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.