Sunday, September 13, 2009

Back in the Saddle! Chapter 3

Gracie has changed and started school in Elkton, and Sean survived and loved his first week of preschool! Yeah!! Time to get back to work!!

I've been procrastinating starting Chapter 3 - not enough time, not sure where to start, etc...

Last night I got inspired and started playing with a black and white cross image in Adobe Photoshop. I haven't used the program yet very much and, although I've bought 2 books about it, I'm still a beginner. I'm impressed with the results from some simple manipulation and less fearful of jumping in in the future. The corner right image is my original cross and the other views are simple changes playing with the software.

After playing in black and white, I decided to try one of the star pattern photos that I had found of photoplankton, and love the results of the treatments, especially the wave. I love the way the colors are manipulated and blended!! I can already envision printing some fabrics for use in other projects. I also like the idea of using the patterns in nature.

I am not a painter, although I am playing with that medium a bit, too, so I love seeing how the light and dark are manipulated and follow lighting patterns. I can definately use this in the future to help me see lighting variations.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Paper Cut Rubbings

I was looking at the paper cuts i did this morning and getting ready to do more when I remembered Sian saying something about rubbing one the pieces I had done in Foundation, so I grabbed some paper and rubbed the paper cuts and a piece of placemat I had thought of before. It really does give you a different perspective and depth, but might be more interesting if it had more layersand depths.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Kaleidoscope Collections Pictures

I had bought Kaleidoscope Kreator 3 because I loved some of the quilts I had seen where people used their own pictures to develop shading in kaleidoscope images, but I had not taken the time to play with it. I started playing with the program and then pulled up some of the pictures I had taken for the project and some hydrangeas that were in the complimentary colors I was considering. I chose star and cross shapes to go with the theme of the module and really like what developed. The close-ups of the hydrangeas shows texture and I like the mix of purple blue and the pale yellow. I was surprised by the garden picture and the cracked ground because of the interesting symmetry that develops from the trellis and the cracks. I like the program because you choose the shape of the cut and then a separate window shows a preview so you can adjust your picture in the cut-out and see the change simultaneously. Very fun!!

Paper Cuts

Again, between work, kids, house, prepping Gracie for County Fair, prepping for a show at Sutherlin Library, and the daily mini-drama at work, I feel like I'm not getting to play enough with this project. In the next couple of weeks, I'm hoping to be able to devote some serious forward movement. I had a great time playing with paper cuts! It reminds me of making snow flakes and playing with paperdollls as a kid. It also reminds me of how my grandmother showed me to cut patterns out in one sweep so that the remaining pattern paper was in one piece and not scraps all over the floor. I learned to like the challenge and it took the boredom out of cutting patterns when I was young. I like the geometric shapes and the negative space they leave behind.

Friday, August 7, 2009

More Stamp Prints

I did return to painting and stamping. After finding out how fragile the soft stamps are, I did carve a second slightly more sturdy stamp. This time I played with a gold-yellow color on my violet/purple papers for contrast. I had more fun with the stamping this time and made some wild variations. Once again, the stamp broke so I used both pieces. I think I may use the stamp to decorate a shirt.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Busy couple weeks but still working

It's an emotional summer this year, and, for about a week, I was afraid that I was slipping backward. When not directly working, I have been reading or sketching and trying to keep moving forward. I'm a little more sure of my footing now again and back to work.

A couple of weeks ago, I did try carving a stamp. I get caught up in decisions sometimes and felt that happening with my stamp choice. I kept being attracted to the photo of the garden mesh, but I wasn't sure about how to make a stamp of it. I've been wanting to carve stamps for a while. I remember carving wood in high school woodshop for block prints. I had bought some of the soft carve blocks from Dick Blick (great art supply source). I played with the mesh photo and found an angle I could use and gave it a try. The pads carve like butter! I finished and immediately tried the stamps on some of my painted papers. The stamps are fragile, though, and the next day, Sean broke the stamp quite easily. It can still be used and will but I have carved a second, slightly more stable stamp as well. I am so excited at how easy it is and now I want to try linoleum as well. I know, another project for the free time list. You know, like a wish list, it's a list of things I'd like to try if and when I end up with free time! I know, dream on!

So, back to business... tommorow morning, I'm going to finish painting and stamping with my new and improved stamp anf I may play with the broken one as well! Then, off to Jenny's wedding and more paper play on Sunday.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Life as Art

I did not get much accomplished last week. In anticipation of the holiday weekend, I was busy packing and cleaning. I have to laugh at how my perspective has changed since starting this program! Studying stars and crosses, I now see potential subjects everywhere. In Portland, Gracie asked me about a couple of cell phone towers and, as I'm looking, I realize there are some very interesting cross angles and backgrounds as we pass by. I've begun to see stars and crosses everywhere and potential for interesting studies. I feel like another part of my brain has been turned on that was somehow dormant. I like it!!
We're heading off to pick blueberries this morning at Haven Farms down the street, and then I will cut stamps and work on my papers!

Friday, June 26, 2009

More Painted Papers

I made one more attempt at the color wheel and it came out much better! I found a cerulean blue and it blended much better than the cobalt. I can also picture the blend better after reading about light absorption. I think it just helped me to view it from a different perspective, oh ... and refer back to Sian notes in the manual that said to use 2 blues, 2 reds and 2 yellows. So, "Virginia, yes, there is a Santa Claus", but apparently there are no "perfect" primary colors. I can accept the lack of perfection in man-made paint and move on.

So, next, cut a stamp based on a star or cross. I love the negative of the garden netting and I love the tree trunk, but maybe not for this next step. I have a couple of ideas from my sketches and will try carving some stamps tommorow. I think I might try potato stamps, too.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Negative Space

I love playing with picture negatives to get a different perspective on what I'm looking at. Here are some examples of my photos black and white and negative. I think my favorite is the garden wire. I love the variations of tone in the net itself and the background.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Color Wheel Challenge!

I have blended and worked with color wheels before but I haven't used gouache paints. I bought a set of 12 at Michaels that visually had good color range, but when I tried to blend they became a lesson in frustration. I have blended dyes before and the colors seem pure and vibrant and blend into pure and bright colors. Goache colors don't seem to blend as purely and I ended up with very dull and browned colors for the most part. I don't think it's just my lack of ability. I'm pretty sure it has to do with the shades and the quality of the paints themselves. After a few evenings attempting to perfect it, I decided that what I had was close enough for now. I am obviously not a master at goache! I have been reading "Color Works" and some other related books. I think I want to try a color wheel using the Tsukineko inks and then create it in fabric swatches. I'm very visual and I think that the fabric swatches would help me to see the values and variations better in the future. I love the idea Rain had of constructing a color journal. I can't imagine constructing anything as ellaborate as hers was, but I will work it as I go and let it develop through the process.

I spent a good part of Saturday painting papers with my Mom and Georgia. I have choosen violet and gold as my complimentary colors. I was interrupted quite a bit by my kids who were painting as well, but I came out with a few good sheets. I think I want a couple more with more richness of color. I'll try tommorow to paint a few more.

Mom and I went to the Textile Arts Institute in Eugene yesterday. It's a wonderful studio for surface design and textile creation! We are definately interested in future classes there. Sean had a blast working the foot controls on a spindle - and may be available for rent in the future (haha)! The best find was Michael Wilcox's book "Blue and Yellow do not make Green." I have just started reading and already I feel like the science of color and light absorption makes sense as to why some of my blends were too gray. I will go back to color blending and the color wheel later and I think this book will help!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Module 1 Stars In Your Eyes

Star Definitions:

"A celestial body that appears as a fixed point of light, gaseous luminous and of great mass."
"A planet or configuration of planets that is held in astrology to influence one's fortunes; destiny, fortune"
Often portraited as an astrisk *
"An actor or actress playing the leading role, a brilliant performer"

For me, my love for the stars began as a child. We stargazed and looked for Orion's belt or the little bear and became very familiar with the Big and Little Dippers. I looked to the stars for answers, inspiration and to reach out to those far away and gone from this Earth. I learned that five and multi-pointed stars occur throughout nature; starfish, phytoplankton, microcrystals, even snowflakes. Throughout religions the star is a symbol of faith or power. For me, stars express pattern and possibility. Many cultures have "seen" symbols formed of the stars, heros and gods. I've always loved looking at shapes and connections in the stars above and the infinite possiblilities.

Cross Definitions:
"Geometrical figure consisting of two lines perpendicular to each other, dividing one or two of the lines in half. The lines usually run horizontally and vertically; if they run diagonally it is technically termed a saltire."
"One of the most ancient human symbols and used in many religions."
"A hybridizing of unlike individuals or strains"
"contrary; opposed; marked by bad temper"
I have had many experiences at work with cross individuals and can usually handle them pretty well and diffuse the situation. I have also been at many crossroads in my life and had to make decisions as to which path to follow, including decisions which have lead me to Distant Stitch.
Sentimentally, one of my my favorite crosses was the pearl inlay cross that I fondly remember resting on my catholic grandmother's bedside table. It always seemed like such a magical and valuable treasure.
As you can see above, there are so many crosses and stars in nature and symbolism around us. There are cellular stars like the nine point microscopic star found in the cells of seaweed off the coast of Baha'i. There are snowflakes that form perfect geometric asterisks and stafish that are naturally 5 pointed and more. Crosses are frequent religious symbols, but also patterned in the cracks of the earth, the structure of plant growth, even bark formation on the trunk of some elm trees. It's amazing what you begin to notice when you are searching your surroundings for specific shapes!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Assemblage Continued

Well, I have now learned how to erase my unpublished blog by trying to delete one of the photos, and that was after waiting about 40 minutes for my photos to upload through dial-up! Thanks to the Blog Gods for the lesson!!

Back to the workshop:

Our first series of tasks led to my first sample of paper lace below. It is made from a combination of papers from my stash.

This sample was a jumping off point to opening the mind to other posibilities. I had a very difficult time relating paper to fabric as inspiration. It seems funny considering my years of patternmaking and relating fabric flow into paper, but this method confussed and blocked me. I was coming from a very literal and pictoral frame od mind and, with Sian's help, (thanks again!), had to loosen up and allow myself to go with the flow and see what developed. These are the progression samples and the final lace in the center.

I was surprised and thrilled with the final outcome. I was rushed to finish at the end of the day and, given time and more familiarity with my new machine, I would have done things a little differently, but I love it and the method to get there. This is the piece in the drying stage. I will mount it at some point and post a photo of the finished product.

We also played with dyeing paper and fabric using Potassium Permanganate. The color is a lovely brown ranging from rusty tones to an espresso depending on fabric and dyeing time. Below are two assemblage pieces that I created and discharged. The element in the window is a photo of my daughter on a swing. It was a wonderful workshop that I highly recommend, especially for the chance to work with Sian. Meeting her and learning from makes me even more excited about participating in the Certificate Program, and even more determined to take the Summer Program in the future!! It was also a wonderful crew to work with and great conversation!

Thanks again to you all and I hope that we meet and have a chance to play again in the near future!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Assemblage Workshop

I finally have some time this weekend to catch up on journaling! The Assemblage Workshop with Sian in Colorado was fantastic!! It opened my eyes in many ways and left me feeling unchained and excited to move forward with the module. The sessions began with a wonderful private tutorial with Sian. What a fabulous conversation! I shared my portfolio,(in pieces, as always), and discussed what I hope to gain and change in my work. Preparing the Foundation Module, I had a very hard time opening up and just following the path without knowing where it was leading. I was tripping over decisions and little perfections along the way instead of just trying what was being asked of me. I see now that I have the freedom to play, enjoy and then create my own vision from the spirit of the lessons given. Thanks for that! The workshop covered three basic concepts:

Lace - fragments stitched together
Seam Merging - pieces patched together side by side
Laminating or Collage - pieces layered on top

All three were new methods that I had not tried before that evolved into our own creations. We played with different stabilizers and dye methods and used paper as well as fabric. It was a process through which Sian and all 5 classmates contributed and shared their expertise, knowledge of materials, and resources. Our wonderful host, Rain, shared her fabulous studio spaces and excellent snacks and meals!

I will try to upload some images from the workshop. I left Colorado with a wealth of knowledge and inspiration that has been urging me forward even through the doldrums of work the last couple of weeks. I have done module work at lunch and after the kids have gone to sleep. I am so very glad I took this opportunity and wholeheartedly recommend it to you!!
I should have a photo of Sian Martin at the top showing a laminating example, and next a photo of our wonderful host Rain Klepper. Thanks much to both of you!! I will add another entry with some of my sample pieces later.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Distant Stitch Module 1

I graciously blame this endeavour on the incredible women in my life who have always led me to stretch and strengthen myself through the arts -
My mother and grandmothers taught me, as I teach my daughter, that to create art with your own hands stimulates the mind and infuses part of your soul into your creation.
I was fortunate to have time with each growing up and learn to enjoy crochet, embroidery, cut- work, hand and machine sewing. It has led me down an awesome path from sewing school wardrobes, to pattern making and fashion design in Los Angeles and Hollywood. Moving to Oregon led me to another awesome woman, my good friend, Georgia French. She helped steer me toward art quilting, fabric dyeing and manipulation, and even more incredible women who make up the group Fyber Cafe. And now, Georgia has helped lead me here to Distant Stitch.
My goal is to use all the elements in my technical repertoire while freeing my mind to new creations.
A great many thanks and lots of love to all the women who have touched and influenced my life to date - and there are many of you! All fear of failure aside and full steam ahead on a new journey!