See the lookbook here.
See the lookbook here.
…and just like that…I’m back! I am emerging from my annual one-month social media fast after 35 days. I have so much to say but won’t say any of it yet. Instead, I did some sketches so you can see the difference. I just love before-and-afters, don’t you? So, the first drawing is the Before. It is what social media feels like to me:
The second one is the After:
Aaaaaaahhhh. Much better. On a purely formal level, can you see how the object went from being all upwards, outwards and going in many directions, to an object rather like a chestnut-onion that is all inward, layered and self-contained? That pretty much sums it up. I’ll tell you more soon…but I’ve gotta do this slowly.
Hope you are well and good and that your summer is full of hibiscus iced tea and brightly colored beach towels.
…and one more thing: I’d like to say that you are so much more than an algorithm. And so am I.
What is your story? What is essential to you? Your native tongue? Your family–community–country–tribe–village? What is your color story? Your personal mythology? The legacy of generations?
Story is about community, connection and the essentials of life: home, family, love, garden, nature, stars, moon, sun, animals, friends. In Story, you’ll find archetypal building blocks of your personal narrative. What is your story? Tell us. Share it. Add to it. Make it yours. When we share ourselves with the world, we become whole.
Staring up at the stars, we capture the magic, wonder and awe of this gorgeous thing we are doing called LIFE. How lucky are we for this chance to breathe the midnight air–to hold another’s hand–to know love–to feel part of a tribe.
Why else do you think we are all here sewing and instagramming about our work? Why is it that sewing, crafting, making and creating call to us in our modern world? That call is the whisper from our ancestors–urging us to make things with our hands to make meaning and magic in our lives. We get to tell our story. Each time we make anything, we etch our realness into the world through our hands. We make sense of this beautiful life by making stuff.
My friends from around the world were asked to tell their stories through the fabric. The results are stunning. They told stories of their families, desires, passions, and myths. Over the next week, stop by their blogs and IG feeds to see their beautiful efforts. Here is the party schedule:
April 13th Tia Curtis, Brooke Sellmann, Jill McNamara
April 14th Shea Henderson, Giuseppe Ribaudo, Jenny Kelly, John Q. Adams
April 15th Verena Ehrhardt, Karen LePage, Rachel Gander, Sally Keller, Cristy Fincher
April 16th Jules Goldin, Amie Petronis Plumley, Bonnie Bobman,
April 17th Daniar Listyasari, Kerry Green, Ramona Burke, Kerry Goulder, Erica Sage
Follow along on Facebook, Instagram and here on the blog. Ask your local quilt shop to carry Story. It ships to stores in September. In fact, email them this post so they can order it from their Windham rep today. Share the love! Tweet it, Pin it, Instagram it and Facebook it! Share pictures of Story! Tag me (@suchdesigns on Instagram) and always use the hashtags #sewyourstory, #storycollection and #carriebloomston.
To enter the giveaway leave a comment below. Three lucky winners will win one a fat quarter bundle of Story and a copy of my book, The Little Spark–30 Ways to Ignite Your Creativity.
See the Story Lookbook here.
I can’t wait to see your Story!
My book, The Little Spark: 30 Ways to Ignite Your Creativity, can be purchased wherever books are sold:
IndieBound (search here to find your local, independent bookshop selling The Little Spark)
Barnes & Noble (online and in stores)
You were born with a creative spark inside. Do you look at yourself now and wonder if the spark has gone out? Ignite that inner fire with the 30 engaging exercises, fun activities, inspirational images, and motivating ideas in this book. Learn what your Little Spark of creative passion looks like, how to capture it, and how to make room for it in your life. Read the book cover-to-cover and use it as a month-long creative roadmap, or just dip into the exercises as your time and inclination allow. Either way, you will change your life.
“A professional artist presents a guide to unlocking one’s inspiration and inventiveness. In her debut how-to manual, fabric designer and artist Bloomston offers hands-on techniques and hand-holding encouragement to help overcome an inert imagination. The author recognizes that inspiration can be blocked, and that creativity is sometimes offset by procrastination. In this book, she presents practical advice, motivational words, fun suggestions and write-in exercises in a colorful, highly attractive format designed to produce tangible results. The book’s design beautifully weaves together text, blank write-in spaces, stellar photos and a host of other charming design elements. The titular “spark” refers to a person’s creativity, which the author says is “like a pilot light—it’s always on, even if you aren’t using the stove.” She explores how to get cooking creatively in 30 short chapters that advise readers to, among other things, not be stingy with materials, begin with tiny goals (“achievable, quick steps you can take every day until you are less intimidated by starting”), carve out workable work spaces, discover personal learning styles and disrupt normal patterns of activity to “see the world with new eyes.” Along with encouraging quotes, the author offers practical ideas, such as keeping mugs and jars filled with markers and colored pencils at the ready for when inspiration strikes. The book also offers ways to “share your creations with the world.” Extremely valuable “Do This” exercises in each chapter invite readers to make specific items, such as a “soul box” or a “vision board”; to answer soul-searching questions; and to do activities outside the home that may be beyond one’s comfort zone: “Step outside the normal. Step outside the expected to find your creative self. Be curious.” Bloomston also offers her own personal anecdotes, as well as stories and tips from numerous others; the extensive list of contributors includes designers, artists and business owners. A sparkling blueprint for stimulating creativity.” (Kirkus Review, 12/18/14)
Plunge into a riot of color and shape, slathered with a big helping of encouragement. Bloomston, a fabric designer trained as a painter, offers 30 tips for finding and nourishing the inner artist. Creativity books can be a bit pious, but this one emphasizes the fun of creation. The book is chock-full of concrete, hands-on tips that can help the newbie develop habits of creativity by making things and then making some more things, the principle of repetition (spark #23). (Publishers Weekly Starred Review, 10/7/14)
According to fabric designer Bloomston, creativity is not something you do, it’s who you are. Therefore, the author’s exercises are designed to help readers think from their hearts and outside the box. Some of her “sparks” advise to get involved with physical materials by looking online for craft or community education classes or creating a ritual or talisman. Other ideas comprise removing doubt through positive self-talk and developing a sense of wonder through slowing down. The color photographs and layout of the book are particularly pleasing and inspiring. VERDICT A beneficial and enjoyable title for people who need a bit of a nudge to try something creative, or those who used to paint, write, or sew, who want to do it again. (Library Journal, 11/25/14)
You may know Carrie Bloomston from her work as a rising star in the world of fabric design… Bubbling up inside of her was an idea about an unusual how-to book that would lay out in a playful fashion “all the pieces of wisdom that I’ve learned about creativity from my teachers, or picked up over the course of my life.” She says at the beginning “Your creativity is like a pilot light — it’s always on, even if you aren’t using the stove.” Some of her exercises will help disrupt your normal way of working or looking at the world. Others help you deal with fears or figure out your working style. There are a few projects, including a vision board and something called a Soul Box. How can you not love a book in which the final spark is “Nothing You Need to Know is in This Book Or Any Other”– but still guides you to be more playful and creative? This book is for any person you know who wants to make stuff, any kind of stuff, that is an authentic expression of themselves. (Meg Cox, author of The Book of New Family Traditions, Quilt Journalist Newsletter, 11/24/14)
“One of those books with its own energy and enthusiasm that literally lights you up! Not sure how to describe it because the book is so much more than words. I recommend to anyone who is needing a little creative pick-me-up! 5 stars plus another 5 for the author’s authenticity which makes creativity true, soulful, and powerful! LOVED THIS BOOK.” (Dave Romanelli, author of Happy is the New Healthy, 12/29/14)
I haven’t felt this way about a book since The Four Agreements, which I purchased and gave away repeatedly. (Karen LePage, One Girl Circus, 11/25/14)
with Carrie Bloomston
DVD – 68 minutes
Confidently create contemporary quilt designs! Join artist and designer Carrie Bloomston for this workshop video that will teach you how to capture the essence of an idea in cloth by using warm-up techniques, drawing exercises, and essential design principles such as composition. Then, put these techniques to the test as you learn how to craft a freeform nest pattern, create collages from fabric, and design a whimsical quilt based on children’s artwork.
I’m posting this last post in the series today in case you’d prefer to create your Vision Board on New Year’s Eve instead of New Year’s Day and I’m including excerpts from my book, The Little Spark–30 Ways to Ignite Your Creativity.
You know what I tell people to do to prepare for my Vision Board workshops? Nothing. I ask them to become empty–to, as the 12th century Sufi mystic poet, Rumi, so beautifully wrote,
“Try and be a sheet of paper with nothing on it.
Be a spot of ground where nothing is growing,
where something might be planted,
a seed, possibly, from the absolute.”
When you come to this exercise you want to be empty of preconceptions so that you can keenly tune in to your heart without the tampering, meddling intrusion of your rational mind–your inner critic, your editor, your judge. Those parts of you are helpful sometimes, but for this activity they can only interfere with your heart. I will explain further below. However, the New Year’s Vision Board is a different animal than the plain ol’ Vision Board in that we all come into the experience with desires, plans and intentions for the new year. Don’t ignore these but rather use them as a large framework. For example, this year as I approach my new year, I personally have a few things I’d like to work on: I’d like to be free of PMS which has been a long-time companion (by the way, I welcome your suggestions for this…please! Has anything helped you?) Also, in 2015 I am attracting mountains of cash! Ha! I’m not kidding. You have to be really clear about your intentions, because generally we manifest what we ask for. Last year, my New Year’s resolution/Vision Prayer Flag was abundance. Well, let me tell you I had one of the most ABUNDANT years of life last year…but I’m thinking I wasn’t quite clear enough in my wording. By abundant, dear Universe, I actually mean abundance of financial resources…let me be more clear here: I mean I want my book to sell a million copies. Wait, I think I can be more clear: I would like to have a vault like Harry Potter’s in Gringott’s Bank filled with heaps of gold coins and enough resources to amply provide for my family this year and every year after. OK. That’s better.
So, do be aware that what you put on your Vision Board or Vision Prayer Flag will happen. And it might not make sense until it does. Specificity matters.
As you approach your New Year’s Vision Board, be aware that you are likely bringing larger intentions and resolutions to the board and you can’t come to it completely empty. Don’t hang on too tightly to the stuff you are coming into the process with. Hold it lightly and know it is there but don’t barrel into the Vision Board making process knowing that you are going to make one giant collage full of say, happy hormones and bags of cash! If you hold too tightly to these intentions they will prevent you from finding the magic that is inherent in this process. And the process is simple: while you look for images you will ONLY listen to your heart. Period. It is all explained below.
Now I am going to attach below the actual pages from my book so you have a clear guide as to how to create your Vision Board and what to do. In case you missed the last post, you can see a Materials List here. If you choose to make the Vision Prayer Flags instead, use the ideas outlined below but you will be drawing your images in fabric marker or cutting them out from fabric scraps and using a glue stick to glue them down. Once the appliqués are dry, machine or hand stitch them in place. Also, use an iron to heat set the fabric marker ink. Once all the flags are complete, simply stitch them onto the twill tape or ribbon with a zig zag stitch (leaving at least a few feet at each end for hanging) and hang them up outside!
If you are making Vision Boards or Flags with your family, keep the emphasis on fun, creativity and meaning. Even young children can feel the playful sacredness of these creations. They may include ice cream, hearts, candy, race cars, unicorns, peace signs, Minions, and all manner of cartoon characters…and that is OK! Let them express whatever is in their heart even if it is silly or makes no sense. If they grow up in an environment where they are used to this sort of meaningful creativity and connection they will be more apt to truly express themselves in a more serious way as they get older.
So here are the actual pages from my book below:
Finally, I will add that you may quickly feel your inner editor, judge and critic popping up to say hello. Your gut will want you to rip out a picture but your mind will say, “whoa nellie…not so fast…why are you grabbing that image?!” You will need to work at first to stay with your gut (heart) and away from the critic/editor. My rule of thumb as I make Vision Boards is to rip every image that feels good. Many of them won’t even make the final cut and get glued down to the board but it is easier to just rip out and have it than to wish in 45 minutes that you knew where that one picture of the woman at the flower shop in Italy went.
OK. You’re ready now. Off you go. Have fun. Listen to your heart and please send me pictures of your board or flags. I will even post some of the photos you send me (without your name, of course). Comment below about how the experience was for you. I’d love to hear.
This is the first in a series of posts to honor and celebrate the New Year.
I hope your holiday has been merry and bright. As I look back on my year, the word that comes to mind is ABUNDANT. 2014 was full of family, friends, my new book, new fabric collections, prayer flags for the Dalai Lama, this new website, teaching, speaking, and community.
I feel blessed by the support you have all shown me on my path. You are in my heart at this time of the year as I reflect. I am more grateful to you than you can even know.
New Year’s is, for me, the absolute most meaningful holiday. It is our cosmic, divine annual reset. Everyone likes the freshness of new things. Our calendar gives us this gift once a year in the form of a new year. The new year is full of optimism, energy and hope. We allow ourselves this time to start new things, work on old issues, heal, move forward – to think, feel and act differently. We even save up the biggies and act on them as resolutions.
I use the last two weeks of the year to hunker into my family and to myself. In the days leading up to Christmas I am always amazed by how my mind and heart have already moved on to the bigger fish – my intentions and desires for the new year. The year coalesces through year-end lists that help crystallize the patterns and structures of the previous year in ways we may have been unaware of because we were too close to actually see the whole picture. As a fractal of the larger pattern of life, the end of the year offers the vantage of old age. We learn something from ourselves. We act on what we find as we are birthed into the next year. Babes again. Time to start fresh – but not to start over. To start over would be to rob ourselves of the earned wisdom of each year. So we start new and renewed. We begin again. And again. We play – we play even with the stuff of our very life. We approach it as a child. We find joy.
It really is supposed to feel good. We are allowed to be happy, to feel good and joyful, to be creative with our life and listen to our heart and passions.
That is what I’m going to help you do for the next five days here on my blog – to help you prepare for the sacred act of intention-setting on New Year’s Day with fun, creative activities like creating a Vision Board. Never heard of a Vision Board? Simply put, a Vision Board is a collage of cut and pasted magazines images you create with nothing but a few magazines, a foam core board, glue stick and scissors…but there is so much more I will tell you this week! Vision Boards are sheer magic. They are a visual manifestation of our heart’s desires. The key is tuning-in and actually listening. And I will tell you how.
There is so much more to say about this, and in fact, there is a whole chapter in my book, The Little Spark – 30 Ways to Ignite Your Creativity, devoted to creating Vision Boards. Over the course of this week, I will write a few posts to help you tune into your heart and your mind for the process of setting your intentions as well as prepare your materials for your own New Year’s Day Vision Board. Stay tuned!
Well, hello and happy holidays–
The time has come to break the internet! Please join me and my 26 blogger friends this week for a ginormous party to officially celebrate the launch of my new book, The Little Spark–30 Ways to Ignite Your Creativity. We intend to make a bunch of noise, throw some confetti and give away FIVE copies of the book to FIVE lucky winners! Five!
And just in time for Christmas giving, huh? I know! The Little Spark is the perfect gift for anyone (of any age) on your holiday shopping list wanting to step into a life of creativity and passion.
Here’s what people are saying about The Little Spark:
“Plunge into a riot of color and shape, slathered with a big helping of encouragement.” –starred review in Publisher’s Weekly
“A beneficial and enjoyable title for people who need a bit of a nudge to try something creative, or those who used to paint, write, or sew, who want to do it again.” –Library Journal
“I haven’t felt this way about a book since The Four Agreements, which I purchased and gave away repeatedly.” –Karen LePage of OneGirlCircus.com, sewing designer
“This book is for any person you know who wants to make stuff, any kind of stuff, that is an authentic expression of themselves.” –Meg Cox, Quilt Journalist Newsletter
Over the course of this week my 26 amazing friends and bloggers will post reviews and features of the book on their blogs. All you have to do is leave a comment below and you will be entered to win. Make sure to leave your email. Also, play along with our Instagram giveaway where THREE other people will win a copy!