25 July 2016

Moodboard Monday: Here comes the sun(room)!

Do you have a sunroom, also known as a Florida room? I had one in my previous house and I commandeered it for my studio. It was a big, gloriously light-filled room with walls of windows on three sides and four skylights overhead. Most sunrooms in colder regions of the US, like here in the Northeast, are considered 3-season rooms, sometimes because they lack a heat source, and sometimes because all of those lovely windows make it difficult to keep warm. I consider it a fair trade-off to have a room flooded with sunlight that's usable most of the year.

As I mentioned in a few previous posts, I've taken on some interior decorating clients and am having the time of my life. I love flexing my creative muscles, whether by designing and printing my own fabrics, teaching a class full of eager surface design students, or heck, even decorating cookies. Mmm, cookies... One of my favorite things to do for a client is to create a moodboard of the space they'd like help with. A moodboard is a mock-up of the major elements of a room so that the client and I can visualize what the finished room will look like. I decided to imagine that I was decorating a sunroom for myself and created the moodboard pictured here.

A lot of people tend to decorate a sunroom with a tropical or beach theme, but I prefer something more "placeless", a room that would fit in with the rest of my house, which isn't at all tropical or beachy. I would want it light and airy, breezy, and inviting, while remaining true to my modern, eclectic, artsy, global vibe. If you're decorating a sunroom, here are a few things for you to think about when choosing finishes, furniture, and accessories.

  • Consider lightening the floors - a bleached wood floor is light and airy looking and helps reflect all of that gorgeous sunlight.
  • Choose durable fabrics and materials - an indoor/outdoor carpet is a perfect choice for a sunroom.
  • Pick a light, pale color to bounce back as much of that natural sunlight as possible. Pay attention to the undertones in the room - do the colors of everything else in the room lean toward yellow, or red, or green, or blue? Try to match those undertones as best you can for the most harmonious result. For example, nearly all of the blues in my moodboard (from the walls to the rug to pillows to the painting) have a dose of green in them.
  • Add lots of texture for interest - smooth surfaces like glass or metal, nubby fabrics like raw silk and linen, rattan or wicker (in moderation or you'll tip over to tropical in a hot second!), and handwoven textiles for pillows and throws can bring another dimension to a room.
  • Make sure you have multiple light sources for after the sun sets too - a spectacular chandelier, a couple of floor or table lamps, and a few candles in lanterns can all extend the use of the room beyond the daylight hours.
  • Don't be afraid to mix wood tones or metal tones for a more eclectic look.
  • Use sheer linen or cotton curtains that will catch the breeze but stop the rays of the sun from getting in your eyes depending on the time of day. There's nothing so charming as a curtain gently wafting in a light wind.
  • Don't forget some plants and flowers to really bring the outside in, blurring the line further between outdoors and in.
  • Once autumn arrives swap out some of your easy, breezy accessories for ones with cozier textures like wool and velvet pillows, warm brass and gold accents, and more candles to maximum use out of what might end up being your favorite room in the house!

In case you're wondering where any of the items I've used on the moodboard came from, I've provided a shop-the-look list. Do you have a sunroom? Do you love it as much as I did mine? And don't feel sorry for me, my studio now is in an old factory so it has 10 foot ceilings and huge old factory windows - I'm still eating up that sunlight!!

1. Shibori Dots Indoor/Outdoor Rug; 2. Antique Zinc Metal Riley Lanterns; 3. Seagrass Barrel Stool; 4. Capiz Lotus Pendant Chandelier; 5. Morning Walk Painting; 6. Hughes Sofa; 7. Ocean Basin Tray; 8. Perdana Coffee Table; 9. Sunshine Accent Chair; 10. Fransisco Wool Cube Pouf; 11. Amber Interiors Woven Pillows; 12. Diamond Star Gold Glass Vase; 13. Surveyor Floor Lamp

Printing on Fabric with Natural Materials starts now!

Does surface design summer camp sound like fun to you? Then join me in my online course Printing on Fabric with Natural Materials on Craft University! Registration is open through August 29.

The supplies needed are simple to find, non-toxic, and mostly inexpensive - and you'll be creating unique and interesting fabrics with everyday materials like artichokes, onions, ferns, lace, even fish!

Treat yourself, sign up with a friend, and work through the lessons. I'll be standing by to answer questions, lend encouragement, and dish even more tips and tricks.

Use coupon code PRINT20 for a 20% discount on the price of the class. See you at camp!

30 June 2016

Printing on Fabric with Natural Materials - online course!

Back at the beginning of May I took a trip out to the Denver area and recorded an online video workshop for Craft University called Printing on Fabric with Natural Materials. Working with the team there was a blast and I'm so proud of the content of this workshop.

In the workshop I teach you all about how to sun print with acrylic paints and inks, how to direct print leaves, fruits, and veggies, how to print 3D objects like seashells and bumpy leaves, how to print fish, and even how to print your own photos with UV reactive dyes.

The team put together a preview of the workshop and you can watch it here:

Printing on Fabric with Natural Materials starts on July 25 and runs through Sept 5, but you own it forever, in case your summer gets busy. But! If you want to play along in real time, I'll be around to cheerlead, answer questions and troubleshoot, and share some more fun tips, tricks, and resources. You all are encouraged to post photos from the lessons and ask as many questions as your heart desires. I'll be right there guiding you!

You can use coupon code PRINT20 to save 20% on the course, and I'll be giving away a free gyotaku rubber fish for printing on Facebook and Instagram, so make sure you friend and follow me there too!

Summer is the best time to Nature Print - head out into the backyard to gather some supplies and then come join me in class!

21 December 2015

Loft Office Design

Carlos and I recently moved to an old loft complex near our art studios. I've been mulling over the design of the new office/guest room space and have finally arrived at a plan.

Things may change a bit as the room comes together, but it feels good to have the general direction decided upon. The first step will be painting the walls a warm white (already started!), followed by building a desk the length of the room (11.5') with two work stations, and cubbies/shelves over it, like the inspiration photo in my moodboard above. I'll be on the lookout for a midcentury modern sideboard or dresser for another wall to house office supplies and give our guests a little storage space. A convertible sofa will be great for overnight visitors and provide a place for a snooze or some work, depending on the day. I desperately want to replace the current "boob" light in the ceiling with an updated sputnik-type chandelier and have found a great, reasonable source for it. Now to save up some pennies! Here's a quick "before" photo of the room (yeah, that green is outta here):

While the living and dining rooms of our loft have brick walls, wood beams, and lots of character, the bedrooms have less character and no bricks, but do have really high ceilings and are large rooms. The furnishings and textiles in the office/guest room will give it the character that it needs.

Here are peeks of the living, powder, and dining rooms for a hint of that charming loft character.

I'll share progress photos and furniture building and sourcing tips as we go, so please check back!

20 December 2015

Tiny Beetles

Now that I've shown you my giant beetles, I'd like to show you some tiny beetles. Each of these beetles is 1.5" square and framed in a 4" square frame with a custom-cut mat.

A few of these tiny beetles have copper tape wrapped around one edge, all have stamps or "chops" on them, as well as a design stamped from a bit of metal screening material and acrylic paint, for texture. 

Each is $25 framed and an additional $5 shipping but I'm offering free shipping through the end of the year, so if one of these tiny beetles needs to live at your house, don't wait!

11 December 2015

Giant beetles!

As promised yesterday, here is a recent piece with two seriously big beetles. "Elfreth's Alley" is a mixed media collage with stitching on a 36" x 48" stretched canvas.

This is the first in a series of at least 8 new works, all depicting large-scale insects. I've sketched out the next four already. The one I'll start next has a big-ass moth on it. This is a fun series to construct because I'm having to invent methods and techniques to make what's in my head work in real life. I'm enjoying the unexpected turns that this project is taking me. Check back for more progress and updates!

10 December 2015

Swarm - new art cloth

Sorry about missing the last couple of days of blogging, there was nothing blog-worthy going on over here! Today I hung up a new piece, Swarm, outside my studio. It just returned from a show at the View Art Center in Old Forge NY.

The piece is art cloth (no batting or backing) that started as plain white heavy cotton. First I painted it with a diluted acrylic ink wash. Second I blockprinted with a mustard acrylic paint a series of geometric blocks that I'd made previously. Next I screen-printed a swarm of beetles with a thermofax screen and an opaque navy acrylic paint And finally I added some hand stitching with coral linen floss. It's 18" x 36" overall.

I've been on a beetle kick for a number of years now. I find their forms so intriguing, and they've come to symbolize how I feel about climate change. Beetles are at once formidable and fragile, much like the earth herself.

Tomorrow I'll show you my recent gigantic beetle piece - each beetle is over two feet long!