Residency at Vermont Studio Center


Vermont Studio Center
Red Mill Dining

 I am just returning after a two week residency at the Vermont Studio Center. And I am now officially in residency program withdrawal. I was warned it would happen by others who have attended residencies but I didn’t believe it. It is kind of like working extremely hard on a project and, then, it is over with. But that is minimizing the feelings of coming down from a residency.

You just plain and simply miss the energy and adrenaline associated with it, the new friends you have met and spent an emotional art filled time with and the art you were inspired and free to make.

For 2 weeks, this room became my shelter and friend.  It was a nice quiet blank space to be in. No cell phone noise was allowed within the studios nor any music played without headphones on. I could read, write, experiment and have no specific agenda other than creating.

Wolf Kahn Studio

Houdini the studio cat

Even had his own crosswalk sign

I panicked a bit when my first few experiments did not work out as planned. But they were just that-experiments. And I am happy I finally had time to work on them and learn from them.

 I had the luxury of 3 meals per day prepared for me and ate my meals in the Red Dining Hall with 50 other artists, writers and visual artists. I came in at the three week mark as many artists were attending for a month long residency.  Their excitement and enthusiasm were felt the moment I sat down in the dining room. I wanted what they already had! They were off and running with their ideas and art.  I settled in and fed off their energy in a very positive way.


Dining Hall

   The nights were filled with activities- lectures from visiting artists, studio visits from those artists, presentations from attendees and readings from the writers. My eyes were wide open at the talent level I was exposed to and how hard each of the artists were working.  Late night hours were very common. During the day you had access to yoga, a meditation studio or life drawing classes. The town was quintessential Vermont and had a coffee shop, market, pizza place, bookstore , and Johnson Woolen Mills if you needed a break.

Studio Store

       Each day I was there, I fell more in love with this magical place.  Because each day I was afforded the time to make art without interruption. Yes, the art making was the reason I was there.  Most importantly, I learned more and more about myself as an artist and my process- how I stop myself from making intuitive decisions, how I second guess myself and how impatient I am with my process . And how I need to claim and own textiles as my art medium and easily explain it to others.

Kowalsky House lodging

You want to see the art I made. You will as I gradually start to complete it. I will show some of it to you. The rest were experiments that I can now let go of. I will tell you about that as well.

It was a very positive experience that I am just beginning to process. We drove back to Michigan yesterday-13 long hours.  But my seat was back in my studio today again. Because that’s what you do when you are an artist. You get back to work quickly. And I love being an artist.

Thank you Vermont Studio Center for this treasured gift. You are a true gem. I will dream of and aspire to returning. 

Red Mill
waterfall included




New Adventures : Vermont Studio Center Residency

      It had been so long since I have been in this little space. I realized how much I miss looking  back on the year and keeping track of my art life and crazy happenings of my personal life. Suffice it to say that the past two years have involved art and lots of family time. Transition times for all generations that we are weathering through.  

    But I am excited and happy to start 2018 with an intensive art experience:  a 2 week residency at the Vermont Studio Center! I was surprised and honored to be awarded this residency with 50 other artists who will be there for the month of January. As you can see, I have been counting down the days and tomorrow is the day I journey east at the lovely hour of 6am. I will check in Saturday afternoon and set up my studio.

I figured this is a good time to restart the blog. What does happen during a residency? I am going to find out and hopefully make lots of art to start out 2018. Or just soak up the intensity of all the other artists. Be open to new. 

I kept thinking I would update the website first…but I am not waiting for that to happen. 🙂 I will also be posting on my Instagram site so stay tuned for updates. 

Hiding Out


Museum Display at Tuch and Technik Museum, Neumunster, Germany

Museum Display at Tuch and Technik Museum, Neumunster, Germany

I really have been hiding out. If I pop up out of my safe little hiding hole,  then I might not believe it. This year is a very , very good art year. And it’s just  mid- May. But it is the result of few very intense years of work. I have so used my blog as a journal that I sadly regret not keeping up.

Lots of exhibits for 2016 are in process. I will do a quick re-cap so I can catch up

1. Color Improvisations 2 curated by Nancy Crow, opened in Germany at the Tuch and Textile  Museum. My piece, Time Fragments #2 , was chosen for this exhibit. Marc and I traveled there for the opening. ( By the way if you go to Europe, go for more than 6 days.  Jet lag is a killer so once there you might as well enjoy the new time zone you are in and see the sights. Next time we will. ) It was such an honor to see all the large pieces and their proud artists . And catch up with all my friends.

Color Improvisations 2

Color Improvisations 2


Color Improvisations 2 Opening

Color Improvisations 2

Color Improvisations 2 will be in Neumunster, Germany until August 27, 2016. See the museum site for further details. Hopefully it will travel near and far over the next few years.

2. Fantastic Fibers
Time Fragments #6 was chosen for this exhibit in Paducah, KY at the Yeiser Art Center. This   exhibit will run through June 4th. Nice to have this piece be appreciated!


Time Fragments# 6 © ColleenKole 2015


3. Mastery: Sustaining Momentum 

This exhibit is an invitational curated by Nancy Crow at  the Dairy Barn in Athens, Ohio. It will open in May 27 from 5-7pm and run until November  2016. I will have 6 small works and 3 large piece exhibited. There will be a catalog available for pre-order May 1st on the Dairy Barn site. Follow the link in this post to purchase the catalog. More later on this exhibit as I can’t show you  my work yet.

4. Michigan Regional Exhibit  This is always a sweet honor to be included in this event.    Muskegon Museum of Art is a gem of a museum and has a extremely hard working staff,  high quality exhibits and an all around beautiful venue to have work exhibited in.
Don’t miss this exhibit.  Muskegon Museum of Art ,  May 12th-August 3, 2016.

Time Fragments, 67.5Hx71W , Textiles, ©ColleenKole2016

Time Fragments, 67.5Hx71W , Textiles, ©ColleenKole2016

SO many great exhibits out there right now for quilts. It is the time for ALL of us to shine and enjoy the hard work of our hands and hearts!!! Make plans to see them before they move on out of your area!









The Space In Between in Vermont


Snow finally in VT

Snow finally in VT

I love my Vermont week in between Christmas and New Year’s. For the past 12 years, we load our tired Christmas bodies, winter gear and all kinds of books and movies into the car and drive for 13 hours to our second home in VT. This happens the day after Christmas. As the kids have gotten older, it comes with lots of grumbling and complaining as to all that they are leaving behind and activities they are missing out on. Especially this year when the snow forecast was non-existent, the grumbling reached epic proportions.

I have to admit I was kind of apprehensive of what would happen without snow. I am the non-skier who stays nice and warm and sews. And sews. I typically bring the biggest bag of sewing projects and lots of books. They ski and I make dinner and sew all day while they ski. And I take long, thinking walks in the woods. It’s a win-win situation. What would they do without skiing? Selfishly, would I be able to sew?

But so far, they sleep in epic proportions and read by the fire. The days are broken up by playing games, reading and eating. No worries without snow. We are all relaxing. And I was able to sew. My sewing space is much simpler here and I really love that.  It has made it very clear I need to purge in my large sewing studio in Michigan!

My simple sewing space

My simple sewing space

After working on 2 exhibits for the past 2 years, I am loving this state of being-relaxed and planning for the next year. I forgot what it felt like.  It is pure bliss. I appreciate the week between the holidays with newfound appreciation. I will plan for next year. But not right now. I need to find my spot by the fire and my people in the week between.

Departure and Arrival



Sending this package out into the world really was nerve wracking.

It signifies the culmination of a long process which began back in February of 2014.  In February 2014, I was invited to submit work for an invitational curated by Nancy Crow. Without a second thought, I accepted and began a long quiet period of making 5 works 90x 90 inches maximum size. Of those pieces I submitted, I am very excited to announce that “Time Fragments #2 ” has been accepted into Color Improvisations 2 .


March 11-July 1, 2016 | Germany | exhibition
• March 11 | Opening of COLOR IMPROVISATIONS II
Exhibition curated by Nancy Crow
Tuch+Technik Textile Museum
Neumünster, Germany


I have never been more nervous to pack up a piece in a simple bag and box and sent it off to Germany last week. I didn’t realize how much I was holding my breath that it arrived safely. And not until I got the email today informing me that it did, did I relax and start to get excited.   I can’t show you any images yet until the show opening. But you will see it as I will share photos from the opening because my husband Marc and I are traveling to Germany to attend the opening.

Now you know why things have been kind of quiet around here. Whew!  It arrived safely.


Part 1: Mesmerized By Artprize 2015

(I wrote this post at the beginning of Artprize and didn’t publish it. Felt like it is worthy of a publish!)

Grand Rapids

Grand Rapids

Every year I doubt whether or not “this” year can compete with last year.

It starts and I still doubt.

But then on a beautiful fall night, I leave my Artprize venue and rush around to see what I can see in an hour.

Day crowds at DeVos

Day crowds at DeVos

And you know what? It doesn’t matter what I see or how much I see. I get tears in my eyes when I say this. But it’s not about my piece. It’s not about how my piece compares to others in the same genre of work. It’s not about what venue I got into. It’s not about good art versus bad art . It’s not about the prize or prize money.  It’s not about public versus juried art. Or how well respected the event is in the larger art world. No, not at all.


It’s all about the people craving the art experience.

DSC_0400 A huge community of people out enjoying and viewing art. Lots of art. And over the course of 3 weeks, they will keep coming back.










I am grateful that I have been mesmerized by people enjoying art in my wonderful city.

Artprize 2015 by Brian Kelly-I look for this every year as he has a pulse on the event.


10 Reasons I Love Artprize: ARTPRIZE 7

Excitement is building. Openings for the venues are being announced.  Facebook announcements are the buzz. Installations are being created on site. The HUB opens on Saturday. The artists take a collective sigh, breathe deeply and some days think-again? Of days standing on their feet, greeting hundreds, if not thousands of people, looking at art.


Women’s City Club venue for Artprize 2015

Ten Reasons I Love Artprize

  1. People who would not ordinarily view art venture outside their comfort zone and enjoy the experience. And come to the event multiple times. New people see art for the first time. There are 1551 entries in 162 venues.
  2. As an artist, I participate in this event with 1740 artists. It’s the world’s largest art competition.
  3. Meeting new friends and seeing old friends. It’s a great time to catch up with my own tribe.
  4. Grand Rapids swells to capacity and people get to visit our wonderful city. People talk about art for 3 solid weeks. Beginning September 23rd.
  5. There is always controversy, discussion and growth among the local and global art scene regarding this event. Over 720,000 $ is awarded in grants and awards.
  6. The newspaper is full of art of 3 weeks. You read about it, talk about it and see art.
  7. The dedication of thousands of volunteers and paid employees coming together to make this a great event is inspiring. People working hard for art.
  8. ARTPRIZE 7 is a free event and accessible to all. It is described as :

    ArtPrize is a radically open international art competition decided by public vote and expert jury that takes place each fall in Grand Rapids

    For 19 days, art entries from all over the world cover three square miles of downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan—and it’s all free and open to the public.

  9. The public votes. The jurors vote. Separately. So, again, lots of time and energy to debate the publics votes versus the jurors votes. 720, 000 $ of prize money and grants awarded this year.
  10. This is the artists ‘ time to be seen. I just read a statistic that over 400,000 people view a venue’s online profile. Last year the venue that I have been invited to participate in, the Women’s City Club had an attendance of 27,400 people.I am so excited and honored to be a part of art history in the making. And I got excited just by writing this. Now how can I get out of that jury duty I have starting September 21st….? Shucks but I will see art no matter what! And interact with people viewing my piece, Time Fragments#6.

Dusting Off This Old Blog: Artprize 2015


Time Fragments #6, details ©Colleen Kole, 2015

Time Fragments #6, details
©Colleen Kole, 2015

I think for a long time I was worried about too many silly things. The more I read online about what to write and what not to write if you were an artist , the more I just became overwhelmed and anxious when I sat down to write. Here’s the run-on sentences in my brain:

  1. Blogs are dead. So why write them then?  I still eagerly watch each day for my favorite writers or friends, so why wouldn’t others?
  2. I don’t have my MFA so I am not qualified to write a blog post.  Yes, they do have an edge but writing is a lot of “practice makes perfect”.  
  3. Nothing I say is really interesting or unique.  Well it is unique to me. 
  4. You need to brand yourself so don’t align yourself with something controversial. Controversial topics are fun to discuss in person and sometimes get lost in a short email or blogpost so hard to defend . I get this point. 
  5. Along similiar lines, don’t align yourself with one thing or person. Be your own person.  Authentic- be authentic. 
  6. I can’t or don’t want to show my work right now. Sometimes true but lots goes on in my town/life that is art related I can share with others.
  7. You need tutorials. Write tutorials.  Not opposed to sharing what I know. So I could write a tutorial. 
  8. I need a workshop to learn to write.  My default argument for all things hard in my life. 
  9. I take lousy pictures.
  10. I haven’t made as much work as others have.

So, the run-on in my brain could continue forever. Or I could quit hiding out. I could quit comparing myself to others. I could grab a little confidence. Risk a little skin and get to work and have some fun meeting up with my friends again.

How the heck have you been?

On an art related note, I will be at Artprize this year again. This year I will be in a different venue , the Women’s City Club showing my piece called Time Fragments #6 .

Time Fragments #6, 61x46, ©Colleen Kole, 2015

Time Fragments #6,
©Colleen Kole, 2015

It’s Been So Long…

It has been a long time since I visited this little blog. I keep wondering what is keeping me from it.  Probably just a busy life outside of the studio and some things I can’t yet show you.

But in my travels last month to CT for a wedding, look who I found: the amazing Allegra Brelsford at the American Fine craft show in Hartford, CT.  I was looking for something art related to go to on Saturday while we waited for a friend’s wedding and caught a billboard advertisement for it . The show was relatively close to our hotel so I conned my husband to go with me. 🙂

Allegra Brelsford

Allegra Brelsford

And right at the doorway was Allegra who looked exactly the same as the last time when I saw her at the Barn. Her booth looked lovely with all her work displayed very professionally. And her color sense really showed as well. Allegra has been working very hard the last few years. And her work and booth showcased this.

And my husband even enjoyed the show after all.

Congrats Allegra!