Susie Monday

Artist, maker, teacher, author, head cook and bottlewasher.

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The art I make is the result of a life-long love of pattern, texture and color. How I teach is a skill honed by experience (I started teaching creative arts to younger kids when I was 12). After earning a B.A. in Studio Arts from Trinity University, I helped lead an internationally recognized educational foundation, designed curriculum exhibits for schools and other institutions, wrote and edited for a major daily newspaper, opened the San Antonio Children's Museum and then, a dozen years ago, took the scary but essential (for me) leap to become a fulltime artist and art teacher.

About This Blog

This weblog is about the maker's life. The teacher's path. The stitching and dyeing and printing of the craft of art cloth and art quilt. The stumbling around and the soaring, the way the words and the pictures come together. Poetry on the page and in the piecing of bright scraps together. The inner work and the outer journeys to and from. Practicalities and flights of fancy and fearful grandeur, trivial pursuits and tactile amusements. Expect new postings two or three times a week, unless you hear otherwise. 

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    Have you bought your Gee's Bend stamps yet? These beautiful US Postal stamps transform every envelope into a work of art, and the story behind them is a counter-remedy for an entire network broadcast hour of bad news (at least). I assume those of you reading this as artists and quiltmakers know the storyline, and know that a new exhibit of Gee's Bend quilts is making its way around the country now.06_gbquilts_100s.jpg

    The women who made the original quilts -- first elevated into the (capitol A) art world by collector and art historian William Arnett in 1998 -- have made new ones, and their children and grandchildren are piecing more still, some of the youngest generation using computers for design! The new October issue of Smithsonian magazine includes a lengthy and well written story about the quiltmakers and their journeys from poverty to museum walls, "Fabric of Their Lives," by  Amei Wallach. The story answers the questions many of us had about how the museum exhibits and acclaim have changed the lives of the makers, and provides insight into the creative process(es) that guide(s) their work. The article is not yet on the Smithsonian magazine site, it posts these articles only after a couple of months, it appears.

    I've only seen pictures, and I did not get to Houston for the exhibit this summer, but I am planning a trip to Austin for the exhibit there. Reading the story of what this work has done for the women, for their community and for all of us, I am reminded of the work of the potters of Mata Ortiz. There, too, creative work, dreams and the longing of all of us for genuine and heart-true craft and art has transformed lives, brought change and new perspectives to the artists and their lives. Will the youngest generation's computer aided designs be as powerful as the original work denim and clothing factory scraps? Who knows? At least, with these powerful images, we see the power of creative work, of hands on fabric, of  the transformative power of individual voice and spirit.


    Heads Up

    If you are reading this and live within a recreational drive of Kerrville , here's a Saturday suggestion -- Two of my art quilts will be on the wall at the Kerr Arts and Cultural Center as part of  the "Texas Invitational Art Quilt Show." The opening is this Saturday, 2-4 pm and the exhibit will be on display through Oct. 22, Tuesdays through Saturdays, 10-4; Sundays 1-4 pm. Artists invited by curator Janet Ghio include  Ginny Eckley, Martha Grant, Sue Benner, Jane Bishop, Mary Ann Littlejohn, Carolyn Dahl, Kim Ritter, Susan Lewis Story and Vicki Hallmark. I made my very first art quilt in a workshop taught by Sue Benner, so I feel really privileged to be in an exhibit with her -- and all these other inspiring artists.

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    You are also invited to a celebratory brunch before the show here at El Cielo Studio, but send me a comment "RSVP" so that I can email directions to the studio (and have enough pan dulce, cheese grits and tequilla sangria on hand!) How's that for a bicultural menu? 



    The seasons are blurring. Summer into something not quite summer. Fall is illusive elusive in South Texas, but a little cold front, and finally a little blessed rain, have signed their names on the calendar. This is our most poignant season, with all the beauty of spring, but the edges are ragged after heat, and, this year especially, the dry, dry, dry days of summer.



    It's Moo for Me

    Sometimes a girl's just got to have fun. And MOO cards are it for me today. Moo cards are smaller, but usable (especially for a nonconforming artist) business-- or whatever -- cards that are printed from a set of photos in Flickr. Falling in love with the cards first, that meant I had to tackle another internet challenge, setting up a Flickr account, uploading photos, and trying to stay detached enough not to get lost in the scores, hundreds, thousands of incredible images that live on the Flickr pages.

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     This detail from Our Lady of Guadalupe/Tonantzin was one of the 20 or so images I ordered. The card will actually be a slice about 1.5 inches wide through the middle of this picture.


    I had a blast. Flickr was fun; Moo was fun. I cannot wait to get my 100 little cards, each one with a different image of my art work on the front, proper business contact information on the back. Seems to me its the next best thing to ATC and at $19.95 for a pack of 100 cards, they are, if not inexpensive, certainly an affordable luxury, like eating raspberries.