I’m later than I planned with this post–looking back at 2011–but better late than never, right?

Last year my word for the year was “Explore,” and

Cindy Grisdela 2011 Portfolio Book

while picking a word may seem like a silly exercise, it acts as a motivator for me. I did end up exploring many new ideas!

I think my biggest accomplishment last year was the “30 Days” project–during the month of March I created 30 small art quilts, just about one a day. Each one was 16″x 20,” used only solid colors and was entirely machine pieced and stitched, not fused. One of my goals for the year was to focus on the aspects of my art that I’m good at–using bold color and adding texture with freemotion stitching–so the “30 Days” project was a was to push myself as an artist and explore these new ideas in a disciplined way. And it worked. I have a beautiful new body of work that is really exciting and I’ve gotten very positive reviews on it. So I’ll continue on this path in 2012.

Last year I entered fewer shows, but I was accepted to a higher percentage than I have been in the past, which is a good thing, since each show has an entry fee! My work was shown in venues from Florida to New York State, as well as locally in the Washington, DC metro area. I was also accepted into my first large indoor fine craft event–Craftboston in Boston, MA March 22-25, 2012.

Another big accomplishment was opening an online shop at Etsy.com. If you’re not familiar with Etsy, it’s an online community for everything handmade. You’ll see some thumbnails from the shop and a link in the right sidebar of the blog. Primarily I have my functional gift items for sale there–pillows, coasters, journal covers, scarves and purses–plus a selection of early wall quilts.  It’s a great way to show people what I have available at any time without having to wait for one of my shows. Stop by and let me know what you think!

I had a booth at five shows in 2011, plus the Great Falls Studios Annual Studio Tour in October. Plus I had a solo show of my new work at Katie’s Coffee House in Great Falls and a two person show with friend and fellow artist Jennifer Duncan at Keller Williams Realty in McLean. Thanks to everyone who visited me at one of my shows or events last year and gave me such positive feedback on my work–it really means a lot to me and keeps me focused on creating art.

Another new avenue in 2011 was creating a monthly newsletter to connect with people in a different way and share thoughts on my inspiration, my process and my artistic journey. If you would like to receive the newsletter, simply sign up for my mailing list on the upper right sidebar of my blog. I don’t share your email with anyone else and only use it to communicate with you through the newsletter.

Finally, I got back to writing last year, submitting two articles to the Studio Art Quilt Associates Journal which will be published in 2012. I was a financial journalist in an earlier life and working on deadline for so many years was tough. But writing this blog reminded me of how much I like writing, so I decided to give it a shot writing about art. One of the articles is about self-publishing a portfolio book–something I’d been thinking about doing for some time. So I did it–self-published a book of my work using Blurb.com–and wrote about the process. The cover is pictured above and you can see the book here if you’re interested.

So 2011 was an eventful year–and I’m looking forward to 2012! I’m still pondering my word for 2012, check back in a few days and I’ll have a post about it.



  1. MOM on January 8, 2012 at 6:57 pm

    A great article. You have accomplished a lot in 2011 and I am sure you will a accomplish even more in 2012. I am so proud of you.
    I love my book of your work. What a wonderful idea!