Stitches pile up, life and CraftNAPA: an update

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It has been more than 2 weeks since returning from the magical event called Craft NAPA. I feel blessed to have participated. I stood among friends, watched their connection to one another, ate chocolate covered strawberries and drank deep cups of coffee while also teaching and meeting new friends.

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This is the view from Pokey’s art barn. Like so many of you, I have watched the blazing beauty that Pokey spins wherever she goes. To watch her build this barn, to see Crafting a Life unfold, to participate in her first event is an amazing endeavor. I feel gratitude, and I am honored to know her and to be able to lend my talents to her efforts.

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Indigo Perez is such a lovely person. I have watched her unfurl her wings and fledge the nest of my good friend Judy over these last few years. I have to say, Indigo is so talented, such a good person, I couldn’t wait to hug her. 

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Here are Pokey, Larissa and I. Both of these women are crazy mad talented. Larissa took my, You Can’t Resist This! soy wax resist with paint class. Her color sense and use is amazing. Not to mention, she now owns a class sample I donated to raise funds for Okizu, an organization that helps families affected by childhood cancers. 

MIUGalsThenNow

Jamie Fingal, Leslie Tucker Jenison, Pokey, Judy Coates PerezJane LaFazio and I recreated a photograph we took perhaps 8 years ago at MIU in Long Beach Quilt Festival. What an amazing group of people. This photo mash up was taken by Jamie.

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Midge and Libby became fast friends. I now own pieces of art made by each of these women. Happy sigh.

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Cheryl Sleboda and I were able to connect too.  She is a powerhouse. Smart, sassy and fun. Go check out her website! I bought one of her skull tShirts!

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You Can’t resist This!! Class photo.

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Journal Embroidery class photo.

Unfortunately I did not get a photo of my Small Works/Big Impact class. I am sorry about that. 

My take away from participating in this great event? I can see Craft NAPA being a creative home away from home, one that I look forward to visiting yearly. The food offerings, 8 Noodle, OxBow Market, the Napa Valley Art store? The community and commeraderie in this event sparkled bright. I hope I am asked to teach again, and I would love to take a class too.

There are so many more photos that I could have put in this post. I think I am going to upload them to Facebook instead. 🙂 Great fun, friendship, learning, and wine blending! So good, I still feel the glow of having had a great time.


 

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Upon my return and in wanting to establish creative balance after the participating in this great event, I have been stitching away the days. I am compiling a new class content for The Clever Guild. It feels great to be engaged with my creative process again and I look forward to providing opportunities to connect and learn from one another. I hope you will follow along as I dust off the site and start having some fun with it.

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I am hoping a few of you might volunteer to take the class (for free-of course), I would love some help in making sure the content is amazing. Stitch work, questions and participation is required. If you are interested, please leave a comment on this post and I will contact you with more information.

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I have been pushing the limits of layering and stitch and am quite pleased with my results. The Gather your Sew-plies purse is a great format to learn about and play around with stitch. The main purse piece is 6×14″, which makes it large enough to make a great purse, but small enough that filling it with stitch is an enjoyable affair.

Please speak up if you would like to be on my Journal Stitch crew.


 

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And then we get caught up to last night, when Joules Evans arrived in Brooklyn to attend the opening at Site:Brooklyn called American Road Trip. This is the first time Joules has had a piece shown in a gallery, and for it to be a great Brooklyn Gallery is no small feat. Congratulations Joules.

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To celebrate Joules’s accomplishment, Isis Charise photographer of Grace, Joules and I attended the opening and then walked over to Bar Tano to toast, eat and be merry. These women have been a strength and a balm to me. 

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Life is better than good.

 

A video posted by Melanie Testa (@mellytesta) on

for the birds

The small quilt sandwich seen above is an accomplishment of conversational prints! It is a pun, do you get it? 

Armchair Birder. 

Total geeky cackle over here, this is great birding humor! 🙂 I got into textile design because I fell in love with conversational prints. So, I particularly like this combination of fabrics.  But I am also an armchair birder. My bird magazines come and it really is all about the pictures!

I mean. 

Just sayin’.  😉 

Years ago, I found the Audobon’s list of 20 Common Birds in Decline during an internet search. I sat reading the article, tears rolling down my face. But just as strongly as the tears themselves was the belief  that I could do something to raise awareness for these birds. I felt resolved. I don’t know how this occurred, just that it did. 

I began scouring the net for information about the birds’ habitats and the needs of that habitat (and it’s inhabitants) to maintain symbiosis with these 20 birds. I decided to make artwork for each of the twenty birds on the list. Meadowlark’s bird fabric contains six of the twenty birds on Audubon’s list. I have tried to contact their corporate office to inform them of my project, but they don’t answer the call.I wish they would because I don’t want to unintentionally misinform, but, oh well. I will do my best.

Cancer treatment really made me a different person. It is a big deal to go through. But it has also served to motivate me. It gave me time to think about what I wanted and to daydream about how I might achieve it. It showed me how little time I have and that I want to make a difference.  As I lay in bed during treatment, I watched David Attenborough’s Life of Birds. I watched it over and over, except for the burrowing parrots. (Those birds are mean little birds. I didn’t watch that segment hardly at all.) But I lay there watching and wondering how I could do to help the birds that I so adore. I drifted off to sleep, came back, watched more. It was dreamy. But in viewing the show and thinking about what is important to me, I kept coming back to the list of Common Birds in Decline that affected me so deeply.

I have been exploring the imagery of The 20 birds in all media, paper, cloth printings combined with hand embroidery. So when it came time to start designing fabrics for release in my line, of course, I decided to feature some of the birds on the Audubon list. I hope to be able to create a fabric for each of the birds on the list, we will see. 

I will be blogging about these new works and the birds themselves in the next few months.

I hope you enjoy my ramblings on the topic of birds. 

EMeadowlark

The Eastern Meadowlark is on the List, unfortunately.  It’s numbers have decreased by 73% in forty years.  Here is a good place to start learning about Eastern Meadowlark and what you can do to help this bird. 

And remember, I’m hosting a blog hop giveaway of Fat Stacks of the Meadowlark line, here is the list of participants (leave a comment on each posts related to the hop). Today is Leslie Tucker Jenison’s day to post and I must say, I love the ingenuity of her design! The quilt is more like a throw, it has a great ‘hand’, please go check out her post

Melly – June 2 
Vivien Zepf – June 2 
Chrissie D – June 3 
Sue Bleiweiss – June 4  
Leslie Tucker Jenison  June 5 
Jamie Fingal – June 6 
Lyric Kinard – June 7 
Jen Eskridge – June 8 
Jacqui Holmes Calhoun – June 8  <——-Jacqui will be guest posting here!
Stephanie Forsyth – June 9 
Victoria Findlay Wolfe – June 10 
Teri Lucas – June 11 
Scott Hansen June 12
Helen Eckard – June 12 <——-Helen will be guest posting here!