Saturday, April 28, 2007

Flower Pounding on a Rainy Day

Lately there has been a lot of discussion on myArt Techniques group lately about "flower pounding". I have seen this done before on various TV programs but had never gotten around to trying it. Well, yesterday , as it turned out, was the day. First of all it was a gloomey rainy day. Second, I had friends coming down to play, one with a very artsy 5 year old boy in towe who always wanted to know "what we were going to do that was fun and new". The stakes were high!!!! My pansies have been glorious this year as I planted them this fall and they struggled thru the winter and then they literally burst forth into glorious color!!!

So I had the flowers, I had the tools , I had the company with high expectations, so we went for it!!

First of all I must show off my pansies!!

One more!!

Often I am totally overwhelmed with how beautiful plants can be, and all from the tiniest of seeds! Absolutely amazing!!

And now, for something we know that you've all been waiting for!!!

These first two pondings were done on some scraps of handmade paper. THe blossoms were placed face down on a piece of the paper and another sheet was put down on top. Then using one hand to feel where the blossoms were, I pounded the paper with a large rubber mallet till I started to see moisture and color come thru the top sheet of paper. I lifted the top sheet to check on my progress and when I felt that I had hit every blossom sufficiently, I took off the top sheet and pulled the flower remnants from the bottom sheet.

It is really amazing how the colors transfer to the paper. Some colors do not appear on the paper as they presented on the blossom. In this picture( immediately above) , there are three small blossoms on the outside right that are shaped like small stars almost. Those began the process as bright magents creeping phlox. The pounding must alter the chemical makeup of the pigment because on the paper, we see a purple color. This takes me back to my high school chemistry days!! i am sure that my Advanced Biology teacher, Paul Chamberlain, would have the answer for me!!!
I also did some pounding on unbleached muslin. The pictures follow!
All in all, we had great fun with this technique and my 5 year old friend Cal, was well entertained!
i think that I might have sparked some scientific interest in him as well as he was theorizing why the orange pigment transfered so well vs. the magenta. I think that I prefer my pansies and Johnny Jump Ups "un pounded" but I am going to try some azalea blossoms just for fun!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

A Stretch for Me !!!

I have never thought that I would find myself inspired or motivated to explore my own version of Zetti Style. Zetti Style , for those of you who are not Altered Art artists, is a whimsical, no rules specific style invented by Artist Teesha Moore. I have included alink to her web site because I find that there is no definition of her work that can do it justice. You just have to see her work. I have been interested in it and found it very different, but I have never been drawn or motivated to explore it within my own work. Just goes to show you that you should Never Say Never!!!

I am getting ready, ready, ready to go to Art and Soul in two weeks. At these art retreats, there are lots of gatherings for the trading of art work. I have previously posted pictures of the art pins (Art Helps Me Breathe) that I will be taking with me, but I have decided to also take some Artist Trading Cards along. I went about cutting up a bunch of collaged backgrounds that I have created out of scraps left over from other projects. At that Point , I had stopped, not sure where to go next. Then I saw some artwork posted on one of my art groups. This gal had done Zetti Animals ! They were very colorful, they made me laugh and they inspired me!!!! I thought that they would be the perfect thing to go along with my colorful whimsical backgrounds. So I set about going thru old magazines to find pictures of animals and words to use as accents.

Well here they are!! I am really excited that I was able to stretch beyond what I thought I could do with my art!!

I think that the Puffins with Party hats and the Girrafe are my favorites!!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Fabric Journal Pages

My Surface Design group is doing a Journal Page swap . For the first several rounds we are using the seasons as our theme. Our first season was spring. Lately, many of us in this group have been wondering if winter will EVER leave!!!

My swap partner for the Spring page was Jan Z. from Wisconsin. It turns out that Jan is a Master Gardener, along with being a very experienced Fiber artist and Quilter. It was nice to have the gardening passion in common with her. Her fiber art skills far exceed my own but we all love to learn by doing and to learn from each other.
Last week, I received this beautiful page in the mail from Jan. The photo does not do it justice! It is full of texture and layers of color. She used bleach to discharge the colors from the fabric for the white flowers and added embroidery and bead work. The bottom has a wonderful piece of bark cloth- made from bark fiber - added to it and in amongst the fibers she added some real seeds just waiting to be awakened by the spring sun and rain!!!

This is the front of the page. (each page measures 6 inches by 6 inches).

On the back of the page, Jan added details for how she created this wonderful page and told me a bit about her creative journey! It is such fun getting to know all of these wonderful artists that I would never have a chance to get to know if not for the Internet!!

I have created my first fabric journal page and it will be sent on it's way to Jan, in the morning.

These photos are a bit dark. I found that if I used the flash, there would be too much reflective glare from the transparency and the Lumiere paints (they contain mica powder) and lots of detail would be lost. So I opted for darker pictures with more details available for viewing. I printed some of my own photographs onto fabric with my new Epson C-88 color printer- as recommended by artist Lesley Riley and purchased fro me by my wonderful husband!! 9 He just loves having new electronic toys in the house!!!) I added a piece of hand painted fabric and some beading to enhance and add details and printed a phrase on a strip of transparency to place across the bottom of the pansies. It says the Smiling Faces of Spring. pansies are simply one of my favorite flowers and mine are thriving this year in the cool weather that we have been having.

This is the back of my page for Jan. As we got to know each other through e-mails, I discovered that she loves tulips. The upper Midwest got blasted this year by late deep freezes and snow and she fears that she has lost all of her tulips for this year. So on the back of her page i put photos of tulips for her to enjoy. We also got late snow and freezing blasts but My tulips managed to hang in there and have been beautiful- till last night when they got pulverized by the winds from this Nor'easter!!! To this side I added more hand painted fabric, a mother of pearl button some pink dotted Swiss fabric with beads and some stamped butterflies. Before I mail this page off, I will sign and date the back side.

I am very excited about this ongoing project! I have gotten the name of my trade partner for the summer page and I am looking forward to working on it.

I am not sure yet how I am going to bind these pages together. I may add a narrow strip of fabric to each side of each page and then fold it up accordian style; or I may add fabric tabs with grommmets to each left hand side and then tie the pages together. I am sure that all will become clear as the project evolves and as I get ideas from other artists who are participating in this swap!!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Mother Nature's Miracles

Can these amazing flowers be real????

On the last day of the kid's spring break, we all trekked into D.C. to go to the Natural History Museum. We took Metro- the kids always enjoy that and it really does make everything, traffic-wise, soooo much easier. Well, the Museum was mobbed- to be expected. After touring the fossils and watching a really cool video about the evolution of the horse, we headed for the Mammels. We found several long distant relatives of our dog Buddy- cute little rodent type creatures with big eyes and enormous ears!!!! As the kids and Tom headed for the Gift Shop, I ducked into a temporary exhibit about Orchids! All that I can say is OH MY!! The orchids were all in bloom and we could get so close that we could smell each one. They were arrainged as one might find them in a jungle and there were very few people taking in the beauty. The photographic opportunities were outstanding!!

So on this very rainey Sunday, I will share with you some of Mother Nature's most amazing miracles!!

Yet again, I have been shown that I must always be open to the gifts and miracles that each day presents us with!!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Fabric Journal Pages

Recently I was fortunate enough to take a day long class with the fabulous fabric artist Lesley Riley!!! It was a dream come true for me!! I was so very excited and I was certainly not disappointed!! The goal of the class was to gather knowledge from Lesley regarding her methods for creating fabric books. She uses children's board books, the thick paged, 10-12 pages total, kind. She uses the book as a canvas for fabric collage. Her work is wonderful, full of texture and color and unexpected treasures. I am still in the process of finishing up the book that I started in the class. I will post it here as soon as I finish it!
She also creates collages that she calls Fragments. These are sewn fabric and photograph collages that she sells individually.
I was so very inspired by the way that she combines such a variety of elements and creates a wonderfully unified piece.

A very dear friend of mine has just been diagnosed with breast cancer. She lives in Oklahoma and I will not be able to be with her to help her with her treatments or to give her a hug or to make sure that she is eating enough. I will be able to be with her through my art work. She has provided me with such artistic direction in the past, and such support and friendship in the past and present. I am not sure that I will ever be able to convey what a treasured friend she is!! She is also a huge fan of Lesley Riley and in fact, I found out about her cancer the evening before my class. Needless to say, I was thinking of her the entire day. I decided at the class that I would create a fabric collage book or journal for her and send it to her one piece at a time.

So I have begun creating fabric journal pages just for her. I am trying to make a similar one for myself at the same time. Somehow I always end up gifting all of my artwork!!!

This is the first page that I created for Mo. The phrase says" Love and Buttons Keep Us Together". I sent this to her on the day of her first chemo treatment.

This is a page that I created for myself. The colorful collaged piece that is the background is one of the paint scrapped pieces that I posted a long time ago.

Although a bit washed out, it is easier to see more of the details in this shot. The quote is from Indira Gandhi and says, "We must learn to be still in the midst of activity and to be vibrantly alive in repose."

This is the second page that I have created for Mo. The phrase is a Chinese Proverb that says: It is not possible to stop the birds of sadness from flying over your head but you can prevent them from building a nest in your hair!

Again, this shot is washed out but the details can be more easily seen. The bird stamp is one that I carved myself and the fabric that she is stamped on is fabric that I painted myself using Lumiere paints. ( The white is just a dish towel used for photographing)

I am discovering all sorts of new possibilities as I explore combining all of the different elements in these pieces. my next project will be to create a special box for Mo to store her Journal pages in.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Clock Swap

The fabric Design group that I belong to held several Fiber Charm Swaps recently. Inevitably the discussion came around to what everyone was going to do with their charms. One gal suggested creating a clock using 4 fiber charms as the 4 main numbers, or use fiber charms for all of the numbers. For some reason this idea appealed to me, so I bit and signed on. I really need to cut down on swaps but it is very cool to recieve glorious artwork in the mail!! The inspiration and ideas that the swaps generate is invaluable, as well. This was a one on one swap. I would make a clock for my partner and my partner would make one for me. Well, it took me forever to decide on a scheme and a technique. With the deadline looming, I settled on Fabric Fusion Paper as a background with charms for the 4 major numbers.

I fused (Glued) dressmakers pattern tissue to muslin and then added painted paper towel and punched paper flowers over the top. The whole thing was then coated with 5-6 layers of finishing medium. I used silver colored beads for the digits between the 12-3-6-9. The major numbers were made from left over pieces of the fiber collage that I used for my original charms.

I hope taht my partner likes it! it was alot of fun to create and I will have to think about doing another one so I can keep track of time in my Art Space!! Time flies when you are having fun!!!

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Tulips with Snow Hats!

Here it is Easter weekend and we woke up to an inch and a half of snow!!! All of the tulips were wearing lovely fluffy white Easter Bonnets!! The snow is melting fast but the temperature is not supposed to moderate till Monday!!!
On Tuesday we had glorious 70 degree weather

It looks like the flowers will survive this winter blast!!! Keep your fingers crossed!!

Pansies love the cold!

The Weeping Cherry looked like a glorious sugar coated confection! Mother Nature never ceases to amaze me!!

Fabric Postcards

I have just finished several creations for some Postcard swaps. The first card was for a swap of Mixed Media Collage fabric Postcards.

For these cards I made a fabric fusion paper using dress pattern tissue, floral napkin tops and muslin. I fused all together with matte medium. I stamped the phrase with Staz-On ink and added the silk flowers and beads.

The next cards were for a swap of Images stamped on fabric. I created the background fabric using Lumiere Paints sponged thru sequin waste.

For the stamped image, I used a stamnp of a bird that I had carved myself. I used Staz-On ink and then added the stamped phrase as well.

Fabric postcards are such fun to create as I am trying lots of new techniques and when I recieve cards in the mail, it really is exciting. I think that the postal workers enjoy it as well. Most cards go thru the mail as is, with a stamp on the back!

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Metamorphosis Complete

When I was a little girl I did not have much use for Barbie dolls. Let us just say that I was not born in her image. I have just completed a project for a trade that had made terrific use of an old Barbie. i never had this much fun with dolls when I was a kid!!

I am calling her Meta to stand for Metamorphosis Complete. The original doll was only developed to the larval stage!!

The starting point or Larval Stage!

Here is Meta transformed. She is covered with painted paper towels and matte medium after having her hair cut off as close to the scalp as possible. (That part was tons of fun-always a BIG No-No when we were kids!!)

Her wings are made from a tyvek envelope that was painted and ironed.

Here you can see her wings and back.

Now she is much better looking than the larval stage, don't you think??

You should all realize by now that nothing is safe in the hands of a Mixed Media Artist. Put something in the pot and one never knows what will result!!!

It is far too much fun to cchange things around!!!

I found a treasure today!!

We have just enjoyed an absolutely beautiful spring day here in Virginia. The temperature was in the mid 70's and all of the flowering trees and lots of spring bulbs are in bloom! The only complainers in the group are those with allergies. I do feel for them!

Anyway, as I was leaving the library on this glorious day, something caught my eye from one of the unused garden beds. It is rusty and crusty and gloriously textured! An altered artist's dream find! Now the question is: What to do with it?? I am thinking of creating a pendant piece with it or it could also work well in an Art Doll.

What do you think? I would love to hear some ideas!!


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