Saturday, December 29, 2007

Summer Symposium information

We are having a Surface Design Symposium next summer here in Flagstaff! Here is the information link:
Melanie was my instructor last summer, and she has worked hard to put this event together for us. I already have at least 2 classes I hope to attend... maybe 3! Check it out...

Monday, December 24, 2007

'Fern' quilt experiment

Awhile back, I posted a picture of an Art Cloth I was thinking about quilting. Well, my curiosity got the better of me today, and I had to give it a try, just to see if the design would be helped or hurt by quilting. It's a long way from completion, but I'm posting a progress report to put it out there and see if anyone has an opinion to offer. The jury is still out from where I stand. Here is a detail of the stitched area:

One thing I do think is that the stitching has highlighted the ferns, which didn't come out as bright as I wanted.

Here is a shot of the whole piece on the left, and below it is the piece before it was quilted:

Sunday, December 23, 2007

New 'Fern' Art Cloth

My friend Linda and I got together today for a playdate. She helped me get started watercoloring, I helped her to learn my method of Low Water Immersion dyeing. We both had lots of fun, and ended up with some neat looking cloth, as well as some good water color attempts as well. She is very experienced as a water color artist, and I am a brand new one. Here is the cloth I dyed, which is one of a series of 'Fern' cloths:

I really like the colors and the interesting markings that I got with this piece. Here is a detail of the piece:

This was hand-stitched, then dyed with Turquoise, Periwinkle Blue and Dark Green, but as you can see, I got a lot of interesting shading and highlights, which mostly come from the Periwinkle. The Turquoise gives nice highlights when I can trap it in the stitching.
Great day, lots of creative energy! Now I have tons of new projects to keep me busy!

Leaves on the Lake

I have been working on a new piece for about a month now, and thought I would post a progress report. This is based on a picture I took when we were visiting our Son and his family at Fort Lewis, Wa. We stayed in a cabin on a lake right on the Army base, and I took a picture of leaves floating on the lake. I used wonder under to fuse the leaves onto the background, and I'm about half-way through with machine stitching the details on the leaves.

Here is a closeup of the detail work:

Some of the fabrics are hand dyed, the rest came from my stash. I am using variegated cotton thread for the details.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Whole cloth quilt or wall hanging?

I recently dyed a piece of fabric with a 'fern' design stitched in, and had hoped to use it for a whole cloth quilt. But after washing it out and looking at it, I can't decide if quilting will add anything to the design. Maybe I should just mount it or bind it with other fabric and leave it as is... what do you think?

Monday, November 26, 2007

Sea Pear

I am all but done with 'Sea Pear', my challenge piece for our October play-date. All that I have left to do is put on the hanging loops. I am really pleased with how it came together, but also see things I would do differently if I had started on it now. I wanted to experiment with machine quilting, but chickened out. And the three 'leaves' or 'arms' on the front of the 'pear' aren't exactly how I had wanted them. But at least I have broken the ice, and have several ideas for pieces I hope to complete over the next couple of months. This is a new art form for me, although I have played with fiber arts and quilted wall hangings before. Dyeing and embellishing the fabrics has made 'Sea Pear' a piece different than others I have completed, and that facet of the process opens up whole new vistas for my imagination... I think it's going to be a fun winter!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Last show of the year

Friday and Saturday was the NAU Mountain Campus Holiday show, which is a big craft show in Flagstaff. This was my second year at the show, and I did well in spite of the fact that our turnout was less than we had expected. Here is my booth:

Here I am in the middle of the 'very tiny' booth! It was 10' X 10', but felt much smaller.
Today, I went out to update my website to remove sold items, and I'm having problems with my software not wanting to connect with the webhost... aah, technology is such a labor-saver, not to mention a stress reducer! lol...

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Trip to Fort Lewis, WA

We spent last weekend with our son and his family at Fort Lewis, Washington. This time of year, the colors are beautiful there, although normally it's too rainy to fully appreciate them. We lucked out this year, and had wonderful weather.

Saturday, we took a ride out to Mount Rainier, which was actually visible for a change!

While we were at the visitors center, our Daughter-in-law April was having some trail mix. She was generous enough to share with some local beggars.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

My challenge piece/Art Quilts

Yesterday I stopped by a local quilt shop, Pine Country Quilts, to visit with the owner Shelly, meet her adorable baby boy, and talk about Landscape/Art quilting. I have been longing to learn some of the techniques used in these formats, especially since I started blog-surfing the Surface Design blogs awhile back. Shelly is going to try to put together a machine quilting class for December, and I'm really excited about it. I left her shop and stopped at the library where I picked up 3 books pertaining to Art quilts, Landscape quilts and quilting techniques. I have them for 3 weeks to pore over, experiment with, and learn from.

One thing I discovered today: my Pfaff 1210, which I got in May of 1980, has feeders that can be lowered, and a darning foot. Hard to believe I never knew about that all these years! So I can at least start playing with the freeform machine quilting technique. Meanwhile, I have done a little more to my challenge piece, although I'm slowly running out of ideas of what to do next... guess they will come to me! Here's the latest:

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Progress report

My challenge piece is starting to take shape... I added some discharge 'sprongs' to the background last night to tie it to the main piece. I have no idea where this is going, but I am beginning to see a 'sea pear', a fictitious relative of the sea cucumber, emerging... aha! A new species!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Uncharted territory

At our playdate last weekend, Melly, our facilitator/teacher/inspirer, gave us a challenge: Cut into at least 2 of the fabrics we have created using Surface Design/complex cloth techniques; create a piece approximately 12" x 12". So today, I began my project, not knowing what the end result would be. I had one LWI-dyed piece from the playdate that I sprayed bleach over using sequins as a resist, and dishwasher gel to stamp some of the surface. It came out rather interesting, so I decided to use it as my main theme. I have cut out several shapes and pinned them over another LWI piece I dyed at the same time I dyed the cut piece. Here is what I have so far:

I cut away 2 of the stamped areas and pinned elsewhere on the main piece, then slashed some of the remaining fabric to create the 'rays'. Now it's time to let my imagination have a go at what I should do next.... more to come!

Cromer Elementary Craft Bazaar

Yesterday was the Cromer Craft Bazaar here in Flagstaff. I started selling at this bazaar the first year we moved here, 2003. It's a small fund-raiser for the PTO, and is usually well attended. I have always sold well here in the past, but yesterday I didn't make rent! However, I did get 2 special orders for my Autumn Leaves shirt, and one for my 'Ferns' pattern, so all is not lost. Here is my booth:

My Next show is in November, at Northern Arizona University... stay tuned!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Surface Design Play date

Today, several of us got together at the local Community college for a dyers' play date. What fun! It was a beautiful, crisp, fall day! We got there about 9, and before you know it, we had fabric hanging from the line brightening up the quad area.

I worked on several pieces, and here are my favorites:

Autumn Leaves

Untitled - I spritzed bleach water over sequins on a LWI dyed fabric... kind of looks like deep space!

Discharge dyed on LWI-dyed fabric
using torn newspaper as a resist

Overall Pattern on LWI-dyed fabric

I was very inspired by the work done by the other gals... what an incredible amount of talent and creative energy! I hope we make this a regular event!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Autumn Leaves

I have always loved the colors of autumn. Recently I did an experiment using dyes I had in my dye refridgerator for almost a year. I used golden yellow and light orange and a little scarlet and dyed 3 shirts using low water immersion technique, just to see how the dyes would react after all this time. The result was better than I had expected: The yellow and orange had not lost any of their strength, and while the scarlet turned out lighter than I had hoped, it still looked okay. I decided to use soy wax to create some autumn leaves, then overdye with browns for a fall foliage motif. Here are the results:

I'm soooo jazzed with the results, that now I need to do bunches more!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Where does inspiration come from?

September 17, 2007 - I recently joined a Surface Design group here in Flagstaff. Most of the members were in the class I took this summer, and we are just getting started. Last month, our facilitator, Melly, gave us a challenge to create a screen using soy wax and house paint. Well.... as the time flew by, and the next meeting (tonight!) drew closer, I realized that I had not come up with a design to use for this challenge. I am not one to doodle a lot, so I really had to work at trying to develop a design. Finally, out of sheer frustration, I sent off an e-mail to Melly crying about how I couldn't come up with a design.... poor me! Well, not two hours later, I picked up a pencil and in less than 15 minutes, I had my design! No idea where it came from, it just came! And here is the result:

The design makes me think of yoga for some reason, so I will probably be using it on my yoga sets and for a shirt design as well. I like it because looking at it from one direction, I see a figure in repose; from another direction, it seems the figure is doing the backstroke in the water... it also reminds me of a sleeping figure. In all cases, it is very soothing and serene. I dyed a yard of fabric using Low Water immersion technique, then screened on dishwasher gel with bleach to discharge the dye. What is really nice is that the design from the LWI is still visible within the figures, just lighter. So, tonight I will share my experiment with the other members of our Surface Design group, then see what 'challenge' Melly has in store for next month..... great fun!


September 2, 2007 - At last! Patience and paint have paid off! I finished painting the shelves this morning, and began organizing the work room. Now, to celebrate, I am getting ready to dye some top/pants sets!
Here is where my dye powders are stored (I'll need a stepstool!)

Here is where my tools are - right over the work table!

And this is where all my craft books are stored

I finally feel like I can get some work done without having to shift everything around each time I start a project.... yaaaaay!

Getting my act together...

August 29, 2007 - Hah! After futzing around for years in craft rooms trying to get organized, but it seems like there was no solution to the clutter. Boxes of fabric, jars of dye, patterns, designs, paints... STUFF everywhere! It seems like I spent as much time moving things around to create a workspace as I did working on projects. Well, I finally got mad and decided I wasn't going to take it anymore! I just had storage shelves built and installed, and now I get to paint them and start putting things away...
Here are some 'before' shots... well, really 'in progress' shots, since the shelves were just installed, and I didn't have the foresight to take pix before I moved things out.

This shelf is in the far corner of the room, and has room underneath for rollaway drawer storage units.

This shelf fits nicely over my work table, so I can store supplies there I will be using more often than others.

This shelf is next to my sewing machine and adjacent to my worktable, so it will be handy for storing 'How to' books, sewing books, sewing supplies, etc. I will post more pix when I have done the magic conversion from chaos to order...

It's never too late...

August 23, 2007 - Awhile back, I took a week-long art course at our local community college. Among other things, the teacher introduced us to basic screen-printing, mono-printing, creating and using stamps, discharge dyeing and using soy wax as a resist. I posted some pictures at the end of the class to show a little about what I learned. Meanwhile, I got busy at home and started experimenting with what I had learned... mostly in the areas of screen-printing and soy wax. Here are some samples of what I have accomplished so far:

In this example, I created a screen of the owl, printed a blank shirt, colored the owl with thickened dyes, then waxed over the image. I then used Low Water Immersion to dye the background.

Below is a design where I used a stamp to apply dishwasher gel with bleach to a pre-dyed shirt.

In this example, I traced a design on an undyed shirt, waxed over the design, dyed the background using LWI, washed the shirt, re-soaked in soda ash, then painted the sunburst with thickened dyes.

Here is another example where I traced a design on an undyed shirt, waxed over, used LWI to dye the background, washed, then painted the image with thickened dyes.

I feel like I have reached a turning point in my creative life... not the first time this has happened, but it's been awhile! I will post more pictures as I continue my new adventure...

Class pictures

July 21, 2007 - Class is over... I'm very hopeful about using what I have learned. Here are examples of some of the techniques I learned:
1)Decomposition screen print. I pulled several prints off the screen before it began to disolve. Here are the first 4.

2) Flour paste screen that I then overdyed with a light dye wash

3) Detail of the flour paste screen printed on a monoprint. This is the actual print direction - the one above was reversed when I uploaded the picture.

4) Here, I used a piece of fabric I previously dyed using Low Water Immersion to experiment with discharge stamping. Stamping was done with dishwashing gel that has chlorine bleach as an active ingredient. The stamps were created using craft foam and two-sided carpet tape. The designs were drawn onto the foam, cut out and adhered to plexiglass squares.

Creative Endeavors

July 20, 2007 - I have spent the past week in a creative class at our local Community College. It has been way too long since I tried new creative outlets, and the experience has been exhilirating, overwhelming and tiring, but I have come away with new tools to play with, which is exactly why I signed up for the class. For the longest time, I have wanted to try screen printing, stamping and batik. I have also wanted to improve my skillset in the area of discharge dyeing. All these techniques were demonstrated and applied in this class. It's actually a class designed to create complex cloth, and my main focus has been tie-dye for a number of years. But really, I have an umbrella of wearable art I have been working under, which allows me to incorporate a number of techniques in my work. So today is the last day of class, and we are free to use the techniques on any project... my head is swimming with all the things I have learned, and what I really want to do is come home and play quietly on my own -- time for that later. I will post pictures soon!
August 3, 2006 - Time passes... things change. When I entered my last post, I was selling at the local swap meet. Sorry to say it went under late in April... not enough vendors, not enough buyers. But it hasn't stopped me from finding places to sell my tie-dye. I have been to two craft shows since then, and did well. I have one coming up in a couple of weeks, which I haven't sold at before, so we will see how that goes. Meanwhile, I have been experimenting with a technique I haven't used before, and I love the results! It's just hand-stitching the design instead of tying or banding, but it produces a very different result. The dye is applied using low water immersion technique, and the result is a very abstract blend of color and design, as demonstrated by the examples below:

In addition, I am working with some new color combinations for fall, and have had one success that I hope to use again:

This piece has 8 colors: Camel, Rust Orange, Charcoal, Turquoise; for complementary colors, I used Chocolate Brown, Rust Brown, Black, and Periwinkle. I did other pieces using this mix, but the designs did not come out as well. I also want to come up with some color combinations that will include Dark Green and Burgundy for winter. More to come...

New Year, New projects

January 15, 2006 - I have been a busy bee since my last post. I recently joined a crafters' co-op, and we have a permanent booth at the local indoor swap meet/market. I have had really good sales over the holidays, and hope to continue doing well. Last week, I brought in 6 silk scarves, and sold 4 to one customer! Here is one of my favorites:

I am also working on a series of purses and totes using hand-dyed fabric. I have completed a large tote, a pocketbook, a smaller tote, and have 2 more in the works. I really like how this one came out:

The fabric was dyed using an accordion fold which was held in place with wooden clothes pins. The dyes(chocolate brown, rust brown and black) were then applied randomly on both sides. I love the markings!I also plan to work on a variety of throw pillow covers later this year. I have been mulling over these 2 projects for at least a year or so, and finally got up the nerve to try them. Can't wait to see what my restless brain thinks up next! Later...