Friday, December 23, 2016

Do You Have Favorite Christmas Decorations?

     Do you like modern or old fashioned holiday decorations? Store-bought fashionable ones or home-made ones? Each year, the joy I get when I decorate the house and when sit among the old cards I've kept is the memories that go along with the decorations rather than the style of them or the shape they are in. Each year, I keep my favorite cards and either cut them up to make something out of them for future years, or just to exhibit them as they are. I have some with signatures from friends and relatives who have since passed away and those are extremely special.
Here is the piano in our living room this Christmas.
The Happy Mix
     The cards on the top level are hand-made by a friend and were received in consecutive years. The little ornament in the center at the top level was made by my mother-in-law (who has since passed away). I made the little art quilts on the twig easels, another friend made the mixed media piece in lower center. But my favorite ornament there is in Tara's hand on the top left. It's a little smashed up... We found it in a ditch in Chile a few years ago covered in mud on a rainy day. We cleaned up as best we could and it reminds us of that wonderful trip we had in Patagonia and we let Tara hold it each Christmas season.     Most of the ornaments on our tree are gifts from other people and as I hang them up, I remember the person who gave them to us and the party we attended where they were given or the approximate year in which we received them. I have a porcelain bell with my name on it that was made for my mother when I was born that I hang on the tree, and I also hang a white bell that sat on our wedding cake in 1986.  I like to think that my house is well decorated, but at Christmas, it is a mish-mash and nothing really matches. But the theme is memories. And it's a wonderful life. Thank you, Lord, for that.
     I'm wishing you all a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, and Season's Greetings. And I'm linking this Off The Wall Friday there you can find other art quilt blogs. Please make comments on their posts to let them know you stopped by and thanks for visiting.

Friday, December 9, 2016

How Do You Work With Color?

     Do you have specific ways to work with choosing colors? I get an idea for a color scheme in my head, but it is just a general idea to start with. When I used commercial fabrics, I just held them next to each other to see what looked right. Now that I'm dyeing my background fabrics, I need to be more precise in choosing the paint colors to choose for adding layers with stencils, thermofax, and other tools. So this is the way I'm working for now.
     I pin my background on the design wall and use something with the hue I like and then try to mix the paint close to that color. My background is a chromatic gray, which means it isn't a neutral gray. It has hues of other colors showing up in it. I want to use rust colors to print on top here an there and perhaps some other colors later on. I have several leaves I brought home from my trip to Chicago several weeks ago so I pinned one of those leaves on top to use as a reference color.
background with leaf pinned to it
     I got out my textile paints and mixed up various rust hues and painted their samples onto white muslin. I wrote down the approximate proportions of the paints I used for each sample so that I could come close to reproducing each one if I wanted.
sample hues of rusts
     I liked the fifth one so I mixed white with it and that's the last one on the right. That way I can see its true qualities. When you mix white with the color, its true character is revealed. It's actually a lot more pink than I expected. I thought it would be a lot more orange. But I still like the original. I also printed each of the samples onto a swatch of the gray background fabric so I could see what it would look like. (I always dye extra fabric to experiment with.)
thermofax prints of each hue
And then I put the swatches onto the main background on the design wall and stand back to see how each one looks. Sometimes it's a surprise to see how it looks when it is sitting vertically on the wall. Another important step is to add paint extender to thin it out and print it on the background fabric to see how it looks when it is more transparent.
one hue printed more and more transparently
All of these steps help me decide which hue and how much extender to add to get the effect I want for the imagery I have in my head.
     As you can see, I am mostly not an intuitive worker. I guess that comes from my science background. I like to experiment. But, perhaps, as I do these types of trials more often, I'll know what to expect and can skip these steps in the future. Because, I'm mostly new to adding layers of images with printing onto dyed fabric. So, for now, I do several experiments before mixing my final colors and printing away. 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. Thanks for visiting.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Do You Have A Regular Art Routine?

     Do you get into your studio or your work space on a regular basis? I didn't used to. I would go into my studio on some days, but not on others. I would get so involved in everyday chores and social activities sometimes that several days would pass before I realized I hadn't done any art. Then I would immerse myself in my studio all day other times and create and create. Well, one of my homework assignments for my Art Cloth Mastery Class is to have a Daily Art Practice. It can be anything I find valuable.
     At first, I thought I would combine it with exercise to keep fit at the same time. I would go for a walk or ride my bike every day and on the walk or bike ride, I would stop and do a five-minute sketch of something close up. That would get me to notice things and patterns and keep improving my drawing skills. I decided to do the drawings on used envelopes I got in the mail so that I wouldn't waste any paper. But after a couple of weeks of doing that, I decided the sketches weren't really helping me with the series I was working on so I changed my plan.
     I collected some small pieces of dyed fabrics that didn't work out and some jars of fabric paint I had mixed up in colors that I wasn't using anymore and start a daily practice of mark-making. Each day I would choose or make a tool of some sort and start making marks on the fabric. I would make a set of marks one way and then change it up a little. Since I usually found I didn't like the first few sets of marks, I continued mark making and realized I needed to make about 8- 10 different sets before I would hit on something interesting to me.
     Right now, I just have a collection of swatches of these pieces of fabrics with marks. Eventually, I'll put them into a book somehow to store them. I'm hoping that in the future, when I'm creating art, I can flip through the book or booklet and look at the marks to find just what I need for extra texture or inspiration.
     Here is a sample of some of them:
Marks made with same tool

Top six made with one tool
Bottom two made with different tool

     So far, I'm just experimenting with printing on fabric for mark-making. In the future, I'll also experiment with other methods.
     But I'm finding that once I get going with this, and I'm geared up in the studio with my apron on and tools out I keep working in there and I get some art created everyday. This daily art practice is valuable homework assignment not just for where it, itself might lead, but mostly for just getting me in there and working. 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.