Archive for the ‘asheville’ Category

Inspirational Artist: Chris Roberts-Antieau

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

I was walking around Asheville galleries today and ran into some of Chris Roberts-Antieau’s fantastic artwork today.  I am not normally a person who likes humorous art, but her work makes me laugh out loud.  Some of it makes me think and some just reminds me of my childhood.  I especially love “The Unlimited Potential of the Human Mind” and “Feeling Sorry for Pluto”.   and “Pot Roast on Fire” These pieces can be seen in her 2010 collection on her website.  Make sure you enlarge them; there’s a lot of great detail. 

 Her website includes all sorts of fun stuff to look at other than just her art.

Hitting the Road

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

I am off to Door County, Wisconsin for a long weekend of art galleries and biking with my husband.  I will have a quick stop home on Sunday and then I’m off to Asheville, NC next week.  I hope to post loads of pictures.

Here’s one from a previous trip:

Blue Ridge Parkway (c) Tracy McCabe Stewart

Travel Bug

Sunday, May 16th, 2010

Linville Falls (c) Tracy McCabe Stewart

I am usually someone who goes on a trip and doesn’t want to travel again for months.  This time, I found myself starting to have an itch to travel again about 10 days after leaving Japan.  I am unusually restless.  The good news is that I have some travel coming up in the near future.  In the next month or so, I will be traveling to one of my favorite places on earth:  Asheville, North Carolina.  It’s been a while since I’ve made it down that way.  I couldn’t be more excited.  Here’s some pictures from previous visits:

Blue Ridge Mountains (c) Tracy McCabe Stewart


Rhododendron Tunnel in Craggy Gardens (c) Tracy McCabe Stewart

More rhododendron formations (c) Tracy McCabe Stewart

Spring fern (c) Tracy McCabe Stewart

More on the No Drama Zone

Wednesday, July 8th, 2009

More great Christine Kane stuff : 

How to Make Your Life a Drama-Free Zone
by Christine Kane


One of the hardest things I ever had to admit was that I was a total drama queen. And one of the best things I ever did was to give up my crown and step down from that throne.

That’s because drama – with all of its he-said-she-said, self-righteous anger, and done-me-wrong stories – is one big MAJOR distraction. It pulls our attention away from our dreams.

Many of us were taught that if we don’t get hooked into drama, then we lack compassion. We’re taught that emotion and drama are inseparable.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Emotion is the feeling, or energy, that moves through us. Drama is the thoughts and the hooks that create stories and reel other people into them. It steals our time.

Like the excess clutter that fills our closets and shelves, we can just simply let the drama go.

Becoming drama-free is more about creating space than anything else. Space for better thoughts. Space for clarity. Space for taking conscious action toward our dreams.

So, here’s five ways to make your life a drama-free zone so that you, too, can have the perfect, abundant, spacious life you’ve always wanted.

1 – Bring awareness to your reactions.

Being a Drama-Queen requires one thing: Unconsciousness.

To shift your dramatic tendencies, start by becoming aware of your own reactions.

Though it can be tempting to point at all the drama-queens around you, start within you first. See clearly what hooks you, what compels you to gossip, what makes you judgmental of others.

Most of our unhappiness comes from one thing: our judgment.

So, where do you paint life situations with your self-righteousness or judgment? Where do you collapse because you judge yourself so harshly? Where do you want people to behave differently so that you can be happy or successful?

(And why not go ahead and just be happy and successful anyway?)

2 – Think R.O.I.

R.O.I. is “Return on Investment.”

Every time you give your energy and your time to something, you are investing in it. You are, in essence, voting for it.

An entrepreneur thinks in terms of “returns” on investments. When you engage in gossip, whininess, self-righteousness, explaining yourself – you are literally getting no return on your investment. (Except fatigue!)

Your energy is your investment. So is your time. Ask yourself throughout the day, “What am I voting for here? What kind of return will I get on this activity?”

3 – Proactive communication

Melanie, a college professor, was expected to visit her family in Detroit every Christmas.

Melanie told me that she just wanted to take the holiday for self-care and reflection after a grueling semester. She didn’t want to travel!

I encouraged proactive communication.

Rather than waiting for her usual sense of frustration to arrive in November, Melanie made calls in August to let her family know that she had other plans for the holidays.

She discovered that she was able to speak more clearly and compassionately because she chose to be proactive. She never once got dramatic!

Proactive communication means that you communicate when the emotional charge of the situation has passed, or has not yet arrived!

4 – Regular Exercise

There’s a reason that everyone from doctors to trainers tell us to get our heart-rates up for at least 20-minutes a day. Exercise uplevels our mental health, our emotional health AND our physical health.

In other words, the more you increase your heart-rate, the more you decrease your drama!

5 – When Drama Strikes, Ask Three questions

Here are three powerful questions to ask yourself in the face of drama:

(1) What’s my story here?

This is what you tell yourself in your head. “If I don’t, then no one will.” “I’m unworthy.” “No one recognizes the good I do.” “These people are idiots!” This is your “story.” You probably know it well!

(2) Who would I be without this story?

Imagine that an angel surgeon comes into the room, and surgically removes that story from your head. You can’t find it no matter how hard you try. Who would you be without that story? What does it feel like to move forward without it?

(3) How do I WANT to feel?

You always have a choice. But it’s easier to MAKE the choice when you know your options!

So, when you remind yourself how you WANT to feel, you offer yourself a more empowered option than the drama. Even if you can’t get there right away, make sure you know that this is where you can be if you choose it.


Performer, songwriter, and creativity consultant Christine Kane publishes her ‘LiveCreative’ weekly ezine with more than 4,000 subscribers. If you want to be the artist of your life and create authentic and lasting success, you can sign up for a FRE*E subscription to LiveCreative at

See Christine’s blog – Be Creative. Be Conscious. Be Courageous – at

I’m Baaackk…

Monday, July 6th, 2009
Lascaux Bulls 1 and 2 (C) 2008 Tracy McCabe Stewart

Lascaux Bulls 1 and 2 (C) 2008 Tracy McCabe Stewart

The above  pieces were my first foray into combining copper etching into fiber pieces.  The images are from the incomparable cave paintings in Lascaux, France. 

Hand dyed Silks and cottons, fossils, etched copper.  texture rubbings, metal etching, machine quilting.


I know that I have been really sketchy about posting lately.  I have been trying to wrap up a never ending commission and trying not to get distracted with other things (like blogging) until it’s complete.  Christine Kane had a video blog (or vlog, who knew?) on all this  and more that was pretty fitting for me:

I am working with the Free Motions tomorrow and hope to get some input on my commission design.  It is at another standstill!

  I will be going to the Professional Art Quilter’s Alliance (PAQA) meeting on Wednesday.  this is a fabulously talented group that meets once a month.  Hopefully, I will have some pictures and inspiration from those two great groups of artists!

Inspirational Artist Vicki Grant

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

I first encountered Vicki Grant’s work at my favorite gallery in my favorite town;  Blue Spiral Gallery in Asheville, NC.  Vicki’s work combines ceramics, wood and natural materials into one of a  kind wall pieces and vessels.  For me, Vicki’s pieces call to mind ancient shields, talismans and sacred ceremonial objects. 

They speak to you from across a room, but reveal tiny elaborate treasures through their doorways and windows when viewed up close.  Enjoy!

Tracy, the fake farmer, dreams of spring

Thursday, April 2nd, 2009

Chicago’s weather is really kicking my butt right now (snow mixed with rain for tomorrow) and I am desperately pining away for spring.  Since we can’t seem to get a week of good weather here and, frankly, since my current piece is making progress at a snail’s pace I thought I would divert your attention with some hopeful pictures of sunnier seasons and more than you ever wanted to know about me through the story of my fake farmer fantasy.  BTW, the pictures really have nothing to do with the story, except they are in North Carolina.  One day I will return to art related postings.

I think these are fiddlehead ferns

I think these are fiddlehead ferns

As an introduction to these pictures, I have to tell you that my long time fantasy is that I have a parcel of land in Asheville, NC and that I live a fake farmer’s life.  I say fake because I am not really interested in getting up at the crack of dawn (I already do that), killing my own food, or depending on my country skills for a livelihood or food.  Really, I don’t even want to do really countryish things like canning or baking my own bread.  I wouldn’t mind growing a vege or two.  I do love to garden.

My Garden in Chicago. Ken built the structure, but we hadn't shingled it yet.

My Garden in Chicago. Ken built the structure, but we hadn't shingled it yet.

I want to live in  Asheville because it has an incredible arts community, gorgeous mountains, friendly people, the Blue Ridge Parkway and great restaurants like Salsa’s.  What more could an artsy, hungry girl want?

Love those falls

Love those falls

My farmer fantasies spring from my youth summer camp experiences.  They were some of the happiest, simplest times of my life.  I went to camp in Oconto Falls, Wisconsin for about 4 summers or so.  The camp had the unfortunate name of Gay Acres (GA) which was pretty terrible, but when gay began to mean gay, it was changed to the Vacation Farm.  I always thought this sounded a bit like some sort of country asylum.  These were exceptional people, but they needed to leave the naming to someone else.

Rhododendron root formation on walk through Craggy Gardens

Rhododendron root formation on walk through Craggy Gardens

GA was on a working dairy farm, but the focus of camp was horses.  We rode horses, fed horses, cleaned up horse crap, had mini rodeos, trail rides, learned to jump horses, rode bareback. and generally did all the dangerous things that kids today aren’t allowed to do today because of liability.  They even let us try to ride a cow.  In the course of camp I was bitten, kicked and stepped on by horses and developed a love for the meanest ones.  I think this was the groundwork for me later working with kids with behavior disorders and autism.  I also volunteered to wake up at the crack of dawn and milk cows and baled hay with the meanest, scariest farmer named Marvin.  Marvin scared me, but I sure loved those cows, even though cows have a perpetual case of diarrhea and you had to be careful moving around them.  The barn was a magical place with kittens and a ginormous hayloft which always felt like a secret place away from the rest of the world.



As an aside to this incredibly long aside, my husband and I were coming back from Door County, Wisconsin and I was feeling nostalgic about the old camp days and I made him help me track down  GA.   We went into town and asked the local librarian and she directed us to the old camp which had ceased to be a summer camp 30 years ago, but was still owned by the same family.   We drove to the camp and, even though it was now a bison farm, it looked exactly the same.  I sat there in the car and told Ken stories about all my camp adventures and got a little teary eyed.  Then I called my sisters that went to camp with me and left them weepy messages filled with nostalgia.  Oh, I should add that Ken had had the stomach flu the whole time we were in Door County and was just getting over it.   In short, my husband is a VERY good man.

Much to my husband’s frustration sometimes, I developed a deep love for my idealized idea of the rural life and being surrounded by critters of all kinds.  I have been trying fill our house and yard with critters ever since.

Bigass frog that moved onto the patio

Bigass frog that moved onto the patio

Anyway,  I fuel these country fantasies with the best magazine in the whole wide world: British Country Living which combines my love of all things farmy and beautiful stuff about the British countryside.  It is basically all about fake farming combined with quirky Britishness that will make you want to be a fake farmer, too.  My favorite feature is the monthly “Poultry Pinup” which tells you all about various breeds of chickens you can raise.  They have put me on to all kinds of ideas like rescue donkeys and gypsy caravans.  If I only didn’t live in the Chicago suburbs!   God, I love those Brits (I guess that’s why I married one).  Ken is ready to cancel my subscription.

In closing, here’s a springy piece of mine:

Crane Series II (C) 2008 21.5"x21.5"
Crane Series II (C) 2008 21.5″x21.5″

Any other fake farmers out there???????