Friday, November 28, 2008

New Art and Some New Hope

I hope that everyone was able to enjoy a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends. I know that for many here in the states and for more abroad it has been a very difficult and stressful couple of days. The horrible events in Mumbai just shake us to our core!! That city is living thru it's own 9/11 and it is not their first!!
The world is becoming a very uncertain and scary place and at times, for me anyway, I wonder if there is much hope for our children. I know in my heart that there is great hope, especially after this Presidential election, but at times my head and the news of the hour or minute seems to try to convince me otherwise. Well, if you feel the same way, I have discovered a remedy and a sure fire way to rekindle your hope for the future and your bleif in the inherent goodness present in all humans or huwomens! This rememdy is to catch a rerun of the program CNN HEROES. It aired on CNN on Thanksgiving night- for those not in the US that Would have been November 27. Ten finalists for Hero of year were intoduced and presented and then one winner after voting by the public was presented with THE hero of the Year Award- $100,000 to continue their work. THese are all wonderful people who saw a NEED and did whatever they could to Fill that need. We CAN ALL DO THIS. We don't all have to be BIG IDEA PEOPLE, they need plenty of Worker Bee types also. to find out more and to be totally inspired and uplifted,(what more could you want) go to and find the button for CNN HEROS- there will be all sorts of info for you there! TRY IT ! YOU'LL LIKE IT!!!!!!!

And now, for a bit of art!
You may recall some of my sunprint pictures from previous posts(you can see them here)
I have finished an art quilt using one of the floral sunprints that I created using flowers and grasse form my garden. In this particular print I also used foliage from Dill and a seed head from the same Dill plant. I will show you the finished piece and then I will explain what I did and show some detail shots.

This piece started as a sunprint with all of the floral and grass components appearing bleached. In the sunprinting process any colored area that is covered during exposure to the sun, bleaches out. Once the green dye was dry, I brushed off the floral bits and machine stitched around each bleached area. I did not stitch around the images left by the Dill plant stuctures- as you can see in the following picture. Once the stitching was done, I handpainted the bleached areas using Twinkling H2O's- these are watercolor paints that have a very high mica flake content. The inspiration for this method came from the wonderful book THE PAINTED QUILT by Laura and Linda Kemshall.
In this picture you can see the ghost- like feathery images above the tips of the grass. This is the result of using the Dill foliage to mask the sun.
The dill seed head image was extremely faint so I decided to use silver seed beads on each point left by each seed in the seed head. For each daisy center I used several colors and finishes of gold and copper beads.

Then to complement the feathery aspect of the Dill weed I edged the piece with ribbon made from sari silk and sewed the fron to the backing with seed beads with a bronze matte finish.
I have several more sunprints to work on and I am going to continue to refine my methods and try different techniques to enhance each piece.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Creative Cooking-Dinner and a Movie.

Yesterday afternoon we had some great family time. It has gotten quite cold here in VA and we were all in for the day and settled down to watch WALL-e, the new Pixar that has just come out on DVD. The kids and I had gone to the theatre to see the movie when it first came out but Tom was in Europe at the time so it was a first for him. Before we settled in, I got some pizza dough rising.

I was on the living room floor with both dogs circling me. Buddy wanted me to take my usual position at the end of the couch so he could wedge himself in beside me right next to the sofa arm. Pepper, the bigger dog, wanted to crawl into my lap and gaze into my eyes. She is a very odd dog, we can't seem to figure out why she wants to be so in our faces. She stares deeply into our eyes with none of the usual dog behavior of being challenged by deep direct eye contact. Maybe she really is "not all there upstairs." Anyway I was trying to cut out some shapes from my fabric paper while still being "with" the whole family- the dogs made sure that I was "with "them!!
This is the dogs prefered seating arrangement. IT is such a good thing that we have the couch for the dogs, don't you agree????? SHEEESH!!!

Of course they will conceed to a sharing arrangment if we push it!

Now you can see that I always have company as I work at the computer. In the winter it is quite nice to have lower lumbar heated back support. In the summer, not so much!
He curls up and pushes away at me so he gets some space and before long I find myself on the edge of the seat, But I am warm!!!
He is pretty darn cute and will stay there for as long as I am there. If I give my seat up to someone else he refuses to stay put. He loves his Mum!!!

I digress: back to dinner and a movie!!!
We all thoroughly enjoyed the Wal-e: a real thought provoking examination of how we are treating our planet. I highly reccomend it.
As the movie wound up and the sun had set, we sat down to a pizza feast!

To meet all pizza tastes, I have graduated to making two very large pies. In the foreground we have sun dried tomatoes, green peppers and mushrooms (Veggie for me), on the same pie with Becca's green pepper and Italian Sweet sausage. The boys got a whole pepperoni and mushroom for themselves and there is none of that pie left for today's lunch. It was all yummy!!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Fancy Gesso Tags for the Birdies!

After popping over to Michelle Ward's Street Team blog to check on the new Crusade, I was inspired to use the suggested Gesso Resist Technique to fancy up some tags for some Assemblages that went into the mail today. The Birdies will be for sale at GRACE ARTS in Reston VA, for their Annual Giving Gallery Event thru the Holidays. Y'all keep your fingers crossed that they sell out and I have to make more, OK??

Now back to the tags!! I love Gesso resist and I had a blast diverting off track to whip up these tags!

Sorry about the glare on the photo! It was late last evening and I used wonderfully metallic Lumiere paint for some extra holiday BLing, so there was quite a bit of reflective quality even without a flash! I am quite pleased that I took a bit of extra time to make these as they will add such a nice finishing touch to my Birdie Assemblages.

Addendum- As I was slogging through the mountain that my "work table" had become, (I use the term in quotes since when the studio table becomes too impossible, the kitchen table becomes the prefered alternate-I know that I am not alone in this behavior!!!) I came across some gesso resist tags that I had created for another sales opportunity. Here they are:

I used a very fine line stamp for these tags and once the gesso was dry I spritzed each one with Glimmer Mists in several colors. I managed to get a pretty good picture but the Glimmer and shimmer is not apparent. They are very shimmery. I just love Glimmer mists!!
post edited Nov. 23

Now I suppose , you want to see the Birdies??? Thought that you would never ask!!

As many of you know , I make these tweeters out of found objects and recycled itmes exclusively! Don't you just love the gams on the two to the right?? The middle bidie has legs made from typewriter linkages and the one on the far right has legs made form old adding machine number dials!!!

The birdie on the left has a body made from a vintage drink coaster and the one on the right has a body made from the bottom of a soda can. Last year a sold 10 of these tweeters at this same gallery and they approached me this year asking for more. Too Cool!! I just pray that they sell!! Fingers crossed.
I know that the glitzy tags will be just the ticket for boosting sales!!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

New Work

Well ,I got all of the pictures loaded yesterday , but I did not get much furhther! Saturday was our Hme Show of Fine Craft. Five of us displayed our ART and advertized heavily and we were rewarded with lots of folks looking and closely examining and trying to gleen details and very few buyers. Several folks wanted to know precise details about our processes and we had to stick to generalities as people became more insistent. There is a way to discuss an artists work and their process and then there is a way to become pushy and disrespectful- has anyone else run into this???

Enough griping! I did sell two of my favortite pieces to relatively new aquaintances who bonded with my work. One woman said that she could " Feel my soul in the piece" that she chose! These two sales made the whole day worth while!!!!!

This is the piece that dear Cheryl purchased. It is 6x8 and a collage of Fabric/paper elements that have been beaded and embellished. The phrase reads; A Joyous Heart Empowers Life.
This is a similar piece that measures 11x14 and is done using the same method as the piece above. the phrase reads; The Beginning is Always Today. I will be featuring similar pieces at my Etsy Shop very soon!
I created 20 of these 2x3 collaged clipboard ornaments and sold only 1!! THe price was 6$. They are collaged front and back!
These are double sided fabric/paper quilted ornaments that will be appearing soon at Elizajean at Etsy.

I will also have a flock of Fabric/paper bird ornaments on hand as well. These measure 3x2 and look fabulous hanging on the tree! the price was 10$.
This is a new collage necklace that I will have no trouble wearing!! It seems that the best advertizing that one can do is wearing your creations. I had this piece 90% complete when I recieved a package that contained a costume necklace made from the blue teardrop crystals on the right side of the necklace. After a bath in Dawn dish soap , this jewel topped added the perfect finish to this piece!! Is Aquamarine anyones favorite color??

The next best thing to emerge from my Show experience was my new display!! Several months ago I found two old lamp shades out on the curb next to someones trash. I jumped out of my van and snatched them up!! They were covered with rotten ivory moire and had some reallly neat gold trim edging top and bottom. I knew that I would use them for something but at the time I had no idea what that would be. I had a need for a way to display lots of hanging items and I needed a way to make a display that was efficient in size and transport ability. One morning, while in the shower (I often get my very best ideas while I am in the shower), I came up with a way to use my lamp shade! I stripped the fabric off of the frame, saved the wonderful gold trim and added wire struts for added hanging area. Then I mounted the shade frame on a floor lamp base, inserted a 40 watt candle lightbulb and hung all of my ornaments, jewelry and cones from my new display!! In this picture you do not see the candle bulb and I could not get a good picture of the display when it was lit. The lighting did wonderful thigns for the jewelry that contained crystals and the light made the fabric/paper ornaments, birds and cones glow with warmth. I screwed on the top finial but not too tightly as I found that I could rotate the shade!!!! Totally brilliant, if I do say so myself!!!!
The LESSON here is:
NEVER pass Up a vintage wire framed lampshade, especially when found free on trash day!!!!!
Here is a shot of the rest of my display at the show.
This picture was taken the night before so you will have to imagine that the twinkle lights were lit on the table and the tree! (I had forgotten an extention cord, but all was ready for action by the next morning!)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A Lot of the Latest!

I have been pulling lots of started projects together as I have a Home Show coming up this weekend. Yes ! It IS about time that I finished these things off!
Here are some fo my latest Fabric /Paper gift cones. These can be used for display- either filled with dried flowers ; or as a wonderful container for a special little treasure of a gift.
Each piece is created using a double sided piece of fabric/paper giving both the inside and outside collaged elements.
Some are trimmed with vintage lace others have beaded fringe.
I have also created another beaded fabric collage purse. This one is more of an evening bag clutch style. I incorporated a vintage cotton pillow case into the front flap closure and you can see the decorative scalloped edge.
I lined the bag with Dupioni silk that is pink/orange with a color shift in the weave. If you hold it one way you see pink, another way you see orange. I just happened to have this in my stash!! I love these projects as I am using up lots of my fabrics and beads!!
Next is a picture of the back of the purse- the computer insisted on loading this image in the wrong orientation- sorry about that!!
YOu can also see that I beaded the edge after I sewed the side seams.
And now for one of my greatest ongoing projects!! My daughter Becca!!
Here she is snuggled up with Buddy. She gets so excited when Buddy deams her worthy of his attention. He is very much a one person dog, but on this day he decided that Becca really was pretty special!! Every once in awhile he smartens up!!
I must get back to work!! I have many more things to finish before the show on Saturday. What ever does not sell will be coming to my Etsy Site!! Keep your fingers crossed for me. College tuition bills start in two short years!!!!!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Dipping a Brush into Watercolors

It has long been my desire to aquire the skills to capture the beauty of my garden in watercolors. Lately I have been lucky to have found a wonderful teacher and mentor in Fredericksburg area watercolorist Ariel Freeman. I met Ariel a year ago at a local art group meeting and she was just begining to enter the teaching world. It has only taken 6 months or so for her classes to become very popular as Ariel has a wonderful relaxed teaching style and is incredibly supportive of her students. Everyone of her students has been successful with their work!!!!!
I entered her classes with absolutely NO EXPERIENCE in this medium. I want to share my first two paintings with you now.
This first attempt was painted from a photo that I took of the daylillies in my garden.

This piece is 11x17 and provided many opportunities for a steep learning curve. Ariel was masterful in her explanation of how to layer the glazes of color and she also taught me how to paint negative space (painting the area around an object rather than the object itself.) I gave the impression of background foliage using negative space painting.

Here are a few more close up shots.

This painting will be framed and hung in the Student's Art show at Liberty Town Arts Center in Fredericksburg, in January.

Here is my second painting.

This piece is a bit smaller, only 8x10. We used salt in the center of the flower to achieve all of that wonderful texture that I love so much. I felt such confidence while a worked on this painting and I will be continueing to take classes with Ariel!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

New Fabric Collage Bag

Well, here it is November 4th, Election day in the US. GOBAMA!!! There, I said it, and I won't say anymore!
I have just finished up a bag that I have created for my good friend Anna. Anna is a potter and she and I are bartering for some of our creations. I made the bag for her and I will be getting some of her lovely pottery for Christmas gifts.
This bag was a wonderful challenge for me. Anna favors a very earthy color pallette and she requested that her collage bag be created using greens, browns and some blue. I had to really search to find any brown in my fabric stash!!! I had tons of greens and blues, but brown is just not a color that I work with or even like!!!!! I had to grow my stash!!! Oh the horror of HAVING to go out and purchase some new fabric!!!!!!! (NOT!!!) While I was out and on the hunt, I found a wonderful remnant of upholstery fabric to use as the lining! Anna also asked that the bag be large enough to carry a water bottle and her small wallet. I decided to give the bag a flat bottom to accomodate the bottle.
Here are some shots of the bag.

Anna often uses acorns as a motif in her pottery so when I found these brown acorn beads I caused quite a stir in the bead store by doing a little happy dance!!

In this next shot you can see a close up of part of the back where I used my own fabric/paper beads.

Here you cn see the "paper bag style" bottom that I used to make room for Anna's water bottle. Then I put three fringes on either end as one MUST have beaded dangles on one of my bags!

Here you get a glimpse of the lining fabric.

Well, it is going to be a very exciting night watching the election returns come in, so I have to go and get dinner ready!!
I have more projects to share so I will post again soon!!!


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