27 January 2013

A functional use for stamps

I used some of my handmade stamps for a utilitarian purpose. I added the designs to a simple tablerunner!

I choose two very similar colors and stamped on either end of a length of fabric that I picked up at IKEA last year. They had a fabric on the bolt, sold by the yard, that is about 18" wide with sewn hems along the long edges. You can easily make placemats or table runners with this clever fabric by cutting the length you'd like and hemming the short ends. Easy peasy! I couldn't find it on their website, but will definitely look for more the next time I stop in. It came in at least 3 colors and has a linen type texture.

The stamp I used is made from a square of acrylic and shapes cut from adhesive fun foam. I've made a LOT of these stamps over the years and they are very durable and very versatile.

I used 2 coppery/bronzy shades of Jacquard Lumiere paints for the images, with the darker in the center. The Lumiere paints are water-proof once dry and heat set. Now my table has a fresh, fun new look for these dreary, cold winter days.

As a teaser and coming attraction - both Carlos and I have gotten back into more traditional printmaking after a long absence. The press was moved upstairs and plates are being cut and etched as we speak. Wait until you see what we're each working on!

24 January 2013

Mmmmm, paper!

Pretty dresses, pretty papers!

Dress Forms  -  25" x 37"
Last fall I started a new series to include in a group exhibit with 8 That Create held at the View Art Center in Old Forge NY. The theme of the show was "Off the Hanger" and I was inspired by fresh spring dresses (the piece I made to donate to Virginia Spiegel's fundraiser is another in this series). I was also inspired by some remarkable papers that I picked up at a local art supply store. Being a printmaker before coming to quilting and mixed media, my affinity for paper is strong and beautiful paper can make me positively swoon!

In the piece above, Dress Forms, I started with an ethereal paper that is embedded with thicker paper circles. The color of the wall behind the piece when hanging becomes part of the work, which is a really neat side effect. I constructed each of the dress shapes apart from the background and then attached them to it after. Some of the dresses are interesting papers themselves, two are of some gorgeous pojagi fabrics that I bought in Korea when I taught there. The texture and color of the fabric is delicious! The papers and fabrics of the dresses are altered with ink, paint and stitch, both hand and machine. The resulting piece is fairly delicate and would not travel well so I'll need to choose future venues for it carefully.

La Mode  -  12" x 12"
La Mode, above, also uses a pojagi fabric as the dress form, and it's mounted to another gorgeous paper. This one is more of a thick, cast paper, cast over spiral shapes. I tinted the paper itself with inks and paints to take it from the original white.

Frocks  -  5" x 7" each
Frocks uses the paper that I used for the background of La Mode as the dresses themselves. The backgrounds are various newspapers I've collected, painted and inked to give them color and contrast from the white dresses.

The dresses are attached to the background with an arch to them so they stand off the surface and are dimensional. I definitely have more ideas for this series and have found more papers with interesting textures to play with to execute them.

Are you ever so inspired by the materials you've chosen that the piece practically makes itself? Have you discovered any delicious papers lately?

19 January 2013

Starting the Year Off RIght

Have you resolved anything related to your art for the new year? The beginning of a year is always such a good time to start new habits and "re-make" ourselves, isn't it?

I'm starting the new year off with systems in place that will hopefully keep me on track. My art quilt group, FANE (FiberArtNorthEast), spoke of ideas to resolve to do for our art. We're avoiding the word "resolutions" because that's fraught with past failure for all of us, but instead we're embracing the powerful definition of the word "resolve" which is "a firm determination to do something" or "to come to a definite or earnest decision about something". Much more affirmative and lacking in baggage, don't you think? As you might be able to tell by the past couple of weeks, one of the things I've resolved to do is blog more often!

At the group meeting at the beginning of the month, I passed out sheets with spaces to write from 1 to 5 things to resolve. People could have only one and could have up to five. More than five would have overwhelmed us, I think, and this way we can add more as we complete some, if we choose. The idea is to check in with each other every couple of months to see what our progress is. We are resolving to take positive steps for our art and there were excellent statements like: "I resolve to schedule time to make art"; "I resolve to enter at least one show this year"; and "I resolve to try a new medium".

The five I chose are:

  1. I resolve to finish and submit my book proposals (yes, plural!)
  2. I resolve to attempt encaustics again ("attempt" is better than "master" at this point, lol)
  3. I resolve to finish culling my art supplies
  4. I resolve to update the art on my website and keep it up to date
  5. I resolve to blog at least twice a week
Toward the end of keeping to a schedule I created a second calendar to remind me of what days are for what types of posting (blog, newsletter, tutorials, updates, etc). The first calendar has my "gigs" - teaching, vending, meetings, etc, and is on a magnetic board on front of the closet door in my studio/office. This second one hangs on a bulletin board near my computer monitor.

I'm sharing my calendar with you here. You can print it out on card stock, cut each page in half, and then hang it from a binder clip. I added a blank schedule sheet if you want to assign a day of the week for each type of posting or task. For example, I'll be posting to my blog on Wednesdays and Saturdays, sending out a newsletter every Tuesday, and so on. 

Are you resolving to do anything for your art this year? Please share!

15 January 2013

A new way to learn

I discovered a neat website and app that is like Pinterest, in that it is visually beautiful, but differs in the creation of the content. Snapguide builds tutorials, or guides, with a clean, elegant interface. You can create a guide to anything - a recipe, a craft project, an exercise, anything, or you can search for a guide in any one of an assortment of categories. The guides can have any number of steps and include photos and videos. I think this has the potential to be as big as Pinterest, and without the pesky copyright issues since you can like or share or comment on a guide, but you can't take someone else's content and add it to Snapguide. And if you think it looks nice on the web, it looks and functions fantastically on an iPhone or an iPad!

So far I've added 2 guides, as Flourish!, to Snapguide and I'm aiming to add one every week or so. If you teach quilting or have a creative business Snapguide can be a great way to direct people to your website and enhance your reputation as an "expert". It's also a fun way to share your knowledge.

My two guides (so far!):

If you have an iPhone or iPad, look for them in the Snapguide App too.

Have you tried Snapguide? What do you think?

09 January 2013

A Year of Art

I created a new piece for Virginia Spiegel's latest fundraiser, A Year of Art, for the American Cancer Society. The month I'm illustrating is April, a month tied in my memory with pretty new Spring dresses. I abstracted a dress shape and stitched and collaged hand-moulded and painted paper, and a paper printed with Korean text. The piece is mounted on a painted 12" x 12" x 1" canvas.

La Mode 2

The fundraiser begins on February 12. Find all of the details here.     

por Juan

05 January 2013

Pulse Points

Last fall I was asked by Seth Apter, mixed-media artist and author, to answer a couple of questions for his Pulse Points series on the Create Mixed Media website. My answers were included in the second of the series here.

His questions were really thought-provoking and I spent a while doing some deep thinking on my answers. Three other artists answered the same questions and it was interesting to see where the similarities and differences were in our answers.

The questions were:

Have you ever been jealous of another artist’s skills?
Do you feel you have found your niche art-wise or are you still searching?
What would your answers be to these questions? Again, here is the article with our answers.

You can see part one, part three, and part four on the Create Mixed Media blog.