Friday, October 14, 2016

Can You Bear To Experiment With One-of-a Kind Fabrics?

     Have you ever had special fabrics that you were afraid to cut up or paint onto or add other surface designs and possibly ruin them? Well, I dyed several fabrics to prepare for my next session in my Art Cloth Mastery Class with Jane Dunewold. The supply list for this session said to bring 6-8 pieces of at least 1/2 yard pieces of hand-dyed fabrics that didn't work out and maybe some you even liked. We are going to be over-dyeing and discharging among other things this session. Since, I haven't been a fabric dyer, I didn't have any pieces of dyed fabric just laying around so I had to freshly dye all mine.
     As it turned out, I ended up liking all but one. I kept notes on how I made each piece and was surprised that I got different colors from the same mixed dye in the same jar of chemical water simply by how I poured it on the scrumbled cloth. I'll have to experiment with that some more in the future. Here are my fabrics that will be sacrificed next week with further experiments in Jane's studio in Texas.
cotton fabrics hanging on my design wall
I applied various manipulations to them so that I would have a variety of things to look at and consider when I discharge and over dye. And I used both pure dyes and mixed dyes to see how they would react when over dyed and discharged. We also have to take 5 yards of white fabric to dye and over dye. I think my dye notebook is going to get a lot thicker by the end of the seven days. 
     Looking at those lovely fabrics, I want to cut them and sew them together and make them into a scarf and boro stitch it, or make them into a cover for my iPad or a purse. I hate to change the actual fabrics. But, alas, their fate is going to be for research and that is that.  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.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

What Kind Of Art Do You Buy?

     Since this is mostly an art quilt blog and most of my readers are probably interested in art quilts, do most of you buy art quilts? Or do you also buy other kinds of art? Do buy art from local artists or artists who live far from you? Must you see the art in person or do you buy your art on-line? Or do you only have your own art hanging in your home?
     I once attended a lecture about how to sell my art and the first question from the lecturer was "How many of you own art from an artist other than yourself?" Only a few of us in the audience raised our hands. And, in my case, most of the art hanging in my home was indeed my own.
     That got me to thinking about why. Part of the reason was space. I create art quilts and need a place to put them. Another reason is cost. Good quality art quilts are expensive. And again space. The art quilts by other artists I like are huge. And my walls just won't fit them. I travel a lot and my walls are taken up with art like masks and shelves with sculptures from my trips.
     Later on, I attended another art lecture. But this one focused on how to collect art. The two main points were to buy art either that you like or that would be a good financial investment or both. For me, I doubt that I would ever try to resell my things to make money so I buy art that I like and don't pay attention to whether or not it's a good financial investment.
     Two weeks ago, I made a new art purchase from a trip to Devon and Cornwall in Great Britain. My husband and I rented a car and drove around without any real definite plans. There were only a few places I wanted to visit for sure. One of them was to visit St. Ives to meet Carolyn Saxby who was having her art in an exhibit during the time I was there and to buy a piece of her artwork. I've followed her blog for some time and the photos she posts of the area helped inspire my trip.
The mixed media piece by Carolyn on my studio shelf
I bought a beautiful mixed media piece that reminds me of my beach walks in Cornwall. It has all the right colors and I love the textures. I've seen her art online, but waited to buy any until I could see it in person. And, to top it off,  she's a sweetheart of a person.
     Another place I wanted to visit was the Jurassic Coast to collect fossils, which I consider artwork from Mother Nature. I booked a guided walk at Charmouth before we left home, which was marvelous and we collected fossils on our own a second day, too. You are allowed to bring home whatever you find, no matter how large or valuable. 
I wanted to bring home this heavy rock full of ammonites, but due to baggage allowance, there was no way we could.
I love this fossil-laden rock!
Here's some of what we brought home. 
My artwork of fossils and rocks
     Mostly they are ammonites and belemnites that are about 200 million years old. In the photo, the large, angled rock with the ammonites is one that I purchased there. I collected all those rocks on this trip on the beaches there and consider those works of art, too. You can see some smaller ammonites that we found and the bullet-shaped looking rocks are the belemnites which are the remnants of small squid-like creatures.  
Another rock that was too heavy to bring home
I thought long and hard about how to bring home that gorgeous rock! There must have been a way. But alas... no.  I couldn't even dig it out of the sand. Let alone pick it up.
     I like to buy art in person as opposed to on-line, although I often look at art online and have thought about buying it there. I think buying art quilts online requires some effort from both the buyer and the artist that is different than it would be than buying other types of art. Since there is stitching involved, the photography must be able to show the nuances of the stitch. There should be detail shots of the artwork to do that. I, as a buyer, might contact the artist and ask for other detail shots of certain parts of the quilt to see it better since I can't see it in person. Many of the quilt artists that I follow have excellent detail shots on their websites already so you know what you are buying, but some don't, so you would have to ask. 
     For a time, I was actually shopping on-line for some art quilts to fill a space and I browsed several sites: firstly, my favorite artists' websites, then Artful Home, SAQA, and Pinterest. Now there are even more. You can shop for art quilts on Invaluable and (fine art/fiber). I eventually decided to fill that space with something else, but the resources are there.
     And I occasionally sell some of my quilts. Most of them get sold online through SAQA. One recently sold to a client who saw it online through SAQA several years ago, then contacted me a few weeks ago and asked for a discount. I agreed and we both were happy.
Beach Fence - SOLD

So it is always a good thing to communicate with the artist. It may be the start of your art collection. 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. I hope that this post links up OK. I've scheduled it ahead of time, but may not be able to check and hook up to Nina's place, since we are due to be hit by Hurricane Matthew on Friday and may not have power. So if you don't see me on Nina's list, then I'm off the grid and may be for a while. Last time this happened, people in our area were out of power for two weeks. Fingers crossed... 
Addendum: We made it through Matthew with no damage to the house. We lost power during the night and got it back on Saturday afternoon. Lucky us. We have a large tree uprooted and hanging over the driveway that we will have to have removed and lots and lots of debris to clean up. Our town has lots of damage and many are out of power and the outlook for them is 5-9 days. We are so glad Matthew took a jog to the east and wasn't as bad as it was forecast. Well, on to the clean up.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Interested in Owning New Art?

     Do you have some small space on a wall crying out for some inspiration for you to admire each day? SAQA is having an art auction of 12 x 12 art quilts this months. You can pick up one or two from your favorite artists or one that is new to you. Here is how the on-line auction works and the dates of the auction so you don't miss out. I have a quilt in too, and mine is in section 2, in which the bidding begins September 26.
My auction quilt, Continuity III

The artist statement is: Wildflowers are a sight to see when they are in masses in fields and on the sides of the road. But they are in peril for several reasons. One of those is the disappearance of the honeybee. The flower and the bee depend upon each other. Will the flowers and the bees continue or will the cycle be broken and these shapes remain only in our imaginations?

The other auction quilts come in all styles and colors.  Here are some of my favorites:

     If you want to view all of them, you can take a look here.  So, if you are interested, don't hesitate. The artworks, usually go fast. And, it's for a good cause. SAQA is a wonderful organization. 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.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Do You Ever See Art Quilts Honored On Television?

     There are lots of television shows that honor paintings and sculpture, but it is rare to see art quilts even mentioned, so it was a delight when I was watching the Sunday Morning Show on CBS September 4 when they featured quilt artist Susan Madden as an artist in residence in Mesa Verde National Park. Video and Article If the video doesn't play for you, you can try to scroll down to find the link on its page and click on it. Some times it played for me and sometimes it didn't. At the end of the vignettes on The Sunday Morning Show, they always show a sun created by an artist. I sent them an image of a quilted sun I made several years ago and they showed mine several times. It was a thrill to see it on National TV.
zendoodled sun
     It is for sale on my website. It is one of my early quilts that I did when I taught a workshop on how to to do zendoodling and painting on fabric for my art group. It would be a nice artwork to hang in a child's bedroom. And it led to me writing an article for Quilting Arts Magazine in their June/July 2012 Issue. It's nice to see that art quilts are expanding off the pages of magazines and onto the screens of television. I'm linking this to Off The Wall Friday where you can find other art quilt blogs. Please leave a comment on their posts so that the artists know you stopped by. Thanks for visiting.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

How Do You Help Your Series Along?

     When working on your series, do you ever need a push? I'm working on my fourth piece in my series for my homework in my Master Art Cloth Class due in October. One of the nicest things is that they don't have to be finished. I dyed the backgrounds and added layers on top with fabric paint with thermofax prints and stencils. We are going to critique them together and then can work on them more. They each had strict requirements, however. The first one I did had to be monochromatic. I chose blue-green and I could choose up to 4 colors in that hue. The second one I did was complimentary. I chose blue-green and red orange. The third one was analogous. Again, I stuck to blue-green, green, and blue. And for my last one, it is a value study in blue-green. I decided to stay with the same color family for all four so that I could have fewer variables to deal with and focus on design as I moved from one to the other.
     The theme for all of mine was "Cycles". I used the same design elements in each, varying the values of them to see how that affected their importance in each piece. Also, I changed how often I included some of the elements in each piece. I don't feel that I can show you any of the works at this time. Maybe when I come back from the class in October. Making a map was the last assignment in the creative summer camp I've been involved in. I'll miss it. It has been so valuable. For my map, I decided to make a mind map I made last night to help me along in designing the fourth assignment for the Art Mastery Class.
Mind map in my sketch book
     The large leaf is a thermofax print I'm using on all of the pieces. The spirals are stencils that I'm also using on all of the pieces. The topographic diagram I drew in the sketchbook is an image that I created and am using in various forms on three of the pieces to represent eddies. It was very difficult to get onto fabric in large sizes. Too large for a thermofax screen. In the end, the only way I could think of applying those thin lines, was with freezer paper stencils ironed onto the fabric piece by piece. So tedious, but it worked. I plan on hand stitching a running stitch at the end inside the topographic diagrams.  
     This mind map actually led me to new designs in my head for further work in the series. And a new color palette. So in pushing a series along, a mind map is the way to go for me, using a combination of words and imagery. 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.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Do You Have An Art Skill That You Shy Away From?

Is there an art activity that you feel that you just aren't good at? I always feel like I balk when it comes to making collages. I may start with an idea or start with a good color palette, but when it's finished, it never looks like a good composition. And when I look at other artists' collages, they always look so together. I study theirs vs mine to try to learn, but still haven't mastered the tricks.
My summer camp creative assignment this week was "Paint the News". Basically to take the newspaper and paint over it, then cut it up, and make a collage. When I saw that the basic assignment was to make a collage, I had two thoughts: One was "Oh no. I'm not good at this." The other thought was. "Oh good. I can try again. And at least there are directions for a starting point."
So I decided to use my favorite colors of blue greens. I painted over a newspaper page, a cut up some pages from a magazine. I really disliked my first attempt and threw it away. The next day, I decided to try again.
attempt #2
I liked this one better, but it still wasn't good enough, so I threw it away, also and I decided that wouldn't participate in this week's activity. The collages that the other artists were sharing online were very impressive, and I was too embarrassed by my attempts to share mine.
Then, one of the artists wrote by hers that she "let the chaos happen." That phrase really hit home with me. So I took my last attempt out of the trash and cut it up and rearranged it.

Balance The News

My response was to counteract the news of violence, stories of bigotry, and people ignoring facts. So I painted over the words on the paper almost completely. For symbolism, I added pages from a crossword puzzle book that could be filled in with more upbeat words. I used cool colors wishing everyone would just calm down and step back to think before they speak and act. And I incorporated one of my favorite themes.
Maybe I am getting the hang of collage. Let the chaos happen. I like that. 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, August 6, 2016

Do You Have Tricks For Choosing Colors?

     When you are creating artwork, are you picky about the colors you choose? Do they have to be exactly the right hue? For me, they didn't used to have to be. But now, I have a homework assignment that requires me to work in one color family with only 3-4 hues. And another assignment with complimentary colors. So I'm being very choosy with my colors right now. I'm sure there are many ways to go about it, but I've come up with a way that is working for me.
     I go to one of the big box home improvement stores and pick up paint chips in the color family I want. I hold them up to my background fabric and choose the few that look the best with it. Then I get out my fabric paints and mix up the colors to match the paint chips. I mix them up on an acrylic palette and paint out a square on a piece of white cotton muslin. I also take that original color and add white and paint out a square of that on the muslin, too. I label the muslin with a number for the color like "2A".  The one with white added gets labeled "2B.  I sew the muslin pieces onto card stock and write the recipe for making the color on the card stock so that I can make it again.
Painted muslin pieces
For colors E and F above, I forgot to make their white counterparts. This way, I can remove the card stock from my notebook and hold it up or pin it to a background on my design board and stand back and see how it looks.
     Another trick I've been using is adding colorless extender to my textile paint to get a more transparent look in places when using stencils and thermofaxes. I try it out in different dilutions and keep a record in my notebook, too.
A thermofax print tested with a 1:4 dilution
Here are some prints on my art cloth at two different dilutions.
Two leaf prints at two different dilutions
By the way, the leaves are very special to me. My mother picked the leaves for me about ten years ago when she was still alive and living up in Chicago. I asked her to send me some autumn leaves. A few weeks ago, I needed to make a thermofax of leaves. Since I'm in the way of using what you have, I went through my things and found the bag of leaves she had sent.
     Last night, I needed an image of a leaf in decay so I mixed up paint, got out my gelli plate, and printed away to get an image for a new thermofax screen.
my printing table in full gear
     I ended up using one of the negative prints and inverting the black and white to get a good image to send off for my  thermofax. So, now that I have structured assignments, I'm developing structured ways of looking at color and I'm finding it actually more liberating.
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 the artists know you stopped by. Thanks for visiting.