Meet the Makers of Let’s Make Art

Not everyone has a ton of time or space to create. That’s why we’ve made it easy for you to start now. We’ll encourage you to try new things and take risks. We’ll laugh with you when things don’t turn out quite as planned. We promise to challenge you and to teach you to enjoy the process of making art. If you promise to be kind to yourself, not to compare your art to others, and to have fun, then we’re going to have a great time together. Let’s make some art!

– The Let’s Make Art Team

Sarah Cray, Watercolor Artist and Co-Founder at Let’s Make Art

When and how did you first start painting?
I have always had a love and passion for art. Painting, drawing, creating was something that I did as a child and simply never stopped. When it came time to pick a career, I decided to pick art as my major in college and a year after graduating, I started Let’s Make Art with my business partner. 

What advice would you give to someone who just started painting?
Be kind to yourself. Do not compare. Remember to have fun.

What are your must-have tools in your studio?
Must have tools: Paint supplies and music. You know when I am in the zone by how much I am singing along to whatever is playing while I paint 🙂

What inspires you and gets your creativity flowing?
I think inspiration is a tricky beast and I am learning that mostly what it means to get creativity flowing is to show up consistently. I don’t always have the flutter feeling of inspiration BEFORE I start painting, but I almost always feel better when I am done painting. I view creating as a practice that I am passionate about and committed to instead of this magical, elusive thing. Sometimes the magic is there and sometimes it isn’t, but either way, I am making something. 

How did you become the face of Let’s Make Art?
As co-founder of Let’s Make Art, there weren’t a lot of people or options (or money for that matter) that we could use as a resource to help us find “the face”. And honestly, I am not entirely sure that it was strategic on what being “the face” actually means. All I know is that I had a vision for how art should and could be taught. And I thought, “Maybe if I could open up, and share with them everything: the supplies, how to use them, the mistakes, the joy, the fear, the techniques, the why – then maybe it won’t feel so out of reach for people who have always wanted to try.” So that’s what I did. I simply gave all of myself to this company.

Nicole Miyuki, Kids Artist at Let’s Make Art

When and how did you first start lettering?
In 2012 I started with a personal challenge to create something every day. I had absolutely no idea that that would be a catalyst for a career of creating, teaching and expressing myself through art!

What advice would you give to someone who just started lettering?
Tap into your inner child-like wonder that is there inside of you. Yes, it might need some dusting off, but it is in there, simply waiting to be free and create!

What are your must-have tools in your studio?
Watercolor paints and two brushes – a small one to letter with and a round larger one to paint with! 

What inspires you and gets your creativity flowing?
The colors that illuminate the sky when the sun goes down. Sunsets are Mother Nature’s beautiful daily light shows and have been the source of my creativity recently!

How did you become the host of your own Let’s Make Art series?
The internet makes the world smaller! Sarah Cray and I were both teaching an online workshop and she reached out about a company she was starting, Let’s Make Art. She enjoyed my teaching style, lettering books (see links below), and we instantly connected after one visit! Lettering became the second subscription box at Let’s Make Art and it was so much fun! Then, in the summer of 2020, I felt an urge and a need to create for kids. I transitioned from teaching lettering to creating a kids program and art box for our Little Artists! It has been so much fun, and we just launched our kids-only Instagram!

By Hand: The Art of Modern Lettering
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The Kids Book of Hand Lettering
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Jesse Petersen, Mixed Media Artist at Let’s Make Art

When and how did you first start journaling?
I’ve been making art for as long as I can remember. I made my own art journals in first grade and laminated the covers with all my Mom’s scotch tape. My parents tried really hard to discourage me from making art my career, but I’ve always been a rebel. 😉

What advice would you give to someone who just started journaling?
Don’t be too precious. The only wasted paint is the paint that is still in the tube!

What are your must-have tools in your studio?
I like to start with a great surface, a mixed media journal paper, or a sturdy panel. I love rich pigmented paints and working with a craft knife and collage paper. Yes! Paste is my favorite adhesive. 

What inspires you and gets your creativity flowing?
My creative ritual keeps me grounded and inspired. I like to start out my studio time with some calm music and sketching or a painting sort of warm-up before I get into anything too serious. Sometimes these low-pressure warm-ups lead to big ideas.

How did you become the host of your own Let’s Make Art series?
I’ve worked in the craft industry for a big chunk of my career and I really wanted to see a different format of creativity be offered. I’ve always made art journals and creative sketchbooks on my own while creating products for creative memory keeping in major retail stores. I wanted to offer more education around those ideas. I pitched the idea of doing an art journal subscription box to one of the Let’s Make Art co-founders, Al Doan, and the rest is history!

Art Journaling Subscription Box from Let's Make Art

Whether you’re a total beginner or you’ve mastered the arts, the supplies and tutorials in this monthly art box are designed to encourage, support, and enhance your experience with Art Journaling. The monthly box provides the supplies you’ll need and a free video tutorial released weekly. 

Art Journaling Subscription Box
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Explore Let’s Make Art Today! >

Get to Know: Jacquie Gering

Jacquie Gering.
Jacquie Gering

Meet Jacquie Gering, a modern textile artist based out of Prairie Village, Kansas. She began quilting in 2009 and her quilting style has evolved from first exploring traditional quilting to settling into her own way of creating that encompasses a modern, minimalist style that she works through today. 

We had an opportunity to ask Jacquie a few questions ahead of her special appearance on BLOCK Party on Thursday, March 18. Keep reading to get to know Jacquie, from her favorite tools to her history of sewing, and join us on Thursday to see her in action!

What is your favorite part of the quilting process?

Design is my favorite part of making a quilt, but design is a key component in almost every facet of making a quilt: creating the pieced design, choosing color and fabrics, choosing a quilting design and even that final design choice of picking the right binding or deciding to use facing rather than binding. 

Who are your favorite fabric designers?

I don’t really have many favorite fabric designers since I use almost exclusively solid fabrics when I make my work. The one shelf of prints I do have is filled with fabrics designed by Yoshiko Jinzenji. Her prints are unique in the fabric world. They are sparse yet graphic and they have always intrigued me.  I’ve been purchasing them since I started quilting in 2009, but it’s taken me years to figure out how her prints integrate with my aesthetic and how to use them effectively in my quilts.

What notion or sewing tool are you most dependent on?

The one tool that I couldn’t do without is my sewing machines. They are the workhorses in my studio.  I have a Brother Nouvelle 1500s which is a semi-industrial straight stitch machine that I use pretty much exclusively for piecing. It’s a beast. It sews fast with beautiful stitches and it never needs to go to the shop. It is simple to operate and to care for, yet it has the features that I require for good piecing: presser foot pressure adjustment, needle down, thread cutter, multiple feed dog settings and a knee lift. I love that it’s fast. My other machine is a Bernina 820 and it is always set up for quilting. I bought that machine so that I could quilt my own quilts. It has a large harp space to support quilting large quilts and it is sunk into the table so that my quilts are well supported when I quilt. It does more than it needs to for me and because of the level of complexity of the electronics it’s fussier than my Brother, but I take pristine care of it and have learned it inside and out and what it takes to make it work for what I need it to do. Both my machines are covered when not in use and they are cleaned and oiled regularly to keep them in tiptop shape.

How were you introduced to sewing and quilting?

The women in my family introduced me to sewing. They were all accomplished seamstresses.  My mother taught me to sew as a child.  She was my 4-H leader and tried her best to teach me the sewing skills she thought I might need. I was pretty much a failure in her eyes. I didn’t love sewing or making my own clothes and accessories though as the obedient daughter I did. I wasn’t very good at it and since I didn’t love it I abandoned it as soon as I could buy my own wardrobe. The women in my family quilted as well, but I didn’t really see it as interesting or special so I didn’t learn to quilt from them. I discovered quilting much later in life through the art world. I stumbled onto quilting after seeing the Gee’s Bend exhibit. I found those quilts intriguing and so different than the quilts I knew growing up. I bought a sewing machine and dabbled a bit. The timing was serendipitous. Quitting my current job corresponded with my discovery of quilting and on a whim I decided that quilting was the career I wanted to pursue. I fired up Google and taught myself what I wanted (needed) to know and I’ve been learning ever since.

What was the most frustrating sewing project you ever worked on?

I’m not sure I can say. Frustrating is an odd choice of words for me. In fact, I looked it up because something felt weird about it. Frustrated is “feeling or expressing distress or annoyance, especially because of the inability to change or achieve something.” Some pieces challenge me and some are abject failures, but that’s all part of the process. I always feel like change is an option for any piece I make. If something’s not working I change it whether it be design, fabric or technique. Failure is how I learn. Some pieces get started, abandoned and may get resurrected and live in a new form in the future. Some are still in the closet. I may have learned all I can from them at this point. 

What do you do to find inspiration/encourage your creativity?

I know that this is a trite thing to say, but inspiration is everywhere; you just need to look for it and recognize it.  I get inspiration from design concepts like line or space and concepts like pressure or flow or from events in my own life or in society in general. I consciously teach myself to slow down and notice and to think about, study and explore those things around me. I could have enough design fodder for my entire quilting career simply from exploring the concept of line. Sometimes I’m overwhelmed with too much inspiration and I have to focus and try to sustain myself in one place. I’m a starter and I jump to shiny pieces of inspiration to start new projects rather than finishing or deeply exploring where I currently am working.

What occupation would you like to try if sewing/making wasn’t an option?

If quilting weren’t an option I’d be exploring some other area of art or design. I love designing in my own home. I’m a gal with a power tool and I’m pretty good at paint, drywall, wallpapering and tiling. My husband and I have renovated every home we’ve lived in. We designed and built our own home out in the Kansas countryside. It was so much fun since I got to make every decision that went into that house from designing the placement of the electricity to the kitchen. We’ve moved six times since 2013 and every time I move into a new place I get to play interior designer. 

Who is your favorite fictional character?

Cookie Monster is my favorite fictional character. Cookie Monster lives his passion. I admire that. He’s also curious and asks questions when he doesn’t understand. He’s the opposite of a know it all. He’s also a great example of what’s on the outside is not necessarily what’s on the inside.

What fabric have you been hoarding the longest?

I don’t hoard fabric. I use it. Nothing that I own is so precious that it won’t go in a quilt someday.  I do have one piece of fabric from 2015 that I still have that is special. It was a piece of Yoshiko Jinzenji fabric that I bought at QuiltCon and she signed it for me. Of the few yards of that print that I purchased I have about 8″ left and that 8″ has her signature. I should probably frame it for my studio. When I first started quilting I didn’t have any idea how to buy fabric or what to buy so if I saw it and liked it, I bought it. I made loads of buying mistakes those first few years and ended up with fabric that I didn’t want to use. As I figured out who I was as a quilter, I set about reducing my stash and developing a more curated collection of fabrics. I don’t have a gigantic stash any more. Too much fabric overwhelms me. 

Describe your perfect day.

My perfect day would be spent with my husband in New York City. We love the energy, diversity, and opportunities of the city. I’m sure it would be spent with time at the MOMA or Guggenheim or some other museum, music or dance venue with time to explore and walk a neighborhood or read a book in the park with a good dose of people watching and of course there would be coffee, a great bottle of wine, friends and food, delicious food.

We can’t wait to have Jacquie join us on Thursday, March 18th at 6:00 pm cst for our BLOCK Party!

You can keep up with Jacquie by following her on Instagram and Facebook. Don’t forget to swing by her website, www.jacquiegering.com, and blog, too!

Get to Know Blair Stocker before Missouri Star Live!

Meet Blair Stocker: owner of Wise Craft Handmade, quilter, designer, author, crafter, teacher, and more! Here are a few things about Blair, who will make a special appearance on Missouri Star LIVE Tuesday, February 16. We found out her favorite quilting tool and what her perfect day is – keep reading to learn more about Blair!

What is your favorite part of the quilting process?

I really love every part of the quilting process- the way the hairs on the back of my neck stand up when I get a new design idea, picking fabrics, repetitive piecing (which I like to call my Netflix time), quilting, hand sewing on the binding. Each part has its own positives for me. I guess if I’m forced to pick a favorite part, maybe designing and picking the color palette for a quilt. I worked in apparel design for many years and coming up with seasonal color stories was always my jam, so this part can feel similar.

Who are your favorite fabric designers? 

I love Ruby Star Society, Denyse Schmidt, Alison Glass, so many others too. Any sort of colorful fabric line with little things like flowers on them just gets me every time.

What notion or sewing tool are you most dependent on? 

My Ruby Ruler™, most definitely. I don’t design any quilt or lay out any blocks without it. It helps me find what I like to call “quilt sparkle”.

How were you introduced to sewing and quilting?

My maternal grandmother taught me lots of things like knitting, simple sewing when I was a preschooler. (Just a side note, I don’t know if I’d have the patience to teach a preschooler to knit!)

What was the most frustrating sewing project you ever worked on?

The Weekender Bag by Amy Butler. I tried to make one probably 15 years ago and broke the sewing machine I was using at the time. I thought my sewing days were over, but I REALLY wanted to make that bag! (I still have it!)

What do you do to find inspiration/encourage your creativity?

My husband and I officially became empty nesters this year and decided to make a big life change and move from Seattle, Washington to Santa Fe, New Mexico. I pinch myself every day that we live in such a beautiful place. Even though it’s a bit challenging to visit local museums and shops during the pandemic, I have managed to visit a few. So inspiring. Although, even just walking around downtown Santa Fe is so inspiring to me too. All of this, and daily doses of unlimited sunshine have done a lot for my creativity.

What occupation would you like to try if sewing/making wasn’t an option?

I have always said that if I didn’t do this, I would love to do something with linguistics, maybe voice analysis. Regional accents have always been very interesting to me, and I’m pretty good at picking up on where people are from. For example, I am from North Carolina, I met a woman here in Sante Fe who immediately felt like “kin”, I knew she had to be from NC. When I asked where she was from, imagine my amazement when we both realized we grew up 30 minutes apart in North Carolina and went to the same college!

Who is your favorite fictional character?

No question- Arietty from The Borrowers. I loved how the world was so big (literally!) and full of wonder to her. As a kid, I wanted nothing more than for Arietty and her family to live under our floorboards.

What fabric have you been hoarding the longest?

That’s easy- Liberty of London “Ciara”. I don’t hoard it, but I do buy it by the yard(s) and would have a bolt of it if I could.

It’s my favorite of any fabric in the world. I have used it in many quilts, like My Liberty Spikes quilt (see picture below). I played with altering the color of it by bleaching some of it a little. All the printed areas are the Ciara print in the same colorway, just some are bleached a little, some a lot, and some none at all.

Describe your perfect day. 

Well, I awake to a clean house, magically done while I was sleeping! After that, spending the entire day in my studio (which is being built as an addition onto our house this year) just sewing and designing quilts. Listening to music, true crime podcasts, or some sort of inspiring self-help audio book. Then, closing up shop for the day (by closing the antique door/entrance to my studio) and having dinner with my husband, ending the day with junky reality tv. Mixing a day like this with days spent at museums or talking shop with fellow creatives is really about all I need out of life.

You can keep up with Blair on social by following her on Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook. Don’t forget to swing by her website, https://wisecrafthandmade.com, too. If you want even more, join Blair in her private Facebook group, where she hosts community stitch alongs.

Tune in to Missouri Star LIVE with Misty on Tuesday, February 16, when Blair shows off her the Ruby Ruler, and teaches you to find your “quilt sparkle”!

Misty’s Into the Woods Kit – Make this Beautiful Quilt with Missouri Star

Meet Misty Doan

Misty Doan is many things. She’s a mom, wife, city councilwoman, model, quilter, Missouri Star LIVE host, and now… a designer!

Misty recently created this quilt pattern, Into the Woods! Check it out HERE!

Get to know Misty and all about her inspiration behind her latest creation and her favorite holiday traditions!

Where do you look for inspiration in your work?

Inspiration strikes in all different ways for me. But, everything I make or design is usually with a specific person or purpose in mind. So I think a lot about that- Who is it for? What do they love? What would make this quilt meaningful to them? What would make this project stand out? I like to challenge myself during the design process by asking lots of questions and that helps guide me to the final result.

What are your must have tools for working on quick kit projects?

Before I sit down to start on any quilt project, I always make sure I have my diagonal seam tape on my machine, a seam guide handy, and a few bobbins wound and ready to go. I do all my cutting first, label my pieces with trusty post-it notes, and then I can just sit and sew, sew, sew!

What tips do you have for new quilters?

Finished really is better than perfect. Take your time, enjoy the process, and remember- it’s only fabric and thread. Jenny always says, “Sewing is a learned skill. Sew an hour today and tomorrow you’re an hour better!”

What are your favorite holiday traditions?

There are almost too many to name. We try to make every holiday special at our house, but Christmas is especially magical. We always decorate the day after Thanksgiving- singing along to our favorite Christmas music and decking the halls together. The kids also make handmade gifts for each other every year that they exchange on Christmas Eve, so Jake and I love helping them with that. (It’s always a trick to keep their plans a secret from the others.) 

Which projects do you work on specifically for Christmastime? 

I always try to make handmade gifts for a few special people each year. What I make is different each year, depending on who it’s for, but there’s something truly special about making time to make something with someone special in mind.

What inspired Into the Woods? Why did you choose those three blocks?

My boys have been spending a lot of time playing in the woods behind our house lately. They’re always adventuring and exploring- bringing back treasures that they find and building forts. I recently made a quilt with my daughter and loved spending time helping her- so it seemed like it was time to make something that the boys would love. The quilt really seemed to design itself once I started. I knew I wanted to use the simple wedge to make the rows of trees, so that’s really where it all started. Then, I decided to include the log cabin blocks as a nod to the ramshackle fort that they’re so proud of building. And lastly the bearpaw blocks just naturally seemed to tie it all together.

Behind the scenes of BLOCK Magazine – August 2020

A Note from Jenny

Dear Quilters,

This year has been so completely out of the ordinary, and challenging in so many ways, that I find myself simplifying again and experiencing great joy in the things that I have often taken for granted. Now, preparing for the holiday season is less about the hustle and bustle of finding just the right present, but taking the time to help create a warm, welcoming spirit in my home and in my community. 

As I contemplate the spirit of generosity, I recognize that giving comes in many forms. Some give of their time and energy, some share love abundantly and easily, some can listen for hours, some give the biggest hugs, and some create handmade gifts to share. There are many ways to be generous and no matter how you like to give, your intentions absolutely matter. As we’ve experienced, the simplest gift from a child—a crumpled flower, a scribbled picture, or a sloppy kiss—can mean so much. Their intention comes through, as does ours. Never give in to the thought that your offering is insufficient. If you’ve given from the heart, that’s all that truly matters.

Considering the state of our nation, we could all use an extra boost of kindness. Let’s make this season a time to truly give from the heart and reach out to our loved ones. Let’s slow down, savor the simple moments with friends and family, and do the things that bring us joy. Please remember, you’re always welcome at Missouri Star and you are all family to me.

Love,

Jenny


WHAT IS BLOCK MAGAZINE?

BLOCK Magazine is a great way to become a part of the Missouri Star Family. The goal of this “idea book” is to empower others to learn, get inspired, and create! With more than 10 quilting projects in every issue, plus stories that warm your heart, BLOCK Magazine is sure to deliver something for everyone and become a trusted source of inspiration for your sewing room!

Produced and published right here at Missouri Star – each issue comes to you completely ad-free. We incorporate personal stories from our family and our dear readers, provide tips on favorite notions, and teach skill-building techniques.

“I don’t usually feel the need to contact the company of the magazine I purchased, however, this is a different circumstance. I just received my first issue of BLOCK Magazine. I wanted to let your company know how thoroughly impressed I am! The quality of the magazine is far more than I have come to expect from different companies. The quality of the images right down to the print stock… just fabulous! Thank you for putting so much thought and effort into your product. This is the type of publication that you hold on to. I am just so very pleased, I had to let you know.”

Lora Andera, BLOCK Magazine subscriber

WHAT’S IN THE NEXT ISSUE OF BLOCK MAGAZINE?

  • Planning ahead for the holidays with Christmas decor patterns and a Halloween bonus!
  • Learn English paper piecing and how to make a pincushion with Sue Daley!
  • Get helpful tips and tricks for fun with fusible appliqué.
BLOCK Magazine Volume 7 Issue 4 August Issue
  • In Jenny’s Journal, join her in her home studio to see what she’s been working on for her friends, grandchildren, or just for herself and her home.
  • Several quilt patterns such as Pop Stars, Diamond Terrace, and Dresden Blooms.
  • Plus part three of our Ruby Sensation Sew-Along >>>
It’s not too late to join in the fun!

HERE’S A LOOK BEHIND THE SCENES OF OUR NEXT ISSUE!

When you flip through BLOCK’s fresh, glossy pages you’ll find gorgeous photography, fun patterns, brilliant ideas, and one-of-a-kind stories! Those are all brought to you by a team of almost 30 people who bring BLOCK Magazine to life! Take a peek into all the hard work, creativity and love that is poured into each issue:

Natalie and Jenny working together to plan for BLOCK Magazine
The BLOCK Magazine copy-writing team working hard

“When we were reviewing the quilts for this upcoming issue of BLOCK, there was concern expressed that the advent calendar project was not reading as a tree in the center with the first fabric choice made (as seen below)! We decided to see if the sewing team could redo the project using different background fabric. With deadlines coming quickly, that seemed very concerning. Luckily, our team is filled with creatives that are always thinking up innovative solutions”

– Christine Ricks, Creative Director of BLOCK Magazine

“I pondered this for about six hours. Then, while driving home from dinner with my husband the ah-ha moment struck. I kept thinking about the Triple Play that Natalie, Jenny, and Misty did using hexies. Misty turned her hexies around and used the back for the front, so it dawned on me that we could turn around those red hexies to the front. We did it, and the tree is much more defined (as you can see above)!”

Courtenay Hughes, Missouri Star Academy instructor

Subscribe by Monday, July 27 to receive this next issue to your doorstep (with no shipping cost!) by mid-August! Pst! You’ll also receive April and June’s digital issues completely FREE so you can jump right in to our Ruby Sensation sew along without missing a beat!

SUBSCRIBE TODAY!