March 31, 2009

A Creative Weekend

I love the weekends. I usually get some free time to spend with my fiber friends, but this weekend was all play and not much work.
Fibervision had their monthly meeting on Saturday. The business meeting was pretty quick for a change. We had art talk, show & tell, a quick lunch and bead shopping at a store that is going out of business. I can understand why it's going out of business . . . this store has been open for one year, directly across the street from where we hold our meeting, and none of us ever knew it existed. Huh? How can that be? I saw a going out of business sale on Craigslist, so 12 of us piled into the shop. I'm sure she was as surprised as we were!

Here's my haul . . . there's several types of glass beads, a fused glass pendant, a cross section of some type of nut, semi-precious stone beads, copper bells and some funky happy face beads. How's that for an eclectic assortment?After the shopping, Lucilla led a fun workshop making a collage out of photos and text from magazines. It was a round robin format with only 2-1/2 minutes to work on each collage before it was passed on.

On Sunday, I went with three friends to the Glendale Quilt Show. I'm sure you're not too surprised that I found some items that I just had to purchase.This book really grabbed my attention and begged to come home with me. It has some interesting techniques that I hope to incorporate into one of my upcoming challenges. And look at these beautiful soy fibers. Silk fusion is a technique that I've been wanting to try for a while. One of the vendors had a kit that contained the silk fibers, textile medium and instructions. Her instruction said that The Ultimate glue works well for heavy duty uses, so I decided to buy a bottle and give it a try.

After the quilt show and lunch, it was onto a SAQA meeting in Brentwood (LA). It's the first informal meeting of this type that I've been to; but plans are underway to have one each quarter. It was a fun afternoon spent with some very talented artists. Lucky me!

March 21, 2009

Art Technique Fat Book

As promised, here are a few photos of my Art Technique fat book trade. The only technique rule was to use recycled or cheap household items. Originally, there were 120 participants, but a couple people didn't follow through with the commitment. I was quite impressed, it's difficult to get 118 people to do anything!
Personally, I think there are way too many pages to be a traditional book, so I decided to punch two holes and use loose binder rings to hold them together. Somebody else in the group put her pages into a box.On the left, Pat Upton uses alcohol to do an inkjet transfer. On the right, Karen Swiech has a little book in a recycled net pocket that describes how to paint the surface and make the book.Theresa Ross shows different ways to use hardware store washers. They are really pretty and surprisingly heavy.

On the left, Kathy Swift shows how to dye and layer tissue paper that ends up looking like leather. On the right, Martha Rose Bonds demonstrates how to use aluminum cans for embellishment.

There are a wide variety of techniques ranging from Homemade Alcohol Inks to Recycled Wine Bottle Screwcap embellishments. Definitely something for everyone and a wonderful resource for years to come.

March 20, 2009

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

Just when you think you're done . . . SURPRISE . . . your main water line springs a leak! Fortunately, the leak was under the driveway, and you guessed it, under the newly planted garden. We had to dig up all the plants and dig a trench to the water valve, and decided to abandon the old water line. We dug a 60 foot trench that's 18 inches deep along the house, down the edge of the driveway, under the driveway, to the water valve and back up under the garden to the irrigation system. We discovered the leak on Tuesday. On Wednesday, it took 3 people six hours to dig the ditches. Thursday morning, the plumbers installed new pipes. Thursday evening we started refilling the ditches. I'm hoping that by Saturday, the plants will be back in the ground, the ditches will be filled and we'll be back to where we were a week ago. Sheesh!
Remember the Art Technique swap I told you about a couple of months ago? Well, I finally received my pages (if I remember correctly, 118 different techniques). They are amazing! I'm almost finished putting it together and will post some photos tomorrow.

March 18, 2009

More Thickened Dye Experiments

Here are the final two pieces I created during our Dye Day. I used another bath mat to create the repeating squares. It had a strong architectural feeling, so I decided to add to it with a thermofax of a building. At the moment, this is my favorite piece.
This piece was created by drawing lines across circles on a screen, letting it dry and then printing with different colors of dye. Do you like the circles on the white background? It seems like the contrast is too much, I think it may need to be overdyed.

March 15, 2009

Experiments with Thickened Dye

I had a really fun play day in Arroyo Grande with Andi and Rene. I love playing with friends as much now as I did when I was five! Playing . . . that's the perfect frame of mind, no expectations and lots of surprises. I finished five pieces of fabric, all but one are a fat half-yard; I'll share three of them with you today.This colorful piece uses a thermofax screen made from one of my photos, one of Rene's screens that have three squares, a screen of a splat, a BBQ pan with holes, and extruder drawn circles.I put a bath mat behind the silk screen and pulled yellow dye across the surface and let the screen dry. Once dry, I used clear paste for the first couple prints, then added turquoise dye.

I used a piece of construction fence behind the screen for this print. I wasn't happy with the way it was printing, the texture was very blotchy, probably because it was printed on canvas. Andi thought it looked like graffiti and suggested that I add writing. I put thickened dye into an extruder and added a layer of handwriting. I still don't like it much; it may need more layers.

Deconstructed screen printing is what Kerr Grabowski calls this technique. She has a DVD that explains all the steps. Both Rayna Gillman and Jane Dunnewold have instructions in their books.

I would love to hear from you if you've ever tried this. It's definitely a technique that is full of surprises. I really enjoy dyeing fabric a lot more than I ever expected. I think I'm going to have to buy some of my own.

March 11, 2009

Artist Trading Cards

For the first time in my life, I finished with an art project early! I stayed up late last Tuesday because I thought my ATC group met the following Wednesday, and of course, I hadn't finished my cards. Ha! I was wrong. I had to wait a full week to trade.
Here's some of the cards I created. The top left is a photo printed on fabric with painted bits. The other three are all screen printed on fabric with a little bit of embellishment.
Here are some of the cards I received. Lucilla Warren created the one in the top row on the left. Below that is Madelaine Price who is 10 years old, and Mary Price (Madelaine's mom), has her card in the top row on the right. The bottom right card was made by Flavia Valle.
If you are a regular reader, you know that I belong to several online trading groups. They're fun, and I've received some beautiful items, but it just doesn't compare to meeting other artists face to face. If there aren't any groups in your area, maybe you could start one yourself. Our group is totally informal; we meet at the Good Cup Cafe and push some tables together. Anyone that shows up with cards can trade. If you want more info, send me an email.

March 10, 2009

Finished Quilt

Well, here are the long awaited photos of the waterlily quilt for Jean. I knew from the start that I was giving this quilt away, and was fine with it, but I've grown quite attached, and will be sad to see it go. Fortunately, I know where Jean lives and can visit the quilt!
It has hand-dyed, hand-painted and commercial fabric. Some of the leaves are 3-D and some are machine appliqued and of course, the waterlily is 3-D. The Chinese letters in the top left corner translate to "Peaceful".

March 3, 2009

Where does the Time Go?

It's hard to believe that two weeks have passed! The older I get, the faster time goes by!
I finished 120 samples of sun printing, complete with instructions and mailed those off. I can't wait to receive all the pages. It's going to be great! Jean loved the exchange quilt I made for her, and I love the one she made for me. I still need to take photos of both. I just finished some ATC's for my group tomorrow, but they are still very wet. Next post!
The front section of our house is finally coming to an end. Mulch has been added and the irrigation is on, but they really don't need much because they are drought tolerant. Mike has a few things to finish, but I've moved on to another area.

Here's a close-up of one of the plants. This is a "Razzleberry" Loropedlum. Some of the other plants are Lions Tail, Red Hot Poker, Flax, Angel Trumpet, Blue Agave and Blue Fescue.
Here's a cool cactus that I bought for my daughter. The cactus is soft and squishy.When you pick up the cactus, you find the pen. Pretty cool, huh? I couldn't resist, it made me smile. I hope it makes my daughter smile, too.