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Preparing For My 3rd Indigenous Fashion Week

“The Aikido of Marketing: Go where your customer is and your competition is not willing to go!” Martin Brossman

Join me as I prepare to participate in my third Indigenous Fashion Week in three years.  It’s an honor and privilege that I don’t take lightly to represent the textiles cultural traditions of the dispersed and scattered historical North Carolina Tuscarora Confederacy.  I teach workshops demonstrating color transformation on cloth from plants, flowers, nuts and insects.  My Momma taught me that if we witness transformation before our eyes, it gives us hope that regardless of our present circumstances, we can transform our lives.  The lessons my mother, two grandmothers, a great-grandmother and the elder women in their circles taught me through creating color, stitching and cooking are life lessons that enable me to be strong and resilient.  It was my dying mother’s prayer that I share our survival stories through creative hands experiences associated with natural dyeing and stitching.

This season, I’m enlisting technology to help me share my journey to Indigenous Beauty, Fashion and Design Week at Otahpiaaki 2019 in Calgary, Canada.  The theme this year is Isstoiyitahsinni or Winter Count.  Indigenous Fashion is a gathering place that includes intellectual, physical, emotional and spiritual connections to the patterns, designs and garments we choose to wear.

Dried Indigo

I will be broadcasting live on Facebook and Instagram showing what I’m doing and why I’m doing it with a weekly Fiber Fridays where you can ask me questions.  At long last, I’ve figured out how to make videos of my creative process to post on YouTube even though I’m working solo.  And, I will be podcasting once a week on my new channel Seed2Runway.  I will share educational information about events, creative processes and indigenous design elements and interview movers and shakers from the world of indigenous fashion who inspire and influence me.

So where do I begin. I took three workshops sponsored by my local Small Business Center at Wilson Community College:

I purchased the Seed2Runway domain from Google Domains for my podcasts, which in my opinion is better than Go Daddy.  Google is $12 a year and includes email@yourdomain and privacy protection is included.  I’m beginning my podcast endeavor with just my iPhone.  My thinking is to just jump in the podcasting waters and learn by doing. I am writing a script and planning my podcast episodes.  I’m going live one week from today, Friday, October 11th. In the meantime, I’m redesigning my Facebook business page to focus on my new creative direction. Will also be updating my Linkedin profile and taking a more active role in managing that SM platform, since teaching workshops seems to be part of my here and now.

“Life is an adventure which can take you to unknown and unexpected places!” Carola Jones

Fiber Friday | Mono Printing 4 Quilters

Printing on a Gelli Plate

Create rich lush colors for your quilt projects fast and easy with DIY Mono Printing.

The 411 On Gelli Plate Printing

  • Best Gel Plate to purchase for quilters is Gelli Arts 12”x14” Plate. Lowest price @ Amazon
  • Reusable. Clean with baby wipes.
  • When not in use store plate in plastic clam shell packaging.
  • Cut fabric 12.5”x14.5” for overall creating color or use fat quarters and overlap printing.

Supplies For Mono Printing On Fabric

You can use acrylic paints, inks, textile paints or screen printing inks. I prefer to use Speedball Screen Printing Fabric Inks. They don’t change the hand of the fabric. I use the same inks for screen printing as well as mono printing. My goal is to create warm color tones to be used in quilting with indigo dyed fabrics.

  • Primary colors can be mixed like paints.
  • Inks are water-based oil pigments.
  • Color is permanent.
  • They maintain hand of fabric.
  • Inks are water-fast after heat setting.
  • Top Row >> Speedball Screen Printing Fabric Inks. Many colors are available but I use the process colors of cyan, magenta, and yellow. I mix these primary colors to create the basic color wheel. The process colors are transparent.
  • Row #2 >> I use two opaque colors that have a pearlescent quality. They give depth when applied to a gel plate with process colors. Opaque inks can be used on dark-colored fabrics. I use Raspberry and Sherbet.
  • Row #2 Far-Right Top >> Tools you need include a rubber brayer. You’ll need at least two, one for inking gel plate and one for rolling on the back of the fabric to transfer ink.
  • Row #2 Far-Right Bottom >> You’ll need some mark-making tools. I use an afro pick, a plastic fork and knife, as well as rubber tools sold at craft stores. Nothing sharp that will cut into gel plate.
  • Row #3 Left >> Raspberry and Sherbet ink up close. I use popsicle sticks to scoop ink onto the gel plate.
  • Row #3 Right >> Magenta ink up close. All samples created using these three inks.

Movie Showing the Process

Mono Printing On Fabric

African American Quilt Circle of Durham Celebrates 27th Anniversary

On Saturdays, March 20, March 27 and April 3, AAQC celebrated its 27th Anniversary via Zoom.  It was an honor for me to participate.  It has taken me a long time to find my quilting tribe, and with every connection to AAQC I realize this quilt circle is amazing.  The members are creative beyond comparison, and are sharing and supportive.  It’s like a sisterhood of creative hands working together to keep cultural traditions alive.  It was an humbling experience to present a presentation on Fabric Design at our April 3rd Zoom meeting.  Check it out on the Tutorials Page of this Blog.  Congratulations AAQC.  I am proud to say I’m #AAQC and #AAQCstrong.

View Presentation at Link Below

Link To View Presentation

New Beginnings: Quilting To Heal

Fiber Friday 01.01.2021
#iQuilt2Heal | #BeTheChange

My life became a train wreck that went off the rails on Ash Wednesday 2020, February 26th.  I received the Distribution of Ashes and Holy Communion which strengthened me to rescue what I could from being evicted from my home/studio.  Just as I was getting on my feet financially from teaching in-person classes and workshops, Covid hit and lockdown started.  As a diabetic indigenous person of color over 65 years old, Covid would be a possible death sentence for me.  So avoiding infection is crucial for my survival.  The drama of life in this pandemic brings me to the hardest suffering I’ve ever endured.  I feel like I’m in a washing machine cycle splashing around in an out of control agitator struggling to hold onto steadfast faith.  Jesus is my Savior and my friend!  I pray I can be a witness for kindness, grace and mercy when dealing with the collective sorrows of the Covid Blues in the “Winter in America.”

Design Plan For Covid Winter In America Body Of Work

Experiences of making clay tiles, and multiple units stimulates me to the geometry of HSTs as a design element in my new quilting explorations.  Geometry provides me with a foundation of truth to balance all the political lies and misinformation running rampant in our great American society of discontent.  The drama of it all is disconcerting!  Enduring the pain of my own brokenness, I’m having to dig deep in order to heal myself.  It’s just me and Jesus and time “waits for no one!”  The new body of work I’m beginning is about The Blues as they related to Covid “Winter In America.” I’ll use fabric from my indigo dyed cloth stash, along with my clothes that were rescued from my eviction. I’ll cut up my clothes in a cutting corners improv style to make quilt blocks for HSTs. I’m using EQ8 to design my quilts, and the first design is the cover photo.

But first things first!  Not being able to sew for a year, taught me many valuable life lessons.  In order to heal my brokenness through quilting, I need to bring closure to my UFOs (unfinished objects) shown above.  From my embroidery shawl to a quilt that needs quilting, and unfinished quilt pieces that never got completed. In addition I have projects for people who love and support me who never got past the design stage.  I would not have been able to survive without help.  So, along with designing new quilts, I have to finish my UFOs.  By this time in 2022, my prayer is to be out of the UFO quilt business forever.  I don’t want to die and leave behind what my Momma left.  I want to have a no-drama crossing over.  Today, I begin anew as I sojourn on my restored quilting journey.  Join me as, “I Quilt 2 Heal!”

HST Quilt Block Design From Geometry
(HST=Half Square Triangle)

Watchnight In Isolation 2020

Be The Change :: Practice The Rituals Your Grandmothers Performed

One of the healing lessons this pandemic is teaching me is the value of holding on to sacred traditions.  I have character building memories that helped my grandmothers to be strong, such as the Watchnight Ceremony.  All people of color in the traditional Union States come together in sacred places to celebrate the historical event that ended the Civil War, the Emancipation Proclamation.  Living on land that is soaked with so much blood, pain and suffering, Watchnight is a collective healing ceremony.  Growing up we did Watchnight at Mount Zion.

On December 31, 1862, during the Civil War, all people of color both freeborn and enslaved gathered at a church, under a pine lodge, or on any sacred spot.  At the same time, plantation slaves knelt, stood and prayed.  The Big Event!  President Abraham Lincoln signing the Emancipation Proclamation into law legally recognizing that the Civil War was fought over slavery.

So, I will gather as one representing many.  I will sing the songs we sang,  dance the prayers we prayed.  I will, with honor and reverence practice the ritual we performed.  “Five minutes before midnight, I will kneel down and pray to God to walk with me and be my friend as I pass from yesterday into tomorrow.  I will repeat the words spoken in a repeated call and response chant:”

Look where God has brought us,
Look how far we’ve come,
We’re not what we ought to be,
We’re not what we used to be.
Thank you, Lord!
Thank you, Jesus!
Thank you, Holy Ghost!
For what you’ve done for us.

Watchnight Ceremony is about creating healing medicine to send blessings to all who need them with much love, honor and respect.

Life Imitating Art :: Winter In America

#BeTheChange :: #fiberartbycarola | #niitsitapi :: #poomiikapii

4th Sunday Covid Advent 2020 | Creating Art Related To Current Events

In 2006, Gil Scott-Heron released a soulful jazz poem entitled Winter In America.  Now we are living in a Covid induced isolation version of Scott-Heron’s lyrical musings, as we witness “chickens coming home to roost in the United States of America.”  The Revolution has won!  8.2 million Biden votes for kindness, grace and mercy.  We Won!  We trumped 72.2 million fear, anger and resentment votes. 

My Squad :: Oki. Niitsitapi. Kainai Reserve. Alberta, Canada. Siksika People.

My task is to be the change!  Be Miss Melody Cool!  Be true to myself!  Wake up every morning with my mind stayed on freedom!  Indigo Blues is a collection of quilts visualizing the suffering of my isolation surviving the 2020 Covid Winter in America.  My story is about multi-generational Carolina Cerole Blues attached to the black sandy soil with veins of red clay on High Tider Carolina Skaru:re homeland.

We’re entering a season of first inclusions in our United States government.  We the people are diverse and with Biden/Harris demonstrating leadership, and the rollout of Covid vaccine, we are walking out the consequences of fear, anger and resentment.  No human being can be happy and content with a hardened heart.  Holding onto fear will crush your soul! It’s a seed of goodness inside every part of Creation that desires harmony.  My Covid suffering is teaching me the values of humility and kindness in what it means to be free. Life Lesson #1: We have to be the change, if we want the world to be a better place. Living requires change and change is witnessed by actions.

“Difficult circumstances makes for unexplored possibilities.”

Sage Paul Cardinal | Artistic Director Indigenous Fashion Week Toronto

Pandemic Isolation is giving me the lowest feelings, hardest tests of faith, and the flat out Southern Country Blues of my life.  In the current political climate the vision is clear for me, it’s about feeling free on the land of my ancestors after the brutalities of slavery and Jim Crow.  Remnant pieces of the hopes and dreams, brokenness and sorrows of being born a colored cerole girl in Coastal Carolina.  My story is told through colored cloth and stitching, and my Momma’s advice, “When life goes to pieces, make a quilt!”

The real me is a down home country creole geechie gal from Wilson, NC. Last living Toisnot Skaru:re with knowledge of the old ways. My heart is that of a Pow Wow dancer traveling the Algonquin Red Road. What I miss most from being in lock down is dancing at a Pow Wow. What a life! My dance is a Poo’miikapii prayer for collective unity, harmony and balance. To God Be The Glory! Jesus is my Savior!

The Business Of Being An Artist

Small Business Saturday

I’m dotting all my I’s and crossing all my T’s relating to organizing my first online art sale.  I thought it would be great to share what I’m learning about doing business in North Carolina.  As artist small business owners, we need to complete the following as a sole proprietorship business:

#1: An Assumed Business Name Certificate NCGS 66.71.5 >> Web Link

This form is available on the North Carolina’s Secretary of State website.  It’s a PDF that you can download, complete and take to the Register of Deeds.  If you plan on during art shows outside of Wilson County, you may want to consider checking the box for “All 100 North Carolina counties,” for question #6.  Covid won’t last forever, and once we begin selling online, our opportunities may increase.  It helps to think positive.  For Wilson County it’s the second floor in the annex building behind the Court House.  The fee to file the form is $26.  When you print the form it’s a lot of white space at the top.  Please don’t delete this space, as the Register of Deeds places a stamp in it.

#2: Online Business Sales & Use Tax Registration Form NC-BR >> Web Link

We need to collect sales tax if we sell in North Carolina according to the individual county where the artwork was sold.  If we sell our artwork online in Wilson County but mail it to some in Wake County, then we collect the tax for Wake County.  We don’t collect tax if we are mailing artwork to another state or country.  There is no fee for applying for sales and tax identification.  Every quarter we will need to submit the funds we collected to the NC Department of Revenue.

In section III, the drop down menu asking “What kind of business are you engaged in? (Be specific)” doesn’t have an artist category.  I selected “Other Types – Hobby and craft shops, ceramics, curios, art supply stores.”  The question about what accounting method we will use is most likely “Cash.”

Completing these forms makes us a legitimate small business in North Carolina.

Life Lessons Learned Through Quilting

“It always seems impossible until it’s done!”

Nelson Mandela

Motivational Sunday

This week I’m reminded about how essential sharing is to quilting, and how it’s connected to healing our wounded hearts, and bringing us together in sisterly friendship.  Sewing, twining and weaving blankets for warmth from scraps of fibers was essential for indigenous people of color surviving on the Outer Banks, Coastal Plain and Sand Hills of the Carolinas.  The creativity and resourcefulness are a testament to what can be achieved when women come together to learn, teach, share and heal.

Quilt Life Lesson #2: Quilting Is About Learning, Teaching, Sharing & Healing

Have you ever done something for someone else to later find you’ve received a blessing? Well, it happened to me a few days ago, and the blessings continue to grow.  I’m designing a quilt pattern for my sisters in Sigma Gamma Nu Social Club. Many are beginners in quilting, so I thought it would be easy for them to use precuts. So I went to my Electric Quilt software. It was out of date so I upgraded to EQ8.

Sigma Sisters Quilt Pattern | Designed in EQ8

In doing so, I realized that Electric Quilt needs teachers. My past experiences teaching Internet Technologies, Computer Information Systems, and Effective Teacher Training, make using quilting software easy for me. So, I completed the EQ Teacher Credentials Form. I have to wait to see if I’m accepted but either way, I’ll share what I know in my weekly All About EQ8 Tech Tuesday Blogs.  What I take for granted as effortless, isn’t the same for others.

I also realized the value of having one’s own unique quilt pattern, especially for a group identity such as Sigma Gamma Nu.  The ability to design your unique vision for a quilt is essential in continuing a quilting tradition in contemporary culture, especially for people of color.  While some of us practice free form accidental improvisational quilting techniques, many people desire more structure.  As a student in my quilting class told me, “she wanted to make something that looked like a quilt.”

The modern quilt movement in America has excluded makers of color.  By doing so, modern quilting cuts itself off from indigenous ways of knowing and creating.  Electric Quilt software can expand access to quilting to younger generations as well as to busy professionals.  The ability to design your own quilt pattern, calculate your fabric requirements, and test color combinations opens us unlimited “What If” possibilities.  Our grandmother’s and great grandmothers who survived Jim Crow have already shown us the healing power of quilting.  Now we are the grandmother’s tasked with reconnecting to quilting as part of our cultural heritage to pass down to future generations.

Indigo Dyeing Cloth For Quilting

Blue Monday :: All About Creating Indigo Cloth 2 Dye For

My Blue Monday blogs are all about my indigo dye process.  I dye yardage for quilting and sewing and wearables such as socks, shawls and clothing.  I’ll begin with sharing how I select fabric to dye for quilting.  All of the fabric that I dye for quilting is cellulose or plant based.  Natural dyes don’t work on synthetic fabrics, so no blends are selected.  I read the fiber content label on the end of a fabric bolt.  My quilting fabric consists of the following:

All Muslin Fabrics

Muslin >> I prefer premium 100% unbleached cotton muslin with a tightly woven thread count.  I also want fabric that has had no chemical treatments.  I avoid bleached muslin because the whiting process makes the fibers weak.  If I’m going to take the time and care to dye fabric, I want it to be as strong as possible.  Bleached muslin is thinner, fragile and prone to tearing easily after dyeing.  Dye colors come out crisper on unbleached cotton fabric.  Muslin is available in different widths including 108”, which is ideal for dyeing a quilt backing.

Various Naturally Dyed Fabrics

Broadcloth >> Premium 100% cotton broadcloth is another favorite for quilting.  It can be difficult to find other than Kona cotton, and is more expensive per yard than muslin.  However, broadcloth takes dye beautifully.

Variety of Resist Dye Patterns for Quilting

Yardage >> Most of my yardage is in two or three yard bundles.  But depending on the resist design pattern I also dye one yard and fat quarters.  If I know I’ll be using strips, I break the fabric into strips before dyeing.  The yardage is dependent on the resist design pattern that I use.  To have variation in a quilt made from indigo dyed fabric, I create different visual patterns by manipulating the design created to resist the dye.  Some resist designs take longer to create than others, such as Gullah and Shibori stitch patterns and Algonquin wrap techniques.  I also create variety and contrast on indigo quilts by using fabrics colored with other natural dyes and store bought batiks.

Life Lessons Learned Through Quilting

Motivational Sunday

This is the first blog in my Sunday series about life lessons I’m learning through quilting.  My insights started at a young age when I was sitting under the quilt frame in Yat’s front room on Daniel Hill.  The Daniel Hill Community Quilt Frame lived with my Yat (Mattie Burnette Randolph) on Spruce Street.  We lived in a double shotgun house with Mat, Paul and Bet on one side, and Momma, Mama, Baby, Moses Haskins and I on the other side.  I was born cripple and wore casts on my feet and ankles during my toddler years.  Consequently, I seemed to be planted in one spot for long periods of time.

My favorite spot was sitting under the quilt frame while Momma, Mama, Yat, Mis’ Doretta, Mis’ Sudie Mae and Mis’ Bess were hand stitching. They took turns leading a spiritual song while the others responded.  Being slain in the Spirit and led by the Holy Ghost was the glue that bonded the Daniel Hill Quilt Circle.  Other women joined in from time to time but the core crew were the Elders.  Everyone brought a dish of food to share but most of the fellowship time was spent stitching together.  Sitting under that quilt frame was for me like sitting under a heavenly tent.  It was here that I learned my first quilting life lesson, and how the power of quilting could soothe the pains of Jim Crow.

Quilt Life Lesson #1:  Quilting Is About Community

After seven months of soul searching while living in isolation due to Covid, I’m reevaluating and reaffirming what I create with my hands.  I’m examining my creative practice with new eyes based on my cultural heritage and traditional teachings.  I struggle to make and finish quilts when I’m on my own.  I need the accountability, inspiration and fellowship that comes from being in a group with other artists.

Sadly, I’ve recently learned that all art organizations aren’t equal when it comes to providing stimulation, inspiration and fellowship.  An art association is a top-down structural format based on a corporate model that knowledge and leadership flow from the top.  The president is the head that wears the crown and is the keeper of the roadmap the group is following.  A quild is an association of people pursuing the same goals.  The model is based on the medieval practice of like-minded creatives banding together to oversee their particular craft.  The guild system is also a top-down model.  The third model is the circle which is based on traditional indigenous principles where everyone is equal.  In a circle everyone stands shoulder to shoulder and the organization is run by the members.

The best art organization model for me to participate in is a circle.  A quilting circle has been a part of my experience since I understood what quilting was all about.  A quilting circle is part of my multi-generational stitching history.  While I plan to maintain membership in a local art association and a regional and international quilt guild, the organizational unit that will feed my soul is a quilt circle.

For More Information Please Follow Link

My advice to all you quilters is to find a circle of like minded people who inspire, transfer knowledge and provide stimulating fellowship to your stitching practice.  Happy Quilting!

Quilting Life Lesson #1: Quilting Is About Community.
I Upgraded to EQ8 | For More Information Follow Link

The Business Of Being An Artist

Small Business Saturday

“I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become.”

Carl Jung

As a working artist who has generations of knowledge about dyeing cloth, stitching and quilting, I’m also in the active hands-on learning discovery to acquire skills that help me be a successful small business owner.  Earlier this year, I completed the ELI Mindset program sponsored by my local Small Business Center at Wilson Community College“Who Owns the Ice House? Eight Life Lessons From an Unlikely Entrepreneur” tells the story of Uncle Cleve, a successful African American entrepreneur, during Jim Crow in the Mississippi Delta where cotton was king.  The book is written by Gary Schoeniger and Uncle Cleve’s nephew, Clifton Taulbert. I highly recommend creatives reading this book, which is available on Amazon.

During the soul searching study of Uncle Cleve’s life lessons, I made the decision to demonstrate persevering steadfast faith and unshakable hope into establishing Fiber Art by Carola as a sustainable business.  By the end of the course, Covid happened and in the following months, I’ve had to redesign my business plan.  A friend, teacher and mentor, Sage Paul Cardinal, stated on my birthday that “difficulties breed innovation.”  Sage is the design concept and inspiration behind Indigenous Fashion Week Toronto.  Witnessing how she is redesigning the presentation of indigenous fashion is inspiring me to do the same with Fiber Art by Carola.

2021 WCC Classes Adobe Spark Presentation Page

So, every Friday I will blog my behind the scenes discoveries and insights about the business of being an artist entrepreneur.  I begin this week with sharing my exploration of creating an educational linking document akin to a newsletter that doesn’t bore my audience with lots of typed words to read.  The successful newsletters that I receive give talking points, pictures and videos that tell a story that holds my attention and peaks my interest.

YouTube Video Created Using iMovie Trailer Template

Next year I’ll be teaching short format creative fiber arts classes at Wilson Community College.  They will be community service classes in the Continuing Education Department.  I will also be developing direct pay online indigo dye classes taught in both on-demand and live formats.  I created the linking document using an Adobe Spark visual presentation page template.  I combined important text information with images and video.  The drawback for including video turned out to be an asset because I’m also trying to build up my new YouTube Channel.  A video in Adobe Spark needs to be an embedded link from YouTube, Vimeo or Spark Video.  

YouTube Video Created Using Adobe Spark Video

My raw footage videos from my iPad and iPhone were enhanced using iMovie and Adobe Spark Video and uploaded to YouTube.  The first movie consisted of a short video clip and lots of still photos.  I used an iMove trailer template.  The drawback that I view with the trailers is all the “movie-like” credits that are attached to the template.  You can’t delete or opt out of using them.  The second YouTube Movie was created using Adobe Spark Video.  The drag and drop visual storytelling template was easy to use and produced a clean contemporary design.  I’ll be using Adobe Spark Video exclusively in the future.