Friday, April 10, 2015

The Road of Trials

Over the rainbow

My journey through Module 2 was particularly difficult for me.  After completing Module 1, The Call to Adventure I purchased a Lendrum Spinning Wheel from Paradise Fibers in Spokane, Washington as sort of a reward to myself for accomplishing something so  difficult and challenging. I had never used a spinning wheel before so Module 2, The Road of Trials started with my learning to use this wheel. Which after many Trials and errors (no pun intended) and help from my friend Barbara of Weavers of Char-Lee, I felt confident to begin.

I've had my ups and downs, my lost opportunities, "the should of could of" moments, but regrets, no!  So immediately I decided to theme my yarn on the Wizard of Oz.  I like that the movie begins in black and white and as you follow that road to discovery everything turns to color.  I ordered one of Natalie Redding of Namaste Farms Scrapboxs and set out on the journey through my past!

The scrap box was full of sparkly colored fibers and made me think of a basket full of rainbows.  As I thought about people I miss and opportunities I missed out on, I chose a new color to represent that feeling.  I then created and added dragon fly charms, to represent "where blue birds fly freely and clouds are far behind me" as a way of letting go. Or as I worked I thought about the flying monkeys.  Either way they are full of representation and thoughts only I know.

The last charm on my yarn was a charm included in the scrape box of the character Hello Kitty, which completed my spinning.
So in the end I over came many more challenges than I first realized.  I am not exactly pleased with the outcome of the yarn.  While on the wheel I liked it, it was when I set the twist that the yarn looks a little haphazard and full of chaos.  My thought is to ply it, or redo it.  It seems strong but its so fuzzy! But for now I will leave it as it is!  Maybe my yarn is trying to tell me something!  Haha!

Until we meet again in Module Three! Happy Spinning!


Monday, December 29, 2014

Calling All Angels

Dec. 29, 2014

I did it!  I finished my very first hand spun art yarn for Module One’s Journey to the Golden Fleece.    Art yarn is a one of a kind hand spun yarn textured thick and thin with uniquely chosen materials added. Materials can be anything that inspires the artist, beads, jewels, lace, locks, feathers etc.

In this Module, we were asked to reflect on “The Call to Adventure.”  The concept was to recognize the point in my life when I was given notice that everything was going to change.  I wasn’t sure where to begin with this thought process.  Did it mean the recent or the distant changes of the past?  Did this mean when I discovered my love for the fiber arts or did this mean when I started my artistic journey? 

I decided that my questions would be answered throughout this process and it was time to move onto my first weaving adventure. We were asked to gather our supplies and identify techniques to complete the spinning task.  This was very difficult for me.  I have never spun my own yarn before and I chose to begin with a drop spindle. This was a challenge! I just could not get the drop spindle I was using to work for me.  I watched every YouTube video available and studied so many tutorials and how-to’s I lost count.  They all made it look so easy and relaxing.  So far on this fiber journey I have set out on I have taught myself many weaving techniques plus I have even set up my four harness Purrington Loom using YouTube videos.  All of it seemed quite easy but this spinning thing just wasn’t working.  I was beginning to hate the drop spindle and even tossed it across the room once.  Accidently of course!!!

Now, usually when I work in my studio I feel that I have a special assistant.  Actually that’s not true; I have come to realize that, I am the assistant and I just do what my intuition tells me.   For example, when sewing, my favorite mantra is “sing to me, Baby!” and the fabric will do what it is supposed to do. So yesterday
while in my studio holding the drop spindle in my hands, shaking it and asking “what is wrong with you?”  a song started playing on my IPhone.  It was Calling All Angels, sung by Katie Lang and Jane Siberry.   At that moment I realized that I was not trusting my guides to help me with this difficult task.  I had been looking at my chosen fibers and additives of crystals, angels, and mythical charms for weeks.  Then, hearing this song and thinking of what my Grandmother used to say to me “Kate, just wing it”, I starting humming along and spinning the spindle and all of a sudden my hands and fingers were just working together and the yarn started to form.

 I’ve chosen to leave the roving white because I am a so called virgin in the world of spinning. The materials I added are sparkling crystals that represent the spirits around me that guide me each day. I have also attached hand wrapped angel beads.   So you guessed it the name of this yarn is “Calling All Angels”.  I have a long way to go to learn this form of art but at least I took the first step.  So we shall see where this journey will take me.

Module Two….. “The Road of Trials”





Saturday, November 15, 2014

A New Journey

Hi Everyone,

It's been quite a while since the last post in this blog.  As you all know we have had a busy last few years. is going great.  We have lots of followers that are very active and we thank you all for your support.  Afton's Old School Art Studio,  has been a huge success.  Classes are in full swing along with the events.

Now, I have decided to embark on a new journey an online creativity course, Journey to the Golden Fleece, http;// created by Arlene ( and Suzy ( The course is based on the journey of Jason and the quest for the legendary golden fleece.  The goal here is to boost your creativity, find your artistic voice and have a fibery goodness adventure while exploring the world of spinning and fiber.

The journey to The Golden Fleece has come to me at a perfect time.  My son passed away unexpectedly in March of 2014.  Prior to my son’s death, I had rediscovered my love for the fiber arts when I enrolled in weaving and felting classes in Florida.  After his death, our grief was so overwhelming that we used the motto "think of something else" whenever the sadness set in.  Each time my husband said that I would look at my unfinished weaving and felting projects that were set aside during this tragic event.  One day I jumped up and resumed them. I am so enjoying this new adventure in fiber.  I love that this is an ancient tool and learning something that was once considered common to everyone in our community is priceless.

 My first assignment is to create a journal so I will be posting thoughts and some inspirations here. Check back often for updates. I think it will be fun for you to follow me on this journey and maybe you will find inspiration too!



Monday, February 20, 2012

“I bought an old school! Now what do I do…………..”

Pinch me…… Am I dreaming? A couple of weeks ago an opportunity of a life time became possible. Ever since I was a little girl I have always had a vision that I would someday own my own schoolhouse. In my dream, this house would be a place for me to create as well as teach art. I saw myself everyday in a “creative bliss”.

Two weeks ago, on my way to volunteer at the Afton Museum I saw a “For Sale” sign outside of a cute little brick house across the street from the town park. I thought what a cute little studio that house would make. Little did I know……?

When I got to the museum I was telling Pam, the Museum Curator, about it and she said…. “Oh, you mean the “Old School!” … Wow, my head began to spin. Could it be that this cute little brick house, the old Afton School, was for sale!

Well, the beginning of this story did not go well. My partner, Mark, was out of town and so was my Realtor friend Tammy, so I wasn’t able to see it or do much about it until they returned the following week…. I mean what could go wrong in a week! .... Famous last words! An offer was made and accepted and it wasn’t mine!!!

across the street from the park
I was devastated…. How could that be! That school was meant for me….. I was terribly disappointed. I couldn’t believe it! In fact, you remember that blog I recently wrote about missed opportunities… The loss of that old school was the inspiration for that blog post….

looking from back to front
The back yard
But, that wasn’t the end of my story. No way was I going to let this go! I believed in my heart, that school was meant for me! The following Wednesday, at the museum, while telling my friend Sara about the “Old School”, she said “the school didn’t sell! The person buying it is going to back out.” 

I couldn’t wait to get home and tell Mark and Tammy.  And Yes indeed... the woman had changed her mind. All we needed to do was wait until the other buyer signed the necessary papers and my offer could be submitted! ….

The morning of February 14 "Valentine's Day" began with me racing over to Tammy’s to sign papers… AND, they accepted my offer! Afton’s Old School is now mine…..

I’m so excited I can barely breathe! I’m suppose to close, Feb 29, which is kind of cool because this is the “Leap Year” but I have the option to close earlier, which we will do. Possibly, yet this week. The school needs some renovations. In the 1960's it was remodeled and used as a home. It now contains two floors and a finished attic. But thankfully, it still has much of the original architecture!

From this moment on we will be keep journals, blogs and photos of our progress, as we renovate the “new/old school” into a fabulous art studio.

To do this I have created a web site. Please become a ‘fan’ or ‘like us’ and you can join in the fun. Simply click for more information…

And, as Always,

Keep Creating!


Monday, February 6, 2012

Looking for New Opportunities in 2012

It's February and I'm over a month late on my News Year's Resolution post. This year I am going to put in perspective what I want to do with my life and career as an artist.
I have had many wonderful opportunities in life. I've worked as an event planner, teacher, costumer, a professional doll artist, a sculptor and potter, mentored graffiti artists, and even owned a theater. In recent years I have been teaching "art" out of my home studios in Florida and Minnesota. I love inviting women into my home to create and share their art and craft experience. Now I am thinking it would be nice to have an "outside the home studio." There I would be able to create all day within no household distractions. If you know what I mean?
School building in 1886

1800's school building remodeling in 1962
Last week a wonderful old brick school building came up for sale in Afton, Minnesota. I don't know how long it has been for sale, but I noticed it last week. The building was built in the 1886 and renovated into a home in 1962. It had a garage that was remodeled, complete with french doors surrounding it. It was a perfect place for an artist studio. Not only was it in the center of town but it was affordable too. Now you all know that I have a love affair with the town of Afton. I volunteer at the Afton Historical Museum, I love to ski each week on the mountain in Afton Alps and I try to attend all the towns functions. My family relocated there from Prussia in the 1800's. Most likely they even attended school in this very building. Just a short walk down the street and you can visit the grave sites where they have been laid to rest.

Afton Art Fair
Unfortunately the building had already been sold. But that doesn't mean some other opportunity won't present itself. But first I need to make sure my goals are specific so I can identify those opportunities when they happen.

I need too:
- get focused, create a vision
- make a commitment
- do the numbers
- create a plan of action
- implement the plan
I even went back to skiing this year after not skiing for 16 yrs
That's me on the right
Most importantly, I need to keep moving forward. As the old saying goes... " Taking the first step in in anything new can be scary. But, once you take that step, don't look back, make yourself take that second step, then the third step and the fourth step and so on Before you know it you will have run a mile and your life will have been forever changed."

What are your goals and dreams for 2012? We would love to hear from you! It's simple just leave a comment at the bottom of this post. Remember we here at are your support system. We are here to inspire, encourage, enrich and share your creative experience!
So lets get creating.......


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Mentors

As a little girl I've was always drawn to people a few or more years older than I was.  I felt then as I do now that those who walked life's path ahead of me had something important to share with me.  Now that I've reached the middle years (over 50) I am starting to see things from the other side.
MENTORING isn't just something nice that you do, it's something that you are called to do. It's in all of us.  It doesn't matter if you're 6 or 96 we all have it.  I can't imagine where I would be today if those that walked on the creative path before me did not show me what I needed to see at the moment I needed to see it.  I spent hours watching my grandmother sew, hours watching my grandfather paint and build model ships.  Weeks watching Mrs. Krout plant and tend her garden.  Canning with Lynn M. and quilting with Louise.  Many nights  I was lucky enough to go to ceramic class with my mother and Aunt Gail.  And that was just when I was little.  As an adult I have had so many mentors.  Mr. Link, an art teacher that was so disappointed I did not pursue a degree in advertising.  Mareen Nieman, the wonderful woman who brought me out of my shell during my theater years.  Hershal Pollard, he taught me not to be afraid of the paint brush, just paint what I see. Oh and then there is Randy Brodnax, a wonderful potter and truley a mentor to many. The list goes on and on.  As I grow and become more mature, may I be worthy of the honored role on those lives that I touch. And, may I use the gifts that those who have mentored me and pass them on.  I find it a very important role in life to share with others what I have learned in the past.  I hope that through these posts I can do just that. Please if any of you have a special mentor you would like to share with us.  Drop me an email so we can share the spirit.


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Texas Trip!!!!

Howdy to all my friends, family and interested parties,

This is my first blog on my very own katesullivanstudio.  As I write I am 34,000 feet in the air on our way to Dallas Texas where we will embark on a weekend full of creativity in San Angelo. I am traveling with 7 of my very good friends...also known as the peeps from my art studio in Florida. 

I shall be keeping this updated while I am doing all the activities during Ceramic Week at the Chicken Farm.

Talk to Ya'll soon...