Upcoming Open Studio Closures

Hello All!

Please be advised of the following changes to our Open Studio schedule:


  • Open Studio will be closed on Sunday, February 4th from 1-5pm because of a workshop scheduled in the print room.


  • There will be no Open Studio in the print room on Saturday, February 10th because of a prescheduled workshop. Open Studio in the sewing room will continue as planned.


We apologize for any inconvenience!

Fabric is Paint with Visiting Artist Pam Collins

So, maybe you’re wondering exactly what is this class that is going to happen on Sunday, December 3?  Yes, the class entitled “Fabric is Paint”.

I am Pam Collins, the artist who will traveling from Central Minnesota to teach the class. In this very fun class you will cut or tear fabric and use zippers and other notions to create a landscape, sunset, waterscape or a floral painting.  You will work on a stretched canvas measuring approximately 11″ x 16″.  The only tools you will likely use are scissors and glue, a few straight pins and maybe tweezers. 

We will talk about designing your art piece, and I’ll demonstrate how the process works.  The tricky part of this medium is to look at old corduroy and upholstery fabric and think of it as rocks, mountains and even trees.  It’s fun to explore how fabric can take on a new purpose and be recycled in an imaginative way.  You’ll discover how placing fabric in a certain location on your canvas, can help to give depth and perspective to your painting.  You will glue each piece of fabric or notion onto the canvas and build on to what has already been glued down. 

The pictures you see are examples of past students work.

I also hope you’ll take a moment to look at my one page website to see some of my work in fabric.  I have been teaching for a number of years, although not always textiles.  I also work in mosaics and watercolor. I find it extremely satisfying to help students discover a new way to look at things and learn this unique medium.  I hope you will be excited to join me on Sunday, December 3rd to learn this simple yet challenging medium.  If you have questions or concerns, please contact me  at pam@PamCollinsArt.com.

I look forward to meeting you! 

Welcome Rachel Davis, New Textiles Department Artist in Residence!

Rachel Davis, Artist-in-Residence

Nearly two months have passed since I began my artist-in-residence in the Textiles department. In that time, I’ve been making leaf inspired forms with cloth: quilting, cutting, and using embroidery to embellish these new pieces. I focus on color and pattern when combining textiles, dyeing fabrics when necessary. I enjoy this new, and relatively large-scale since I am using mostly cotton sheets as raw material. These new pieces are large fabric sketches that I will later refine, edit, and print on.

In addition, I am printing my botanical illustrations and stockpiling imagery for later use. I think of this new collection of images as raw material to use with the quilted pieces and to experiment with dye and color printing techniques.



I am delighted to be a part of this vibrant community and to have the gift of time and space to create new work. I am in the studio Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, stop by and visit!

-Rachel Davis

Instagram: @art_bumble


Lillstreet Student Spotlight: Morgan Lyons

Morgan Lyons is a Lillstreet student and Chicago native. She is currently a senior at Lane Tech High School and is a talented drawing and painting artist.  Her work is inspired by Classical realism, and she recently spent her summer abroad studying at Florence Academy of Art.  One of a handful of young students to receive a scholarship to this program, we took a moment to learn about her current practice and how it will be influenced by her experience in Italy.

When and where did you start painting? How did this medium speak to you?

I first began painting in my art class in high school. Oil paints were the medium that spoke to me most because they can do amazing things once you know how to control them.

What teachers and artists have most influenced you?

While I am inspired by artists like Leonardo Di Vinci and Sargent, the artists that inspire me the most I have met myself. There are a few in my mind that stand out especially.  Last summer, I took Bob Horn’s figure drawing class at Lillstreet, where I learned how to use unfamiliar mediums and strengthen my drawing ability.  My high school art teacher, Mr. Ceh, and my instructor at Florence Academy of Art, Simone Moritz, have both strongly influenced and continue to inspire me.

What do you most like to paint and why?

I most like to paint people. There is something human about painting hair, skin, eyes, and so on, that isn’t there while painting clothes or objects, as enjoyable as that is too.

What is the most important step of your painting process?

The most important step in my painting process is the moment when accuracy is reached. I believe that underneath every good painting is a great drawing, and without it off proportions serve as a distraction from the overall painting. I push myself every time I pick up a paintbrush to pay close attention to accuracy before I get to the fun parts like details and adding color.

I heard you were abroad this summer? How exciting! Tell us about the program and your experience.

I applied for and was accepted to a program that the Florence Academy of Art holds every summer. It’s a month of a class or classes of the student’s choice. The classes are ones that anyone of any age and from anywhere could choose to go to. I was lucky enough to be one of six all-age and international people to receive scholarship to go study Academy for a month. Classes were weekdays, nine to five, for the month of July.

Apart from having the opportunity to live in the beautiful city of Florence and interact with a new culture,  my  time  at the Academy was what made it such a wonderful experience . I was amazed with how much I learned in just a few short weeks. The students and teachers were all such engaged,  skilled, and generally kind people. There was something to be learned from all of them.

What did you learn in Italy that you don’t feel you could have learned here in the US?

While I think there are many very skilled artists and teachers here in the US, I believe the Academy takes painting and drawing to a much more technical, serious level than many places here in the US do. Lessons in Italy on art are concrete, straight forward in the way they are taught. They believe that creativity and individuality is something that comes after you have learned a good foundational skillset, and that is what I believe the Academy can give.

What are your goals for painting in the future?

Right now, I am working on a still life. The skills I’m trying to strengthen while doing this are my hand-eye coordination and my ability to create light in a painting. My goal is to keep improving. If my experience this summer taught me anything it is that there is always, always, more to be learned. I hope to do just that in the future.

What is your best advice to anyone just starting out in painting?

My advice would be to be patient with yourself. All artists make errors, but it’s those who are patient enough to correct instead of give up that become the greatest.



Fall Session I: Class and Open Studio Schedule

Hello All!

I hope everyone is enjoying the first week of Fall session! Open studio will open on Monday, September 18th. Here’s the class and open studio schedule so you can start planning your projects!

See you in the studio,


***EDIT 9/29/17: Lillstreet recently shifted webhosts and the transition seems to have effected how images are loaded onto the blog. We’re working to correct this issue; thanks for your patience!***

Fall SI Open Studio Schedule 9.14

HAT FORMING: WEARABLE SCULPTURE with DJ DeGayner on Monday Nights!

Hello! My name is DJ DeGayner. I’m a milliner in Chicago and I’ve been teaching hat making for over 4 years now. My students and I create everything from floral headbands and sun hats, to avant garde runway headpieces. Good news! I’m teaching a hat making course this fall. But this course is special because it’s the foundation to becoming a do-it-yourself milliner: Hat blocking.

In this course, the focus will be on creating a one-of-a-kind blocked felt hat. Students will design and  carve their own hat block (which is a 3D form used to sculpt headpieces) and stretch a felt hood over this form to create a finished hat. We will also work on traditional millinery sewing techniques.

After the block is carved, you use a felt hood (of any color) and steam to stretch over the form. Then it’s roped & pinned down to emphasize the carved shapes, and let set for 24 hours.

It is then removed from the block and finished on the inside with a millinery ribbon.

We will focus on 3D carving skills to create something wearable and original. These skills can be used to create hats on your own, even after the course ends. If you’re interested in learning more about millinery materials and techniques, this class is the perfect start.

If you are interested in my work, please check out my website ddegayner.com or email me with any questions. I look forward to seeing you in my course!

If you are interested in seeing more artist’s millinery work, please look at:

Philip Treacy

Angela Moreno


And countless more… just google hat blocking.


Register for the class today!

Hat Forming: Wearable Sculpture w/ DJ DeGayner

Mondays 6:30-9:30pm, 10 weeks, starts on September 11th


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Limited Open Studio: Saturdays, August 12 and 26

Heads up!

Saturday, August 12th: There will be no open studio in the print room because of a workshop happening in the space. There will still be regularly scheduled open studio in the sewing room.

Saturday, August 26th: There will be no open studio in the print room because of the Fall Open House which will be using the space. There will still be regularly scheduled open studio in the sewing room.