Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Global Genes Project

Hop button-200x200 copy

What is The Global Genes Project and what are 7000 Bracelets of Hope for?

The Global Genes Project exists to raise awareness and support for the more than 30 million people affected by rare diseases. There are currently over 7,000 rare diseases identified, and 75% of those affected are children.  With the 7000 Bracelets Campaign, the Children's Rare Disease Network gives artists and crafters an opportunity to lovingly share their creative gifts with families who have a child suffering with a rare disease. 

This is the modified denim/fiber/silk/beaded cuff that I have created for this project.
I used my needle felting machine to add wool, silk and cheese cloth to a bit of denim from a pair of jeans.  As I am not sure who will be receiving this bracelet, I did not want the piece to be overly feminine.  I added the orange seed beads for some hits of contrasting color.  I lined the piece with some lovely hand dyed blue cotton fabric from Africa ( so no wool will be touching the skin, as I did not want the wearer to have any discomfort from the fiber content) and put on a sturdy black snap for a closure.

I wanted to combine all sorts of different fibers, beads and bits to make this piece as it represents so very many different people expressing their care and compassion for those who struggle with these rare diseases.  I want the recipient to feel the love and care that other's who they do not know , are working to help them win their battles. I want them to know that they are not alone, nor forgotten. This little piece of a bracelet put together from so many different bits , represents all of the hope coming to them from all over the world.

Now I am off to put this piece in a lovely little box with a personal note of care and hope and send it off to the Global Genes Project  in Dana Point CA.

There are many other artists participating in this terrific project and below you will find links to all of their blogs where they will be sharing their bracelet creations.  please take some time to visit the blogs and leave a comment to let the artists know that you have hopped by for a quick peek at their creations.  Eye candy is sure to abound and inspiration will be on display everywhere!!!  Have fun !!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Some New Work !

Recently I have been doing many projects using re-purposed wool sweaters .  I made several pairs of finger-less mitts for Christmas  gifts and even sold several pairs around the holidays. With these various projects I had many wool bits left over and being one to ALWAYS think before I throw away, tried my hand at making some cording from the felted wool sweater seam allowances. The resulting cording is what you see below.

Now what to do with this fun and sturdy cording.  It could be used for any number of things.  I could be braided together to create purse handles and straps.  how about combined at necklaces with some fun hand made beads?  ALL of these ideas are on my list, believe me!  As I am really enjoying some bead work right now I decided to try and combine the cording with some Ultra Suede, heavy interfacing and BEADS to create some organic looking bracelets.  Here is my first attempt!!!
I put this piece on Face Book and got an order for a similar one and I put this actual piece in the Gallery at Artful Dimensions just before Valentines Day and it sold after two days.  I think I am on to something!!!

These cuffs are very comfortable to wear as there is no stiff inner metal cuff to increase the weight of the piece. Several people who adore other beaded cuff bracelets that I create, have expressed interest in a softer formed piece as they have joint issues and cannot wear things that are hard, on their wrists.  These interactions with customers greatly influenced my design process with these new softer, gentler beaded pieces.  These beaded works stitch up in no time at all relative to the copper lined cuffs ,also a bonus.

As this Red Corded Cuff sold so quickly, I had to start on another one.  The Purple Corded Cuff was just completed and will be going to Artful Dimensions this weekend.  Now I have folks who want to learn how, so I am working on a third piece that will serve as a class sample so I can advertise classes at Artful Dimensions.

The Purple Corded Cuff  available for purchase at Artful Dimensions Gallery, Fredericksburg, VA.

Inside shots are all well and good but there is nothing like outdoor natural light for taking pictures and getting true color representations!!  I simply had to add the next three shots so you could really see the true colors in this piece.

All of this wonderful beadiness from a bit of felted wool sweater seam trash and a few conversations with bead lovers!!  Don't you just love those Light Bulb Moments??????

Friday, February 10, 2012

Sometimes one needs to start again.......

Every once in awhile, I find it is necessary to throw in the proverbial towel, throw up my hands and cry "UNCLE"!!  Such was the case this past week when I went back to the project that I began working on in my recent Beaded Wire Bracelet class. (You can read about the class here.)  Deciding to try another Tac , giving up on what is already underway is always a valuable lesson and one that I must always remind myself, can be a strong teachable moment.  Still the frustration level is very high and the waste of time factor defiantly feeds my frustration!!!

The bracelet was crafted using black enamel coated 16 g wire for the frame and Blue Steel enamel coated 26 g wire for the bead work.  AS I progressed I started to notice that the Blue Steel enamel coating was flaking off the 26 g wire.  NOT ACCEPTABLE!!!!  With each turn of the wire, more color was flaking off the thin wire and the project looked terrible, really bad.  No way to continue- FULL STOP!!!

The temptation to put it all in a bag and stuff it at the back of my beading boxes was also very strong.  Out of sight out of mind!  Ever been there?? Ever done that?????   ARGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Not this time, I had to recover and move this project forward!  So out came the wire cutters and I began to unwind all of the coiled beads to begin again. It actually all came undone much faster than I had thought.  Almost as fast as ripping out several rows of knitting.  It is always surprising how quickly things can unravel when the primary construction has been so precise and painstaking!!


I have begun again with new Titanium 26 g wire- no coating to flake off, and the same 16 g black frame and the same beads- different bead work though as I never plan anything and the beads and wire begin a new  conversation and tell me where the placement should be.

It is always good to be reminded that to deconstruct a project and to begin again,  is always a better path than to continue with sub standard materials.  
The phrase Garbage in Garbage out comes to mind!!!

A good lesson to be taught again and again, even in our art adventures!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Poppy Field

I have been inspired!!  Inspired by joining the other studio artists at Artful Dimensions Gallery, inspired by the other member artists, inspired by the wonderful space and the need for art of fill that space , and inspired by all of you who read my little blog and encourage me with your wonderful comments!!!

After visiting with several of my new artist friends at Artful Dimensions, a plan was hatched for our First Friday Opening in February.  For those of you who are not local residents, First Friday is an artistic event that occurs on the First Friday evening of each and every month here in  Fredericksburg, VA.  All of the art galleries in town are open late and have Opening Receptions for new exhibits.  This is a wonderful opportunity for the public to come out and meet local artists and see new art work.  The entire event is free and open to the public  and we all look forward to these evenings.  Here at Artful Dimensions, we have added something new for the public.  We now have "Make And Take Art Happenings" to encourage our visitors to get involved in art work, themselves.  Tonight we will have a Fused glass workshop with a Valentines theme (with a small fee to cover glass and firing costs) and a completely FREE Artists Trading Card Workshop.  At the ATC table we will introduce the public to ATC's and they will be encouraged to make several and to return to make more.   then later is the year we will host ATC Swaps , again free to the public.

We came up with a plan to work towards a RED Wall for our February First Friday Opening.

 Christine Lush-Rodriguez had already begun working on some poppy wall hangings.

 She had no idea that I have always been in love with poppies and have tried to grow the actual flower in my clay soil and never had much luck. Despite my cultivation failures, I  always turn to the poppy pages of all of my gardening catalogs and Dream!!  I have made several poppy themed pieces of art (that you an read about here) and have wanted to create more- So now seemed to be the perfect time.
So off I went to my studio and this is what emerged!

I created the blossom using silk gauze, vintage hand dyed lace, wool roving, silk roving, angelina fibers, sari silk ribbons, silk velvet, seed beads, my embellishing machine and wet felting techniques.  I was thrilled witht he results and terrified to proceed!! I was worried that as this portion had turned out so well, the following steps could not possibly work out as well!  So I hemmed and hawed and procrastinated and delayed.......  as First Friday approached I forced my self to get out my green fabrics to create a background.  I was still very scared and not happy with my fabric selection for the background.  I kept digging through my stash and found a spill wipe up cloth that I had created during a Soy Wax Batik Workshop.  This wipe ups cloth became the perfect background and gave me the title for my quilt- Poppy Field.  (Always pick a piece of good fabric for wiping up those dye spills- you never know when it might become the PERFECT piece for an important project!!!)

I used vintage green velvet that had been a gift from my good friend Anna Branner, to create the textured leaves.  I used my embellishing machine to felt it to a wool roving background and then wet felted each leaf to get that wonderful crinkly texture effect.  The grassy field was created using pieces of my hand dyed linen fabrics, some purchased batiks and some of my large sun printed pieces.

the finished Textile Collage Poppy Fields, 24" b 56", the largest art quilt that I have created to date!  I told you that I had been inspired!!!

               The Poppy Red Wall at Artful Dimensions Gallery, First Friday February 3, 2012.

Christine Lush-Rodriguez amazing Red Poppies- the color is so intense that they almost vibrate with energy!

Detail shots of the wonderful glaze work on these intricate blossoms.

If you are ever in the neighborhood of Fredericksburg VA, you MUST make Artful Dimensions Gallery a destination.  If you do come, be sure to let me know and I will gladly help you plan your trip!!
There is plenty of artistic inspiration to go around at this wonderful space!!!


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