30 December 2007

Art Homework

As promised, here are the results of the art homework project I gave my family for our holiday dinner party. At each place at the table there was a miniature easel for each guest to display their mini canvas. After dinner we cleared the table and lined up all of the easels to take pictures. It was really fun to see what everyone made.

These were made by my daughter Sam and her boyfriend Jesse. As a wonderful bonus, Sam told us during dinner that she made the Dean's List at college this semester. I'm so proud of her! And I think their canvases are very cool too.

My parents made theirs at their vacation home in the Adirondacks. My dad loves to kayak and he cut that little kayak in half and affixed it to his canvas. Mom used fabric, of course, and a little bit of metallic foil for the water.

My sister's family all created self-portraits. My brother-in-law Chris loves to cook so his portrait is made of food items - cloves for hair, pasta for a nose and a manly stubble of spices. Linda's is hand and machine sewn on fabric with some twigs as found objects, it's very her.

Five-year-old Sage created an abstracted watercolor version of herself - with a rainbow, she said. And twelve-year-old Whitman showed his drawing skill and love of anime and manga.

Carlos and I went with an insect theme and I had a hard time dragging him away from his current, very, very large abstract oil painting long enough to complete this miniscule-by-comparison project. His colored pencil and wax pastel butterfly and my printed and collaged beetle are very congenial.

I would definitely do something like this again. Watch out if you're invited to dinner at my house! There might be homework...

26 December 2007

Art for Boxing Day

Boxing Day has typically been an art/craft day in my family. We all go off in our own directions to work on our art, meeting for meals of leftovers and to check out what the others are working on. A nice way to relax after the holiday...

A fiber postcard made in the theme of Maps. I found a paper at Papyrus that's printed with an old map of Paris and chopped it up. The gear is a carved stamp.

I gave my extended family a "homework" assignment for our holiday get-together on Sunday. I passed out 2" square canvases and told them that they each must fill their canvas with their choice of subject in their choice of medium. There will be 10 for dinner from kindergartner to grandparents - I can't wait to see what everyone comes up with! I worked on mine today and it has everything I love on it, an insect, text in several languages, fabric, paper and printing.

24 December 2007

Merry & Bright

May everyone's holiday be merry and bright.

¡Salud, amor y pesetas, y tiempo para disfrutarlos!

Illustration Friday - horizon

cotton fabric, printed mulberry paper, acrylic paint, acrylic inks, stamped letters and postage stamp on 6" x 6" stretched canvas

19 December 2007

Starry Night

I finally got our tree up and decorated this evening. I strew (is that a word?) our Moravian stars on the mantel and wound some white lights among them. You can see the tree reflected in the glass on the little print.

Then I made an ornament for my friend Carrie with some beautiful handmade paper I found in Papyrus a while ago. I tried it out on my tree first and now I'm thinking I should make myself a few of these.

15 December 2007

Illustration Friday - backwards

cotton fabric, printed mulberry and rice paper, acrylic paint, water-soluble pastels, image transfer, cotton thread, dyed raffia on 6" x 6" stretched canvas

13 December 2007

Snow Day Butterflies

The weather outside is frightful! (wait, isn't that a song?) So I'm home working in my studio, waiting for the snow and freezing rain to stop. There's a cozy fire going and supper smells are wafting from the kitchen - neither is my doing - not a bad afternoon, all in all.

Imprima - Mariposa

Imprima - Polilla

block prints with acrylic paint on cotton fabric, printed rice paper, nori paste, cotton thread

08 December 2007

Illustration Friday - little things

digital illustration on shrink film, cotton fabric, silk fabric, watercolor paper, cotton thread, acrylic paint, water-soluble ink on 6" x 6" stretched canvas

07 December 2007

Inspiration, Journaling and the Blank Canvas

A loyal and dedicated merry band of art quilters meets at The Country Quilter on the first Thursday of every month and last night's meeting was rousing and inspiring. Our professional topic of conversation was visual journaling. Several members have been journaling this past year and they've inspired the rest of us to give it a go for next year. It's a good time to start planning a long range art project with January fast approaching.

Now that the Journal Quilt Project is officially over it seemed like a good time to launch our own initiative. Some of us are planning to create something once a week, and some once or twice a month. We discussed the advantages of creating a set of self-imposed "rules" or a framework to lend structure to your results. Rules can be things like a theme, a common size or orientation, a medium, a color palette or a combination of things. And since they're self-imposed, you can change what doesn't work if you need to. I've decided on a common size and base - a 6" x 6" x 1.5" pre-stretched canvas is my starting point for every piece - and I plan to mix media at whim. I ordered and received a big box of the canvases so I'm ready to go.

For the meeting I researched artists who journal and post their results on their sites or blogs. Some ambitious souls journal every day!

Jeanne Williamson is an art quilter who has been journaling since 1999.

Randel Plowman creates a 4" x 4" collage every day and offers it for sale on his blog.

Teesha Moore offers a wonderful peek into her process with a look at her journal pages. She also includes a link to an article about journaling and techniques.

Noah Scalin is making a skull image every day for a year!

I also compiled a list of sites that offer challenges and prompts to get you started.

Think Monday, Think ATC presents theme ideas once a week for atcs.

Monthly Postcards and Fluffy Fatbottom's Twisted Tuesday are two challenge sites for those who love making fiber postcards.

Theme Thursday is a paper art challenge site.

For the photography enthusiasts, here are two sites, Moody Monday and See it Sunday.

Mixed Media Monday is just what it sounds like. 4x4 Fridays and Skinny Saturday are both size-restricted challenges.

And finally, Inspire Me Thursday and Illustration Friday offer prompts that you can interpret in any medium you wish.

Most of these sites encourage you to upload your results to a blog or photo-sharing site and post a link for viewers. The feedback and comments can be helpful and validating, and the connections built between artists can be enriching.

06 December 2007

Ferocious Flora

My daughter Sam brought me this unusual, anthropomorphic flower last night. It looks positively ferocious! Perhaps it's annoyed at all the attention that poinsettias get this time of year.

Actually, if you look at the underside it's two conjoined blossoms. Wicked cool - and way better than your typical poinsettia.

05 December 2007

Illustration Friday - excess

...baggage, that is...

cotton fabric, mulberry paper, linen thread and acrylic paint on 6" x 6" stretched canvas

New Fiber Postcard

Block-printed Fish, 6" x 4"

I'm working on some new postcards for swaps and the first bunch are done and ready to be mailed. This one gave me a chance to try out the new Stewart Gill paints I bought at Festival in Houston and the pearlescent acrylic inks I picked up in my favorite local art supply store.

This series is bound for the latest students in a class that Elin and I teach called Swap Art. Elin shows the students how to make fiber ATCs in the first class and they make enough to trade with each other. I teach them how to make fiber Postcards in the second class and then we all mail postcards to each other over the next couple of weeks. Fun! I can't wait to see what they come up with.

Then it's on to the postcards for the latest round for Postmark'd Art. Our group has been trading for a number of years and we have members from all over the world.

03 December 2007

Happiness is...

42 new colors of Caran d'Ache Neocolor II Wax Pastels. Santa, are you listening??

I seriously love these things. And new colors - my heart's all atwitter. I've used them on fiber postcards, on art quilts and on paper. They're simply scrumptious. They blend beautifully with a little water and a paintbrush and you can add layers and layers of colors.

Earlier this year I made a quilt for Virginia Spiegel's Fiber Art for A Cause reverse auction and the incomparable Tomme Fent bought it. This is a detail of the butterfly on the piece, Muiopotmos, all done with the Neocolors and one continous line of quilting. Yep, one. The background is hand-painted fabric.

22 November 2007

Giving Thanks

Happy Thanksgiving

Gobble, gobble.

Almost out from under a big deadline and then I can actually post new art again!

09 November 2007

Journal Quilt 07

Here's my Journal Quilt for 2007. This is the third time I've participated in the Journal project and I'm sorry to see it come to an end. Next year I'll be exploring weekly journals on my own. I've got a few ideas already...

06 November 2007

Quilting Arts Gifts Issue

The Quilting Arts Gifts Issue hits the news stands today. I contributed two articles to it and, as always, the crew at Quilting Arts did a fantastic job with the photography and layout. All of the contributors were asked to make a holiday card for the issue as well and mine is a Peace Beetle. Nevermind that I made that up, it could become a new iconic holiday symbol, right? I started with a piece of watercolor paper (90# Arches), embossed it, added mulberry paper with stamped letters (Paz is Spanish for Peace), printed a beetle onto a piece of batik, stamped it with a Chinese saying and overprinted it with a found object, topstitched and painted the edges and finito! Maybe all of my Christmas cards this year should be Peace Beetles. Watch for one in a mailbox near you...

My articles are about creative wrapping with fabric (good for the earth!) and table settings. The rest of the issue is terrific, -- as soon as I have time I'll be trying out some of the projects. A bunch of the people I met in Houston last week have articles in it and Elin does too. I have to start thinking about ideas to submit for next year's issue.

01 November 2007

Happy Halloween!

My friend Julie and I are down in Houston, Texas at Quilt Festival this week. Pokey encouraged all of the vendors in the Make It University section to dress up tonight for Halloween - so we did! She claims John forgot to pack her costume, but she did have on a great witch's hat. Mmmhmmm. Coming back from changing into my costume I encountered the girls from Fiber On A Whim. Here's Kristin, looking completely adorable.

Here's Jan and Karla, in full All Hallow's Eve regalia. Their booth is right around the corner from ours and it's great to finally meet them in person. They're even more fun in real life.

Back in our booth you can see that Julie really got into it, complete with black lipstick, huge false eyelashes, broomstick and striped stockings. Doesn't she look great?

And here I am, dressed for a night out with the coven. My outfit was not complete without these incredible shoes:

We got a lot of trick-or-treaters at our booth and gave out a ton of candy. We were a little tired at the end of the night, but we had a great time. Happy Halloween!

21 October 2007

An abstract and tagged...

I live out in the woods, but close to a major city. The woods mean abundant shade, which means lots of ferns. Their forms are so ancient-looking, aren't they? I abstracted this photo and made a small quilt. Besides being hardy and beautiful, the ferns have also proven to be deer-proof, something that nearly nothing else has accomplished in my garden, aka the salad bar. I should give up on the dream of riotous color and plant more ferns...

My friend Natalya has tagged me to reveal 7 random facts about myself. Oh boy.

1. The last time I went to a salon for a haircut was over 10 years ago, but I have a dog that has to go to the groomer every five weeks.

2. I think ice cream is an acceptable breakfast food.

3. When I lived in Peru a famous artist composed a poem to me in Aymara, the language of the Incas.

4. I sing really loudly in the car when I'm driving by myself, usually off-key.

5. I don't hold grudges.

6. I have colored-grapheme synesthesia and I can't imagine living without it.

7. Visual chaos makes me anxious.

I'm tagging Liz Berg, Terry Grant, Lynne Croswell, Tricia McKellar, Pam RuBert, Karen Stiehl Osborn and Gerrie Congdon.

15 October 2007

New Work with a new product

Although I'm working toward a big deadline for a secret project I can't talk about yet, I did make two new pieces last week that I can show.
Pescado Verde, 2007

These pieces were made using a new product that's being released at Quilt Market at the end of the month. As soon as I can talk about it I will, and everyone's going to want some of it!
Mariposa, 2007

Lots of secrets, how intriguing...

09 October 2007

Make It U Workshops in Houston

I'll be at Quilt Festival in Houston at the end of the month vending and teaching. The Country Quilter/Flourish! will have a booth in the Make It University section of the show where Pokey Bolton of Quilting Arts/Cloth Paper Scissors and all the other cool kids are. Join me for a Make It U workshop in Stampmaking for Textile Artists on Friday and one for Making Your Own Embellishments on Saturday. My friend Julie will be teaching Three-Dimensional Needle Felting on Thursday. If you're coming to Houston, please stop by booth 1162 and say hi! I'm looking forward to meeting some virtual friends IRL and to putting faces with familiar names.

Roar - get involved

Last weekend my daughter Sam and our dog Pixie participated in a dog walk-a-thon for ROAR, the local animal welfare organization. The teams of dogs and their people walked two miles and raised over $20,000. Think Globally, Act Locally and you can make a difference. Many communities have organizations like this one and they can all use our support.

Besides, you never know when you'll meet new friends!

06 October 2007

Playing in new media

Today I took a "mental health day" and attended an encaustics workshop at Silvermine Art Center. The workshop was taught by a knowledgable, generous artist named Nash Hyon. She introduced us to the techniques and processes, showed us all the basics and got us started on an exploration of encaustics or "hot wax painting". The Ancient Greeks used this technique for portraits and murals and, more recently, artists such as Jasper Johns and Robert Delaunay have used it. Due to a few very pressing deadlines I won't be able to explore this medium further until after the new year, but taking the class today got me thinking about my current medium of fiber in a deeper way.

Encaustics is all about layering. You start with a (usually) blank surface and patiently, slowly build layer after layer of wax medium, adding collaged items and colored pigment if you choose. Incising lines, scraping away layers, adding still more layers until you declare yourself satisfied with the result. Now I'll try to translate some of that patient layering to my fiber art where I've been trying to work more complexly in layers of imagery, color and texture.

I enjoyed the process of encaustic, but it's a skill like any other that takes practice to master. Today I was mostly experimenting with how the different materials I was collaging would react with the wax. I'm definitely looking forward to exploring further and seeing how best to incorporate this technique into my "vocabulary".

I've also recently taken up tap dancing again. Another medium, another opportunity for creative inspiration. Choreography follows a lot of the same principles of design that visual art does -- repetition, rhythm, variety and balance among others. Besides, it's good exercise for both body and brain. And I can combine art quilting and tap dancing if I "shuffle off to Buffalo" every time I head to the ironing board and "shuffle hop step" when I head back to my machine!

27 September 2007

Recycled Table - finished!

I finally got around to taking pictures of the giant rolling "island" I built for my studio that started with the top of my parents' kitchen table. It has shelves on three sides for storage. The short end has shelves that hold metal flower pots from IKEA. In the pots are all sorts of art supplies that I like to keep at hand. Things like colored pencils, palette knives, hand-carved stamps, stamp pads, acrylic paints, tubes of watercolors, etc.

One long side has storage cubbies for stretched canvases (for mixed media work), printing supplies like bench hooks, rollers, brayers and acrylic plates, and a shipping center. The big space in the middle allows me to pull up a drafting chair and work at this table. Which is always a bonus when flat surfaces are at a premium.

The other long side has canvas bins for current projects, plastic Artbins for more supplies and class samples, and great storage for my Dremel, block-printing press and Gocco printer (sadly still unopened!) I love that this table is on wheels and I can move it anywhere in the room, or even out of the room if need be. Have work table, will travel!

19 September 2007

Finished with the Media Cart

The media cart is done. You saw one side of it here. Now, finally - here's the other side. I had a piece of 1/4" thick acrylic custom cut and had the holes drilled and countersunk for wood screws. I pre-drilled holes in the wood and then hand-screwed the acrylic to the cart. I still managed to crack very slightly the acrylic when I overtightened one screw, but otherwise I'm pleased with the way it came out. Note the oh-so-subtle marketing ploy of my book in one of the pockets (big grin). I'll be using these pockets to hold new books that I'm currently reading or using as reference for works in progress. There's a neat technique with acrylic glazes in the new Cloth Paper Scissors, by the way.

In the background is another piece of furniture that I built, it's one from a few years ago. I made it to hold some white metal bins from Pottery Barn. I do love the design principle of repetition. There are small bins and large bins and they hold things like yarn and trims, art glitter, pearl ex powders, stamp making supplies, adhesives and mediums, angelina, foil and other surface design materials.

11 September 2007

Workshop News

Come join me (and Elin) for four days of fun at the Country Quilter for a workshop called Materials at Play. Learn about and try out sixteen different materials and techniques to incorporate into your art quilts.

There are still a few spaces available. Fridays, October 5, 12, 19 & 26.

09 September 2007

White work

The International Museum of Collage, Assemblage and Construction is organizing an exhibition of White-on-White works. It's really interesting to work in the absence of every other color - every minor variation in tone becomes more important. Take a look at the work collected so far. I just finished mine and will send it off tomorrow. What a challenge to work with such a limited palette!

Carmina Figurata, 2007, 12" x 9"
mixed media mounted on stretched canvas - papers, fabric, found object, acrylic paint, printing, embossing

There will be a full-color (if it's an all white exhibit is that an oxymoron?) catalog of the exhibit.

It is not quantity which counts [with colors], but choice and organization. - Henri Matisse

06 September 2007

Lost and Found

Okay, this is a pretty cool story. In 1965 my husband Carlos was one of three artists to represent Peru at the Paris Biennale at the Musée d'Art Moderne. His two paintings were shipped back to Peru at the conclusion of the show and due to military unrest in the country at the time and his immigration to New York they were never collected at the port when they arrived.

The other day a man in Texas emailed him to ask about a painting he had inherited from his father. It was one of the lost paintings from the Biennale. How exciting to have a photo of something I'd never seen and he'd never thought to see again.

Even though it's an abstract I see both a mask and a bird in it. We're so delighted this man tracked him down and that we have a record of at least one of the paintings.

I did work on the big table in my studio over the weekend and should have new pictures up in a couple of days. I had to wait for the table saw a few times (there was a line! since Carlos was working on frames and stretchers) which slowed me down, so I kept busy while I waited. I really don't sit still well. I baked four loaves of banana bread and two batches of chocolate chip cookies. I'm surprised that the earth didn't wobble slightly on it's axis - I *never* bake or cook. Wait, I'm sensing an evil plot here... The joke is that the only reason we have an oven is because otherwise there'd be a hole in the cabinet.

Here's a quick organizational idea: I bought some of those tins with magnetic bottoms and mounted two metal strips to the wall in my studio. I think the tins are meant for spices or some such, but mine have unmounted rubber stamps, some cool colorful stones from Peru, some cool buddha stones from Thailand and other little doodads in them.