Friday, December 21, 2012

An AMAZING Morning!

Don't you just love how timing works sometimes?

A few of my pieces needed to be professionally photographed to submit for a publication entry.  I spoke with a photographer I know to see if he would be willing to take care of that for me.  We had a rather long coffee and by the end of that meeting I had decided to get all my work photographed!

His name is Shawn Nielsen (Nielsen Studios - you might notice the new link on the right sidebar!!) and he is amazing to work with. It was a great balance of depending on his expertise as a professional and yet having my share of input to the final product as well!  We worked together for a couple of hours this morning and  all my pieces are now professionally photographed!! (except the ones that are currently on exhibit at Crossings Gallery and won't be "home" until the first week in January)  It was quite the experience! AND...I have all the photos in three different formats so they are ready for my website, exhibit/show entries, promotional pieces, etc.  Now when I need to include a detail shot....oh you should see the detail! If you want to see the results you can check out my website in a couple of days.  I'm in the process of updating all my photos there with the shots he took today.  Hopefully next month I'll have the rest of the pieces professionally photographed!

I had made it through OK with taking my own photos for a while but they are nothing compared to this! What prompted me to even consider this?  I had read several articles on entering work to be juried for exhibits and shows AND for presenting to a gallery.  To a one they HIGHLY recommended having them professionally done.  So, as my goal is to enter more juried shows....and my goal for a solo show in 2014, it just made sense to me to go ahead and get this accomplished.

After this experience...and seeing the results...I can HIGHLY recommend Shawn Nielsen if you are contemplating professional photographs of your art.  Contact him and let him know what your needs are and see for yourself how easy he is to work with.

Thanks Shawn for beautiful work!

FULL DISCLOSURE:  I am not associated with Nielsen Studios (other than being a very happy client) nor do I receive any compensation of any kind for this endorsement and recommendation. 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

And the Snow Tree is done!

FINISHED!! Have to say...this is one of my favorites. The theme for this challenge was Snow.  After receiving a foot of the beautiful white stuff. I was inspired both for the technique (snow dyeing) and the subject matter.

I cut the tree out of a white-on-black commercial fabric, I had a stone fabric which made a perfect wall. The snow is cut from all black-on-white commercial fabric. Each piece is individually applied to the background as raw edge applique.  I love the feel of a cold gray day the background gives, with big clumps of wet snow clinging where it can.  I also like how the wavy cut of the woven fabric background gives a feel of the cold winds of winter in the frozen northland.

The front fabric is folded to the back and stitched instead of a usual binding.  I didn't want to break up the tree or distract from it.

12" X 12"

Friday, December 14, 2012

Snow! Glorious Snow!

In abundance and just 2 steps out of my door!

Did a snow dyed backing for the gray woven background piece.  Continuing with my addiction to have a backing that goes with the front whenever possible!

Also did three snow dyed pieces for the Pecans series.  I LOVE them!! And I know they will be very useful to mix in with all the others since I used the same dye mixture.  Also, decided to add a couple of my favorite rusted pieces to the pile of available fabric for Pecans.  Think they might add an interesting bit once in a while.
Snow Dyes


Now to see what other trouble....I MEAN...creativity I can get into with this series.........

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Pecans - the beginning

Pecans - the series.

A couple of the online groups I belong to are doing art pieces in a series as part of the challenge for the year.  For one of the groups, Free Spirit Artists, I decided to do a series on Pecans.  This fall my dad died. He was a wonderful man and a great loving dad. And one of his passions was pecans.  They had a HUGE very old pecan tree in front of their house and he even planted a pecan orchard.  He subscribed to magazines for pecan growers.  Oh and he enjoyed eating them as well!!  (something we had in common!!) So, I decided to do this series in honor of my dad.

So far the series will depict the  different stages of the pecan.  1) sapling, 2) a grown tree, 3) mature pecans on the tree limb, 4) pecans on the ground at the base of the tree - ready to harvest 5) a barren tree after all the pecans and leaves are gone 6) pecans harvested and halved, etc and 7) the piece honoring my dad - it will have his photo in B/W transferred to silk organza, pecans, perhaps other photos, and my mom's pecan pie recipe.

Well....I have done a bit on this series already.  Ordered screen prints, cut out templates, etc.  But dyeing the fabrics felt like the project is actually underway.  After a couple of days of are the basic fabrics I will be using in all of the pieces in this series (6 or 7 planned)

They are all dyed in a 6 step gradation.  Here is one of the brown all set up to batch.

And here are the completed dyed fabrics --

Browns (yes I know some of them don't look brown but they are named "brown" something) -  From left to right...Tobacco, Cocoa, Golden Brown and Dark Chocolate Brown

Greens - Left to Right...Emerald, Dark Green and Forest Green

And Blues - Left to Right... Well actually they are so close it is difficult to tell the difference even in person! But I used Cerulean and Intense Blue.  I took these down a couple of gradations because I wanted some light blue sky with "clouds".  I'm very happy with the results.

Ordinarily this would be the end of dyeing...however after just completing the snow dyeing for another challenge...I HAVE to do some pieces for this series!! Hopefully I'll get to that tomorrow if not starting some today.  

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Snow Dyed Woven Background

One of my challenge groups has the theme "Snow" for December.  Well.....I mean I HAVE to snow dye the fabric for that one right????  AND we DO have enough snow!!!

First I have to prepare a place to put the whole snow dyeing process.  I like the melted snow and dye to drip below the fabric so that the fabric doesn't bathe in the dye.  One thing I say...."the right tool for the right job".   I'm so glad I picked up those big tin snips when they were on sale years ago!!!  The metal mesh is for a leaf shield on gutters.

Then I just placed the scrunched up fat quarter of PFD that had been soaked in the soda ash solution onto the screen and covered it well with snow

I had mixed up two strengths of #44 New Black from Dharma.  Also added in just a smidge of blue dye in one and a smidge of purple dye in the other for just a bit of contrast.  Then just waited for the snow to all melt.



Results side by side

A while ago I had done a woven background like this one with an abstract tree. I wanted to do something very similar for this challenge.  So on to weaving the background.

First I cut each piece to the appropriate size - this time 15"X15". I ironed MistyFuse onto the backs of each of the pieces. Then I use my rotary cutter to slice the pieces into wavy lines.  (NOTE: On one piece, leave one edge in tact to make weaving easier to control) is important to keep these strips in order so they will fit snugly when woven.

Next I started weaving the horizontal pieces into the vertical strips. I just go ahead and set this whole weaving part up on the batting so when I iron it in the final is ready for the rest of the process without having to pick up the woven piece on its own. You can see the black MistyFuse on the back of the strips that are flipped up ready for the next strip.

It may be necessary to futz with each strip just a tad to be sure it is in there snugly.

And finally, when all the strips have been woven in (you probably won't have room for the last one or two pieces of your horizontal strips but it doesn't matter).  I iron it to fuse the strips together and the whole piece to the the batting.  I love the subtle play of the color in this muted background which will depict a gray winter day.

And here is a detail shot.

Now it is ready for the tree and the snow!!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Post Reception Calm

Well, the Artists' Reception at the gallery is over but the exhibit goes on....until the end of December.

OK....I get to really enjoy this one because it is my very first GALLERY exhibit!  And with other media of art...not just art quilts!

Drove down yesterday afternoon.  I was a bit nervous...I think just because I've never done anything like this and had NO idea what to expect. The big snow wasn't due until evening so we had a great trip down to Zumbrota (about 2 hours from our home).

Have to was really fun to see my work hanging and with all the other artists displays.

Rust and Found

 Fig Branch

Golden Figs

The owner and staff of Crossings Gallery were wonderful to work with and it was a very fun and comfortable afternoon.  Some snacks and some very talented people!  It was fun to meet other artists who work in other medias...AND some art quilters as well.

There are two other pieces at the show but they will be displayed when wall space becomes available.

Thanks to all of you who sent good wishes!! Your support means the world to me!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

My First Gallery Exhibit!!

I'm so excited! My first Gallery Exhibit!  Five of my pieces from this year are included in the show. (click here - - to read more about it under the heading Fabrications Nine). Some of you might recognize another name listed in the promotional piece.

While I know most of you won't be able to attend the exhibit, I just wanted to share this with you. But if you COULD let me know how you like it!!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Gathering Pieces

I'm beginning to gather fabric, screen prints, etc for a series I'll be working on in 2013.  While some friends were here at the studio for a "play day", I did some pounded fabric to have on  hand for this series.  Tonight I remembered to check on it and it was all ready to iron.  I'm very pleased with how it all turned out! Love using Lumiere paints in this technique!!  These are close up photos.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

So True!

I'm busy working away on about 4 projects today in the studio but I just had to take a break to post something.  As for many of you...this is the season for mountains of mail-order catalogs.  While I seldom order anything...they keep coming.  I have to admit, I do enjoy looking through them anyway.  Daydreaming perhaps. In one yesterday, I saw this saying on a T-shirt for purchase.  I think it bears sharing. (My apologies to those who also get catalogs and have seen this a bazillion time - this was my first.)

Earth without ART is just "Eh"

I love it! Short, sweet and to the point. I couldn't agree more! 

Saturday, November 24, 2012

The Manhole Cover Project Rebirth

It's been a while now since this story began.

I had just completed a workshop on lino cutting and printing when I was downtown Minneapolis with a friend and we found the Nicollet Mall manhole covers designed by Kate Burke.  Possibly because I had just taken that workshop but I sooooooo saw them as beautiful potential lino prints!  With the help of the Minneapolis Chamber of Commerce, I was able to get in touch with Kate and she graciously gave me permission to use her art and to interpret it into mixed media textile art.  Then life went slightly (ok...a lot) off the rails and the project sat dormant for a bit. But starting in an online group with no rules and the artists get to chose their theme and size, etc., I knew it was time to dust it off and get it done!!

Here are the manhole covers on the Nicollet Mall as shown on Kate Burke's website.  You can see why I fell in love with them!!

So although I do have a couple of them cut already, I'm using the one I'm currently working on so you can see the whole process.  So far I have a printout of the photo, made a line drawing from that photo, transferred the image to the print block and have just begun to carve out the bits I don't want printed.

It is a long process...the cutting part.  And actually I think the wolf is the most difficult image of the 11 of them. And so it begins......

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

A Reason to Iron!!!

Was just sent this link from a friend and HAD to pass it on.  I KNOW how all of us just LOVE ironing....

This would be the only thing that would convince me to heat up the iron for something other than melting angelina!!! Hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

OK...find that iron (might need to dust it off a bit....)and MAKE  ART!!!!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Weekly Creativity - Week 6 - Large Screen Prints

While I have a "regular" sized screen for printing, I was excited when I read somewhere about how to make large screens...especially for more organic forms.  I so wish I could remember where I saw it so I could give credit to the person from whom I learned this technique.  If you know...please post it in Comments below!

The "screen" is made from organza taped at the edges.  Lesson for next time:  It is pretty much a two people least for me it would have helped to have an extra pair of hands!  The organza shifted at a breath and the duck tape has a very permanent stickiness!!  But I kept on and finally got a fairly workable screen.

The completed "screen"

I then got out my Golden Matte Medium to spread in a rather haphazard manner onto the screen.  I put it all on top of some packing paper so I could just throw that away when it was done.  Lesson for next time: Don't even TRY to use a plastic spoon!  The sturdy wooden one worked MUCH better.

The medium

With the gel medium spread onto the organza screen, it needed to dry very well. I hung it up to dry overnight.

Drying the screen

When it was very very dry, the medium is quite least so far.  I used the duck tape again to lace a spare piece of  fabric down onto my painting surface. It needs to be very stable I think.  The first printing was made with light blue acrylic paint applied with a squeegie thingie.  Lesson for next time: It does take a good bit of acrylic to cover this size.  I had to get out another small bottle. 

First painted layer print

I then removed the screen to see just how the printing went.

Screen removed

Mainly because I used acrylic paints, the screen had to be rinsed right away. I just filled my sink enough to cover it and soaked it for a minute, then used the sink sprayer to get all the paint off.

Screen Rinsing

I then repeated the printing process with two different colors of green.  I rather like the effect.....kind of like peeling paint.  I especially like the part over the clocks.  

Printing completed with second layer of two greens

Clock detail

And the screen is very much usable again! I'm not sure how many times it will last but it has already been worth the effort.  Now I want to try making a large screen like this but use a more regular pattern or form stamped with the gel medium.  

Thursday, October 11, 2012

When Inspiration Hits!

The latest challenge for the 12 X 12 pieces is the theme - OPPOSITES. You might think that would be an easy one, right? Perhaps so. However, I struggled with it for weeks now and was just not coming up with something that excited me.

Until today. At my wit's end, I decided to google OPPOSITES just to see what might show up....maybe an idea to work from...or maybe even inspiration! One of the first selections was a list of opposites. Well....that sounded promising!! And sure enough, the light dawned, birds sang, euphoria filled the studio!!!

I decided to use a few of the opposites in one art piece!! Well....when I started looking and thinking, I came up with more than a few.

So here it is...I had a black and white piece I did for a project a couple of years ago. I started with that (the Picasso-esque man and woman in the woven textile background. Then I cut and added the strips for the left side and top.

FOURTEEN OPPOSITES read it correctly!!! There are actually 14 opposites in this one piece. Can you find all of them? I'll get you of them is Black/White. The other 13 are up to you to find. That's why I put it on this post as a large photo. Some of the opposites are perhaps not as easily seen as others. A couple of them are a bit subtle. But they are all visible!! One I ditched (natural/synthetic) because it would not be discernable in a photo.

Good luck! I'll publish the list on November 1 so you can check your list!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Finished Piece

Just completed it....binding, sleeve and all.  Even added some real watch parts.

The Sands of Time
10" X 20"

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Burned For a Purpose

This saga began almost a year and a half ago.  We were visiting NE Minneapolis art district for the annual Art-A-Whirl.  Some amazing art caught our eye.  Very ethereal....haunting almost.  Imprints of leaves mostly.  Breath-taking.  We asked the artist how she achieved this beautiful effect.  The answer....gun powder.  What????  Yep...gun powder. The prints she produced stayed with us all day.  As textile artists....and risk-takers in general....our natural inclination was...."I wonder what would happen if we did it on textiles?"  We didn't get to it that summer....but this summer we HAD to try it out.  We gathered our supplies.  Bought the gunpowder (I'm always amused by people's reaction.  These two women asking the clerk where to find gun powder. "What kind do you need?"  ummmmmm we don't know.  We are artist and are using it in our art.  "Ahhhhh"  - like that explains everything!!  Too funny!)  So anyway, after we found out that we for sure didn't want the kind that exploded....just burned, we were on our way.

We got one or two good pieces out of it....well, my friend did anyway.  We worked with the was a windy day....enough said.

I've been so wanting to try it out myself and just waiting for a project that could benefit from this technique.  Then I had it. The 10 X 20 group - I still have 2 pieces to complete for this year.  One was due Oct. 1 so yes....I'm a bit behind.  The difficulty wasn't the gun powder bit....but finding an appropriate background.  Finally I found a piece of what felt like a twill.  Liked the subtle dyeing that had already been done to it. Only one problem....didn't think about what the fabric make-up was.  I mean I hardly have any textiles in my studio that aren't cotton or silk or linen.  So I go merrily on my way to experiment.  POOF!  The gun powder went off and the cardboard on top was burning a bit around the edges still....not uncommon.  I picked the cover up and the fabric itself was burning and melting.  Can you say synthetic fibers???? Put it out right away so no horrible damage was done. they learn something new every day. 

Still...I got the results that worked for this particular project. There will be additonal experiments - on cotton - but I'm happy with the results for this time.  Below are photos of the process along the way and the final results, of course.

Screen printed clocks in Latte acrylic and ironed on the masks of freezer paper

Taped the fabric to the board and applied the gun powder

Set the gun powder on fire (and the fabric as it turned out)

Resulting fabric with masks removed (you can see the burned edges)

Another layer of screen printed clocks, this time in Lumiere Old Brass - and a few stamped clocks as well

Now to do the stitching.....and probably adding a few watch parts as well.  Hope to have it done by Monday if not before.