Friday, February 19, 2010

California School of Fuse

Whenever I teach my fusible technique I inform my students that they are now in the California School of Fuse. This is not to be confused with the prestigious Chicago School of Fusing. We are two difference birds even thought I may have taken (stolen) the idea from the Chicago gals. We don't have a glee club or a fight song, yet, but we are working on that. We do have a short bus called a Tahoe.

The mindset of this California School of Fuse is simple. Just like in the state of California, I will show you what I like to use and why, and when class is over, you will go home and do what every you want, whether the majority votes on it or not. Because this is California. I guess I am making fun of my beautiful state and rightly so. We are the land of fruits and nuts and that is just at the Capitol.

I am always amazed as I travel up and down this wonderful and crazy state that the quilters are all the same and wonderfully bonded together with a creative passion that makes us a family.
Californians are a little in their own world, to say the least. We are an adventuress and creative state. Which sometimes make me and others here a little frustrated.

California is made of and was discovered by immigrants and pioneers all looking for a better life. Whether they came across the borders or left the Midwest during the dust bowl or were looking for gold in the hills above my house, we come from a hardy bunch of settlers. Just like the wonderful quilters I meet all over the country.

So to commemorate the official opening of the California School of Fuse I have designed a fabric label for the back of your quilt. If you have taken one of my classes, you can now proudly, or not so proudly, display this label on the back of your fusible flower quilt. This label states that you have graduated from the CSF and that you know how to use scissors and and an iron. You have stepped outside your creative box, colored outside of the lines and will use only the colors that thrill you. If you have taken one of my classes you now belong to this creative (sometimes a little wacky) group of fusible pioneers we call The California School of Fuse.
If you would like a label for you flower quilt you can send $3.00 for postage and handling to:

Melinda Bula
Chancellor of the
California School of Fuse
3221 Woedee Drive
El Dorado Hills , CA 95762

If you would like to go to our official school training camp you can email me at for information on
Flowers On the Lake, May 10-14 at
beautiful Tahoe Lake .

Friday, February 5, 2010

Creative Block

I have been feeling really creative since I got home from my travels last week. The only problem has been I can't figure out what I want to create. It feels like something new is brewing but it's just having trouble coming to the surface. So today I tried to help it along but ended up played around with my knitting and read my new book, a mystery called Shadow Of the Wind. I have even been finishing up some of my new pattern designs and a new book idea.
But this overwhelming urge to make something NEW keeps poking at me. I love this creative, psyschotic passion, but I am also so frustrated by it that I want to scream.

Today I sat in the studio just thinking, touching fabric, pacing, then I succumbed to the dreaded straightening of the studio. I know...what came over me?

There is a fine balance between working at what you love and trying to make a living at it while trying to always stay true to your artist self. I try to schedule my diverse alter egos. One week I'm the savvy business woman, hopefully wearing Prada (in my dreams, it's more like sweats and a tee.) The next week I am the melodramatic, moody artist that wants a gun for Mother's Day. But nobody in their right mind would give me. What about the Constitution?!?

So it has come to this. I don't think I am alone with this creative frustration as I sometimes see my students dealing with this tender artist frustration. It's normal, I think, and it is supposed to be frustrating. If it wasn't, you would not appreciate the moments when the true gift of creativity just flows.

Ms. Sharky, my college art teacher, explained to me that you have work at being creative. You learn to not wait for the perfect mood, but discipline yourself to create something every day whether you want to or not, because that is when you might have the perfect moment. OK, I might have over embellished it a bit but she was right.

So by the time Joe came home from work today, I had started a new art piece. It's a landscape (really, it's a seascape and maybe a new technique or pattern for my students). I may teach this on the Hawaiian Cruse this fall but it had to start with just playing around which meant just doing something and see what happens.

A few tips to jump start your creativity when you've hit the wall:

1) Feel and touch your fabric, even if it means just straightening your fabric drawers. You'll find new colors you didn't know you had.

2) Work with what thrills you today as tomorrow it may be something different. And that is OK.

3) Immerse yourself in the colors you love and the subject matter you love. That is sure to inspire you.

4) Allow yourself to say I don't like that and I don't want to finish it. It is more important to have the inspiration moment because that can lead to something great than to finish something that is just not working. The new project might be the stepping stone to the next great idea.

So for now, I just made this Hawaiian Sunset from a picture I took on vacation in Maui in 2003. Its not the big one I feel brewing inside, but it makes me happy for right now. Tomorrow, who knows.......

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

World of Warcraft?

I am not really happy right now. The day has started out with finding out someone has been using my credit card number to play over $1,000 of video games in the last 3 days. From searching the web we came to find out that this is a common rip-off. Then you start to think, where have I been and who did I encounter that looked me in the face and said I want to rip her off? Was it in a quilting shop or one of the restaurants or hotels I was staying in over the last week? The problem is that this is the 3rd time since I started teaching that I have become a target of thieves. You would think that being a quilter is a safe and sweet, even grandmotherly pursuit. The crooks know their audience and they are out looking for a victim. So this is why I am spending time writing about this. I want you, my blogger friends, to get a heads-up and not trust anyone, grandmotherly or not.

Last year it was a girl asking me for private lesson that her wealthy father was interested in. Then last month, some guy supposedly from Australia wanting to purchase 30 of all my patterns, about a $3,000 order. Thank God my husband is smart.

And today, this rip-off. The internet is a wonderful invention but there are crooks around every corner, in most political offices and even living across the street. How does one grow up to become a thief? Having no regard for others or their own family and even their own children?

May God help us.