Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas at our House

I've been enjoying reading blogs and seeing how people celebrate Christmas in their different ways.   Here are a few pages from my sketchbooks to show a bit of Christmas at our house.  It's a little after the fact, but I didn't have a chance to sit and sketch before it was all over.  

I've been gathering silvered glass ornaments for about 25 years now, so that's now all I use on my tree.  My favorites are ones that aren't very Christmasy, the odder the better.  One of my goals in sketching this year is too get looser with watercolor.  I love how African Tapestry and Laurelines both use it.  When I try, it just ends up messy:

Here's a much tighter page, and what I want to move away from, but I don't know how to do that with highly detailed bits:

This was a page from last year's journal at this time of year.  Some things don't change much from year to year:

Friday, December 26, 2008

Stuffed Guy

Still snowed in, and still enjoying it, except I'm getting a huge craving for Thai food.  The thaw is starting, so we may be getting out in the next couple days.   It's been a wonderful, relaxing break from the normal routine.  The urge to clean out my studio hit earlier than my usual Jan. 1 clean-up time, so I've been taking advantage of being locked in and getting a start on it.    I decided to haul all my unfinished, wrong direction, just not inspiring, projects out to the garage.  Maybe I'll look at them in a year and see if they have any hope or need to be tossed.

I did get one little guy done for Xmas.  I wanted to make my 8 yo niece an ugly doll this year. She loves our bulldog Jack, so he seemed perfect for a model.  I really enjoyed doing the stitching on fleece--the stitches just melt right in.  Might want to play with more fleece in the future.

And the handsome model himself:

Saturday, December 20, 2008


We are having the strangest week of ice and snow, very unusual for Portland.  We haven't been able to drive for a week, unless we put on chains, so I'd rather walk.  It has been quite wonderful to have focused days at home not having to drive my boys around.   Most of my time this week was spent on Christmas preparations, decorating and baking cookies, instead of much art.  

I did, though, have a little scribbling fun.  On Scribbler, you do a simple line drawing and then the computer program takes over and attaches the lines, providing the shading and web-like lines.  I have no idea how it works, but it really transforms a simple line drawing into something much more interesting.   You can adjust line thickness and colors for different effects.

I think it would be really great to use as a pattern for free-motion stitching.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Party time

Every year my art group celebrates with a wonderful holiday party.    We have 25 members in our group and always have close to a full turn out for this event.  This year one of our members, Maggie, and her partner, Susan, bought a grand, historic mansion that they are renovating, and they welcomed us into their home.   It's becoming a spectacular place right before our eyes.  They are managing to keep the historic quality of the building, while adding their own artistic flair, as seen in the new kitchen with red cork floors, creamy yellow cabinetry, and a huge red chandelier in the middle of the room.

Our party always includes a very tasty potluck lunch with lots of desserts.  It culminates in our gift exchange.  A month before the party we draw names and then make or give each other an art-related gift.  I was thrilled to draw Lenall's name this year because she shares my taste for funky fiber art and adores the color red.   I think of Lenall as having a very big heart, so this is what I came up with for her:

The heart is stuffed and about 12" long.   I used the crazy graffiti techniques I've been playing with in my "What-If's".  A close-up:

Lorraine drew my name and gave me this wonderful assortment of art materials, custom designed to my palette and interests!  It's the sort of gift that immediately gets the wheels turning as I think about what I'd like to do with them:

It's really fun to see what everyone comes up with and how well-suited they are to the recipient's interests, from delicate jewelry, to dreamy handmade books, to boxes of rusty metal things.  Art friends give the very best gifts!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Great weekend and glad it's over

I'm finally getting back to daily life after the craziness of our show this weekend.  It was a grand success, shockingly so in this economy.  I think we were all holding our breath going into it this year.  This is the second year we've done such a big show at the Multnomah Art Center.   We take over the gym and, in a few hours, turn it from a white box into a winter wonderland.   Last year we collected, hauled and painted 60 doors to use as backdrops for our displays.  Each artist decorates her space in silver, cream and white to tie the show together.  I made fabric garlands out of mixed cream and white fabrics for mine:

My freeform crochet baskets sold out again this year.   I've enjoyed making them, but think I'm done, at least for a while: 

One of my favorite things was my silver tree with my raggedy birds,  but I couldn't get a good photo of it.  Here's a glimpse:

It's really thrilling to be a part of such a great art group.  We've been meeting for almost 5 years now and have become a sort of sisterhood.   The show has become the crowning glory  of our year and a big celebration for us.   I was finishing my set-up minutes before the doors opened and was only able to get pictures of my own booth, but there are some great photos on our group blog if you'd like to see more.