Tuesday, May 29, 2007

A mini break

This is another of my high school artworks. We did a lot of working from National Geographic magazine tear-outs. I think this was actually a quinceanera girl rather than a bride, but at the time I though it was a bride. I think this was made by scratching a plexiglass plate then printing. I'm really obsessed with the printing right now. I'm going to take an adult education class on Wed. nights at Watkins all on printmaking. I could just kick myself for not taking printmaking in College. I took photo and then convinced my advisor to let me count a fibers class as printmaking--hey, I made stamps and printed on fabric. Anyone interested in taking it with me?

I didn't intend to, but I took a mini break over the last couple of days. One of my favorite people got married this weekend to a lovely lady who I just might like more than my original friend. That's how lovely she is. The wedding was at the Hermitage, the home of 7th U.S. President Andrew Jackson. It was outside, very elegant, and very sweet. I've known the groom since college, and so a majority of our college friends were in town for a great time. We Honky-Tonked, shopped, mani/pedi--ed, and ate a ton. Oh, and went to the wedding. It was so fun! And I laughed a ton.

All that said, there wasn't much time for sewing or artwork, although I worked yesterday afternoon after Pirates of the Caribbean. I love those movies! All the scenes are so imaginative and spooky. This new movie had a watery Singapore scene which I loved. Now I really need to crack down on production. I have 2 more weekends left and so many projects to work on. Oh, yeah, and I have to go to my real job too. It's going to be a long week.

Posted by Beth Howard @ 8:19 AM :: (0) comments

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Custom Work

I'm working now on a guest book for a wedding. The bride send me the invitations so I could get a feel for the whole thing. I love this project because it's really girly, and since it's small, I can really get detailed without sewing my life away. Just look at those cute pieces of patchwork! I'm going to quilt them and bind a book to be used for guests and for photos of the day. I'll show you more when it's all done.

And check out my new embroidery skills at work! This is perfect for that, right? I took the initials from the RSVP card and copied them, then used a two-toned thread to stitch. I'm probably going to add a couple more flowers, but it's close to being done.


Posted by Beth Howard @ 8:29 AM :: (2) comments

Monday, May 21, 2007

Home Again, Home Again

A quick trip to Missouri for my dad's birthday yielded all kinds of fun. Lots of games, food, and gorgeous weather. I bought some lovely plants at the local nursery way out in the country, we ate at my favorite microbrewery, and played several rounds of washers.

It's a beautiful country drive from Tennessee to Missouri, and I often get the camera out and roll the windows down trying to capture the views, but fail. This time Jason was with me, so I made him take some, and on the way home I took some. Someday when I'm not in a hurry to get home I'm going to stop and really take some photos for painting and quilting inspiration.

Here are some of my very first works of art--high school Art 1 !! I remember really loving this lighthouse print. And this is my very first woodcut print. Before you get all impressed with my clear natural artistic talent, I should tell you that there were some REALLY bad pieces too. And my friend Barb, who was my art teacher then, but is a great friend now, wrote on the back "not your best effort" and gave me several "C"s. Somehow I overlooked her harsh grading system when we traveled to Florence together for a whole month when i was in college. I wish I was there right now!!

Posted by Beth Howard @ 8:21 AM :: (1) comments

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Less talky, more baggy

I'm late for work, so pics will have to do....

Posted by Beth Howard @ 9:18 AM :: (3) comments

Monday, May 14, 2007

Weekend Happenings

I had a bit of a fit this weekend. I've been wanting to do some collage type paintings. Well, just paintings in general. While I'm usually a fiber artist, it's hard to get people to take the leap and buy an art quilt. Paintings are much more investable. I don't know why. I also like the act of spreading paint on a canvas, and the way I can get 3 works done at one time (paint a little, set it aside to dry, then paint a little on another canvas, then set that aside.) The whole sewing thing takes much longer. And let's be honest, i can't get as much money for fabric works. I know I'm not supposed to say that, but I have to balance! How am I going to get the time to make more fabric art if I don't make money now?

So after painting on these and leaving them in various stages in a variety of techniques, I was really frustrated. I flopped on the couch and declared myself a failed artist. I can't pick a style all my own. I really didn't care for major parts of these paintings. So Jason says "Yep, you're a terrible artist. Maybe you should make a plan before you start slapping the paint on." Huh. Interesting. I'll show him who's the failed artist! I can paint, dammit! Just because I can't draw zombies with incredible detail and gruesome accuracy doesn't mean I'm not a viable artist. I'll show him when I sell these puppies!

So trudged back into the studio with a renewed sense of purpose and put some finishing touches on them. And I'm at least at peace. I really like the birdcage. I think in the future I'm going to try to combine the whole canvas stretchers thing with fabric assemblies. That might be more my style.

I really should try to go about getting a style, though. I wish I could look at my art and see the similarities. And more importantly, that other people could look at them and know it's my work. I'm so ADD that I can't settle on a medium. Perhaps it will come to me and someday I'll be cranking out artwork that has painting, beads, stitching, stamping, fabric, photography, crochet, embroidery, and printmaking all in one work. Hmmm, maybe I should call in sick to work today?? Probably not. See the above paintings for why I can't slack at my job. I like dental insurance.

Posted by Beth Howard @ 8:33 AM :: (5) comments

Thursday, May 10, 2007

I Hart Embroidery

You know how I constantly go on about NOT learning to knit? (if you don't know, then suffice to say that I'm refusing to pick up a new hobby.) Well, for some reason, I feel the Fairies of Craft hath deemed it okay--nay--necessary--to start embroidering.

Really, it's just a 40% off JoAnn's coupon that spurred me to buy Jenny Hart's Sublime Stitching. Jenny Hart is a business and artistic genious. She found a niche and ran with it. I was obsessed with her for a whole week. Hey! that's a long time in my attention span! She has great interviews about art and business. I really admire a girl who is focused on the ish at hand. No namby-pambying about. Just like I'm not about to forget that I spent 10 hours working on that purse that I want to charge $50 for, and will not take less, Jenny seems really no-nonsense about protecting herself and her ability/right to make a living from her amazing vision. Go, girl. (I swear, I would never say that out loud.)

Here are some places to find stuff about embroidery and Jenny (not that I've been looking. Sheesh! And definitely not doing this when I should have been working/folding laundry/sewing/exercising/spending time with Jason. Promise.)

Sublime Stitching's Site--very informative!

Sublime Stitching's MySpace Page

Jenny's interview on SuperNaturale (a very cool site on it's own)

Jenny's interview at Another Girl at Play (also a great site)

The Book

Interview for Curve Magazine

And The Crown Dozen interview

The woman has at least 2 pages of Google entries! I'm jealous. I wish I could be so pretty and popular.

Anyway! It's so fun! I've been stitching these little napkins out of an old sheet. It has a couple of spots on it, but who cares? I'm going to line them with piping or something on the outside and use them. Or sell them. We'll see. I just LOVE japanese lanterns. Always have.

Now I'm trying to find carbon paper to make my own. And it's harder than you would think to find. I got some at Wal-Mart, but it didn't work. Then I just decided to wing it. Typical. I'm thinking about putting this on a canvas as part of a collage.

Posted by Beth Howard @ 10:18 PM :: (5) comments


Yesterday was Momma Mueller's birthday. Her birthday girl wish? To play BINGO in Franklin, Kentucky. Now, I'm a big believer in great birthday celebrations. I myself have not a birthday, but a birthweek.

Bingo is a strange game. It's not your typical church picnic lazy time, oh no. Some people (okay, everyone but us) were lighting up cigarettes due to the stress of marking all of their cards. On some games we had 18 cards to check!! Crazy!

I had a bad moment when I only needed I22 to BINGO!--I started chanting I22! I22! And it was the next ball on the screen!! (wow, I should totally be psychic), but they didn't call it yet--if they had gotten to that next ball it would have paid me a $525 prize, but some leathery old biddy beat me to it.

They do have some kick-ass nachos. And you can carry in your own treats. Jason and I brought candy cigarettes so we could feel like we fit in.

By the end of the night, Jason was sure I would be creating some artwork from the daubers. I must admit, I was trying to figure out if I could trade someone and make patterns out of the "daubed" spaces. And I was seriously considering taking home some of the cards with me. You could wallpaper and entire house with what they throw away there! Not archival, though.

Check out this dauber caddy. A new product for the Beth Howard Studio? Hmmm, I think maybe so.

Posted by Beth Howard @ 8:30 AM :: (1) comments

Tuesday, May 08, 2007


Last year's American Artisan Festival was an eye-opener for me. Lots of my things sold that really surprised me. Journals, aprons and surprisingly, my hand=printed fabric. All things that I love to make.

Last year, I put out hand printed fabrics that I simply didn't want in my collection any more. This year I'm making new prints specifically for the purpose of selling them. I wonder what people are doing with the prints? Some of the pieces last year were used for head scarves--hmm, maybe I should make some head scarves--but they were pretty small pieces.

Here is the tutorial for making your own fabric stamps.

Posted by Beth Howard @ 8:03 AM :: (3) comments

Monday, May 07, 2007

Weekend activities

I had a semi-productive weekend. All last week I painted and painted on this Nashville painting which I intend to sell at the American Artisan Festival in Centennial park on Father's Day weekend in June. I'm pretty happy with it. I told Jason over the phone last week that I was going to paint a bridge on it, and he said "Don't you do that until I'm there to oversee it. You're no bridge engineer." Okay, so he didn't say the engineer thing, but he should have because I got it all wrong, and when he saw it in person, I had to paint back over it. What happened to Control + Z??? My little "undo" function took me 2 hours on Saturday morning. Oh well. Now I really want to put another bridge on there, but I have to approve it through the master of perspective. I also want to put a little shadow on the lettering--it seems too white. When it's all finished I'll put a little time lapse image on here so you can see the progress.

I also made some pincushions on the couch during Brothers & Sisters last night. Love that show!! I got the pincushion instructions from Purl. This way was much easier than the way I have been sewing them.

Oh! I also cut some stamps and printed some fabric. I'll have to post that later this week.

Posted by Beth Howard @ 8:00 AM :: (1) comments

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

I'm out of clever titles

Sorry for the atrocious pic of the painting. I promise when I'm closer to being done I'll take a better pic.

I'm busy working in the studio. Memories of weeks of slacking off and having fun are wreaking havoc on my sense of guilt. Now I'm thinking "crank, crank, crank" Not in the "let's get stuff done" kind of way, but "crank" as it refers to Meth. I think I need some to get all the stuff done I need to do. Just kidding! (I wish....)

Last night I went to see Mamma Mia at TPAC. Fabulous! I painted a little when I came home, and I set the alarm for early in the a.m. to get up and paint. I wish the snooze button had never been invented. Oh well, I got in a good hour or so. I'm striving for more color, more blocky color, and generally a more graphic look than my last nashville painting. I'll probably be selling it at the American Artisan festival on Father's day weekend in June. I'm currently working out some good display ideas, and trying to be focused in my product line. I want to make one or two of all kinds of things, but I wonder if it might be smarter marketing wise to focus on a few really great things. I sort of feel like that's taking a risk. Plus, it really kills me to make 15 of something. And maybe part of my appeal is a one=of-a-kind thing. Thoughts? Anyone? Think of booths you've really loved at craft/art shows in the past. Which do you prefer: lots of items all different, or a few style or types of things in different colors or designs. In which booths do you feel more compelled to purchase?

Posted by Beth Howard @ 7:24 AM :: (1) comments

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Ready Ready Ready Ready to Run

Not so much on the running for me. Although I do admire having a goal and working for it. These girls trained for the half marathon since January. I have a terrible phobia of running and being tested physically, so probably just the starting line would start my heart beating fast fast fast. But I am inspired to do some more physical activity. Less time sitting around sewing, more time walking. It's a constant struggle. My doctor tries to tell me that you must exercise 2 hours every day for it to have any effect. WHAT? Who has that much time? Okay, enough of this talk.

Carrie, Abby, and Bridget came for the weekend from Missouri. I've been friends with them since college (even longer in Carrie's case. She's a local girl), have lived with or next door to them, and we've had countless late night talks, super silly adventures, and fashion critiques. Oh, and some dancin' at The 'Vu. Good times. To put it simply: These are some of my favorite people. No drama, lets-have-fun-without-getting-smashed, "good kids", farm raised, effortlessly cool type girls.

After the marathon was over, I decided for them that they have enough energy to trek to the Jack Daniels Distillery here in Lynchburg, TN. I love it there, it's small town, it's very Tennessee, and it's FREE! Hooray. And only an hour or so from Nashville.

Saturday night we went to the post race concert, much to the non-country lover's chagrin, but it was fun. Ironically, it was Sara Evans, who is from our neck of the woods--Central Missouri! It was pretty fun, but we were EXHAUSTED. I didn't even run the stinking thing, and i was tired.

On Sunday before everyone hit the road, we squeezed in a little purse time. Abby made the first one. Poor girl, she didn't realize her full selection options for fabric, then I kept forgetting to tell her something or other. But it turned out quite fabulous anyway. Carrie's is the black and white and green. Brilliant, of course.

I squeezed in a couple of projects this weekend too. And mom's painting inspired me to get crackin' on my own. More on that tomorrow.

Posted by Beth Howard @ 8:07 AM :: (0) comments