Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Burning Holes...but not in my Pockets #artquilt

A lesson in letting go

I am forcing myself to be looser with my art, not worry about symmetry or perfection. 
I had a wonderful time constructing this art piece, 
deconstructing a t-shirt that spoke to me, 
and letting the piece evolve with no preconceived plan.

Since it was recycled and repurposed, I entered it in a call-for-art at 
Art & Antique Studio’s annual “Recycled” exhibit in Eau Gallie, Florida.

And I was totally surprised when it received the First Place award!

My favorite happy hunting ground for recyclables is the rummage side of the Goodwill. 
It was there that the shirt jumped out at me, a plethora of patchwork, 
embroidery and printed images.

Alas, it was too small to wear!
I took a deep breath and began cutting it apart, 
retaining as much of it as possible to hand-stitch into pockets, 

which I then free-motion machine sewed onto a felt background. 
I topstitched and burned the felt with a heat gun to get the lacy background effect, a technique I learned in a workshop with Susan Lenz.

I used almost the entire shirt, with only a handful of the fabric leftover. 
 The moral of the story (for me, at least!) is to let go, let it flow, and make art for myself....sometimes it works out that others like it as much as I do!

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Pearls of #Wisdom

Wow, it’s been over a year since I’ve posted…how embarrassing!

I vowed to make 2018 “the year of finishing my UFOs” and so far I’ve finished ONE! Her name is Wisdom, a goddess art doll made from hand-dyed fabric, polymer clay molded face, and dozens of tiny pearls….

....get it? Pearls of Wisdom? Well, she’s done, and now on to 4 more dolls I started about 2 years ago, but of course, I fell off the wagon, and did start another project,...more about that next time….

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

When Life Gives You Lemons....

Back in March, I posted photos of some abstract designs on cloth, made from a process that I promised to share with you. Well, at last, here it is! I had found an article in the Summer 2014 issue of Quilting Arts Magazine called "Stained & Scorched: Transform Fabric with Lemon Juice and Heat" by Victoria Gertenbach. It looked easy and quick...and it was!
You simply paint on fabric with reconstituted lemon juice, let it dry a bit, press it with a hot iron repeatedly, and voila! A design magically appears! Add more paint strokes and do it again for layered designs.

I shared the technique with my #FiberArts Group at our monthly meeting this past Monday, and they had a blast!
For those of us who have little time to be creative, this is a great technique for instant gratification and surprising results!

Monday, May 15, 2017

Sources of #Motivation...and the Urge to Purge!

For the past few months I have been working my way through Jane Dunnewold's Creative Strength Training and Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way. Both of those workbooks have helped tremendously with unblocking my creativity, although I'm still feeling a little lost in my direction. But I'm working on it, and making progress.


Then I heard about another book entitled The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up: the Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo. This being Spring, and myself being a product of the generation that did semi-annual housecleaning, I had already begun the tedious process of organizing and purging. I also happened to be in the throes of moving out of my rented studio space and back into my home studio, so purging is a must since my home studio spaces are already full. Thank goodness I found this book! For anyone who has tried to tidy, only to find you've just moved things from one place to another, this book is for you. I cannot believe how many carloads of "stuff" I have given away, things I thought were so important and so useful, but were in fact stifling my creative life. Give it a have nothing to lose but a lot of useless clutter!

This past week I came across a wonderful website: This site is filled with high-quality articles and links to amazing artists, whom I have found inspiring and motivating. The articles are equally as motivating, and often have links to videos and free eBooks. I especially enjoyed the article entitled "Are You a Textile Technique Addict?" The video described a short exercise to help you decide which techniques in your collection are worth keeping and focusing on, and which ones to perhaps let go...very helpful as I continue to clear out the clutter in my creative life.

I'm looking forward to a renewed energy this Spring. How about you? Have you felt the "urge to purge" yet? I'd love to hear your comments!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Focusing on #Fiber, Friends and #Florida Fun!

Again this year, I invested in Focus On Fiber Florida Style 2017, a retreat the wilderness of New Smyrna Beach at Atlantic Center for the Arts. Participants can stay up to two weeks and take advantage of classes, workshops, studio spaces, privacy, nature walks, and meals prepared by the amazing Chef Tom Kurtzhals. Single rooms, making new friends, catching up with "old" ones, and focusing on art without interruptions make this experience one I hope to do again and again.

Feet up and enjoying the view from my room 
as I prepared myself 
for a very intensive two days in the studio, 
and some creativity cultivation in seclusion...

I signed up for the Eco Print and Indigo Workshop with fiber artist Kathy Hays. She is a marvelous teacher...patient, kind, generous and knowledgeable beyond the basics. She has spent many hours experimenting and perfecting her craft, so what we learned was without question as to what would work, what to be wary of, and what steps to take, in detail, to obtain amazing results.
Kathy Hays sharing her skills...

The workshop spanned two long, intense days (she usually takes three days for this workshop, so you can imagine the feeling!) I am amazed at not only the quality of my results, but the quantity of processes I learned as well. In those two digested days, we learned so many techniques, and how to do them well, not rushing through to get them done, but keeping up a steady pace that guaranteed a good night's sleep!

Not wanting to lose momentum (or my euphoric state of mind) I spent a few days post-workshop reviewing my notes, taking photos, and classifying what was done, so I can replicate the techniques and remember how to do all this when I get back to the studio. A future blog post will show the results, but here are a few random photos I snapped during the retreat:

Leaves arranged on silk  fabric, ready to be bundled and steamed...
Fabric and leaves bundled, steamed, and ready for the reveal...

Bundle finally steamed, and ready for the reveal...


Beautiful day to work in the outside studio space...

Removing leaves from dyed fabric...

Empty studio can mean only one thing....suppertime!!!

Eco process on indigo dyed fabric was yet another dimension we played with...

The path between my "cabin" and the studios...

The grounds are equally as beautiful in the evening.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Hooked on #Tie-Dye

This week I've been experimenting with Ice Dyed Mandalas again, fearing I'd forget what I learned at Cindy Lohbeck's class at the Original Sewing and Quilt Expo. I had some scrap fabrics of unknown fiber content, so I tied them up and went to work! Forgot to take pictures of the process, but basically it's tie, soak, then place in a tray, cover with ice, and pour dye on top.

This is what the ice looks like with the dye on pretty in itself!

Here are the results:
The two fabrics above are a gauzy-weave. I assume they were not 100% cotton, as the colors are lighter than the others. But they're still nice!
I just love how each one is totally different, and beautiful!
Fascinating process and results...

I'm hooked on tie-dye mandalas!

Monday, March 20, 2017

#Sew Much Fun at the Expo

I just got back from three days of inspiration at the Original Sewing and Quilt Expo, in Lakeland, Florida. This was my third time visiting this annual event, and I was a little apprehensive about it being a repeat, but I learned lots of new techniques, visited some new vendors, and had a great time. Exhausted, sensory-overloaded, and overwhelmed, but SEW inspired!

The first class I took was by Barb Callahan: "Folded Fabric Fun" which involved making an adorable bag using folding adaptations of the Japanese art of Origami. Using some of Barb's collection of fabrics and vintage buttons, we created this pretty pouch and actually finished it in class! I think that's only the second time in my life that I actually finished a new project the same day I started it!
On Day Two I attended "Color Your Fabric with Paintstiks" by Laura Murray. I had tinkered with Paintstiks several years ago, and didn't really care for them. But this class converted me to a user! What a wonderful way to get texture and interest on fabric, with little effort and a lot of was like being a kid again, coloring with crayons! Just look at this fun fabric piece I made, first try!
Later that day I took a class from the delightful Joyce Teng from TSC Designs. Her effervescent personality got me so excited about using Tsukineko inks for all kinds of surface design, including stenciling, dyeing, and painting...I was so enchanted, I visited her booth the next day and she was kind enough to share even more techniques and information. Love using inks on fabrics!

The last class I took on the last day was intense...Ice Dyeing in a Mandala pattern. It was NOT easy, VERY messy, but the results were fabulous! Since I've done lots of fabric dyeing with fiber reactive dyes, the technique was familiar, but I had no idea you could somewhat control tie-dyed results with Cindy Lohbeck's binding techniques...very precise and somewhat difficult, but again the results were worth it:

Whew...I learned SEW all I have to do is find time to practice, practice, practice!