Saturday, November 01, 2008

Book Give-Away!

disclaimer, this self portrait is not in the book.

Cate Coulacos Prato (features editor of Quilting Arts and Cloth Paper Scissors magazines) has written a Mixed Media self-portraits inspiration and technques invited me to be a featured artist. I'm page 104-107.

As part of Cate's blog tour, she stopped by here to answer some questions:

Me: Cate, I teach an Art Quilt Explorations class in San Diego. We meet
once a month and I teach them a new technique and give an assignment
for them to interpret as they please. Your book has inspired me to ask
them to create self portraits. What should I tell them to get them
thinking about the direction they'd like to take.

Cate: Two things are very important. One is, get over the notion that people will think you're conceited if you do a self-portrait. Famous artists and children do them all the time; they're an exercise, not self-worship. The second is, get over the notion that a self-portrait has to be an exact representation of your physical self. If you want to do that, that's fine--it worked for Rembrandt. And in the book, several artists have addressed techniques for capturing a physical likeness.
But all indications are that even Rembrandt wasn't just trying to capture his own physical image; he was interpreting, experimenting, recording, even playing. Making a mixed-media self-portrait frees you up to interpret the self any way you like. It not only teaches you something about art and form, it teaches you about what's inside you, what you'd like to tell the world about yourself.

Me: I love Kelli Perkins suggestion, in the book, that she took photos around the house of her favorite things and created a quilt from that. What other things might my students do to spark a theme? Like journaling prompts?

Cate: Wasn't that fun? Kelli did a great job with that (there's a quiz in the book to help readers do the same thing). Similar ideas would be: to look at your wardrobe and pick the most prominent color, then start playing with art materials in that color; dump out the contents of your purse or wallet or backpack and use it as a Rorschach test to discover clues about yourself; write down your three favorite quotes--or even your three favorite words--and tell a story about yourself based on your choices. You might keep a self-portrait journal and do one 5-minute exercise a day like these. Then, once you've accumulated some information, go from there.

Me: Have you done a self portrait??? If so, we want to see it. If not,
why not???

Cate: Yes, I did a self-portrait. The editors made me practice what I preach! It's in the book opposite the introduction. I altered a vintage turquoise portable typewriter with buttons and other embellishments and printed one of my favorite quotes from T.S. Eliot about writing onto vintage fabric which I threaded through the carriage. It says a lot about me: I love vintage, I am a writer, I grew up in the same era as that model typewriter (and, in fact, had one just like it), and I express myself through words. Being a communicator is not just what I do, it's who I am.

So now, dear readers. Leave a comment, what do you imagine your self portrait to look like and on Wednesday, November 5, I'll do a random drawing and Cate Coulacos Prato will send you a free copy of Mixed Media Self-Portraits!


  1. I love the idea that self-portraits can be a representation of facets of a person, physical OR otherwise- great ideas!!

  2. When I was tackling a self potrait I found myself exploring several years worth of accumulated odds and ends in my studio and forgotten treasures that I was hoarding but never felt worthy of using. Much of it represented plans from the past, inner hopes and future dreams. It all culminated in a mixed media self portrait. Wendy

  3. I think if I did a self-portrait it would not be realistic but based on your suggestion of colors and I'd also use some of the odds and ends in my studio that I've collected. I'd love to win the book. It sounds inspiring. I might have to order it if I don't win it.

  4. I've done a self portrait quilt but it was several years ago. I closed one eye and traced my face with a wax pencil on a mirror to get the right shape and features. I sported a little brown nose, soccer ball eyes, hot pink eyebrows, wild print hair and frogs jumping out of my shirt and off the quilt. It was really fun. But it never occurred to me that I could make a portrait without a face. I might just have to make another one.

  5. I think I would have to do a portrait that had my face in it because I love to look at potraits. It would be a combination of fabric and paper. Definitely mixed media. The face would be sharper and bolder and the background would be all lace and flowers. I would definitely have to put something in the eyes that reflected my inner artist - but I am not sure what that would be - I would have to do a few of those little exercises I think to decide what it should be!

    I would love to win the book - it looks great!

  6. MY self portrait would be of me & my PRINCE (my husband) pedaling our recumbent TANDEM bicycle off in to a VT. sunset!
    Would LOVE to WIN the book...

    1,000,000 thanks!
    :) "E" (IN VT.) :)

  7. My self portrait would have lots of color and pattern, 'cause that's me! Gee, now you've made me put another 'to do' on my creative list! Thanks, Janie...

  8. I imagine my self-portrait to have a round face and my hair is various shades of yellow with some other colors mixed in. A wide variety of materials would be used to create my hair. A football field would be present somewhere to represents my love of NFL football and a star to represent my favorite NFL team, the Dallas Cowboys.

    The overall art quilt would be very colorful because I love color and I would have to include black. Not only do I love black, but it makes me happy to see the wonderful contrast that is achieved when bright colors and black are combined.

    A Miniature Schnauzer and Shih Tzu would be a prominently displayed to demonstrate the love I have for my two canine gal pals and the words from my favorite song would be included. This is a start. I need to make this art quilt in the very near future now that you've got me thinking about it! Like everyone else, I would certainly love to win the book. I know I'd love it and it would be very helpful! Have a great day! D~~~~

  9. Jane! Thanks for stopping by my little corner of the blogosphere. The Cate/Cheryl thing was just a gag - we all know that it's all about you! Cheryl

  10. Wow: look at all of the comments! Amazing what happens when the word 'free' is mentioned! LOL
    My self portrait would not be a phyically or anatomically correct portrait either, probably resembling me only in my 'new' red hair. I would have huge eyes with chartreuse glasses and the eyes would have doors opening into my brain, which would show several very colorful images of things that excite and push my creative buttons. Well, this definitely sounds like a creative exercise that I will need to pursue! Thanks for planting the seed.


  11. My self portrait would probably be of someone who is pulling out their hair while trying to remember all the things I keep forgetting. I would love to have it be of a relaxed and LOVELY woman but it seems that for the time being that is not happening. The colors would be purples, greens, blues, yellows. I would have fabric everywhere and tons of unfinished projects. I hope that this will be the start of finishing some and beginning wonderful new ones.
    Thanks for the inspiration always,

  12. My self portrait would have to be of a body of water...I'd never make it living in the desert. There'd be some sea creatures, salmon, a sunset and a crow peering from an overhanging branch (that might be me). I'd love to win the book!
    Love your art and your willingness to share your methods.

  13. Hello Jane, what a great way to get us to respond on your blogspot!! Yesterday my self-portrait would have been more "Andy Warhol-ish" but today I'm tossing around the princess ideas--have started looking at various other artists' web sites to spark brainstorms--loved the ideas mentioned by Kelly Perkins for generating ideas--maybe I'll win the book and have even more ideas! Looking forward to our next class. Ileen M.

  14. Hi Jane
    I love the idea that a self portrait does not have to be an image of a face but maybe more the character. I like the idea of going into the closet to study your wardrobe. With me I think it would be fun to go into my jewelry box for inspiration. Choosing a piece of jewelry usually means that the piece of jewelry has spoken to you in some manner. I think I will start there. No real piercings for me though. I want the book, too!!!

  15. pick me! pick me! I put out a request to The Universe for this book...I must have it!

  16. I recently took about a month's worth of self-portrait photographs, which was a real challenge for me. You've got me thinking about printing some of them on fabric and then making an art quilt...hmm! I'd love to win the book if I'm not too late.

  17. Oh I hope I'm not to late....I just found your blog from QAM self portrait would be a mixture of different elements...from dark to light as that is how my life has been...I was taken from darkness into the the Son.....this is an inspiration for me.....I see a self portrait int he future of mixed meads items....good post!


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