(cont'd...) I practically made it in hiding, while my kids were in school and my husband was at work. I was afraid to share it. When I was almost finished with the quilt, I walked by my window in Bend, Oregon, where we moved to when I was 33, and I couldn’t believe that the view I created as a child was the same one outside my window of the Cascade Mountains. Crying with gratitude, I understood that there is 'seeing' wisdom at every age. My child self knew I’d find my creativity in Central Oregon. A few months later I sold my first quilt for $300.- at the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show and I was elated I’d be able to buy a lot of fabric with my earnings and I loved the idea that I could possibly sell more! One year after the first quilt sold, I participated in my first art festival. I sold one quilt on Saturday and business was slow on Sunday. I heard a few women approaching who were speaking in Spanish so I was eager to ask them where they were from. Before I had a chance to, they walked into my booth quickly and one of them said, “I don’t like anything I see here. The only thing I like is this.” She pointed to my sandwich board that said, “Alma Art.” It was my first art critique! I was devastated. I told myself they were right, my quilts weren’t very good, who did I think I was to call what I made, art? I complained to my husband for several days, and on day five, I said to him, “You know, I’m not a real artist. I don’t have a degree, I’m a fake.” He was quiet for a moment and then replied, “You’re right.” and he walked out of the room. I couldn’t believe what he said! I stormed after him. “What do you mean?” I yelled. He said, “You’re not appreciating this at all. Do you know how lucky you are to even make art?” There were more words exchanged, but I had to face he was right. I was being woe is me instead of whoa, amazing! When I finally ‘saw the light,’ that sandwich board made out of wood, paint and fabric, whispered its idea to me. It was faint, but sometimes inspiration is just that way, quiet until we make it powerful by believing in it. I listened and after three months of trial and error, Telamadera Fusion was born. To honor its beginnings and my heritage, I brought two Spanish words together, “tela,” meaning fabric, and “madera,” meaning wood. For the next eight years I happily created hundreds of pieces. I am very blessed to have had incredible opportunities teaching this process and giving lectures on creativity, getting to know so many wonderful people, writing a book, being on TV, here and here, being published in several publications, Cloth, Paper, Scissors, Quilting Arts, Studios, and Take Ten and seeing my work in many galleries. My artwork has sold worldwide and continues to open many doors that I am grateful for. You may view my resume. Thank you for visiting!

 

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I believe in looking back to grow, so I can be more than I thought possible, now. When I value all my experiences and feel gratitude for the difficult, painful and the joyful, a kind of magic takes place. I find life is telling me a story, a really good one, where I’m the courageous hero vanquishing limiting beliefs that keep me from believing I can do and be anything I want. I was 35 years old (ten years ago) when I was inspired to make this first quilt, “Childhood View.” It was the first time I’d been ‘artistic’ since I was twelve. I drew the last ‘picture’ I’d drawn as a child, the one I drew all the time, a landscape with mountains, a big sky, a river or with a lake. This is notable because I only lived in urban areas growing up. Please continue reading at left).