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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    Lights Above the City: Luminaria

    San Antonio celebrated Luminaria this past Saturday night -- it's the annual free art free-for-all in the center of the city, taking up most of HemisFair Park with music, dance, visual arts installations and lots of illumination. The evening has its challenges and, inherent in the project, a sort of slap-dash feel to some of the offerings, but the 350,000 people who attended seemed pretty happy with the whole thing!

    My favorite part of the evening is the lights, big theatrical gobos on many of the buildings, lit-up installations and illuminated window shows.  Here are a few photos from my iPad excursion:



    Doerte Weber's Wonderful Weavings (recycled plastic bags).



    Keeping Track of Art

    OK, true confessions. I have never kept an inventory of my art work, submissions, sales or what is where. Never. This is pretty sad for an artist who has been making work, selling, showing and submitting (professionally) for the past 15 years.

    Sure I have "sort of" records scattered about the internet and in my computer and photo files. But it certainly is not in one place. I even tried a few times to use some art inventory software and never found satisfaction. First of all, if you are an artist you don't want to use an ugly inventory. That's what I think anyway. If I can't stand the way it looks, I really have a hard time logging in to use it. That was the problem with several software packages I looked at, and even tried. Even my iPad app store couldn't come up with something I liked (if you must try one, the best seems to be Artwork Track -- it's ok but doesn't give you forms for all the data I wanted to include -- and you can only use it on the iPad, not on the desktop, and that much typing is not much fun for me on the tablet.)

    Second, they never did everything I needed an inventory to do. Maybe you could add work and details and galleries and sales, but I never found one (until today) that would also track and integrate submissions to exhibits. Since much of the textile (art quilt, per se) world is visible and active through juried exhibits, submissions seemed to be a key need for me.

    Third, some programs I tried crashed and burned, were painfully slow or over complicated in their entry formats, or seemed awfully expensive for what you got -- an ugly data base with either too little or too much customization necessary or available.

    Thanks to artist friend Lisa Kerpoe, who posted a query on our Google Fiber Arts Community about needing such an inventory, and to my renewed sense of wanting to "get things done."  I reopened my search. First, the reviews I read,  (thanks, Lisa McShane) jived with my experiences. THEN, a link to a cloud based newish inventory system. (also on Lisa M's blog).

    (Screen shot of an art piece page -- partial)

    See the introductory video here

    John Feustal was my guardian angel as I set up my site, and had prompt replies to my questions in an online chat. That was nice, too. 

    We've had the site up and running for almost 2 years but have really seen a
    lot growth in the past 6 months. The best thing our artists can do is to
    tell others about Artwork Archive, so I really appreciate you writing a
    blog post!

    We try to keep things as simple and elegant as possible while still being
    powerful enough to do everything our artists need. I think starting with
    your most current work is a great approach, and just adding older pieces as
    you get time.

    There is a limited free trial, and two tiers of annual subscriptions. You can access on the web. Maybe next he'll make an iPad app!



    Hoping for the Chance to Say THIS


    Last month I submitted a piece for Lesley Riley's upcoming book of illustrated quotes. I was actually assigned a quotation from Lesley. That made it difficult to slack off and forget the assignment, let me tell you...

    I ended up making two versions of my quote and sent them in. Sometime soon, we submittees will know the results, and sometime a little later, you'll have the opportunity to purchase the book, filled with ideas on how to use words of wisdom to inspire pictures worth those few words.

    I've often said that my creative genius (P.S. that's NOT ME, see the TED TALK  below for what I mean) walks the tightrope between words and pictures. Both inform each other, and I'm not completely happy unless I am somehow honoring both in my creative life (waiting for said genius to blow through).

    Lesley's newsletter is a great inspiration to my work, so if  you're not a subscriber, read this issue and see what you think!

    And for more from TED on ideas, see this PLAY LIST at


    Sun Prints Even in Winter?

    My Joggles class this week features Sun Printing letters and text.  (Hint: use refrigerator magnets and foam letters) I love this process and often use the results in my work. This little altar piece above is part of a small series (so far) called Found Text. It's kind of a random improvisational way of working, where I find images and then words or words and then images in my stash, put them together almost like little visual poems. They aren't deep or profound, sometimes they are even whimsical, but they are works that make me happy -- not the least because I am making use of some fragments and bits and pieces that I  really like but that don't seem to fit into anything else I am doing!

    But, I realized that for this online course, here I was suggesting sunprinting at a time when most of us can't use the sun for the results. Now, South Texas yesterday worked; it was about 85 in downtown San Antonio. But today, a Norther is upon us and the temps low, and more importantly, the wind is roaring, no way to keep shadows on a piece of fabric!

    Here's what Pebeo, makers of Setacolor --one of the best  paints to use for this process -- recommends:

    "If the sun is not reliable there are other options. Heat lamps such as those used by restautants", grow lights (I'm sure you have one) and I say, just use those metal work lamps mounted close to your fabric. Don't go off and leave these, any could cause a fire if the bulb fell on the fabric or it got too hot. But you will get the results if the humidity is low. High humidity, too? Better wait until August!

    Some other tips gathered here and there for sunprints:

    Sprinkle the surface with salt

    Use complementary color washes of your thinned out paints

    Rubber band fabric, spray with paints and leave in the sun for an interesting variation of tie dye


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