Journal

Honest to gumption.

The good month of September got even better as our house and my studio were featured in the November issue of Mollie Makes USA— out on stands now.

I am so thankful for this opportunity. Not the least because I took on the task of REALLY cleaning our house for the shoot. Since I wasn’t sure what they would want to focus on, I attacked every corner, cubby, and dust bunny for 2 weeks. It was a great chance to get some stuff out of here, take on little projects I had been wanting to do, and start fresh. During my obsessive revamp, my 10 year old daughter asked why I was working so hard and I explained that basically when she was born, everything stopped— we did only the necessary rearranging and upkeep to keep chugging along in life. This grand attention to the house has created a new slate and even if the magazine had called it off, I would have thanked them for getting me to the task.

There are a lot of other great reads and eye candy in this issue: an interview with Liberty Fabrics designer, Keighley Shepherdly, my buddy Cathe Holden’s Tartlet Tin Pincushion tutorial, and a tour of some cool spots to shop in Portland.

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I’ve been an avid reader of local journalist and author, Frances Rivetti since discovering her quite a few years back. She’s one of those people who’s name and good reputation you hear around town and in her case, someone I associate with the foodie crowd. Frances blogs at Southern Sonoma Country Life and writes a regular column for our local paper, The Argus Courier. She has a gift for capturing so well the human interest and local-ness of living in Sonoma County: quality, crafted and community-minded.

This past Spring, Frances contacted me to talk about her first book project. She had seen my Oh Petaluma tea towel and was assembling a local team to help with her Kickstarter book project which launched today!

Please consider supporting this Fog Valley Crush campaign. With Sonoma County stories, history, and recipes from this British transplant’s love for the area, Fog Valley Crush will make an excellent gift for anyone on your holiday list!

Lastly, when a client is someone so very nice, who likes what you do, and who’s dream you also believe in, it makes a project that much more tasty. My glass is raised to you, Frances! Congratulations!

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In sending out promotions for Homestead I was enthusiastically greeted by the support of quilter, teacher, pattern maker, blogger and fabric designer extraordinaire, Pat Sloan. Pat is known as “the voice of quilting” and has been interviewing an incredible range of quilting-related guests since 2011! Her podcast guest list a giant quilting who’s who. Lately, I have enjoyed following Pat on Instagram and she REALLY IS as busy as that sounds— she’s on the road a lot and showing tons of new projects all the time.

Pat was intrigued by the story of Homestead came to be so she has invited me on her show to chat a little about the process of creating the collection. Next Monday, Sept. 15 at 4:00 pm Eastern, 1:00 Pacific time I’ll be speaking with Pat on the American Patchwork and Quilting Radio show. Please tune in live or subscribe to her podcast series and listen to it later. Thanks so much for the opportunity, Pat!

American Patchwork and Quilting Pocast Nicky Ovitt Sept 2014

Give peace a chance. September 21 is International Day of Peace. You can read about the history and planned world events like tree plantings and flashmobs here. Click on image to download this desktop calendar. #peaceday

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It’s a small world… with some big opportunities! My full entry to the 2014 Lilla Rogers’ Global Talent Search. Although I didn’t make it into the top 50, I’m glad I pursued it and really like what I experimented with for this challenge. So, as my great redhead friend Susan says with gusto: “ONWARD!”… and as Lilla says in her video, consider entering next year, the growth will be evident.

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This month, along with a couple juicy lettering and illustration projects in process, I’ve created a piece to submit to the Lilla Rogers Global Talent Search. Lilla is a renowned illustrator, teacher, mentor, author, and artist’s agent studio owner. This contest will earn someone 2 years of representation (!) and a host of licensing and other “prizes.” A connection with Lilla’s well-connected, hip studio with it’s stable of unique and talented artists is a common aspiration for so many of us looking to license work. One of her oft-quoted phrases which sums up her philosophy of creating art for the licensing world is: “PEOPLE BUY YOUR JOY.” I understand this to mean; make from the original expression that we all are and the delight in your work will be evident and enticing.

Last year was Lilla’s first time running the course, Make Art that Sells and the subsequent GTS contest. By all accounts, both were a huge success and growth experience for so many of my artist and illustrator friends. But this time last year my heart and mind were with my mom. I had traveled to New Mexico to cheer her spirits and lift her up from the daily ordeals of chemo treatments so needless to say, my hopes and wishes were of a different nature.

This year my mom is in remission! For quite a few months now! And she’s well and I had the time and desire to enter the Global Talent Search! OH JOY! I’ve been back to prepping my art and website to approach agents in earnest. I don’t know if I’m 100% ready, but more and more I can see where forward movement without perfectionism is what I need to accomplish. Ready or not, maybe I’m ready.

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I really enjoyed the extensive 13-page brief and Lilla is indeed inspiring in her words and art direction of what to consider. The theme for Round 1 of the GTS contest is “Little Terrariums” and the market is wall art—for adult or children. The requirements also specify a hand-lettered word or phrase.

My first wording idea was “Room to Grow” but that’s pretty much the opposite of what’s going on in a terrarium so I nixed that. A few of my initial sketches and inking are here. I knew I wanted to include a little gnome or gnome home and a fairy girl with some cactus illustrations I had been developing for my next fabric line with Clothworks felt the most right— after all, I’m a high desert girl at heart. I took my time developing the concept and changed final details over a few days time as I encouraged myself to imagine it as a piece of art for mass sale. I’m pleased with the final result and it feels monumental to have accomplished this delayed goal.

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The gallery of 999 entries and my final submission goes live on Tuesday, Aug. 26th. 50 artists will be chosen to move to the next round, then culled to the final competitors for assignment 3.

I had so much fun with this project and I know I’ll be in awe of the other entries with their fascinating, varied solutions to the same theme. Below is a sneak peek of my final submission. Good luck to everyone who entered! MAY THE JOY BE WITH YOU!

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Back to school time. Are you book smart or barn smart… or both? Click image to download the calendar for your desktop.

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I dunno what will happen for 2015, but for now I’m still on the donkey trail, so to speak. My love for donkey images and art have brought some lovely gifts into my life that I wanted to share.

1 ||  The first you see here being a painting by my incredibly talented friend, Ginny Hautau of Urban Cowgirl Design. Ginny absolutely floored me when this sweet little painting was dropped off after one of our epic coffee chats. The product maker in me is dying for her to get these licensed for wall art or to sell on Sundance! She also has a way with home design— look her up. I was very touched to receive this treasure and feel blessed by her friendship all the time.

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2 ||  You may know my mom is an oil pastel artist and when I visit New Mexico we usually get together with one of  her pastel friends named Sally Prince. When Sally heard about my love of donkeys, she gave me this adorable miniature in sunflowers that I framed for my desk. She also sent me this card with an image from a painting she did a while back. Aren’t these so full of personality?

NickyOvitt_Donkeyblog_SallyPrince3 ||  These next two images are from Katherine Dunn of Apifera Farm in Oregon. She is an accomplished illustrator who runs a farm of rescued “misfit” animals and earlier this year I supported her 2nd Kickstarter campaign to publish another book seen here on the right. It’s a gorgeous publication and I have yet to read it but I’m so happy to have these unique donkeys in my life. The original drawing (with hair bow) has yet to be framed, it was a mother’s day present from my husband who appreciates a good gift hint. Originals like this can be found at Katherine’s Etsy shop.

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4 ||  Choreography! This poster was a present from one of my oldest friends who attends Sundance Film Festival every year. Robin said this award-winning short film was fantastic and she went through some pretty great effort to get me this poster. Not only is she always thinking of what someone else might like for a “prezzie,” she WRAPS said gifts in the most beautiful ways— almost too cool to open. Robin is a prolific collector and master of assemblage. She will be announcing some beautiful assembled art boxes for sale soon so I’ll update you on that when it happens. Her graphic design work and blog can be found at 314Gallery.

5 & 6 ||  These two books were gifts to myself. Our local library has a children’s book sale every few months. If you’ve never read the story of Sylvester and the Magic Pebble, you should request it from your local library— it’s quite philosophical and deep: “Oh how I wish I were my real self again.”

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About 20 days late but Independence is always something to celebrate! Click on the image for this month’s downloadable desktop calendar.

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NickyOvitt_Homestead_Collection1 It doesn’t get more real for me than to have actual strike-offs in my hot little hands. Last week I got to spend a little time with these babies! I’m so thrilled with the color correctness as some of the blues and greens were undoubtedly challenging to mix according to my *paper* color palette. Candice at Clothworks agreed that the factory pretty much nailed it— an uncommon treat to receive in a first pass!

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On Friday I gained a new (updated) respect for photographers and other fabric designers I know who shoot their own product images. SO. NOT. EASY. I was using a borrowed tripod to attempt complimentary or matching perspectives, but the ga-zillion-and-three angle settings and DIY rubberband set-up I had going made me end up free-styling it for now. The strike-off swatches are small but it was so fun to mix/match/arrange like my favorite quilters do. You can see each print and colorway in the in the licensing area of my site here.

In the coming weeks I’ll be sending out Homestead news to quilt and design blogs. And until I learn to sew properly, I also have plans to post some project mockups for fun. Follow me on Instagram to find out when new posts are up.

NickyOvitt_Homestead_Collection33If you haven’t read the story of the Homestead, you can find it here. Thanks to Madeleine & Ellen from The Printed Bolt— you’ve been so encouraging. Thank you to Candice and Joyce at Clothworks— I’m extremely pleased with this partnership and their guidance!

Homestead fabric will be available for purchase from Clothworks this Fall.

Lastly, this collection is inspired by, and dedicated to, ALL hard working women… especially the one who faithfully supports my career and life decisions… my mom.

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