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art creativity design happiness

omg! so happy!

If you’ve read much of this blog, you’ll realize that until 2018 I was a college professor, lost in the whirlwind of conflicting thoughts… I was a complete novice at business, though I took a great course and do know how to sew and design pretty things. But still… even the MBA in a Box (which still sits on my shelf) was intimidating, and I felt like a failure–or completely INSANE to be doing what I do–quite often. And if you’ve ever tried to create anything or start a small business, you’ll also empathize and feel a surge of joy right now, on hearing that I JUST MADE MY FIRST BIG SALE today! The All Star Seattle Quilt (above) sold after just one day on Etsy!

So now, I’m riding on the wind, as I look forward to a wonderful session of T’ai chi, after the exhilarating Water Taxi ride to the waterfront… and it’s not even raining (right now).

All Star Seattle Quilts nos. 2 and 3 are underway and will feature the T-shirts of more local favorites! No. 2 will feature Pegasus Books, Easy Street Records, and Beanfish Tayaki; No. 3 will feature Elliott Bay Books, Easy Street Records, and Communion Restaurant. preorders available now! (6-8 weeks)

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created at ArtWalk!

At the June 10 ArtWalk event announced earlier this week, visitors enjoyed playing “Make a Quilt” and entering in the drawing to WIN YOUR QUILT! It was a hit. So much so, that we are now planning to do it again later this summer on the front sidewalk outside West Seattle Grounds coffee shop. In the meantime, thought you’d enjoy some glimpses of the creativity from Thursday night!

Some lovely non-winners below

This is how the “Make a Quilt” game works:

Public:  Who can play? Everyone!

Instructions

1. Ensure hands are clean, with wipes provided.

2. Browse through the quilt squares, choose 15 that you like.  Put the other ones into a neat pile to the side.

3. Choose your layout: horizontal or vertical.

(“Frankenstein” is vertical; “Respect wall-hanging” is horizontal)

4. Lay out your quilt squares in lines according to the blue taped areas on the table. It will create a design that is 3 squares x 5 squares (vertical), or 5 squares x 3 squares (horizontal).

5. Straighten it all up.

6. Take a photo with your cell phone.

Congratulations! You are now a quilt designer and that is your first e-quilt!

To win a real quilt made out of your design, join the WIN YOUR QUILT drawing!

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join us June 10, creative fun guaranteed! (trust me)

(In memory of a dear friend’s passing and time’s fleeting path. Sorry to see you leave so soon, Matt VE…)

Hello fine people,

Since we’ve all survived thus far, I’d like to invite you to join me in person on June 10, from 5-8 pm, at the “Dreaming in Quilts” show currently on display at West Seattle Grounds coffee shop, in Seattle. It is the June ArtWalk evening; you could make this one stop on a lovely evening promenade around scenic West Seattle. If you come, I promise to welcome you with a smile, answer any questions that may arise about my creations, and enjoy watching people play “Make a Quilt.” At 8pm, Joanie (the wonderful manager of this event) will draw someone’s paper out of the box, and announce who won the “WIN YOUR QUILT!” drawing, for a free quilt of their own design!

There are eight quilts on display: three “Respect” quilts in honor of #BLM and inspired by fascinating Black people I know; one each of the Frankenstein and Alice in Wonderland quilts, two one-of-a-kind Japanese Kimono Silk quilts*, and a subdued, blue/grey/green watery-looking quilt inspired by Seattle called “Western Pacific.”

They are perfectly imperfect, each in its own way (being a firm believer in Haruki Murakami’s adage, “a certain type of perfection can only be realized through the limitless accumulation of the imperfect”).

*The Japanese Kimono Silk quilts were made with tiny bits of silk from a long-lost catalogue for kimono makers, placed in a pretty rice cake tin that was found at Hosekibako, a Japanese resale shop. I miss browsing around that elegant store and finding such treasures, but I am happy to see they now sell online!

The Make a Quilt game is free, simple, and accessible to all, the youngest and oldest among us too (no pins, needles, or scissors involved). Participants will find a long table marked with blue tape outlining a 5×3 grid and a pile of 10” sewn quilt squares in various textures and colors and patterns. People will choose 15 squares, lay them out in their own designs, straighten ’em up, take a photo; voilà an e-quilt! With that, they can now join the drawing for a real quilt on the same design: “WIN YOUR QUILT!” (The winner will receive the very quilt they’ve designed, in 6-8 weeks.)

A creative, fun time guaranteed. Particularly recommended for people re-entering the world after a long moment of isolation and possible sadness, whose eyes look downwards and moments of joy seem few. In other words, all of us. Kids too.

If coming to West Seattle is too much of a challenge, not to worry. HGBG quilts are currently on sale via the Honey Girl Books & Gifts etsy site at a fabulous 50% discount (use code LUVWSEA) until June 30, 2021. And if you’d like to host a future “Dreaming in Quilts” show in your neighborhood, why not write to me? (use the contact page on this blog). Who knows what we might do, to spread loving kindness around this sad old world.

Thank you, for all that you do to support the Black Lives Matter movement, appreciation of Asian-Americans, and the rich contributions all make to American culture. Let us usher in trust as the post-pandemic concept of choice, right now, right where we live.

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creativity generosity sustainability wisdom work

day 61, “when you wish to delight yourself…”

“… think of the virtues of those who live with you,” counsels Marcus Aurelius. “For nothing delights so much as the examples of the virtues when they are exhibited in the morals of those who live with us. […] Hence we must keep them before us.”

Meditations, Book VI, 48.

Today is devoted to that: delighting in the virtues of others.  First, I was delighted to discover my favorite nearby island, Vashon, made the news this morning in the New York Times!  It is an article in the Science section about the innovative COVID-19 testing program that some volunteers (including a retired cardiologist) set up on the island, and which is now being offered as a model to tribal communities and other rural areas around the nation.  I love the concept of “inherent trust” that exists among the islanders, and which will doubtless help the contract tracers follow the path of the virus, were there to be an outbreak on Vashon.

 

(It may sound crazy, but I like to think that all of us people–tailors, sewers, grandmas and teens–all the people who are sewing beautiful face masks for other people around the world, that maybe we too might help foster trust among those who are protected by our creations.)

The stock market rallied yesterday on news of other people making a difference–scientists working on a promising vaccine. Yay for people creating positive changes in their communities and in our country!

Hopeful stock market sign May 19 2020

and fyi, yesterday’s face mask production, alongside our new window sign for Week 10:

Here’s hoping tomorrow brings more positive news! 🙂

 

 

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creativity friendship wisdom work

day 19: a kinship of intelligence

It’s a nice grey Tuesday out here in Seattle, a good time to be quiet and work. A Meditation:

“When you are troubled about anything, you have forgotten … how close is the kinship between a man and the whole human race, for it is a community, not of a little blood or seed, but of intelligence.  … every man lives in the present time only, and loses only this.”

Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, Book XII, 26.

Yesterday’s production lies below; and off we go for more mask creation!

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art creativity design music quilts wisdom

On Marcus Aurelius, Toots and the Maytals, the Manet exhibit, and a new quilt in the making…

 

 

 

Last night at the Toots and the Maytals concert, I had an epiphany inspired by Marcus Aurelius’s Meditations. Toots was the living spirit of benevolence. He played all the songs we wanted to hear, and even took off his sunglasses at one point to show us his smiling eyes, thus reaffirming what Marcus Aurelius wrote about 1,900 years ago: “The good and simple and benevolent show all these things in the eyes, and there is no mistaking it.” If you think singing in a reggae band, or attending a reggae concert and dancing along with the crowd, is a silly waste of time, think again. The community spirit ran deep among the music lovers at Benaroya Hall; people of all ages—babies to oldsters, and lots of folks in between—were smiling and bopping along with “Monkey Man” and “Funky Kingston” just like in the old days when Toots was a younger man.

All that groovin’ builds trust in the populace, which for Marcus Aurelius would be a capital virtue, I think. “Have I done something for the general interest? Well then I have had my reward,” he wrote, and: “Unity in a manner exists, as in the stars. Thus the ascent to a higher degree is able to produce a sympathy even in things that are separated.”

In that spirit, I’m sharing some photos of a creation taking place in my studio these days: a baby quilt for a child who lives in Spain. I’m calling the design “European Childhood.”  You’ll see why if you look closely at the squares-in-progress below: Paddington Bear is there from London, the dark blue fabric looks like night in a Spanish city, and another scene shows toddlers at the beach in a retro French style. Also visible are the season’s hottest colors—grey and yellow, as in a famous painting now on display at the Manet exhibit*—to suggest that this little guy is with it!

 

Over the next few days and weeks, I’ll post photos of this quilt as it progresses and thoughts on some books I’m reading. Since I spend most of my time alone in my studio working on projects like this, or silently practicing T’ai chi and Qigong in studios around town, I’m not that connected to people–colleagues and students–the way I used to be. And I realized at that concert that I still have much to offer the world. There probably are not that many bloggers reading Marcus Aurelius these days.  Yet, as the great man wrote, “Such are your habitual thoughts, such also will be the character of your mind; for the soul is dyed by the thoughts.  Dye it then with a continuous series of thoughts such as these…  Revere that which is best in the universe; and this is that which makes use of all things and directs all things.  And in like manner also revere that which is best in yourself.” Day One of European quilt.jpg

Thanks for reading… and for living a good life.

  • In the Conservatory (1877-79) by Edouard Manet, features an attractive couple in an ambiguous conversation (note the wedding rings, yet their hands do not touch). The woman’s shimmery grey dress and spread-out pleats seem custom-made to reflect the yellow glints emanating from her gloves, hat, and parasol. Check out the intriguing review of this and other paintings by Manet in today’s New York Times!