About Me

I was born in Atlanta, Georgia in 1947. When I was six my family moved to Havana, Cuba and a year later to the Republic of Panama.

As long as I can remember I have wanted to be an artist. My favorite photograph of myself was taken when I was about 3 years old – hard at work at an easel – my tongue sticking out – which is what I still do to this day when I am concentrating.

In elementary school my best friend and I would sit under a shady mango tree and draw during recess and lunch break – we both wanted to be artists when we grew up.

I majored in art at Rollins College, Winter Park, Florida – but didn’t stay until graduation – I became very ill with toxoplasmosis during my sophomore year and had to go home. When I recovered, I realized that I didn’t want to go back to Rollins – what I wanted was to go to art school – where there was art all day – every day – no Humanities, no History, no Math, no English!

After a bit of research I decided on England – it was the swinging 60’s and it seemed like a great place to be 19 and in art school. I went to the British Embassy and got the addresses of all of England’s major art schools. I sent off my cover letter and my portfolio of photos and waited. I was accepted into 3 schools. I got out the atlas and chose the one closest to London. Sutton and Cheam College of Art, Sutton, Surrey, England – that was the one – only 15 minutes from London!

I boarded the Northern Star in the Panama Canal and off I went – age 19 – to art school in England! It was a fantastic experience – in the two year Foundation Course we did some of everything – in depth – with drawing everyday in some form or another. 8 hours a day – 5 days a week and so much homework there was hardly time for anything else – it was heaven!

I finished the Foundation Course and was headed for 3 more years of study but – while returning from Panama after Christmas vacation – I met a wonderful Englishman on the New York to London flight out of JFK. It was love at first sight and we married and moved to Australia.

After 6 years and two children we moved back to Panama in 1975. This is 2008 – so much has happened since then I could write a book – but that is another story!

Actually a book has been written – by my brother Kurt – “Six Minutes to Freedom.

After many years of working in all sorts of media I finally realized I couldn’t possibly do it all – so I decided to focus on what I liked best. I still consider myself a printmaker and graphic artist – but now I am making digital prints from photographs. See my work on pbase in my Digital Muse Gallery. For more information on my digital art see “About my Art.”

I also quilt, sew and make jewelry. Art is my passion and my therapy – I have to do it!

42 responses to “About Me

  1. Carol, It was fun reading about you and your connection to molas. I am gathering fabrics from around the world to make a quilt to show we all can live in peace and harmony. Do you have a small mola to sell that would be a good piece to represent Panama?

    • Marie I’m not sure if you will see this. Normally I reply personally via email but your name doesn’t link to your email. I don’t sell my molas but if you give me your email we can discuss it and come up with something.

  2. I realy dont now what i shoud say? Its for much for me! Everything at your site are so intresting!!!
    You are welcome to my site in Sweden!

    http://www.infoom.se/22225
    Freja i Vara/Sweden

  3. Hi Carol, I just found your blog and signed up to follow – I love all your creative work. I am an artist (jewelry, mosaic and fabric) and have just arrived in Panama on my sailboat, currently at Balboa Yacht Club. My first time here. My website is http://www.jacarandajourney.com. Go to “Linda’s Art” in the menu.
    Could we meet? I would love to take you to lunch and/or see your studio.

  4. Suzanne Starjash

    I just found your website because a friend in California found it and said ” Check this out.” It is very interesting to read your story as I am always curious to know how people come to Panama. I have been making ” Art quilts “since my husband and I moved here 6 years ago. Before retiring I just didn’t have time for my art other than gardening. I thought I would paint but found a fabric store before I found art supplies and I had brought my sewing machine. I am so inspired by the tropical colors, gardens, and Molas. I am now working on my 18th piece. I love your digital photos of Panama. I do understand why you are moving on to other creative things as every one of my pieces is quite different from all the others.

  5. I’m so glad to see you are back posting. Your quilts have been such an inspiration to me as a new quilter. My learning style is to read, absorb, read, but never do. This year I plan on “doing” instead of just reading all the wonderful blogs out there. Please keep posting all your wonderful quilts!
    –Laurie

  6. Pingback: Hello world! | Panama Canal Quilters

  7. I’m trying to reach Morgan Seppy. She is the daughter of my college roommate and dear friend Lacy (Hinkle) Seppy. I have lost touch with Lacy but think so often of her. I’d love to contact Morgan and through her find Lacy. It’s been so many years. Please help me if you can.

  8. OK, Carol…….the picture of the Bromeliad……is that a photo, or is it what looks to ME like a true watercolor picture that you painted. If it IS somehow manipulated on your computer from a photo, please tell me how to get started doing that!!! I LOVE it, and it looks 100% like a watercolor painting to me. I just found your blog and joined today!
    Kate

  9. Jennifer Padden

    I feel like I already know you. My family actually lived in Atlanta in ’48 -’51 then moved to the Canal Zone in ’52. I was born there in ’53 and we returned to the States in the fall of ’53 when I was just a couple of months old. I have always been drawn to the molas, perhaps because my mother had so many from her time in Panama and they surrounded me as I grew. I look forward to keeping up with your blog!

  10. Hi,
    I just moved to Panama from Las Vegas and like some of the other comments I’ve seen, I would very much like to visit your studio and perhaps find other quilters interested in forming a second guild since yours is full. Please reply and let me know where you are located and if we can meet. Thank you. Nancy Killeen.

  11. Carol. I am Bob Muse’s daughter. He was very excited to meet you guys. He said it was the best day of his life. It’s just what he needed, he has so many problems with his health. I am the oldest and the closest to him. Love this site, I collect anything that has to do with angels.You have my e-mail, please keep in touch. Jc1952@bellsouth.net

  12. CNNI Blog Producer

    Hi, Carol. My name is Denisa and I am a CNN journalist in London. I saw some of your photos of Panama on pbase.com and they are simply brilliant. As we are doing a special project on Panama, we would like to ask you for permission to use some of your photos in a photo gallery. We would, of course, write your name on all photos. My email address is denisa.morariu@turner.com. Thank you very much and I hope to hear from you soon. Have a very nice day!

  13. Thank you for your offer to re-photograph the molas you mentioned – that would be terrific and your time frame would be just fine! I’d love to include your painting of the Kuna woman in the boat – so lovely! Congratulations on your quilt show! I’ll contact Jackie. Thanks again, Carol! Best wishes! Edie

  14. P.S. I would also be thrilled to include one of your original works of photographic art featuring a Kuna woman – love your photoshop art!

  15. Dear Carol,
    Thank you so much for your email response! My family moved to the Canal Zone in 1955 and my father taught Spanish before he became Asst. Principal of Diablo and then Principal of Curundu Junior High. He retired in 1985. I’m a ’73 BHS graduate; my older brother graduated in 1970, so we would have missed knowing you (you were already off to your amazing art school adventures!) We still and will always feel so fortunate to have lived in Panama for those years!
    I would be very pleased to quote some of your well written text in the book – especially your thoughts about recognizing quality in molas. I’d also love to include the photos of Carmen de Tejada, Eladia Herman, Ana Linda Alba, the front of the turtle mola blouse, the four bird molitas, the flower mola (mola 6), the turtle mola, one of your William Morris molas (pick your favorite – what a brilliant and beautifully executed idea – I also love the fusion of designs…wouldn’t William Morris have marveled at molas?!) and any other molas of yours that you believe best represent this beautiful art form and that you’d like to submit! The 350 or highest resolution would be wonderful!
    In advance, thank you for your enthusiasm and support of this book project – it takes a (Kuna) village!
    Best wishes,
    Edie

    • Well – it looks like I spoke too soon – I do have the original photos of the three Kuna women – thank goodness because Carmen died. But… I cannot find the CDs of the mola pictures anywhere – I have searched my hard disks and turned the studio upside down looking for them. I purged a bunch of really old stuff from my computer some time ago and those photos must have gotten trashed – I never imagined I’d need the originals again.

      The good news is that I have the blouse with the turtle mola – still intact – I usually take them apart and throw the blouse away. I also have some left over William Morris molitas that didn’t sell – and I have all the original large molas and quite a few small molitas. I don’t have any more of the flower molitas – because I sold them all – but I do know a quilter who has 4 of them and has made (or is making) a quilt out of them. Her name is Jackie Kunkle and her website is http://www.cvquiltworks.blogspot.com/. I am sure she would be thrilled to be included in the book – or at least she could send you a photo of the flower molas – just tell her I sent you. We are cyber friends and she is the person that professionally quilted my angel quilt – which I have in a show in Jacksonville, Florida in less than 3 weeks – I am going up to see the show.

      I will have to rephotograph everything – I have a better camera now and I could set up a place outside in natural light for the photos. BUT.. when do you need them – I cannot do it right now – I have less than three weeks before my US trip and I still haven’t finished the christening gown ensemble. I could do it when I get back from the States October 7th. I will photograph what I consider to be the best of my collection and you can choose what you like.

      Carol

  16. Hello Carol,
    I am thrilled to have found your beautiful site.
    I have a contract to write a book about molas as an art form and the Kuna. I’m interested in including images of several of your molas and the Kuna women from your web site in this book and wondered if you would be interested in contributing to this project? I have attempted in this email to answer any potential questions you might have, if this is something you are interested in. Any information or images you contribute would be attributed to you, or your designated source.
    By way of some background: My father, Seymour Barkowitz, was the Principal of Curundu Junior High School. While growing up, I had the chance to visit the San Blas Islands on several occasions and was entranced with the people and their lives and the beautiful molas created by the women. My parents, especially my mother loved molas from the first she saw in the 1950s and began collecting them for 30 years. After I graduated from Balboa High School, I attended Canal Zone College for a semester and then attended Florida State University in Tallahassee where I graduated with an Art Education degree. I did post graduate work in graphics art technology and then worked in corporate communications and design for 15 years (while pursuing my passion of creating art in stained glass and researching Louis Comfort Tiffany.) We moved to N.C. and I started a business in stained glass creating and teaching for 10 years. Several years ago, I wrote my first book, “The Mosaics of Louis Comfort Tiffany” (it’s on Amazon) and have just completed a second book, “Tiffany Studios Techniques” to be published later this year by Schiffer Publishing, Ltd. Now felt like the right time to write a book about molas and was a good fit with Schiffers Catalog of books (they have others on textile arts and were interested in molas!)
    The photo resolution preferred by my publisher is 350 dpi or taken with a digital camera that has a resolution of 6 megapixels or approximately 1-2 megabytes per image. I should mention that I have no budget for this book; nor do I expect to make any money writing this book when I factor in the amount of time it will take to produce a completed manuscript. Unfortunately writing these books has been a not-profitable passion! But on the positive side, the reward is seeing the completed book – the publisher does a great job designing and printing. So, I am requesting a contribution from you of three of the photos of the women selling molas, an image of the mola blouse and several of your molas to include. I would be certain to attribute the photography to you and provide some information about your web site, etc. (sample caption would include a description of the image and a statement such as, “Image copyright. Photograph courtesy….”)
    So, this is a long email and I hope I’ve answered any questions that you might have about this project and would be delighted to answer others.
    Thank you for your consideration of my request! My hope is that this book can bring recognition to the Kuna’s beautiful art and appreciation for the importance of molas as an art form!
    If you would like to contribute to this project, please email me the images.
    Many thanks and best wishes!
    Edie

    Edith Barkowitz Crouch

    1317 Braeburn Road

    Charlotte, N.C. 28211

    (704)442-0593

    • Edith – I am thrilled you found me – I would be delighted to contribute to your book. I am always pleased to have the opportunity to help the Kuna to gain the artistic recognition that they so richly deserve. I wrote all the text on my blog – and you are quite welcome to use it anyway you wish.

      I have the originals of the three women – at 300ppi – but I can enlarge them to 350 if you like. Just let me know which photos you want. I have lots more molas that I haven’t photographed. Did you see all that I have on Flickr?

      I remember Mr. Barkowitz – what years was he principal of the Jr. High? My brother Mark Muse went to the Jr. High and much later so did my daughter Samantha.

      What year did you graduate from Balboa High – I was class of 1965.

  17. carol, your email address doesn’t come through(no reply) so i can’t answer your email. please send me your email address… I came back to NYC today , I see I have a parcel slip at my post office… so they have your package there… I will try to pick it up thursday when I get back from FLorida…. thanks Carol!

  18. This is amazing… My hubby’s brother lived in Cheam. Know it well..
    I used to color with my tongue hanging out too. I think it’s a sign of a true artist. (Big cheeky grin)
    ;-) Your blog is pure eye candy, and I am totally impressed by your lovely work…

    • Hi Victoria – I saw your photos with Jackie on her blog – how cool that you got to meet. She quilted my angel quilt that I am entering in a show in Jacksonville Florida at the end of September.

      Is your husband English by any chance? They tore down my school not long after I left and put up a block of offices – I’ve been back to Sutton several times in recent years and it hasn’t changed too much.

      I really enjoy your blog too – that wonky stars quilt is sooo wild – just the kind of thing I like – it’s going to be spectacular! I love the idea of using the crazy quilt blocks as fillers – gotta remember that :-)

  19. Hi Carol. I am planning a possible move to Panama and am a quilter. Can you tell me when and where you Panama Canal Quilters meet or how to contact them. Thanks, Suzi Arkebauer

    • The Panama Canal Quilter’s meet at my studio on Thursdays – but unfortunately we cannot take any new members at this time. We have had several people ask to join – so I know there are quilters in Panama – probably enough to form another group. We could help you do that when you get here.

      Keep in touch

      Carol

  20. Kathleen Pohlig

    Hi Carol, I just learned about you and your website from my younger sister, also a Carol. We were both born in Panama (now both live in Minnesota) and are talking about a visit there. We’re both quilters and love molas too. My husband and I have visited Panama twice in recent years, and on the second trip my mother and my youngest daughter went with us. Mom and Dad lived there 9 years and came back to the States in 1955 when I was 7 years old. Two years ago this month was mom’s first return visit and she enjoyed it immensely! Unfortunately, my dad never did get back to Panama. I bought several nice molas on our last visit at the same market you mention on your site and have had fun working them into some wall hangings etc.
    I love your quilt work! Fabulous colors and prints. I spent much more time with quilting before I opened an independent bookstore in June 2007……….I miss the time I had for that, but get my “fix” every once in a while and know I’ll get back to more of it one day…….
    If we make a trip to Panama it sure would be fun to meet you. In the mean time, I have signed up to keep up with your blog. Thanks for all the great information!

    Kathleen Pohlig
    Alexandria, MN

  21. Hi Carol, I love your web site!! Your art is fantastic..Your images of the flowers and Taboga are so beautiful, how do I purchase? I really enjoyed meeting you at Laurie’s shop and I hope to see you again in the near future. Give my best to your father and please let h im know the marmalade has been delivered!
    Your quilts …love your quilts!!!
    Take care,
    Claire

  22. Hi! I just stumbled upon your blog from another on Pink Saturday and so glad I did. My husband is originally from Panama and has family there as well as the US. We visited a few years ago and I have been in love with the molas and tagua stuff ever since. Have a wonderful weekend.

  23. Hi Carol, glad to run across your blog site. I am into Digital Scrapbooking and my mother-in-law is a very good Quilter. I am living in Panama City, maybe we can get together one time. I am anxious to meet you in person. pls drop me a line. Great art works and studio.

  24. What a cute picture!

  25. Teresa Whisson

    Carol

    I enjoyed your site. Your hexs are looking wonderful! There is actually a product that prints hexs on fabric! It is wonderful because it prints stitching and cutting line on the back of the fabric and you do not need to mess with the paper pieces. The stitching is lovely too becase you are able to do a regular hand stitch. Check it out at Inklingo.com

    and there is a Yahoo group for Inklingoists!

    Hope that helps
    Teresa / IL

  26. Really enjoyed you site…I too lived in Panama (Coco Solo) back in the 70s…have a large collection of Molas…

    Found you while looking at quilting spaces images…have you bookmarked now.

    Best,
    Sherry

  27. Fantastic site!!!

  28. How lovely to run across you here, Carol!…
    i am a member of Pbase..Digital nuts!
    always loving your work.. I saw the wonderful necklaces…just surfing the web!… surprised and delighted it was YOU!.. jean

  29. Hi Carol, I found your blog after reading an article on the Panama Canal Quilters in playacommunity.com. I am a quilter in the US but live in Panama part-time and would love to join your group next time I’m there, hopefully April. I loved the photos or your studio and very much enjoyed seeing your digital art (in addition to all the quilt photos, of course).

    • Carol – I just wrote you an email in response to your last one – it was returned. I can’t seem to send emails to yahoo and hotmail. If you get this let me know (I can receive emails) and I will write you via my blog as long as this problem lasts – I may have to break down and call my ISP.

  30. Dear Carol,

    Kindly contact me at panamachick2002@yahoo.com, in order to discuss reproduction of your prints.
    thanking you in advance for your kind attention to this matter, I remain.
    respectfully yours
    patti smith

  31. The photo….I have one similar from me….what a great memories….

  32. I was mistaken. I actually originally saw the artwork at your pbase site, Digital Art of Carol Muse Skinner. Just want to make sure you know how people find you. :)

  33. I didn’t see a link to email you–feel free to delete. I happened upon your Casco Viejo artwork (in the Digital Muse Gallary) and recognized your name. I have a vivid image associated with “Miss/Mrs. Muse”, but I’m not sure how I know it. I believe she was a friend of my mother, Lacy (Hinkle) Seppy. Perhaps you or a relative taught at Balboa Elementary? I would appreciate any info or emails you can provide.

    Anyway, I love your style in the Casco Viejo images. I will have to buy a few pieces to go with my Sprague lithographs. Thank you for bringing Panama’s beauty to the masses! :)

  34. I asked my family to comment when I started and had no comments – and this has been a running commentary – each trying to outdo the other!

    Did you read my “About Me” – I turned 61 on Monday.

    LOL this is someone who is not related but has a lot in common …we both met Englishmen and moved to be with them…am guessing we are a similar age too! And we live for our art!

  35. Oh my Carol… I just LOVE that photo!… and the first thing I noticed was the tongue!!! ….Oh the tongue…and how you do the same thing to THIS day!!…a few years later

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