Sunday, January 19, 2020

Doing the Happy Dance!

I love when something I have wanted to do for a long time finally becomes more than an item on my "try this" list!  This item never really got written on the list, but it's something that has been popping up a lot lately, so I started by doing a lot of looking for ideas on pinterest... my fave "go to" for inspiration and ideas.  My search was for examples of Boho bags, a perfect project for using some of my fabric stash.  I found a lot of great examples, but no real tutorials.  However, I have made small bags before, based on a pattern I got years ago for a crazy quilt bag.  And I figured I would just do some fabric collage for the outside.  I have a bunch of good sized scraps of cotton twill fabric left over from a project I worked on with my friend Joyce a number of years ago.  I had dyed some to make tote bags, but all the pieces left were too small for totes.  But it's a great background for the Boho bags... sturdy, easy to sew on, so I started out by laying a bunch of scraps out on a piece I cut larger than I would need for the bag:

I've done fabric collage before, so once I laid out the fabric, I used quilt basting pins to anchor it, then stitched with a grid stitch using black thread.  Here's how it came out:

Deciding how to do the closure took some time and more research, but I found a way to use a wood bead I've had forever.  I had black braid which works well for the strap and purple fabric for the lining.  Things to do for future bags: add pockets inside and on the back.  Find other ways to close the bag... the bead is a little clunky, but I figured it would do for my first try.  I love using all my bright fabric scraps this way!

Before I tackled this, I made a couple of new bowls: this one has a little more ornate finish than I usually use, but I've seen samples of this technique and wanted to try it:

I had the lid for this bowl made for awhile, with another bowl, but decided to replace the lid
with another one that had a slightly different knob on top.  So to get this lid off my side table, I made
another bowl... nice to get these made and ready to go into Arts Connection, soon as I have more room on my new display!

I still have a "to try" on my list for sometime soon... will post here when I have had time to play with it, so stay tuned!

Friday, January 3, 2020

Happy, Happy New Year!

The holidays are past, the New Year is here!  Happy New Year to you all!

First off, I have to tell you:  Sales at Arts Connection broke records!  We have been at Flagstaff Mall for over 5 years now, and this December our sales surged to new highs!  I have to say thank you to all who supported our local artists... we are thrilled beyond words!

So to thank our supporters, we have a Red Dot sale going on this month... many of our artists have reduced prices on items, using red dots to show the sale price.  I was in yesterday to mark down a number of items in my inventory, and hope to sell all the items with red dots on their tags!
So what's next?  New year, new projects.  I have started off by making a few Valentines Day notecards:

I am working now on some Spring/Easter cards... only one done so far, so you'll have to be patient while I finish a few more!

As always, my goal is to try and use some of my fabric stash which is still (in my opinion) huge!  The fabrics used on the Easter card, other than the white, have been in my stash for years... especially the yellow, which is left over from a crib set I made for a friend's newborn son in 1985!  Do you get my drift?  I never throw anything out if I think there's a chance I can use it! 

On my list of things to try is silk scarves using dye-na-flow and silk salt to create wonderful, organic designs.  If you're not familiar with the process or results, here's a picture I got off pinterest to give you an idea of the look I'm hoping to achieve:

I hope to be ready to start playing with this technique soon!  I have the dye-na-flow and some silk scarves and the silk salt.  Need to be sure my project board will work, otherwise I'm going to have to devise a stretcher setup that will fit on my work table.  
So that's it in a nutshell, for now... winter is here, so I'm spending more time inside, but look forward to when temps get at least a LITTLE warmer so I can resume walks with a friend.
Hope you all had enjoyable holidays, and let's make 2020 the best year yet!

Friday, December 13, 2019

Holiday Shopping Season

I can't believe it's just a few short days until Christmas!  I have been a busy bee for months printing scarves, making mug rugs and cards, stocking my booth at Arts Connection, to be sure I had a large inventory for the shoppers, and now there are only 11 more shopping days left!

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and a Happy New Year!

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Busy Creating!

As usual, I have been busy this time of year beefing up my inventory for holiday shopping, and much of that time has been devoted to my Botanical Print scarves.  I have a robust collection now, even enough to list some in my artfire shop, so if you are not in the Flagstaff area be sure to check it out for your holiday shopping! 

I thought I would give you an idea of the process I use for creating these scarves, as well as my botanical note cards.

Here are some of the silk scarves I have laid out, placing the leaves on the bottom layer, then adding another scarf on top, then rolling tightly around a wood dowel.  Then I tie very tightly using artificial sinew.

Here is my steamer pan, with a rack to hold the bundles above the steaming water.  In this case, I had leaves in the water to add tannin to the steam, which helps to create a stronger image on the silk.
I cover and steam for about 90 minutes, then leave to cool.  The hard part is waiting!  But it's worth the wait, when I unwrap the bundles, removing the leaves and seeing the beautiful images.  

For the past few months I have been gathering leaves and storing them for the winter.  Some can be dried and stored in containers, but some are more delicate and require freezing to keep them pliable and prevent them from curling up.  
Recently, a good friend sent me several parcels of leaves that I don't have in my area, and one that needed to be frozen is Cranebill Geranium, a beautiful, ruffled leave.  So as soon as I received them, I spread them out carefully on an old towel to dry slightly... they were damp when they arrived in a plastic bag:

Aren't they lovely?  Next, I carefully stacked several at a time, then slid them gently into freezer bags with a sheet of paper dividing the layers:

I labelled them with the date, and off they went to rest in the freezer of a fridge I have in the garage, ready for me to use them.  I will defrost them slightly, use some, then return the bag to the freezer until they are all used up.  I hope to get some of these for the yard next spring, so I can just pick them as needed.

Much as I love printing with all these lovely leaves, I'm also working on some Christmas Tree ornaments which will be on sale in the gallery probably later this month.  I hadn't planned to make these again this year, but had a request from someone who bought several last year.  So here's what I have so far:

As you can see, I'm not very traditional in my fabric choices.  There are 2 with Christmas fabrics, but I like making these in bright cheery colors.  I hope to get one more done to have an even dozen, so I'm doing one a day.  I sold all 12 last year, so with luck I'll repeat that this year.

Finally, we are experiencing a lovely rain today... something we haven't had much of this year, so I'm loving it.  Happy Autumn!

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Eco Printing with color, stitch meditations and Shrekkie

I have continued to create my eco print scarves, and decided to experiment with adding just a tinge of color to the scarves with my Procion MX dyes before printing.  Love the results!  At some point I hope to get into using natural dyes, but the process is more than I can learn in a short time, so this is my solution for now:
Pale coral pink

Seafoam green

Palomino Gold

Robin's Egg blue

I am soooo in love with Botanical printing!  It really makes me happy to be able to capture nature this way... 
With the change of seasons, I am busy collecting and storing leaves for the winter months, much like a squirrel gathers acorns!  But I did let myself use one of the oak leaves for a different project:
If you follow my blog, you may remember that I was doing a lot of hand stitching back in January.  Then I got busy with other projects, and haven't done any since then.  But I have seen examples of using real leaves in collages, and decided one of my beloved Oak leaves deserved a chance to show off, so this came about recently:  Leaf hand stitched to a fringed square and a hand dyed background, with a fern leaf stamped in metallic paint.  I happened to have a frame handy that was just the right size, so it now sits on a side table in the living room, to celebrate Autumn.  I think I will be getting back to stitch meditations with the onset of cooler weather... they just go together!

 I posted last month that we had to let our sweet Bubba go, which was very sad, but his health was deteriorating and wasn't going to improve.  So now, we have just one kitty left, Shrekkie.  

Shrekkie came to live with us in 2010, after spending some time on his own.  His original owners moved away, and left him with neighbors across the road, but the household was quite unsettling to him, so he decided to be a vagabond for awhile.  Before long, he was coming around our house and yowling, which caught my attention.  I kept water on our deck for our cats, and he would come up to get a drink almost daily.  I began sitting on the deck in the morning, and gradually we made friends.  By October, I had coaxed him into the house, and he has been here ever since.  Now that he is the sole cat, he has begun to spend evenings snuggling with me on the floor while I nap in front of the TV, and he seems to be perfectly content to be the last kitty.  I still miss my Sweet Bubba, but Shrek is doing a good job consoling me, and dispensing love and affection!

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Open Studios report, more Eco Printing and Bubba

Well, the dust has settled after another year's Flagstaff Open Studios tour!  I had good sales again this year, although my fellow artists at our location were not as fortunate.  We had a smaller turnout than last year, and more lookers than buyers.  Even so, it was a nice weekend.
Day one, standing in my booth area.

My bowls and cards

A large selection of clothing and scarves, many which went to new homes.  Yaay!

The next week I got set back up at Arts Connection Gallery, and have had good sales so far... hopefully a sign of how things will be doing this fall and winter.  I haven't had time to take pictures of my display, but it looks a lot like my booth shots above, only in a gallery setting.

Meanwhile, the crazy leaf lady has been squirreling away leaves in bins, and some in a freezer in the garage, so I can keep eco printing!  I have recently completed some more scarves, which I think are even better than the first 2 I did:
Above, a close shot of a Silk Satin Scarf

This is a Habotai Silk Scarf - note the subtle coloring of the leaves.

A Crepe de Chine... very shimmery and soft.
I think I'm finally ready to put some in the gallery, and I have more blanks on order, so this will be my fall-winter offering for gift buyers this year.  

On a sad note, Bubba crossed over the Rainbow Bridge today.  He was almost 15 1/2 years old, and had been going downhill since April, with a couple of rallies.  It was time.  He gets my award for the Alltime Sweetest Kitty ever, and will always own my heart and my love.  Sweet dreams, my Sweet Bubba Boy... 💔😢

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Prelude, Bubba and yet another new project!

August 3 was the Opening Reception for this year's Prelude exhibit at Arts Connection Gallery:
Shown here:  Dolores Ziegler, who works in acrylic paint and collage; Cinde Dalhover, our
host for the upcoming Flagstaff Open Studios Tour; me, and Louise Waller, who works in a multitude of 2D and 3D mediums.  We are 4 of the 7 artists who will be at Studio 11, located at Cinde's home.
Here are the 2 pieces I submitted as examples of my work:

The jacket has since sold, and been replaced with another.  
For those in the Flagstaff area at the end of August, we will be at 9815 E. Townsend Winona Rd Saturday and Sunday, 8/24-25, open from 10 am to 5 pm.  Come see us!

On the Bubba front, I will say that he has fully recovered from the issues he was suffering a couple of months ago.  He still occasionally has slight digestive issues, but nothing compared to what he went through.  Thank goodness! 

Meanwhile, back at the studio, I have started to take my first tentative steps into learning Eco Printing... using leaves and foliage from the yard to make impressions on paper and fabric.  I did a lot of lurking on facebook groups, poring over posts in pinterest and google searches for information on the process before taking the plunge.  I first learned how to tie-dye almost 22 years ago, and there was a lot more straightforward info on process for tie-dye!  With eco-printing, it seems like no two artists use exactly the same processes or methods, and it makes learning a bit of a challenge.  I am convinced that if I keep at this for 22 years, I might have it figured out, but it will take continuing to study and experiment.  But I am encouraged by my first efforts!  I started (thanks to my friend Beth in Maine!) by trying a batch of watercolor papers cut to a size I could use in cards:

I was truly amazed and thrilled when I unwrapped this first batch, and it hooked me!  I know that I will be doing many more of these, and have submitted two to the gallery to be juried in, since this is a totally different medium from my usual work.
Next, I decided to try 2 scarves - a chiffon, and a habotai silk.  The initial results were very pale, almost not noticeable, so I steeped them in leaf "tea":

I also used some strips of muslin, dipped in an iron solution that were part of the bundle I steamed.  I didn't get pictures of them at that point, but decided to experiment a little after with steeping the muslin in a "tea" I  brewed from the leaves used in the printing process.  And I made a batch of black tea, so I could compare the two.  Here is a shot showing one of the muslin strips as it came out of the steaming bundle, one that was steeped in black tea and one steeped in leaf tea:

Now I know the leaf tea has more color, but that could be totally different next time!

Now I have to start saving and drying leaves, to carry me through the winter!  I love that I have a large variety to harvest right in our yard, but also plan to go on leaf gathering trips around town to scoop up some that don't grow in our yard... leaf lady is coming!  Stay tuned for further developments, and news about this year's Open Studios tour!