cARTography, beaches, and driftwood

rjfaSpringtime in Seattle – We went for the opening event for the cARTography show and stayed a couple of days to explore the city.


The show included work by 40 artists from 15 countries – an interesting wide-variety of interpretations of “maps” in all kinds of mediums ranging from paintings, artists books, sculpture, textiles, and mixed media pieces.  It was a fun opening – we met several other participating artists and with wineries on both sides of the gallery holding wine-tastings, the sunshine and spring blooms, it definitely felt like an evening on the pacific coast.

Over the next couple of days, we explored the city.  Starting downtown to visit a few galleries, I quickly realized all I really wanted to do was go find the water and walk along a beach.

A ferry ride to Bainbridge Island, and a short drive led to a windy rainy day beach walk – it felt so good to be out in nature near water, I didn’t care how cold it was.


The next day ended up being the best weather of all, and lucky for us we found Discovery Park where we basked in the sunshine while wandering the shoreline out at the lighthouse point.


Discov 2

 Discov 6

Getting away from one’s regular routine and space is the best medicine for finding yourself.  I filled up on the sounds and smells of the beach, the sea, and the sunshine.  There were other visual treasures too.

drift wood

Spring has sprung 4 new places to find my work

Thanks to some great early spring weather, the dye pots and steaming have been in full swing since our return from the ACC Baltimore show and 3 orders of scarves are now bundled up and headed for artisan stores on both coasts. 


On the west coast, my scarves have already arrived in CA at Pomegranate La Jolla.


By mid-April, a good selection of both my eco-dyed and black patterned scarves will be available at Appalachian Spring on the east coast.  They have 4 store locations – 2 in DC, 1 in MD, and 1 in VA.


Imagine Artwear in Alexandria, VA will have a bountiful collection of my eco-dyed scarves arriving in the mid-April time frame as well.

Pillows and Personal Badges available Online

I also now have some of my work available for sale on the Artful Home website.  You will find a selection of pillows and my personal badges available there now and eventually more of my wall art as well.



 I’m excited to have these 4 new locations carrying my work and hope that you will visit them if they’re near you.  Wondering where else you can find my art?  For a complete up-to-date listing of all galleries where you can find my work, please visit my Galleries page on my website.

Happy Spring!

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Falling in Love Again

studio-view-wip4See it, back there on the wall in the corner of the studio?  That’s the next piece in my LineScape series.  I started it last year and am now circling my way back toward reconnecting with it with plans of finishing it for a rapidly approaching exhibit that opens in May.


LineScape #31 in progress. © Ayn Hanna

I always have several pieces in progress in the studio and depending on show deadlines as well as which piece I’m most energized about, that’s where I’ll focus.  Sometimes, like in this case, a piece spends several months on my design wall and I’ll work on it sparingly, as the next steps of what it needs become clear. 

Deadlines are helpful for busting through creative blocks and ushering decisions to resolve the work, often uncovering new paths toward completion, which in turn draws me back in to falling in love with the piece once again.LS-31-wip3w

After a few sessions reconnecting, I’m on my way with ideas to resolve this piece and know that as it evolves, more will become clearer – just like as you get further down the path, you can see more on the horizon.  My goal is to finish this over the next few weeks for a 2 person show that opens mid-May in Albuquerque, NM.

More on that show soon, but first, I have an exhibition that opens this week, April 1st at Ryan James Fine Arts gallery in Kirkland, WA and it will be up through May 30th.

announcementfrontWSeven pieces from my LineScape series are included in this show about Maps, along with works in multiple mediums by over 40 artists from around the globe.  I’m intrigued to see the many ways that artists interpret maps and happy that I’ll get to see it all in person at the opening event on Thursday, April 9.  If you’re in the vicinity, I hope you’ll come for the opening – it would be lovely to see you!

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Making Hay and a Fall Workshop Announcement

scarf-pile-1Making Hay

With orders to fill and multiple shows on the horizon, it was great to have a week of almost summer-like weather to get the dye pots bubbling, and the steamers steaming.  The result:  32 eco-dyed scarves and 17 black patterned scarves are now “in process” in the studio, soon to be finished and sent on their way to stores in CA, DC, MD, and VA.


Meet “Stella” the steamer, actually an industrial steam iron.  We spent some quality time together the past couple of weekends steaming the color out of some black silk scarves to reveal the screened patterns.



Since we had multiple dye pots going to make the scarves, I threw a couple of wool fabric bundles in the pots too, one in a madder bath, one in an iron pot with some log wood:


wool, eucalyptus, copper, madder dye bath



2 sided view of the same piece of cloth – wool, eucalyptus, copper, iron/log wood bath

Fall 2015 Eco-Dye Workshop Announcement

These wonderful warm days spent with the dye pots prompted me to finalize my teaching plans for my fall workshop.  (With 7 exhibitions scheduled this year, I’ve only planned to teach 1 workshop this fall.)  Barbara Gilhooly and I will be teaming up to teach eco-dyeing & printing Oct. 10-11 here at our Hanna-Gilhooly studios in Fort Collins.  If you’d like to learn about dyeing and printing with natural plant materials, we would love to have you join us – For details and registration, click here.

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Back in the Saddle

Home from Baltimore and re-centered, having had a couple weeks to absorb the whole experience, recover and do some follow up – ready for some good news?

My booth at the 2015 ACC Baltimore show

My booth at the 2015 ACC Baltimore show

Better Results this Year

We learned so much last year that there’s stuff I’m sure we don’t even realize we learned that helped us have a much better show this year.

Attitude, Experience, and Rest are everything:  Going into it, I was prepared, relaxed, and ready – ready to enjoy it and meet new people.  And I mean really be present in the moment with people for the whole 5 day show (a challenge for us introverts) and not so tired and distracted as I felt during much of last year’s show.

Another view of my booth, from the other end.

Another view of my booth.

I received an order for my scarves from a new luxury goods online store even before the start of the Baltimore show.

My wholesale orders were triple the number of last year.  Soon my work will be in new galleries and stores in CA, DC, MD, TN, VA and online too (I’ll be announcing the stores here on my blog and adding these to my News section of my website, once each store has my work in stock.)

Although a huge winter snowstorm put the big kibosh on attendance on Saturday (which is usually the best retail sales day of the show), I still had a 30% increase in my retail sales this year over last year.

Thank my lucky stars for scarves, pillows, and small art.  While there was lots of interest in my larger wall work, my wall art sales only included several circular blocks and very few personal badges – all small art – along with many scarves and some pillows.

My eco-dyed scarves were a big hit at the show.

Even Better

The editors of American Craft Magazine stopped by my booth and asked if I’d be willing to do a video interview for the American Craft website (yes!), so on Saturday morning, we did the video shoot.  I’ll let you know when it’s done and posted on their site.

I met a number of great people – artists, gallery owners, museum store managers, arts center/arts council professionals – all good connections that could possibly lead to greater things.

After being the very last artist to get packed up and leave the show (at 1am) on Sunday night last year, we hired 3 wonderful local artists to help with tear down this year and were done packing and out of there by 8pm, in time to actually go have a nice dinner.


Bottom Line

Did I make a profit?  Short answer – No.  My expenses to do the show still far outweigh my sales and orders.  I am working on ideas for both growing my sales and shrinking my expenses – plan, implement, learn, adjust. Plan, implement, learn, adjust….

Am I happy with this year’s results?  Yes.  It feels good, and I think the increase in both orders and sales was significant.  Had it not been for the Saturday storm, it may have been a really great show. 

Would I do it again next year?  Yes, definitely.  Its going to take time to build this art business and I’m encouraged by the improvement in just the past year.  Learn, adjust and try to make next year’s show even better.  With each show, I’m getting more comfortable and experienced in building my art into a successful business, while still having fun along the way.

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"Moondance I, II, and III", 24 x 24 x 2 inches each, Textile paintings mounted on cradled birch panels © Ayn Hanna

“Moondance I, II, and III”, 24 x 24 x 2 inches each, Textile paintings (hand-dyed fabrics, stitching) mounted on cradled birch panels © Ayn Hanna

I’m in the final stretch of preparing for the ACC Baltimore Show – less than 2 weeks to go – and steadily making progress on completing the many “to-do’s” on the list.  The biggest accomplishment this week was getting “most” of the artwork (including the 3 pieces above) shipped.


4 boxes and a tube are headed to VT where they will be added to the pallet which already holds the booth, lights, and flooring and then the whole lot will be trucked down to Baltimore and plopped in front of my booth space #3101.  I’m very thankful to NOT have to deal with shipping the booth as well this year….remember what an ordeal that was last year?

Moondance Inspiration

Barbara and I collaborated on this “Circular Things” installation piece for our Must Love Art show last September – her wire sculptures and my textile paintings.  It was fun responding to her circular wire “drawings”, making my own circular motifs in textile to complement the wire.

"Circular Things", textile paintings and wire sculpture, © Ayn Hanna & Barbara Gilhooly

“Circular Things”, textile paintings and wire sculpture, © Ayn Hanna & Barbara Gilhooly

While planning my work for the ACC Baltimore show, I wanted to have some larger pieces to complement my 50 small personal badges, and that’s how the Moondance pieces were inspired.

"Moondance I", 24 x 24 x 2 inches © Ayn Hanna

“Moondance I”, 24 x 24 x 2 inches © Ayn Hanna


"Moondance II", 24 x 24 x 2 inches © Ayn Hanna

“Moondance II”, 24 x 24 x 2 inches © Ayn Hanna


"Moondance III", 24 x 24 x 2 inches © Ayn Hanna

“Moondance III”, 24 x 24 x 2 inches © Ayn Hanna


"Moondance III" (side view)

“Moondance III” (side view)

I’ve tried to have a more focused approach to the work I’ll have at the show this year as I think it was a bit over the top with too much variety last year.  These pieces will be a good complement to the badges, at a larger scale.  And both will go well with my black patterned pillows and scarves too.

100% cotton hand-dyed fabric front, linen-backed one-of-a-kind pillows

100% cotton hand-dyed fabric front, linen-backed one-of-a-kind pillows

With just a couple weeks to go before the show, it feels good to have much of the artwork already en route.  Although there’s still plenty of work to do, I’m not pitching any tents on top of stress mountain this year – I’m happy with whatever does get done.  And as the weather Gods are shining on CO this weekend, I’ll be outside with my dye pots, bundling and steaming cloth, enjoying the art-making and the weather and getting excited for the show.

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Visual Vocabulary: Melding Drawing & Writing

What are your favorite ways of communicating your creative ideas?  Some creatives have a strong preference for communicating via either visual or written means, feeling they convey their thoughts more clearly through one method or the other.  I’ve always loved both drawing and writing and have integrated both in my creative work.


“Creative Writer”, 5 x 5 inches, textile painting, © Ayn Hanna

Although my college degrees are in the Visual Arts, the creative writer within was strong enough that I also completed a creative writing minor as an undergraduate.  I’ve loved books since my parents first put them in my hands and have created some of my own with my original prints and writings. 

"NYC Journal", Artist's Book © Ayn Hanna

“NYC Journal”, Artist’s Book © Ayn Hanna

Books, the small treasures we can hold and touch, filled with visual images and story.  Remember your favorite books from childhood?  I was lucky to have great English and Writing teachers through my high school years, teaching me a love of reading and writing.  

"White Typewriter", lithograph, © Ayn Hanna

“White Typewriter”, lithograph, © Ayn Hanna

Of course “back then” we captured our musings on typewriters, those magic metal machines.  My love of writing included a love of the machines themselves, the shapes, all the moving pieces and parts, their role in the creative writing process.  In grad school, I completed a series of works – both 2 and 3 dimensional – focused on the noble typewriter.

"Typewriter", monotype, © Ayn Hanna

“Typewriter”, monotype, © Ayn Hanna



Bronze Typewriter, © Ayn Hanna

In more recent years, my melding of drawing and writing coupled with my graphic coaching, recording, facilitation and my years of experience creating business presentations has led me to new exciting explorations and study in the visual display of (all types) of information – in a sense mapping – ideas, places, plans, dreams, etc, and using this in my creative work.  My series of personal badges is one example of this personal visual “mapping”.

Combining these various interests and aspects helps me engage both sides of my brain.  A focus on visual display of information – of mapping things, making abstract ideas visual – is a way to communicate ideas creatively with both pictures and words.  What could be better than a pencil (or thread), an idea and a blank sheet of paper (or some fabric)?

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You don’t know what you don’t know

What a difference a year makes – At this time last year, I was climbing a steep learning curve, preparing to exhibit in my first ACC Baltimore show and dealing with a lot of unknowns.  This year, I get the benefit of having been through that fire, with a much greater understanding of the big trade show experience and all that’s involved, my preparation for ACC Baltimore is less frenzied. 

It also helps that my booth, floor, and lighting are already sitting on a pallet in a warehouse in VT, ready to be trucked down to Baltimore.  That’s half the battle.  There’s still a whole host of other tasks to get done, including making new work for the show!


More textile badges in progress

The Innocence and Exuberance of  Youth

When we were kids, my Mom often left my brother and I waiting in the car while she ran into the grocery store to “pick up a few items”.  On one occasion, we were parked near the big white ice box and I watched multiple people come out of the store with their groceries, pause to flip open the ice box door, grab a bag and head to their cars.

After watching all these people get their ice, I thought, hey, our family could use some ice too and while my Mom was inside getting us food, I could be helpful and get us some ice.


Mini Textile Painting (fabrics, stitching), 5 x 5 inches © Ayn Hanna

Not sure how young I was at the time, all I remember is that it was a big challenge to scale the front of that box and get that lid open.  It was hard work getting up there, fishing out a big heavy bag of ice then dropping it on the sidewalk below.  It must have been pretty entertaining to anyone who might have witnessed that act, but as luck would have it, I got up, in and got a bag out without anyone coming by.


Pleased with my accomplishment, I then realized my work had only just begun – how was I going to get that big heavy bag to the car?  There I was struggling with moving that ice bag along the sidewalk when “the Man” appeared and asked me, “Do your parents know what you’re doing, did they pay for that ice?” 

Ummm, well no….I mean, what, you have to PAY for ice???  I had no money.  I melted right there on the spot.  He went along his way and I, well, I started working on putting that bag of ice BACK up in the box.  Somehow I managed to get it back in the box and got back in the car before my Mom came out of the store.

A little confused, embarrassed and not wanting to get in trouble, I kept my ice box adventure to myself.  I grew up a little bit that day, not really sure what the lesson learned was, but I felt different inside – reconciling innocence and exuberance with adult economic realities.

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Visual Autobiography: The Early Years


Making, Making Making…

Heads down in the studio, preparing for the upcoming ACC Baltimore show in Feb (I’ll be in booth #3101), I’m making more of my small stitched textile badges which will be a large focal point of my display.

(For those that are new to this blog, you’ll find earlier posts about these stitched personal badges here, here, here, and here.  Or you could search in the “categories” on the right for “personal badges” to see all related posts.)

The Early Years

"Reluctant Model", Mini Textile Painting (fabrics, stitching), mounted on 8 x 8 x 2 inch birch panel

“Reluctant Model”, Mini Textile Painting (fabrics, stitching), mounted on 8 x 8 x 2 inch birch panel

I had a camera in my face since the moment I was born – my Dad had just landed his first newspaper photographer job, and he took care of me during the day while my Mom went to work, so I was his most readily available model.  (He’s still a practicing professional photographer today, and now chases the amazing light and wildflowers on the western slope of Colorado for most of his photos.  His work can be seen here.)

That first camera I spent so much time staring into the lens of was a Leica – there were a few times when I even got to hold it.


Learning a love of football, the K.C. Chiefs, and sports in general

"Football", Mini Textile Painting (fabrics, stitching), mounted on 8 x 8 x 2 inch birch panel

“Football”, Mini Textile Painting (fabrics, stitching), mounted on 8 x 8 x 2 inch birch panel

My Dad loves sports, especially football so I had a football put in in my hands very early on.  He instilled a love of sports in general in me, something I’m very thankful for – I think getting involved in sports early on helped me develop in many ways, becoming an athlete, action-oriented and confident in chasing my dreams.

When I was about six, my Dad became the official photographer of the Kansas City Chiefs football team.  He set up his studio/dark room downtown where he would expose the film and print photos (seems like so old school technology now).  Some of my favorite memories were hanging out with my Dad in the darkroom and watching him mix up chemicals and see the photos magically appear.  (I’ve realized more recently that my attraction to printmaking – the love of black and white and the process intensive medium – likely can be linked back to these experiences.)

There were always some “rejects” that he didn’t think were good enough and I saved them (still have them today) because I loved everything about those photos – they were pictures my Dad took of Chiefs players, many of whom I got to meet and I would sit in the stands every Sunday with my brother in the Chiefs “Huddle Club” (kids section), watching my Dad run up and down the sidelines, shooting photos of the games.  Sometimes players would come to my Dad’s studio and during one visit, the Chief’s Center, Jack Rudnay autographed this photo for me. 


© Rod Hanna

This was during the late ’60’s, when the Chiefs were really good.  They even won the Super Bowl in 1970 – that was one of the the biggest celebration moments I can remember as a kid.

And that’s why even now, when I’ve lived in Bronco-land longer than I lived in KC, my heart is still with the K.C. Chiefs, because I knew so many of the “old” Chiefs players and this team represents my Dad and some of the best memories of my childhood.

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Looking Back, Looking Forward

As the temperature drops below zero and the snow gently falls on this, the night before the last of 2014, I’m so grateful for my bright warm home and studio, and all the memories of a really big year.


My booth at the 2014 ACC Baltimore Show.

2014 – I got Married and did 9 Art Shows

In the Spring, I exhibited my work in the ACC Baltimore and ACC St. Paul Shows, and wrote my first wholesale orders.  My work is now available at 3 Museum/Fine Gift Stores – Princeton University Art Museum Store in NJ, The Chrysler Art Museum Store in Norfolk, VA, and Willow Artisan Market in Littleton, CO – as well as at 3 Art Galleries – 44T Artspace at Metro Frame Works in Denver, CO, Palette Contemporary in Albuquerque, NM, and Gallery 360 in Minneapolis, MN.

My work was included in the Fabric of Legacies Show here in Fort Collins during the summer, and early fall brought on 2 more shows – Roots & Wings group show at Metro Frameworks in Denver and our Must Love Art show at the Carnegie Building which coincided with my Wedding – a wedding AND a show!

Late fall brought the opening of the Quilts=Art=Quilts Show in NY and the happy news that one of my pieces in the show won the award for Surface Design.  In early November, I exhibited in the SOFA Chicago show, represented by the Palette Contemporary Gallery.

I finished out the year with 2 Holiday Shows, one in Denver and one in Boulder.

What, So What?  What’s it all mean anyway?

Yes, it was a REALLY big year – I accomplished many things.  In some ways though, it was too much – too much work, too little rest.  I’m used to being healthy and not getting sick, so having pneumonia in April and the FLU in December both took me down for the count and helped me realize that there are limits to my energy and I can’t push forward so hard on all fronts all the time.

Looking Forward to 2015

I’m going to keep doing Art (exhibiting and teaching workshops), but I’m also going to let up a bit on the gas, enjoy being where I am (wherever that is) and allow things to evolve as they will – with less pressure on myself to “make things happen”.  I’m still very driven, but I’m going to let my clarity of vision and the law of attraction help get me there while I focus more on enjoying the ride.


new work in progress: eco-printed wool cloth

With that intention, I’m off to the studio where I have a number of new works-in-progress, several of which I’m planning to exhibit at my next show, the 2015 ACC Baltimore Show in Feb (I’ll be in booth #3101).  

Wishing you a Happy and Prosperous New Year!

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