Friday, June 26, 2015

Saying good-bye to a piece you love


This is Aspens ©2014.  Now in a private collection.

I made it to sell... so I sold it. And I was happy to see that someone else saw in it what I saw in it. But as I sent it off to its new home, I felt a pang of regret.  Sure, I know I could make another one.  But I won't.  Perhaps something similar, as I try to do series; but each quilt is unique.  And doing the same thing over again would bore me, so THAT's unlikely to happen.

I wonder--do other artists feel this way?  Do you make multiple versions of a single work (not talking about series).  I guess I see it more in things like ceramics and small sculpture.  That's got me thinking about it.  But I digress.
When I started quilting, I made things that I liked for me.  But now, I'm making things I like for others.  I like everything I do that goes in the show booth or in the online store--I have to believe in the pieces I sell.  But every now and then one is special to me.  It comes from my heart, not my head.  And these, invariably, are the pieces that sell first.  And that brings the pang of regret as well as the pleasure that something that touched my heart also touched someone else's.
Does your art come from your head or your heart?  Or a mix of both?  Do you feel that regret when you sell it (if you sell) or give it away?  Maker's regret, I call it.  'Bye, Aspens, you were/are well loved!

Aspens. © 2014 Betsy True.  Private collection.

Friday, June 19, 2015

The Fabric of Identity

I recently had a chance to visit the new Textile Museum at the George Washington University.  The current exhibition is Unraveling Identity:  Our Textiles, Our Stories.  This is a great exhibit that explores what we wear and what it says about us.

Among other things, it has a some wonderful Asian pieces, Mae West's shoes, and this fabulous piece, Lady Walking a Tightrope, by artist Yinka Shonibare.

I think we're well aware that clothing has long been an indicator of social status; and it's still one of the keys most people look to, though the differences may be more subtle now. And using clothing to make a statement is also nothing new.   The exhibition steers clear of a lot of the obvious US tropes--hippies, beatniks, cowboys, etc, and instead draws from its very large collection to show us things like Mae West's shoes, below.

It was apparently very important to Mae that she appear taller than she actually was (5 ft tall, according to Wikipedia), so she had these platform shoes built.  The skin tone part on the top would be hidden by her long dress.  They were part of a collection of shoes, very interesting!

I was particularly taken by this jacket, worn by a Buddhist pilgrim in Japan.  The red inked markings are cinnebar stamps for each temple that the pilgrims received when they visited a site.  The jacket was white at the beginning.  So this is a version of the state map decals we used to put on the RV.

There's much, much more in the exhibit. It's the largest exhibition in the Museum's history, reflecting its new space.   There's a huge central space that you descend to from the main entrance, down a great curving staircase.  Docents were GWU students.

If you attend with someone who's not so into textiles, but does like history, there's separate exhibit about the history of Washington, DC, the Civil War and the Making of Modern Washington, that entertained my husband while I poked around the textile exhibit, trying not to set off any alarms. (I tend to get close to the pieces without touching them, but sometimes it's too close!)  My only complaint is that labels were hard to find for some of the pieces.

I visited the Textile Museum several times in its original location, and am very pleased that it has reopened in this new facility, though I do kind of miss the quaint old building it was in.  From Wikipedia:  "The museum was founded by collector George Hewitt Myers in 1925 and was originally housed in two historic buildings in D.C.'s Kalorama neighborhood: the Myers family home, designed by John Russell Pope, and an adjacent building designed by Waddy Wood.  You'll still see pictures of the old buildings if you do a search on Google, so don't be confused.

Access was easy; we took the Metro and it was a short walk.  There are restaurants in the area--make a day of it! The museum is open:

Monday, Wednesday-Friday: 11:30 AM–6:30 PM
Saturday: 10 AM–5 PM
Sunday: 1–5 PM
Closed Tuesdays and university holidays.

Prefer to drive?  Directions are here.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Sparking creativity

I'm trying to do some exercises to spark creativity.  One of them is to take a picture every day.  And I'm trying to do it, at least some days, with my macro lens for my iPhone. The cool thing about doing this is that looking through the camera forces you to see things in a different way.  To really look at them.

This is a poinsettia leaf--one of the two tone ones.  It's on my deck and it rained last night and I thought it would be a cool picture.  And I like it.  My husband thinks it looks like a medical slide, LOL, which shows how people see thing differently.  He sees pathology, I see a quilt!

I think I'll send this to Instagram tagged as a quilt ideas--sort of my virtual sketchbook.  Anything that  gets me thinking about a quilt is a good thing.  What things do you do to get inspired?

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Scrap Quilts: From Antiques to Art

I'm giving a lecture today at Sully Plantation, in Loudon, VA at noon. Looks like it's going to be a damp day. :) I'm going to be discussing Scrap Quilts, From Antiques to Art. It's a little bit history, a little bit quilt theory, and a little bit trunk show. I'll post some pictures later, but I also wanted to post some of the books and sites I found as I did research for the talk.

There's an exhibit, Scrap ART, August 16-October 16, 2011 at the San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles

Wish I could go!

And there are good virtual tours of collections here:
Great Lakes Quilt Collection

Smithsonian Institute of American History

Here are some great books about quilt history:

And here are some of the latest books on making Scrap Quilts:

I do love scrap quilts! It's soooo much fun to examine the quilt closely and look at all the fabrics!

Everyone have a great day, and do some quilting! (Oh, and next weekend, I'm going to be at Art on the Avenue with my friend Lynda Poole Prioleau...more on that later, too!)


Wednesday, January 26, 2011


I just finished taking part in the ArtHouse Coop's Sketchbook Project. Fred mailed my sketchbook for me (I was sick with the flu). 28000 artists signed up for the project!! Of course, some will have dropped out, but there will still be a boatload of sketchbooks. ("I think we're gonna need a bigger boat.") They will be on tour, and the tour comes to Washington, DC in April. I can't wait to see some of the other sketchbooks.

Here's a link for more on the Project:

and a link to pictures from last year's Sketchbook tour.

I'll post a couple of pages from my sketchbook when I get them on the computer.

-- Posted from my iPad!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Hey, I'll be vending at Art on the Avenue, Alexandria, VA on October 2, ...

Hey, I'll be vending at Art on the Avenue, Alexandria, VA on October 2, ...
Come join us at
Art on the Avenue
Saturday, October 2, 2010
We’ll be in Booth E193 between Randolph & Raymond Streets
on Mt Vernon Avenue
Alexandria, VA
Betsy & Linda
map & directions at

Friday, June 04, 2010

OK, now what?

I signed up for the Sketchbook Project. The idea is to sketch on a theme (I selected "in flight;" thought it would work well with my interest in birds) and create a sketchbook that will then be submitted to the project in January 2011. Pretty much anything goes--sketchbooks don't include just sketches anymore.

You can rebind the sketchbook, have pages that fold out, use paint, ink, fabric, etc on the pages as long as you keep the original dimensions. If you're interested in the project, go to!

The sketchbooks will be on tour and be part of the permanent colection at The Brooklyn Art Library.

There is something intimidating about a new sketchpad. I've read of people scribbling all over the cover just to make it seem "used." What will I do? More later!

Location:Grimsley St,Alexandria,United States