Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Fabulous Sunprinting Workshop

We were blessed with maximum sunshine, a touch of late summer heat, 5 excited participants and lots of enthusiasm and energy. We mixed paints, gathered masks of all sorts, botanical and otherwise, and got to work!

Fortunately we had a wonderful shaded area to lay out our creations, in the garden area at Liberty Town in Fredericksburg.

With the sun and the heat, we had painted fabric drying in record time!
(about 25 minutes- it was 97 degrees!!)

Samples for discussion (created previously) were hung on a line and served as inspiration and decoration! Don't they look lovely with the light shining thru them!
Once our pieces were dry, we all gathered around for the big "Peel and Reveal". Some of the botanical bits almost fuse themselves to the fabric as the paint dries so a bit of effort is sometimes needed to reveal theimages beneath. We had such fun and squeals of delight could be heard coming from the garden. Cindy commented that with the lifting each mask, a tiny present is opened. It really is very exciting and inspiring!!!
Depending on the type of Mask used and whether it lays flat against the painted wet fabric, one can achieve all sorts of hard crisp edges and fine details or softer whispier shadows all on the same piedce of fabric. In this way, a foreground and background can be established.

Such wonderfully spontaeous creations of color and texture!!

Nicole was very anxious to work in sepia and brown tones and we all had great fun mixing up the perfect shades of brown with the Seatacolor Paints. She made a beautiful set of prints and is anxious to pursue this medium with her two young sons.

The center piece was accomplished using a pheasant feather and some weeds. In the upper right you can see a piece that was done using a metal number 5 charm that I found in a parking lot covered by a plastic mesh grid. the grid was pinned down over the metal 5. Nicole was very ahppy with the results of her efforts and really enjoyed taking a break from her ususal meia of Oil Painting. ( Nicole does amazing work in Oils and has a One Woman Show opening on Monday the 4th of October ,at Bistro Bethem, here in Fredericksburg. I will be introducing you to Nicole, my fabulous new art friend, in my next blog post, so stay tuned!!)

Bonny (center, in white ) and her mom ,Mary(on the right) thoroughly enjoyed the reveal process.

This glorious piece was Mary's favorite ! We could all understand why!!! I am hoping that this workshop will increase some interest in all of the surface design techniques available forexploration. I am hoping to introduce several more techniques to the public, here at Liberty Town before the year is out! I will be offering classes at my home studio as well!
I am constanly inspired and motivated by teh students who participate with me in these art adventures. Working on projects with other artists is such an awe inspiring experience and I am always so grateful to be allowed to teach!!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Simple Things......

So often we don't even notice the simple beauty and endless miracles that surround us. take some time today to stop and look around your world at the simple, beautiful things that fill your life.

I found an amazing blossom in the garden. I would have never seen it if I had not stopped and taken a moment to really look at what my eyes were seeing.

This was not a n easy shot to take! A three sided Daisy blossom. Three friends snuggles up close together for a chat. Three spots of sunshine to welcome traveling pollenators.

A beautiful miracle of nature!!! I know that we can find many each and every day IF we take the time to appreciate our surroundings and all of the blessings in our lives.

Yet another miracle, IT IS RAINING!!!!!!!!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Some Small Works in progress

The small collage above is for the page swap that I am participating in. The gal who will recieve this page had chosen Leaves as her page theme. I am having alot of fun working on this piece, doing all of the work by hand and using only my own hand dyed or hand painted textiles in the work.

I have been enjoying playing around with my small sun printed bits and I have begun to create some small collages for a Call for Art that has been sent out by Liberty Town in Fredericksburg, VA. It is time for me to get back into the juried art game after taking a bit of a break after both of my Bird textile Collage pieces were rejected from the Birds and Words Show. One has to keep on plugging and take all lessons wherever we can find them. We learn valuable things from both the good and the not so great! So I have "gotten back on the bike", so to speak and I will be entering at least one piece to the 6x6 Show for October. The rules state that all mediums are welcome both 2-d and 3-d, but no piece may be larger than 6 inchesby 6 inches by 6inches.
The pictures below are all pieces that I will consider submitting for the Liberty Town Show. I have done all of the stitching work on these pieces by hand and all of the fabrics have been hand dyed or painted by me, using a whole variety of different techniques. Lately I have been enjoying following the blog called Spirit Cloth by phenomenol textile artist Jude Hill. If you do not know of Jude , her classes and her wonderful blog, I cannot reccommend it highly enough.
You simply must stop by for a visit and see what wonders she creates with simple cloth and thoughtful hand done stitch!!
Combining simple techniques, by hand with wonderful color and lots of thought are all things that Jude espouses and I find that I am really enjoying following along in my own way, with my own work. I think that some of you may see her influence is some of my recent collage work.

This sun print was done using an entire tiny maple tree seedling. Each fall, I ahve hundreds of these little guys popping up all over the yard. The leaves are so tiny and perfect and the roots of this one appeared in the sunprint. I backed it with a piece of monoprinted cloth that shows root-like threads flowing down at the bottom. With some added stitching a filled in the roots of the sun print making them extend off of the sun printed cloth and onto the background.

This collage is quickly becoming my favorite as I love the way the clover left it's halo on the linen cloth. The colors may have something to do with it as well!! I think that I will call this piece "IN CLOVER".

I like the feeling of depth that has been achieved by backing this crisp acacia leaf print with the softer fern sun print background cloth. The lemon green frayed cloth at the bottom is a scrap of hand dyed silk.

Below you will find the three finished mini Art Quilts that I have submitted for the 6x6 show at Liberty Town.

For each piece I used ahnd dyed or painted cloth for the backing fabric and I added a simple hanging sleeve and small dowel rod and wire for ahnging purposes. This is In Clover and is 6x6 inches.

This is Acacia and is 5x6.

This is Maple and is 4.5x6.

As I have enjoyed creating these pieces I think that I am going to go ahead and make several more textile/mixed media collages for several upcoming Small Works and Holiday Shows.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

A Glorious Day For Sunprints!!!

Yesterday I ahd the pleasure of enjoying a wonderful play day with my good art pal and partner in junking crime, Leslie Brier. Leslie is very busy these days creating her own art and teacher various kid's art classes with a group of artists called The Creative Side. (This is the group that t teaches the drawing classes that have turned my daughter Becca, onto drawing!! They are a terrific bunch of gifted teachers!!) I managed to get Leslie over to show her the in's and out's of sun printing as she has seen my sun prnts and wants to work up a lesson or two for her teaching duties with her students.
Above you see just several of the prints that I created, eventhough we had one of those in and out sun kind of days. I was not sure how crisp our results would be, but I must say that I was pleasantly surprised. Now If I can only be so lucky to be blessed with todays sun shine and light breezes for my Sun Printing Workshop that is scheduled for next Saturday, at noon, at Liberty Town!!!! I would love it if you could all send me sunny thoughts for next weekend!!!


Monday, September 13, 2010

Keeping All the Plates Spinning????????

Sometimes it seems that I have so many things to pay attention to, I cannot possibly get anything done!! Lately I have had lots to do but I seem to be managing to get alot done. Not sure how long this will last but as long as I can keep the plates spinning, at varyiing speeds mind you, I will be happy with whatever I can achieve!!!
I ahve been working on developing a felting project for m upcoming stint as Visiting Artist at Fredericksburg Academy. this year I ahve decided to present the 50 5th graders and 42 4th graders in Mirinda Reynold's Art Classes with a felting Collage Project. This is in the early development stages but I am very excited about it and feel like I am almost ready to proceed tot he supplies gathering phase. As I only have an hour with each group for the entire project, I am required to be as organized as possible. This is not a strong skill set for myself personally but when I ahve to present and pretend that I am organized, I can usually pull it off!!!

Each collage will end up being approximately 5x5 inches and We will incorporate all sorts of fibers into the collages. We will start by talking about the mechanics of the felting process, how important the felting process has been in our human history and then I will show a wonderful You Tube video showing a group of Mongolian tribesmen creating their shelters with felted fibers. You can see this marvelous video by clicking here.

This is a close up of the mini collage shown above. You can see bits of lace, ribbon yarn, plastic mesh onion bags, and silk fibers locked into the wool roving. I am so lucky to have wonderful Blogging friends who are talented felters and textile artists to call on for advice. I continue to be so very grateful for the internet, as without the web I would never have met talented stars like Elizabeth Armstrong.
Elizabeth has served as a wonderful friend and resource with her talents and experiences as a teacher of huge and complex felting projects with large fgroups of young students. Thank you so very much Elizabeth, with all of your suggestions and tips, they will prove invaluable!!

Here is another sample where I have incorporated several pieces of silk fabric scraps.

I love the effect that can be achieved by adding the silk with the wool. The puckering and added texture happens when the wool is shrunk and the silk is gathered in with the shrinking wool fibers.
While my felt samples were drying, I created some silver wire wrapped charms from some sea glass that a dear friend had sent to me. My friend has a large collection of Mermaid's Tears as she calls them, and I ahd offered to wrap some of her favorite pieces so she could include them in a charm necklace that she is creating.

I made two charms using the glass that she sent me and then I created a speciall charm with one of my favorite natural beach talismans .

I wrapped a very small special Lucky Stone in sterling silver. I am very pleased with how these turned out and I am planning on creating more charms for future projects. A bracelet full of lucky stone charms would be fun as long as it didn't get too heavy!!!

Late last week I was graced with a wonderful treasure of someone else's trash!!! I could not believe my good fortune when my friend Anne offered me some "bits of left over wool and silk yarns". Never one to turn down offers of free fibers, I welcomed the boxes. Feast your eyes on what I found when I removed the box tops!!!

Now this is fastidious organization!!! Isn't this beautiful!!!!

This top box is mostly silk yarns.

I just love how this fiber artist wound this last little beige bit of yarn on this vintage curling rod!!! I assured Anne that I would make good use of all of these fibers and I plan to use many of these wonderful colors in the supplies bags that I create for the Felted Collage project with the 4th and 5 th graders. They will make wonderful color bits in the collages!!! It is amazing how these treasures make their way to you when you let people know that you are willing to gather items that things that other's consider useless!!!

On Saturday, we had a glorious calm and sunny day, kissed with a hint of dry fall air, just marvelous weather!!! I jumped on this opportunity to whip up a few more samples for my upcoming Sun Printing Workshop on Sept 25th.

Here I used a linen napkin and many differnt botanicals gathered from the roadside and daisies from my garden.

Here you can see that I used Acacia leaves, and Golden Rod.

I also did several samples with non herbacious mask elements. I did one with my favorite plastic doily and then another with a mixture of nuts ,bolts, washers and plastic gears. I also included t-pins from my sewing supplies.

Yesterday we traveled up to George Mason University to meet Matthew for lunch. He is doing fabulously well considering he is only starting his second full week of classes!! HE traveled into DC on the Metro by himself to go to the Smithsonian for a class assignment. ( I know that this event was a much bigger deal for Me than it was for him!!!) He is very excited to be so close to all that DC has to offer and now has the confidence to take full advantage of all of the opportunities that the area offers. In several weeks, Greg Mortensen, author of the fabulous book Three Cups of Tea, will be lecturing at Mason! I told Matthew that he would be hosting his Mom on campus as this was not an opportunity that I am going to miss!!!
Becca was very excited to eat in the fabulous Southside Dinning Hall at Mason. This building has won many awards as a completely "Green Structure". This is NOTHING like the dining hall that I ate in at college, believe me!!! The kids are able to choose from all sorts of food offerings during every meal. They use small plates and there are no trays available so kids cannot load up their plates and trays with tons of food that might go to waste. They are free to get seconds and thirds but they have to get up and go get it and maybe think twice about doing so. Any food that does go into the clean up area is composted and sent off to a farm where the University then purchases fresh veggies! How COOL is THAT!!!!!
Becca and I first headed to the amazing salad bar and Becca finished her meal with a frozen yogurt cone. The setting and decor is lovely and beautifully designed and we all had a great time. I could not get over the cool design and colors of the condiment containers, and as I always have my camera with me, I took full advantage and shot a few quick pictures. Matthew and Becca were shaking their heads and keeping their distance and not claiming me as their mother!!! I am not sure what the students who were eating there thought of the crazy lady taking pictures of the mustard and ketchup containers, but I don't care. We must take advantage of all opportunities that present themselves, RIGHT???????

Now come on, can you blame me??? Aren't these containers cool??? I love the design and the colors!!!

Matthew showed us the class sign that all of the incoming Freshmen signed upon their arrival. Becca found his name and I just had to grab a picture. I think that Matthew will be glad that I took this picture eventually!!!

IF you look at the top of the yellow curve you can see Matthew's sginature!
AS I still have a few plates spinning after this very busy weekend, I need to get going. Errands to run, Dye mixes to make up, work space to clear, lots to do!! I hope that all of you have a happy and productive day!!!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Sun Printing Workshop Scheduled

There are many processes in art work that offer Magical, "Oh How Cool Is THat" moments. Sunprinting is definately one of these techniques!!! One can never be quite sure what the magic moment of removing the masking elements will reveal and the discovery is such fun!!!
On Saturday Sept.25th I will be holding a Sunprinting Workshop so anyone can expereince the magic moment of revealing their creation on fabric.
Here are the details:

Sunprint using Transparent Setacolor Textile Paint on Damask Linen dinner napkin. (It is All about the layers!!) If one looks closely at the enlarged version of this picture you can see the woven damask pattern beneath the botanical sunprints!!

WHEN: Saturday Sept. 25th 12-3pm
Where: The courtyard at Liberty Town, Fredericksburg VA.
WHAT: All supplies included, bring specific mask items if desired- paper cut outs, botanicals,
PRICE: $45.00
WHO: Twelve lucky students, children 7 and up welcome with an accompanying adult.
WEAR: Old clothes- prepare for some potentially messy fun!
HOW: Contact me via E-Mail- see my profile on the right hand side of this blog, to reserve your spot!!!
THINK: Sunny weather!!!!

This is a fabulous technique to add to your fabric surface design bag of tricks and can add wonderful textile elements to any mixed media project!!!!

I hope to see you there, if not in body then in spirit!!!!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Lucky Locavore !!

Look at this amazing mound of glorious peppers athta I found at our local Farmer's Market! The colors are delightful and the veggies emit vitamins, energy and healthy living, never mind great photo opportunities!!!!
lo·ca·vore noun \ˈlō-kə-ˌvȯr\
Definition of LOCAVOR: one who eats foods grown locally whenever possible

Judging by the pictures below you might think that I am promoting the eating of flowers! I am not ,believe me!!! I am most excited, however, about the wonderful Farmers Markets that are growing in and around my local area. This past weekend I made a point of getting out of the house early to catch the best offerings at the Farmer's Market located at Hurkamp Park in Old Town Fredericksburg. It was a delightful feast for the tummy and eyes! There were mountains of fresh veggies, many grown without pesticides, pots of herbs, local honey, wonderful baked goods, locally raised meats, delectable cheeses and flowers, flowers, flowers!!!

I was fascinated by these glorious Celosias with their deep jewel toned colors and exquisitely intricate forms. They remind me of Brain coral.

There were so many happy families of all kinds, checking out all of the offereings and smiling and chatting with friends and neighbors, new and old. It was such an uplifting atmosphere, so positive and sunny. If you do ahve a Farmers Market anywhere in your area, I must encourage you to seek it out and join in ! It will make your day a much happier and healthier one, I guarantee it!!!

Many of these bouquets warrant a watercolor painting, perhaps I will be inspired to dig out my brushes and paints!!!
Here on this day after Labor Day I would like to thank all of the farmers all over our country who work such incredibly long hours with such passions and persistance to bring us such healthy and wondrous offerings to help us feed our families healthy, delicious and LOCALLY grown foods!!!


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