Thursday, May 31, 2007

Fiber Play TIme

Time for blogging has escaped me lately!! Life has been extremely hectic lately with end of school events for the kids and sports practices and games. I even take the projects that involve handwork to the practices and games and I am still behind! YIKES!!!! Better behind than bored, I guess!!
Anyway, my 15 yr old, Matthew was given two awards yesterday! He is a freshman and was given an award for Outstanding Student (Highest GPA) in Honors Geometry and An Outstanding Student Award in Honors Earth Science!! pretty Cool!!
Becca had her first Softball game last night and they routed the older girls by the score of 14-9!!! We parents were only praying that they get some hits and catch a few balls!!! They were amazing- even the coach was flabbergasted and told them that they had been holding out on him!!! Becca hit a monster base hit and was called out at first- everyone except the teenage UMP claimed that she was safe! What an amazing experience for a bunch of 4th and 5th graders who were really struggling to make contact with the ball and couldn't really even catch. Fortunately we do have a few experienced players on the team and they are all so wonderfully supportive of each other!! This team is a real tribute to their Coach and to the girls!!
OK, Ok! Enough Proud Momma stuff, on to the art!
Yesterday morning I jumped on a second of free time to play with coloring some fiber. I used cheesecloth and white cotton crocheted lace and drier sheets.

This was good and messey and lots of fun! I used the Ranger Color Washes for the drier sheets (under the lace), Color washes and Ranger Acrylics for the cheesecloth (on the left) and color washes and acrylics for the lace. I have plans to use these pieces in upcoming projects.

Next on the agenda , was to try some discharge stamping with bleach. I have a project at the top of my list : to make a summer fabric journal page. I want to use images of sea shells stamped on fabric for this project. I found that the fabric chosen for the bleach stamping had alot to do with the success of the stamping! Some fabrics that I thoguht would be perfect backgrounds, did not show any results form the bleach!! I found this very strange. I hope to get some feedback from those of you who have tried this technique, so leave me some hints if you get the chance, Please!!!
I began by using a 1:1 bleach solution but quickly advanced to 100% bleach and then I rinsed the fabric in water to stop the bleaching action.

I am quite pleased with these two strips and I plan to use them in my Ocean journal page. The batik fabrics leave such a nice background to the images and it appears the one is looking down thru the water at the shells.

The scallop stamp seems to have given the best image. The bleach held on to the nautilus stamp in droplets and was blotchey on the fabric.

These images are less obvious. There is a large nautilus in the center, a starfish on the right, a small conch at the bottom and a scallop on the left.

Perhaps if I were to use a plain boring solid color the images would be clearly discernable, but I do love the effects with the batik fabric. I don't think that I even HAVE any plain solid color, BORING fabric in my stash!!!!!!

If you have any experience with this technique, I would love some input!!!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

House Quiltie Creation

I have just finished my first Quiltie for a swap on one of my groups. The thememfor this swap was Houses. The first thing that popped into my head was a birdhouse. So I set about taking a picture of our bluebird house and printed it on fabric using my wonderful new color printer. (For printing on fabric, Epson-C88 can't be beat!)

I found the stick that the quilt hangs from along the Rappahanock river near Fredericksburg. One can find beautiful driftwood along rivers, I have found. The button on the right hand side of the quilt serves as the latch for the house.

Once the latch is open, you will find the nest inside. The fabric used for the background was an old tea towel that I dyes with strong tea and then I stamped the images using Staz-On Ink. I added fibers to the nest and cut the eggs out of hand painted fabric and stitched them into the nest.

I quilted the bird and the nest area with machine stitching following the stamped images.

Finally, this is the back of the quilt with my signature label and date.

I will be recieving a House Quiltie from one of the other gals in this swap. I will post pictures of it when it arrives!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Passing Spring Blossoms

The weather, here in Virginia, is starting to heat up. My pansies and other spring beauties are beginning to feel the heat. I spent quite a bit of time outside with my camera to capture their glory before they wilt for the season. The bearded iris don't like the heat much either, they took a beating in a recent storm ,but the blooms were beautiful and fragrant while they lasted. I was thrilled that so many of them bloomed just one year after being moved from my garden in Oklahoma!!

WARNING!!!!: If you don't like looking at floral photography, you might want to skip this post!!!

English Primroses and Orange Marmalade Hosta.

Foliage of Orange Marmelade hosta.

These white iris were actually more silver than white and they perfumed the entire garden. It is a shame that they got thrashed by the thunder storm. The miracles of Mother natrue never cease to amaze me!!

Flower Girls

I have begun to create some larger Art Dolls (larger than the 6 inch ones shown in previous posts) and I have decided to call them Flower Girls. I made these two dolls specifically for a dear friend and her daughter who recently lost a good friend in the shootings at Virginia Tech. My dear friend, the mother, got a doll with her 4 year old face on it. Her daughter, who I don't really know was given a doll with a stamped face and hopefully, a very happy and cheerful costume. This special doll also pays tribute to her friend who was killed as I added personal charms and tokens to symbolize the friendship that the two girls shared.
These dolls ended up being approximately 10 inches long and about 8 inches wide measuring from wing tip to wing tip.
The face for this little lady was printed on fabric after the photo was scanned into the computer. Her purple outfit is silk with ribbons beading and charms added by hand.

Below are pictures of each doll with details from the back.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Above and Beyond!!

Isn't it amazing when you experience something that is way above and beyond your wildest expectations????? It is very rare, it does not happen very often to me, that's for sure! I tend to set myself up with over blown expectaions, most times. My weekend experience at Art and Soul, however, was more than One could imagine without actually being there!! The people, the Instructors, the students ,the vendors ,the experience, the trading, all of it was fantastic!! I have already decided that I will be attending again next year and I have started a special fund to support my next trip to Art and Soul!
When I called home the first evening, I told Tom that my Idols, my Art Idols were everywhere ,and we were all just hanging out getting to know each other ! It was so cool!
I arrived on Friday evening, after dealing with traffic due to the Queen's visit to Jamestown and Williamsburg. That didn't phase me though, OH no!!
On Saturday morning, I started a full day class with Susan Lenart Kazmer. What an amazingly wonderful, talented, kind and giving person she is!! She had all of her most well known pieces on display to be used as teaching aids and we got to touch them !! I will post photos of the project for that class, with more details, in a few days.
On Sunday I had a full day class with Collage Artist Ann Baldwin. Ann is British and was an English teacher for 30 years, before she began her second career as a collage artist. The title of her class was Creating a Family Story with Paint and Collage. Being British, she possessed that incredibly wonderful quality of a very dry sense of humor and a very carefrre and open personality. She showed us how to work with glazes and how to create a piece of enormous depth ,with mutiple layers of glaze , paint and images, She wants her peices to look like an old ,encrusted ,peeling billbaord that tells a story. The images and words or patterns that are far back in the piece are there to draw the viewer in to the piece so they can determine the true story behind the work. It was an amazing class and we all had a blast. She spent some time doing wonderful demonstrations during which she taked to herself constantly and answered herself. Everything that she said was so very funny, and appropriate, and made so much sense. She was a pure delight! She told us that she would not be able to attend Art and Soul VA next year because of scheduling conflicts, so I feel doubly blessed taht I was able to be in her class this year.
The first thing that we did was an exercise in "SEEING". We went thru magazines and picked out images and words that jumped out at us, that were important. They we arrainged our images or text pieces on a piece of construction paper as she walked around offering assistence. I concentrated on looking for things that would pertain to the story that I wanted to compose for my final project. My family history story would be about my grandmother, Jenny Monson. Jenny came to this country on the boat , alone , in 1916 or so , at the age of 16 or 17. Pretty gutsy young lady! She went through Nurses training and worked as a nurse at a hospital in New York City. She was an avid gardener, a wonderful cook, always worked with her hands, and insisted that all of us 'Wash your hands"!!!
Ann also did several wonderful Dmo's and she has finally convinced me that I must indeed start using Golden brand acrylic paints. The pigments and body of the paint make a huge difference in the finished project! I have really been resisting as they are quite a bit mre expensive . Seems that I might get some of my frugal tendancies form a certain Swedish Grandmother!!!
As Ann was doing the demos, she entertained us with stories from her childhood in a very dry, British style! She was such a delight and we could have listened to her for hours!!

Here is my piece. There are lots of historic details in the background so I have included some close ups. Ann's style aims to have the finished product resemble an old, encrusted, peeling billboard that tells a story. Images and text barely visible are used to draw the viewer into the story. These details are much more apparent in person. So if you really want to see all of them, you'll just have to come on by and see the piece in person!!!

Just so you know, you have been saved from a very detailed post describing all of the images, by my computer. Just as I was about to publish this post to the blog, the computer crashed!! ARGH!!!! I really hate these kl1#r%^@$********** machines sometimes.

The finished piece has approximately 25 layers of paint text, images and glaze on it. Each layer must be dried before the next layer is applied. ( Finally, a use for that blow drier that I never use on my hair!!!) The focal image is a copy of a photo of Jenny, with my brother Peter on her lap and me, behind her. It was areal challenge to make the edges of this high-contrast, black and white photo, disappear into the background.

As seen in the top right, crumpled tissue paper was used to create texture. Under Jenny's left elbow, is a copy of a page from an old family bible, printed in Swedish. Jenny had a very strong faith.

In this shot, one can see the stamped image of a bird- Jenny loved her SHICKADEES! There is also an image of a pair of hands doing needlework; the word"pickles" written in my handwriting, (Jenny made the World's best Bread and Butter Pickles); a page from her Nurses Dictionary of Medical terms; and postmarks and stamps from an old letter from her sister in Sweden.

I plan to frame this piece and include a legend on the back so that my kids wil know what it all means. They are too young to have many memories of Jenny but they do know about her, believe me!!!

This is probably more info thatn many of you wanted but several of you wanted "all of the details", so here they are!!!

I will include details and photos of my class with Susan Kazmer, in a later post.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Art Quilt Page

I am still not quite sure what to call these pieces. My inspiration comes from wonderful artist and teacher, Lesley Riley.
My "pages"are put together with paper and fabric, buttons, beads, fabric transfers and hand painted surfaces. For now I am calling them Fabric collage Pages, I guess.

I created this one for my dear friend, Rebecca Bunting. She is the namesake of my daughter and Becca's godmother as well. I really think of her as my sister. She is an amazing jewelry artist of amazing skill and creativity, she also loves to garden and is in the process of writing a cookbook and helping to put her second son through college. She is an amazing person and a dear, dear friend!

The fabrics that I used on this page are Dupioni silk(purple) ,rayon(Aqua with roses) vintage lace, and linen (bright green). the doilley is a very old paper one that I found in an antique mall. The quote reads, " Those who spread sunshine to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves."

This is the back of the page which is a piece of 140 lb watercolor paper that I painted and stamped. I will be creating a book cover, probably altering the shell of an old book to hold the pages. I intend to make Rebecca a series of pages, with this being the start.

For the time being I created a small easel for her to display this piece if she desires.

The feet are oversized cloths pins that I altered with some of my paint scaped, collaged paper.

I hope that Rebecca enjoys this piece as much as I enjoyed creating it for her!

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

What is it now??

One of the wonderful things about creating art from found objects is the response that the art generates. Everyone comes at things from their own personal perspective. It is very much like lying on your back, on the grass on a blustery day and watching the clouds scud by. Everyone sees someting different. I may see a rearing horse and my friend might see a flying bird in the same cloud formation. I look at rusty items found on the road and can see all sorts of things whereas others see trash. I look at crsty old paintbrushes with their bristles all fanned out and smashed and I see the makings for a doll with the bristles being the wild and crazy hair.

With the piece that I have just created , my husband Tom saw a stringer of Neon tropical fish, I saw somethinhg else, as I knew what I had made the piece from.

ok , no more suspense! What is it this time, you ask. Now don't go and get exasperated, here it is. It is a necklace.
Can you see why Tom said tht it looks like s stringer full of Neon's? The bristles are the tails and the colorful coatings are the neon scales. The chain then becomes a stringer full of fish!
Actually it is a vintage chain loaded with the ends of paintbrushes that have been wrapped in my signature painted paper towel, coated with resis and drilled for jumprings to attatch to the chain. i have worn it several times and I notice people looking at it and I can see their minds working trying to figure it out!! One teacher at my daughter's school , who does wonderful colorful art with her kindergarteners, came right up to me, picked up the necklace and burst out , "Those are paintbrushes, that is just so cool!!" She gets it and when she doesn't, she is not shy about asking.
Here are a few close-ups.
It is all about perspective and perception!!

I think that I will be putting several of these pieces up on my new Etsy store, coming soon!! I will be posting a link here on my blog so you can all rush right on over and check it out!!! ( As I know that you all will want to do just that!!:) )


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