Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Soup is ON - Bead Soup That Is


( click on the pictures to enlarge)
So back in February I joined in on the latest Bead Soup Blog Party run by the most awesome and amazing Lori Anderson.  I spent several days mixing and thinking and mixing some more to come up with a creative and colorful challenge for my bead Soup partner ... wait for it.... this is just too darn exciting....  Lamp Work Bead Artist Extraordinaire Ms. Juli Cannon!!!  I was agog and aghast that I had been paired up with one of my bead creating Goddesses!! I have purchased beads from Juli in the past having found her during the last bead Soup blog hop that I took part in.  But never did I dream that I would be lucky enough to have such an awesome partner !!!  So now the pressure was on WAY HIGH , cuz my Soup had to measure up for Ms Juls!!!!
Above you can see the Soup that made the final cut!  Ms Juls is a seed beader and adores her seed beads and I have recently become enthralled with all of the new shaped seed beads that are flooding the beady markets.  So that is what I sent her.  She got Rizo's, the top drilled rice shaped green ones and a metallic mix, and vintage metallic nail head beads, some vintage tube beads and some recycled glass beads in several colors that my brother purchased for me in Africa.( bottom)Alos tucked in there is some African turquoise and some wonderful little orange fringe or drop beads ( my fav seed beads as they wiggle and move !!) I found the focal at a bead show and was told that this particular kind of jasper is only found in one place and mined by one man near Perth Australia.  So at least I knew that this soup was exotic to say the least!!  Then i just went a bit nuts with color and texture cuz I love to share and I kept coming up with more things that worked together.  Why the Heck Not!!???!! RIGHT???? Right!!!!

So today my soup form Juli arrived.  Oh my goodness was I overwhelmed!! What a generous and amazing soup!!!!.  Soup is even too banal a word- how about Bouillabaisse or Bisque or some other uber elegant word ?? This is no mere soup- this is a Symphonic event!!!



 As Juli stated in her blog post we , she and I ,are seed beaders at heart but for this event we do some stringing.  So Juls sent me TWO,  yes 2, soups .  One for stringing, here in luscious blue green and turquoise ocean colors crafted by her very own hand( do you suppose she knows I love the sea?? Mais OUI!!!)  So this will become my strung bead piece of the sea that Juli lives near and has shared with me!!




Color Explosion #2 is for the seed beader in me and will be embroidered on suede and worn with total pride!! Just look at that focal cab!! I do believe that Juli has determined that I am a big bold color gal!! We go together like two peas, she and I!!  How awesomely fantabulous is that!!!!  Even the ultra suede is in a shade of my very favorite color- the woman reads minds, I tell you!!
 Juli has just started creating these amazing glass cabs and is selling them in her shop- so hustle on over and snag a few before they fly away!!!  She is real busy so it might be a while before she can restock!!!!

My mind is spinning !! I cannot wait to tuck in to this amazing collection of glorious artistry!!  And now to create!  Back in a bit with the reveal!!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Have A Bit OF Snow ? Snow Dye Some Fabric!!!

Here in Virginia we have had several rather major snow storms that have made us all rather weary of the winter.  At least in Virginia this is not the usual winter weather!!  Most recently, March 2-3 we had a good 10 inches on top of sleet.  The snow was very dry and light , fortunately for those who did the shoveling!
As soon as the snow had stopped falling I got my fabrics soaking in the soda ash solution and set things up for my second round of Snow Dyeing of the winter.



In the round bowl, propped up on a vegetable steamer base ( so the fabric does not sit in the melted snow /dye solution) is the soda ash treated fabric.  I put in a small piece of Habatoi silk, and two pieces of vintage damask linen.  In the box sits an old baking cooling rack with one piece of linen, one piece of silk and a white cotton sleeveless shirt that I picked up at Goodwill.  In the back you can see my tub of snow.



The next step is to pack the snow over the top of the fabric till the cloth is totally covered and about 3-4 inches thick.  I then took the bowl and box of fabric/snow to the guest room tub and placed them in the tub to catch any water overflow and so I could easily wash any dye particles down the drain.



 Then I put on my dust mask and got out my MX Fiber Reactive dyes.  These can be purchased many places that sell fabric dyes or directly from Pro Chem in Rhode Island.  Using a teaspoon ( used only for dyeing fabrics) I sprinkled bits of dye powder over the snow.   The bowl was sprinkled with colors Turkey Red, Cherry Blush, Sun Yellow and Grape.  The box was sprinkled with Grape, Ice Blue, Ultra Marine and Dark Blue.  then all there is to do is wait till the snow melts!  So this morning I went down and found my dye covered fabric sitting above a puddle of melted snow and dye.  After a good rinse out and a wash in the machine and a spin in the drier, here are my results.

       

Here are the silk pieces!!! Luscious and luminous!!!  I will use these in my Collage Nuno felted wraps as merino wool fibers can penetrate the silk beautifully!


Here is the piece of vintage damask linen table cloth. LOVE!!!  The dyes move so beautifully in this method as the solution is carried down and through the fabric by gravity.  If there are folds and wrinkles in the fabric ( which there always are when one has wadded up the fabric) the dye will run down the fold till it gets to the lowest point where it will drip off into the reservoir at the bottom.


This smaller piece of linen was a hand towel with a ratty edge and a few holes in the fabric,  The damask pattern is glorious - sorry that the pattern is hard to pick up in this photo.


 Here is the large linen piece from the blue box ,that I roughly pleated and twisted before adding  to the rack in the box.

here is the cotton top from Goodwill that I will now embellish with other fabrics and doilies followed by some hand stitch.  I will be adding this piece to my inventory in my studio at Artful Dimensions Gallery.

If you are interested in a protocol to follow so you can have a go at your own Snow Dyeing , you can find one here.!



Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Need to Experiment




I have found that as I continue creating with whatever media I am obsessed with at the moment, that I have a true NEED to push it , to experiment and to follow the call of the What IF voices. . Blog hopping has led me on a very rewarding journey where i have met some amazingly talented and like minded artists. I have often struck up conversations with artists and have increased my desire to explore with my media exponentially.
I find that I am always combining the things that I love to work with to create new pieces and lately that has resulted in felted pieces full of layers of texture and bead work and stitch.

Lately I am having a very rewarding experience doing hand work.  perhaps this is because this hearkens back to my very first experiences with art.  As a young child of 4, I was given large squared gingham and a not very sharp needle with embroidery floss to do cross stitch.  All the women around me were constantly knitting and that soon became my focus with creating doll blankets.  Then living on the ocean and collecting treasures was a passion and so the story goes.
Above you can see the third piece in my Tide Lines series of work titled Nantucket Sound.  This began with my embellishing machine with bits of lace and yarn and gauze and hand dyed cheese cloth.  All were combined with merino wool fibers and then wet felted to further connect the fibers and add dimensional texture through the fulling of the wool.  Stitching through felted pieces is a joy as the needle glides through the fabric  so easily.  some evenings I can sit for a very long time creating oodles of French and Chinese knots
 before i am ready to add the found treasures collected in my beach walks.


All of the found bits that were added as the last step were collected along a beach in Chatham MA, which is part of the area known as Nantucket Sound, hence the title.  this piece will be framed in a shadow box for display.

I have also used my felting and beads combination of creating art in my most recent experiments.  I have created Nuno felt- ( the combination of many different fibers and fabrics to create a NEW or Nuno piece of textile.)  Merino wool fibers from Opulent Fibers- my favorite supplier- has served as the glue for these pieces .  Hand dyed silks, silk fibers, bits of lace and scrim and hand dyed cheese cloth has all been added to generate the texture and interest that I strive for in all of my pieces.  All of these pieces were felted together around a heavy copper wire core.  I was not at all sure this would work but there was nothing for it but to have a go! I followed the advice of the What IF? voices.


I was thrilled to find that the wool/ silk mix felted and fulled beautifully around the copper core and left me with some glorious texture for adding stitch and bead work.


I did do my first experiments with this white, blue piece and then jumped in, with both feet, to create other colorways.  At the ends of the felt work I wrapped and stitched a bit of turquoise silk gauze as the felting there was a bit thin.  I like that finished look and it taught me to make the felt a more uniform thickness along the wire.  Then I went to the bead stash having reached the stage for the FUN part, the Hand Work!!!


And here they are ready for display at Artful Dimensions Gallery in all their texture filled and beaded softness.

  Don't be afraid, follow the What IF ??? Voices


Sunday, February 23, 2014

Back To Blogland At Last!!

I have just signed on to another Bead Soup Blog Party and one of the requirements for the Bead Soup is that we all have active blogs.  Well, I have a blog but it has been anything but active- more like deep hibernation.  Time to wake-y wake-y!!!  So having to wake up the Blog to participate is something that you can all thank the Amazing and Indomitable Lori Anderson for!!!  Lori is a dynamo and if you do not know of her I urge you to check out her website and her book titled Bead Soup!


  She has embarked on starting yet another beady Blog Party while she is fighting a raging case of Lyme Disease!!!  She is one tough cookie and so passionate about beads!

So as the Bead Soup Blog party gets started I thought I might catch you all up on what I have been doing with myself lately.  Lots of projects, in a picture scroll format.  Not too many words as I have to get back in the swing of things blog-wise very slowly.  I have been so very busy with all sorts of life happenings that the blog has fallen off the edge of the plate.  Don't want to shack you all with too much verbiage!! :)

Here goes:  IF you have  specific questions feel free to holler at me in the comments!!


 Nuno felted wrap- I am getting the hang of making holes!! YEAH!


 Collage nuno felt wrap "Jack Frost Farewell"  beaded and using my hand dyed vintage linens. ( This piece sold before I had it finished!!  Love it when that happens!)


 Nuno felted and beaded bracelet- "Spring Snow Melt"


The Colors OF Happy- collaged felt  beaded and embroidered collar.



 We have had quite a winter this year with lots of ice and snow.  I managed to get a few good garden ice pictures.



 Flock of birds stitched from left over sun printed and felted bits.


I made and sold quite a few of my Inspiration Banners.


As part of our Art Outreach at Artful Dimensions Gallery, I have been teaching a Journals From Junk class Just for Teens at a branch of our library!! It is all free to the kids and we have been having a great time playing and learning together.  This will go on twice a month till May 2014.

The title of this felted and stitched piece is Nantucket Sound. Th is the third piece in a series that I have done with nuno felted backgrounds and found objects embroidery and beads.


 I created this bracelet as a donation for a Silent Auction that was being held in town to benefit a fellow artist who is fighting a gallant battle with cancer.  Fortunately he and his family have been able to take full advantage of the Affordable Care Act and have saved lots of money and stress!!


 I took advantage of all of the snow and tried my hand at snow dying!!!  Loved it and I think I will try it next with ice, from the ice machine.  We don't want anymore snow!!!


I finally got around to creating a sign for my studio door at the gallery.  BTW f you have not "Liked" us on Face Book ,please pop over and have a look!! (Artful Dimensions Gallery) We are a non profit and we have found that the Face Book page is really helping us get the word out about all that we have to offer!

So what have you all been up to lately!! I have really missed visiting everyone and will be making great efforts to pop in for a quick visit in the next couple of days!! Now I am off to make supper!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Fabric journals


In the midst of getting work done for my Colors of Happy Show , I created some little projects to distract myself from the stress of show prep.  Two of my very dear friends at Artful Dimensions Gallery were in need of special journals for various uses. I really had no business taking on new projects but it felt really good to do so and to allow myself to work freely for no other reason than it was what I wanted to do at that very moment.  My wonderful friend Barbara was about to embark on a two week long trip to Rome with her husband and her brother and sister in law.  She was so excited and would be in Rome over her birthday.  I wanted her to have a special journal so she could make notes store bits and pieces of ephemera from her trip and do some sketching if she felt like it.  I wanted her to be able to relive the trip once she got home with as much delight as possible and the journal would allow her to do just that.  Barb and her husband Bobby have been studying Italian with a native speaker for  about two years and she has been sharing her lessons with us in the Gallery.  I used fabrics with the colors of the Italian fag for the cover and red happens to be one of Barb's favorite colors.  I practiced my free motion stitching skills in green thread to spell out various words along with the date of the trip and the city.  Above you can see the cover that is held closed by a hand made bit of cording made from various yarns and fabrics wrapped around a vintage deep red button.  ( My journal design is based roughly off a design shared in a class taught by the amazing and wondrous Mary Ann Moss!  Mary Ann has several delightful one line classes in journal making that I cannot recommend highly enough!)



Inside front cover with fabric paper pocket on left hand side.  September is significant as it is the month of Barb's birthday and also the month of her fabulous trip!


I included many pockets throughout and lots of tags and bits to write things down upon.


At a library used book sale I had purchased an adorable little Italian cook book that was full of three color wood cuts.  I now had the perfect excuse for using the images!!  Above you see one of them.


More pages and pockets and hand done papers.







The page on the right was printed on a gelatin plate using a plastic doily as a mask.






I think this is my favorite image from the Italian cookbook- It must be the black and white checks!!


 And finally the inside back cover.

  1. The whole cover spread out .  I used a vintage dishcloth with the red single petaled roses for the majority of the cover: and true to form, I misspelled one of the words.  If  I had listened to the nagging voice at the back of my mind and done a bit of research, had I the time, I would have know that the phonetic spelling of Si Certo is not correct as I spelled it!!!  ( Si Cierto is incorrect!!) As it turned out I finished this project at 9 pm on the evening before the departure for the trip and I ended up delivering it at 10 pm!!  Done in time but just barely!!


This next journal was made as a gratitude journal for another friend who was having a rough go of life. I felt a Gratitude Journal might help with attaining valuable perspective.


I lined the inside front cover with a deep brown Starbucks Coffee bag as coffee is a favorite beverage.




Each signature cover sheet was made with hand painted papers that I happened to have in my stash.  These pages had been lazer copied as I was so fond of the colors and collage techniques.



I used a special vintage linen piece with a pansy embroidered on it to create a special back pocket.

This return to journal making has inspired me to create some more special books with my sun prints as covers.  I will share these pieces with you as soon as I finish a bunch of them!  Thanks for visiting !!

Monday, September 30, 2013

Dragonfly Hour- My latest Collage Bead Work

Last week, after teaching a good friend to create a beaded collage cuff, I was inspired to try my hand at a Steam punk version of my own.  As readers of this blog you know that I favor Ocean color palettes and more recently I am working in many bright or Happy Colors. I love vintage bits and I have come to love matte finish Czech beads that have been made available lately.  The matte finish complements the metallic bits and the zipper that I have chosen for this piece.  I am continuing to push myself in new areas and I am very pleased with      the results of this little exercise!

I combined an old watch face and vintage shoe buttons with a heavy duty brass zipper and some tiny keys.  I love the little dragonfly stamping with the ornate detail in the wings!
Here is a peak at how the piece begins with the layout and stitching of the zipper and the first of many decisions necessary for the placement of the larger design elements.

The entire piece is stitched on Ultra Suede and then  mounted and stitched onto an aluminum cuff blank.  I like to use the aluminum blank because it is more mold-able to the wearers wrist and it is quite a bit lighter in weight than a brass blank.  It is also a good deal cheaper than the brass blank and since it is not seen , there is no reason to use a brass blank for this technique.




I used a very old cut metal button, I believe it is Victorian and two reproduction typewriter keys to spell BE. The repro keys are actually from the scrapbooking section of the crafts store. One never knows where one will find the perfect elements for a collage piece like this!!!

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