Twelve x Twelve Finale

Fran Osborne

I completed a second year with the 12 x 12 Challenge at the Textile Dream Studio in Berkeley.  Here a group of women, working in various media, met monthly to further our development as artists with discussions related to our creative practice and art shares related to our progress working in the 12” x 12” format.

Our last meeting was a bittersweet celebration of what we accomplished over the past year. We shared our 12 best pieces and reflected on what the experience meant to each of us. Many said the group helped them get unstuck, to experiment with new ideas, to work looser, to be less perfectionistic, and to keep going when life gets too crazy. It was inspiring to witness the creativity, inventiveness, and strength in this amazing group.

We’re showing our work at Bay Quilts in Richmond from February 1 – 27, 2019.

Here is a sampling of work shared at our final meeting on December 1st:

Sue Fox
Dianne Woods
Terri Lambert
Zannah Martin
Priscilla Read
Ja’nice Hoobler
Corbett O’Toole
Ann Gessert
Fran Osborne

Twelve by Twelve Challenge 2018

For the second year, I participated in a group of women committed to creating art in a 12″ x 12″ format and making at least 8 – 12 pieces during a 12 month period.  We met monthly at the Textile Dream Studio in Berkeley.  We’re showing our work at Bay Quilts in Richmond in Feb 2019 (more details soon). Since this was also My Year of Quilting, my goal was to feature my quilting in each of the 12″ x 12″ pieces.  I have more than 12 already and have another month to go, so I’ll have a few more to finish by the end of December.

Here are a few of my pieces, in various stages of completion:

Serpentine Stars







My Year of Quilting

I’ve been a quilter since 2000, but mostly focused on making the quilt tops, leaving the quilting as an afterthought or something I could hire experts to finish the work for me.  I decided to spend the year focusing on making the quilting an important part of my work.  I invested in a new Bernina 770 QE sewing machine so I would have more space for the quilting sandwich (top, batting, and backing).  I started small working on pieces no bigger than 12-18″ square, and gradually worked towards larger pieces. I made quilting the focus of my 12 x 12 challenge for 2018.

Daisy doodles

My bubble sampler ala Jenny K Lyon


Ruler work done in Inger’s class

And took classes from local quilt teachers Jenny K Lyon and Inger Blood.

Ruler work westalee
Rulerwork using Westalee templates

Leah day sampler
Free motion quilting using designs by Leah Day

I gradually increased the size of my quilts as I learned how to manage more complex designs and larger quilts.

Angela Walters
Angela Walters “dot-to-dot” quilting

Butterfly quilt

I will continue working towards making quilting a featured aspect of my work instead of something kept at a minimum or giving it to others to complete.

Twelve x Twelve Challenge

Over the past 12 months I participated in a group of women committed to creating art in a 12′ x 12″ format and making at least 8 – 12 pieces during that time period.  We met monthly at the Textile Dream Studio in Berkeley.  We’re showing our work at Bay Quilts in Richmond from Dec 2, 2017 to Jan 2, 2018.

2017 12x12 Bay Quilts 5x7 email

I played with some different media including encaustic photo collages and quilted collages and decided that the quilted work was what I like best. I finished all my pieces, but decided on a final 8 to include in the show; however, at this date, I’m not sure which pieces will be included.

Spinning Suns 1 & 2

Final -1
Spinning Suns 1

Spinning Suns 1 and 2 started in Sue Benner’s class on mono printing on fabric.  I created a composition much larger than 12″x12″, but set it aside not knowing what I wanted to do to turn it into a finished work.  I came across the unfinished work while participating in the 12 x 12 challenge and decided to see if I could turn it into finished 12′ x 12″ composition(s). I added quilting and white fabric paint and was happy with the results.

Final -5
Spinning Suns 2

Crow Canyon Collage Series

The Crow Canyon Collages have elements and inspirations from several sources and classes that I’ve taken over the past few years.  First, I spent time drawing at Crow Canyon Gardens, a local community garden and park near where I live.  The sketches became sourses for drawings on fabric and lino prints that I used in the collages.  I created the images over a period of time in classes with Katie Gilmartin, Pamela Lanza, and Joan Schulze. I learned an interesting collage technique in a Tea and Ephemera class with Judy’s Coates Perez and used this method to make compositions larger than 12″ x 12″ in a scroll making class with Pamela Lanza.  I wasn’t finished and wasn’t sure what to do to finish them, so I set it all aside for over a year.  I decided to turn them into 12″ x 12″ pieces and added the machine quilting.

Final -7
Crow Canyon Collage 1

Final -10.jpg
Crow Canyon Collage 2

Final -12
Crow Canyon Collage 3

Final -14
Crow Canyon Collage 4

Final -16
Crow Canyon Collage 5

Final -18
Crow Canyon Collage 6






Women on the Twenty


In Pamela Lanza’s Experimental Drawing class at UC Berkeley Extension, I started a series of charcoal drawings of American women I thought should be considered for the newly designed 20 dollar bill.  Everyone in class was excited this became a big topic in the news while I was working on my series, culminating with the announcement of  women for new designs by Jack Lew of the US Treasury. See each of my drawings here.

Here’s a photo of how my drawings looked on the wall for the final critique:On-the-wall-at-UCBX I took Pam’s class Small Books UnBound: An inkwash/collage workshop last weekend in SF and decided to see if the drawings would work well as images on an unbound, accordion style book with the drawings superimposed over inkwashed and collaged pages.

I made each drawing into an acrylic gel medium transfer and adhered them to the pages with fabulous results!



First pages


Book cover


Book closed and tied with raffia


I’ve continued with my drawing and printmaking.  I decided to try my hand using Adobe Illustrator and have been taking a class at UC Berkeley extension.  The drawing tools in the app are so different from traditional drawing, each assignment has taken hours and hours to complete.  The class was completely filled with several people hoping to add the first day.  Our teacher started us off with the pen tool which is the hardest to learn, but one of the most useful tools in Illustrator.  By the next meeting, there were plenty of open seats – I guess people decided this was not for them.  Patience, persistence, and determination are put the the test in this class.

Here are some of my illustrations.


Illustration for sports iphone app




Rolling Stone cover featuring artist Ben Venom




Six panel How-to illustrating process for making French press coffee

Continuing the Daily Drawing Practice

Earlier this year, I decided to dedicate time every day to drawing in a sketchbook.   I took a couple Sketchbook Skool online classes which gave me exposure to many ways of drawing in a sketchbook and establishing a daily practice. I posted some of my earlier drawings here.  In the most recent session, we had one week with teachers  Danny Gregory, Koosje Koene, Brenda Swenson, Cathy Johnson, Andrea Joseph, and Liz Steele.  I’m posting some of them here to show what I’ve been drawing.  One strategy that I’ve adopted is to draw objects that I  see daily around my house.  These drawings were all done with some type of pen with no preliminary pencil drawing and no erasing.  I follow a rule that I learned from Tommy Kane in the first session of Sketchbook Skool – Always finish the page no matter what… even if it seems to be filled with errors.  Find a way to make it work.

I’ve gotten in the habit of carrying with me, a sketchbook and small kit of drawing supplies in this Kipling bag, which I also drew.

Kipling-BagBut I also try to get in a sketch when I’m on the go as in the Wednesday Morning Coffee sketch done at Peets. Weds-Morning

Brooks-shoes Cactus California-CharmSchmincke-Owl Paul-Robeson-tomato

Ball-Jar croppedPolar-Watch croppedGinger-Brew Demitasse Kiwano Sunflowers measuring-spoons Sea-shells


Life Forms at the Art and Design Center

Here’s an update on Life Forms, my solo exhibit, at UC Berkeley Extension’s Art and Design Center:


I installed the show a day early, so it’s up and available for viewing.  I’m pleased with how great it looks in this space.  I chose work from my portfolio created for the Post-Baccalaurate Certificate in Visual Arts plus a couple newer pieces.  The show is at

UC Berkeley Extension

Art and Design Center
95 Third St.
San Francisco, CA
Aug 7-21, 2014


Gallery hours:

Mon – Thu 9am-9pm
Fri – Sat 9am-4pm


I’ll be there for the artist reception on Saturday, Aug 16, 2 -4 pm and also on Thursday, August 21, 5 – 8 pm for the Yerba Buena Third Thursday event.



Life-forms-show-1See photos of my entire portfolio here:

Life Forms

Solo show postcard designLife Forms, my first solo exhibit, will be at UC Berkeley Extension, Art and Design Center, 95 Third St., San Francisco, Aug 7-21.  Artist Reception – Saturday, Aug 16, 2 -4 pm.

Includes work from my portfolio completed for the UC Berkeley Extension Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Visual Arts which I completed in Feb 2014.  Learn more about it here.

Why Collage?

In our most recent session of collage making with Michelle Wilson at UC Berkeley Extension, we learned to make a simple accordion book to use as a substrate for a collage.    I decided to combine collage and paint across the entire eight span of pages.  My goals were to explore using images as texture and as a way to add complexity to an overall image.

I started by gluing assorted black and white or other neutral papers  across the entire surface.  After the pages dried, I applied a couple layers of gesso with a brayer both to tone it all down, and to add texture. I added some torn pages from a magazine showing a woman wearing sunglasses. Stepping back at the resulting shapes, I decided to add layers of watercolor, acrylic and black Noodler’s Bulletproof ink to create a mountainous landscape.

Collage book 7 3/4" x 58"
Collage book 7 3/4″ x 58″

Most of these papers are from a stash collected over the past couple years, the recognizable is a tattered Dürer print that I saved after using it for inspiration in a drawing class. Strangely, I’ve noticed that papers and images used in my collages, all seem to take on deep personal meaning as the collages come together.  I say strangely, because the papers were selected randomly or chosen for value (meaning relative lightness or darkness) rather than content.  And yet, it does mean something and expresses a search  for meaning and solace in spiritual connection.  In the days following the senseless shooting down of a passenger flight, nothing makes sense.  How can people minding their own business and going about their lives, and suddenly be gone?  How can I glue paper together when my heart is full of grief?

Collage book – detail