Full Circle

25 years ago this coming week I started working at Hallmark while I finished my final semester at KU. I've always said that I learned so much there, working among very talented people. KU was generous and flexible in letting me finish school in that way, and Hallmark made sure my education was much more than complete. Unfortunately several years later I had to leave Hallmark and began working on my own (with a trip back to Shoebox for a short time in there). I've so enjoyed the flexibility working in this way has allowed, even though it hasn't always been easy. I don't have a community of artists to learn from and the stimulation of being surrounded by constant creativity and energy. Looking for clients and sources of work is not an easy thing to do and businesses have come and gone over the years. But somehow I've managed to stay busy these past 20 years and even challenged myself in new ways.

Painting added a new dimension to my work a few years ago, something I decided to do on a whim, not realizing all of the new places it would take me. I've enjoyed showing my paintings, prints, cards and jewelry at the art fairs throughout the midwest and online. But last year Hallmark contacted me about my paintings with an interest in licensing a few of them, something I hadn't expected to come from this.

Yesterday, 25 years ago almost to the day since I started the Hallmark adventure, I received this in the mail—card samples of the first piece of artwork that they've licensed for the Tree of Life line. The pocket ID reads "Jewish Artist" in small print under the occasion title and on the card back is a colophon—"Artwork by Laura Bolter."

I've been recognized as a Jewish artist by Hallmark. How ironic and exciting to have come full circle.

Challah cover test run

Next week I'm helping in an 8th grade religious school class. We're making challah covers. It was up to me to choose a way to make them, and after some research, I decided on painting fabric with Shiva Paintstiks. I've got some simple black cotton fabric that's been washed to remove the fabric sizing, and I've cut and hemmed one piece to do a test run. Using the basic iridescent set of colors and a couple of rubbing plates, I've quickly made this challah cover. It's somewhat messy and hard to control, but I think it has a nice look to it--except that I didn't leave enough room for the "shin" in shalom. :-)

After drying a few days, I'll iron it or toss it in the dryer to set the paint.

Anyone out there in blogland have suggestions on how to quickly hem up a dozen more pieces of fabric?!