Monday, November 16, 2009


There are two things that are inevitable in life. The first is change. The second time. My obsession with time, and the passing of it, has been apparent for the past couple of years. However for the first time in a long time, I feel as though I am exactly where I am supposed to be. I celebrated 26 a couple of weeks ago, and looking around the table at dinner, I saw that I am surrounded by amazing people that inspire and encourage me on a daily basis. While time doesn't stop, sometimes there are moments that are so precious that we continue to feel them years after they happen. Those are the moments that motivate me when it comes to making.

Sometimes projects don't go the way that we want them to. I have been working on another embroidery for a while, but got very frustrated with it last week. (Note to self... embroidering thread to look like skin=headace). Anyhow, I decided to pull out these masks again. I am working on finishing them for a holiday gift to a close friend. This started out as an outline that I was going to fill in. However I have decided to leave the outline as part of the finished piece and work on the masks and other details to fill in. I am also limiting my pallete with this piece, to emphasize the shapes and mystery of the masks. I am hoping to be done with this one by the end of the week.

Friday, October 30, 2009


The leaves are turning every shade of red, orange, yellow, and anything in between, and for the first time in years I do not miss school. Usually this time of year gives me a longing to be back in college making all the time. While I miss the making part of it all, I do not want to be back in school this time around. Instead I feel as though I am exactly where I am supposed to be for the first time in a long time.
The image above is a quilt that I began, it is made out of remnants that I have saved from other projects for the past few years. Originally I had no use for this quilt it was just a "crazy" quilt that I was playing with to keep my hands occupied. However with the news of a new baby on the way, a best-friend, NOT my own! I think it might have a life in a new nursury. I have self nominated myself to help decorate the room, which I can't stop being excited over. There will be a dash of vintage charm and more books than the baby will know what to do with for a couple of years.
Between all the changes that have taken place in my life in the past few weeks, the change of the leaves and another year marker approaching, it feels great to be exactly where I am supposed to be. Surrounded by great people, new ideas, and intersting times. With all of this I am going to jump back on the blog wagon, and keep up with this better. I had to work some things out in my brain without making it public. However the time has come to get back to making, posting and life.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

“The only reason for time is so that everything doesn't happen at once.”-Albert Einstein

The summer has come and gone, and I have been dormant on this blog. However my studio has been alive. I have been working on a new quilt, that is made from fragments I have collected for about 5 years. I have also been embroidering a very detailed small piece that goes with a series I began years ago. I promise to post some photos soon. Life seems to be busy and getting busier. However moments shared with good company will always help feed the soul of an artist.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


As this time of the year approaches, I always think about the days I spent in college making. It was my one and only job for almost four years. To make and be creative. At the time I knew it was a once in a lifetime experience, but I never appreciated how incredible that time was. When your life revolves around the ideas that come and experimenting with them until you find one that is worth carrying out. As I was becoming an adult, I was also exploring every possible medium at my fingertips that interested me in the least bit. Somewhere in my sophomore year I came up with a weaving technique that described the way I have felt my whole life, in a visual way. I spent hours and days ripping fabric and found materials, sewing it into "yarn" and weaving it. It got to a point where everyone started looking at rectangles with "tails" as a person. The pieces told stories with the materials that composed them. I became comfortable with the method and the appearance. The titles added the bits of sarcasm and gave the works a point of view. Then one day my life got turned upside down, and I put my emotions behind me, and finished the last piece that I ever made on a floor loom.
I have spent the past 4 years, dealing with demons. Making, but always feeling like something was missing in the work. So I began to think, and I remembered something that a professor once told me in a critique. "Once you are comfortable with what you are making, it is time to move on to something else."
The more I thought about this the more it made sense. Art, after all is just a series of problems and solutions. Once you know the solutions to the "problem" at hand you begin to repeat yourself. It is time to more on. So all summer I have been spending time doing things I may not have done in the past, trying to broaden my horizons. I have spent time outdoors, even took up tennis (I am no good, but none the less... tried.) I have had dinner parties, cooked more than the past 3 years. Gone for walks played in the sand and the river, and done absolutely nothing but think for an hour here and there (a hard thing for me). In this time the ideas began to come. I layed out things in a sketchbook, made some drawings, collaged images... Finally something new, that is not just a thing to pass the time away, came to mind. Something that has depth and concepts behind it.
As an artist my greatest fear is being the one hit wonder that never makes anything again. So here I am in the most public of all places, declaring that I am going to carry out my new idea. I am not going to share it because, well... the Internet is a scary place to leak a new idea. I will post photos as a record of the process, because the process is as important as the work for this piece. Thank you to anyone that reads this for being patient with me, I know that some of the things being made and talked about have lacked something... I am hoping that from now on it gets more interesting, for us both.

Thursday, July 9, 2009


I have been avoiding everything indoors this summer. There have been nights of wine and smore's, amazing company, quiet talks, and days of the james river, swimming, tennis (I am not good at all! but fun none the less), and just being. Its been a few years since I have spent this much time outside "frolicking" which means that not a lot of blogging is happening. However some making has been I am almost done with the mask embroidery and have begun some other projects. This summer break was well needed, the past few years of school... work... making... school... work... making have taken a toll on me. Without realizing it I was exhausted and spent. Meanwhile I am going to enjoy the summer, hopefully take some pictures of artwork to post, and have another glass of wine. Hope all is well.

Friday, June 19, 2009


A few years ago I was given a list with 62 questions about art to answer. One by one, each day I tackled them and it helped me get to a different place with making and looking at my own work. Below are a few of the responses, that I still feel are valid.

1. What do you expect of your work?
Truth, honesty and relief from the thoughts that go through my brain on a daily basis.

3. How do you maintain focus on your work?
I maintain focus by writing and journaling. It helps keep my thoughts organized and keeps me line as far as making sure that my work does not become mundane. It also gives me a way to get thoughts out, when sometimes life gets too busy to make, at least the thoughts are out and later I can go back and work on them.

4.How do you "push" yourself to take risks?
I am constantly experimenting with different processes and materials. It forces me to make mistakes sometimes, which can end up being the start of something new. It creates space for new ideas and perspectives.

7. How do you let go of the work?
I am not sure that I ever fully let go of the work. They are all based on so much personal experience and memory that they are always a part of me. I think that with time I become less attached to some pieces, but then there are others that become even more sacred. Does any artist ever fully let go of the work? Or is the work the way to let go of what inspired it in the first place?

10. How do you get back to what it felt like at the beginning---the real joy of doing that gets lost over time?
I have often been faced with this delema, in art and in life. How to get something to feel as good as it did the very first time. The first time a piece of art is finished and you walk away from it for the day, come back the next day and say to yourself "this is good, it is what I wanted it to be." That is ultimate gratification, when the artist themselves thinks that it is "good" and finished. So how is it different from the hundredth time that one approaches something they have made? Well for me the difference is comfort. Once I get too comfortable with something, a process, a medium, maybe a certain time of day, I need to change it. Sometimes a slight change is enough, sometimes I need to play with another medium for a while and other times it is as simple as scribbling something in my sketchbook. The changes result in that first glance of something, and the process begins all over again, recapturing that joy an artist feels in the beginning.

15. What is the responsibility of the artists' calling?
The responsibility of the artists' calling is to listen to it. In a world driven by high-powered careers and money, it would be easy to ignore the "calling" to be an artist. It is a responsibility to follow the inspirations that an artist has and make. I am a firm believer that when a civilization ceases to exist the things that future cultures study are the art and literature from the past. If artists' stop making and writers' stop writing there will be nothing left to study and the future societies will know very little about us. As it is with everything being powered by computers now and records being electronic, it is possible that more than ever, the art is so important because it is tangible, unlike a computer's memory which could die so easily.

17. Is there work that never leaves the premises (i.e. which is so deeply personal that one cannot/ought not to part with it/share it with others)?
Yes! It lives in my sketchbooks, cigar boxes, photo albums, tool boxes, art supply drawers, under the bed, on my corkboards and probably even under my sinks. These pieces are made at times when everything seems to be collapsing in on me. Sometimes it may take me less than ten minutes to make one of these things, a simple drawing, small sample of stitches on some cotton, a sketch, embroidery, sewn fabric, glued paper... Sometimes these intimate pieces are more intricate and take time, sometimes days or even months to complete. The pieces that are to intimate to leave the premises are made to work through a problem and are usually only understood by the maker themselves. I find these pieces sometimes when I am looking for a glue stick and such, and I pick up the piece and it takes me back to the place where I made it and why. These works are often small for me and hold so much revelation into my world and how I get through things.
When Degas died and his family was going through his studio they found a room full of "unfinished" works that were ballerinas made of wax that were never cast in bronze. The family decided to have them cast, even though in his will he stated that he did not want them "trapped" in the metal. I like to think that these "unfinished" works in his studio as his intimate works and it makes me sick to think that someone went against his will and cast them. I hope that my little pieces that are too intimate to show will never be toiled with.

20.To whom is the artist responsible?
First and foremost an artist is responsible for themselves, and the integrity of their ideas. An artist is responsible for putting their ideas out into the world, sometimes these ideas are part of what shapes cultural, political and religious views, making art a powerful and necessary form of work.

22. What happens if the artist only has one song?
If the artist only has one song, it does create a problem, the work becomes mundane and the viewers become disinterested. When an artist goes into a time when they can't move beyond one thing, it means that it is time for change. In the words of Susan Iverson "never become comfortable with your work, once you are too comfortable it is time to move on." I believe that change is the only way to move beyond one song.

24. Would/could you make the same piece today that you made five years ago?
No. In the words of Mr. Warhol "Time is, Time was", I could not go back to who I was five years ago therefore I could not make the same work. Time is a fascinating, it moves ahead without permission and it can never be caught up with or turned back. In art and in life it is impossible to go back to a moment except for in one's memory and even then it is impossible to have that moment back in its fullness. My work is so much about the moment and who I am at that point in time that it would be impossible for me to go back into time and create the same things I did five years ago. It's about moving ahead, sometimes I do look into my old work for inspiration and to see where I have grown but the new things I make are my present not the same things I did make. If you are the same you were five years ago, that would be a stagnant existence. The same goes in art.

28. Are our expectations too high?
No, when expectations are lowered the work and artists become lazy and the work becomes half-assed and sloppy. I believe that in any medium and in most jobs the standards should be kept high at an almost unattainable level so that the quality of the work being produced remains brilliant and fresh.

32. How important is content?
In my opinion without content it is not art, it is hobby. Things can look aesthetically pleasing and be well crafted but with out any content I do not think that it can qualify as art. That is where the difference between an artist and a hobbyist lays.

38. Do the words get in the way?
This is a joke question right? Anyone that has seen my art or heard me speak of it, knows how important the words are to my work. When I am working on my pieces there is usually an I-pod blasting in my ear or a music source somewhere blasting out words, sometimes parts of lyrics will find their ways into my works because they are related to the piece and sometimes words will form in my mind and become parts of the work. The place that words get used the most in my work, most often, is in my titles. I do not believe in untitled work, it is lazy, my own titles can be really long and tedious sometimes but they are like small windows into my mind and art. They give off just the right amount of information to view the piece and capture my views.

44. Is everybody an artist?
No. There seems to be a movement at the moment where a lot of people think that they are, but they are hobbyists not artists. An artist makes with reason, and purpose. An artist questions why they are making and constantly challenges themselves.

52. Who are your critics?
Anyone that glimpses at your work becomes your critic. Once they have seen it, even if for a moment in a slide show or walking past a gallery through the window, once it is in their memory (even if it is the depths of it) they have already judged your work on some level. We see images all day, every moment, this is the most visually stimulated culture has ever been and all daylong we form opinions of what is pretty/ugly. It is the same with art, when glimpsing at it even for a moment the mind is already forming an opinion of it; sometimes those opinions are so short that we do not even realize they have happened. Whenever revealing art to someone, it is inevitable that they will critique it, whether or not they share that is a different story.

53. When are you too informed about your work?
When you no longer have to question why you are making it, or why you are making it the way you are making it, you are too informed. Art should always make you think further and beyond what you are making at the time, when it does not do this anymore it is time to move onto a new piece and make something new, or change directions. It all goes back to the mundane. You never want your work to become mundane and boring and when you become too informed about your work it is easy for it to become mundane

59. What has your work taught you?
My work has taught me how to live, and be myself. It has taught me how to work with challenges and solve problems. I have learned how to think through things and not give up on them. My work has also taught me to be more patient, I get frustrated with things sometimes and through art I have learned to be more patient (nothing like threading a loom). Art is a release for me, a way of getting things out, so in many ways it has taught me many things about my personality. I have learned not to get too attached to things because like art life changes. Like art, when it is good know when to stop and not over work it.

61.What is the significance of repetion and compulsion? Are they essential to textile art?
Repetion can sometimes reflect habits; personality traits and sometimes they are purely aesthetic. I think that repition and compulsion can be a huge part of process when making. In certain types of textile art it is pattern is necessary, such as is in surface/pattern design. Without repition and compulsion there is not a pattern.

62. When does the ego enter into the art?
Definition EGO- the "I", self of any person
With this definition in mind, I think that the ego is indispensable to my work. Without my 'ego' there is the sense of self-lost through the work making it generic. The ego is part of what helps make the artwork, it's maker's work.

Monday, June 15, 2009

art class

I am on the bulletin for the Visual Arts Center in Richmond this fall, I will be teaching weaving. I am excited to be back on a loom and would love it if you came to join me, here is the description if you have ever wanted to learn anything about textiles, outside the box.

Tapestries Woven out of Found Objects

All Levels

Ana Conceicao

Learn how to use traditional weaving techniques with un-traditional materials. Almost anything can be woven; paper, fabric, ribbon, lace, sequins; the possibilities are endless. In this class we will explore traditional tapestry and create compositions out of found and collected materials. We will take raw materials from gathered objects, learn how to thread a loom and weave a unified tapestry. All skill levels are welcome.

Tuition: $150 (Members $135)

Materials Fee $10

6 Tuesdays September 15 – October 20

6:30 – 9:00 p.m.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

moving ahead

Sometimes it takes pulling out the old artwork, journals, sketchbooks, photos, and really looking and thinking to realize what happened. How did I go from making always to barely being able to make? The past few weeks I have been looking through all of my old things and pin-pointed the place where making became hard to deal with. I put a lot of myself into anything that was made, and sometimes it is hard to look at the work, or make it because it means having to be vulnerable and open to exposure. Something that is hard, for someone that puts up a hard wall to the world most of the time. Well after looking, I began sketching in a brand new book, and there are definitely some new things coming into my mind, and the ends of my fingertips are moving again. The only way to get through all of to make and deal with it head on. Above are some photos of a embroideries that I did a while ago and the other one, the mask outlines, is a current one that I have been working on.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

the fine line between balance

In the past two years the one lesson that I have learned, above all the rest... Is that there is a fine line between balance and overwhelmed. This line is so easily blurred, when there is homework to be done, goals to be met at work, plans that are unbreakable, and maintaining some sort of a life. Going back to school was a surprise to me as much as to anyone else, especially to become a teacher. The past two years have been great, and I love the teaching part of all this. However I am feeling studio-homesick, and the ends of my fingers are getting antsy from not making enough. I have decided that the right balance at the moment is to take next semester off. All that I have left to finish is student teaching, which I can do in the spring. Opening up this time in my life, means that I might have to confront some of the walls that were put up when I stopped making the way I did. I guess the time has come, to stop running from all the mixed up feelings that go hand in hand with my artwork. Walk straight into it and deal.

"Time takes time, you know"

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

heart and mind

This is what happenend last night and this morning when I could not sleep. The polin around here this year is at an all time gross level and sleeping just isn't happening. At least some making is. I have always been obsessed with medical illustrations, especially anatomically correct hearts, the cutsy ones you can keep. With the semester being almost finished I have time to work in the studio again, which lead me straight back to the boxes, anatomical drawings and glue, UHU clear glaze glue- my favorite. These are just small "doodles" but I am thinking of making more, lots more. The heart and the mind are rarely in the same place, no matter how much we wish that they would align. In matters of the heart and mind it would be easier if we could put it in a little box and hide it, so that we are less vulnerable, and exposed to the world. Between the anatomy and the idea of time, I think I feel a series comming along. Maybe incorporate some embroidery and larger boxes.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Teaching at Chandler

This semester I have been working on my practicum in secondary education, my placement for middle school has been at Chandler. This is a school that is in a rough situation, they have had trouble passing their exams for many years in a row. The school board has decided that it will close down the school at the end of this year. I have been teaching a science class, about art and science, in one lesson. It was a bit of a challenge at first, however, I am pleased with the artwork and the response from the students. The main idea was interdependence within Eco-systems and how when one thing fails so does everything else. More specifically we talked about how water effects power, health, and agriculture. The woven, art part of the course tied in because woven structures are interdependent. If a warp or weft breaks or is not strong, the whole piece has the potential to come apart. The students wrote what Power, Health and Knowledge mean to them on the fabric strips and then wove them.

As you can see we also recycled and took the enviornment into consideration when making. The "looms" were made of clinique gift boxes that were being thrown away at a retail store, and the fabric was leftover from projects I have done in the past. The students got very creative and some of them had more than one warp on their loom. Even the way that they choose to display them was intersting.


Time is going by so quickly that I barely have time to catch my breath sometimes. The photos above have been sitting on my desktop collecting virtual dust waiting to be posted for a week now. I decided to make a fabric swatch book, as a way to catalogue what I have so when I go to a fabric store from now on I will stop buying doubles. I found 7 doubles while putting this book together! The book includes all of my calico prints, I did not include all of the other fabrics I have because those are pretty easy to remember without a sample of a pattern. Sometimes when my mind feels cluttered I find it best to sit and organize something, this was the simple solution last week.

Friday, March 13, 2009

craft thoughts.

I know that this image looks like it should have been taken in December or January, but believe it or not, this was just last week. Here in Richmond, where it only snows once every couple of years, we received about 7inches last week. I usually don't enjoy the cold or snow very much. Oddly enough snow makes me feel claustrophobic. However last week when it came down and I woke up to a white world outside, I was reminded by how peaceful and quiet and beautiful the snow is. It seems to make everyone stop for a moment and think. It was lovely, now I just want cheery blossoms and sunshine... and dresses with floral patterns on them.

I started working on another quilt last week. If you ever wondered what a few years worth of remnants looked like, well its about 4 hours of ironing them out and 3 hours of cutting them into tiny rectangles and squares. I am making a structured "crazy quilt". I have always been attracted to the different patterns used in these quilts and the idea of using remnants and scraps. In today's world of "going green" its a useful way to use leftovers instead of throwing them out. I enjoy that a lot!
I have also been doing a lot of thinking about my work and the turn that it has taken in the past year or two. Instead of making pieces that are deep and layered in thought I am making pieces that take thought and organization, and compartmentalize them. I think this is a reflection of how busy, and hectic my life has become over this time. It is my way of dealing with my day to day. There is also the rise of the "craft" coming out in my work. Something that in college would have made me run. I always made well crafted conceptual works. Now the craft is really showing, quilts and other utilitarian objects. Most of these objects will never be used in the ways that they are traditionally meant to be. And the quilts hold more meaning to them than laying on a bed, I doubt they will ever make it to one. All of this makes me think about craft in general. Why is it that it has gotten a bad reputation in the art world? Honestly without craft most other mediums would not live up to their names. Without craft an object or print or painting becomes sloppy... with craft the difference between sloppy and art is made. I will continue making, it is part of who I am and what keeps me sane, and I will stop running from craft. There is nothing wrong with craft, its the scrap booking and kits that have ruined the craft name.

Monday, February 2, 2009


Yesterday I made this small woven piece as a "gift" for someone in my class. It was part of a project that we are working on all semester. It was nice to sit and weave something that felt like "me". I am going to use this small piece to stand on my soap box and talk about function for a few minutes. There is this huge mis-understanding about what function means. People seem to think that if something is not ulititarian it is not "functional"... Well first of all "functional" is not really a word, it is best to say "serve a function" or "functions as". Things that are not made to be utilitarian but instead to be looked at, conceptualized and admired are serveing the functions just mentioned. Then there are things like rugs and pot holders that are utilitarian and that is their function. So to say that something is made with no function when it is art, is wrong. It is serving just that purpose. Ok now that I got that out, I will step off my soap box and go make something that functions as art. Have a great week everyone.

Friday, January 23, 2009

i must have these!

These are the new fabrics that Anna Marie Horner has come out with this month. I need them all. While looking at them closely you can see that they almost resemble liberty fabrics and old linens. To learn more about her and her designs check out her blog-
The past few weeks have been very cold, what a perfect time to gather some new fabrics and make something warm.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Time for change

I will refrain from talking about politics on here to much, that is not the point of this blog. However this being January of 2009, I must say I am EXCITED! for change in the head of the political capital of the world. It does not matter wether you are a democrat or a republican in this moment in time, the next few days at least, we must acknolwedge that this election represents a change in the poeple. A more open heart and mind from the voters. Maybe... possibly... could it be that we are on the brink of one of the largest changes in the majority ever to come.... The wall between, race, sex, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion and maybe even politics being broken down. To represent a more open minded world accepting of people of all natures. Respect amonst humanity.

Friday, January 16, 2009

time changes us

The responsibilities that come with age are strange. One day its as if you wake up and everything has changed. All the experiences that you have had make you who you are. And the person you are now is new and forever changed by the past. My fascination with the past and how it pertains to the future and affects the future is at an all time high... and I think I have finally cracked how to tackle it visually. The people the experience the times and how they make you the person that you are right now. This time of year is a bit tainted for me, but the reflection is important... it leads to creative ways.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

and these too...

a few additions to yesterdays list....

bread lots and lots of bread
glue sticks
dressing up
rainy days, spent at home
watching a movie on the couch with a blanket and a shoulder to lean on

there are more I am sure...

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Things that make me smile.

Here are a few of my favorite things, some practical, some fun, some sheer pleasure. (there is no order, just a ramble off my mind)

Art, old, new, innovative, historical....
freshly threaded looms, with linen warps
thread, especially the wooden spools
vintage and antique lace
old quilts
hem tape, from the 50's through the 70's
any old sewing notions especially found in a box, in the basement of an estate sale
teaching someone something new
really good sheets and linens
old linens
pure classic white linen
antique stores, vintage stores, thrift stores
estate sales
beautiful high end department stores, full with designer goods
vintage clothing stores
vintage Chanel, new Chanel, Chanel
really great old bookstores
harry potter 1-7
twilight 1-4
the big stone gap series of books
books that are in a series, it makes post-bookdom a little easier to deal with
Trish Mcevoy, makeup, the organization could not have been designed better if it was me
electric pink lip sh lack by lancome, new for spring
vamp by Chanel
ruby woo by mac
black pants that fit... so flattering and classic
black cardigan
collared shirts
cute flat shoes
stilettos with an extra sparkle, buckle or sequin
scarfs, shawls
paper, to write on, make with, glue on, or to
earl grey tea
french fries
my family, such a huge part of who I am
my friends, that let me vent and keep me grounded
serra do moradal
iron bed frames
a really good Shiraz
different beer
the idea of Paris
romantic notions
the ocean
rubber stamps
frida kahlo
long tall skinny trees
making in my studio.

There are more, but I will not bore you. I simply wanted to get out a few of the things that drive me, make me who I am and make me smile.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Happy New Year!

Hello to all, I hope that the holidays were exciting and full of joy with you and yours in your homes. Before Christmas I went on a sewing binge and made two quilts for gifts. The last one is for my mother, with the blue. This one above, for my little sister. The colors are to match her new room. The quilt is for a double bed, and is all hand knotted. After making both quilts I have decided that the knots are the way to go for putting everything together. Something about the stichtes just works well for me. The next time that I make a quilt I will definetly cut the binding on the bias and then apply it. I had issues with both edges. Partly because I was rushing and partly because I have never done this before. Just one more week til school starts again. I am going to use it wisely and enjoy the time off. I hope that this year brings creativity, fun times, and peace all around.