Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Big News for the Southwest School of Art in San Antonio!

I received this in my email inbox today and think it 
is worth sharing.  I wonder what majors will be 
offered.  Anyone care to take a guess?

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Cool new (for me) gel pens

I took a journal workshop in Chicago @ CREATE with Dawn Sokol.  In the class we learned how to make our own books from old hardcover books by removing the original pages and stitching in our own page stock.  I made a book with two "signatures", meaning two sections of stitched pages.
Of course, I had to make it complicated.  I used a variety of oddities:  watercolor paper, maps, old pattern sleeves, and even some polyester sheer that I laminated with paper through a thermofax screen.

In addition to learning how to construct a book, which thrilled me, Dawn introduced me to Sakura gel pens.  The ones we were given in the workshop were the souffle pens.  The ink behaves as puff paint after you write on a surface.  Very cool.
I ordered a couple of additional packages when I returned home, and just got around to playing with them a few days ago.
One of the pleasant surprises was the set of opaque pens:  I found that I could write on a boarding pass that I "ruined" by heating and turning the paper black.  No problem now:  I wrote on the page with my white pen!  The other happy surprise is that I can write on the laminated areas of my sheer and the script shows!
I tried various other types of pens and markers and the script didn't show up.
Take a look:

Here is a page with writing using the Sakura Souffle pens
Here is the laminated sheer, turned to left
Here is the laminated sheer with Sakura opaque pen scribblings.
Pretty cool stuff

Monday, September 20, 2010

Kathy York: Cover Girl!

Kathy York's amazing quilt, "Fifty, Female, and Fearless"

Kathy's quilt can be seen in Houston at the International Quilt Festival as part of "Beneath The Surface",
a special exhibition co-curated by Jamie Fingal and myself.
Dinner At Eight Artists ROCK!

And, if that wasn't cool enough (which it IS) I will have an article in the same magazine about using shredded paper for various surface design techniques.  Woo Hoo!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Visual Inspiration

Sometimes I think the images that inspire me to make marks and stitch patterns are unconscious.
Occasionally, I stumble on some of these parallels in my photography and surface design work
Here is one example:
A midwest winter scene, shot from the air

and then.....

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Progression of Ungessoed canvas #2

Laying on the paint!
I put a lot of this paint onto the canvas with a palette knife
Then, I came back over it with a cheap brush.
I was doing "controlled flinging" of paint at the end.

Between the amount of humidity due to all the rain and the amount of paint on this canvas, this baby is going to take awhile to dry!  I decided to start another canvas this evening so it could dry out overnight.
This gives me something to look forward to in the morning!

My goal is to have about a half-dozen of these canvases in various stages so I can move through them and add layers.  I think this will keep me working more quickly and loosely.

Previously, when I was doing more painting than textile-work, my painting style was pretty tight.  There is a time and place for that, for certain, but I think the ability to cut-loose and paint with a lot of abandon is truly important.  Strangely, I am better-able to do that on cloth.  Perhaps this is one of the reasons the unstretched canvas has so much appeal; I've been working with it a lot in the last year.  There is something very liberating about "jumping off the frame".  

11 am Sunday Morning:
Here is the next layer which includes marks with a large, fat marker, then paint loosely applied with a cheap housepainting brush and a cheap, student-grade round.  Also, some watered down acrylic was loaded into a nozzle-tip bottle and "painted", then allowed to run.

this is one end of the canvas

here is the other

3:00 pm:  Here is the 3rd layer of paint, text, and miscellaneous marks:

left side of canvas

right side of canvas

detail (I used some Pitt pens in a few places)


I am, quite literally, waiting for paint to dry.

4:30 pm Layer #4:  paint, markers, writing, mulberry paper collaged with matte medium

left side of canvas

right side



The canvas is starting to darken.  I think the next layer will include some watered down light colors, possibly some more collaged paper.  I dug around in my studio closet and found some cool orange paper.  Guess what color is coming?

8:30 pm.  Layer 5:  washing areas with white, stamping, and more controlled flinging of paint

left side of canvas
I had to break down and do a bit of painting over my snapdragons.
Did you notice I was avoiding them?  They had become boyfriends.

I may have gotten carried away with my "flinging".
Now I think I will have to wait until tomorrow to do another layer.
I want these to dry with a pronounced texture.

Weather as inspiration

I took these photos right after I returned from Cleveland and keep forgetting to post them.  I love how freaky this storm looks:  half the horizon dark and ominous and the other half looks pretty tame.  These were taken while in the car with a friend (I was in the passenger seat snapping away).

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Progression of a "graffiti-style" painting & collage on ungessoed canvas

I'm beginning my first canvas as part of Alisa Burke's online painting mixed-media course, "Graffiti Chic".
Itching to get started, I needed to finish a piece that was dominating my work space.  Although said piece is very close, it is still not completely finished, but I was able to move it off the work table so I could start PAINTING!  Woot Woot!
These images are of the base of the painting.
It is all about building layers.
Very loose and industrial.  I'm shooting for gritty layers of stuff found on and around an old building.

Once this dries I will start another.
Tomorrow I am going outside for some "outside-only" stuff.

I'm having a lot of fun with this loose, "swashbuckling" style of painting.  It is very good for me to loosen up!

Now, some paper is collaged to the surface, and more paint added:

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

House Quilt Project

Jamie Fingal invited several artists to join her in creating a quilt to commemorate the newest completed homes in Orange County for Habitat for Humanity.
Here is what Jamie has to say about the project:

I am working with Furnishing Hope of Orange County.  Beth Phillips heads up this non-profit organization that works with interior designers to decorate, furnish and create amazing interiors for houses that Habitat for Humanity builds in Orange County.
I am coordinating the making of small house quilts for each family in a San Juan Capistrano tract that H4H is building.  Each wall quilt will be 12"wide by 16"long and will reflect the interior colors and style of each individual house.  I have asked 13 artists to participate in this project with me.  Furnishing Hope is on Facebook too, if you want to learn more about what they do or make a donation.

This is the quilt I created for the project.

Please visit Jamie's blog for additional images of quilts in the project.

An article about Habitat homes in San Juan Capistrano - and a video - so be sure to watch that part.  Beth Phillips was Jamie's contact person.

A final note:  an Open House was held on Thursday, 9/23/10.  Jamie Fingal and Felisa Lyons attended, and said that the event was very moving.  Jamie was kind enough to photograph the quilt I donated in its new home:

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Beauty on the back of antique quilt blocks

Last month I attended a board meeting for the Alliance for American Quilts in Grafton, Vermont.  We were treated to a wonderful experience in the lovely hamlet of Grafton, thanks to our host, Frances Holliday Alford, and assisted by Kathy Metellica, a fellow-resident and quilt maker.
Among the experiences we had was an old fashioned "quilt turning".  We viewed many Vermont quilts and learned about the history of each.
Mark Dunn, founder and president of Moda Fabrics (foreground)
admires the beautiful antique quilts 

Amongst the treasures were a number of pieces owned by Kathy.  She was given several quilts, along with a group of pieced "Grandmother's Flower Garden" blocks.  While lovely, I was absolutely thrilled with the exposed paper on the back of each hexagon.  The handwriting is exquisite, and I love that the maker used her old letters and bills to piece these blocks.  The blocks are circa 1870's.  Take a look:

While much is known about the quilts we viewed at the turning, we know that so many beautiful quilts, antique and contemporary, become disconnected from the maker.  Without proper documentation of both the quilts and their makers, part of the beauty of the quilt is lost forever.
The Alliance for American Quilts is dedicated to the preservation of these stories.  I currently serve on the board of directors of this marvelous organization.  Many of you are familiar with the project, "Quilters: SOS (Save Our Stories)".  Did you know that this project part of the Alliance?
We are currently challenged to match funding, dollar for dollar, by an anonymous donor, up to $30,000.
This is a tremendous opportunity for the Alliance!  I encourage you to consider joining, if you are not currently a member.  There is such a wealth of information on the website!  Please take time to read some of the interviews from QSOS, as well as browse the immense Quilt Index.  For those of you attending the International Quilt Festival, Houston TX, the Alliance will have an exhibition and several special events during the show.  I personally invite you to click the link to our website.  Please consider becoming a member.  Alliance for American Quilts

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Student images

Nancy Urschel, one of the students from our CREATE! retreat workshops in Chicago sent photos of a painted canvas she created after returning home, as well as two totes she constructed from the canvas.
Thank you, Nancy, for sharing your work!  Take a look: