Sunday, March 13, 2016

It's all about the yarn!

At some events, I have offered a Yarn Tasting, it's the opportunity for participants to see and touch different types of yarn.  I started this because I realized that not everyone is aware of the variety of fibers, yarns and threads that are available for yarn crafts.  

In addition to the different fiber content (cotton, acrylic, wool, Alpaca, silk, mohair, cashmere, etc.), yarn also comes in different sizes.  The size of the yarn will determine which size needles or hooks to be used.  The bigger the yarn and needle or hook, the bigger the stitches and the faster the project will be completed. 

One of the things that I share with students in my knit and crochet classes is that when choosing yarn, be sure to look at the yarn in the same way they'll see it while working with it.  While it may look  pretty wound in the skein or ball, it will look different when it's opened and stretched out. 

I recently crocheted a puppy and it called for a fur yarn.  I wasn't able to find the type that was suggested so I substituted a similar yarn that would still give it a fluffy look.  
I failed to heed my own advice and didn't look at how the yarn would look as I was working with it.  I made all of the puppy parts (head, body, legs, ears and tail) and realized that it wasn't very fluffy at all.  Then I realized that I was using the yarn the wrong way!  I was crocheting it like a 'normal' yarn, working around the yarn, but was supposed to be crocheting through the top track. Look closely in the picture above to see how this yarn is different from the previously pictured yarns.
Fortunately I had plenty of yarn and was able to start over.  Taking out the stitches from the first parts was nearly impossible.
As you can see in this picture, the puppy is light and fluffy as it was intended to be.  And my granddaughter loves it!

Four years ago when I began teaching knit and crochet classes at Michaels, we had the opportunity to purchase and wear t-shirts that said Yarn Expert on the back.  I may not be an 'expert' yet, but I sure know a LOT more about yarn and other fibers now than I did then! 

Sunday, March 6, 2016

How I became a Hoosier Woman in Art

Getting into an art show is not always easy.  Artists have to be strong knowing that they may face rejection..... often!

It begins with an artist call out - art show organizers and curators post information that they are looking for artists to participate in their art show.  There is usually a theme that must be incorporated in the artists' work.  Artists submit pictures of their art and a statement that explains what type of work they do and how it fits what the art show curator is looking for.
Date Posted: 01/07/16
Deadline date: 02/01/16
Organization: Garfield Park Arts Center
City: Indianapolis, IN
Call For Artists
Hoosier Women in Art
March 5, 2016—March 26, 2016
This year Garfield Park Arts Center will revive its annual Hoosier Women in Art exhibition to coincide with International Women’s Day. Local women will share their talents, their stories, and a part of themselves with a focus on the theme “avant-garde.” Submissions are welcomed from all mediums, including but not limited to, ceramics, paintings, textile arts and other mediums. The exhibit will be on display March 5-26, 2016.
Female artists are invited to create and submit 2-3 works of original art for this exhibition.  There is no cost to submit. 
  • Original works must be no larger than 48” x 60” for 2-D and 36” x 60” for 3-D and ready to hang or install.
  • Please indicate your desire to participate in the show by emailing February 1, 2016 or mail a portfolio to The Garfield Park Arts Center. Please include your name, address, phone number, email, a brief description of your work and a short bio. Please also include the samples of your work you intend to submit for the exhibition, either attached to the email or on a CD.
  • Artists will be notified of all decisions no later than Saturday, February 13, 2016.
  • All works must be delivered to the arts center no later than Saturday, February 27, 2016 at 4pm.
  • The GPAC is a family friendly venue so all artwork must be venue appropriate.

Then after waiting, the artist is told that they are accepted... or not.

The art is delivered to the venue and installed.  If you're lucky, you have a say in how and where your art is displayed.

I crochet earrings to match at least one of the pieces for each art show.
 Next comes the big opening.  These are usually receptions which are free and where light refreshments are served.  The artists and organizers invite people.  This is a chance for people to meet and talk with the artists.  As an artist who has worked long and hard on their work, it's rewarding to see people admire, ask questions about and take pictures of your creations.  Artists are also able to meet the other artists.  The art is on exhibition beyond the opening so those who prefer to view art at a quieter, less crowded time have the opportunity to do so.

For this show I created Hyperbolic Crochet pieces.  

I've been accepted for 4 and not accepted for 3 art shows that I submitted to.  At first it's hard because you want to know how someone isn't interested in showing YOUR piece.  But then you realize that not all work is a good fit and that at times the curator/organizer has a specific vision in mind that doesn't include you.

I've learned from each no.  I've also learned from the process.  In the beginning I had no idea what an artist's statement or gallery tags were. But I've been fortunate to some very great and talented artists who are willing to answer my questions and provide me with much needed guidance along my artist journey!

With this latest show underway I'm already thinking and planning for the next one!

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Me... An Artist in Residence?

Who knew when I decided to spend more time focusing on my career as a Fiber Artist, Certified Knit & Crochet Teacher and business owner that I would have the opportunities that I have had!

On Saturday, February 27th, I was asked to give an artist demonstration as part of Black History Month at the Indiana State Museum.   I offered Cardboard Weaving and Finger Crocheting. 

I met some really nice people who took the time to talk with me and create some unique art pieces.  From the father who said he looks for activities for his children that don't involve electronics, to the women who said they could never learn how to crochet, a good time was had by all!  I even saw some people that I knew who were visiting the museum and the Imax theater. 
What's next?
I am one of the artists in the Hoosier Women in Art exhibition that opens on March 5th at the Garfield Park Arts Center. The theme is Avant Garde so I created some Hyperbolic Crochet pieces.

Some other events are in the discussion stage, but I've learned not to talk about them until all of the details have been worked out.

I am very thankful for ALL that I have the opportunity to do each day and for the people who continue to support me.  Thank you!

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Sharing some news with you!

Girl Treks offered every Saturday 

I was recently contacted by a reporter whose editor had heard about the #GirlTrek :Hello Haughville group that I started and wanted to interview me.  Below is the very nicely written article that was the result.  
Posted: Tuesday, February 2, 2016 12:24 pm
HAUGHVILLE — Denise Smith has lived in the Haughville neighborhood for 21 years. She also walks at least 50 miles a week, belongs to the Speedway Running Club (as a walking member) and regularly meets friends in Avon for walking outings there.
As Smith checked message boards for one of her groups, she began seeing “#GirlTrek” more and more often. She did some research and decided to start her own Girl Trek group in the Haughville neighborhood.
“I heard about Girl Trek and at first I was just going to do it as a solo person,” Smith said. “But then I thought, ‘Let’s just create a team.’”
By May of 2015, more than 35,000 walkers across the United States had signed the Girl Trek Pledge: “To lace up our sneakers and walk each day as a declaration of self-care; To heal our bodies, inspire our daughters and reclaim the streets of our neighborhoods; To re-establish walking as a healing tradition in black communities as tribute to the women who walked before us; and to create a health movement organized by volunteers across America to inspire one million by 2018.”
“I officially started the walks in January, so it’s still small,” Smith said. “And everyone and anyone is welcome.”
Smith walks from her home to the Haughville Library at 9 a.m. each Saturday to meet anyone who shows up for the 9:10 a.m. walk.
“I walk a lot anyway,” Smith said. “I walk different places different days, and I figured people might as well join me. I’m normally a solo person, so it was a big step for me to do something with a group. But I decided I like it. But then I don’t always walk with a group now either. I get my long walks in by myself. I get my fast walks in by myself.”
Smith has mapped out routes for her #GirlTrek Saturday mornings. There are four walks from which to choose that range from a half mile to two miles.

“I’ve walked each of these routes myself to make sure that the sidewalks are in good shape and that people will feel safe where they’re at,” she said. “I’ve also taken a safety class from the police department, and I like to stop and speak to people. For one thing I want to be friendly, and for another it’s a way to combat an issue — to look at somebody in the eye and speak to them.”
Girl Trek, a 3-year-old non-profit organization, was founded on the idea of pioneering a health movement for African-American women and girls based on civil rights history and principles built through walking campaigns, community leadership and health advocacy.
More than 400 neighborhood-based groups across the country are a part of Girl Trek, which is quickly becoming a go-to organization in the arena of public health. Girl Trek has been featured in Essence magazine, on the Steve Harvey Show and on networks such as BET, CNN and MSNBC. The First Lady has made mention of Girl Trek.
“I knew it would be slow starting this up in the winter,” Smith said. “Some will be thinking it’s too cold. But if they see that I’m consistent, then I figure more people will join by spring.”
Whether she’s walking solo or with a large group, Smith is going to continue her Saturday morning walks beginning at the Haughville Library.
For more information on Girl Trek, visit the website

Artist Demonstration @ The Indiana State Museum

I am honored to be included in this event!


Artist Demo:
February 27, 1:00pm – 3:00pm
The Indiana State Museum will be hosting a dynamic artist demonstration by Denise Smith, the Untangled Stitcher.
Visit Indiana Museum for more information about this free event.

I will be demonstrating and teaching Cardboard Weaving and Finger Crocheting.  If you're in the area, stop by!