Sunday, September 14, 2014

Fun Foam Goes Retro!

I posted this today on my Art Journal blog but thought I would post it here as well. I am having trouble getting that one off the ground. So maybe if you like this you might head on over there and take a peek. :)     Art Journal Blog

So this isn't really from my art journal. But it could have been!

One day I was fooling around with my stamps getting ready for a week long workshop I was about to teach. Before a new workshop I always like to bring something new that I have created, even if it is a workshop I have taught many times.

I have had these stamps for a few years now. I made them out of Craft Foam or sometimes known as Fun Foam, but never really used them. I always thought they were kind of weird. When I made them I was trying to see if one could cut the foam with scissors in a kind of free form method. That part worked out just fine. But I never really liked them. Never even used them!

So I took them out when I was packing up. I had just packed my stamping sketch book, but I hauled it out of the box and grabbed a couple of Ancient Page stamp pads. I love what happened. Sometimes the best things come about when you aren't really taking yourself very seriously.

Anyway they look very retro to me. I can't wait to use them as a new fat quarter design!

 These are the stamps. They are so uninspiring, don't you think?
But now I love them!

The little blue grid stamp was actually one of my students. She was stamping blue ink to try it out and I saw that it was just the thing I needed! She very graciously let me use it!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Art Pillows

I have begun to offer pillows in my Etsy shop.

Because they are one of a kind and because they utilize my hand painted and dyed fabric, I am referring to them as art pillows. Just the thought of that makes me giggle.

Many/most of the pillows will be made from samples I have created for my classes. It is true that I could just keep them as samples so I wouldn't have to be always making new ones. But I hate dragging around the same samples from one year to the next. For my own excitement, I need to create new samples. An added bonus is that the process of making the samples reconnects me to the technique and helps me formulate the workshop in a new way.

I take pictures of the old samples so I can precent a slide show of samples on my ipad to my students, but the actual physical samples are new and exciting to me. Plus it keeps me pushing my mediums and helps me grow. So I thought making pillows out of the old samples would be a good use, rather then just keeping them in a box on my shelf.

Sometimes I add a bit of embellishment. Sometimes there might be a collection of a certain pattern or print, but they will remain one of a kind.

Here is one I have had for a while now. It is made with one of my batik samples. I had laid out several pieces of fabric to work on at the same time (this is a practice of creating I now do all the time). So I had enough fabric to cover both the front and the back of the pillow, as well as another piece of the batiked fabric I turned into a small and decorative wall hanging/art quilt.

This is the wall hanging. It measures 16" wide by 14" high.

Side view

Covered back with a saw tooth hanger

Pillow and wall hanging together.

I happen to love to sew and am passionate about craftsmanship! So putting in all those zippers is pure satisfaction for me! When self doubt is in the air and self confidence is low, at least I can be happy with the perfect zipper insertion!

This is all reminding me about a teacher I had in art school years ago. He practiced making drums when he was feeling artistically blocked. This way he was still making something that challenged his craftsmanship and the end result brought him a wonderful sense of accomplishment and pride. I haven't thought about him for years. But I guess his drums are my pillows. Although I am not feeling particularly blocked! LOL

Here's another pillow. I actually have several of these, but each one is a little different. The front fabric is silk broadcloth. It was part of a failed dye job - a reject! One day I discovered that I actually loved the back side and began working with it again. And because I already have pillows on the brain and the fabric seemed to be more decorative that my version of fine art, I sewed all the pieces into 4 different art pillows. The back fabric is commercially dyed, but one I thought off set the silk beautifully. The stamps are of my creation. Then to make the front and back be more cohesive, I added the touches of applique and discovered the blanket stitch on my domestic machine! Who knew!



Seam with zipper


Don't forget to click on the images for a larger and closer view.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Custom Napkins

Last week, through my Etsy shop, I had my first order for 6 of my hand painted fat quarters stitched into napkins. It has been fun and relaxing to make these up. I'm tickled pink with how they came out. I really love craftsmanship especially when it comes to sewing.

Here is the progression of how I painted and sewed them minus photos of the orange and yellow background being painted. I did that with Jacquard Dye-na-flow paints in yellow, bright orange and salmon applied with a spray bottle on wet white cotton.

(Don't forget to click on the image for a larger view)

I started stamping with Jacquard Lumiere Pearl Turquoise.

Then came red. I mixed Maroon and True Red together to get the shade of red I was looking for.
You can see the three stamps I used here in this photo. It is actually only two stamps.
I carved the same crow going in both directions, so I wouldn't have to keep cleaning the stamp.

My cat Julian is in the back supervising.

I usually have a dish pan on my work table with an inch or two of water.
I put used brayers and stamps in it to limit the number of times I have to walk upstairs
to my closest water supply. I have an old tooth brush in the water to gently clean
the stamps with.
I love how the addition of red really makes the piece pop.
Then black! This is one of the finished fat quarters. They are all a little bit different.

These are the napkins all nicely stitched and folded.

I folded over some of the ends here so you can see my mitered corners.

All wrapped up!
 One thing that gets clearer and clearer for me every time I work in the studio is what my relationship is with me as an artist making wall hung, fine fiber art and me as a craftsmen designing fabric and making home decor items. Two different esthetics that sometimes overlap, but generally do not. One for having fun and making money (hopefully!) and one to feed my soul that might also make money but doesn't have to.

Click here to see the sample on Etsy! It is painted on silk, so the result is a bit softer.

I am linking this post up with Off the Wall Friday hosted by Nina Marie Sayer. Head on over to see what some other artists have been up to this past week!

Friday, August 22, 2014

A Week in Review

So as always, it has taken me a couple of weeks to get settled from a week away teaching. Plus we moved my son back to college in a rental house with some friends.

One of the lovely things for me about being away for a week of teaching is that life feels like it stands still. I tend to not follow the news during those times, and in the evenings I have quiet time by myself. 

My classroom at the Fletcher Farm was wonderful. One evening after I returned from town and dinner I spent some time puttering around my classroom. Students are allowed to work in the studios after dinner, but this particular evening I was alone. 

So with the doors open and the night sky pouring through the windows and doorways I worked in my art journal. I cut a few new stamps, got out a stencil and created this page. Cell service was almost non existent as was the internet. So it was just me and the crickets.

I have done a bit more on this page since I have gotten home, but this was the beginning.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Fletcher Farm Art School

I am back in Ludlow, Vt teaching at the Fletcher Farm Art School. It is definitly starting to feel like home away from home. I have had trouble with my iPad and the internet so I haven't been able to post all week. The little building pictured below is my classroom. I just love it! The other fun thing is that the kids art camp is happening at the same time. With my own kids well on their way to adulthood, I don't get much of an opportunity to see little ones at play. I am pleased to see that jump rope has not gone out of style!

My students are wonderful. As it turns out they are all related. So the classroom dynamic can be very funny!

Today is their 4th day so they are starting to really use all their new tools and techniques. I'll post some of pictures of their work later today. Bye for now!





Sunday, July 20, 2014


So a good night's rest and a cup of strong latte this morning has made me clear headed again! I am at the Fletcher Farm Art School in Ludlow, Vt. It is a lovely place to teach. My stamping on fabric class is small so the students are moving at lightening speed! They cut and carved all day yesterday and briefly started painting. Today they can work at their leisure painting and making more stamps.







These classroom spaces are in a very large, old barn. The basket making class is next to ours. They have a large garage type door that opens up one whole side of their classroom. The road is only then yards away. I am fascinated with the view from my classroom door through the barn and across the street.



Breakfast and lunch are included with my lodging here at the farm. I didn't particularly care for yesterday's breakfast, so I headed into town this morning. Don't get me wrong, there wasn't anything wrong with the meal. I am just not much of an eggs and sauage kind of Gal.

At first it looked like Dunkin Donuts might be my only option. But then I discovered an adorable little coffee shop. I had the most srumptious sour cream coffee cake and my lattee. It was perfect! Plus I was totally charmed by the shop.


I'll be back here at the farm for my 5 day Textile Paint Extraviganza class in just a few short weeks.

Have a great day!