Creative Space and Time: Podcast with Ricë Freeman-Zachery

To write Creative Time and Space: Making Room for Making Art, Ricë Freeman-Zachery worked all last year getting a ton of information and tips out of twelve artists (including me). She also got great photos of artwork, drawings, quilts, sculptures, collages, sketchbooks, and studio space from everyone.

CreativeTimeSpace-cover2For my contribution to the book, I think I wrote about 20 pages of answers to her many questions and submitted upteen photos of drawings, quilts, sketchbooks and my studio. The finished book is densely layered with the photos, tips, challenges, and personal stories from all of the artists and organized into ten chapters with intriguing titles such as:

  • Exploring Time – What exactly does “Time” mean to you?
  • Stuck in Time – When you need a tow truck to get out of a rut
  • Mental Space – What goes on up there in your head?
  • Soul Space – Where you receive permission to play
  • Creative Habits – Music, candles and companionable cats

This fall Ricë is doing a series of podcasts with the twelve artists she wrote about in the book. In yesterday’s podcast with me, Rice asked more challenging questions. Then towards the end of the podcast, in her usual articulate fashion, she was able to sum up my rambling answers into a concise and helpful set of tips (read her post about the interview on her blog Voodoo Cafe: Notes on Art, Writing, & the Creative Life.) Here are some topics we discussed, but to tell you the truth, the 45 minutes flew by!

  • Finding the best places to do creative work
  • Using the whole brain
  • Developing resource bank of ideas to avoid the “blank page” syndrome once you get back to studio

The other artists who contributed to the book:
Tracy Bautista, Theo Ellsworth, Lisa Lichtenfels, Chris Malone, Thomas Mann, Teesha Moore, Judy Coates Perez, Kelly Rae Roberts, Lori Marsh Sandstedt, Carter Seibels, Susan Sorrell, Roz Stendahl, and Judy Wise.


Did I say that? (less is more)

qn_backcover.jpg When I first got into some art shows and was asked for an artist statement, I often spent a lot of time at the word processor — refining and tweaking and trying to cram as many power-packed poetic words into the space allowed. Type…..check the word count…..retype……check the word count.

Now after a year of using Twitter (only 140 characters, not words allowed!), or maybe because I’ve decided I’d like to leave some mystery for the viewer, my statements are getting much shorter than the space allowed.

In fact, my statement for Quilt National 2009 was only one sentence long. I’d actually forgotten I’d said it because it’s so core to what I believe that it seems apparent, but was pleased to see it in print. And it also ended up on the back cover of the book. Sometimes I guess, less is more.

In case you can’t read my quote in the photo, it says, “I believe the true power of art is the ability to transport us to new or unexpected places.”

She’s in the Wall Street Journal


Who? That woman I told you about, the one with a big nose and Eiffel-Tower hair.

I first got wind of the article in this weekend’s Wall Street Journal from folks on the SAQA yahoo list. Those of us who aren’t at the conference and Quilt National opening last night are feeling left out and checking the internet for show gossip.

So that’s a good excuse to go out for a Green Tea Latte, right? And I found the print version on the news rack at B&N. The photo is really tiny and oddly cropped, but looks pretty swell in the website article and slide show here.

Thanks to Meg Cox, for the nice mention in her article and more info about other quilt shows this summer. I’d never heard about the populist Sisters Oregon one-day outdoor show — that sounds like a crazy fun affair!

The Banana Pose is in American Style!


Hey, there’s my quilt on page 58 of the January-February issue of American Style magazine. Yay, AmStyle did a big big section on “studio quilts” and artists, and Martha Sielman executive director of SAQA mentioned my work in her interview. Thanks Martha!

Yoga 101 - The Banana Split Pose
Yoga 101 - The Banana Split Pose by Pam RuBert - 45" x 53"

This quilt is called “Yoga 101: The Banana Split Pose,” one of my series of quilts featuring yoga poses inspired by food puns.


In the same article there’s also a great photo that Russ took of me working at my sewing machine a few pages later. The section features lots of great fiber artists (that’s Linda Gass’s gorgeous quilt beside mine) including Caryl Bryer Fallert, Susan Shie, John Lefelhocz, Gwendoyn Magee, and Katie Pasquine Masopust.

A visit from Spike and Warren on their book interview tour


Over the weekend author Spike Gillespie and her boyfriend “Warren” the photographer visited our studio to do an interview and photos for Spike’s new book Quilting Art that will be published next year.

kman_fireworks.jpgIt was kind of a whirlwind weekend tour of our life around here, starting with fabulous fireworks behind one of Russ’s sculptures The Kinetic Man on Friday, spending Saturday at the studio looking at quilts and sculptures, then ending up at the lake for swimming, water skiing, and a mad dash through a torrential downpour to get back to shelter. With lots of yummy food and snacks interspersed throughout!

Overall it was a great weekend and a lot of fun to get to know them both, and I was happy to hear Warren say, “Quilting Changed my Life!”

Above is Spike, surrounded by one of Russ’s interactive neon sculptures at the studio after our interview — one of the only photos I remembered to take. I guess when there’s another photographer around, I’m timid about pulling out my own camera!

Studio Article in Cloth Paper Scissors

cps_studios1.jpg I can’t believe April is already half over, and I haven’t yet told you about this article. Last December Patricia Bolton asked me to submit some information about my studio for a special edition of the magazine Cloth Paper Scissors.

Having a lot photos for this blog and just general shutter-bugitis, I sent some in with a brief written tour.

cps_studios3.jpgcps_studios2.jpgSo here’s the result. You can pick up a copy at bookstores, or order online here. There’s lots of fabulous studios featured, I’m loving Jane Davila‘s studio and of course, Sara Lechner‘s — had to crack up at her story of buying 75 sets of shelves. And I thought I was crazy!

Also lots of great organizational tips for studios. Seems ironic that the article would come out just as we’re trying to finish up renovating the front of what CPS calls the “art factory,” but never fear — the part in the magazine remains true to the photos, so you’ll be seeing the real deal.

Meanwhile I’m sooo excited, can hardly wait until tomorrow when they will start installing the new bamboo floor in the front offices. Hope the finished product is worth all the agony of moving out again and the dust and noise.

We’re going for a complete change of aesthetic — more like a gallery feel, so it will be fun to have something different and better for photographing art than the old orange-black floor (it has been Halloween 24-7 for eight years — enough already!)

Distinctive Directions postcards


Postcards are going out for our Distinctive Directions show that opens at the Lux Center for the Arts on April 4. The cards look sharp — lucky we have Deidre Adams in our group to design them!

The DD show and Lisa Call‘s solo show at the Lux open one week after the grand opening of the International Quilt Study Center in Lincoln, Nebraska, so if you wait until April, you can see Nancy Crow’s show and Quilts in Common at the IQSC and our shows at the Lux. A double dip trip!

Six Pages in Quilting Arts Magazine!

qa-magazine.jpgWowee, the new Quilting Arts magazine is out, and I think it’s the best issue ever. The emphasis that QA has put on publishing articles about sketchbooks, concept and design development, and innovative techniques has made this the go-to magazine in the art quilt world.

And as usual, the excellent photography makes the articles even more delicious. Judy Coates Perez has an article about a new technique she’s developed, Vicki Hallmark has an article about using space-age materials, Frances Holliday Alford has a yummy recipe for bead soup. And Sara Lechner‘s article makes me crave a needle-felting machine (scroll down her blog for a gander at her glass house studio!

Of course, I may also be a bit biased about the issue, because PaMdora got a whopping six-page spread! Thanks Patricia Bolton for creating and growing a great magazine. And thanks Cate Coulascos Prato for writing such a nice article.


PaMdora’s in Mary Engelbreit’s Home Companion

Switching seasons… gosh Christmas comes quick after Halloween! Just got my issue of Mary Engelbreit’s Home Companion and there was PaMdora in her quilted, zippered vest.

Actually MEHC asked me for some photos last spring when they started the Top Stitch profile to feature art quilters. Here’s the other artists who have been featured this year. They told me it was only one page, but I sent more photos anyway, and it turned into two. I guess they got that quote from my website because I didn’t write that artist’s statement until summer.

I like MEHC because they always feature artists’ studios and lots of inspiring arts and crafts. Mary Engelbreit is a self-made artist turned publisher, but then I’ve always known about her because she’s from my home state.

I wonder if it’s a coincidence that the next day, Whip Up featured my quilts on their website under quilts with an attitude. Maybe kath red saw the magazine article. Anyway, was glad to see my crazy ideas were again resonating with someone else.

Traffic Jam


Yay, I finally got this monkey off my back! I don’t know why was so hard, being it’s a simple concept and similar to this quilt that just went together like butter, and I consider to be one of my best quilts, technically speaking. (maybe that’s why it got into FiberArts International 2007).

Maybe part of the problem was all the starts and stops. I started it for this TV taping, then had several interruptions. Or maybe because I had artistic doubts about my work during the process and decided to recklessly experiment.


Or maybe it’s the maze mentality. I wanted to put a maze pattern on it because of the traffic theme, and the project did become a series of starts, stops, and wrong turns.

If you’re wondering about the solution to my background problem, pastels.jpgI used oil pastels to adjust the color. These are cheap school kid oil pastels by Colorific, but what I had on hand. This is not recommended for fabric.

In discussions on the QA list, I learned oils in oil pastels may eventually destroy the fabric. Maybe not for a few years, but in terms of 50-100 years which is how conservators think. Here’s a link to good explanation about Shiva Paintstiks that could be an alternative.


Meanwhile, I had a great time using the oil pastels on the background, using predominantly purples, but highlighting with a blue. I love this effect, so will have to try the Shiva paintstiks in the future. And I was thinking, since there are really only three main elements in the quilt, I could cut them out and sew them to a new background. Or better, I could just move onto new projects!

p.s. Here’s a couple more process shots – click to see bigger. trafficjamtsquare.jpg Squaring up the quilt is always difficult for me. I leave lots of room to crop after I’m done quilting, and try to use a t-square or laser-level to chalk the lines. This quilt is only 3’x4′ so the t-square worked pretty well.

Here’s why I covered the background with pastels. trafficjamhair.jpgI had quilted it with a light-colored thread, then when I stepped back, thought it had the unpleasant look of being covered with hair. Which is how I felt too. When things aren’t going right in an artwork, I feel like I have hair growing under my skin. Ever feel like that? 🙂