Monday, May 31, 2010

Little Pillows

I've been on the run so much lately that I needed an easy, portable project. I was reminded of making little pillows that get joined together into bigger pieces after watching Teesha's tutorial.

I had made these in the past, but Teesha's approach is a little different. She stuffs them with fiberfil instead of batting for a very fat, textural pillow.

After they are stuffed, the edges are rolled and stitched, then the quilting stitch added to the pillow. I might join them together to make the covers of journals:

Or maybe a long wall hanging:

Or maybe they will just sit in a pile on my desk.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Retreat Weekend

We had our annual Portland Art Collective spring retreat this weekend at the Menucha Center in the Columbia Gorge.

Beauty outside:

A labyrinth nestled in the forest for a little centering:

And beauty inside.

The beginning of Cynthia's prayer flags:

Tammy's book art:

Debi's doodle painting:

Jennifer's metal hearts:

The beginning of Stephanie's puppet theatre:

Sometimes all you can do is count your blessings.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Wild and Funky

A few years ago I made this purse for myself:

My sister asked me to make a long pillow for her bed in her colors using this technique. So finally, for her 50th birthday this month, I got this done for her:

Colors are more accurate in this close-up:

Having my younger sister turn 50 really makes me feel old--that seems worse than turning 50 myself!

Fun giveaway--my friend Paula is giving away a lovely crocheted wire and bead necklace. Go here and leave a comment to enter.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Journal pages

Wrapping up my Chicago week with a few pages from my journal. It's a mix of sketch, collage and notes:

And what my tray looked like on my trip home. More about this project later:

I am thrilled with this crochet thread I dyed in variegated colors. Now I need more:

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Art in Chicago

A few arty things around Chicago--

Lots of nice public art. My favorite was this huge Chagall mosaic. It's a large block, probably 10 ft. x 60 ft. and 20 ft. high--all covered in mosaic.

I think "The Bean" is a brilliant piece of public art. I love the way it reflects the city and the people around it.

And everyone interacts with it, either snapping their own photos to get those fun house mirror effects, as I did, or crawling under it. I don't know when I've seen people interact with a piece of art more than this one.

Several bits really caught my attention at the Contemporary Art Museum. This exhibit was so absolutely weird, but I found myself looking at it for a long time. Mike Kelley, the artist, gathered all these old handmade toys at thrift stores. He displays them in groups such as marine life, birds, dogs, as if they are scientific exhibits, with corresponding charts on the wall. It's this weird mix of science exhibit/church craft sale set up on card tables.

It was really touching, though, to see what sort of things people make, and what sort of things they throw out.

I also was inspired by this flower curtain and the simple idea of attaching bits of silk flowers together to form a type of lace:

Monday, May 10, 2010

My Heart Skips a Beat--Chicago

A friend once read me her favorite poem by Mary Oliver, and it ended with the speaker being filled with a moment of transcendence upon turning a corner and spying a deer (my lousy paraphrase!). I responded with something like, "umm, yeah that's nice" but didn't have any real
connection with the poem. Later I was driving into San Francisco on a route I had never taken, came over a hill and saw the Golden Gate bridge sparkling in the sunlight. I actually gasped at its beauty and realized I had found my "deer."

It's not that I don't enjoy the occasional moment in nature, but my heart really skips a beat at city sights. Here are a few of my "deer" from Chicago:

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Great Return

I got home from Chicago (more soon) to find some wonderful surprises waiting for me.

First from Carolyn at Loves Stitching Red, this beautiful heart! Carolyn was one of the winners of my heart giveaways and surprised me with this lovely one in return! It's fabulously textural, and the frothy lace and shell make me think of the beach at night.

If you are not already a follower of Carolyn's blogs, make sure you check them out. Loves Stitching Red follows her explorations with color and many other delights, while her other blog focuses on her experiments with stones and subtle colors. I love them both! Thanks Carolyn!

A while back a representative from Strathmore paper company asked if they could use one of my journal spreads to illustrate what's happening in art journaling to art supply stores. In return, they would send me their latest products. I returned home to a big box full of their newest art journals and am thrilled by them!

They come in 3 sizes 3.5"x5", 5.5"x8", and 9"x12", and each size comes in a range of papers including heavy drawing paper, Bristol, 90 lb. watercolor or 140 lb. watercolor. You can tear off the cover sheet you see above to have a nice brown journal. The front and back covers are both heavy board, perfect for splashing on paint or collage. And the spiral is thick and strong. If you like to get messy in a journal and glue and paint, check these out. They'll be in stores in June.

To all you fellow moms out there, Happy Mother's Day! One Portland tradition is to take moms out to the rhododendron garden which is in full bloom this time of year. I enjoyed the day there with my boys and send a few sun-drenched rhodies your way.