One month in

It has been a month since I’ve started my first studio audience residency. I wanted to share with you my “Rosebuds and Thorns, “holding what is working well and where I’ve been challenged.


So far, the greatest rosebud is the space and how big it is. It is HUGE and empty, except for my work. And because of this, it focuses my attention. When I am there, I am present for what am there to do-paint.   I don’t have anything distracting me (well, almost-sometimes my daughter comes with me) I am there to make art. And as a result, I have painted more during this residency than I have in years. I have also found that I can get started more quickly than I have in the past. I don’t overthink things. And if something comes out “ugly” then that’s just what it is. I can always paint over it and start over.

Works in Progress All by Gabrilla Ballard


The thorns are centered around my energy.  After a long day or week at work, I have to drive another 40-50 minutes round trip from my house to the studio, which limited how many days a week I get to the studio. I sometimes remember to bring my art supplies, but those days are the exception. During the long Dr. King weekend,  when I thought I would spend days painting, my car broke down and spent those hours painting in my art room at home.

Another work in progress. By Gabrilla Ballard

Because I may not go to the studio for days,I have been toting my supplies back and fort.  I want to always have access to my art supplies with me when I need them, so I never leave them in the studio.

All in all, it has been a great learning experience. One in building a sustainable creative practice. It has caused me to reflect on the power of limitation and the notion of bigger being better.  It has made me revisit the heart of my undergraduate work, which centered on mothering and self-actualization, which I plan to write about later. In my next post, I will talk more about my emerging work and some more insights that have come during this process.

Cell abstract By Gabrilla Ballard

With love,



Studio Artist Residency 2023

I began my first studio artist residency this week. Today I spend a couple hours there after getting things prepped yesterday and it felt really good. I was scared and unsure of how I would begin. But sometimes you just have to start. And I did it, imperfectly and I will return again tomorrow and do it again. Here’s a photo of the space. It’s huge!

Art Journal-A Daily Practice

On New Year’s Eve, I re-started an art journal practice. It was something I started when I first got back from Mexico City, where I painted everyday in my large water color sketchbook. Being on vacation gave me a lot of free time to paint,  which I don’t have during the school year. I have been committed for the last 7 days and am almost finished the sketchbook I started in August of last year. Here are some photos of my pages.

Light My Fire: How Printmaking and Sewing Reignited My Creative Practice

Until this summer,  it had been a long time since I felt good about my art making practice. This year, I made a commitment to devote more time and attention to my visual art practice. As an Interdisciplinary artist, I’ve devoted years to different disciplines, specifically poetry and music, but I’ve drawn and painted my entire life.

Sometimes making a commitment isn’t enough to get the ball rolling, so I decided to revisit block printing. Something I was introduced while I attended NOCCA (New Orleans Center for Creative Arts) and it opened me up to a different level of creativity and job in my practice.

One of the results of this exploration and play has been the design of several pieces of fabric and a series of handbags, which I created and recently sold in my online shop. This coming fall, I plan to create and share more one of a kind bags with the world. I also have an exciting news to share that combines my art and my mental health work. More soon.


Explore, Practice, Play-the last few weeks

When in the throws of creativity, it’s harder for me to stop to write and post. But I wanted to provide an update on what’s been going on in my creative space.

My hand carved rubber stamps
Paring the liner with the cover of a bag I’m making

I have to say, I have been pleasantly surprised at my creative output this past month. It’s as if a deep thirst has finally been quenched.

Being a full time mama and working a full time job and a part time job, it can be hard to have energy to create art during the school year.  The summer months offer me a lot of time to dive in without too many commitments.

When I went to grad school to become a therapist, I had every intention of becoming an art therapist. I promised myself that I would not lose my artist self ( as if that could ever happen) to the clinical side of my work,  but since graduation, I have not felt connected to my artistic practice and that really bothered me.  So much so that I didn’t feel like myself. But, again, summer has provided me swathes of uninterrupted time to create.

Lately I have been exploring textile design and it has been amazing. One could argue that novelty might has something to do with it, but I have been interested in textile for as long as I can remember. I am finally giving myself permission to explore it.

Handbags pieces hanging after fresh ink stamping.
Stenciled prints and the liner

The internet can be an amazing place. Even though I was first introduced to textile design as a child, the internet has been an invaluable resource to this autodidact. Much of what I have recently learned about different aspects of textile design has been via YouTube, exploration and play.  I’m looking forward to sharing more with you as I grow. Until then.