Near Perfect Conditions

Lighting for videos and studio photography is a constant struggle for me. But this weekend we got lucky and had near-perfect conditions for photographing outside on Friday for a studio workshop. The day was cold, but the light was ideal. The rock-in-snow image above found its way into a painting demo.

Lynn  used fabric paint, markers and thread to transform an image she shot and printed in black-and-white.

We kept tabs on progress in Bill’s rustic furniture shop through the weekend, and found this extension-cord doodle in the sawdust on the floor.

That image worked well for a demonstration of the Picnik/Spoonflower interface. I did a little extra work in Gimp and got this fabric design.

Click the link to see what it looks like as a repeating pattern. This design isn’t for sale yet, but my Persimmon Pudding fabric is.

There are other things at the top of my to-do list today, so finishing the rock heart piece will have to wait. I might even get a picture then.

I hope you have near perfect conditions for whatever is on your to-do list this week!

Add your voice to the conversation at

Steal This Idea

When people are seen leaving my studio toting old pillowcases stuffed with who-knows-what, I have to wonder: Do the neighbors think we’re being robbed.

This dangerous-looking crew, cleverly disguised as schoolteachers, recently came for a studio workshop on Constructed Vessels. Because students produce so many models (plus two or three vessels) in this one-day class, I give them each an old pillowcase for stashing stuff. It helps keep the work space clear-ish.

Having teachers as students is always a special treat for me. This group stayed on task, but when the task left room for conversation the topics were fascinating. I’m mulling many ideas they inspired, but there’s one I want to share with you.

One of that group is an elementary art teacher. She told me she read about Artsonia in a blog post I wrote last year, and fell in love with their concept. A surprising number of her students say their parents don’t display or save their children’s artwork. An online gallery like Artsonia gives other family members a chance to see and admire the kids’ work, and even to order products printed with it.

But how to find the time to photograph and upload all that artwork? She said she called Artsonia and asked them. One of their suggestions: Ask for a parent volunteer to come in once a week to take digital pictures. I’m assuming a grandparent volunteer would work as well.

So here’s the idea I suggest we all steal: Ask for help. Yes, it’s sometimes harder than just doing the job yourself. And the job may not get done exactly the way you would have done it. But how important is that if the job gets done?

When we reach out to help someone else, we get so much in return. When help is asked for, that’s a gift, as well, because it opens the door and invites someone else to have the satisfaction or learning experience that comes with helping.

The pep talk I give myself when I balk at asking for help goes like this: “You’ve done much harder things in your life. Just ask.”

Now I’m asking you: What’s your experience with asking for help?

Add your voice to the conversation at

Winter Studio Classes

Thanks for your patience, those of you who have been waiting for me to set the schedule for winter studio classes. I just posted them on the Workshops Page, which you can find on the right end of the tabs under the Two Red Threads header.

I love going other places to teach, but teaching in my own studio is a special treat. Within arm’s reach I have my entire fiber stash, samples galore, and extra tools and materials I may not want to schlep in and out of another venue. Best of all, these are really small classes. With a maximum of four students per session and all those materials at hand, it’s easy to say, “Good idea: Let’s sample that now.”

My studio is located near the village of White Lake in northeastern Wisconsin. Driving time is just over an hour from Green Bay, and about the same from Wausau. It’s a beautiful area in any season.

Here a list of classes I’ve scheduled for the new year. For complete descriptions go here.

There are two full-day classes scheduled for Martin Luther King Day weekend.
Medium At Large — Saturday, January 15, 2011 — 9 am to 5 pm
ABCs of Fabric Printing — Sunday, January 16, 2011 — 9 am to 5 pm

Transfer Dye-o-rama — Saturday, January 29, 2011 — 9 am to 5 pm*
Sticky Fingers Design — Sunday, January 30, 2011 — 9 am to 1 pm

New Age Looping — Saturday-Sunday, February 12-13, 2011 — 9am to 5 pm Saturday, 9 am to 1 pm Sunday

There are two full-day classes scheduled for Presidents’ Day weekend.
Constructed Vessels — Saturday, February 19, 2011 — 9 am to 5 pm
Fiber Mojo — Sunday, February 20, 2011 —¬† 9 am to 5 pm

Intro To Inkodye — Saturday, April 9, 2011 — 9 am to 5 pm
Solar Printing With Fabric Paint — Sunday, April 10, 2011 — 9 am to 1 pm

I’m also booking dates for private groups in my studio, and dates for groups that have me travel to their location instead of the other way around. To discuss possibilities or to book your slot in the scheduled studio classes, email me at donnastitches [at] gmail [dot] com.

Add your voice to the conversation at