Sunday, February 11, 2018

When Is It Time To Move On?

     Do you ever get to a point when you are creating art and get stuck? I was working on my series "Transformations" and wanted to create at least two more large works and several more small collages. I dyed some fabrics for backgrounds and started to collect some photographs to use for imagery. But, I couldn't decide on the right colors or images. I tried sketching, painting, and auditioning digital attempts at compositions. After a few weeks, I realized I had lost the inspiration and energy I originally had for this series. And I found myself daydreaming about another series. So I decided to declare to myself that "Transformations" was done. Perhaps, someday, I'll come back to it.
     I'm feeling very good and excited about starting a new series that I may call "Journey". Over the years of traveling that I've done, I've seen a lot of exotic and wonderful things and have become enraptured with many of the cultures I've encountered. I didn't try to create art based on my travels because I'm not excited about recreating landscapes or images of people. Instead, I want to capture moods, styles, feelings, etc. and didn't know how to do that. But my latest trip to Morocco has given me ideas. In the  abstract patterns of the rugs I could see the mountain and desert landscape. In the abstract patterns on the textiles, I could see the plants and architecture.
     So I've decided to use patterns in local textiles as way to express types of journeys we all experience. I began my exploration into this by printing a couple of exotic patterns onto gray fabric with my printer and using Misty Fuse to attach them to pages in my sketchbook. Then I started to let my imagination take me as I sketched and free-associated words and phrases. I used a mind map like this to inspire the previous series.
sketch book pages
Then I used some markers to add color. On the next pages, I'm going to try to come up with ways to use the imagery of textiles to express some of those ideas and develop them into a form I can put on fabric with dye, printing, stamping, and stitching. 
     The other evening, I started a small piece with fabrics I had leftover from dye experiments. I fused them to felt, thermofax printed over them with transparent white paint, and added some stitches just to see what effects I could get.

     So that's where I am now. In the experimental stage, which I find very fun and full of inspiration. This has helped me to know it's time for me to let "Transformations" go and begin a new journey.
I'm linking this to Off The Wall Friday where you can find other art blogs. Please leave comments for the artists so that they know you stopped by. Thanks for visiting.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Do You Like To Work Collaboratively?

     Have you ever done artwork on one piece with several other artists at the same time? I never had until just a few weeks ago when I was invited to help create a set of art cloths to grace an exhibit at Stetson University in DeLand, Florida, my hometown. It was for an amazing exhibit put together by scientists and artists called  "A Better Nectar". The artist in charge who coordinated the exhibit is Jessica Rath and the artist who was in charge of designing the cloth is Madison Creech.
Cover of the Brochure

     It's about the fact that certain bumble bees pollinate certain plants in a very special way. They hover over the anther part of the flower which contains the pollen and vibrate their wings at just the right frequency to allow the pollen to be ejected out onto them. Honeybees can't do this. Neither can the wind. So these bee species are extremely important to keeping these plants on our planet. Many of them produce foods that are part of our diet.
A giant anther sculpture that makes sound of pollen
being ejected when a person stands in front of it
     Over the course of a three-day weekend, we seven artists practiced printing with screens, designed screens with images of pollen, finalized our design, and discharge printed it onto three purple silk cloths that were each about 4 feet wide by eight feet tall. Of course, since the discharge paste is toxic, we wore respirators when near it and while we printed. And we worked outside in a beautiful courtyard on the campus.
That's me on the right side.
two of the cloths almost finished

Ironing to make the paste discharge
Screening on discharge paste
     The exhibit opened with a reception on three different places on the Stetson Campus the other night. When you stood outside the art museum, they had a portable microscope that you could focus onto anything you wanted and the images were projected onto the outer wall of the building. The purpose was to get you to interact with the microscope and they had some set up inside focused on pollen grains.

An image of a sequin on my purse projected

Stitching from my purse projected

    Inside the art building were sculptures of parts of bumble bees' hives with speakers inside. A choral group had prerecorded sounds to mimic the the frequencies of the bees' wings. The speakers are linked to the weather station at our local airport and switch sounds to match what the bees sound like as they would respond to temperature, wind, and humidity changes in the real world. You stick your head into a sculpture and can listen to the changing sounds in real time. 

Jessica Rath, the sculptor, explaining

     And at the entrance to the science building is the art cloth we created. 
My husband and me in front of the cloths
     The flowers and bee are paper sculptures created by students. Notice the musical score (to represent the music of the bees' wings) printed near the top of the cloths.
     It was a magical night not only because of this exhibit, but also, because just a few blocks away, we attended a mind-blowing M.C. Escher exhibit at Museum of Art DeLand an hour before. 
So, the answer to the original question, for me, is a resounding YES. I loved working collaboratively and hope to do so again. And do come to DeLand to see these two exhibits if you can. The links above will give you the details and dates.
     I'm linking this to Off The Wall Friday where you can find some interesting art quilt blogs. Please make comments on the artists' posts so that they know you visited. Thanks for stopping by.

Friday, January 19, 2018

What Do You Take Photos Of When You Are Out And About?

          When you are walking around in local areas where you live or on vacation do take photos of big landscapes or do you focus on smaller details? When I'm on vacation, I leave the photography of the big picture up to my husband. I'm always attracted to patterns and close-up shots. Some of them get used in my art pieces and some get filed away for possible future use. But a crack in a sidewalk can show me a great use of line or a wall that has peeling paint can hint at an interesting pattern to stitch.
     We recently traveled to Morocco and I was enraptured with the use of color and pattern almost everywhere I looked. Of course, there were rugs galore and I found out from a weaver that she creates the patterns intuitively as she works.
local weavers with rug in process
rugs placed out to show several styles

reminded me of the mountain landscape there

reminiscent of some quilt blocks
     And then there were the mosaics; some ancient Roman ones and some more modern.

looking down

looking up
another quilt block?

even the layout of rocks on the road had patterns

And the clothes blew me away.
two men at one of our hotels
It was one of the most exotic places I've been. I'm still analyzing my photos to see how to use the feel of Morocco in my future art pieces.
     More locally, this week I visited another exotic place; an orchid farm. I was surprised how large it was and how many different types of plants they have. I took many photos and hope to be able to process the patterns of the roots and flowers into thermofax screens. 

at the entrance

love the roots

amazing designs

      I'm going to be teaching a 3-day class at a local fabric shop, Fabrications,  in March. The first day I'll teach how to take a photo and turn it into an image suitable for making a thermofax screen and 
participants will make their images into screens (the shop has a thermofax machine). On the second day, we'll print onto fabrics using our screens. And on the third day, we'll construct small collages from the printed fabrics. Everyone should be able to go home with at least one completed collage.  If you are interested in signing up, click the link above and phone the shop for details.


Many of the images above are from photos I took from my yard and around the house with my iPhone. Between now and March, I hope to use some of the images from the orchid farm in some collages.
     I'm linking this to Off The Wall Friday where you can find other art blogs. Please make comments on the artists' posts so that they know you stopped by. Thanks for visiting.

Friday, November 17, 2017

How Do You Finish The Edges?

    So, you've just finished the front and back of one of your works... Now you have to decide what to do with the edges to give it a finished look. Do you sew on a binding, a facing, do a pillowcase finish, or leave the edges raw? The answer should depend on the theme of the piece and the style of it. In the beginning, I used to put traditional bindings on my art quilts because I thought it was required. As I look back on them, I think it was a good choice for most of them because of the way I quilted them. They needed the "frame" around them to complete them.
Water Cycles
Then, later on, I started monoprinting my fabrics with paint. That gave a different look to my work, and a framed edge wouldn't look good. They needed a clean edge. So I sewed on a pillowcase backing to these after most of the quilting was done. Then I did a little more quilting through to the backing to secure it.
Beach Walk
     Lately, I've been dyeing my fabrics and doing hand stitches for the quilting. These pieces are fused to ecofelt before I do the stitching. I was going to sew a facing to these, but decided to leave the edges raw instead. The felt backing causes them to hang very straight and the style lends itself to a raw edge. But to give it a finished look, I hand stitch a running stitch around the edge 1/4" to 1/2" from the edge. Since I had running stitches here and there on the front, and stitched it so the stitches were interrupted with spaces periodically, I did the same to the edge. I could have machine stitched the edge, but I wanted the stitches to be the same on the edges as they are throughout the front. Also, I changed thread color as I went around the edge to match the color of the fabric so that the edge stitching blends in rather than standing out. On other pieces in the future, perhaps I'll use a contrasting thread color depending on the look I want.
Taking Root
     To prevent the cloth on the edges from fraying in the future, I dipped a 1/4" flat brush in matte medium and ran it around the edges. 

close-up of one corner
     I've also made some small (5x7) collages and decided to mount these on 8x10 canvasses in order to make them look more like art than little craftsy things. To do that, I finished the edges first with stitching as I did on the larger pieces, put matte medium around the edge to prevent fraying, and fused them with Misty Fuse to canvases that I had wrapped in black linen. 

Little Transformation1
Little Transformation2
     On the back, I glued ecofelt with a label attached, hammered in upholstery tacks, applied hanging wire, and covered the ends of the wire with tape.

back of a collage
side view of a collage
It really does take a while for me to finish off the pieces, but it's worth it to give a more professional look to them.  And, I'm really loving several products for this... EcoFeltMisty Fuse, and Embroidery floss. I'm linking this to Off The Wall Friday where you can find other art quilt blogs. Please make comments on their posts so that they know you stopped by. Thanks for visiting.

Friday, November 3, 2017

What Do You Do To Keep Inspired?

     Do you ever feel like you need to search for inspiration? I have many things I do to keep inspired. I take notice of the things around me when I'm out and about, I read art books, I browse Pinterest images, I meet with artist friends, and I take the occasional class or workshop. If you have been reading my blog, then you know that I am presently enrolled in Jane Dunnewold's Art Cloth Mastery Program. As part of this, I've attended 4 weeks of classes in her studio in San Antonio studio and done lots of work at home. The latest session for me with her was last week. I've learned numerous new techniques there as well as doing color studies in paint and dye and honing composition skills.
at my work station applying soy wax paste to silk

     As part of the composition skills, I've gotten better at knowing how to layer images. She has been so generous in showing us her processes in creating beautiful pieces.
Jane showing us her process in creating part of her latest series
     The first day each session always involves each of us putting up our latest works for discussion. I do have a design wall at home, but not big enough to put up all of my latest at once. This was the first time I got to see all of mine from this class together.
What I've created so far in the class
     The theme for them has to do with changes and cycles. I'm hoping to have a total of 12 by the time I'm finished with this series. Not sure I can do it, but that's the plan.
detail of one showing stitching
detail of another one showing stitching
This session, one of the new techniques I learned and loved was lamination. She has a book that illustrates this process, but it was so useful to see it demonstrated in person and see numerous examples of it on finished works and on samples. I was so inspired by it that I can't wait to use it in my works and on clothes.

One of my lamination experiments
Another one of my lamination experiments
Spending every day for a week with students who are like-minded and also on the same journey is inspiration, too. Now that I'm home again, I have to settle down and get to work...lots of work. Our last session is in February and ends in an exhibit of our work. So, for now, my well is happily full. I'm linking this to Off The Wall Friday where you can find other art quilt blogs. Please make comments on the artists' posts so that they know you stopped by. Thanks for visiting.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Is Fiber Art A Good Fit For Art In Public Places

     It's common to see sculptures in parks and on street corners, but have you ever seen fiber art in those places? My town, DeLand, has just installed art onto electric boxes in our downtown and one of my pieces was chosen. They reproduced it onto vinyl and then shrink-wrapped it onto the electric box.
Me and my art.
It's in front of a beautiful mural.

Back side
They even did the top

Two by my friend, Bobbi Baugh
My friend, Bobbi Baugh, has several of the boxes covered with her fabric art, too. So, yes, fiber art can be installed outside into a semi-permanent place. These will remain until they are no longer attractive due to weather or other problems. What fun! I'm linking this to Off The Wall Friday where you can find other art quilt blogs. Please make comments on the artists' posts to let them know you stopped by. Thanks for visiting.

Friday, September 8, 2017

What Can You Get For You and Support Art?

     My piece is up for auction starting September 22. It's called "Across TIme". It all began as white fabric.

 Go to SAQA to see how the auction works.
I wish I could write more on this post, but I need to spend time getting ready for Hurricane Irma. I've cleaned up my studio and video taped its contents for the insurance company in case of bad things. And I'm rolling up all my art quilts and putting them inside the clothes dryer until the storm is over. My dye notebook is going in there, too. I can't imagine losing years worth of work and information. I may be without power for a week or more so you might not hear from me for a bit.  Hope everyone will be ok and suffer no or minimal damage. Good luck to all involved. I'm linking this to Off The Wall Friday where you can find other art quilt blogs. Please make comments on their posts to let them know you stopped by and thanks for visiting.