Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Tag Tuesday--Vintage

I find it funny, and a little sad, that stuff I had in high school is now very cool to my teens because it is vintage. So for the vintage tag challenge this week, I decided to delve into one specific period--high school, California, early 70's--that time when the bright 60s colors were still around but earth tones were starting to creep in.

You can see other tags here. I'm still a week behind, and probably always will be. They are now posting for the new challenge--lace.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Tag Tuesday

I was catching up on some blog reading and found so many fun challenges/classes/themes for the new year that I could spin in all sorts of new directions. But I was especially drawn to Carolyn Saxby's Tag Tuesday challenge. Unfortunately it was full by the time I found it, but I decided to play along on my own.

Carolyn gives a theme each Tuesday for a tag to be created that week. The nice thing about playing alone is I can use whatever rules I want, so I decided I wasn't that interested in tags themselves, but I do like the challenge of experimenting on a very small canvas with a theme to challenge me.

So here is my non-tag for the challenge "White" this week. Thinking snowballs, using a variety of silk and other fabric samples/scraps.

Actually I see I'm a week behind and everyone is already posting the next challenge "Vintage," so I'll try to squeeze another one in before next Tues. and get with the program.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Teens and Trees

We had a long winter break in my teen Art and Design class and are just getting going again. Here are a few pictures of one of the projects from last term. We were studying shape and visual texture. They had to design a stylized tree, simplifying its shapes, and cut it out of foam core. They then covered it with black and white or neutral magazine pages that showed strong visual texture. (As you may notice with any assignments I give, there are always some rule breakers, and I'm fine with that.) They could then add pops of color if they wanted.

The trees are designed to be free standing and are just spectacular that way. I had to lay them on the floor for a few quick photos as we ran out the door and wish I had better background colors to make them pop, but I think you can still see how great they turned out.

Here are a few of them:

They are such a talented group--it is a thrill to watch them create! You can see some of their earlier assignments here.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Stocking the blacks and whites

I go through a lot of black and white fabric, so I've been building my stash back up with some handpainted ones.

Mostly I use the Jacquard Textile paints, but I ran out of the white, so I used Golden's fluid acrylic in its place. It worked pretty well, but it does have a slightly stiffer hand when it dried. Fine for machine work but I wouldn't want to hand stitch through it.

I like to do a lot of rough writing both big and small, legible and not.

And just fast and crazy so it's all a little messy.

This was one of my favorite pieces made by dipping the Jacquard lid in white paint and printing with it 4 or 5 times.

Sunday, January 15, 2012


There are a few things that I wanted to share that I've gotten a little behind on.

First, I'm happy to say that Jacky at Stitchworks awarded me a Liebster blog award. I always enjoy Jacky's blog, so I'm flattered she passed it on to me. The award is meant to showcase bloggers who have fewer than 200 followers. It originated in Germany and means "favorite" or "dearest." The rules are you must mention and link to the person who gave you the award and mention 5 other blogs that you think are worthy of the Leibster.

Yeah, it's sort of a chain letter, which I usually don't participate in, but I would like to take this chance to point out some blogs that I do really like. I don't have a clue whether they have under 200 subscribers, so I may be breaking all sorts of rules, but here goes.

Dee Mallon and Cloth Company. Dee has a wild abandon with fabric and fearlessly combines colors, prints, textures, in a way I love. Check out this page to see what I mean.

Dreamcicle Journeys. Paula experiments with a variety of mixed media and very generously shares her discoveries and knowledge.

Eclectic Meanderings. Deanna is doing lots of admirable eco-dyeing and stitching.

Ragzedge Arts. Lynne stitches and paints and photoshops and doodle draws and all sorts of fun things. Here's one of her paintings I fell in love with.

Copper Crow Studios. Tory makes fabulous wire and clay characters as well as many other interesting pieces.

Darn! That's 5 already! As long as I'm breaking rules, I'm going to throw in one more.

Madhandled Threads is a blog I recently discovered and am quite taken with. Joe does some wonderful stitching and zen-like reflecting. And he has the greatest blog name!

I've mentioned my art group, Portland Art Collective, here many times because of our shows, our retreats, our parties.... The group has 30 women who have been gathering for almost nine years now. I consider myself a pretty solitary person who is always fighting for more time alone, yet I love this group and consider it a major part of my life. If you are interested in starting your own art group, Tory Brokenshire and I wrote an article about ours in the Jan/Feb. 2012 issue of Cloth, Paper, Scissors.

And I was interviewed along with Lorraine Jones, our show coordinator, for Portland's Art Focus radio show. We talk about our group, our show, and our own artwork. I was really pleased with how it turned out. It's a 30 minute show and you can hear it here if you are interested. Note: it aired before our show last Dec.

Finally, I want to pass on this cool site of world textiles-- Fibercopia.com I especially like Maki Yamamoto's work that I found there.

Whew--that's what happens when I get behind.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Out with the Old--Garland Tutorial

My house always looks so drab after I take down Christmas decorations, so this year I made a little New Year's garland to add some spark.

It was so fun to do and cleared out some of the old to make way for the new. It's kind of an anything goes project, but here's how I did it.

I started with a very ugly painting exercise (maybe to see how many garish colors I could put in one piece?) I had done on watercolor paper. I kept thinking I'd repaint it, but it was better to get rid of it. On top of it, I free wrote thoughts about what I wanted for the new year.

I punched 2" circles out of that and punched smaller circles and shapes out of other old projects.
I wrote some guiding words for the year on another old painting and tore them into pieces. And cut a pile of silk and velvet fabric scraps.

I built little piles on the 2" circles and anchored them with scribbly free-motion stitching.

Then attached two circles together back-to-back and did more scribbly stitching to hold them together.
And finally I chain stitched them all together into garlands. I like the additional scribbly lines that the loose threads add, so I didn't trim anything.

They were very addicting to make and got rid of some ugly past at the same time.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Boho Puffs

In my effort to be more productive, I grabbed some scraps for a TV project.

I have a bag of these sample bits that I picked up at Thai Silks in CA several years ago because they had potential written all over them. Lots of burn-out velvets and silks.

But besides a snippet here and there, they have pretty much stayed in the bag. When in doubt, make puffs, I always say. I love the wacky textures and color combos.

Don't know what I'll do with them, but maybe they are a beginning of a big hippie piece.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

A Clean-ish Start

My studio will never be one of those beautiful, highly organized places that appear in magazines, but at least I have some clean surfaces for the moment. I tend to start my year with a big clean-up, but as soon as I start working, there will be piles again.

I am lucky to have a good-sized studio space. One half of the room is devoted to fabric.

The other half has my painting area. And my faithful bulldog, Jack.

I have a nice design wall behind my sewing machine, but I tend to accumulate notes and snippets of ideas there rather than design on it.

Because obviously my inspiration wall isn't enough.

I keep most of my fabric in these cabinets.

I always admire open shelves of fabric with neatly organized stacks of color. But the reality is my fabric looks like this once I've been working, and the closed doors are the only thing that keeps it looking neat.

I clear the surfaces between projects and as long as I have space to work, I'm happy.

I just signed up for a free online workshop with Traci Bautista. I've taken her classes in person, and she's always fun and playful. If you're interested, you can check it out here.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Just 30

I love new beginnings and this year I am especially ready for one! It was a rough year with illness in my family and then my Dad passed away on Dec. 15. He was a wonderful man whom I adored, and his passing leaves a huge hole in my heart. The most important lesson he taught me was that hard work and taking on challenges can be a great source of joy and satisfaction, and it's with that thought that I'm approaching my new year.

I love playing with art, but sometimes I get lazy and don't push myself enough to reach a level of full satisfaction. I'm hoping to reach a little further this year.

Perfect timing--my friend Paula made me this fabulous necklace and the word she chose for me is "stretch," so this will be my talisman for the year.

It occurred to me that I'm always great at following through with new plans until about the end of Jan. so this year I'm doing a Just 30 plan. I just want to see how much I can accomplish in 30 days. No specific goals--just seeing how much I can stretch myself in that period.

I did make this list of some things I've been meaning to try and will post them in my studio:

Make graphic fabrics with printmaking
Write/draw on fabrics with black and white
Make graphic papers
Garlands out of paper and fabric circles
Graffiti hearts
Carve stamps
Work on Soul Collage cards
Paint over magazine pages to use in other projects
Do more sketching with parallel or dip pens
Randomly stitch units of fabric together to see where they go

And I'm hoping my path is now clear to get back to regular blogging again.

Happy New Year to Everyone!