Sunday, October 22, 2006

Make It Work

What a great philosophy for life and needlepoint.

I am addicted to Project Runway. I can watch it over and over. Most of the reality shows don't do it for me. I never saw the point of Survivor and we won't even discuss American Idol. Project Runway brings together some amazingly talented designers. Each week they manage to work a miracle in very little time and with typically no preplanning. They follow their hearts and the advice of the show's mentor, Tim Gund - Make it Work. Sometimes making it work is a struggle and other times all it takes is a good look at the product and the answer is clear.

There are times in needlepoint where I think a little more of that "Make it Work" philosophy could come in handy. We tend to take it all so seriously, We should take it seriously. This is our art.

But we shouldn't take it SO seriously that we lose the joy in it or the willingness to experiment.

Step back and look at the piece you are working on. What does it tell you? Is it going in the direction you want or has the piece become predictable. I like to experiment and try different things. Different threads, stitches, techniques. Sometimes, they work, sometimes they don't. Either way, I challenge myself to "Make it Work" move on and learn from the experiment.

I think perhaps I will adopt more of the - Make it Work philosophy and see where it takes me in life.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

More Needlepoint Publicity

I can't believe it! Just last week I posted the full page feature from Lucky Magazine that confirms what we already knew that Needlepoint is hip.

And then this week in my inbox is a notice from daily candy. If you don't know about daily candy it is very cool website ( that posts daily news on the following topics: fashion, food & drink, beauty, arts & culture, fun, services and home. All this news can be emailed to you. Different topics different days. What's even cooler is that there are versions for many big cities giving you tips on what's cool in a certain city.

Okay, so back to topic - the email from Daily Candy. it was promoting AMH Design which is a needlepoint line of photo albums etc.

I particularly liked their take on needlepoint which reads:

"If you counted all the minutes in a day during which you do absolutely nothing, they’d definitely add up.

Why, yesterday alone you spent six minnies waiting for the valet, half an hour in line at the post office, and twenty long ones in a paper gown standing by for Dr. Delayed.

Put that time to good use with a needlepoint kit from AMH Design. Far from granny-style eyeglass cases and pillows, the kits will have you needling and threading your way to contemporary photo albums and journals.

Choose from designs like Rio (a funky red, purple, and white pattern with an initial), Rome (squares and crosses in ecru, orange, and green), and London (multicolored stripes with an initial).

Not only will you create a keepsake, but you’ll also be relieving stress (consider it therapy) and losing weight (no hands to shovel food into your piehole).

In which case, time really will be on your side."

So perhaps the tide is turning and we are finally getting others to see what we already knew. Needlepoint is becoming trendy!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Cyber Classes

I am a class junkie. I want to learn from everyone I can. I may not have felt this way when I was in school but those classes weren't needlepoint, now were they. Now that I have the opportunity to study the needlearts I am interested in what everyone is doing. Particularly if it is a new technique that I may not have explored before.

I've been taking beadwork classes from Cynthia Rutledge who is amazing and basket making classes from Marilyn Moore. Also amazing. I'm dabbling in wirework. Who knows where these new techniques may lead. Watch out, they may come to life in a needlepoint canvas yet.

Taking the classes gets me excited to do my art and stop letting everything else come first for just a short period of time.

When deciding whether or not to take a class it is easy to get caught up in "do I like the picture or not". It's important to look beyond that at the techniques and the instructor. Many of our most talented teachers are retiring and the window of opportunity to take a class with them has closed.

I particularly like cyber classes. We offer cyber classes with national teachers on Bedecked and Beadazzled. There are also other websites offering cyber classes so you have lots of choices. It's a wonderful opportunity to take a class with a national teacher without having to leave the comfort of your own home. It's also a more relaxed environment. You don't have to commit to 3 days in a row that may have seemed convenient when you signed up for the class but are now filled with deadlines, and kid's soccer matches. You have the supplies and instructions, you can read the teachers additional tips and hits at your leisure and participate in the online chat as desired. 2AM is an okay time to chat if that's what works for you. It's all about convenience.

Cyber classes are the best of all worlds. Meeting the teacher in person is still the best, but this is a great alternative that offers you the best of both worlds. I hope you will give it a try. Take a class. Explore a new technique. Stretch your skills. I bet you will enjoy it.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Hipster Needlepoint

Could it be! A major fashion magazine has admitted that needlepoint is cool!

The one thing that rivals my interest in needlepoint is shopping. So, yes, I read Shop etc. and Lucky and a local Baltimore based magazine on shopping, Paperdoll. Don't even go there, if you know anything about Baltimore it is not hip and cool and fashionable, but we're trying and according to the magazine doing a pretty good job.

So, here I am, reading the October issue of Lucky Magazine and right there on page 44 is a full page devoted to needlepoint.

trend in the making....
hipster needlepoint

"Up until now, this kind of traditional stitching has come off as either granny-ish or preppily twee, so we were pleasantly surprised to spot these nw, incredibly cool iterations trickling into the market. From an unconventional ottoman to a fresh take on the cocktail ring, these are all subtly subversive - though they still maintain an excellent touch of old-world, folksy charm."

That's a pretty glowing review. And it looks like some of what they show and call needlepoint is actually needlepoint! One piece is cross stitch and one that they call cross stitch is needlepoint, but at least they are trying.

The featured photo is a cross stitch sampler by London-based Kate Westerholt - Ghetto Fabulous. They refer to it as "giving an 18th-century art form a hilarious pop-culture makeover -- the results are brilliant."

Maybe there is hope that others will recognize what we've always known. Needlepoint is Cool!

Until next time.
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