Thursday, January 18, 2018

Celebrating Frank Lloyd Wright

Hillside Assembly Hall built in 1903
Last year marked Frank Lloyd Wright's 150th birthday and FLWright locations around the country celebrated with special events to mark his birthday. It was special for me because I worked with the Taliesin Bookstore coordinator in Spring Green, Wisconsin to create four illustrations of landmarks found at his Wisconsin home. They include the Hillside Assembly Hall, Midway Barn, Romeo & Juliet Windmill and the Visitor Center.
Midway Barn
I used a combination of photos I took during tours of these places and photos provided by the gift shop to create my drawings. The Bookstore coordinator and members of a board helped by reviewing my art to make sure it translated properly. Then I had them printed into note cards and unsigned prints for their gift shop. Taliesin sells the note cards here and the art prints here. These will be sold exclusively thru them.
Romeo & Juliet windmill
I will continue to offer signed prints of each of these thru my Etsy shop and art shows. I will be donating 25% of the proceeds to Taliesin Preservation so they can continue their work saving these great structures.
Visitor Center which celebrates its 50th birthday in 2017
The gift shop manager wants me to work on two more images. This time it is the main house and the courtyard.I traveled back down to photograph it while the flowers were in bloom and am working on the drawings this month. Watch for their release in Spring.

It's been an honor and a dream come true for me to work on these illustrations with the Taliesin team.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

New Janome Embroidery Designs, Part 2

It's like Christmas when I get to see projects stitched using my latest Janome designs!

What are some good uses of my new embroidery designs for Janome? Well, check out these two tea towel designs by Wendy Jo Miller. She applied my tea design onto a tea towel using her Memorycraft 500e.  The final design measures about 4" x5" and is well suited for a heavier fabric like this.

Wendy also stitched my coffee design onto a matching tea towel.  She said the coffee used a lot of thread to complete, creating a very dense area on the final piece. That's why it's helpful for me to see how my designs translate and perhaps improve function in new designs.

I really love how Wendy added the word "HOME" to my pine cone design. She picked a complimentary font and made it just the right size and color to compliment my art. This is also stitched onto a heavier weight tea towel, but can't you imagine making a pillow out of this design for your home or cabin? The final dimensions are 5.5" x 5". There is flexibility in resizing the design for other applications.

Look how cool the poppies look stitched onto jeans! Thank you, Wendy, for using your imagination and sewing skills to create these fun sample projects, I can't wait to see more.


Thursday, March 9, 2017

New Janome Embroidery Designs, Part 1

It is so exciting to see my line art embroidered onto fabric! This Janome technology is truly amazing and is masterfully sewn by my friends Sandy and Brandi at Valley West Sewing Center in Bloomington. They surprised me by stitching my latest collection on their Janome Memory Craft 1500 sewing machine and invited me down to take a look.
Oak leaf and Acorn design. 

Forget Me Not design with metallic thread edging on the flowers

 This Bittersweet can be repeated to create a border design.

The Dragonflies can also be repeated for a border design.
The Calla Lily would be even better on white fabric.

The Ginkgo Twist design 


Lotus has a lot of possibilities.

Poppy trio. I'll soon be showing you a wonderful sample of it embroidered onto jeans.

I love the Arts and Crafts style Rose Heart.

It helps me, as a designer, to see how it all translates visually and helps me to provide feedback to Janome on how the templates were for sewing. These designs are all available as apps for sewists to purchase online.

Monday, February 27, 2017

New Retail Rep Partner

My section in the Anne McGilvray & Company Minneapolis Mart Showroom

For the past five years, I've been fortunate to work with Square One Reps at the Minneapolis Mart. They helped me build my wholesale card and art print line from 40 cards to over 200 items now available in my latest catalog. Local owner, Jan Borene and her team of reps, guided me and helped put my work into more than 50 retail shops in Minnesota and Wisconsin.  I enjoyed going out to The Minneapolis Mart on Show Days to meet with potential customers where Jan treated me like family.

At the beginning of the year, Square One was sold to another wholesale rep company called Anne McGilvray & Company based in Dallas, Texas. They welcomed me to their team, helped me transfer my items to their website, and gave me a new booth in their brand new Minneapolis showroom. It was still in progress when I went out for the first show last month. As you can see in the photo, they creatively hung my cards clothes line fashion and prominently displayed my prints, posters and magnets. My name plaque wasn't yet in place. Fortunately, my Square One reps, Judy, Amy, Liz and Sharon, made the transition, too. They are simply the best people to work with. 

Anne McGilvray was in town to meet us during the show and welcome us to her team. She runs a huge retail repping company with  showrooms in Dallas, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle with many top national wholesale lines, so I feel fortunate to be represented by her team. My work will only be shown in the Minneapolis Showroom but she has additional reps in Iowa and North and South Dakota who will represent my lines, so I expect my customer list to grow. Here's a little bit more about Anne McGilvray and Company
A cropped view of my web page.

I put out a new catalog in January for my wholesale customers. It contains new cards, art prints, posters and magnets. I continue to focus on my favorite landmarks and Midwest themes in my work.  If you want to carry my work in your shop, you can either contact me or Anne McGilvray & Co. at  The next show is March 10-14th at The Minneapolis Mart located at 10301 Bren Road W. #378, Minnetonka, Minnnesota 55343.  
My latest catalog.

I will miss Jan and Alan and the wonderful time we spent together at Square One. My best to them on their future plans. I plan to grow my wholesale business under the guidance of Anne McGilvray & Company and continue to work with wonderful retail and museum shops in the area.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Big Move

It's one of those big life moments when you decide to sell your home of 30 years and downsize. We actually made the decision over a year ago and it has taken this long to call the transition complete. For me, that included moving my home studio after going thru everything and evaluating if it was going to make the move.

I embraced the change and made it an opportunity to restyle my working space.  This new style I have lovingly dubbed  "William Morris meets Ikea". I combined simple clean tabletops and bookcases with touches of detailed Arts and Crafts design.
While driving down 50th Street in Minneapolis, I saw this stained glass window in the Antique shop's store display and knew it was perfect. The shop owner asked if I was 'seriously' considering buying it because it was going to be difficult to retrieve it from the front window wedged between other antique pieces. I assured her I was. It had the simplicity, the design and colors that I loved. I debated where and how I wanted to display it in my new studio space and decided I wanted to see it as the first thing I was when I entered the room. It is flanked by two hand crafted candle sticks I bought at an Arts and Crafts Show in Chicago and my own framed art.

In contrast, I chose a big drum shade at Ikea to hang over an Ikea table with gray wooden curved legs. The shade has a gorgeous shiny copper interior with slits in it that adds some drama to the space. The framed art was done by a special friend of mine that I brought from my previous space.

I also kept my card filing system with pull out bins. It's functional and looks good. I splurged and bought a William Morris 5x8' wool rug for the floor. I've always wanted one and found the perfect combination of colors and design online. 

There's one last item to hang. I ordered an extra large poster print of my Frank Lloyd Wright Graycliff house illustration to frame and hang on the last empty wall space.

It has been a long year of purging and planning to get here. But I really enjoy how it has all come together to be a space that feels like me.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Whimsy Wendy Stitched Art

It still amazes me to see my hummingbird art translated into an embroidery design.I like the thread colors and how even the wing lines are added on top of the wing base.Thanks to my friend Wendy who generously agreed to stitch some samples for me to share with you. Let's take a look and learn more about Whimsy Wendy.
Lambzie. This coordinates with my Amelia Harper Collection for Modern Yardage. Think how much fun you can have creating clothing or home decor projects that have the added bonus of matched embroidery images.

Peas and Blossoms
Strawberries and Blossoms

Dragonfly as a napkin embellishment
Whimsy Wendy, Wendy Jo Miller
Here is Wendy and her Janome Memorycraft 500e she used to create the wonderful embroidery samples. She loves her machine and is currently busy with embroidery orders for gifts with personalized towels, totes/bags and pillowcases. She has so many ideas and not enough time to tackle them, but has some open creative days marked on her calendar in bold and underlined to devote to her passion.

I met Wendy at The Linden Tree a few years ago and loved her children's costume tutu's, butterfly wings and princess hats that were sold there. Wendy started her business in 2007 as soon as her girls were in school full-time. She was itching to do something creative. At this point 75% of her work is custom that includes personal embroidery orders and upholstery work such as curtains, box cushions and recovering pillows. The other 25% comes from her Etsy shop that includes party decor, children's costumes and home dec.

Wendy said she could see my designs being used for home interiors.The fact that you can tailor the thread colors to blend into people's spaces gives them a lot of versatility, just like you can when you change personalized colors for fabric orders. She feels the personalization of products and services is so important to people these days.  Thank you, Wendy, for bringing my designs to life. Here's Wendy's business links:


As a visual artist, it helps me see how my work looks in its finished form in order to know how to create future images. This inspires me to design new images for sewists to use on a variety of fun projects. Thanks to Janome for these amazing machines.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Graycliff Illustration

As a huge Frank Lloyd Wright fan, I was thrilled to work with the Graycliff Conservancy on this illustration. It is the summer home sitting on the Lake Erie shore designed for the Darwin Martin family from Buffalo, New York completed in 1931. It was saved from demolition in the late '90's, was renovated and now welcomes thousands of visitors annually.

I first became aware of the Graycliff Estate when the gift shop manager, Ryan, purchased some of my cards and prints thru Etsy wholesale for the gift shop. I mentioned that I previously illustrated the Park Inn Hotel and Bank by Frank Lloyd Wright in Mason City, Iowa for their gift shop and asked if they'd be interested in cards and prints of Graycliff. The board approved and Ryan took numerous photos for me since I live so far away. Although now I really want to visit!
One of many photos taken this Spring

The estate is spectacular. My favorite design features the first floor windows that show the lake view from the front of the house thru the back of the house. I added a couple tree trunk silhouettes to try to get the point across. Another unique feature is the use of local limestone that contains iron. Some of the stones in the house and in the pond area have brownish rust streaks to illustrate that.

Here's my pencil that went thru some tweaks before the color version.
pencil drawing

It was wonderful working with Ryan who advised me thru the project. I just got the cards printed and prints made and sent to the Graycliff Estate gift shop.