Thursday, September 4, 2014

Whew! I survived August!

It was such a busy August that it went by in a big, huge blur! Oh my golly! I thought I would give you a quick recap of just the highlights....

1. The Oz Show was pretty quiet, as we actually had a RAINY DAY. Oh my! But, in between the sprinkles, we had lots of fun. 

I created a piece of art specifically for the show. It has been a big seller in my local shop since then! You can find it in my Etsy shop here.

2. First Thursdays at the Headquarters was a super fun event. The show organizers have decided to run the show monthly, I believe. I will not be there on the First Thurs in September, but expect to find me in the months leading up to year end!

3. Bright and early the next morning, my son, Kyle, and I took off for a day at Disneyland! Squeee!

THEN: (4 years old)

NOW: (16 years old)

My son has always been a big fan of the ladies! I was the only one in our group willing to wait with Kyle in the 30 minute line to meet the Princesses. My sister and nieces grumbled that it was a waste of time, but when we got in and talked "Princess talk" with them, we all had such a great time. Everyone later agreed it was the highlight of our day!

What a great Disneyland day!!!!!

4. I entered the GTS. Read more here. I did not make the short list. Oh well, but it's all good. I have a great new piece of art!

5. I taught the Fantastic Mr. Fox needle felting class, and we had SOOO much fun! Look at the cuties made by my students! Thanks to all who came, and put their best foot... err- fingers forward in learning my craft! 

6. Filming goes on for my e-course, Hello Felt, even as we had to say good bye to sweet Sophia, my intern of the past 1.5 years. She is off on a big adventure to Indonesia. My new intern, Jen, is going to help me pick up where Sophia and I left off. We are pressing on....! Find out more and sign up for the interest list by clicking here and scrolling down to the bottom of the page. Oh... and check out the Bloopers video. It's super cute!

7. We flew off to Lake Tahoe for a family vacation. We rented a cabin, took the Gondola up to Heavenly, spent lots of time hiking, went wading in the Lake, ate lots of good food, and made great family memories!

We hiked all the way into "Desolation Wilderness"! The hike out was long and uphill. Even though the way back was a mix of downhill and flats, we were absolutely dogggg tired by the end. Good thing our cabin had a sweet jacuzzi!

8. I wrapped up the end of the month with a FOUR DAY SHOW: the US Sand Sculpting Challenge and 3-D Art Show. Thanks to all of you who came out to see us.. Ok, see the Sand Sculptures (Lol) but see US too, right??!!

This one was my favorite. It stands about 10 feet tall:

Also, at the show, it was reinforced that my Plushies still manage to attract everyone; kids, their mother, brother, uncle and aunt to my booth. So, winning the most popularity contest are the ever-loving Toast, Teeth and Sushi pillows. Congratulations, guys!

9. And then, I had my BIRTHDAY on the very last day of the month. I am 55 now! Wow!

10. Finally, AND my biggest accomplishment this month: I am celebrating finishing working the Twelve Steps!!! I have been joined together with a beautiful group of women, who share a similar spiritual path as myself. We have been working the Spiritually based Al-Anon Twelve Steps since March. It has been hard, tearful, the best goodness possible, and life changing. What an amazing accomplishment! I highly recommend this for anyone facing life challenges who are feeling "stuck".

Wow! It's probably been the most action packed month of my life. But it's all good!! Most importantly: I survived it all, and came out all the better at the end of the month in so many ways.  =^_^=


Monday, August 18, 2014

The 2014 Global Talent Search

"Bloom" by Val Hebert, detail, from the 2014 GTS submission

I was very much on the fence about entering this year's Global Talent Search (GTS), as put on by the enormously talented Lilla Rogers (find out more here). Lilla is one of the top artist's agents in the world. For the past year and a half, I have taken her online classes, MATS A & B(Make Art That Sells), and then MATS Bootcamp, offering a slower pace than the more stressful 1-assignment-per-week schedule from the MATS classes. Lilla's classes and assignments are packed full of information, guidance, and the prompts are very much "in the now", meaning one can certainly get immediate work from doing Lilla's assignments. In fact, we watched as artist after artist landed amazing jobs left and right during and after taking these classes. It was and is very exciting to see artists transform from "nobody" to a "Somebody" right before your eyes. Kudos to all the very talented artists I have had the fortune to meet and get to know in these wonderful MATS classes!

As for me, the classes proved I was at a distinct disadvantage without a solid background in graphic illustration. I am more of a classically trained artist, working pen to paper, so to speak. I make all my items individually. Nothing is altered or managed on the computer. I do not have a good relationship with Photoshop! If I make a mistake in my work, it is generally a "do-over," or a go with the flow and let the accident become a happy one. So, I found myself discouraged and listless about continuing to push and try hard within this very talented pool of mainly graphic artists. 

But, then, at the last minute, I got a dose of courage and a "throw all caution to the wind", and I signed up. It was literally the last day you could enter the competition. What was I thinking? All of this in August, to boot, this crazy busy August of me doing three shows, teaching two classes, taking two out of town trips... Man, when this artist goes crazy, she goes really crazy!!!

The assignment came out, and it was actually right up my alley: create a piece of wall art with a Terrarium theme. Ok, I can do this, I thought. So, I went all Andy Warhol, and just put paint to board and made art. 

Initially, my idea was to incorporate needle felted mushrooms to a canvas painted with a wooded theme. I created the mushrooms with painstaking precision, I might add (sheesh), but putting this idea together proved challenging. Sometimes those visions in my brain just don't mesh with what my hands are creating. So... frustration loomed. I needed something new, and fast. Needle felting plants takes quite some time...

In the meantime, the mushroom terrarium was born. I love this... and will have to make more :o)

But then, that night, the design was thankfully worked out in my head while I slept. I dreamed the woodland theme had to change to a zeriscape desert theme (my husband is a Landscape Architect, and living in SoCAL, we are all about succulents here). So, trees were replaced with cactus, and hot colors became cool, and a bird was added :o) The needle felted mushrooms were replaced with a cactus bloom (love). It all came together in a flash after that. I submitted my design to the GTS gallery with a happy heart, knowing that I have certainly put forth my best effort. 

Here is my submission:

"Bloom" by Val Hebert, 2014 GTS Submission, collage on board with
acrylic and paint sticks, and a 3-D needle felted plant-on bloom

Please hold good thoughts for me that I make the top 50. Of course, I realize that whatever will be will be. That I have no idea whether others will love or hate it, and throwing caution to the wind simply means I am hoping to bloom if this is where I'm meant to be planted!


Sunday, August 10, 2014

New Date for Woodland Friends Class!

The Woodland Friends class date has been changed from Saturday Aug 23 to Sunday Aug. 24, same time: 12-4 pm. I hope this doesn't mess things up for you too badly. Let me know if you have a problem with the date change, and I will make it right for you. Class info is here, and sign ups are here.


Monday, July 21, 2014

I Scream...

Are you? ... Screaming?! (hehe) So far, the few people who have seen my newest plush pillows have screamed in delight. They are just too cute... 

This is my entry for the July gallery for MATS Bootcamp. The assignment was to showcase your favorite beverage with something you would give to a friend. So, I tried to make ice cream frappes, but they kept coming out like cones. Oh well, add a straw, and a dose of sunshine, and any ice cream will become drinkable, right?!

Anyhow, ice cream plush + getting ready for my late summer shows = I think ice cream plush will be a hit :o)

Happy summer!
xx, Val

PS. You can view the July Bootcamp Gallery by clicking here.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Late summer shows + events

Normally, my fall show season doesn't officially begin until the Coronado Art Walk, which takes place mid September. Honestly, people are not in the wool buying mood any sooner, if even then. Two years ago at the Coronado Art Walk, the temps were over 100 degrees. That was hecka hot, as my teen son would say... So, I generally prefer to wait until the fall season, and the cooler weather really hits before hauling out all the wooly goodness, and trying to find people willing to even talk about staying warm.

So... for August, I started out by scheduling to teach two needle felting classes during the month. That makes sense, doable, etc. There's the Fantastic Mr. Fox class, and the Mom/Daughter Pendant class (moms can take solo too, no problem!). Find out more about these two classes by clicking here.


Then, I was invited to the new Talmadge Art Show venue, The Headquarters First Thursday  which will take place at the newly renovated Headquarters building across from Seaport Village, on Thursday, August 7 from 4-9pm. Couldn't say no to this fantastic opportunity...

The US Sand Sculpting Challenge show is the next thing... it's kind of a too-big thing. I have said no to this show for the past 3 years. Why? It's a FOUR DAY SHOW! Honestly, I am about dead after a 2 day show. FOUR days??? No way! But, then I put on my "consideration cap" and decided the way to do this show would be to put a small contingency of artists together, so that's what I did. :o) We are a small handmade marketplace inside one 10' x 10' booth! I am planning to do a post specifically on this, so please stay tuned! BTW, this show is scheduled from August 29 - Sept 1, Labor Day. The location is Broadway Pier, in downtown San Diego. The website for more info is here.

Then, just the other day, TWO more requests to attend handmade art shows. Holy heck. One I said yes to, because it's in Coronado, and they promised me it will not be a "shlock" show (my words... nice. I know.) The other show, I just can't fit it in... 

I should be proud to be so popular. I know, and I am very proud. Overwhelmed too... and, I have decided I need to advertise for a new assistant. If you live in the San Diego area, love to craft, and want a part time job, message me, won't you please???

It's all good over here, just very busy.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Soulful Sea for MATS Bootcamp June assignment

My entry for the June Gallery for MATS Bootcamp on Lilla Rogers website

The June assignment for MATS Bootcamp was delivered at the beginning of the month, and it was a welcome theme and assignment; a Sea/whale theme for a Wall Art assignment. Originally, I had thought I would create a painting onto board, but since I have been obsessed with hoop art lately, well... it only made sense that's how I would work out the assignment. 

Here's my process:

I ran out of time to stitch the text in place, so thanks to a bit of photoshop/Studio editing, the text was easy to overlay on the top of the photo. And, thanks to the talented and Photoshop savvy teens in my life, namely my son, Kyle Hebert, the image at the top of this post was created and uploaded just in the nick of time to the classroom gallery on Lilla Roger's site. Whew! It becomes a lot of work as the clock ticks down to the deadline. Isn't that always the way it goes?!

I always enjoy the way these assignments stretch me out of my normal comfort zone. Heck, even I need a break from birds from time to time! (I can't even believe I admitted to that fact!)

Check out Lilla Rogers Bootcamp studio school by clicking here. If you are an artist who likes the occasional kick in the pants, and to stretch yourself, you will love this class. I promise!


Monday, June 23, 2014

A brand new website!

Woo hoo!!! I have finally accomplished something very big that I have been wanting to do for years; set up my own website, and be able to manage the content myself. This is a big deal for me, and I feel very proud. I have to also attribute my fantastic helper, Camille, my recent High Tech High intern, for getting the ball rolling for me.

I hope you will navigate over there, and take a little tour. Then, make sure to pop back here and tell me what you think. Optional of course, but if you do, I will email you a free download. And, I am warning you... it's super cute :o)


Monday, June 9, 2014

I am featured in Patchwork & Craft!

It's always such a thrill to open the mailbox and find a craft mag with an article on needle felting, and. OMGosh, when it features you... Bonus!!! This beautiful magazine, Patchwork and Craft Handmade even put my photo on the cover! Oh holy heck!

The editor of this magazine found me through my Etsy shop. Many people have found my work on Etsy, and in fact, the last couple of magazine article feature requests have come directly from Etsy. So, for all you working artists out there... get your work on Etsy. Seriously, people.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Hello Folks!

My ad for the Handmade 2014 issue of Folk Magazine

Maybe you are visiting here for the first time. If so, I want to offer you a warm welcome! If not, welcome back! I hope you will grab a cuppa tea, and stay & visit with me for a while.

In case this is the first time we've "met", I'm Val, and I am pretty much addicted to anything "woolie". I describe the woolen work I create "painting with fiber", because I love to mix and match natural fabrics and felted wool, onto which I jab wool roving with sharp barbed needles. It's a really fine way to work out my aggressions, let me tell you. And, as the mom of two teen boys, I do have my fair share of frustrations and aggressions! I find it's much more effective to act out upon a canvas of fabric and fiber than get in the face of a teenager, Lol!

My work studio
I live near the coast in San Diego, CA. My husband is a Landscape Architect and also owns his own business. This past year, we moved into adjoining work studios located close to Balboa Park. Our studios are in darling attached cottages built in the 1920s, which sit atop a canyon. We love living and working in San Diego. I invite you to stop by for a visit anytime you are in the San Diego area! We also bring Lola to work with us. She will be the first one to greet you, but please have no fear. She is extra friendly :o)

I have some really exciting felting adventures coming up, and I certainly hope you will join in. I am planning to launch an online class soon called "Hello Felt". I will be teaching basic needle felting and felt techniques, and more advanced projects as well. There will be a few add-on classes in embroidery, hand sewing and more. I'm sure you will want to stay connected so you can be among the first to know when my class launches (and find out about early discounted pricing!) Please click here to join my mailing list. And, just for joining, you will receive a free download of my favorite needle felting tools! Believe me, this list is invaluable, and one I would have wanted when I started to learn about needle felting. 

How else can we stay connected? Please join my Val's Art Studio Facebook page by clicking here. My super fun Pinterest page is here. And, please feel free to browse and shop my products by clicking over to my Etsy shop here.

I would love to hear from you, and find out what brought you here to my studio! Please feel free to leave me a comment, or send me an email here.

Thanks for stopping by today. Hope to see you again very soon!  =^_^=

xx, Val

Monday, April 14, 2014

Hello Cardinal!

Detail from a needle felted scarf featuring a male Cardinal (sold)

I had to fly off to North Carolina for the past few days. My dear Uncle Rich passed away. We had a beautiful celebration of life for him, and in the beauty of that, my brothers, sister, parent, aunts, cousins, nieces, nephews, and other extended family I hadn't met came together. Whew! It was a tribe, but it was so much fun! 

In all I experienced, what I brought back home was a reminder... A gentle nudge that our families are our everything. They are the glue that holds us together. The ones who have our backs when we falter, and the ones we care enough to hold together when their worlds fall apart (as worlds have a tendency to do). Life isn't cruel... it is a teacher to us. And our family are the ones who help us put the puzzle pieces together when we can't figure them out on our own. I do so love my family, and feel blessed to have been born into this group of like-minded souls. I feel truly lucky, indeed.

I couldn't resist posting one of my needle felted Cardinals today. I was fortunate enough to actually see a mated pair flitting through the natural gardens at Duke University. The formal gardens were spectacular, brimming with an array of the most beautiful flowering trees and plants I think I've ever seen together. Each one begging for attention, and demanding your eyes to linger there first, and the longest! Then, in homage to my Landscape Architect husband, I dragged everyone into the natural gardens, where we meandered amongst craggy, sloping walkways, with natural ponds filled with frogs, and places to set for a few minutes and watch the birds. And then... well, hellooo Cardinals! I felt like I was in paradise!

xx, Val

Sunday, April 6, 2014

I love you, Bunny!

Oh, Honey-Bunny, how cute are you?
I love all your sweetness
And that neat pink box too.
You make my heart pitter
With the love that you bring,
Your expression, so honest
Why, you make my heart sing!

Thank you, sweet students, for all the fun and camaraderie we shared in our bunny class yesterday. And goodness! Aren't those bunnies adorable?! Each one came out so unique and loveable! 

And now, I must share a quote overheard during our few hours of needle felting:

"I just think (my bunny) is frikkin' adorable!" -Gay

Well, so do I! They all came out frikkin' adorable!


Sunday, March 23, 2014

Feathered hoops!

Yesterday, we had a small group of participants for the Feather Hoop class, but I do so love small group classes. It means a more relaxed pace for me, when I can teach and enjoy getting to know my students. We can sit and visit amongst the needle felting and stitching demonstrations. It's such a nice experience for all involved. 

In fact, I might limit class enrollment for the future!

xx, Val

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Cute gremlins

Look what was on my desk when I came into my office this morning! It's soooo cute! Apparently, the cute gremlins were busy last night.

I'm taking not one, but TWO online classes right now; Do/Teach and Lilla Rogers MATS Bootcamp. In trying to catch up, make a little art, and listening to the lessons yesterday afternoon, my hands went to town while my focus was elsewhere. I finished this right before I went home, and didn't really have time to admire it properly before I left.

So I hung it on the wall, but it seemed like it needed a bit of definition. I had this little wood wreath sitting on my desk, and it fit inside there so nicely. 

"Hello Spring!" by Val's Art Studio

Cute, cute. Makes me happy. Isn't that what it's all about?!

Hope you have a cute day!
xx, Val

Monday, February 24, 2014

MATS Bootcamp

Bootcamp sounds intimidating to me, but after taking Lilla Rogers MATS A + B Classes (Make Art That Sells) -find out more by clicking here, I knew I could handle any Bootcamp 'intensity' that might come my way. Honestly, anyone who can finish one 5 week segment of MATS classes, where you go through five different industries, learning the industry details, and creating an incredible body and variety of work in such a short time, should receive a medal! It was dang intense.  

So, Bootcamp means one project per month... a dream! This first month's assignment was to sketch up cuckoo clock design options, and ultimately to create a cuckoo clock smart phone case.

Val's Art Studio cuckoo clock illustrations

My initial sketches involved animal shapes. Well, naturally.... after all, I had been working on a new set of woodland needle felted nesting animals. (Please don't judge this guy too harshly, his eyes aren't in yet. I can't yet decide to have them open or closed!)

Fox needle felt by Val's Art Studio (Sold)

From there, my design evolved into a sort of birdhouse cuckoo clock built from felted wool scraps out of my overflowing scrap bin. Heck, I have to do something with all those luscious feltie woolie bits! I cut and "pasted" but not in photoshop... with scissors, glue and thread. I love every minute of creating art in this manner :o)

After this assemblage was finished, I needle felted the birds in place, stitched some details, added a couple of dried flower buds to act as the pinecone weights, and then was finally ready to negotiate with my Photoshop skills. Yep. I negotiate. Sitting near me while I navigate photoshop is an exercise in using earplugs!

Here's the before and after. I'm not sure if there's a tremendous difference, but I worked on it for at least a day...

Finally, I created the background, a simple logo, and uploaded it to the gallery. Tomorrow, you can see it live on Lilla Roger's website. It will be in the company of crazy pants talented artists and illustrators. I am so ex-cited!!!

" Hello There!" MATS Bootcamp submission by Val Hebert

Thanks for visiting!
x, Val