30 July 2007

Adventures in tv land

I leave on Wednesday afternoon for LaVeta, Colorado to tape an episode of Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims' The Quilt Show.

I was asked to bring a 6" square block for each of them. They each make a quilt with blocks from all their guests for each season. So I made fish blocks -- of course!

Elin wasn't able to come this time because she's teaching camp this week, but she made blocks for Ricky and Alex too. So she'll be there in spirit even though she'll be back home working hard. And her blocks are birds -- of course!

I'll try to blog while I'm there, but in case the connections are sketchy, I'll definitely post as soon as I get back. Wish me luck!!

28 July 2007

Art Quilts at Main Street Gallery

If you're going to be in Groton NY anytime soon, you can see one of my pieces, Haiku: Lines Between, at the National Small Art Quilt Works show at the Main Street Gallery.

The show runs from July 27 - Sept 2, 2007 with the opening reception Saturday, July 28, 2007 from 5-8 pm.

For more information about the show go here or here.

26 July 2007

Art Cloth Workshop - 3rd day/3rd layer

Today we stamped our fabrics! We made stamps by carving Speedy-cut blocks and by cutting and mounting adhesive fun foam to acrylic squares in various sizes. We talked about developing personal imagery in your work, thinking about the shapes and forms you're drawn to, that recur in your work and why, and consciously adding these to our fabrics.

A couple of Lisa's stamped fabrics really showing the depth of layering she's reached at this point.

A close-up of a fish stamp that Lisa carved.

Two of Susan's fabrics with stamped motifs, both with clear movement in the design.

Melanie's fabric showing all-over repeats of stamped imagery in several colors and shapes each.

Barbara chose to apply stamps very judiciously on these two pieces with fairly low contrast in her color choices, with beautiful results.

There are so many options for this layer, whether you choose to use a vastly different and contrasting color from your background layers for your stamped motifs, whether you choose to have the stamps become a subtle addition to previous layers, whether you choose to use more than one stamp in more than one color, and whether you choose to sparsely or heavily populate your fabric with imagery. Some things to take into consideration, besides the obvious one of the imagery itself, are the scale of the images, the relationship of the images with the forms and colors of previous layers, and how you might see yourself using the completed fabric (as a wholecloth background or cut up).

Next class - the finishing touches!

19 July 2007

Art Cloth Workshop - 2nd day/2nd layer

Today's class was all about texture. We added visual texture to the background pieces we painted last week using a variety of found objects. This piece was painted by Melanie with a feather duster - a vastly preferable use for it, if you ask me!

Some of Susan's pieces with layer two (texture) added

Some of the other things we used for painting texture were: plastic sheets; bubble wrap; sponges (synthetic and natural); egg cartons; toothbrushes; copper pot scrubbers; scrub brushes; leaves; screening (metal and plastic); a rolling pin covered with pom poms; chamois; foam marshmallows; and painter's tape.

Barbara's second layer

Since this layer is another background layer everybody was restrained and kept their color contrast to a minimum and their textures fairly subtle. Next week's layer can be loud, high-contrast and more focal, if desired. In the interest of creating fabric that is cohesive and isn't overwhelmingly busy, it is occasionally necessary to rein ourselves in a tad, and to leave spaces for what is to come.

A few of Melanie's pieces with texture

Next week we'll add a layer of stamped and printed symbols and icons to all of our fabric. We'll be carving and making our own stamps to reflect personal symbology. We may choose to use deep hidden meaning or shallow obvious meaning - depending on how we feel. Stamps can be large or small, complex or simple, organic or geometric. Stay tuned...

Lisa's fabric with the second layer added

12 July 2007

Art Cloth Workshop

Today was the first of four days for my Art Cloth Workshop at the Country Quilter. We begin by creating backgrounds using Setacolor paints. The following weeks will add layers of color and texture with acrylic paint, hand-carved stamps, found objects, printing and transfers to these fabrics.

And here is a very small sampling of the results from this first day.

Barbara created some landscape and floral backgrounds, as well as great patterns with a syringe. When the small rocks were removed from the floral piece, they had sunprinted rather nicely on the fabric.

Melanie experimented with folded fabric and dry vs wet brush and fabric techniques. She achieved fantastic striations and patterning on many of her pieces.

Lisa used strong contrast on some freehand-painted pieces, then channeled Jackson Pollock on some drip/spatter backgrounds and also tried out sea salt effects. These are terrific by themselves, but will make great starting points on which to add more design.

Susan's fabric is vibrant and flowing, and included a foray into sunprinting.

A new post next week will show the fabrics with a layer of visual texture added with acrylic paints.

A few of the pieces laid out in the sun to dry early in the day. We couldn't have asked for better weather.

Glorious floral inspiration in the shop gardens, with many dragonflies stopping by to see what we were doing.

04 July 2007

Inspiration from unexpected sources

just one thing 8" x 8"

Inspiration can come from unusual directions - a color combination, a concept, a societal issue, a song, a word or phrase may be fascinating and compelling enough to inspire a work of art or a series of works. One thing I've been thinking a lot about recently is climate change. I've been working on a series using beetles to represent the effects of global warming on nature and her creatures. Carl Sagan, one of my childhood heroes, used to say that the only living thing that had a chance of surviving a nuclear holocaust would be a cockroach.

Beetles are more appealing to me, yet symbolize that tenacity of existence that Sagan alludes to with their hard shells, their armored protection against predation and assault. At the same time there is something innately fragile about a beetle's carapace, so easily crushed by force, so vulnerable to chemicals and toxins. The earth itself is, like the beetle, a juxtaposition, strong and fragile, enduring and in jeopardy.

The overall series on climate change is entitled Caída Libre, "free fall" in Spanish. I've made pieces as large as 9" x 12" in this series and as small as 1.5" square. More of these tiny pieces are shown here. There's something in the air, because Terry Grant has been working on itty, bitty art too.

My husband, Carlos, is an oil painter and it's energizing to live and work in close contact with another artist - especially one working in another medium. His sources of inspiration are as varied and interesting as anyone I've ever known. The vast majority of his work is abstract. He works large (especially compared to me!), often 5 feet by 7 feet or greater, and with a heavy impasto. His current series is inspired by photographs of fancy chickens. The forms, shapes, colors and textures found in poultry is an admittedly unlikely thing to inspire a whole series of giant, abstract paintings, but there it is. I don't think it's necessary that the viewer know an artist's source of inspiration, but it can definitely add something to the experience.