Friday, January 31, 2014

Fabric, Layer, Stitch, Repeat

It seems this last year of my life has been about rediscovering art.  I've never given up working with my hands, but it has been in a more practical way.  Planting, harvesting, preserving, caring for animals, perhaps creating the occasional greeting card, or putting together a few scrapbooks have been the extent of my creating things.  It appears I left having art in my life when I left college. Until this last year, that is. 

The last 12 months I have been rediscovering the art of creating in many different media through classes at Two Twelve Art Center and Quilting Season.  I've worked in creating acrylic paintings, recycled sketchbooks, needlework and embroidery, felting, mobiles, glass, photography, drawing, collage, paper weaving, encaustic, and quilting.

In that time, I have discovered  an affinity for encaustic collage and fabric/fiber collage.  I've used my sewing machine more in the last 6 months than I did since owning it in the last 17 years!  I've enjoyed the process of experimenting and collaborating with other artists on their techniques.  This fabric collage I am working on currently is from verbal instructions I received from fellow artist, Kat, a gracious teacher who is always willing to share her knowledge with others.

This is not a finished piece, mind you.  It is still a work in progress.  As I continue to put my composition training to work, and experimenting with different textures and color theory, I have a long way to go!  This piece is taking a bit more time as I have been working with all hand sewing and embroidery.

Here are some details:

Here are my first steps in the project:

I'm hoping to work on a series of this type.  I'll post more as it unfolds.  If you have any tips or comments on what I've done, please post!  I welcome all comments and critiques.  Happy Creating!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Wax On...Wax Off

Sharing knowledge is a passion of mine.  Sometimes I worry that certain skills like food preservation are becoming a lost art.  So goes the old craft of Pysanky or Ukrainian Easter egg dying.  I have been creating these fragile egg canvases for about 28 years; and teaching the craft for about 25 years.

It all began with a dear friend named Mary.  She would host all day Pysanky open houses every Good Friday and the Saturday before Easter.  She would invite the most interesting mix of people to come together and talk, laugh, and nibble on delicacies I had never experienced until then.

After many years, she encouraged me to take on the event; and handing over her vast bin of supplies, I was dubbed the new heir apparent.  Each year I hosted an open house, teaching (and learning with) an ever eager group of egg artists.  Actually, almost everyone that came had never attempted this elaborate style of wax resist dying.  Most only ever were exposed to Paas color tablets mixed with vinegar to create watery pastel solid colors on their hard boiled eggs.

Pysanky is very different.  In the first place we work with raw eggs.  Yes, you read that correctly...RAW.  Also, the pigments used are intense colors of vermillion, pumpkin, scarlet, and black, to name a very few.  We use open candles and heated beeswax in a tiny funnel shaped tool on a handle called a kistka.

Eventually my open houses expanded to teaching classes at the Old Mill Museum, local libraries, and private parties hosted in someone's home.  This year, I will be teaching a class at the Two Twelve Art Center in Saline.  This class will be on Tuesday, March 25, 2014, 9:00 a.m. to noon.

It's exciting to imagine what kind of creations emerge from this particular class.  I'm anticipating gorgeous creations from the artists I expect will be attending.  As I said earlier, most people that I've previously taught aren't artists and are amazed by what they create by the end of the class.  But I'm also a bit nervous.  After all, I usually teach from a brochure the most basic egg design.  I expect all my past teaching experiences will be out the window with this class.  As an artist myself, I hate being reined in by rules or step by step instructions.  And I promise, I love the idea of letting a class loose with creativity.  It's just the uncertainty and the unknown which have me excited and a bit frightened at the same time! 

Today Holly and I set up displays at Saline Library to promote the class and to delight the eyes with these fragile works of art.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Recycled Banner Tote bag

After the Self Portrait Show at Two Twelve Art Center, I received the portion of the used publicity banner bearing my self portrait.
So I created a tote bag!

Using old colored canvas material I had on hand, I created the tote based on the size of my banner piece and some borders.  then I created a log cabin block to the same dimensions for the back side.
I also tried my hand at my first log cabin block.

  The extent of my previous tote-making has been out of recycled dog food bags and bird seed bags.  Pretty basic as you can see.

However, there are some really good tutorials online.  I recommend this one. 
These are the instructions I used and can be made to any size.  Happy creating!

Monday, January 13, 2014

A Quilting Frenzy

I wanted to learn to quilt.  So I did.  Never one to go halfway, six weeks later I had completed two lap quilts for two daughters. Two weeks after that, a baby quilt was due; needing to be finished five days after arriving home from a two week holiday in the UK, Ireland, and Northern Ireland.  It too, was finished by the deadline; although admittedly I hand bound the baby creation in the most unusual places.  An hour and a half wait at the Apple store created it's own "unreality" as I hand stitched, knotted, clipped my homespun amid the latest electronics and accessories and crowds of IPhone and Apple connoisseurs! 

I could not share photos of the daughter's quilts without spoiling the surprise.  So I waited until now to display the aforementioned lap quilts...

Actually, the one on the left should be familiar.  I had posted pics of this one before deciding to do two for the girls for Christmas.

Complete with labels

Unfortunately, I forgot to shoot photos of the completed baby quilt.  So here is the finished top.  Perhaps I'll be able to post pics later.