Category Archives: Creativity



  1. A group or collection of different items; a mixture.
  2. A book containing writings by different authors.

It’s probably time for me to really give up on this idea that I can have a somewhat balanced life. In an ideal world, I would weave, work on other projects, take care of the housework, etc, all in one day. So far, that just doesn’t happen. Instead I spend the day weaving, then guess what’s waiting for me to do. Yep, housework! But it does feel good to weave! And something else I should do–reallythink, while I’m designing, about how many butterflies will be needed at one time. Geez! They get all tangled up, there are so many!

Several weeks/days ago I read about an art exhibit that sounded interesting. It’s called Drawn to Nature at Wave Hill. Several artists’ works are exhibited, each with a different take on their inspiration from nature. Because I’m a dyer, this quote from the NY Times article caught my attention.

And for a last bit of miscellany, this just shows you how crazy we Texans are about our bluebonnets. This year has not been a banner year so far, but it’s also been cold still. We had 37 this morning, but the drought is the biggest culprit. People stop anywhere to get a picture of their kids sitting in the bluebonnets. Nuts! They hop fences, take no notice of private property (but that’s a topic for another day), even sit on cows. And those fields of bluebonnets get smushed. But I have to admit, when I see the first bluebonnets in the spring, I feel like everything is going to be better, that life is good.




Mostly pictures


Viewers in gallery


Stormies’s bottles

First the pop-up gallery–on the left is a shot of the viewers, a surprisingly nice crowd for a gloomy, cold afternoon. And this space cleaned up well, only needs better lighting. The rabbit in this shot is Stormie Parker’s, as are the bottles below.


another section

Here’s another shot of the space. It cleaned up really well–the space I mean.


stolen garden sign

Now for some good stuff. This neighborhood is being “re-gentrified” and they have built community garden beds.Notice the cute entrance of branches painted blue. You might also notice the sign. The gardens are called Riverside Stolen Garden because the first beds were stolen. They’ve been redone, obviously. The fence to the right of the gate is made with wooden pallets.



These birdhouses adorn the fence. They are all constructed alike, but the painting is different, as are the garden beds themselves.


Garden beds


wall art trailer

And there is the portable pop-up. I want one of those!


Building blocks

There’s an article in the NY Times about building blocks, which made me remember yet again about how much I wanted an Erector set when I was little. I used to think that maybe those just didn’t go to little girls, but we had Tinker Toys and Lincoln Logs, so that probably wasn’t the reason those were not under my Christmas tree. Maybe they were more expensive than those other building materials. So, I checked on Erector sets on Amazon (where else?), and it’s very disappointing. Maybe because of the popularity of Legos and their sets, Erector sets come in model form now. Where’s the creativity in that! I loved those Tinker Toys. Oh, what we created, my sisters and I! Maybe building blocks are a metaphor for life.

Okay, for the weaving part …the wedge weave is a big FAIL! I like the colors, though. My time will be spent warping the loom again and getting all the yarns back to their assigned seat. Pretty boring stuff. I warp sectionally, and before I got the warping wheel, I would be winding on, counting, when all of a sudden I realized I was no longer counting. The counter on my warping wheel doesn’t work anymore, but I seem to be able to count to 10 without a problem.

Learning curve

Do you remember when you first started weaving? Most new weavers start out by weaving projects in magazines like Handwoven, recipe weaving. It might be many moons before the newbie branches out to take the weaving knowledge into a new and different place. I think I’m kind of in that spot. To give my creativity a boost, I started a wedge weave project, and when I try to change things up, the learning curve rears its ugly head. I don’t yet know enough about this structure (?) to know where I can go with it. I’ve got lots of ideas, but they’re going to wait until I know more about what to expect. And frankly, it might be better to just weave my design ideas in plain ol’ tapestry. At least by trying this new-to-me weaving process, I seem to have gotten past the creativity hurdle. And that’s a good thing!


©Sherri Coffey-Purple Haze

Purple Haze, hand-dyed wool yarns, tapestry, 38.5 x 38.5 inches $600 ©Sherri Coffey

A new art site (for me, anyway) is ArtHash. Skimming all the info there, I found this call for entries–Art: Square Exhibition.  Any kind of art is eligible, so I quickly looked at the square or almost square pieces I have, but had to eliminate all but two because of the size limitation of 30 inches. Deadline is February 20 if you’re interested. It takes place in New York. Then I looked at the exhibition fee ($100) and said to myself “no way.” Shipping is already expensive enough! I haven’t spent very much time cruising through ArtHash, but have put it on my list. Let me know what you think.

In the creativity slump department, I may have poked my head up enough to try out something. The reed has been re-sleyed, but still needs to be tied on. That’s on tap, along with colored pencils and graph paper.

Starting again

From Above
Tapestry, Hand-dyed yarns, 23.4″ x 37″, ©Sherri Woodard Coffey

After starting the current weaving, you know, the one with slits, I decided that I really didn’t like it and wasn’t going to waste anymore time on it. So I cut it off. I like the colors (kind of like the ones above, but brighter), so I may just weave a stripe until I can finally decide on what to weave. How long does one stay in a state like this anyway? I am reminded of a video about Susan Rothenberg (which came to me via Lisa Call). She says how important it is to go into the studio each day, to do something, even if it’s wrong, even if it’s changed later. That so makes me feel better! The video is below, but there’s text with the link above.

While I try to figure out where to go from here, I will clean my studio. Exciting stuff! I ordered new warp today-on sale at Lone Star Room. I don’t need it right now, but there’s not a whole lot left on the warp beam. Since that’s the case, I switched out reeds from a 4-dent to a 6-dent. The big concern with that is whether my two strands of weft will cover the warp. I sometimes weave with three strands at 4 epi, so surely two strands will cover at 6 epi, right? So now I want to know–how do you get out of the doldrums, the creative slump? Hints, anyone?

Watch Memory on PBS. See more from ART:21.

Inspiration-free zone


Blue Swirls 

The title does not mean that there is inspiration being given out for free, but that there is no inspiration residing in my creative zone at the moment. So, was it serendipity that I ran across the recent post by Alyson Stanfield about some things to do when creativity takes a slump? My goal for this week—getting out on that art date with myself.


Blue swirls yarn

Above is what’s on the loom. The colors that don’t show up in the center part really do show up in real life. Below is pile of yarns for this project. My problem area? Remembering which combination of yarn colors I’m using for a particular section. Possible secondary concern-running out of yarn of a certain color.

Lastly—can you believe it’s almost the end of April? Where did it go?

Creativity is where you look

I love the graphics here. I would never have thought of tires when I first looked at this picture.“The tire sculptures, prettified with white paint on their tread patterns, making them look like gorgeous folk-art totems, are piled with candy that visitors can grab in handfuls. ‘They can think about getting fat’ as they munch from candy bowls made essentially of industrial waste, Mr. Pruitt said.”

And, while depicting creativity with ordinary objects, what about this piece using saws. You can see it larger on

image Above, from left: Emily Black, Baskets Don’t Kill People; Guns Kill People.  Mixed media, 10” x 6” x 1”.  Photo by Lakewood Photography. Leslie Lewis, Arachne.  Wood, fur, powder-coated brass.  12” x 14.5” x 12.5”.  Photo by Rob Glover.  Robly Glover, Bobber Necklace 3.  Mixed media.  24” x 24” x 3.5”.  Photo by Robly A. Glover.

The above is the postcard for the CraftTexas 2010 exhibit. I included it here because of the pieces depicted. The middle piece is a necklace made of bobbers, the fishing kind I assume. When I look at the pieces featured on the postcard, I am amazed that two of my pieces were accepted into the show! Below are the pieces that were accepted. If you’re going to be in Houston, the exhibit will be on display until January, I think. The opening is Friday night.

Purple Haze of a Setting Sun

Ancient Symbols

Letting the Mind Go

I listened to this interview on NPR Saturday morning. It’s with Jakob Dylan and Neko Case. Part of the interview concerned songwriting. Mr. Dylan talked about writing songs for his latest album in three weeks, and said if he had three months or three years, he would take three months or three years to write the songs. Sounds like he works best under pressure. Ms. Case said some of her best songs come to her while washing dishes. Sounds like letting the mind go where it will helps her creative side. We all think, learn, work, and create differently. For me, sometimes it seems that there are so many ideas that they can’t be captured fast enough. At other times, I seem to have to force something—anything—to come to the surface. That’s why I’m taking a creative vacation, of sorts. I am freeing the mind to go where it will by doing mundane tasks that require little thought. Taking walks. Musing. This is hard for me to do, but I’m going to try for a while. And, oh, yes, I’m going to dye some yarns too!

Black Holes and Fashion as Inspiration

If one is not careful, Facebook and Twitter can become black holes that eat up time—huge bites at a time.  However, through Facebook and Twitter, I find out about things I never would have known.  HGA posted this on Twitter last Saturday, which was a retweet from

weavespindye RT @FashionHistoria “Love” this review of the Vionnet exhibition in Paris (especially the FAB videos) #fashion

This whole Twitter exchange was about an exhibit of fashions:

Exhibition Review: Madeleine Vionnet: Fashion Purist

I love the structure of the fashions shown in this review.  The one at the bottom of this page especially caught my eye.  “Wonder why?” she says facetiously. Take a look at the pictures—interesting clothes shown in the review.  The design below may soon be adapted for my purposes.  I’ve been sketching ideas for a series of squares, and this would be more squares within a square.  Still thinking about colors, but that’s were the scanner, computer, and/or tracing paper come in handy.Yeimage

Yesterday I felt inspired, so made several to-scale drawings of future weavings.  Still need to play with color, but it’s a start.  Then today I read about this Captcha Challenge on the Compost & Creativity blog.  I have always believed that restrictions make us more creative.  When I started using natural dyes, I only had four colors that I felt I did well.  Consequently, my designs had to be able to use some of those colors.  Our next guild show will have the theme of Rhythm and Blues: The Music of the Loom.  Each piece has to incorporate blue in some form or amount.  Using blue won’t be a problem for me, so I’ve set myself a challenge of learning a bit about music. I’d like to see if a seed of design inspiration can come from that source.  My knowledge of music is pretty much zilch, so that is my additional restriction.