Five Questions for….Julie Fei Fan Balzer

So my pleasure today to have Julie Fei Fan Balzer as a guestblogger today. You all know how much I love her :) And I’m more than excited about our upcoming workshops in Hamburg, Germany.


1. What do you do to get into your creative zone?


)Sometimes it’s as easy as sitting down to create. Other times I’ll surf through my “inspiration” folder, reorganize (and therefore re-discover lots of fun supplies), play along with a challenge, or try out a new technique. Super no fail technique is to grab a paintbrush and just get going. But because I create every single day I find that most of the time I’m naturally in a creative zone. It’s getting rest of my life together that’s the problem! :) In all seriousness, I do really believe that having a dedicated, organized space makes a huge difference in getting into the zone. And I usually find that if I’m stifled it’s because there’s too much stuff. So I’ll give away a couple boxes of stuff, clean up all the garbage, organize the drawers, wipe down my table…and all of a sudden I’m feeling creative again!

2. Do you ever create hidden meanings or messages in your work?



I often cover up or paint over private journaling. And of course, as anyone whose main inspiration is their own personal journey, I have artwork that means something very personal to me but likely means something totally different to a random viewer. It’s not so much hidden as abstracted.

3. If your creative work were edible, what would it taste like?

Diet Coke. In fact, it probably does! I’ve spilled enough Diet Coke on my projects and drunk enough that I’m pretty sure it has saturated everything!

4. What is your favorite creation?



This is like making me choose between my (hypothetical) children! My most favorite creation is almost always my most recent. I can’t help it! I’ve included two photos for this question. The first is, my most recent. It’s a painting done with a mixture of acrylic paint and watercolor crayons. The second is the largest quilt I’ve ever made — and probably not coincidentally also the first. It hangs above our bed and it’s a very personal piece. I worked on it for months — I don’t usually have that kind of sustained interest in a project. And it really cemented my love affair with stitching.

5. What is your biggest creative success so far and why?

Probably valuing myself and my art highly enough to ask to be paid. That’s a really hard thing for me to do. But I’m proud to say that I discovered that if you value yourself, others will too! How awesome is that? But this question is kind of like the favorite artwork question for me. It’s always going to be the most recent hurdle that feels the most satisfying. But I remember squealing into the phone and calling everyone I knew the first time I had a layout published; the first time I had an article published too! I literally danced around my living room for an hour after receiving the call that I had made it onto Prima’s design team. I gloated for a month after my quilt won a ribbon, after Cloth Paper Scissors named me a finalist in their Artisan of the Year search, after I got offered a deal to make an hour-long instructional DVD. My joy was irrepressible the first time I went on TV, taught a class, taught an online class, taught an international class…the list just goes on. This has been (and continues to be) a joyful journey and each success (though I’m sure they seem small to many others) feels like standing on top of a mountain!

I’m currently teaching a six-week online class in mixed media stitch. Join anytime!

Thanks Julie :)

  • Linda Elbourne


    Fabulous answers Julie … You were always my favourite :0)


  • Jeanne Smith


    Julie is my favorite designer! Would love to see her come to Orlando, Florida to do some type of mixed media event. That would be wonderriffic!


  • Sue Clarke


    Yeah Julie is one of your blog guests! That quilt is incredible Julie.
    Your blog inspires me (usually) 5 days a week!


  • Martha Richardson


    Thanks for sharing…again I’m feeling so creative after reading Julie’s post…I don’t know what to do 1st…grab a diet-coke or start painting ;)


  • Tsila Sofer Elguez


    Thanks Julie and Nathalie. I enjoyed this post. The quilt is amazing.


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