Thursday, June 28, 2012

Teacher as student

sketchbook pages
"India Influence" A spread from my sketchbook. by Jane LaFazio
I love love love taking workshops and classes! A few weeks ago, I took a one day workshop from Orly Avineri . What a joy to spend the day as a student, following Orly's guidance, and working in my sketchbook. (The spread above was influenced by a movie I just saw, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. A FABULOUS movie, set in India. Really, don't miss this movie!)
sketchbook pages step 1
step 1
sketchbook pages step 2
step 2
sketchbook pages step 3
step 3

sketchbook pages final, I think.
"Ethnic  Neigborhood" A page from my sketchbook. by Jane LaFazio (from Orly Avineri's workshop)

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Sketchbook Challenge is a book!

The Sketchbook Challenge, by Sue Bleiweiss is now available! (ArtPantae, Amazon, Barnes and Noble )

You're all familiar with The Sketchbook Challenge blog, of course. It was Sue Bleiweiss who thought the whole Sketchbook Challenge concept up, then created it, and continues to maintain the momentum. All, while writing a book about it! 


Monday, June 25, 2012

Interviews as Inspiration ~ Carlo Roberts

This is the second of a series of Interviews as Inspiration. I'm inviting people I admire; artists, authors, people I know, and people I don't. It should be fun! and hopefully inspirational for both you and me.

I've been going to Europe with Carlo Roberts. I teach watercolor as we walk along the French Riviera or on the shores of Lake Como, Italy. How in the world did this happen to me? One of my students, Patrice, who took a one day Sketching and Watercolor: Journal Style workshop with me a couple of years ago. She happened to tell Carlo about me in their mutual yoga class. Carlo called me, she lives in San Diego County, we immediately hit it off. We met for coffee and planned The Art Walk.  That's how my life seems to be working lately, and I love it! Now I want you to meet Carlo, and be inspired by the way she's manifested her life into doing what she loves.

carlo and Jane
Carlo Roberts and Jane LaFazio
Jane LaFazio:  Please start by telling us what you do. 
Carlo Roberts: I’m the founder of The Blue Walk – my unique walking vacations along the French Riviera, Italian coast, and the Greek Islands.
Carlo Roberts, on a location scouting trip
JL: The Blue Walk is genius. Describe what it is and where the name came from.
CR: We do half-day morning guided walks, Spring and Fall, in some of the most beautiful coastlines using a combination of coastal walking trails, seaside strolls, and city sidewalks. It’s not boot camp, no hiking boots or backpacks required; it was designed for people who have probably never done or thought about doing – walking trips. It’s such a “feel-good” vacation, and very exciting for me to be able to share this experience with so many wonderful people that have joined us.
It’s designed around how I personally would want a vacation, so we stay in the same hotel all week (unpack once, make yourself at home), and we include an unlimited train pass along the coast so you can explore the French Riviera at your leisure. It works so well on the Riviera, as the towns are gorgeous, varied, and close enough together, so you don’t need to carry much with you.
Now the name came from a trip I’d heard about years ago in Turkey called the Blue Trip – wooden sailing ships leisurely going along the Turkish coast. I always loved that name. When I was creating my walking tours, it was always about walking along the gorgeous Blue Mediterranean coast, so the name “The Blue Walk” came to me instantly.

Walking The Blue Walk (photo by Carlo Roberts)
JL: When did you come up with the idea and how did you make it happen? 
CR: During our two-week April 2000 vacation in France, I wanted to really see every inch of the Riviera, but didn’t want to just sit in a hotel for two weeks. I said to myself, “Hey, why don’t I just walk to Italy…”  And I did. Following the coastline every step of the way.
200 miles and 13 days later, it was one of the most extraordinary things I’d ever done. Absolutely spectacular. And it turned out to be life changing.
Despite walking through tunnels, scrambling onto highways, along train tracks, and a flash flood my second day out; I loved every second of it. And never need to do that again.
But being in the travel business, I thought that one of these days, I was going to pick the best six little half-day walks, and string them together into a one-week walking vacation that almost anyone could do.
Four years later, in 2004, I was working on cruise ships on the Mediterranean, and every time we stopped on the Riviera, I’d do a coastal walk around Cap Ferrat. Eventually other friends on board asked to join me when we docked, and they loved it too. So I decided it was time to create the company,
I had kept a journal throughout the walk, so it was easy to go back and pick the best walks. Each time we docked on the Riviera, I would meet with different hotels to set up the program. By the end of 2004, when I jumped ship and joined the “land people” again, I had every detail worked out, having redone the walks, had the hotel contract, and it was good to go.
But not to be. For several reasons, the timing wasn’t right. And for the next seven years, The Blue Walk quietly tapped me on the shoulder as the files sat in the top of my closet.
Jan 1, 2011, I woke up New Year’s morning, meditated on the upcoming year, and said, “If not now, when?”, I jumped up, got the files out of the closet, contacted the same hotel, flew back there to redo the walks, finalize the program, and VoilĂ , The Blue Walk was finally born. 

Cap Martin Sentier, looking to Monaco. On The Blue Walk (photo by Carlo Roberts)  
JL:  Travel is your passion, where do you think it came from?
CR:  As soon as I finished the Travel School in 1975, and was able to choose my first vacation, I chose the Greek Islands. And I have been going back, nearly every year since 
(30+ times)
The other major influence was my maternal grandparents, who loved to cruise every year. When little, I’d sleep over on weekends occasionally. I remember lying in my grandmother’s big bed - she’d be watching the Tonight Show, and I’d be staring at her walls which were covered, every inch, with menus from every ship they’d been on, and pictures of them at all the captain’s tables, photos of their travels... 
Carlo Roberts, researching Greece

JL: You love to walk? Are you the marathon type or the strolling type?
CR: I’m not sure when, or why, this walking thing started. It just has become a big part of my life. I’ve never been a runner or a marathon type.  I’m more a sea-level kinda girl – give me a seaside stroll any day of the week. For me, it’s the meditative nature of walking along large bodies of water, that I love. And the conversations that you get into while walking.

Entering Villefranche, on The Blue Walk (photo by Carlo Roberts) 
JL: Describe your favorite walk in the world.
CR: Tuesdays on The Blue Walk on the French Riviera. Really!
It’s the day we do “Gorgeous, Gorgeous”; the walk around Cap Ferrat. I never tire of it, and am still in awe every time I walk it. If you told me I had one walk left to do in my life, that’s the one. 

Cap Ferrat path. French Riviera. The Blue Walk (photo by Carlo Roberts)   

JL: You’ve been in the travel industry for years… Tell us about your travel careers
CR: Just about everything ranging from Travel Agent, Travel Wholesaler, Tour Guide, Private Corporate Travel Agent in London; worked for the Airlines, the Cruise Lines, for hotels in Europe and the US, Professor of Hospitality Management in a San Diego Travel School….. to Supervisor in the Consumer Protection Division of the Washington State Attorney General’s Office, handling all Travel Company Related complaints.
And now, the Grand Fromage of The Blue Walk and owner of my own travel agency. It took me decades to create the perfect job for myself. I don’t think there’s ever been anything I’m better suited for, or that’s better suited for me. It feels like all these experiences have led me to this, and I couldn’t be happier about it. And this time, the timing was right.

The Blue Walk recent participants (photo by Carlo Roberts)

JL: What is it with you and France? You’re fluent in French? Where did you learn it? 
CR: Good question! Ever since I was little, I wanted to live in France. Hard to say why. I even wrote to the French Embassy when I was young to see what you had to do to live there. Right out of High School I went to Travel School because I knew that travel was what I really wanted to do. The travel industry has been my passion and my profession for most of my life. 
Then I began college at the age of 41, majoring in International Relations (my friend pointed out that I only did that because “International Travel” wasn’t a major.) But I decided that if I’m going to put myself through school at this age, I’m getting my year abroad! So of course, it was France, and that was where this all began. 
Yes, I do speak French. Badly. I’m terrible with languages and it’s only through sheer determination that I speak French at all, but I get by fine these days. 
Nice, France (photo by Carlo Roberts)
JL: What would your advice be to someone who wanted to start a similar venture?
CR: When I hit 50, I gave myself the gift of going to Bali for a month for a personal meditation retreat (and just for the record, that was the year before Eat, Pray, Love came out.)
I wanted to reflect on the past 50 years, and think about what I wanted to do for the next 50. It was really a gift of time – which we don’t often do - to stop and take the chance to reflect. I was armed with journals, candles, incense, paper and nice pens, inspirational books, and a great sense of appreciation, openness and motivation.
It was a transitional time in my life, and being a list person, I made lists of concepts of what I wanted in a career, what I wanted in a place to live, what I wanted to bring into my life.
When it came to careers, I wrote that I did not want my job to be separate from my life. I wanted what I “did” to be a part of who I was, and it would be something that I’d want to do, day and night, 24/7, whether I was paid for it or not.
carlo and jane
Carlo Roberts and Jane LaFazio, in Nice, France
JL: Future plans and dreams? For yourself and your Blue Walk
CR: I have been humbled by the response I have had to my walking tours, and the wonderful people that I’ve met that have joined me. And I just want to be able to continue sharing it with others.
The first year is was just France. That was the plan. Then, so many people that do my walks want to do “something else, as long as they’re already over there”. Some want Paris, some want River or Mediterranean cruises, and the rest want Italy. I had so many requests for Italy that I added it this year (and next). And it’s gotten a great response. And then the opportunity for walking trips in Greece came along.  
Future plans? It’s really more fun, fulfilling, and exciting than I could have hoped for already. I have no plans at the moment other than keep perfecting and enjoying my Blue Walks.  
Walking trail in Amorgos, Greece 
More week long workshops are scheduled! Sketching and Watercolor: Journal Style. Here's Carlo Roberts contact info.

Links to my other Interviews as Inspiration:

Rachelle Archer, expressive arts therapist at a school for homeless
Cas Holmes, textile artist
Mary Beth Shaw, artist and Stencil Girl Products founder
Marcia Derse, textile designer
Lesley Riley, artist and author
Danny Gregory, artist and author
Judy Reeves, writer
Carlo Roberts, The Blue Walk travel company founder
Jane Powell, Random Arts owner 

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Wild Things, a Monoprinted Quilt

free spirited free motion
Wild Things~ detail  by Jane LaFazio

monoprint nature quilt
"Wild Things" measures 16x17 inches " "by Jane LaFazio
free spirited free motion
Wild Things~ detail  by Jane LaFazio

free spirited free motion
Wild Things~ detail  by Jane LaFazio
Monoprinting (with Geli plates) on fabric with machine and hand stitch.

You saw some other closeups of this quilt in my recent postThis quilt is what I teach  in "Free Spirited Free Motion" and "Nostalgia Themed Quilt."
Oh! and I'm teaching monoprinting in North Carolina on June 29 and at Art Unraveled on August 1 in Phoenix.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Writing Practice

Husb and I, writing together
I'm reading Judy Reeves "A Writier's Book of Days " with the intention to write from the prompts she supplies and become more comfortable writing. (Don't get your hopes up about  newly brilliant essays on this blog. You probably won't notice any difference!)

I bought this red leather journal in Italy. Perfect for writing practice.

I learned something huge on page 35 of Judy's book. I learned the difference between writing practice and journal writing. "Journal writing techniques focus on going within, writing feelings, reflections, thoughts and opinions, and provide a forum for processing emotions that rise from introspection." Like the morning pages of The Artist Way.
"Writing practice is about finding our voices and telling our stories in a creative way ---using the craft of writing and the expressive channels of language, imagery, metaphor...We employ the tools of the craft: dialogue, setting, point of view, mood...We practice to express ourselves and get better at our craft."

WHO KNEW? I did not know this! Needless to say, it changed my whole approach to my current writing, and following the prompts that Judy gives in her book. Honestly, I had no idea, there was a difference between journal writing and writing practice.
I liken my lack of knowlege on writing  to the students in my art classes that are brand new to art and art materials. They don't know frisket from brisket or gesso from jello!! And that's how I am. I wrote in college. period. I have written morning pages and journaled, but I've never done a writing practice. till now.

So who knows what will become of this. My husb has written in his journal since around 1994, as a way to help his aphasia, and practice writing and spelling and word finding. Now, writing is something we can do together sometimes. And who knows, I may well expand my vocabulary, you know? 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Tiny Tutorial: Ribbon Weaving

Inventing Glory
ribbon weaving by Jane LaFazio (6x9 inches)
ribbon weaving by Jane LaFazio (6x9 inches)

Inventing Glory
I taught this project here, at a second Saturday workshop at San Diego Museum of Art.
 Me holding up some student work

Inventing Glory   Inventing Glory  Inventing Glory  Inventing Glory Inventing Glory  Inventing GloryInventing Glory  Inventing Glory  Inventing GloryInventing Glory  Inventing Glory
Fabulous student work!
Inventing Glory
My ribbon weaving in progress. ~ 6x9 inches by Jane LaFazio
How to make a ribbon weaving (materials listed below):

  1. Iron sari ribbon flat.
  2. Follow the directions on the package and press a piece of steam a seam 2 onto a piece of craft felt. Remove the top paper.
  3. Weave the sari ribbon, using the felt as background. Finger press the ribbon in place as you weave. Leave some knots showing and fringe and texture.
  4. Press, using a telfon ironing sheet or parchment to protect the iron.
  5. Begin embroidering with variegated colored thread. Simple running stitches, chain stitches, lazy daisies and french knots. Add more glitz with gold metallic thread and  Swarovski crystals. 
Inventing Glory
Materials you'll need

Inventing Glory
Varigated embroiderey thread size 8 from Laura Wasilowski Artbabrik
Inventing Glory
Buddy approves the materials list.
I'll be teaching another (different) Second Saturday workshop at San Diego Museum of Art next year, on May 11, Narrative Quilts (based on Faith Ringgold's work.) It should be lots of fun and you can register now.

Then I went to make something functional (gasp!) from my little weavings. 
little pouches, by Jane LaFazio

buttoned pouch in red and turquoise by Jane LaFazio

eye glass case by Jane LaFazio
pink pouch by Jane LaFazio
I'll have these little pouches and other original artworks for sale at the Art Unraveled Shopping Extravaganza in Phoenix, AZ on August 4, 10-4pm. And of course, I'm teaching at Art Unraveled too!


Sunday, June 17, 2012

Danny Gregory's newest film

Danny Gregory has created another fabulous film...You know, he's my friend and mentor and I adore him and his work. You can see his other Sketchbook Films here. And of course, you must own his books "Everyday Matters" and "An Illustrated Life" (I'm in this book.)

Friday, June 15, 2012

Stitching Guide to go and a give away!



side one of my bag
side two of my bag
Stitches Journal pages
It started with these pages in my journal
I wanted to create a handout for my students, so I drew it in my journal, scanned it and printed it out. Then I printed it on fabric, then, I stitched it. Then I sewed it to a muslin bag. It's my official stitching reference bag for my classes. Cute, huh?

By the way, I'm teaching at the Long Beach Quilt Festival in July and check out this generous blog post by Pokey Bolton about one of the workshops I'm teaching. And, speaking of Pokey, I'm giving away Series 900, Episodes 1-13 of Quilting Arts TV on DVD. brand new! No, I'm not in this series, but just feeling generous. (Actually, I ordered a second copy by mistake, so why not give it away!) Leave a comment and tell me if you enjoy hand stitching and what is it that you stitch. I'll select a random winner on June 19th!
leave a comment and maybe win this DVD set

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