Sunday, November 10, 2013

Fabric journals

In the midst of getting work done for my Colors of Happy Show , I created some little projects to distract myself from the stress of show prep.  Two of my very dear friends at Artful Dimensions Gallery were in need of special journals for various uses. I really had no business taking on new projects but it felt really good to do so and to allow myself to work freely for no other reason than it was what I wanted to do at that very moment.  My wonderful friend Barbara was about to embark on a two week long trip to Rome with her husband and her brother and sister in law.  She was so excited and would be in Rome over her birthday.  I wanted her to have a special journal so she could make notes store bits and pieces of ephemera from her trip and do some sketching if she felt like it.  I wanted her to be able to relive the trip once she got home with as much delight as possible and the journal would allow her to do just that.  Barb and her husband Bobby have been studying Italian with a native speaker for  about two years and she has been sharing her lessons with us in the Gallery.  I used fabrics with the colors of the Italian fag for the cover and red happens to be one of Barb's favorite colors.  I practiced my free motion stitching skills in green thread to spell out various words along with the date of the trip and the city.  Above you can see the cover that is held closed by a hand made bit of cording made from various yarns and fabrics wrapped around a vintage deep red button.  ( My journal design is based roughly off a design shared in a class taught by the amazing and wondrous Mary Ann Moss!  Mary Ann has several delightful one line classes in journal making that I cannot recommend highly enough!)

Inside front cover with fabric paper pocket on left hand side.  September is significant as it is the month of Barb's birthday and also the month of her fabulous trip!

I included many pockets throughout and lots of tags and bits to write things down upon.

At a library used book sale I had purchased an adorable little Italian cook book that was full of three color wood cuts.  I now had the perfect excuse for using the images!!  Above you see one of them.

More pages and pockets and hand done papers.

The page on the right was printed on a gelatin plate using a plastic doily as a mask.

I think this is my favorite image from the Italian cookbook- It must be the black and white checks!!

 And finally the inside back cover.

  1. The whole cover spread out .  I used a vintage dishcloth with the red single petaled roses for the majority of the cover: and true to form, I misspelled one of the words.  If  I had listened to the nagging voice at the back of my mind and done a bit of research, had I the time, I would have know that the phonetic spelling of Si Certo is not correct as I spelled it!!!  ( Si Cierto is incorrect!!) As it turned out I finished this project at 9 pm on the evening before the departure for the trip and I ended up delivering it at 10 pm!!  Done in time but just barely!!

This next journal was made as a gratitude journal for another friend who was having a rough go of life. I felt a Gratitude Journal might help with attaining valuable perspective.

I lined the inside front cover with a deep brown Starbucks Coffee bag as coffee is a favorite beverage.

Each signature cover sheet was made with hand painted papers that I happened to have in my stash.  These pages had been lazer copied as I was so fond of the colors and collage techniques.

I used a special vintage linen piece with a pansy embroidered on it to create a special back pocket.

This return to journal making has inspired me to create some more special books with my sun prints as covers.  I will share these pieces with you as soon as I finish a bunch of them!  Thanks for visiting !!

Monday, September 30, 2013

Dragonfly Hour- My latest Collage Bead Work

Last week, after teaching a good friend to create a beaded collage cuff, I was inspired to try my hand at a Steam punk version of my own.  As readers of this blog you know that I favor Ocean color palettes and more recently I am working in many bright or Happy Colors. I love vintage bits and I have come to love matte finish Czech beads that have been made available lately.  The matte finish complements the metallic bits and the zipper that I have chosen for this piece.  I am continuing to push myself in new areas and I am very pleased with      the results of this little exercise!

I combined an old watch face and vintage shoe buttons with a heavy duty brass zipper and some tiny keys.  I love the little dragonfly stamping with the ornate detail in the wings!
Here is a peak at how the piece begins with the layout and stitching of the zipper and the first of many decisions necessary for the placement of the larger design elements.

The entire piece is stitched on Ultra Suede and then  mounted and stitched onto an aluminum cuff blank.  I like to use the aluminum blank because it is more mold-able to the wearers wrist and it is quite a bit lighter in weight than a brass blank.  It is also a good deal cheaper than the brass blank and since it is not seen , there is no reason to use a brass blank for this technique.

I used a very old cut metal button, I believe it is Victorian and two reproduction typewriter keys to spell BE. The repro keys are actually from the scrapbooking section of the crafts store. One never knows where one will find the perfect elements for a collage piece like this!!!

Monday, September 23, 2013

My First Solo Show

Do you all feel abandoned ??  Well it is my fault if you do, as I have been very absent from Blogland, all summer.  I have been working at a frenzied pace to create a body of work for my first solo show.  The show opened last Friday night at Artful Dimensions Gallery in Fredericksburg, VA.I am going to post a bunch of pictures of the pieces in my show and try to keep the words to a minimum.  Of course if you have any questions please do let me know!! I hope that everyone has had a wonderful summer! I for one am really looking forward to our wonderful Virginia fall season!
 So now On With The Show!!
I made little scrap quilt legend surrounds for each of the large wall pieces and the  collage necklaces.  I wanted the titles to stand out and be something very different from the usual gallery tagging system. Here you can see Hydrangea- done with my sun prints and hand dyed fabrics.  Free motion machine embroidery followed by some subtle beading finished off this piece.
The piece on the left is titled Purple Ferns and is also done with my own sun prints and hand dyes.

The top piece in this picture is titled Cape Sunset and it was done using my embellishing machine and then wet felted.  I used merino roving and silk waste and then added 5 tiny little shells and some free motion embroidery to bump up the texture and add a bit more interest.  I backed the piece with a glorious bit of deep purple silk velvet.

The piece at the bottom is titled Tide Pool I and is a quilted piece that was mounted on wood bricks and embellished with beads stones , lace, embroidery and found objects.  This piece can be wall mounted or sit on a table top as I affixed chunky rubber feet to the bottom of the wood tray.  When siting horizontally one gets a completely different view of the details that are not visible when it hangs on a wall.  Kind of like two pieces of quilt sculpture in one!

The top piece is titled Poppy Fields (SOLD) and was needle felted with many different fibers and textiles, then free motion embroidered and beaded.  All along the bottom of the piece I added drizzle stitch grass to add a very realistic look to the piece. I mounted (stitched) the piece on a lovely soft green linen fabric. ( This was the first piece to sell on Friday night!! :)
The lower piece is called Energy.  I created it using my Embellisher and then did some wet felting as well, combining wool roving, silk fabrics and silk roving.  I further embellished the piece with hand stitching and bead work.  This piece is put together in the same fashion as Tide Pool I, each mini quilt mounted on wood blocks of different sizes and thicknesses.  It can also sit horizontally on a table top or shelf .

Tide Pool II was supposed to be part of Tide Pool I but as a result of all of the beading ,found objects and stitching, it crowded the other pieces too much . It became a piece all on it's own.  A friend at the gallery titled it the "Butter Dish" as it reminded her of her mother's fifties style butter dish.  I had to admit that the shape was similar and in my mind it will always have a nickname of the Butter Dish.!  I mounted it on a smooth piece of found driftwood and affixed the same rubber feet to the bottom.

Detail shot of "the butter dish"

 I created some of the sea life for my Tide Pool pieces using recycled glass beads from Africa that my brother sent to me , and some seed beads.  I stitched the seed beads thru the large holes in the glass beads and into a very small square of ultra suede.  then I was able to stitch the ultra suede wherever I needed to put it on the quilted sculpture.

more detail shots of portions of the Tide Pool sculptures

I created two purses for the show in very different styles and using very different methods but always using very Happy colors! the shoulder bag above is fully lined with two pockets, hand made cording that was braided and then stitched to some hand dyed cotton.  the straps are held on with covered buttons that have felted and beaded tops. The collage felting was done with silk fabrics, wool roving , silk waste and vintage hand dyed doilies that i dyed myself.  It is embellished with hand stitch and beading.

This purse is call the Colors of Happy Purse(SOLD)and is a stitched collage of my sun prints and hand dyes.  I added hand made fabric paper beads that are resin coated and hand made cording that was then braided.  Again the strap is attached to the purse with covered buttons.  It is lined with several sun prints and has two pockets inside.

This collage necklace is titled Jubilation. The chain is various styles of copper links and the majority of the beads are fabric embellished with seed beads as well as fabric paper with resin coating.  The heart at the bottom is a resin  collage piece with a rhinestone and the leaf shaped piece is a resin coated piece of my sun printed fabric.
These are my Sun Print Spinner quilts. Each segment is double sided, hand stitched with metallic thread or beaded with glittery beads.  The intent is for the thread and beads to sparkle as they catch the light as the quilts spin.

Smiling Faces is a woven quilt that is heavily embellished with hand stitch and beads.  I painted the focal image of the pansies using water color pencils.

Solar Flair is a mixed media quilt combining my sun prints , fabric paper including a lace layer , lots of hand stitch and beading.  I also added free motion stitching and machine quilting to various parts of the piece.

Felt Collage Pillows 

Beaded Tapestry Earrings

Meadow Lace(SOLD) is the last art quilt that I created for this show. I combined a rust dyed and screen printed vintage doily with a lace sun print and lots of hand stitched Queen Anne's Lace covered with literally 100's of french knots.

Well that's a wrap for this show, at least 75% of it.  Remember if you want to see close ups click on each picture for a larger view.
Now I am working on my next show which is due to be hung in mid October at a local branch of the area library.  The England Run Library is brand new and is a glorious ,certified Green building. It is  a real treat to be invited to show my work there.  I have several more large wall pieces to create between now and then to fill the space.   So back to the sun prints and hand dyes with a few beads thrown in, of course!!!!  

Monday, June 3, 2013

Busy, Busy, Busy!!!!!!!!

Some things tend to get pushed off the plate when one gets super busy and I have found that computer time and writing blog posts and visiting all of my glorious friends blogs has been one f those things!!  I have truly missed the blog hopping and visiting and as I sat down today to finally write a new post I was a bit shocked to see that I have not updated you since April 6!!  That is inexcusable!!
So as evidence to show that I have been truly busy I am going to share a quick photo tour of what I have been doing art wise. Of course there has also been family stuff, house stuff, the garden, taking care of all the PR for our gallery- Artful Dimensions.  BTW we would love it if you would check out the gallery on FB and "Friend us" if you are so inclined!! Here is the link.
As many of you know I have been experimenting with felting and combining harvested silk gauze and wool roving to make unique wraps of wearable art.  Here are a few of my latest creations!!

( Click on any picture to enlarge.)
 This is my latest piece.  I am calling this wrap Peaches and Cream.  I put it all together using ultra soft merino top roving , silk fibers, and some Rusty Nail Angelina fibers sprinkled in for a bit of sparkle.

As part of the felting process I have added in clusters of silk flower "blossoms", made from some of the fabric and rolled and attached solely through the magic of the wool fibers.

Some of the silk fabrics have shots of metallic gold threads running through them, perhaps you can see the shimmer in the upper left.  This will be on display and for sale at Artful Dimensions Gallery of Art and Fine Craft.

I have finished  a new free form beaded collage bracelet as a commission for a good friend who owns a wonderful knitting shop on Cape Cod.  ( If any of you vacation on the Cape and are out on the Outer Cape- Orleans area- plan on stopping by and checking out the wonderful offerings of yarn and great hospitality at A Stitch In Thyme.)
 My friend wears lots of soft blues and green tones, quiet earth tones you might say.  So I had a grand time sorting through my bead stash to find the perfect beads for her bracelet.  the closure is made using a loop of seed beads and a vintage mother of pearl button.
 In this bead soup you can see beads made from porcelain, some Picasso Jasper dagger shaped beads ( a bit left of center with the brown veins), a glass face bead, several recycled glass beads from Tanzania, and lots of different seed beads.
She should have received the bracelet by now and I hope that she likes it!!

Here are some other felting projects that are on their way to becoming pillows.  Each will have a flange around the outside- kind of like a ruffle but NOT ruffled, so as not to loose the wonderful organic edge of each piece.

 After taking a wonderful class with the AMAZING Margo Duke, I learned how to add fabric roses, ruffled and pleated silks and gauze fabrics and how to incorporate some of my hand dyed vintage crochet pieces into the felt work.

         After the felting process comes the even more fun part, the beading and hand stitch work!!!

This purple piece is on it's way to becoming a very special pillow for a special friend.  The others will become part of my first ever Featured Artist Show to be held during the month of September at Artful Dimensions.

I made this quick little bracelet for a special visitor who will be coming very soon!!! This specific pattern is called Tapestry and was created by the amazing Carol Cavanaugh of Beads On Parade a wonderful bead store in Fredericksburg, VA.  The pattern calls for using two different colors in several sizes of beads but, as you can see, I modified it just a bit!!

          I have also been working on curriculum development for a new Class that we are offering as a camp this summer at ADG. (Artful Dimensions Gallery)  A good friend Barb Posey, and I are offering a Fairy and Troll camp for all ages 10 and up.  We will be creating our own fairies and trolls and then working with found and natural objects to make environments for those little people to live in.  We are very excited about it and I have really gotten into making little accouterments for the fairies!

 This little baby fairy is based on instructions offered in a wonderful book by artist Sally Mayvor.  I discovered Sally's wonderful work from a listing on Pinterest.  I have since learned that she lives on Cape Cod- where I used to live and where I still have family.  She is a very gifted artist and shares all of her techniques.  If you are at all interested in crafting your won fairies with very simple supplies check out her book Felted Wee Folk.
 Here is the little guy hanging out with his new pal Mr. Cicada.  We are currently in the midst of a 17 year swarm hatch and the buggers are everywhere!!

                       This is our sample of a troll for those who do not wish to create fairies.

 Here is baby fairy with his Momma seated in their little moss and bark floored environment, in front of her mosaic table and serving up a polymer clay strawberry cream cake and tea in blue ceramic mugs!!

A better shot f Mr. Troll with his bones and his fish bone stool.  I\did his dreads  ( hair do) with brown wool roving and twisted it quite a bit to get the right look.

Here is a detail shot of the mosaic table- I used molding paste and little broken shell bits to craft the table and polymer clay for the other bits!!
 We have had quite a few adults inquire about the camp and we have decided to offer some classes for adults as well.  We had a nice write up in the local paper last week about our classes so hopefully folks will really follow through and sign up!!

So as you can see I have been working very hard and I will try more diligently to keep you up to date on my creative projects in a more timely manner! I hope that wherever you are the cicadas are not driving you nuts, the tornadoes have avoided you and you can find cool or warm place to create beautiful works of art of whatever type you choose!! ART ON!!!


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