Saturday, June 27, 2009

A Little Sketching, A Little Stitching

We were at the Shakepeare festival in Ashland for a week, and now have family coming next week, so I haven't quite got back into my art routine. I have made it out for a couple sketch dates. One to Pioneer Square at the heart of downtown Portland.

And another to Hughes Water Gardens, one of my favorite spots full of water features and garden art.

For some reason, I'm having a hard time getting excited about my sketching lately. I tried changing up media in this sketchbook, but just felt frustrated with the results, so I've come back to my pen and watercolor. Maybe I need to take a break from it for a while.

I'm working on a very fun project that I can't show yet. My art group does an annual art swap at our July picnic. Sometimes it's a one-for-one swap such as the year when we each made a shrine to trade, or pieces from recycled materials. Some years you make one small piece for everyone in the swap. We made small dangly ornaments one year and pages for an Exquisite Corpse book last year.

This year we are making pennants to be strung together in a long banner. They are all out of paper or fabric. I can't show mine until we have the swap, but here's a sneak preview. This wonky stitching will be at the center of each one. It's a quote I love from Emerson.

Saturday, June 13, 2009


It's one of those periods when I'm just trying to keep my head above water. Both my boys have birthdays at this time, and with end of school parties, that means more teens and pizza than I want to see for a long time. But it will soon end, and I will eagerly enter the lazy days of summer.

I just finished up work for an article on using my prompts to create spontaneous pieces. I first wrote about that here.
This is part of the latest piece in that series. I adhered more closely to the prompts in the first pieces, and now am interpreting them a little more loosely. The first prompt I drew for this one was "Do black and white doodles and fill in with color." I had a black and white fabric that looks like doodles so decided to use that as a starting point. I filled in with colored embroidery and fabric towards the end of the piece.

Next I drew, "Add a print." I found the almost abstract print of poppies on sheer fabric and that became the focus of the whole piece. Next "Add circles." You see some of them here; some are cut off. Then "Add single line stitching." I used that to anchor down brown silk triangles. And finally, "Add something ugly." I had some flesh color cheesecloth that seemed to fit the bill.

It's been great fun letting go and designing this way. I'm never quite sure where the piece is headed, but it's a lot of fun along the way.

I'm not sure if the article is going in Quilting Arts or Cloth, Paper, Scissors. I'll give you more details as soon as I have them.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Hearts and Soul

This weekend was my art group's spring art retreat. Some of my friends are able to produce all kinds of things during the weekend, but I've come to accept that I like to create in solitude. The weekend is fun and full of laughs, but never very productive for me. I try to have some projects that don't require much thought and did get started making a few hearts.

I've never been a heart person, usually finding them too sweet for my taste, but I did enjoy experimenting with a few earlier in the year. You can see them here and here. These led me to imagine a whole wall of oddball hearts so here is the beginning of a few. They'll all be stuffed and on hangers when I'm done.

One thing I really do enjoy working on while at art retreats are my Soul Collage cards. If you are not familiar with them, they are basically intuitive collages of images that you put together without consciously understanding what they all mean. Later they are read almost like personal Tarot cards. Some might be pretty and peaceful:
Others disturbing:
It's perfect to work on them in a roomful of people when you are only half paying attention to what you are doing and don't have the chance to overthink them. If interested, you can sign up for a great newsletter that gives ideas for reading them here.

After my trip to CA and then the art retreat, the introvert in me is now screaming for lots of solitary time in my studio. And I'm looking forward to leisurely catching up on all the blogs I've been missing.