Monday, December 28, 2009

A Giveway Where Everybody Wins!

Here she is...ain't she awesome? A fabric collage on an old book cover. Handmade by moi just for you. On the back I have handwritten the words..."Post an angel at your door. Fear the darkness nevermore." I know...I know...the gift-giving season is over...but the spirit is still upon me. I am giving away one of these angel book collages to EVERYONE who mentions and links just one more time all the cool stuff that is going on at KC Willis' studio. Your blog, Yahoo group, Ning group or Twitter will work. Facebook status updates don't count as they don't stay around long at all...but if you're part of a FB art group and can post it there that will count.

And since you're all so busy this time of year feel free to just cut and paste the following onto your blog...unless of course you have personal comments you want to make about one of the classes that you've taken. But be sure and link to the sites (or just link to my blog and they can go from there). You don't have to link to all the can pick and choose...just one will work. Then drop a comment below or an e-mail to me at with the link to your blog and give me your mailing address. Easiest way to have an angel delivered to your door that I've ever seen!

This has been an amazing year at KC Willis Studio. Wow. 170 students from 8 countries currently enrolled at the on-line workshop where I teach the basics of my techniques and inspire you to new creative heights. You have never seen anything like Collage Camp.

After Collage Camp there's Mixed Media Mania where you take what you learned at Collage Camp and in these workshops I teach Altars and Shrines, Altered Books and Works on Paper. Fun stuff.

And for those of you already making art and wanting to know how you take it to the next level and get yourself a regional or national audience, next week starts the super exciting Marketing Mindset. Check out the Main Page and take advantage of the Intro Price which will only last until January 8th.

And if video workshops aren't your about KC Willis Live! (assuming I've had my coffee.) Come take a multi-day class with me in my very sweet Victorian studio house in Longmont, Colorado. Check it out at

So there you have it. Your friends and followers will thank you. And I will too...I'm sending you a Guardian Angel so you start off the new decade resting in the shade of angel wings.

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Just Do It!....Differently...

I've been busy making the first of my videos for the Marketing Mindset Workshop which is up and running in Discussion form as we speak. But one thing I want you to understand is that the journey is on-going for me, even as I teach about what things I have done to get my work in so many shops and my name in so many publications in the past...I too have big plans for 2010.

Part of what will go on in this workshop over the course of the next year is that I will help you get over your fears, set a plan in motion for selling your art, hold nothing back when I tell you what has and has not worked for me and help you develop as an art business in general. But you will also get to watch the plan I have for taking my work to the next level in real time. I will tell you what I've done AND I will tell you what I am doing. I have a whole bunch I want to accomplish as an artist in 2010.

If you want to make your living as an artist or even supplement your income with art sales...then you have to get serious about marketing. And as yucky as that might's the truth and I am here to make it interesting and fun. It's serious business, but I know for a fact that the right mindset can change what happens with your art...which in turn can change your world. It changed mine.

I started out in one cotton-pickin' gallery...and from that came everything. It starts with one place carrying your work. From that one place came other galleries, shops, commissions, collectors, catalogs, licensing my name and work, HGTV....and teaching. But that doesn't just happen. You've got to work it like a job and there has to be a method to your madness. Your intent could be to have your work in 5 places and develop consistency in website sales...and that's all you want to have happen...ok...let's do that. You may want to be in 50 shops, 4 catalogs and do a greeting card line...ok...let's do that.

This marketing workshop is one of the things I am most looking forward to in 2010. I want it to be full of artists brimLinkming with excitement, sharing information, and supporting each other in a way that will see the end of 2010 look different for you and your art than the end of 2009.

So share the news about this workshop and make a difference in the life of an artist you know. And tell your readers or your friends that if they sign up for Marketing Mindset they need to mention they heard about it from you...because you will receive a $100 gift card to my site, $100 for every person you send to MM who signs up. But I'd like to think you would do it any way...because so many artists need the information we will share at this workshop.


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Deciding Factor

Everyday we make a bazillion decisions in our life. I made one when I sat down to write this blog post. When you go to the grocery store you have to make lots of decisions. You don't fill up six carts with everything in the store that appealed to least I don't think you do. You decide what is on the menu for the week and what things are the best items for your nutritional needs. You make a decision or two.

And so it is with your art. In my workshops artists are always saying that they go in so many different directions that they find a signature style does not develop easily and this frustrates them in their marketing. And I understand the tendency. You have so many ideas that excite you, so you want to act on all of them. And you can....BUT at some point you must decide on what is the main genre, look, style, theme etc. that you want to really work on and develop into a series of work. The work that you will market to shops and galleries. The work that will define who you are for that season in time. The other ideas you can play with in your off time and perhaps from them will come next years series of work. But you must decide. Bummer huh? Gotta narrow it down. My dad, the Marvelous Mississipian, always says "You can't chase two rabbits and catch either one."

I like to do many creative things. I have a notebook full of ideas that's so big I carry it around in a wheelbarrow. (Not really, but you get my over-the-top point.) Many of them are in different mediums from what I do daily and they excite me soooo much that when I see them I have been known to exclaim aloud. "Oh man...I really wanna paint!" But here's the deal. I have DECIDED that at this moment in time I am going to focus on mixed media collage, so that I have a cohesive artistic portfolio with which to flaunt my creative prowess to shops and galleries. A gallery owner does not want to see a portfolio of every idea you've ever had. That will not impress them. Amuse them, maybe...but they will not give you a show. They want to see a series of work that will make you recognizable to their patrons. When I took the first fabric collage that actually satisfied me to a gallery in Santa Fe, the owner said..."Make me 5 more so I know you can repeat yourself." She didn't want 5 of the exact same thing, nor did she say make me 5 more of just anything you can think of...she wanted 5 more in a series that would have impact. She wanted to know this piece of art with a cowgirl and a quote was not a fluke. By replicating "my look" I assured her I was not.

I hope you decide to comment.
Maybe you'll even decide to join us at Marketing Mindset. Either way...there's a decision to be made here. xxoo

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

I'm Just Sayin'....

When it comes to your art...the decisions you make today will affect where you are 5 years from now....heck 5 months from now. Back when I was wanting to be a novelist (I still wanna be one) I loooved to come home from my day job in Los Angeles, put my feet up and watch television. Anybody who had sat in LA traffic for a hundred hours would want to do the same. But I also wanted to finish my book and see what would happen. The thought of all that I had to do to accomplish finishing said masterpiece would overwhelm me. Easier to ignore it and watch television. BUT...that was not going to get my book finished. So I decided to make decisions...little decisions, but decisions nonetheless. One smoggy day at a time. After dinner I made a point of deciding to turn off the TV and instead decide to write for 2 hours. Show up and write. By deciding to do that day by day at the end of a year I had a novel written and a year later I had a contract with HarperCollins.

And in writing that lovely little western romance (ok so it wasn't actually a masterpiece) I discovered something else. Something that I do each and every day in my studio, now that I am artist and not a writer. I decide to get to work. And making that decision everyday has once again affected where I am. And let me tell you...I don't always know what's gonna happen that day or with that piece of art. I just get to work. I lay fabrics together, I select an image and I put the pedal to the metal. Zoom. Art.

So many artists I talk to think they have to have it all figured out in order to get started. They want a Google map. No sir. Not necessary. Sure sometimes you have to have the idea or the layout for a commission or some such thing, but in general...get in your studio and get to work. You will be amazed at the surprises that come your way...the magic that will happen. Some of the best things that I have ever done were a result of a happy accident that led me in a new direction. The work that I am known for came as a result of just getting in there and messing around to see what I could come up with. I still mess around with it.

So this is part of what I'm going to talk about in the first video of my Marketing Mindset on-line workshop. The work ethic in art. Motivation. Finding your Signature Style. Working in Series...stuff like that. I wish I didn't write about making art right before I go to I'll be up 'til all hours because of that dad-blame work ethic.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Somebody Won my Flag!

Thank you all so very much for your sweet comments and wonderful blogs! I appreciate each and every one of you sooo much. A year ago I hadn't yet begun to blog and I wasn't teaching. Wow did those two things change my life big time. I was living a pretty isolated artist's life...just keeping my head down and working. But now I have friends all over the world and the honor of teaching so many days of my life. I hear from hundreds of people every month and I am so blessed to share my life and my art with you. Thank you for helping me spread the word about this really exciting new workshop I am working on, Marketing Mindset. I have learned through teaching these past 6 months or so that I want to share with you what I know...completely. Holding all my "secrets" close to me won't accomplish a thing. I gain nothing. Only in giving it all away do I find that I in return receive so much...from you. Marketing is something I do well and I want to share it all. If what I teach can change the life of one artist, then I am doing what I am supposed to be doing and my cup will runneth fabric stash already does!

So I could not be more thrilled to tell you that the winner of "The Women-The Flag" is an artist and woman I admire very much....Let's hear it for JoAnnA Pierotti!!!! Yea JoAnnA! This wonderful woman is an example of a woman who shares all of herself with everyone she knows. She has been a blessing to me and to all those who come in contact with her. I know she will give the 50 women on my flag a lovely home in the mountains of California. If I could hand-deliver it I would! I am very happy that we drew her name.

Again...thanks to all of you. I wish I could give you all a flag. But since I can't...let me encourage you to fly your own flag. Take the flag of creativity out of your closet this week and run it up the pole, fly it in the breeze, salute it, honor it...and just you wait and see what happens.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Wait Until You See What I Am Giving Away!

In my last blog we talked about the need for a good marketing workshop geared toward artists. You gave me some great input as far as what you would like to see covered. Thanks so much for that. So what I am putting together is an on-line workshop that you can participate in at any time, whenever you want. I will cover every subject imaginable as it pertains to marketing your work to the public. And it will be delivered in such a way that there is info there for the novice, those working and selling some already and those in the full throes of their art career, but who still want to take it up a notch into wholesale or licensing. There will be lots of videos by subject matter so you can pick and choose which ones you want to see based on the subjects that matter to you.

How about...
• Creating a cohesive, signature look
• Working in series
• Consignment vs. wholesale
• Pricing your work
• The differences between approaching a gallery, a shop, an on-line retailer or a catalog
• Using Social Networks
• PR-how to get written about in newspapers and magazines
• Marketing your work without leaving home
• The Pros and Cons of having an Artist's Rep.
• Researching your market
• Licensing your work and your name.
• Blogs vs. Websites
• Selling on-line
• Keeping motivated
• Becoming fearless
• And soooooo much more.

You will get unlimited access to the videos, discussion boards where I will answer your questions (along with other artists at the workshop) and scheduled live chats. And anyone who has participated in my on-line workshops or my in-person classes can tell you that I am as much about inspiration and motivation as I am technique. I will encourage you and change your attitude about all things marketing.

A one-day art marketing workshop can be as much as $300 easily. For the time being access to my class (which will be a lot more than a one day thing) is $144. When the videos go live in December the class will be $244. If you get even one good idea that changes the way you think or do things...this class will pay for itself. It's even tax deductible. Not knowing where to go next has stopped many an artist in their tracks. You will also have the opportunity to work with me one-on-one through private phone consultations at an additional fee. Your own private art coach.

There are already 26 amazing artists at Artists that found out by word of mouth or on my personal e-mail list. I am ready to put it out there. Wanna help? I'll make it worth your while. Here's where the title of this blog comes in.

I am giving away one of these..."The Women-The Flag." 50 women for the 50 stars. Big piece too...32"x50". Pretty darn cool. The first one I ever made of these is in the permanent collection of The Cowgirl Museum in Ft. Worth, Texas. I will hold the drawing on November 30th. Make for a nice holiday present to yourself wouldn't it? I gave away one of these this past summer. Malisa from Texas looooooves it.

Just help me spread the word about a workshop that will change more than a few artistic lives. I guarantee it. Blog about it and link to Leave a comment here that you have done that with a link back to your blog in the comment and your name is in the drawing.

$144. I know that sometimes you spend that amount on supplies you never even use. :-) THIS you will use. Blog about it and get in on the drawing. Sign up for it and get in on the action.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

To Market...To Market.'s what I'm thinking....

Judging from the e-mails I receive every week from artists and want-to-be-artists from all over the country, I would have to say that marketing is a big concern for many. Marketing, productivity, creating a signature look...all that good stuff. There is the creative side to this business and there is the business side to this business. Mostly you just want to know how did I go from that first gallery or shop that carried my work to being in 50 shops, 3 catalogs, 2 museums, thousands of private collections and dozens of magazines and newspapers? And you can't market unless you are fearless. Wanna know how to do that? Market fearlessly?

Obviously one blog can't cover all that marketing your work entails.....Marketing begins in your studio with the basic concept of your work, it's appeal, your ability to produce in series...your ability to see the big picture of where this work fits in with what is out there. I am surprised by how many artists don't understand the need to work in series, especially if you have your sights set on galleries. Lots to cover there...

As a matter of fact there is a BIG difference in the work you produce for stores and the work you produce for galleries and how each is approached. There is an etiquette involved in dealing with galleries for sure, just as there is an etiquette involved in presenting yourself to newspapers and magazines. PR is a whole 'nother story. I owned my own PR business when I lived in LA. I got ya covered on the PR stuff.

On and on and on...soooo much. But these are things that need to be conquered if you are ever going to make your living as an artist. I am a "working artist." That is...I do this full time. The operative word is WORK. This is a business and it is WORK. Lovely, gratifying work...but work nonetheless.

So in my first workshop at my new studio house a few weeks ago, we had a great discussion about finding your way through this business of art. I realized after our question and answer period that I had a lot I could share with you and share with you I shall. Why would I keep this to myself? I'm gonna give it up to you.

I am writing the text for it now, but in a few weeks I will begin filming a new workshop series called The Marketing Mindset. And you know what... as much as it is knowing certain is a mindset. There are definitely psychological aspects to fearless marketing. Hmmm...maybe I should call it Fearless Marketing. So many decisions to be made as you begin to market something. My plan is to have it up in December (so you can ask for it for Christmas) but more importantly so you can start 2010 with some fresh ideas and some new tools in your marketing tool belt.

So let me know what YOU want me to be sure and cover in this workshop. Leave your comments below with your thoughts and marketing concerns and I'll see what I can do to incorporate them into the series.

I teach because I want to make a difference in the lives of artists. I am an artist because I want to make a difference in the world. The world will never know about you unless you know how to market what you do.

Added 1/1/2009... I'm not one for wasting time. The site is up in its pre-videos form. Take a peek. Here.

Friday, October 23, 2009


Hey All! Don't miss out on this fantastic giveaway of a gorgeous piece of art! Lesley Venable is holding her drawing tomorrow. I received one of these books today and they are amazing. Soooo beautiful and rich with detail. I can't wait to take this ...class right along with all of you who come to my studio in February. You really should try and get in on this generous giveaway and get info on taking a class to make one these beautiful books while you're at it.

A beautiful multi-layered Reliquaries Altered Book like the one she is teaching in her workshop at my studio in February can be made just for you. I want one! All you need to do is mention Lesley's so cool class on your blog and link to her on my Studio Retreats page. Leave a comment on her blog that you have done that and your name is in the drawing. Lesley's blog has all the info.

AND if that wasn't of the first 5 people signing up for her class will get 50% off their registration fee. That's a 1 in 5 chance. Good odds.

This "Bound Reliquaries" book is so beautiful and Lesley is one of the finest, most talented artists I have met. I can't wait for her to teach this class and I can't wait to see who wins this work of art.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Fabulous Fishburn...Sarah That Is

How did I get so lucky? Today I received the Artist Book in the mail that Sarah Fishburn will be teaching at my studio the first weekend in December. OMG....what a cool project....what a beautiful book. Of all the amazing collage artists out there, I am lucky enough to live a half hour from one of the best there is and she is coming to my studio. The book is a treasure. I am in awe of the beautiful layers of papers, transparency, tape, stenciling and I can't wait to participate in this class myself...right along with those of you who have already signed up and those who will soon. $250 for a weekend with Sarah? A no-brainer baby. Ever since I saw the amazing work in her collaborative book with Angela Cartwright, "In This Garden," I've been hooked. Secrets of her fab signature style will be taught in this special 2-day class. I mean...just look at the amazing layers on the photo I'm showing here. Don't you want to learn how to do that? I do! Very cool.

Sarah wrote a blog yesterday on the intimacy and special atmosphere of a small class...and I couldn't agree with her more. We are limiting this class to 10 and this will give everyone a chance to have some good one-on-one with Sarah.

And you've got to check out the really super giveaway she is having in conjunction with the workshop. This is one not to miss. What a generous heart. Get the word out gang. You don't wanna be the reason your artsy friends don't know about this class, do you? :-)

See you in December!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Make Mine Magical

Expect magic. That's what I told my students this past weekend at the first retreat held in my new studio house. You have to approach each day expecting magic. If you're not looking for are you going to recognize it when it happens? Well at least that's what I tell them. But this weekend I found that I didn't have to be vigilant in my search for magic...magic smacked me right upside the head and then proceeded to follow me wherever I went. As a matter of fact it followed all of us. For three days we had a shadow and it's name was magic.

I love talking about art almost as much as I love making art. I will expound on the life of Georgia O'Keeffe ad nauseum and I will pound the pulpit at the temple of collage with powerful sermons of the mixed media variety. I am an Art Preacher. I love to tell stories and I love to inspire. And I love to hear stories and be inspired. When 6 women come together and cocoon inside a cozy Victorian cottage with snow falling outside (a fluke I might add-gonna be 70 this week)...and their main purpose is to make art and seek creative zest...magic happens. Art is preached and creative roadblocks are breached.

Five wonderful women graced me with their presence for those 3 days. We learned the language of fabric collage and we told stories in thread and fiber that will never be on Amazon but are chapters in a book we will refer to time and time again. We laughed until I swore the house was tickling us and we bonded in a major way. For almost ten years I have made my art almost daily. It supports me financially, nurtures me spiritually, and satisfies me artistically. What more could a girl want, you ask? How about sharing it openly. In sharing what I do, why I do it and understanding where it comes from in each of us, a new dimension has been added to my artistic life. You can call it can call it preaching...

I call it magic.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

My Secret Weapon. Reprint.

As a fabric artist who strives to make her work look old, worn and deliciously weathered, I have gotten pretty creative through the years with ways to accomplish said weathering. From burning, to coffee-staining to simply leaving it out in the elements. But I have one trick that I can't really take credit for, but I take advantage of it just the same. I have a dog who loves fabric as much as I do. She's a funny little part Corgi, part terrier (and even a little Lab) named Fiona, "Fi" as we call her. She has spent her life (all 5 years of it) lovingly by my side, which means she's a studio hound.

We got Fiona from my sister when she was 4 months old. The first time we left her alone to go out to dinner she experienced rather extreme separation anxiety and basically ate the slipcovers off the sofa in my studio. If you've watched my HGTV segment in the video section of my website, you have seen this lovely sofa with fabric covers designed by yours truly. The scene below is what we came home to that evening. We called it a Fi-asco. My poor Chocolate Lab, Josie, was traumatized.

Thus began Fiona's love affair with fabric. Whenever she wanted to play tug she would snatch a piece of fabric from by piles. If she needed a nap, her place of preference was usually the cubes in my studio where I stored my fabrics.

Then she got particular and I got my secret weapon. She began selecting, and yes I mean actually looking through the fabrics and choosing the one that caught her eye. The beloved fabric of the hour became the fabric of the month. She took it everywhere with her. Up the stairs, down the stairs, out into the yard. She played with it, slept with it and generally adored it.

At the end of the love affair of threads, she would suddenly abandon it and select another. What she left behind was a tattered, hole-filled, frayed and funky piece of cloth. Now what do you suppose I could do with THAT? Perhaps wash it, coffee-stain it and turn it into art? You betcha! My studio assistant came across one of Fiona's Fabulous Fabrics in my stash one day and said admiringly, "I like this piece. It's so old." I swear Fiona looked at me and winked.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Don't Quote Me...Reprint

Before I was an artist I was a writer. Before I was a writer I was a singer. Before I was a singer I was a skinny little girl with glasses from a trailer park in Wisconsin...but I digress. I have always loved the story. I loved to read anything I could get my hands on, loved the southern stories in the southern accents of my father and his brother (the southern preacher). I loved sitting on a stool reading to my mother while she did the dishes. I loved words.

Singing and writing were always just different ways to accomplish the same thing..TELL THE STORY! When I began doing fiber art it was only natural that words would become a part of that. Actually they became a big part of that. Almost from the get-go I started putting quotes under my cowgirls and almost from the get-go people started responding to them. But you know, I'm not so clever. I can't even really take credit for the words. I've just learned how to listen. A good writer needs to know how to do that. I've had collectors say in not just a little confusion..."But I thought Calamity Jane really said that!" And I always respond "She did. She said it to me." More than once they've looked at me as if to say they hope I keep taking whatever medication I'm on. Oh well.

But I take the words these women (and sometimes even men) say very seriously. Some of them are well known and the history books have recorded other words they have spoken, but many are nameless, unknown keepers of our history. They have never been given a name, but for the first time I have given them a voice. I don't think they would mind. I also think in a way they speak for me. Selfish I know, but hey it's my work. They say things that maybe I don't have the guts to say in the real least not right out in the open. I like people to like me and they may be less inclined to do so if I said "Ain't afraid to love a man...ain't afraid to shoot one." Even though at times that might be how I felt!

In the early days of making my work I was in a marriage that was situated well on the other side of dysfunctional...about the time I was "listening" and writing my first quotes. At a gallery show a woman took her time walked all around the room and read every single quote there on display. One of the girls at the gallery then introduced her to me and explained I had made the fiber pieces and I even wrote all the quotes. The woman frowned slightly-looked totally bumfuzzled and said quite seriously..."But you look so nice!"

So I figured I needed to incorporate a few less hostile females into the overall fabric (no pun intended) of my storytelling. So I brought in mothers and teachers and wise women of native heritage and the story became more well rounded. I heard them speak serious words, empowering words that made me proud to know them. But I have to admit, I still like the words the sassy girls say the best. "I took to makin' trouble like most women take to makin' biscuits." How can ya not love a girl with that kind of 'tude?

Put all you have into your work so that it says what you want it to say...but remember that your work has things it wants to tell you too. Hush. Be still.


Thursday, October 1, 2009

You See I Had This Idea.

I am sharing once again with you the blog I wrote way back in March to explain to you where the work I do came from...since so many of you have asked.

Here it is...

It's an amazing thing when a gift falls into your lap and as soon as you unwrap it in your mind you know exactly what you're going to do with it. That's kinda what happened in April of 2000. A few months before that I had read a book on the journals of pioneer women and was really impacted by their strength and the haunting ring of their words. Something started to tug at me. Somewhere in one of those books I saw where a woman who had gone West in a wagon train had later made a momento of the journey by taking an old weathered piece of the tent they had slept under and stitched a blurry photograph someone had taken of them to the piece of fabric. She had then written in thread simply "Piece of the old tent." Something continued to tug at me. Not long after that I watched for the first time in quite a few years parts of the Ken Burns PBS Series, The Civil War. Here Burns touched you visually with the power of the old photographs and grabbed you emotionally with words read from the letters of that time. Something started to bug the heck out of me.

Then the gift appeared. On a Sunday morning in April the solidified thought of what I would do with the inspiration I had received didn't exist...but by that evening I had put together what would be the first of thousands of pieces of work that I would sign my name to over the next eight years. Now mind you it was a distant cousin of the pieces I do today, but the idea was there. I knew that what I wanted to do would require putting layers together and that it even might mean sewing. Problem was I didn't know how to do that. I didn't like sewing...or so I thought. (Years earlier, when I was a professional singer, I almost quit a band I was in because they wanted me to sew my own costumes.) I didn't own any fabrics really...why would I? But the more I thought about it the more I wanted to stitch that photo down just like my "tent-lady." I gathered up some unprimed artist canvas that I had in my little paint studio, a couple of pieces of cardboard and a couple of cotton blouses whose fabrics I didn't mind sacrificing. Strangely enough my husband at the time, had a little $100 Sears sewing machine in his workshop where he would make little pouches for all the electrical cords he took out on the road with him when his band toured. I had to read the manual on how to wind a bobbin. As it turned out, the imperfection of my sewing was perfect for the rustic, old look I was going for. He also had some photo-transfer paper on hand from trying out photos on t-shirts before the band made them to sell. Basically, I had no idea what I was doing.

The first piece you see above was rough to say the least...and not exactly what I had in mind. Tried it again with the Sadie Austin piece you see next and felt like I was getting a little closer. A big mostly cardboard piece followed (still lacking in the fabric department). Not happy. Then I did my first Annie Oakley piece and something clicked. I knew from the beginning I would recognize what I was after when I saw it. That piece was closer to the story I was trying to tell. Gave myself a good talking to. I decided that if I wanted to ever be good at this I had to give myself permission to be bad at it for awhile. Being bad at it wasn't a problem. But then I did something that made all the difference. I stopped trying to tell "my girls" and my materials what I wanted them to say and started listening to what they were already saying. The first of well over a hundred quotes, that I would write via this "listening thing" followed, and the gift was completely unwrapped. God signed the card in big, bold letters and I have been taking his winding roads and winding bobbins ever since...thanking him every step of the way.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

What A Great Giveaway!

Dear Ones...Lesley Venable who I talked about in my last blog has just announced a fantastic giveaway. Seriously...don't miss out on your shot at this one. A beautiful multi-layered Reliquaries Altered Book like the one she is teaching in her workshop at my studio in February can be made just for you. I want one! All you need to do is mention Lesley's so cool class on your blog and link to her on my Studio Retreats page. Leave a comment on her blog that you have done that and your name is in the drawing. Lesley's blog has all the info.

AND if that wasn't of the first 5 people signing up for her class will get 50% off their registration fee. That's a 1 in 5 chance. Good odds.

This "Bound Reliquaries" book is so beautiful and Lesley is one of the finest, most talented artists I have met. I can't wait for her to teach this class and I can't wait to see who wins this work of art.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Very Venable

Yes, there is another wonderful artist coming to teach at KC Willis Studio Retreats! Lesley Venable will bring her gorgeous and rich "Bound Reliquaries" to my studio February 4-6, 2010. A substantial project-based workshop that will allow you to create a treasure to keep for a lifetime. You will learn techniques that will enhance the work you do and inspire you to new places.

I love how Lesley puts it..."Together we will create an altered book (8.5" x8.5") complete with reliquaries to hold your most precious relics. The pages and alcoves housed within the covers will be enhanced using vintage ephemera, fluid chalks, aged fabrics and fibers, inking, tape transfers, stitching, old photos and more.
In preparation of this class you will find the relics you treasure, those objects you wish to remember in a special way and over three days we will share our visions and stories as we work."

Wow...all that and the beauty of Colorado in the winter and Mr. Lesley's famous hot chocolate in the studio kitchen! February is prime ski season and the slopes of Vail are only an hour and a half away. I say make a vacation out of it.

You know I just can not believe how blessed I am that I have met wonderful artists like Lesley and that they have become my friends. And now to open my studio door to them and the artists who come to learn from them is really a dream come true.

Head to Studio Retreats and claim your spot at Lesley's wonderful workshop. Seating is limited.

See you there.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Giveaway Winner!

Hi Blog Land....Thanks for all the great comments and links for this giveaway. I appreciate each and every one of you! Everyone who commented, mentioning to me that they had their name in on the drawing. And the winner of this $300 Lipstick Ranch shopping spree is Sherry Goodloe! Congratulations to Sherry! I look forward to seeing what you pick out from the Lipstick Ranch site, my dear.

Thanks everyone for all your great support and enthusiasm. I am so glad I started blogging a few months ago. I have made so many great friends.

Blessings and love.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Been Camping for Four Months Now

Just a quickie before I call it a day...and what a long, fun day it has been. Four months ago I launched my on-line workshop, KC Willis Collage Camp. I thought perhaps a dozen or so brave souls would pack their tents and take a trip with me. Bu there are now 150 Campers (don't worry I have plenty of sleeping bags) and I am constantly amazed at the beautiful work they have made an are continuing to make. For those of you who don't know...Collage Camp is a six-video on-line workshop where I spill my guts...showing you step-by-step the techniques I use to make my fabric collage art.

So to celebrate the party we have been calling Collage Camp, for the next four days (through Sunday, September 13th) the Collage Camp registration fee is $70 instead of $98. Cool deal, I'd say. So there you have it. Collage Camp for a mere pittance. Come play. Make art. Tell a friend. Would love to have you.

And don't forget my $300 Lipstick Ranch Giveaway ends on Sunday too. See previous few posts for details. Blog about this sale. That'll count.

Nighty-night, dear friends.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

And Then There's Sarah

Facebook is a very cool thing. I have met the most wonderful people there and have even done a wee bit of art promoting and shameless dog bragging. But most of my Facebook friends are from lands far, far, New York or the hinterlands of Georgia. You hardly ever really meet them. But a few months ago I "made friends" with the most amazing and talented woman...the beautiful Sarah Fishburn. And the coolest thing was that she lived about a half an hour from me in Ft. Collins, Colorado. I dashed up the road one morning at her invitation and spent an incredible few hours with Sarah, her work, and her amazing art collection. While I was there she interviewed me for the Holiday 2009 issue of Pasticcio, the very cool art publication that she creates with Angela Cartwright. I really wanted to interview her.

Now I'm an artist on the inside, but on the outside you'd never know that I had a creative bone in my body. I'm all tennis shoes, comfy jeans, and yard sale t-shirts. Fashion sense that makes a statement is a gene I do not have. I always envied people who are artist on their insides and ooze creativity in their personal styles. If you look up the words bohemian beauty in the dictionary there would be a picture of Sarah Fishburn.

Now I get to tell you the coolest news...Sarah is teaching a workshop in December at KC Willis Studio Retreats here in Longmont. Excuse me while I run outside and dance in the streets. This is going to be an amazing weekend. I can't wait to see her teach her techniques and inspire the lucky 12 that get to take this class. Her work is richly layered and hauntingly beautiful. Full of emotion.

And mentioning Sarah's class with a link and letting me know on this blog that you did will get you in the drawing for the $300 Lipstick Ranch art giveaway taking place on September get to it. And yes...if you have blogged about the Studio Retreats 2010 schedule, or JoAnna Pierotti's class and this one, and you leave a comment that you did so on each blog your name gets put in the drawing three times.

Ragtags Studio Central: Artist Books and the Elements of Design....December 5-6, 2009
with Sarah Fishburn.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Extending $300 Shopping Spree

Hi All...Just a quick note to let you know that I am extending the deadline for the $300 Giveaway to September 12th. I forgot we may not be around Labor Day weekend. Actually...I forgot this was Labor Day weekend. This gives you plenty of time to blog about my workshops, Joanna Pierotti's workshop and in the next few days you will have Sarah Fishburn's workshop AND Lesley Venable's to mention...all at KC Willis Studio Retreats. Talk about any of these in your blog with a link to the Workshops page and leave a comment on any of my blogs and you are in the drawing, my dear. $300 worth of art from Lipstick Ranch. Who wants it?

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Make Mine Mossy!

JoAnnA Pierotti of Moss Hill Studio....a few of my favorite words.

Well now I can say that it's official...JoAnnA is going to teach an awesome workshop in May 2010 at KC Willis Studio Retreats. Her "Sacred Pockets" class will be a two-day workshop here in Colorado where she will unearth the Art-chaeologist in you. She has never taught this class before, so 10 very lucky students will be in for an incredible treat.

Take a peek at the details on Studio Retreats and if you blog about JoAnnA's class and link to it (and I will be having a 2-day class right after JoAnnA's so you can get 2 workshops in one trip if you want to) and leave a comment here....that will get you in on the drawing September 5th for the $300 Lipstick Ranch art giveaway mentioned in the blog just before this one.

How's that?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

$300 Lipstick Ranch Shopping Spree...Again!

OK, so you didn't win the first $300 shopping spree...doesn't mean you can't be the name drawn in this one! I'm pretty serious when I do giveaways and this one is no exception. On September 5th I will draw a name and I hope it's yours. $300 worth of art of your choice from Lipstick Ranch. Fun.

I'm gonna keep it short and sweet....write a line or two in your blog about my 2009 and 2010 workshop schedule being up and running and link to the Studio Retreats page. If you want to mention that the likes of Joanna Pierotti and Sarah Fishburn (to name just a couple) will be teaching here...go ahead. Oh and if you can't help but tell them workshops paid in full up front get 20% off and until the drawing is held September 5th those same paid workshops get one night of their hotel free here in lovely Longmont, CO....well I'll forgive you. And all of you who have already booked a workshop, here's your chance to blab incessantly about it and get in on the drawing. You can pick out your $300 worth of art in person! Very fun.

If you are one of my international friends and know that your followers probably won't make the trek to the US to attend a retreat...tell them about the on-line version at Collage Camp and you can get in the drawing too.

Drop a comment here telling me you've done that and you are in the drawing. Logan and I plan on recording a short video of the drawing and posting the winner that way.

Added 8/28/09...please take a moment and re-read the above carefully...the drawing is for $300 worth of my art...and you must Blog/Facebook/Twitter or something to get in on the drawing. Leave a comment after you have posted one or all of the above in order to get your name in the drawing. Your name will not be put in the drawing for leaving a comment. The $300 is for art not workshops or anything else. Okey dokey?

Thanks all...and good luck!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Rebecca Crowell is Coming to Colorado

Anyone who knows me...really knows me...knows that while I make my living in mixed media collage...I was brought into the world of art by my love of abstract paintings. At the first art retrospective that I ever attended in my life I stood in front of the abstract paintings of Georgia O'Keeffe. And if you've been following my blog even a little you know what a live-changer that was! From that moment I became so hungry for the abstract. When Kandinsky painted the first abstract I wonder if he knew how he had changed the art world forever. Probably. I love the simple lines of Franz Kline, the rich wildness of DeKooning's work, the rivers of paint that were Helen Frankenthaler's large color fields and Joan Mitchell rock my world., the bright give and take of Hans Hofmann and the wonderful textures of Pollock. Gillian Ayres is a wonder. A moment with Google will bring any of these painters into your world.

My eye knows what it likes and doesn't like in an abstract immediately. And I have to tell you I was immediately transfixed on the elegant textures of Rebecca Crowell's paintings. I have been a fan ever since the first painting that I saw several years ago. Her unique layering of oil paint and cold wax medium and her use of multi-panels to create a complete work of art using smaller works of art is fantastic.

And I am soooo excited to announce that Rebecca will be teaching a 3-day workshop at KC Willis Studio Retreats April 16-18, 2010! This is so cool and will be an amazing class with an amazing painter. In the class Rebecca will reveal the techniques in layering with cold wax medium, tube paint, pigment sticks and powdered pigments...and discover new ways to create textures, lines, and color fields using a wide variety of tools and techniques. Yum.

For all the info needed to reserve your spot in the limited seating at this class, take a look at KC Willis Studio Retreats.

Is it April yet?

Monday, August 17, 2009

Sing with Mixed Media At The Top Of Your Lungs

I have discovered that I love to teach. I assumed that I would enjoy showing others my techniques and exactly what I do to make my fabric collage pieces, but I didn't know how exciting it would be to turn a creative light on in someone. I am addicted to that. I aspire to inspire. If I can encourage one person who had walked away from art to walk back to it. ("Walk toward the light!") Or if someone who had never dared to be creative in the first place dares to sew two pieces of fabric together and it makes them smile...then I am a happy girl. In a world where we hear so many words of fear and despair everyday, I believe that we need the joy of art more than ever. To create is to make the world different, more exciting and beautiful, than it was a few moments earlier.

I have discovered that I love to teach. The in-person workshops that I am gearing up for big-time are about showing technique, sure...but they are intended to be so much more than that. Like I say on the workshop site...we're gonna

• Sit around the old "campfire" (ok so it's just the backyard of the studio) and exchange ideas and goals with your Studio Retreat posse.

• Let me guide you to open up your creative vision and discover your voice

• Fill you with the possibilities of all that combining art and life can be

• Help you discover or recover the "O'Keeffe" in you.

• Embrace the awesomeness of mistakes and see them for the gift they are.

•Learn to sing with mixed media at the top of your lungs.

I would love for you to join me at my beautiful new studio in Longmont, Colorado (just outside of Boulder.) I promise you all the how-to you can handle, but I also promise to inspire you...and you in turn will inspire me.

The schedule for Fall 2009 and all of 2010 is up at

Grab a friend. Come hang out with me in my studio...because I've discovered that I love to teach.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Little House That Could

This could very well be the studio of my dreams. A Victorian not so sweet that it's syrupy, just enough to be charming...with a touch of elegance, not so much that it's stuffy. A girl's place. An artist's place. An anything-is-possible-place. A place where amazing things could happen.

For the past few months I have had the wonderful opportunity to interact everyday with the incredibly talented and generous people at my Collage Camp workshop and my Mixed Media Mania workshop. Over 150 open hearts and minds from 7 different countries. A blessing, I tell you. We covered all the ins and outs of making fabric collage art based on my techniques with amazing results from the "Campers." If you don't believe me go to Collage Camp and check out the Photos section where many have posted their work.

Back in June I started getting e-mails asking if I ever taught in-person workshops...which I never really have. If you saw how much stuff I rely on to make my work you would laugh at the thought of my schlepping that around the country. But what I could do...maybe...just teach right here in the lovely little town I have called home for 6 years, Longmont, Colorado. But where would I do that? My studio now barely accommodates me and my dog. So I started rolling it around in my head.

One day, I was walking Fiona along the creek near our house and very clearly I saw a backyard with a group of women sitting around a table. It was so vivid, I could almost make out their faces. I literally spoke out loud to my dog-daughter..."What I need is a house!" There I said it. Threw it right out there. And the God that I know and love snatched it up and began to move things around like He tends to do.

A couple of days later I am driving down Main Street and I see a sign in a store window..."Coming Soon Cayenne Kitchen." Didn't think much of it. A couple of days later, seeing there was way too much traffic on Main Street, I headed one block over to a quieter street that would get me where I was going. A street lined with lovely Victorian bungalows that were mostly small businesses. This gorgeous little red and cream house caught my eye and I glanced over at it as I drove by. The sign in the front yard said Cayenne Kitchen. I got all of two houses past it when it hit me. If the sign on Main said Cayenne Kitchen was coming soon, then Cayenne Kitchen was moving out of that house. Could it be? Naaahhhh.

Nonetheless, I parked my car and walked back to the house. The couple who owned the business was there and they said the house wasn't for rent yet, but it would be soon. They gave me the name of the couple who owned it. Wendell and Eula. I liked them already. I went back to my car and called them right away. They said they were just around the corner and could I wait? Could I? You bet. And that was that. We worked things out over the next few weeks and right around the time of birthday number 53, I was given the keys to a house whose number is 530. Could it be? I think so. I prayed everyday about this fabulous little place. I told God to slam the doors right in my face if this wasn't the place he wanted me to be.

Instead he opened them one by one and told me all this could be.

Two of the beautiful rooms could be a great spread-out-you-stuff-and create-all day-long studio.

The two main rooms could be a Gallery for my work and other artists I love and admire.

The empty kitchen with it's very cool linoleum could be a paint studio in the cold months.

The 400 sq. ft. Carriage House out back could be a paint studio in the warm months.

The Sunroom could be filled with geraniums (my favorite flower) and say welcome to all who walked in the front door.

The front yard could be filled with flowers and the backyard could be filled with those women I envisioned that day.

Best of all this house could join me in hosting workshops that would bring me face to face with the wonderful artists and soon-to-be artists that I have met through cyberspace these past months.

I am so excited about teaching here...sharing here...inspiring here...making friends here. Thinking about joining me and hanging out in this little house filled with art. You wanna come?

You could.


Friday, July 31, 2009

Altar Ego

I love my Altars. I am proud of my Altars. I had so much fun one time doing a whole series of pieces with outlaw girls in Altars. I called them Bad Girls in A Box. You can name Altars and Shrines names like that. They are just inherently fun. And the most unusual things can be made into Altars. I took a little red, rusted very small child's wagon once, took the wheels off of it and did an Altar with a little cowboy in it. Why not. I have looked everywhere for a picture of it. If I find it I will share it with you.

Speaking of sharing...if you want to see my Altar-ed may want to take my Altars and Shrines on-line video workshop on Mixed Media Mania for only $55 bucks.

I'm not gonna lie to you, you would be better off taking Collage Camp first, because so much of what you will need to make the Altars is taught in Collage Camp. So if you purchase the Altar Workshop between now and Monday you can get the $98 Collage Camp for $55 too. Just go to the MMM site and hit the Buy it Now button for the Altar Workshop TWICE. Once will get you Altars and the repeat I will know is for Collage Camp. If you have already paid full price for Collage Camp and buy the Altar workshop between now and Monday, you will get a future $55 Mixed Media Mania workshop of your choice for free. Upcoming workshops include my collaged Flags, Collaged Clothing etc.

And if you see this blog and think..."Hey...I already paid for Collage Camp AND the Altars workshop." Drop me a line at and I will see to it that you are a Happy Camper.

So, take the Altars and Shrines Workshop and see what it's like to step outside of the box.... while getting into the box!