Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Golden Colors

I love the color of fall in the garden. The light has a completely different personality- so soft and honied and warm with no harsh sharp edges. Yesterday I picked a bouquet of fall ,to bring that color sense indoors.
My Pineapple Sage plant has finally agreed to bloom. I think that coddled it too much with good soil high in nutrients so it was quite happy not to bloom. Notwthat she is showing off her wonderful red fountains, there are no hummingbirds to partake of the wonderful nectar. Next year I must place it in a spot with more harsh conditions- less food and more sun!! No more Mrs. Nice Gardener!!!
I do love how the blossom looks when I laid the bouquet on the ground to gather up some weeds. The contrast with the golden maple leaves was stunning ,don't you think?
Why do we fret so about color when we see all sorts of color harmonies in the garden??!!!

The Zinnia's are in their full glory now, trying to get their last blooms in before a killing frost. Hopefully we will not have a hard freeze for several weeks!!

My garden continues to be one of my greatest joys and best inspiration sources. I hope that you are able to spend some time outside enjoying the wonderful gifts of nature where ever you are living!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Envelope Purse Prototype!

Several weeks ago I ahd an opportunity to have a wonderful art Play Day with two fabulous new art friends. We gathered at new friend Leslie's house. We had a wonderful time! I also got to meet Leslie's adorable King Charles Terriers, Merlot and Bourdeaux- they were so sweet. I Adore King Charles Terriers!!!
Leslie< creates wonderful assemblages and altered book creations and is a very gifted professional graphic artsit as well!!. You really must stop by her blog and leave a comment and introduce yourself!! Unfortunately we have yet to convince Janet to start an art blog so I cannot share her wonderful work!! I demo'd how I create my fabric paper and we proceeded to have a great time ripping ,tearing, glueing and chatting!! Since then I have suffered the Computer Catastrophe of 2009, so , alas, I have NO pictures to share with you of our mirthful messiness. SIGH!!
I created two strips of fabric paper from two scraps of heavy white linen that I rescued from a trash can! Using one of the strips I have created this simple envelope style purse. For the cord/strap, I twisted three different textured ribbon and yarns and stitched down the length with the zigzag on my sewing machine.
For the lining of the purse , I used some of my gelatin printed purple cotton fabric. It is the perfect size for carrying a cell phone, checkbook, license and credit card and perhaps maybe a Chap Stick- but not much else. The strap is long enough so the purse can be worn crossing over the chest and ride right on the hip.

Below is a shot of the back of the purse.
I am planning on creating several of these purses for sale on my Etsy site and to put in the gallery at Liberty Town for Christmas sales.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

It's A Love-Hate Thing !!

Hi Everyone!! I am finally Back in Blogland!!! Hurray!!

We have just begun to determine all that we have lost in our Hard Drive MELTDOWN!! The whiring and clicking sound that I was hearing was NOT the power supply but the Hard Drive leaving this world. It has taken with it all of my email data including all of my addresses- bear with me!! I have also lost many many photos as we had not done a full back up since mid July.. We had a busy summer and the back up kept sliding........... Down a very slippery slope!!!

I have learned some things the hard way, that is for sure. One thing that I will be doing is undertakling seperate photo backups regardless of what else is going on!!

I can't tell you how grateful I am to have my blog. Firstly because I have met all of you, but in this case the blog has become a wonderful repository of photos..!! It will take me awhile to retrieve them and start new folders but at least those photos have not been lost!!

I also came to realize just how much time I was giving over to the computer!!! I found so much time in my day without it, but I surely did miss it and all of my wonderful interactions with you !!! So I plan to try to limit my daily time a bit more rigorously- we'll see how that works!!

I did keep quite busy during my computer down time and with Tom overseas for almost two weeks I found myself slipping back into old night owl habits of staying up late watching tv and creating away!!!

Would you like to see what I accomplished??

I am feeling quite grown up and professional- an illusion I know!! But it is surprizing what a difference it makes to have real display pieces!!
You have seen the Sea Foam Treasure Bracelet on the far left and the Faces piece on the far right , in previous posts.

The middle two Bracelets are my new creations!

This piece I have called Forest Floor. The inspiration for this piece was the wonderful Toad Lampwork bead. I just love this little guy!! This bracelet is for sale in my Etsy shop, here. Along with Mr. Toad one can find a butterfly , several bees and a snail all nestled in amoungst the leaves and sticks of the underbrush. Here are some other views.

Next, I was inspired by some purple blossoms from the garden!

The focal bead in this piece is a Czech glass disk with a moon and stars. this piece went together very quickly, mostly because I ahve such a large stash of purple beads to chooose from!!!! I have jsut listed this piece in my Etsy Shop and you can find details here.
It is amazing what one can accomplish when there are not multiple technological devices caliing your name!!!

So now I must proceed to try to recover what I can and move on from there. I must work to limit my computer play time and aim to refocus my efforts to produce artwork that speaks to me and to other's!! We will see how I do!!!
Thank you all for your encouragment and support!!
And may the evil computer gremlins not come visiting at your house!!!!!!!

A last word of advice for those of you who take and treasure your pictures. Set up a schedule for back ups- like once a month or even after a particularly important life event. You won't be sorry!!!!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Computer Issues!!! ARGH!!!!

Hi All,
Just a quick note to tell you that I won't be on the computer for a bit! We have had a power source failure internal to the computer and our favorite computer geek is snowed under with work!!!
Wouldn't you know it!!!!!!
Tom was able to diagnose the problem over the phone but unfortunately that is where his amazing technical abilities quit!!!! WAHHHHHH!!!!
I am amazed at how much time I have found for myself not having e-mail to check and bloggs to hop and comments to leave, I really do miss it and all of you! Rest assured, I have
been keeping busy and I will have some projects to share with yiu as soon as we have our technical issues worked out!!!
Thank you all for all of your wonderful comments, they always feed my soul and my muse!!

Back Soon!!!!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

We Survived The Great Tomato Purge Of OCT 09!!

Silly title, but an important job!! It is that time of year here in Virginia. Time to clean up the gardens and get them ready for sleep under a nice bed of chopped leaves and grass clippings!
We are having beautiful weather today and I got the kids outside to help me in the cleanup. I really do need their help as I don't want to overdo it and hurt my back. Fortunately, that was enough of a plea to get the kids out in the sunshine!!
We had a real tangle of vines to clean up in the tomato bed. Next year, I will be even more dilligent about keeping the vines under control!!! Our efforts quickly dissolved into a bit of a tomato toss with lots of giggles and laughs and general mayhem! But we got it done!!

A little tomato juice even rotten tomato juice never hurt anyone!! Becca was dissecting some green ones with her clippers and then she decide to try to burst one with her gloved hands. Now neither of my kids will eat fresh tomatos- what is wrong with them??? The tomato the Becca was fooling around with explored and squirted juice all over her face!! Of course that brought on a chorus of 'the attack of the killer tomatoes' and huge guffaws from older brother.

I am really quite sad that this is the end of the fresh tomatoes for this year!! We had such a

great crop and I have eaten fresh fruit everyday!! I will get more when these ripen but then we will have to dream of next summer for the new crop!! SIGH!!!!
Perhaps I will try to find a recipe for Fried Green Tomatoes. I have never tried them before and I am not a big one for fried foods but perhaps if I used Olive oil.....

Last fall, I put in some hardy chrysanthemums and they ahve opened this week! They are very tall and stunning! These photos make me want to get out my watercolor paints again!

I just adore white cosmos and next year will palnt many more white ones!!! They look so crisp and fresh and clean in the garden!!

I found this amazing web in the corner of the porch. Quite the work of art,don't you think??

Now for a little bit of Beaded art!

A good friend had her birthday way back in August and I am sure that she thinks that I have forgotten- no just late!!! She and I were searching all over for face beads to offer in my beading classes, we both enjoy including faces as surprise elements in our beadwork. Then i ahd the idea to create some of my own. From there it was s hort jump to design this bracelet for her .

I am quite pleased with how it turned out. Now I can surprise her with a very tardy birthday gift!!!
I hope that everyone is able to enjoy this nice long weekend!! Get out intot he sunshine if you can!!!!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Beads and Blossoms!

"Yes, these are a few of my favorite things!!"
I have just finished another beaded bracelet in a style similarto my first Sea Foam Treasures Bracelet. I have put it in my Etsy shop and you can see more details here. (You amy click o the above shot for a close up view!)
This is a very lacy piece and has a wonderful handcarved bone fish bead as the central focus bead. I have used all sorts of wonderful elements in this piece. you will see fresh water pearls , rustic hand crafted sea glass beads from Africa, vintage crystals, czech glass beads, seed beads, and various shell beads.

I have created the closure using a vintage glass button with a beaded loop at the opposite end.

Onan Autumn note, my garden is still blooming and gifting me with wonderful treasures daily!! My Belinda's Dream Rose is loaded with blossoms and will give us one more round of blooms before aw ell desreved winter rest. She just never quits!!!
My Toad Lillies are also putting on quite a show this year. This is a very unusual plant that sports woderfully speckled blossoms all along the arching stems.

These beauties thrive in dappled shade and spread via seedlngs. You hardly notice the foliage as it grows amoung the other plants , till the blossoms appear when everything else is really winding down!!

The Monarchs and Swallow Tails are still making daily visits to feed on the last Zinnia's and cosmos before continueing on their long migrations. They really seem to prefer these rich Red Zinnias over all of the others. The intensity of the color is really amazing.

Unfortunately this may be the last year for the Sugar Maple in our front yard. THere are very large areas that never leafed out this year and I ahve put a call in to the Tree Dr to see if there is anything that we can do to save it. I adore Sugar maples- they remind me of home in New England. I am keeping my fingers crossed that there will be something that we can do for it!!

And Buddy the Tough Guy is luxuriateing in the warm fall sunshine each day! Soaking up the sun out in the middle of the lawn where he can keep an eye out for dastardly interlopers is one of his "favorite things!!!" (Shhhh, don't tell him that he doesn't look one bit like a Tough Guy!!)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Gelatin Mono-Printing Seminar

This past Monday I held my first in Studio art Seminar with two wonderful new friends!! The subject of the day was Gelatin Mono-printing. this was a big deal for two reasons! It was my First in Studio Teaching but it also meant that I had to have cleaned and cleared work surfaces to use!!!!! I did it!! The studio was cleaned and organized!!!!! A true Miracle!!!!!
In this printing process we used blocks of gelatin as our printing surface. The paint was applied to the gelatin surface , various tools were used to remove paint or to mask paint transfer and then fabric or paper was applied to the painted gelatin surface and prints were lifted. it is a ton of messy wonderful fun that is full of surprises and Ah-Ha moments!!!
Mono means one and each print is a totally unique print from this amazing surface that really cannot be duplicated!! As you work on the gelatin surface, if the block of gelatin has been removed form the pan, the surface starts to break apart leaving wonderful cracks and texture in the surface that transfers to the fabric or paper in the printing surface. Very very Cool process!! We had a blast and I could not have asked for kinder friendlier more adventurous students if I had written the Perfect Student Recipe myself!!!!!Inge even brought lunch for us!!!!!
Inge and Lara sought me out throught the work that I display at Liberty Town . Lara (daughter of Inge) had been all set to attend Art and Soul in Hampton Va, last year but had to cancel a month before the event, because of health issues. As you can imagine she was very dissapointed!~! So wonderful Mom Inge was trying to make up for this dissappointment by providing a day of exploration in art and she chose ME as the Art Provider. Well, LUCKY ME!!!!!
Enough talk, on to the pictures !!

Inge is removing paint from her painted gelatin block using a spool for a stamp. She is stamping the paint onto paper towel. (another wonderful substrate for collage)!

Here is Lara about to lift off her first print!
WAIT FOR IT............

TA DAAAAA!!! Very psychadelic!!

Here you see Inge arranging ferns and vines form the garden on top of her painted gelatin paint before placing the fabric on top. The leaves etc. will mask the paint in that area and the result will be........

This glorious print!!!!
Here is a selection of other prints that we made that day.
Net bags were used here for texture and you can start to see evidence of cracks in the gelatin surface- more texture!!!! (bottom center, you can see a purple fissure opening up!)

Here large bubble wrap was used as a stamp before printing. No one is allowed to jump on bubble wrap in my house anymore!! "AWWW MOM! You're no fun!!"

As we cleaned off our various tools we used Baby Wipes with Aloe- gentler on the hands!! Of course these wipes were not discarded, but hung to dry with everything else. Once dry we used rubber stamps to overstamp. The wipes have light weight batting feel to them once dry and will make wonderful additions to fabric collage pieces!

This was Lara's first print and she was not happy with the colors. Inge rescued the print by overstamping with a wonderful pear stamp and black ink.!!!

Here are some prints done with foliage. the purple is the print done with the ferns on the painted palte and the white is the print done after the foliage has been removed fromt he painted plate. This second print is often called the Ghost Print and the detail is wonderful!

THis is one of the gelatin blocks after a day of printing. More and more cracks are opening up and the texture of the plate itself is becoming more and more interesting. After we had finished our long day of play, I covered the blocks with saran wrap and left it sitting on the table over night. Then yesterday I returned for some more fun!!
Lara and Inge have decided that they want to return for more art adventrues with me, and I couldn't be more delighted. They want to learn book making, explore more surface design techniques for paper and fabric, fabric collage, fabric paper and beading, to name a few!!!
We may have to start setting up some overnight sleep over type work experiences!! I sure am game!!!!
Now here are a few of the prints that I made using the cracked gelatin blocks, on the day after the class.

This is the second print off of the above plate with the addition of threads over the paint- see the trails left by the threads above?

Here is a whole selection of prints- once you start it is very difficult to stop!!!!
You can also get a good idea of the Batik cracking effect that you can capture in your prints, from a cracked gelatin block!!

For these last two sets of prints I used a brayer to put paint on an old wooden chop block that I ahd purchased long ago at Ten Thousand Villages. This block was on the clearance table (50% off) as it had been damaged on one corner.
I really love how these traditional prints turned out.

I ahve two more gelatin blocks sitting on my table downstairs! Anyone want to come over and play????????
Now you may be wondering what I am going to do with all of these wonderful prints?????
I feel a Blog Give Away coming on !! Keep you eyes open!!
Now go out and find something creative to play with today!!!!!


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