests on Quilting Arts TV. Simply put, Allison’s humor, her unwavering joy de vivre were evident in every piece of art she made, and people couldn’t get enough.

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Artgirlz and sisters Tracy and Allison Stilwell in Houston at Make It University a few years back.

 

When I found out Allison passed away this past May, like so many, I was devastated. But like artist Lyric Kinard had written to me online: our lives are better for having known her. I try to hold onto that thought, and I also think about the motto that Allison lived by:

Do What You Love

The celebration this past Saturday was extremely well attended; people came from near and far to celebrate and remember her. Below, people are starting to gather in the art gallery.

Crowds arriving

 

There were a lot of much needed hugs…

Hugs

 

Every wall in the gallery was adorned with art by the Artgirlz.

Hearts

 

And tables overflowed with fabric hearts, art dolls, pillows, pins, buttons, and other arty bits:

Display of goodies

 

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art dolls

 

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pillows

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Broken

 

After the ceremony where poetry was read and people tearfully–yet joyously–spoke, I gathered with Tracy and Allison’s life partner, Midge Baudouin in front of Allison’s fabric collaged self-portrait. It was hard to look at this portrait and not lose it (which I did). Allison started this self-portrait but never finished it, and like so many of us can relate with our own UFO’s, she had rolled it up and put it away.  After Allison’s passing, Tracy and Midge desperately scoured the house, and when they unearthed the half-finished canvas, completed it together.

Kiss from Tracy

 

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Love to Allison

 

This life celebration–I know–is exactly what Allison would have wanted.

And she will live on in all of our hearts.

 

 

 

 

“When You’re Tired, You Take a Nap-a, You Don’t MOVE to Napa!” (…or maybe you do)

I love the above borrowed quote from “Sex and the City.” (Thanks to a good friend for recently reminding me of it!)

In reference to this quote, I’m not tired exactly, but I have been restless for a long while and I’m ready to run my own gig again. I’ve leaked via social media what my initial plans are, but here’s the full deal:

In 2015 I am moving to Napa and I’m launching a media and event business.

The name of the business is Crafting A Life, LLC. It will focus on quilting, sewing, mixed media, cooking, journaling, fitness and of course—being in Napa—oenology (wine). There are  also plans for children’s crafting programs too (sans wine).

fabric fence

The initial phase of Crafting A Life, LLC, will consist of boutique-style retreats—small classes in an artful, inspiring environment. For these retreats—while learning skills and perfecting techniques—there will be fun diversions, short hikes with incredible views of Napa Valley, music breaks, great food and drink, and discussions (taking place in rocking chairs) to collectively share studio and art tips.

I am also building an art barn to host retreats (date TBA ). However, the website for Crafting A Life, LLC, will launch within a few weeks.

So if you would like to join me for these retreats starting next year, and maybe take a nap-a while here, you are welcome to. After all, I plan on investing in a number of hammocks. :)

#craftingalife

#homeofthepokeypour

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