Category Archives: Musings

My First Gallery Show

Nerves and butterflies and anxiety. Oh my.

This was me in the weeks leading up to my very first gallery show at the University of Portland in the Buckley Center Gallery. I would vacillate between calm and collected to wild-eyed panic. What might happen? What should happen? Did I prepare everything right? Did I forget anything? Doubt and uncertainty and SO many questions without answers.UofP Gallery 1 UofP Gallery 2

In the middle of all this preparing for the show and finishing Raven 1, it occurred to me that these two things together were trying to tell me something; actually, they were trying to tell me lots of somethings. That being uncomfortable is ok. That growing as an artist or a person should not always be easy or straightforward. That doubt is an important part of the process of learning. Most of all, that if it is really important to me it will be worth the effort, no matter how difficult it is at the time.


With all that I have some very big Thank-Yous to give. To Pat Bognar of the U of P Buckley Gallery for offering me the opportunity to have this show. To the Pelley’s for introducing me to Pat. To my family for their unceasing support, advice and love. To my wonderful spouse for being, well, wonderful! And most of all to my Grandparents for teaching me these skills to become an artist and to try and give some more beauty to our world.


Also posted in Weaving

Townsend’s Warbler

Now this has been a fun and expanding experience. I finally finished the collage piece that I wrote about seven weeks ago. I finished it quite awhile past, actually, then hung it on my wall to see what my eye might find after a few days. (Giggle, giggle) and I laugh because those ‘few days’ turned into nearly a month! Why should I take it down when every day revealed something new?

Townsends Warbler


New perceptions about old concepts like lighting. Of course different lighting changes things! But with a semi 3D piece where and when it was hung resulted in very different focuses. This alone has given me another dozen ideas on how to execute some of the details. It also gave me ideas about potential ways to play with the layering: how to make it more complex, simple or subtle. I find that I can spend the necessary breaks (from sitting in front of the loom) painting, as I must wait for each layer to dry before the next can go down. Mostly what I realized was how much I really, really like this method of rendering images and ideas.

There will definitely be more exploring time with the collage pieces. It is such a lovely method of expression!

Snowy Week

Most of this winter I’ve been hoping for a snow day. Just one. Well the old adage ‘be careful what you wish for’ almost came true.

‘Almost?’ I can hear you say, “Almost?!? We got snowed in, iced over and house bound for 5 days and you say almost?!?” Yep. I sure do. Here’s why:fairy nest 1

Long ago I planned to spend several days with my stepmom who is a brilliant art quilter (check her out at brainstorming, learning, experimenting, you name it, we’d try it! I got down to her house just fine, only to wake up to heavy snowfall. Cupboards full? Check! Fire in the stove? Check! Coffee? Check! Well then, no excuses, let’s get to work.

And so we did. And did. And did. I played with wash-away interfacing, sticks, sparkly tulle, more paint on muslin, and much more. She taught me how she looks at her work and more importantly, the how part of how she works. Needless to say I learned quite a bit.

The 2 day visit turned into 5 thanks to the nudge from Momma Nature and that was just fine by us. Yes, be careful for what you wish for, but in this case I got exactly what I wanted!

fairy nests


I love them. They come in so many forms, often at unexpected times. Like this last one from a trip to Powell’s Bookstore.

First a little backstory: I’ve lived in Portland for over 20 years. Powell’s, as utterly amazing as it is, is now super cool to me when I watch new people visit. Big eyes and the whole ‘….oh my…’ never gets old. With some family in town a visit seemed appropriate, but it was a super busy weekend and I immediately lost track of everyone. Content to wander I thought about looking for a cookbook when the craft aisle caught my eye. Down I wandered, mostly looking at shelf titles: ‘Mosaics’, ‘Knitting’, ‘Papermaking’, and so forth, when a very cool cover captivated me.

Author Tracie Lyn Huskcamp’s “Nature Inspired” had me completely hooked after turning only a few pages. It is a mixed-media technical gold mine, with a very heavy emphasis on fiber and nature themes. Right up my alley! Some things I knew, most I did not and it was only a few hours later that I was back in the studio putting some new techniques into practice. Here’s a sample of what I’m doing:Townsends Warbler

It is a Townsend’s Warbler painted onto unbleached muslin. There are several other elements that will go into the piece, vintage applique, some layering effects and a sleek custom built frame. While not a woven piece it does feel like weaving in the sense that each element must interact with the others, strengthen each other, in order to create a complete whole. I will definitely post a picture soon!


Leaping Off the Cliff…

…and into the hugely mysterious unknown! Yesterday I took that proverbial leap and made this venture into the realm of beauty and creation quite public via the modern advent of social media. Social media is a bit of a stranger to me, having only really used it to keep in touch with family, friends and many work-related contacts. I knew that if I was to be most honest with myself I needed to tell people about this major change to my life. And so I did. I now have a facebook page. You can find me there under Molly Beard Fiber Arts, or from the link under my ‘contacts’ page here.

It was a very humbling day as support just kept rolling in. It is difficult to thank everyone enough and words seems so inadequate to tell everyone how very, very grateful I am. But it is YOU, lovely people of the world that make this whole thing, this scary risk, so worth it.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, from the bottom of my little heart!