Monday, November 7, 2016

A Rainbow Leaf Beetle, a Leaf, and Lowell

Cue broken record:  HALLOWEEN IS MY FAVORITE!!!  I seriously wish it was at least a week-long holiday.  Having a kid hasn't changed my view of Halloween but it has upped my costume game!
About a month before Halloween, we started asking Rio what she would like to dress up as.  A bat, a spider, and a bug floated around until one day, she said she wanted to be a rainbow monster bug.  We started talking to our good friend Google about rainbow bugs when the Rainbow Leaf Beetle appeared.  Rio immediately got excited, exclaiming that that's what she wanted to be.  We did a little sketching and day-dreaming about the possibilities for her costume.
I was SO excited about what we could create but a little stumped on how to make it all happen.  I spent a few nights just playing around with ideas but couldn't get any traction.  Then one day, Rio and I went to Joann's spent a good amount of time going up and down the aisles until she saw this rainbow fabric.  She was thrilled!  She carried the whole bolt through the store and helped me with some other decisions about her costume.  After that day, the whole thing came together in a snap.
Fun fact, the blue felt legs and antennas were made out of the same fabric as her first Halloween costume - Maggie Simpson!
It was a true collaboration.  I sewed, she dreamed, and together we learned about the endangered beetle.  We finished the costume two days before Halloween and could barely wait for the big day.  Thankfully, Tulsa had a few events prior to the holiday that we were able to attend to get some bug practice in!  I decided last minute that the Leaf Beetle definitely needed a leaf to rest upon so I pulled out green clothes (not a difficult challenge in my closet), made some leaf gloves, and a leaf headband to wear.  We were a match made in nature!  ;) 
We didn't win any prizes but we sure did have fun!  My school had a costume contest so I took her along with me for that event and that evening, we did some trick or treating in the hood with my best friend and her two little girls.

For the evening walk, I decided to change up my costume and be Lowell Mather from Wings.  I still can't help but laugh at it!  Wings was one of my all time favorite shows!  I've actually fashioned another Halloween outfit thanks to Wings.  I reference that show ALL of the time.  I'm sure Wings will provide more costume ideas in the future!  Ha!
Until next year, goblins!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

The Story of the Philbrook Potholders!

"I come from a long line of potholder-makers", I said at the beginning of a meeting that I never dreamed of having.
This summer, I got a little nudge from a friend to submit my quilts in response to a Call for Artists.  Well, the one doing the calling was the world famous Philbrook Museum.  Ever hear of it?  I immediately thanked the friend and shrugged it off.  Philbrook?!  It's a Tulsa treasure, a place I grew up visiting more often than I can count, and houses some of the most spectacular creative works I've ever seen.  There was no way my work could fit within those walls.  

A few days passed and I stopped myself from dogging myself.  I started thinking about how I always encourage my students do at least try!  You will never know unless you put yourself out there.  I found that submission form, submitted my quilts, and was informed I'd hear back in a few weeks.  Imagine my surprise when I was contacted just a few hours later about my submission!  My quilts were literally too big for their shop but they wanted to know if I had anything else they might consider.  Ugh, I was momentarily at a loss.  I sent some photos of some tote bags and a photo of four potholders I had recently made.  The only potholders I had ever made.  That was it; they loved them and wanted to see more!  We set a date for a meeting a week away and I got to work.
I worked only with scraps and did not adhere to any particular shape or size.  By the time we had our first meeting, I had ten in varying degrees of completion.  I wanted them to see the all of the stages of the process - the designing, the guts, the hand stitching, and the finished product.  I was SO nervous.  Through Alliday, I deal with artists and creatives all of the time but I don't put my work out there quite like I used to so the tables were definitely turned!  I started things off by telling them that potholders are in my blood.  Strange, I know.  There was Marie, who made a plethora of potholders off the grid, and then my uncles on the other side of the family who made potholders to make my dad sell door to door to make pocket change.  And of course, what kid didn't make those loom potholders growing up?  Apparently my potholder lineage and my samples did the job - the meeting went better than I could have imagined!

We agreed on some numbers and I was given a deadline.  I worked on potholders nonstop and it became one of my favorite projects to date.  I didn't let myself use anything but scraps for the fronts and I didn't let myself over think designs; I just made.  It was a WONDERFUL exercise in creative growth.  Just make, don't think.  After a while, I had 28 completed and more waiting on the design wall.  But I still didn't know if they'd end up with Philbrook or not.  The deal wasn't done.
Just last week, we had our follow up meeting.  My nerves were ten-fold what they were before but I was also SO proud of what I had done.  They also loved them (!!!) and while they only asked for 25 for the first batch, they took everything I had brought.  I was expecting them to put them out at their Philbrook Festival so I was SHOCKED to hear that they were already out and were already selling! 

I look at these as functional, mini quilts.  They are filled with heat-resistant batting, have those cute little loops on the back, and are all one of a kind.  I'm incredibly proud of each and every one of them.  It feels good to be boastful about them and about this opportunity.  I never EVER dreamed I'd have anything in Philbrook besides myself oohing and aahing over the art but here I am, with my own work within their gift shop among other local artists that I so admire.  So if you're not sure about putting in that application or submitting that art or trying that new thing, DO IT.  You never know what may come of it or what you may learn about yourself through it. 

You can see each potholder individually, front and back, here.  If you are local, you can go shop for them here!
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