Would you like to have a class with Ellen?

Ellen would be delighted to have a class with you or your group! You can check out her classes at www.ellenanneeddy.com. She also offers independent studio time in her studio in Indiana. Talk to Ellen about classes at 219-921-0885, or contact her scheduler Sarah at 616-485-5646 to set a date

About Me

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Ellen Anne Eddy
Author of Thread Magic: The Enchanted World of Ellen Anne Eddy Fiber artist, author and teacher
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Friday, December 30, 2011

Thread Magic Garden Is Ready for Pre-order!

Thread Magic Garden will be arriving for shipment around January 20th. You can pre-order your copy today!

You never really know what a project will take until you see it done. Perhaps that's good. A good dream well done should take your whole heart's effort and give you your heart back in return.

When I started this book, I had no idea it would take 2 years to finish. Part of that is that I had to learn so much to do this book.  Part of that is the meticulous process C&T puts into every book.  I got my premier copy a week ago.I'm still scraping myself off the ceiling. It's past my expectations. I'm hoping you'll feel that way too.

When I started this book, I wanted to continue what I'd accomplished with Thread Magic. I wanted to show folk ways of adding wild free motion to quilts that set things hearts and imaginations on fire. I wanted to set up instructions that would take you through your own process with this. You'll have to let me know how I've  done when you read the book.
But for those of you who've known me in class or in print, you know I don't give recipes for cakes that don't rise. I tell you everything I know. I also don't do anything really hard. I just do things that are time consuming and compulsive.
So here is what we have.
  • Fifty eye popping new quilts in the gallery
  • A patternless approach to design
  • Intuitive applique that makes creating flowers  easy and fun

Tutorials in
  • Color theory for flowers
  • Corded buttonhole  binding
  • Angelina Fiber
  • 6 Free motion zigzag stitches
  • Machine Beading
  • Globbing
  • Sandwich stabilizing
I'm hoping I've done a good job of opening doors, traveling a new path, leaving good bread crumbs for anyone who wants to follow, and breaking the best rules I could find to break. See you on the trail.

You can  pre-order your copy of Thread Magic Garden at 
www.ellenanneeddy.com


Monday, December 26, 2011

The Sprinkles on the Donut

After years of drawing bugs and frogs it has occurred to me that I'm a bit odd. All artists are, mostly. The ones who look normal pass well.
I'm not that good an actress.


I was at church for Christmas day. The choir at this church takes off for Christmas. I could have sat in the choir pews, but I ended up in the general congregation.


I'm not an alto as a show off. It's simply where  my range is. I can't sing the high notes reliably. It happens occasionally, but like Tuesday, anything could happen. So I was singing the alto line, against the bulk of the congregation on the melody.


It's different within the choir. You expect to hear the part above and below you. The blend is planned and it's where you belong.
This was much more separate, and more isolating. 


At the end of the service it occurred to me that much of my life is that way: a counterpoint to melodies I can not reach. My plans for the holiday collapsed and I ended up  more alone than was comfortable.


I was speaking afterwards to the choir director who said, "You know, you'll never be the donut. You're the sprinkles on the donut. And that's why we want the donut anyway.


Now the nicest thing about the sprinkles on the donut is that they come in a range of color. They're practically an edible color chart.


I don't get to eat donuts either, but I've learned to appreciate allergy foods as a visual experience. And I'm an edible color chart! There are worse fates and worse goals.









Sunday, December 25, 2011
God bless us, one and all.
Friday, December 23, 2011

The Wizard of Odd


Having fun being weird today? Thank an artist!


Lately, they've been playing the Wizard of Oz again. It occurred to me just how much of our language comes from that amazing movie.


Most movies are a cultural moment at best. They expand on a moment in time. What is a classic changes with the wind, but I think we can say that it's about how it changes the way people think. 


I was going through the number of phrases that the Wizard cemented into my verbal landscape:

  • "If I only had a brain."
  • "Ding, dong, the witch is dead."
  • "Over the rainbow."
  • "And your little dog too."
  • "I hope my courage holds out. I hope your tail holds out."
  • "I'm melting."
And of course,
  • " Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain."
Frank Baum, the author, had a rather unsuccessful life outside his books. He bounced from one thing to another until he wrote this odd and lovely tale, largely about politics. The politics have disappeared in time leaving a wonderful story about friendship, challenges, appreciating weird and very kind help, and finding your heart. Who would any of us be without it?


That being said, I take heart in this. When someone says, "You quilt, right? Can you make me a bed quilt? In beige?"


I remind myself that my glory and my crown, my hope and my consolation is that I be as gloriously odd as I am. And that if I do it well a small part of the world will shift for it.


Those of us doing our art shift the archetypes. Not purposely, or with cause, but simply by bringing our vision to the world. It's not something one picks and chooses. It's simply an act of trust to bring what your heart demands into being. We bring it all to the table and let time sort it out.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Silent Night: Waiting for Wonder





The season of Christmas is hard and fast, a vicious wild river of people and vehicles vying for more gifts, more money, parking spaces, more immeasurable and impossible holiday glee.


I'm convinced this is a reaction to the dark of the year. I can't speak for any one else. It has an addictive edge to it I don't trust. When I try to strip myself down each year to the celebration of Christ's birth and basic kindness to the people in front of me, without the endorphin pump of extra shopping, sugar and alcohol, I find myself facing all kinds of edgy truths about myself. Much of what runs through your mind in the dark.


Not that I'm a stick about sugar and extra spending. They're just not good for me. There's an old saying, "Up like a rocket. Down like a stick.", which pretty much covers my mental health after any Christmas-New Years week. Since I don't have the family obligations, I can and often do choose to opt out of the commercial aspect. And anything that takes extra vacuuming, or must be put away unless it's up next spring. Ick.


I'm an escaped Catholic. I go to an Anglican Church largely because I love the rituals and can think what I like. They don't green the church (translate: put up the tree) until the Sunday before Christmas.


It leaves time for waiting in the darkness. To push back against the darkness, and it's nastier little whispers and say, "The Light is coming." There's a value in saying that before the light arrives. It reminds us that good and bad, broken and whole what we need is there and right for us.


That all said, I think I'm going to put up an origami bird tree. One I don't have to take down after the season. There's nothing wrong with lighting a candle in the dark.


All of the best of the blest for you and yours for the holiday.
Ellen
Saturday, December 17, 2011

No More Color Police:Creating Flower Colors




 "Roses are red. violets are blue. Angels in heaven know I love you." Down in the valley

 What color is a flower, actually?










In spite of everything your kindergarten teacher told you, it's not a simple answer. If she made you color all your roses red, give me her name and I'll go have a little chat with her. Or better still, you might want to tell her that she can't live in your head anymore without paying rent.


That's not a white tulip. Nor is it really red or yellow. It's a wonderful swirl of a number of great colors. Leaving any of that out is a loss. But how do you do it in fiber?
We have two great tools. Well, we probably have hundreds but these help with this.Hand dyed fabric has all those great streaks. It's a great way to start a flower.


Machine embroidery also speeds us on our way.The wonderful thing about stitching flowers is that thread really is minutia. We can slip in that dash of green, that edge of orange or purple that flowers either do have or should.
When Mark Lipinski asked me how important color was on his show this week and why I put so much emphasis on it, I almost fell of my chair. Color IS the media. We see everything through the color and the texture. You can here that conversation on Mark's Creative Mojo  show, December 14th.


Thread Magic Garden has a full chapter on creating colors for flowers. It's a magical thing. And you can do it too.



Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Blog at C&T Publishing

I'm the Guest Blogger today at the 
C&T Blog.
I've posted a blog called My Studio Garden.


See it at http://www.ctpubblog.com/

Thanks, C&T!
Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Announcing My Computer Radio Show Premier at Creative Mojo!

I'm  going to be on Mark Lipinski's Creative Mojo Radio Show on 
Wednesday, December 14th, at 3:00PM -5:PM EST
 (2-4 CST, 12-2 MST, 11-1 PST),
 Live for two hours with Listener Call ins.


Mark is one of my favorite creative quilting lunatics. He brings immense talent and a wacky sense of fun to us all.
On of his gifts to the quilt community is this fabulous show.I'm so honored he's asked me to join him!


Go to www.toginet.com on your computer and click on the live button on the right hand side of your screen. Or you can listen to it later at http://www.marklipinski.com/


Come and join us. Call in! I'll answer 


anything (well almost.)







Monday, December 12, 2011

Lauren Strach: A Botanical Lunatic with a Plan

Lauren doesn't look like a lunatic. She looks like a pink cheeked soccer mom. Look out! Stand back! 


She's an emerging art quilter who attacks new approaches and techniques with gleeful ferocity. And masters them with passion. Every time she visits me, I find myself flying to my machine, inspired by her intensity.


Lauren says,

"My inspiration, like so many other quilters, comes from nature. 




As a life-long biologist and Master Gardener, I thought I saw nature, but it wasn’t until I embraced my artful journey that I began to really see.  My inspiration is found in the whorls of snail shells, the miniature worlds of mosses and lichens, the rugged nooks and crannies of the bark of the fallen tree, and the intricate shading and nuances in the early spring wildflowers. And, the more I see, the more I see.

The act of translating that vision in line, pattern and color into textile recreations introduces the next level of AHA!  It is an ever fascinating challenge to take the experience of seeing with eyes wide open, to shape it into form. From the fantastical realism of exaggerated insects, to the abstracted likeness of the quintessential flower bud, I seek to uncover the universal codes, to bring them to life with fabric and thread.  Tactile, textile translations of the mysteries of nature, celebrating the wonders of life, that is where I find my inspiration.



Lauren's work has been showed at both Paducah and Houston. She was a finalist in the $100,000 Quilt Challenge. Where will she show next? It could be anywhere. If she doesn't send it in, it's likely 
to fly in on it's own.



Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Maharishi of the Vacuum Cleaner

I would like to say that my cats taught me to be  terrified of vacuum cleaners. I'd like to say it but it's simply not true.


 No one actually cleaned much of anything in my childhood home. We lived in a pleasantly shabby small house carefully insulated by mountains of books. So once every five years or so, someone would put some effort into finding the floor and once found, vacuuming it. Of course that took in my case, huge quantities of ice cream. In my mother's case, similar quantities of gin. Either way we never faced it chemically unimpaired. It may explain why she thought it was funny to chase me around the room with it. It may also explain my complete dread of them.


But at a certain point you decide that your childhood is past. The floor is in shambles and it would be nice to see what color the rug is. So I went on the search for the vacuum I wouldn't hate. 


This was not easy. We went through a Royal, several Hoovers, a Eureka canister that lasted a week.We have a dog cookie under every rug and mattress and wisps of thread escaped from the studio. Some of them whole and some in crumbs. Admittedly, this is a hard life for any vacuum cleaner.


I was bemoaning the Eureka when Pat Winter told me she'd gotten a Bissell that pretty much ate babies for lunch for $44 at Walmart. Desperate with the image of my new godbaby wading through the crumbs, fur and crunchies, I bought one.


OMG did this thing whirl fur and fluff around. So it was with tears in my eyes I watched it die today.It was almost a whole month old. Could I find the receipt? Of course not. So I went online, and found the manual. While I was looking for the belt, one of the hoses fell off spewing crumblies everywhere. When I looked in the hose there was a small plastic bottle.


What could it be? I poked at it with broom handles, my croquet mallet handle, the fire poker, the skewers we use for roasting marshmallows. It finally gave it up for  particularly long mop handle.



What else could it have been? It was a bottle of sewers aid!


So I am now, by right of my passage Maharishi of the Vacuum Cleaner.Chief bottle washer too. And I know where I put the Sewer's Aid. Life is good. Now where did I put the floor?
Sunday, December 4, 2011

In Search of African Violet Colors: Anatomy of a Color Study








I love that purple and gold combination. It makes me think of African Violets, my favorite inside flower.
I know I'm out of season, but all this rain makes me think of this song, and that makes me think of violets. They come in endless colors, all of them gorgeous. So let's go to our color wheel and figure out why.


We have some great complementary action here! The purple and the yellow are zinging off each other, with some analogous purples on the side.  Of course it's irresistible.
Here's how that translates into a quilt. The metallic threads soften the yellow a bit, but they still play against each other. And the sweep of darker and lighter purples to either side makes it a richer combination.
Wrapping it up:
African violets are a great complementary purple/yellow color scheme, enhanced with some analogous purples on the side. If they make your heart happy, see what happens when you put oranges with blues. The color wheel shows us the relationships of these colors. Similar relationships will have similar effects. It's a great way to stretch your palette.


Friday, December 2, 2011

Getting Together




Normally December would  be a time of getting things into place. Getting them together. Tax receipts. Almost finished quilts. Articles that have to go out. The teaching is done for the year, and all those tasks impossible in the travel have to be done.
This December, add to that I'm getting ready for Thread Magic Garden, my new book from C&T publishing to arrive in January. There's a flurry of newsletters, articles and new work that has to be in place.
In the middle of that muddle, I'm trying very hard to realize that the best task is simplification. So with that in mind, I'm putting all my blogs into one place. 

I know that some people just want information, some people want stories, some people want a place to check for schedules, and some people just want eye candy. You'll still find it all here at the Art Outside the Box at ellenanneeddy.blogspot.com blog. I've put in a cloud label so you can find what you need easier. And I'm very curious as to what you think. I'm hoping you'll let me know.


All the blogs have been fed into this one. I'll still show you wonderful Lunatic Fringe people, color studies, funny stories, fabulous techniques and amazing embroidery. But, we're getting together. Right now.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Distraction Faction

I live in dread of distraction. So it is with serious fear that I face the holidays. I have a really low attention span, and I multitask unmercifully, but I know I will leave three out of five of those tasks in the dust. So when the holidays come, I know I really ought to find the floor. 
This year we had a particular reason why that was vital.
This is Tom and Sarah.
This is Tom and Sarah with munchkin. It's astonishing how something so small can hold your whole heart that tightly.


Keira is at seven months, a bright sunny soul who likes soft boiled eggs, bee bop music, and is working on toy tossing as an Olympic sport. We had visions of what she'd do when she found the dog bones so we at least had to clean that much up. After that it became the search for more suction in vacuum cleaner land.


The weirdest thing has happened to me.   It was bad enough at the baby shower. I actually made a baby quilt. Since it's out of all my apron prints, it includes ghosts, tigers, hawks, spiders, and beetles. We thought we ought to start her early on those things.


But I'm knitting...............................!
I was really worried about having been distracted in this way and then it came to me. I won't really have to have someone pry the knitting needles out of my hands. They come in pairs and I'm bound to lose one sooner or later.


Either way, I've been given the ultimate  delight of a tiny hand waving wet spoons and toys at me as I sing her bee bop. Pretty good for a maiden fairy godmother.


Keira lives in Austin with my God kids, Tom and Sarah, They better bring her back soon or, God knows what I'll knit.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

To Kit or Not to Kit: A Teacher's Dilemma

The decisions we make as artists are so different than the decisions we make as teachers.
I came out in the seventies with a primary degree, ready to teach first grade. 
It was after several breathtakingly bad years substituting  when I finally got a job, only to find I was really bad at crowd control. It doesn't help when you're personally leading the riot.


But your life finds a way.  I worked in a fabric store and quilted insanely, until someone asked, "Could you teach a  class on that?"
Well, when teaching adults, it's ok to be leading the riot. It's kind of what they hired you for. They want excitement and new ideas and that roller coaster feeling of a whole new stash of toys they've never tried before. I'm exactly where I should be.
But the decisions I make about class are almost in opposition to decisions about the studio.
When it comes to materials, I believe that more is more. More colors please. More resources. More options. Certainly more choices. So when I've taught, I want that for students too. So how much and what do you pack? I used to bring whole bolts of stabilizers, fusibles and piles of books for design.
Strangely enough, it comes down to weight. The new luggage fees have changed that world and I have to think like a teacher, not like an artist. It's very strange to pack what I'm sure you'll need. And to leave the things that you might want back at the studio.


So I am proud/sad/confused/and conflicted to announce for the first time in my life I'm kitting classes. I'm still bringing fabulous fabrics I personally dye, hand-dyed threads you can't get anywhere else, hand-dyed cheesecloth and a collection of the most beautiful commercial threads I can find. But I'm kitting up the stabilizers/fusibles/and patterns to make your life easier the day before class. I'm also producing small classroom books for project classes that cover the material, give you pattern, how to illustrations, tips, sources and gallery photos all in one one pretty little booklet. Simplification really is a math project.


This is my first year to do that.You as students and fellow artists will have to let me know how that works for you.


The downside is that you can't always be sure what that kit will cost. Your group will ask me for a cost for that perhaps a year before class, usually when they book the class. Prices can raise dramatically in a year, and I've usually sliced it down to give students the best break I can. So if shipping or the price  spikes, I have no choice but to adjust the kit fee. What I've told students is that if the extra means you eat peanut butter for a week, I'll offer you a dispensation. I can absorb the extra for one or two, but for twenty it becomes a problem.
Like all works in process, I'm trying to figure this out. So as students and artist, what do you prefer? Do you want to strictly find and bring your own supplies? Do you prefer a kit? and can you handle a small price adjustment if it's needed?
This little dragonfly was started in my Dragonfly Sky class, a class built and streamlined with kits, a set pattern, and a booklet to help people on their way. 
The booklet is available separately at
www.ellenanneeddy.com
Dragonfly Sky
or at Amazon 
If you order from Ellen you get your book personally signed.
Or you can ask your guild to bring Ellen to teach you to make your own dragonfly sky. Ellen's  Teaching information 

To Kit or Not to Kit: A Teacher's Dilemma

The decisions we make as artists are so different than the decisions we make as teachers.
I came out in the seventies with a primary degree, ready to teach first grade. 
It was after several breathtakingly bad years substituting  when I finally got a job, only to find I was really bad at crowd control. It doesn't help when you're personally leading the riot.


But your life finds a way.  I worked in a fabric store and quilted insanely, until someone asked, "Could you teach a  class on that?"
Well, when teaching adults, it's ok to be leading the riot. It's kind of what they hired you for. They want excitement and new ideas and that roller coaster feeling of a whole new stash of toys they've never tried before. I'm exactly where I should be.
But the decisions I make about class are almost in opposition to decisions about the studio.
When it comes to materials, I believe that more is more. More colors please. More resources. More options. Certainly more choices. So when I've taught, I want that for students too. So how much and what do you pack? I used to bring whole bolts of stabilizers, fusibles and piles of books for design.
Strangely enough, it comes down to weight. The new luggage fees have changed that world and I have to think like a teacher, not like an artist. It's very strange to pack what I'm sure you'll need. And to leave the things that you might want back at the studio.


So I am proud/sad/confused/and conflicted to announce for the first time in my life I'm kitting classes. I'm still bringing fabulous fabrics I personally dye, hand-dyed threads you can't get anywhere else, hand-dyed cheesecloth and a collection of the most beautiful commercial threads I can find. But I'm kitting up the stabilizers/fusibles/and patterns to make your life easier the day before class. I'm also producing small classroom books for project classes that cover the material, give you pattern, how to illustrations, tips, sources and gallery photos all in one one pretty little booklet. Simplification really is a math project.


This is my first year to do that.You as students and fellow artists will have to let me know how that works for you.


The downside is that you can't always be sure what that kit will cost. Your group will ask me for a cost for that perhaps a year before class, usually when they book the class. Prices can raise dramatically in a year, and I've usually sliced it down to give students the best break I can. So if shipping or the price  spikes, I have no choice but to adjust the kit fee. What I've told students is that if the extra means you eat peanut butter for a week, I'll offer you a dispensation. I can absorb the extra for one or two, but for twenty it becomes a problem.
Like all works in process, I'm trying to figure this out. So as students and artist, what do you prefer? Do you want to strictly find and bring your own supplies? Do you prefer a kit? and can you handle a small price adjustment if it's needed?
This little dragonfly was started in my Dragonfly Sky class, a class built and streamlined with kits, a set pattern, and a booklet to help people on their way. 
The booklet is available separately at
www.ellenanneeddy.com
Dragonfly Sky
or at Amazon 
If you order from Ellen you get your book personally signed.
Or you can ask your guild to bring Ellen to teach you to make your own dragonfly sky. Ellen's  Teaching information 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

April H. Center: A Brilliant Painter with Words


Holding up the World by Ellen Anne Eddy
April Center is a word painter in the Indiana Dunes area. Her images flow out of the page and grab you tightly. Sometimes they are warm and caressing. Sometimes they reach out in ways that are ferocious. But whatever they do, they always touch you somewhere deeply.


What Matters Now
Copyright 2011
By April Center


The trees know. The seasons require attention of different matters.
In spring they stretch their arms reaching for the light and the warmth,
With an awakening that follows throughout the millennium.
The sap slowly flows it’s lifeblood through their veins long before tiny sprouts appear
Like tiny fingers, whispering, reaching to grasp the hope and pursuit of sunlight,
Finding succor for the summer
Ever beckoning, wooing, breathing, soothing.
No need for wondering what matters now in the halcyon days of spring.


The trees know what matters in the glorious summer.
The trees are in full prayer and reverie – their chorus is heard easily
Above the canopy bestowing silent solace
Their arms with a million fans swaying, sometimes gently laughing, softly sighing
Sometimes boldly shouting, clapping and cheering
To the heartbeat of the wind – dancing,
Ever dancing with a grace beyond compare
The trees know what matters now in the ripe days of summer.


The trees know what matters in the fullness of time
In the slow fall from grace
No longer hindered, the trees and their kin shrug off their summer shroud
To be found scattered and strewn on the ground preparing a bed.
They sigh with a satisfied sleepiness after the dance.
A kaleidoscope of color shivers from their frames,
The painted beauty now leaves no trace,
What is left is the enduring body and face.
In the twilight of autumn the trees know what matters in the universe.


The trees know what matter most at this time. No longer concealed
Is their courage standing in place, always there but rarely seen while encased
In their garments of lace.
Not languishing, not laggardly, they brace
For the sharp, serrated winds that gust with the squalls of winter,
Withering all but the trees, for the trees know what matters in a world of much waste.
You'll find more writing of April's at Prudy's View.
Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Dancing with Design:A Little less real. A little more art.



I fight with realism. I really do. I wouldn't say I win over often. I'm not against realism. I think that like fire,  it's a good tool and a harsh master.




So it was with great glee I found myself with a new design tool. Like most great tools, it's not an object so much as a headset. When I realized I could make flowers out of shapes, I then realized they didn't have to necessarily conform.


Mind you, they could. And it's pretty when they do.This fish has lovely wisteria dripping over his pond. 










But what happens if you just make a shape and have them follow that? They abstract in such a cool way. And if you embroider them? Here are the same teardrop shapes centered around a gentle c shape. The shape gives us a path, and the smaller flowers fill in the empty spots.


Everything is better with more thread! At least that's my philosophy. These were embroidered with polyester embroidery thread until they glowed.




I've explored this cool Dance of Design, in Jim West's Magazine, Quiltposium, pages 136-154 with a number of flowers. Go check it out. And take a shape out dancing today!
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Ellen Anne Eddy's Flowers on Youtube.com

Review of Thread Magic Garden

Review of Thread Magic Garden
From the Subversive Stitch

Review of Thread Magic Garden

Review of Thread Magic Garden
Book Review from Golden Dog Quilting

C&T Blog

C&T Blog
My Studio Garden: A blog at C&T Publishing

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Quiltposium, Fall2011

Quiltposium, Fall2011
Ellen's New Article, Dance of Design

Essential Embroidery Stitches: Free Hand and Machine Embroidery Designs and Techniques.

Essential Embroidery Stitches: Free Hand and Machine Embroidery Designs and Techniques.
Get this free book from Quilting Arts. It has a series of articles I wrote called Defining the Line.

The Butterfly Effect

The Butterfly Effect

Guest Blog On Subversive Stitchers!

Guest Blog On Subversive Stitchers!
The Stories Tell Me

Guest Blog On Quilt Gallery

Guest Blog On Quilt Gallery
http://quiltinggallery.com/2010/08/12/dancing-in-the-light/

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