26 December 2009

Art Quilt Studio Workshops

Four new workshops offered this Winter in Fairfield County, Connecticut. Treat yourself to a relaxing, educational and artistic day. Class sizes are limited, so don't delay!

Playing with Paint
Learn a wide assortment of ways to apply acrylic paint to create unique and original fabric and effects. A great introduction to Jane's new book, coming in January, 2010.

Thursday January 28 or Wednesday March 17
10 am - 4 pm $75.00

Surface Design Sampler
Come to play with a large variety of materials and supplies - paintstiks, neocolor pastels, assorted inks, mediums, paints, stamp pads, glitter, foil, smooch, angelina fibers and films, and more.

Thursday February 4 or Saturday March 20
10 am - 4 pm $95.00
most supplies included in the class fee

Introduction to Image Transfers
Learn direct and indirect transfer methods to add images to your projects. TAP, acrylic paint and medium transfers, and direct printing on a variety of fabrics and surfaces will be covered.

Saturday January 23, Wednesday February 10 or Thursday March 11
10 am - 2 pm $75.00
most supplies included in the class fee

Sketches from Nature
Create a free-motion thread sketch and then apply acrylic ink to complete a small quilt with a hand-drawn and hand-painted watercolor effect.
Wednesday January 20 or Saturday February 13
10 am - 4pm $75.00

Workshops are held in Fairfield County, Connecticut with a limited class size for individual attention. For more information email me at info @ janedavila (dot) com

Live Chat

I hope you can join me for a live chat on Susan Sorrell's Fiber Art/Mixed Media site tomorrow, Sunday December 27 at 5PM EST (22:00 GMT) where we'll discuss Art Quilts at Play, the second book I wrote with Elin Waterston, and other fun artful things!

24 December 2009

A Surface Design give-away

Head on over to the C&T Publishing blog and leave a comment on this post. They will be picking one lucky winner on the 29th for a copy of my brand-spanking-new book, Surface Design Essentials, and a kit of surface design goodies.

Good luck!

24 November 2009

AED - rediscovery

While cleaning my studio yesterday, I found some photos of earlier work. While technically not new work created this month, I haven't seen these in so long that they look new to me, lol, and I know that none of you have seen them! It's a little frightening to think that I made these over 20 years ago. Yikes.

I used to work exclusively in paper, mainly printmaking, but also casting paper.

These are part of a series of hand-colored paper casts and they're BIG (for me anyway), about 22" x 30".

My daughter told me recently that one of her strongest childhood smell memories is of paper pulp. Could be worse!

22 November 2009

AED - reboot

So now that I'm getting over the over-thinking and subsequent self-sabotage from a week ago, I'm back to posting again. And no longer worried about the relative importance of the output, just the doing.

A fun little collage with a fun little Indonesian stamp I picked up on a jaunt today that also included a Wolf Kahn exhibit and excellent chocolate gelato (not all at the same time).

15 November 2009

AED - collages

Okay, here on the 15th day of this project it's time for a little self-evaluation. Notwithstanding the fact that I've missed a couple of days (argh), I'm now struggling with an internal debate of "trivial" vs "important". Although I have created art since the beginning of the month, I do feel like nearly everything I've made is fairly trivial. I may be overthinking things (quel surprise), but it's bugging me and I'm going to try something different.

Soooooo, saying that, here is the first step of a series of collages. I'm working on 8" x 10" bristol board with a mixture of Liquitex fluid medium and acrylic paint.

I'm not sure whether I'll work on one at a time until it's done or on one layer on all of them at once - I guess I'll have to see what tomorrow brings!

If you're doing the AEDM project, how do you feel about your progress so far?

13 November 2009

AED - gifts

The stomach bug that I haven't been able to shake since mid-October knocked me out again yesterday and I missed making art and posting. Grrr. Today I worked on some fun, pretty bracelets so I can start populating my Etsy store again, just in time for the holidays.

I also did some writing today and plan on a lot more of that tomorrow. I honestly feel like, if the days were longer or the business work shorter, that more art would be happening. It's certainly not from a lack of ideas, although the disastrous mess in my studio is certainly hampering my enthusiasm at the moment. Can cleaning/orgainzing/sorting/putting-away count as creativity?

11 November 2009

AED - pile o' postcards

Today I finished up a pile of postcards that's been mostly done for a couple of weeks now. Finally. Tomorrow they go out in the mail. Finally.

10 November 2009

AED - backgrounds

Background layers for Artist Trading Cards. Yummy.

09 November 2009

AED - photo effects

Today was a paperwork catch-up day (still not caught up, but a dent was made). My creativity consisted of playing with a fun application on my iPhone. Have I mentioned how much I adore my iPhone? Love, love, love it. The app is called ToyCamera and it has a variety of cool effects that you can apply to photos snapped on your phone.

What's your favorite creative app?

08 November 2009

AED - impatient stamping

Today I learned what happens if you don't wait for your background to dry before you stamp on top of it.

The stamped images blur and sink into the damp background. This is useful information for those times when that is the effect I'm seeking, as well as a beneficial learning experience. And I did wait until everything was completely dry before I transfered the bee.

Good thing this project is Art Every Day and not Successful Art Every Day...

Surface Design Essentials

I'm so excited to show you a sneak peak of my newest book. Surface Design Essentials will hit the stores in January 2010!

A smaller format book with a covered spiral binding, Surface Design Essentials explores the use of acrylic paints, mediums, acrylic inks and water soluble pencils on fabric and some unusual, mixed-media surfaces. In addition to the 15 techniques covered, there are 7 projects to help you get started playing and creating. I think it will be a handy reference tool for any artist working with paints, inks and mediums.

Some of my very favorite artists generously contributed work for the gallery section of the book. You're going to love to see what they've created!

Judy Coates Perez
Virginia Spiegel
Terry Grant
Jane LaFazio
Natalya Aikens
Elin Waterston
and Lynn Koolish

The book will be available in bookstores and quilt stores worldwide in mid-January. If you'd like to order an autographed copy, please contact me.

Paired with the release of this book will be C&T and Liquitex's new Surface Design Center to quilt shops near you. The Surface Design Center features:

24 Liquitex Soft Body Acrylic colors
4 Liquitex Professional Acrylic Ink colors
Liquitex Fabric Medium
Liquitex Matte Gel Medium
& Winsor & Newton Brushes

I had the great pleasure to be in on the development of this center and it was so much fun to test out the products and give input as to what art quilters and mixed-media artists would find most valuable and useful in it. We debuted the center at Quilt Festival in Houston last month and invited everyone walking by to sit and paint and play with the mediums. We had such a fantastic response!

I'm delighted that it will be much easier for art quilters to find these products in their local quilt stores. I'm equally delighted that this means that more and more people will be experimenting with making art quilts and trying things they haven't yet tried. The Force is strong in those of us who play with paint and we welcome more people to join us!!

06 November 2009

AED - creative in other ways

Today I was vending at the Brownstone Quilters Guild show in Allendale NJ and my creativity for the day involved setting up my booth. The show was open for 10 hours today and with the commute back and forth it didn't leave any other time for art. Believe me, it took plenty of creativity to get all that fun stuff in the booth, displayed attractively and appealingly!

05 November 2009

AED - more sketching

Another thread sketch awaiting ink. Creative, but quick today...

04 November 2009

AED - screenprinting

Why yes, that is a plaster fish head on my kitchen counter.

Today was much more about process than a finished project. I was working on fabric postcards - I snapped this photo just before I screenprinted some insects onto the painted and stamped backgrounds.

And I did pack the car rather creatively in preparation for vending at the Brownstone Quilter's Guild show in Allendale, NJ this weekend.

03 November 2009

AED - sketching

When I was in Houston for International Quilt Festival demonstrating in the Open Studios of the Make It University section of the show, I started some thread sketches. I worked on a few of them today.

First I doodle on a sandwich of fabric and thin batting with a sewing machine and black thread to give the impression of a pen and ink drawing.

Then I add a diluted mix of Liquitex liquid acrylic inks to achieve a watercolor paint effect.

I play this weird game where I try to make the thread sketch with one continuous line of stitching - one start, one stop.

Sort of like doing a drawing and not lifting your pencil off the paper.

Since I'm so bad at regular watercolor painting on paper, I'm surprised at how much I like these and how much they look like I wanted them to look.

Okay, except for that one, which needs more pressing...

02 November 2009

AED - Day Two

Day two of Art Every Day Month - and no, I won't be putting a number on each of these pieces *big grin*. There just happened to be a postage stamp, the perfect color and size, in my collection that had a 2 on it. Or my subconscious is really pushy...

This one is ATC-sized (2.5" x 3.5") and the base is Strathmore paper with a canvas texture. You won't believe the HUGE mess I made making this tiny thing! My studio is such a disaster right now that I've been reduced to putting a cutting mat on the floor and slicing and dicing on my hands and knees. And my camera got lost less than five minutes after I set it down and took me fifteen to find again. Ugh. I need a couple of days to devote to sorting and cleaning and organizing. Maybe next week...

01 November 2009

Art Every Day Kick-off

I've been struggling lately trying to chisel out enough time for art. Almost everything I've made for the last yearish has been for a Purpose - for a book, magazine, class or some other obligation. I heard about the Art Every Day Month project on Twitter from Fi Bowman and immediately signed up. The "rules" are very loose and, in keeping with that, I'm not adding anything to it. As long as I've created something every day in November, I'm good. Some days it could be an interesting photograph, some days it might be a small collage, who knows? I'm open to anything and happy to be creating.

Today's entry is a 1.5" square collage on illustration board with fabric, paper, watch gears, stamping, and painting. Whee! Art for no reason at all. Fun!

PS: I used a scrap of newspaper from India in the collage. If anyone knows what it says, please let me know!

16 September 2009

4" square challenge

I showed you the beginnings of my 4" square challenge pieces here and now that the art is swapped I can reveal more of the process and the finished results.

After I had fused on the prepared-for-dyeing fabric to the 4" squares of fast2fuse interfacing, I applied a wash of acrylic paint diluted with water, mixing colors as I went.

Even after they dried they were a little too bright for me so I added another wash over all of them, this time in a diluted off-white color.

Then I added pattern with designs from stamps I made, applied with more of the off-white color, undiluted this time.

And finally, I screen-printed thermofax images of insects with black acrylic paint randomly to each of the squares. After the paint was dry, I trimmed the squares and topstitched around the edges. I added labels on the back and headed off to the meeting for the grand swap. 28 artists traded 4" squares and a good time was had by all! I found a cool box (meant to store ATCs) that I need to alter to store them all in.

At the meeting it was really interesting to hear how varied all of our approaches to this project were. Some people started out planning to make 29 similar pieces and got bored after 10 so switched to making groups of similar pieces. A few people began intentionally by making definite groups. Several people made all completely different pieces, some within themes, and some not. A couple of people made large backgrounds and cut them down into 4" squares and proceeded with more design. There were a lot of different edge-finishing techniques. Many people chose to work entirely or mostly by hand due to the project's portability. So many different ways to get to the same place!

I find that the assembly-line process works best for me, as you can see from my pictures above. As a printmaker, I'm used to work in editions and this is very much the same thing - all originals, but absolutely an edition or series.

Of course, as soon as we had swapped and discussed and admired, we jumped right into a new challenge - stay tuned!

13 September 2009

Website Re-Design

I finally have Carlos' website re-designed and updated. What's that saying about the shoemaker's children? It definitely applies here...

We spent quite a bit time with the new camera shooting and re-shooting all of his paintings and then getting the photos ready for print and web. There are still a few early prints to shoot and more older photos of sculpture to scan, but all of the current work is up and ready for viewing.

Please let me know what you think!

08 September 2009

24 years ago today

...my favorite child arrived here on earth. Happy, happy birthday, baby. Nothing will ever surpass the moment when I first saw her and held her in my arms. I can't believe it's been 24 years. I feel like I was 24 just yesterday. Or last week. It's been an amazing adventure so far.

This may be my most favorite photo of the two of us together. She was about 7 months old and I had just turned 22. Carlos and I had space in an old schoolhouse converted into artist studios. I printed my intaglios nearly everyday with her in that backpack, singing to me and peeking over my shoulder to see the colors I was rolling out on the table.

I used the paper that I block-printed yesterday to wrap her presents. The cupcakes just came out of the oven and are awaiting frosting and decorating. Tonight we celebrate!

07 September 2009

Gettin' messy

Today was a rare free day in the studio with nothing more pressing to work on than some 4" squares for a swap for my art group on Thursday evening.

First though, I played with printing on big sheets of white paper. Anyone who knows me knows how "all out" I go when wrapping presents. I love to use beautiful paper, make unique gift tags and add sumptious, funky or unusual ribbons. A special someone has a birthday coming up this week and I couldn't resist making my own wrapping paper this time. I used stamps that I had made and acrylic paint to print designs all over the paper. Delicious! Wouldn't this make a pretty fabric?

That done and drying, I started on the 4" squares. I can't show you how far I've gotten but I can say that I'm using some of the same layering techniques that I used on my bricolages, on fabric this time. Here's my assembly line all set up and ready for the first painting step.

I realized AFTER I had cut all of the fast2fuse squares and ironed on all the little pieces of fabric that I could have ironed a big piece of fabric to a big piece of fast2fuse, painted it and then cut it into 4" squares. Oy.

An intrepid group of about 35 art quilters and fiber artists meets each month and we discuss all sorts of topics of professional interest to artists, we have challenges and creativity prompts, we mount a group exhibit, and we learn from each other and laugh a lot. Over the summer 29 of us have been working on 4" squares to trade with each other. We agreed to keep our work secret until the due date and after everything's swapped on Thursday night we can all reveal the art on our blogs, Facebook and websites. I'm so looking forward to seeing what everyone else has made!

Based on a few of my fellow swappers' blogs (Melanie has help with hers, scroll down to the bottom here) and Facebook status updates (I'm looking at you, Natalya and Vivien, lol!), I'm not the only one working on these today...

05 September 2009

As seen in...

Back to blogging after a month plagued with computer problems and too-much-to-do-itis. But back, so that's what counts, right?

I have three projects in the new Cupcakes! book by Lynn Koolish for C&T Publishing. This is a fun book full of all sorts of ideas and recipes for that hottest of confectionary treats - cupcakes, so trendy and so tasty. Yum!

I also am delighted to be a contributor again this year to the Quilting Arts Gifts special issue. I made fast, easy and gorgeous "sugared" pears with fabric and glitter. This issue is jam-packed (get it?) with fantastic ideas for the holidays and more.

And hopefully you've been reading the "Minding Your Business" column I've been writing for each issue of Quilting Arts magazine. I enjoy writing those tremendously and if there's a topic you'd like to see tackled, please drop me a note.

20 July 2009

Walking on sunshine!

Today was a good day to do some sunprinting in the backyard. I set myself up on a corner of the deck and went to town with acrylic paint and pfd cotton.

The sky was clear, the sun was warm and bright, and the leaf prints were crisp.

Delicious colors and patterns. I chose to make more intense colors this go round, usually I make very washed pale backgrounds. Sun printing is fast, fun, easy and looks spectacular.

I don't like to wear gloves and for this reason especially try extremely hard to avoid any toxic or harmful chemicals - which is why I love to work with acrylics. And almost all of this washed off with a little soap when I was done.

A lovely way to spend the afternoon!

11 July 2009

Bricolages - part deux

The bricolage assemblages are done! I'm not certain what they "mean" or what they're "saying" yet. I tend to work very subconsciously and all of that needs to filter up before I can figure it out.

I made small shelves with balsa wood, painted them and then distressed them before attaching them to the illustration board. I used both glue and small screws to attach the shelves.

I auditioned a number of found objects for the shelves. In the end I used found chess pieces that I bought from Judy Gula in Houston last year.

The empty morphine vials came from a Facebook friend's etsy store.

The cardboard letters and vintage Japanese card came from another Facebook friend's etsy store. Etsy is the best. So is Facebook.

It's very tricky to photograph framed art because of the reflections on the glass and harder still to photograph shadow boxes because of the depth of the frames and the shadows they throw. These difficulties were compounded by having to use just one photoflood, since the other blew during a marathon photo shoot recently. B&H will be delivering new bulbs on Tuesday, so I'll set up and shoot again next week.