Posts Tagged ‘art’

“Experimenting with Textiles”

I am currently (like right now) watching a video from the fellows who bring you textileartist.org. I’ve subscribed for several years, and they are introducing a series of videos on finding your voice with your textiles. So far, 11 minutes into the video, I can see the various paths I have taken and why I had problems with them.

First, early on in working with stitching on marbled fabrics, I felt intimidated by mo own machine quilting skills, and I felt like I needed to do a huge amount of practice on smaller pieces before I came to the bigger works I wanted to do. A cyber friend kindly said to me – do the work you want and the skills will follow….and so they did. I started weaving strips of marbled fabric after I machine-quilted them, and I didn’t look back.

Second, I’ve always experimented with lots of techniques – marbling happened to be the latest one (embroidery, knitting, crocheting, painting), but the marbling hooked and and hubby. Now I have a body of work that utilizes marbled fabric and new means of quilting and embellishing. I picked up bead work only in the sense it could add to the overall design.

Lots of ups and downs in learning and trying to determine a niche for ourselves, as well as work within limitations of what we could afford.  I finally decided that what other marblers do is fine – so is our work in its own unique way. I didn’t want to marble paper – I wanted fabric – first limitation, and we made it work. We perfected our style on white fabric – very unforgiving – a second limitation.

How can I push the boundaries of the basics? Hubby and I laugh about what I have him end of trying to marble – “pushing” to do ribbon, silk flowers, canvas…all because I don’t want to waste paint in the marbling tray. Lots of additional projects opened up, mostly with embellishing what we were already creating. Any new techniques were pursued in how they could expand our marbled fiber art.

Making marbled art is expensive –  a pound of carrageenan is about $50.00 now. So because of our extremely limited financial capabilities we had to work within a very tight budget – and we succeeded. Looking at a display of our work several months ago, both of us marveled at what we were able to create with so little resources.

Embracing what we can do on our limited budget led me to learn how to manipulate my 1008 Bernina workhorse sewing machine to do what I wanted it to do. Yes, I miss “needle down” and variable speed….but my skill with this basic machine has led me to teach very successful machine quilting classes to folks who think they can’t machine quilt unless they have a long-arm or other fancy sit-down machine.

In terms of skill level, I am completely self-taught, with only one marbling class from a master (Galen Berry). Everything else has been trial and error….no color theory of design, so I started with putting everything with black fabric. Hubby has the color sense, and I slowly came around to improving mine. Now I can put marbled fabrics with a range of other colors and designs. I attended a workshop with Tony Conner, water colorist extraordinaire, who talked us through a painting he created. It was like a design class with a master, listening to him talk through his decisions. I kept referring to pieces I was working on to see that I was naturally doing some of the design elements. I was trusting my “eye” and myself.

You owe it to yourself to watch the first of these videos – maybe you are new to the idea of limitations. We had natural limitations through finances imposed on us, and it led to who we are as artists now. Check out our web page to see our range of work. Find textileartist.org on Facebook and get your free video.

PS – no more pima cotton fabric, special order didn’t work because it was too light, so we “over-marbled”…and it’s good to go…..making due with a limitation……

A New Video!!

We have decided to do our own videos and set up a YouTube channel with them. We want to show the creation of the various marbling patterns. The first video was more an overview of creating a design…and gave me a chance to play around with iMovie. The second one looks just at the very beginning pattern – the stone. Every piece of marbling starts with this pattern. I am using royalty-free music under Creative Commons. It’s fun, labor-intensive, and when you have weeks between videos you forget all the things you figured out before…like getting the music to play. Plus, this time I cut out pauses where hubby was getting paint, so I learned to delete frames and add a connector. Now it’s learning to use titles and such for additional information.

Here we go!

 

Lessons Learned…Goals Identified

Unexpected colors – from my coloring book experiments

A load of lessons this year – big, small, in-between – physical, emotional, business, art, political. It’s always interesting to me to reflect on what I’ve learned in times of turmoil.

  1. I will stand up against hate.
  2. Knee surgery is a pain, literally, but necessary. Physical therapy is necessary. I am blessed with a great doctor, fabulous physical therapist, and a hospital that helps with financial assistance.
  3. Losing weight over 60 (…over 40…) is tough, but thanks to The Gabriel Method I might just be able to do it this year. No chocolate in over two weeks, n0 hunger pangs, no snacking – all because of visualization.
  4. Vermont pushes too many pills – finally found an integrative health doctor, rather than getting a prescription for anything that ails me without even looking at symptoms.
  5. Survived major surgery with hubby on his aneurysm repair last winter. Great doctor, learned a huge amount – he’s good to go.
  6. Walking still is my best form of exercise. So glad I can do more walking, much more comfortably, with the new knee.
  7. I like myself a lot more. Been years in the making, learning to deal with what I can’t change in the past.
  8. Still madly in love with hubby of 40 years. We always find something new to talk about.
  9. My mother was a full-blown narcissist, and I lived in fear of her most of my life. I have forgiven her and have moved on. She appears every now and then in dreams, and I find I can tell her off when she shows up – something I couldn’t do in real life. I’m moving on.
  10. I need to plan for art business this year. We had a great year last year, and my goal for this year is to sell a lot more art and make some good money.
  11. Newsletter each month for the marbling, more teaching opportunities, retirement sale of older works.
  12. Continue taking online classes for the pure enjoyment/learning something new. Work on color sense.
  13. I wrote a teaching manual – all 35,000 words – essentially in five months. It’s a template for teacher manuals, as it works with standards and ways of integrating new curriculum ideas for teachers. Thinking about a mathematics manual for algebra.
  14. I WILL publish my political novel this year. I am planning a Kickstarter campaign – or something similar. I have to do it in the light of current politics, and I need to get back to book 2.
  15. Made a lot of art last year. I want to make even more art this year, including a couple of large pieces. I’m keeping track of the process of taking my Pele piece apart and modernizing it with my new skills in free motion quilting.
  16. Three years ago I realized I only had 200 more b;og posts to do to hit 1000. Then I seemed to take long breaks from blogging. I’m still trying to hit 1000 – 920 and counting…I should be able to get 80 posts done this year……(PS – 921…)
  17. Politically it’s been a very difficult year for me. As a history/political science major I see trends before they are trends. I’ve been worried the last two years. It is time this year to write, speak out, demonstrate, listen, reach out.
  18. Be kind and listen, regardless of your own opinion. All of us need kindness and understanding.
  19. I will be out in nature more, travel more, worry less about finances.
  20. I will stand up against hate.

Art in 2016 – Part 6 in Review – More Small Works

There were a lot of other small items completed – some UFO’s and some brand new. The small piece at the left (24 0nches square) was an OLD top from many years ago – part of a pattern kit for customers using marbled fabrics. The quilt top had some serious rolls of fabric where the iron (and the user…) had pressed wrong. So I to0k out all the stitches, fixed it, made the sandwich, and then requilted it with my practiced free motion skills. A lot of new patterns from Lori Kennedy’s The Inbox Jaunt – she has amazing tutorials.

Then there were pieces where I looked through pieces of marbled fabric we had saved and waited for one to speak to me. A lot of them did in the course of the year. “Sonoran Desert” was one of those. this was done on white denim, and it was a pattern I’ve not quilted before – but it spoke to me of the saguaros of the Sonoran Desert.

Didn’t like this binding – too sloppy to control, so did a regular fabric binding. It hung in our library show and now has a new home with a woman who lived in Tucson for a number of years. Added a few semi-precious pieces of turquoise, agates and lava.

A friend keeps us supplied with all sorts of remnants of cottons, polys and silks. We used a couple to see if they would marble – and they did – spectacularly. One of them went immediately to our son in Seattle – he loved the dark colors – said they were “sexy.” The one he received was “Sliver of Moonlight.” First pic is of the plain marbled fabric, second is seeing the stitching. Unfortunely no final pic of it mounted.

This one is same fabric – black poly-silk, and is called “Whispers in the Moonlight.”

The finished piece is mounted on a canvas frame covered in black linen, and it “floats” about the frame.

There are more pieces, but I need to move on to new projects…..more on an upcoming sale we are having – next blog post!

 

 

 

 

 

 

hitting 1000 b logposts……

Art in 2016 – Part 4 Review – Classes and Shows…and a Book!

This was a big year for showing our work – many more options and acceptances than most of our time in Arizona. We taught a beginning marbling class at BluSeed Studios in Saranac Lake, NY, and in the process of chatting, we became part of their arts curriculum grant project. I’m really looking forward to this activity; I miss the days of working with The Kennedy Center to bring integrated arts into the classrooms in the Chittenden East School District in Vermont.A lot of great memories from the conferences, and then great memories from arts work within the district (need to do a blog post and reflect on the work we did….)

A couple of pictures from our Saranac Lake class, followed by an individual machine quilting class I did for a fellow artist who wanted to expand her techniques. Mary Hill is a mixed media artist, with vibrant work.

We spent Vermont Open Studios sharing space with Mary over Memorial Day Weekend. LOTSSof great discussions on marketing!!

It was a challenge to plan for what could take Mary’s already wonderful art to the next level.

Mary Hill’s “experimenting as a result of our machine quilting class:

Plus, since May I have been working on an interactive teaching manual for the ebook Interactive Edge of the Sea. This takes all I have worked on in curriculum in 40 years of teaching and brings it together for teachers, with a modern update on using all forms of new assessment and social media within the classroom. My hope is that this manual becomes a template for other disciplines, as there are a lot of useful interactive teaching techniques – and everything is correlated to current educational standards. A labor of love with my second mom, Betty Hupp. Here’s the cover:

A snippet of the lesson plan section….

We are just about done with final edits, and after the first of the year it heads off to coding. I have a lot of links to check to be sure they all work!

Bunches of shows…..here are pictures of our small pieces at Sweet Grass Gallery in Williston, VT for the month of November.

There’s still more…..stay tuned!

Art in 2016 – Part 3 Review – A Few Other Commissions

I was very involved this year in helping others create some wonderful fiber art. First up was a baby quilt for a teacher at a former school of mine. The teachers all created blocks based on children’s books, and then along with the baby quilt, gave the books to the new mom. It came out so cute!

Children’s Book Baby Quilt

You can see the machine quilting – “leaves” for the pages of books – the leave of a book……a lot of fun to quilt. Next time….stabilize the pieces before they are sewn into blocks….

How many books can you identify?

LOVE Patricia Pallaco!

Two more baby quilts scheduled for the new year….prolific bunch at Camels Hump Middle School!

A good friend made a “science fiction” quilt for her son – a gamer, doctoral student, and avid reader. It was SO MUCH fun helping in the process, from using spray basting, to zigzagging quotes, to creating the dragon (a “must-have in this quilt). It hangs from a curtain rod that is very “Lord of the Rings” in design. I was responsible for the machine quilting of dozens of galaxies within the quilt. The dragon has a lot of marbled fabric within it, and it works so well! Kathy did an amazing job. Teeth, flame, wings, and horns all crafted from marbled fabrics. Hubby Dave did the design for the pattern, Kathy did the contruction with vinyl and a few other fabrics.

The last heavy sewing/quilting happened when my friend Kathy wanted to recreate a marbled wall hanging of ours that one of her daughters loved. Sure…..to find she wanted it reversible…and a few other changes….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The story of the original piece is here.

I don’t have any finished pics at this point – just an in-progress. Oh, did I forget to mention she wanted one for each daughter? Different colors for reversible? Different quilting patterns? It really was a lot of fun, and it challenged me to revisit a reversible binding….but I made Kathy do all the hand-stitching……

A close-up of in-progress……

Can’t wait for pictures of both the blues and the greens!

The year started with this commission: The Arroyo –

Starting stitching

Embellinging

On the wall at Frog Hollow Gallery

…and we’re not done for the year!!

Top Ten Tuesday

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Lots of items bookmarked and ready to show you. I so love all the things you can learn online – and all the places you can go!

First up, The Trouble with Bright Girls – being one, as well as teaching many of them, I can relate to this article. We need to be so careful of the messages we send.

“Researchers have uncovered the reason for this difference in how difficulty is interpreted, and it is simply this: more often than not, bright girls believe that their abilities are innate and unchangeable, while bright boys believe that they can develop ability through effort and practice.”

Animals playing around – gotta watch!

The art of Jim Dingilian – filling a bottle with smoke and creating art!

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I’m always looking at business sites and mentoring opportunities for my own marketing. Came across Gary’s site and am thinking about buying the book as gifts for two friends looking to start small businesses. Check out Gary Bizzo – www.garybizzo.com.

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Also in marketing, a new site I found on line for printing – looks like quality work, and they’re in Canada, which is great when I move to Vermont! PrintingPeach at http://printingpeach.com.

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Absolutely LOVE this close-up of the creation of a Dior bag – amazing!

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This next poster is really cool, even if you don’t understand all of it! Science and art together!!

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10 Mathematical Equations that Changed the World – fascinating, again even if you don’t understand all the math.

You know I love math – The Magic of Fibonacci!

Once again, science, art and math – Dance on the Circle.

Till next time, enjoy the web!!

Relaxed, Renewed, Rejuvenated…….

DSCN0348Emerald Bay on Lake Tahoe – just one of many stops on our 3-week jaunt into Northern California. This was an amazing few weeks, and probably only the second vacation we’ve done where we could truly say we were relaxed. Too many years and our opinion of California was based on LA and San Diego. Little did we realize just how wonderful northern California is.

Lots of small towns, no big box stores, local restaurants, vibrant main streets. Nothing like depressed (in so many ways) Tucson.  Once we got north of Edwards Air Force Base and Mojave, we got into some magical country. I haven’t downloaded camera photos yet, but I wanted to get impressions.

Majestic, from Yosemite to the sea.  From the Redwoods to the shore in front of Monterey Aquarium. We would sit at night on our porches (when we were lucky to find hotels that had nice outside spots) and talk about how gorgeous everything was, and how could we translate what we had seen into fiber. The best example of how in sync we are is that we are both standing in front of the jellyfish exhibit of orange jellies, both of us thinking about recreating these creatures in fiber….hubby with how he would marble the colors, and me with how I could stabilize some marbled chiffon so I could do stitching and still have it supple enough to move with the air.

This has led us to developing a new series for future work: Preservation. This can encompass loads of ideas – the environment, the written word, languages we are losing – so many possibilities, all attempted with marbled fabrics.

We enjoyed five glorious days in a cabin overlooking Monterey Bay (at 1600 feet elevation) that we found on Airbnb – our first time using it, and we were thrilled with all aspects of it. Great conversation with the guys at the cabin, great meals…and lots of mosqitoes, which I discovered after the fact (bought the cortizone on Thursday). We sat, read, and looked at the views. Supermoon Saturday had the full moon sneaking behind some redwoods, and the bay was perfectly clear all night, with the lights of the fishing boats visible from our deck. So nice to be wearing jeans and a sweat shirt for a change and enjoying chilly, moist air, which made the trip back to Tucson so difficult.

Met a long-time friend in Bakersfield for an overnight. I love how years can go by, and you pick right up where you left off. We had a ball trying to figure out a stubborn sewing machine so we could machine quilt on it, and then drowned our frustrations in some amazing dinner at Moo Creamery in Bakersfield. Ya haveta go if you’re in the area.

logoMade new friends, talked art in a lot of galleries, bought new spices and teas…and took lots of pictures. I have decided I need to upgrade my camera, as it is sllloooowwwwww doing what I want it to do.

Coming back to the desert only reaffirms our decision to move east. Near water and surrounded by green, friendly people, vibrant communities, and a state very friendly to artists (unlike Tucson, but that’s another whole blog post.) We both have our lists of things to do, we’re marbling next week to stock our Etsy store and try for some new fabrics, I’m writing up a storm, as I have set myself a deadline of July 31 to have the rough draft of my novel done. Life is good!

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Thoughts from Robert Genn – the Stendhal Syndrome

I am a subscriber to Robert Genn’s Twice Weekly Letter, and this one really said something to me. The Stendhal Effect is described as “the condition of being dangerously overwhelmed by beauty in either art or nature.” I thought it was just me having heart palpitations in a great quilt store. I can walk out of a gallery energized by the amazing glass – or paintings – or woodwork – or fiber. A great quilt show leaves me breathless. A Monet exhibit has my heart rate decrease to a pleasant sense of peace. A visit to the Getty Museum leaves me so excited and overwhelmed I can calm down till way past my bedtime. And yes, great quilt stores give me heart palpitations.

So it turns out there is an actual, identified condition, called the Stendhal Syndrome. It was “first described in 1979 by the Italian psychiatrist, Gaziella Magherini, after studying more than 100 cases among visitors to the Uffizi in Florence. A concentration of particularly beautiful art can cause rapid heartbeat, dizziness, confusion and even hallucinations.” What angers me is that with the decline of the arts in the schools, more and more students will never experience this. What I also find interesting is a related condition that strikes me at historical landmarks. I first realized it when I walked the Gettysburg Battlefield in the summer of 1974. I was overwhelmed with the place – I looked around, listened to the wind, and imagined all the soldiers fighting those three days. This happens whenever I visit something of historical significance. Standing in Fanueil Hall in Boston where Adams and other early leaders of the American Revolution stood kept me transfixed for nearly half an hour. Antietam – imaging the streams running red and soldiers staring as I walked. Sitting in a small room on the third floor of the American History Museum of the Smithsonian, watching three hours of newsreels from World War II because I couldn’t tear myself away. Watching the oil seep to the surface while standing on the Pearl Harbor Memorial, and wiping away tears, standing on the rocks by Lindbergh’s grave on Maui, and standing on the great Wall of China, staring off toward Mongolia.

Nature will also always do this to me. Looking up at a redwood until my neck gives out, the Grand Canyon, Point Loma, Fisherman’s Wharf, the mountains of Guilin, the Oregon Coast – there are so many places where I can just stand and stare and cry, it is just so beautiful. So art, nature, or that historical moment can overwhelm me so. I wish that for so many more people.

Why Algebra? (Hey, don’t click away from here….you’ll miss the rant….)

SO….I was awake early morning composing the start to this small rant. Yesterday a former retired colleague posted that he, the art teacher,  had subbed for a math teacher and within five minutes had convinced all the students that algebra was pointless in their lives. My quick Facebook comment was something like “oh, so NOT true….”

As I pondered this during the night, I thought of a bunch of things. That math teacher who has struggled all year trying to convince most of the students that algebra is worthwhile just had his job made so much harder. If a math teacher subbed in an art teacher’s classroom and said “why do art because it’ll never make you any money,” he/she has effectively destroyed a lot of budding artists.

Kids listen to what adults say. Now I’m coming at this rant from both angles. I teach college algebra one morning a week at The Art Institute of Tucson. Art and Math, so there. I really work at developing mathematical examples that are applicable to adult students, many of whom see no point to college algebra. So let’s take a look at the practical applications of algebra and all its rules in real life.

1. Order of operations (PEMDAS): if you’re an artist, you don’t pick out your matting before the painting is done. If you’re a chef, you know certain recipes HAVE to be done in a certain order or you ruin the dish. In real life you don’t put your underwear on last. Life is governed by some basics, and that’s what order of operations is all about. This principle teaches you to look for and use order. If you’re designing a video game or a movie, a story board is pretty darn important. Some things have to happen first before others.

2. Algebra teaches you to think: boy, do students hate this one, but it’s true. There is order in life, and algebra is an exercise that gets us to see what we have to do first, second, and so on. Solving equations is all about thinking through the problem and following a set of steps. Reading directions is much the same (even if you’re like my hubby and try to intuit what comes first….)  Laying out a sewing pattern for cutting is thoughtful. If you think of a menu for an event as an equation, you realize that you have to proceed through the preparation pretty thoughtfully.

3. Combining like terms: think about recipes and ordering. One recipe calls for three cups of flour, another for 2 cups of flour, and the third one just a couple of tablespoons. Do you order each separately? Hopefully not, because that would be tedious and time consuming and probably not cost effective. That’s what combining like terms is all about. 3A + 5B + 2C = 240 could be  your supply order and total amount for an event, an art project. Think about planning your art budget for the year for your classroom. You are ordering construction paper….you break it down to amount of packages of each color needed, and then you end up combining all the construction paper before going on to think about your paints. Then you total everything for the final amount. Combining like terms….

4. Exponential functions: recognizing these functions is pretty darn important if you are buying a car, a house, or medicine, just to name a few.

http://www.ehow.com/info_8145457_jobs-use-exponents.html

You better hope your pharmacist understands how long certain meds stay in your bloodstream before you have to take a new dose. Or…do you understand just how much you are paying in a car loan per month (which is linear) and how the time of your loan affects the value of your car (exponential). And if you want to win the big lottery……

5. Quadratic functions: aside from the fact that the makers of Angry Birds are making a small fortune using quadratic functions to create a game, anyone who has done anything in sports will recognize that a golf swing, a basketball shot, a baseball swing, a forward pass with recognize the inevitable parabola created.

http://www.mathamazement.com/Lessons/Pre-Calculus/02_Polynomial-and-Rational-Functions/quadratic-functions.html

You better hope your professional sports coach understands the equations that will improve your abilities.

So just a few examples……I could go on, but hopefully I’ve made a convert or two. And…just because…here’s a classic Abbot and Costello routine to show just how easily math can be misunderstood…..

May the Algebra Force be with you……….

Monday Marketing

 

 Oh my goodness, oh my goodness, oh my goodness…..and I could go on! What an amazing four days of art we just had….and we did quite a bit of marketing along the way. We just returend from Road 2 California – my first large quilt show since Market in 2003, and hubby’s first large quilt show. Two days of amazing quilts (photos to follow this week, after I get myself reoriented to basic life here….), plus a day at the Getty Museum – and coping with I-405….interesting experience there……

One of the best things I did in preparation for the show was bring three really great fat quarters with me, just in case someone was “interested” in seeing marbled fabric. One fat quarter went to the “quilt royalty” that was at the show, and one went to Susan Else, the guest artist – she will definitely have something different to use in her sculptures.

It was really helpful as we were looking at some of the cool tools to pull out the actual fabric and ask questions very specific to its use. This was particularly true at the Pellon booth, as we were talking we began to realize that if we are to take our fiber work to the next level, we need to seriously consider what is used in between the layers. We looked at embroidery machines, as I really would like to include some machine embroidery in the new pieces, and we had a fascinating discussion with the Brother people that could potentially lead to some licensing opportunities.

I collected a lot of business cards, as there was either a really interesting tool or embellishment I want to share. Hardly any book dealers, which is why I may need to consider Market this year or next. Speaking of books….I got home to about 300 emails, one of which was a request for photos to be in a book. That’s definitely a follow-through for this week. Renewed my Quilt Show membership so I can keep up with what’s happening in the field.

Interesting marketing observations. One company with really interesting hand-painted fabric doesn’t have a website. They only sell at shows. They don’t want to photograph fabric so people can see exactly what they are going to buy. I understand that; that’s precisely why there are some online venues that won’t take us, because they feel the need to photograph every piece of fabric. That’s why we sell on eBay and Etsy – what you see is what you get. We have a note on our ordering page on our website about why there aren’t pictures. We don’t get many orders off the website, but that’s okay, because we have other venues. No hand-marbled fabrics at the show, but there was a booth with commercial marbled fabric; nice line of fabric, much more subtle than what has been released by major companies in the last few years. Lots of quilts made up – using a stained glass approach – using the marbled fabric. Interesting to see.

Some booths had absolutely no information, beyond a business card with only an email. I tried making notes, but I figured there’s no way I’d be sharing that information. No web presence, and no pictures allowed to let people know what was available. Hopefully they make enough doing shows to make it worth their while. We couldn’t do that; the press of making fabric for our Seattle trip is enough.

It’s probably the most fun to put names and faces to cyber contacts and to ooh and aah at the gorgeous artwork. We went through the quilts twice, making sure we didn’t miss anything, and trying to find time to just enjoy the quality workmanship. I wouldnt have been able to take this amount of time had I not been retired…..

And after all that, as I was perusing and cleaning out emails, I stumbled across this older email that I hadn’t read, from resident web guru Suzan. I know there are more applications to marketing than meets the eye, but since we artists rely on our hands to make our art, this seems interesting food for thought. A Brief Rant on the Future of Interaction Design.

Stay tuned – lots of pictures in the works!!!

Work in Progress – Continued….

Yesterday I started the “winter” quilt for the group of Seasons, and I made quite a bit of progress. It was an interesting day, as design decisions kept sneaking around as I was working. Now, a while ago I realized I had some “branch” left over from some silk flowers that I thought I could use on this piece. I got a bunch of pieces cut, and then I  realized that about 3 years ago I bought some snowflake glitter for just such a reason as this. And what follows is proof you need to be a little crazy to attempt mixed media….

After spreading some of the glitter on the quilt top itself, I liked it…and realized I had to do some massive clean-up of my “trial and error.” Then I wondered if I could coat the small branches with the snow glitter. Once I was able to finally get the glue bottle open, the fun began. I put part of the branch in the glue bottle, tried to shake off excess (not successful), and then dunk the branch in the bottle of glitter. Messy, and lots of snowflake glitter that would shed constantly.

Time for a new plan…dip the top part of the branch in the glue, and then using fingers, distribute the glue down the rest of the branch, and then roll the branch on the pile of glitter on the paper. Shake well and let dry. Clean off very sticky fingers, covered with glitter, and repeat….

I did about nine branches and worried about them drying and sticking to the mat board. I did about 8 small branches, and I love the effect….but I still have to figure out how to attach them. this is certainly a first for me. I’m not one to mix these different media together, and I can see why people get hooked on mixed media collage. In the meantime my idea to add a small piece of blue fabric before the binding changed – I ended up wrapping it to be the binding itself – a lot more subdued that way. I also did some stippling in the gray area – it gave it more texture and lightened the gray slightly.

After a lot of pondering, I took some of my beading processes to attach the branches to the top and bottom of the quilt. The reveal will be next Wednesday.

This last is the truer picture of colors – very icy, which is my complete intent.

 

Getting an Art Critique

  I am really fortunate to have a couple of good friends who can help me with a critique when I am working on a new piece. Sometimes the piece flows, and sometimes I’m blocked in making decisions and moving ahead. It is made more complicated by the fact that I am trying to use our marbled fabrics to create unique art pieces. In surfing the web on a regular basis, I don’t see anyone else doing what I’m attempting to do with marbled fabric in the art quilt movement.

There are a lot of things to consider in developing these pieces of fiber art. Are my sewing skills strong enough? Are my quilting skills advanced enough? Does the fabric speak to us? Can the design tell an interesting story? Can I work with the principles of design?

In looking at all these questions, there are two that I am the weakest in, and this is where my group of friends can really help. Quilting skills and design principles.

Momcat is my first voice. She is a digital artist in her own right, and a self-taught expert in Greek pottery, among all the other skills in being a Renaissance woman. Suzan is my overall digital partner and a superb, published quilter and designer in her own right. Karin is a water color artist with a very strong sense of color and overall design organization. Hubby is the marbler and can see things in the designs that the rest of us miss.

I am at a point in this new piece where I needed advice. Which way should the piece hang, for one – vertical or horizontal. Usually that’s one of the last questions for me, because by the time I’m done, the piece has usually told me what it wants. With this piece, I need to decide this now, as I will need to work on the shading with a light source from the “northwest,” which is how scientific illustration is done. I was leaning in one way, and my group confirmed that. They pointed out that I already had a lot of the “shadows” developing on their own from the new orientation.

The second was size and pattern. I am fine with all the quilting on half of the piece, but the other half seems naked of color and looks like it would require some serious thread work that wouldn’t necessarily add to the overall effect. I had been thinking about potentially cutting away half of the piece. We looked at that possibility, and once we folded back some of the fabric (which had never occurred to me), we knew it needed to be tall and narrow, not wide and thick.

Now, Momcat had sent me some of her photos of rocks and lichen that Dali had painted, and I LOVED the lichen. I was initially thinking of marbling some very small silk flowers and then attaching them with some thread painting. The group didn’t like that idea – felt they were not “tough” enough for the texture of lichen. Momcat disappeared, only to come back with a small vial of green stuff that she proceeded to spread on the one or two rocks that are already green. Perfect! Upon closer look – they are very fine chopped-up pieces of old money from the Denver Mint. Who knew? I guess now this is a “mixed media” piece…..We are also thinking about using some coconut Husk or actual moss from a pet store – need to think that through.

Next question: facing vs. binding vs. frame. How do I want to finish this? I don’t see a basic binding. We talked about fabric as an inner mat and as a frame. We looked at serging the edges – which I have done with pieces in the past, much to one gallery owner’s chagrin – “wasn’t finished properly” was her verdict. But I always let the piece tell me what it wants. I am thinking this piece is telling me it doesn’t want anything more to constrain it beyond a facing that wraps to the back.

The final discussion revolved around light, medium, and dark. I know if I were to take a picture of this and turn it to black and white, everything would pretty much be medium values. I know it needs more dark, so I need to think through how to do that with thread…..or moss…..or coconut husk…..or…….actual small stones…….

I left energized, ready to complete the piece. Amazing how being with a great group of like-minded visual people can  make a difference!

Top Ten Tuesday

Busy week on the web this week. From The Best Article Every Day comes 106 Excuses That Prevent You From Ever Becoming Great. How can you not read an article with a title like that?

I particularly like this one, as this was my generation of breaking boundaries:

“YOUR GENDER WON’T LET YOU. Gender roles are increasingly less relevant. There have been women CEOs and male nurses for years. Men can start a daycare and women can start a design firm. Blaming your gender simultaneously speaks poorly for your gender, and empowers those who refuse to fit a mold.”

TED Talks now has a YouTube channel, Ads Worth Spreading. The TED talks are always wonderful, and now there’s a TED Blog, with great articles.

Light bulbs? Yup – evidently we artists might have some trouble coming with the phase-out of regular 100-watt bulbs. This from the Joanne Mattera Art blog.

From JPG Magazine comes a photo tribute to Steve Jobs….some interesting…and weird…photos here.

Apple Logo Autumn Spectrum by Devid LeClerc

Very reminiscent of Andy Goldsworthy.

I have a former student, Dr. Matt Lyon in Charlotte, NC,  who is doing some amazing work when it completes to complete health and wellness. I invite you to visit his blog and download his ebooks on wellness. There is some great information there, certainly worth researching.

Mary Edna Fraser does some simply amazing batik, and most of it in the name of climate change awareness. Check out this book signing for global climate change.

I love Vi Hart, who bills herself as a recreational mathematician. She does amazing stuff with doodles that makes mathematics seem so clear. She also has her own YouTube channel…yeah, I know…..doodler extraordinaire!

And now…candy buttons and mobius strips…

Phil Hanson – wow! I put in “amazing art” on YouTube…who knew I would find this?

And finally, is it art? Elvis in cheetos????


Have a great week!

What’s Available This Week

We are getting quite active around the web and I thought it’s time to spotlight some of the things available on line this week – you can only find them this week.

First up is Ebay this week – lots of great fabric pieces available – assorted colors and marbling patterns, perfect for piecing, applique – and don’t forget – sometimes you can just make a small quiltlet with quilting the marbled pattern line. Two pieces of denim – really intriguing designs and effects.

On Etsy this week is a piece of art cloth again with lots of possibilities. We were trying for a starburst effect, and I think we achieved it. I have a smaller piece that I’m going to quilt for a small hanging.

On Cafe Press, one of our most favorite digital prints from our Botanicals Series:

And also from Cafe Press, a cool totebag with a digital manipulation of a Southwest gecko:

So enjoy exploring this week – we’ll have some new goodies next week!

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