Sunday, July 20, 2014

Refreshed

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!

 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Fletcher Farm Art School

I am in Ludlow, Vt right now teaching stamp making for textiles. It is a great place and a great class. But I just can't get my photos to import to mt iPad. So I give up!

I am so tired. So off I go to bed.

I'll post tomorrow after I get home. Hope you are all having agreat weekend. It is simply gorgeous here in Southern New England.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

I have been really busy updating my web site and straightening things out in my Etsy shop as well as taking photos of new product. I am going to be really busy the next couple of weeks working at my day job and teaching, so I thought I might actually plan ahead for once. All to say that I don't have much to report here.

I did post a new blog entry on my Art Journal blog which I am pleased with, so you might want to head on over there by clicking here.

Here's a peek at the entry.
Also, in the spirit of outdoor festivals and sidewalk sales in town, I decided to have my own blow-out summer sale at my Etsy shop. Here are a few item to show you. Click on the image for a larger view or to access it in my shop.






I'll be adding new items every day. So stay tuned. Click here to see what I have posted on sale so far.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Pears on Parade

After my insistence with myself to give even my creative brain a break during my week by the sea, I came back into the studio excited, rejuvenated and most importantly - I do not have the foreboding feeling of being constantly overwhelmed.

So this is what I am working on. It started out as a way to use up some old soy wax batik fabric samples for a workshop I was doing. I wanted to show students what could be done with a reject piece of hand painted fabric. I tried to do a fabric collage on some commercial "hand woven" purple fabric I had on my shelves. Because this is not the way I usually work, so it came to a screeching halt just before vacation.

I decided to use my pear stencil. I had just cut it with my new Cameo Silouhette die cut machine.

I decided to continue to experiment with free motion quilting as it is still relatively new for me. I am using it as way of making sewn marks. A lot of fiber artists have been using the term"mark making" a lot lately. I think it's great! The term has been around a long time. Even in my days at the Museum School in Boston 35 years ago it was being used.

And because, at the root of all that I make is me the painter, I have also begun experimenting with using Golden Fluid Acrylics and Golden Textile Medium on the stitched fabric.

Click on the images for a larger view.

This is the full piece.
The bottom half is what I started stitching and painting on.
Click on the image for a larger view.
The rest are details of the bottom half in process.








That's it for now.
If you would like to see my latest art journal entry click here.

I've linked this post up with Nina-Marie Sayre's Off the Wall Friday where you can see what other fiber artists are up too.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Last Day in Maine

Okay. So here I am in Maine - my last day before heading home to my beloved Masaachusetts. The sun is shinning gloriously, the air is cool and filled with the scents of ocean roses and sea salt.

This morning, as I was still lying in bed I wondered - if I were a realist painter how I would paint the fire in the ocean that was the reflection of the rising sun? I felt grateful that I am indeed not a realist painter and could simply lie back and marvel at the visual mysterious of this earth.

Several days ago I finished reading the book "The Sparrow" by Mary Dorian Russell. I have to take back all that I said. It is so worth reading. It has taken me awhile to digest it all - taken me a while to figure out why I was actually grateful to finish it. I read the interview with the author an d that helped a lot. It is an important book. Here is a quote from Entertainment Weekly - "Smooth storytelling and gorgeous characterization...Important novels leave deep cracks in our beliefs, our prejudices, and our blinders. The Sparrow is one of them."

I have learnt this week that I can make great progress on a project when I bring just one. I hope to continue in some way this practice when I am in the studio. Many people are constantly starting new projects because there is a certain thrill in starting something new as opposed to the druggery of trying to bring something to fruition. It is not unlike the thrill of a new relationship, as opposed to the supposed boredom of everyday life. For me the problem is too many ideas, along with the varied and different deadlines that face me on a given day. I realize now after this simple week that my practice of keeping all the projects I am working on out on tables or hanging on my design board while I work on one, may be overwelming me. If I had a large enough studio to keep them all in working mode it might work, or even if I had the room for 2 different design boards. But given the studio I have now I find that I am constantly moving things around to make room for the current, most relevant project. Wih every move and new pile of things I make I find that their state of incompletion ways heavy on me. I know what I have to do and what I want to do, I just don't have the time.

I think that when I return to my studio next week, I will try leaving out only the project I currently have to face for a deadline and a second project I can contemplate. Everything else gets put away or not even started. Jotting done ideas and sketches will be allowed. And of course my 15 minutes a day in my art journal.

This is the current state of my Gustov Klimt needle point kit. Maya Angelou is half read.

And the ocean is calling out to me for a final walk by the water's edge.

 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Mid-week

My vacation is coming along nicely. It has become progressively easier and easier for me to relax. I finished the book "The Sparrow" and have moved on to "I know Why the caged bird Sings." The characters from "The Sparrow" still haunt me, but all in all I am not so sure I liked it. I am not even up for talking/writing about it.
I am turning to Maya Angelou's book because even though I have read all of her poetry books, I have not read any of her autobiographical works. Her recent death saddened me greatly. So it is a kind of personal homage to her that I read this book now. Her voice echoes in my head. Her rich tones and careful, slow selection of words that punctuate the air.
Tonight the setting sun cast a beautiful, long grey, pink cast to the sea. It's beauty was subtle and almost meloncholy.
I always thought I would live out the end of my days by the sea, but my husband has turned me into a woods woman of sorts. It makes me giggle a little that after 20 years I still don't know the names of the trees, but I can tell you the shape of their leaves, the color and texture of their bark and the many shades of green they turn from early spring to deep into late fall. I can point out to you which are healthy, as well as those that perhaps do not have many years left. In just several days I will return to the woods, my busy life, the studio and the glorious acts of creativity I hope to accomplish.

Sunset
The Sea
This one is my favorite
I have been thinking a lot again about the differences between these three words: artist, crafter, designer
Any thoughts?

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Vacation

My family is now all settled in for the week on the coast of Maine. Every year we rent the same cottage. Every year I wonder which of my growing boys will not be able to make it next year and thus will relish every minute I have with them. This year even the eldest son, who happens to live and work in this area, took the week off from work.

Yesterday, I worked right up to the last possible moment and threw together a few things when the kids were practically already in the car.

I actually take very little these days - a few clothes, a camera for family snapshots, the book I am in the progcess of reading and a needlepoint kit. Some people thing it strange that I would work on a kit. But the goal here is to rest my brain as well as my body. So I don't sketch, draw out plans for the next big project or even take artful photographs. When I was little my Dad used to say that I had an idea a minute. A slight exageration but not really too far from the truth. My brain always seems to be in over drive. So this is almost a form of meditation really.

When we arrived and as soon as I got out of the car, I saw an interesting flowering plant. The leaves were so much tinier then the flowers. It was an interesting design concept. So I started an immediate and almost uncontrollable train of thoughts that I would come back later to draw it. When I remembered that I did not bring any drawing tools with me, so I thought I would come back with my camera. But I am not going to do that either. This is supposed to be a time to visually live in the present. To simply experience what I see.

I believe strongly that as a visual artist there comes a time when I need to replenish my internal, visual bank. I can' t really do that well if I am always interpreting and reinterpreting what I see, the moment after I have seen it. I also see this as a time of mental and verbal reflection.

Working on a needlepoint kit keeps my hands doing what they need to do, but my brain is not trying to figure out if what they are making has value or if it has a design flaw. It occurs to me that perhaps if my style of creating art was to completely design something before making it, I might not need this time. But my method of creating is fluid and has a tendency to evolve as a work.

Plus I happen to really enjoy needlepoint and love the end results! Something about the texture and simmetry of the stitches appeals to me. This kit is a take off on a Gustov Klimt painting. Here's photo. I'll get closer later after I have more finished.


This is the view from the couch in the living room of the cottage we rent.

Oh, and the book I am reading is The Sparrow by Mary Dorian Russell. It has an interesting story line, hitting on many interesting ethical questions, Although it doesn't really address any of them and there isn't much to say about the actual writing - how the words are put together. It I isn't lyrical. But I am totally drawn to the characters.

More later...

 

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Something New

Just a little something I am working on. Not an art piece, but perhaps a lap quilt. The brain is percolating!





The light colored green fabric is silk broadcloth that I hand dyed. It was pretty ugly so I stamped on it with green oval shapes and made it even uglier! After throwing it across the table in disgust I noticed the back side and how lovely it was!

So I did some more stamping in the dark maroon color. Then I stamped on the solid green "home spun". Now I am collaging the 2 together. At first I thought pillow covers. But now, think about what I was saying at the end of my bog the other day, I think a lap quilt will be lovely. I just need to figure out what the sashing will be. Hmmmm...

Monday, June 2, 2014

Shiva PaintStiks Surprise!

I have been working on a rayon jacket for a custom order. I had already dyed the fabric a couple of years ago. My client really liked the fabric, but we both thought it needed a bit of embellishment. So I cut out the individual pattern pieces for the jacket and set to work using some iridescent Profab paint from Pro Chemical and Dye Co. and some Shiva Paintstiks

I started out using a simple stamp of a square that I made with craft foam using Probrite paint in Old Rose.


Then I decided that the cloth really needed some texture. So I used a piece of this textured cloth that I
purchased a while back for just this purpose. I bought it in a large fabric store called Osgood's Textile that is located in Springfield, MA. I don't know what its intended purpose is, but it works great as a rubbing plate. 

You can see it on the left of this photo. It has a kind of honey-comb design. I used the silver and pewter iridescent Shiva Paintstiks with the honey-comb stuff under the fabric and rubbed with the Paintstiks ontop. I moved the honey-comb stuff around so the design wouldn't have a regular pattern. This helps the viewer's eye travel around the piece without getting stuck on a rigid grid pattern.







I rubbed the paintstiks right over the painted squares. But even after all of that, I felt that the fabric still needed a bit more of something that would pop. So I used my square stencil and worked with the iridescent dark blue Paintstik right over the painted Old Rose colored squares. I thought it would simply cover over the silver and pewter paintstiks I had previously applied, along with the Old Rose paint, but much to my surprise and delight the honey-comb pattern did not cover. It actually became even brighter! Only the paint covered.









I am sure it had something to do with the fact that I waited a couple of days for the initial honey-comb rubbing to set before adding the blue, but in any case, I am always thrilled when an old tool becomes new again!

I can imagine so many possibilities for this discovery. Especially since I have recently acquired a Cameo Silhouette stencil cutting machine because of a new obsession I have with layering stencils.

But more about that later! For now, I had better get back to work sewing this jacket together!

If you'd like to see my latest Art Journal entry click here.

My next couple of teaching gigs will be:

Textile Paint Extravaganza - Monday June 30 - Friday July 4 at the Fletcher Farm School for Arts and Crafts in Ludlow, VT
Batik Basics with Soy Wax and Textile Paints - Saturday July 12 and Sunday July 13 at A Notion to Quilt in Shelburne, MA

Monday, May 26, 2014

Considering Options

I spent the weekend at the 
I am scheduled to teach several workshops there this summer.

So get this,
the entire state of Vermont had open studios complete
with brochures and maps of all studios participating through-out VT!
Wow is all I can say.

At any rate, at the Fletcher Farm School
they had instructors set up to be working or demoing in their main barn.

I had a lovely time. 
People signed up for my workshops (yeah!),
and I created several samples that I am very pleased with.
I was trying to work out designs that would appeal to a broad range of tastes.
I wasn't trying to create fabric for my own work.
It was fun, relaxing and Ludlow, VT is only about one hour and 20 minutes from my home.
So the commute was easy.
I spent the time in the car thinking about the additions I need to make to my latest book proposal.
So even the driving time was productive.

These are the 4 samples I painted.
Don't forget to click on them for a larger view.

good for quilters
love my crows
people are always attracted to pears in art
the back side of pears - just as lovely
I wasn't sure about this one. It is just so far from my own imagery.
But it did seem to have a broad appeal.
I am always trying to think up products that will sell on my Etsy shop.
I thought for awhile that I would make some hand-dyed, silk lap quilts.
But the quilting over powered the silk and made it looked like something from Target.
So I axed that idea.
This quilt here is one I made for my book.
It measures 50" x 70" and has 6 panels on the front that are similar to this one.
humming birds

It never made it into the book, but I take it around with me when I teach and demo.
People really love it.
So I am thinking that perhaps I should be doing more like this one.
Not the same imagery, but the same layout and design.
I left the samples above with the Fletcher Farm people to have on display.
But they are giving me ideas.

Some would say that I should just be making my own art,
and stop doing all this other stuff.

But I am having success with the hand dyed silks on Etsy.
(You can see them by clicking here.)

So perhaps I would have success with these as well.
I am intrigued on a design level.
I feel that I have to follow through on it, 
so I spent some time today calculating out what my materials costs would be.
It seems very doable.

I think I may put the humming bird one up on Etsy and see what happens.
I'll just need to take a few photos.

If you would like to see my latest Art Journal page click here