June 27, 2011

Embroidery While Blindfolded

Katherine Loomis and Terry Jarrard-Dimond had an interesting collaboration awhile ago about creating embroidery while blindfolded. This idea intrigued me and I decided to give it a try. Katherine and Terry spent 12 hours each stitching, while I spent around 6 hours on my piece. I may continue with it, you just never know.
I was taught that my stitching should look good from the front as well as the back. I had to let go of that thought, and I did. For me, the most difficult part was being blindfolded. I don't like things covering my head or face, so being completely submerged into darkness was difficult. Once I adjusted to my situation, I actually became very peaceful. Without sight, the rest of my senses heightened. Muscle memory kicked in and supplied me with the details that I needed. I couldn't see what the stitching looked like, and I didn't care, I liked the way it felt. Creating art, even while blindfolded, made me feel good, and I'm happy to know that I can enjoy creating no matter what happens to me.
Now I'm curious to try my hand at blindfolded painting. You never know, it could be fun!

June 24, 2011

More Tangled Threads

Here are the newest additions to the Tangled Threads series.
Each piece is hand stitched to a painted canvas. The top piece has french knots embroidered in the center circle. The bottom piece has many stitches radiating from inner circle. I really like the idea of adding subtle texture that will only be noticed once you get up close to the piece.Don't you love the way the threads blend together to make these beautiful colors?
These are are so much fun to make . . . I'm sure I'll be making some more soon.
Have you ever used your leftover tangled threads in a project? If you have, I would love to hear about it.

June 19, 2011

Colored Concrete

Wow, what a process this patio turned out to be. I didn't realize how labor intensive it was going to be.
The guys arrived at 7:00am to make sure everything was ready, and the concrete began pumping at 8:00. It took them about 2 hours to pump, and level the concrete; then the fun began.
The finisher drew the shapes of the stone with this high tech tool.
Yep, it's a twig tied onto a an aluminum pole. I love the ragged lines it made, but the guys following behind him made the lines deep and regular. They are going to chip some of the edges for me before they grout. Even though it is concrete, I want it to look as natural as possible.
I asked him to make stones of all sizes. A couple of times, I wanted smaller stones in a certain area; he would erase the existing lines and redraw them. What a nice guy!
The base color is sandstone, and on top, there are 5 different colors. At first, I was worried that this was going to be over the top, but they assured me that it would look natural. After color was sprinkled all over an area, it was covered with yellow sand. The final step was to take a texture stamp and tamp it into the wet concrete to make it look like stone.
By the time they left, all I could see was yellow sand with some ridges. They told me I could sweep an area away this morning to see what the color looked like. This is what I found.
It looks fabulous. Can you see the stone texture? On Wednesday, all the sand will be removed, and Saturday the joints will be grouted. So far, I'm thrilled . . . I just can't wait to see it all finished!

June 14, 2011


This Tangled Threads piece was made for my friend Kathy. She celebrated a significant birthday, and I felt she needed something special. She seemed to like it even though it was a month late. Unfortunately, that seems to be the story of my life lately . . . I'm always playing catch up. This back yard renovation is probably a good excuse for being late with everything. As you can see the patio is very close to being done. It curves along the full length of the house and wraps around one corner. I did 15 different designs in Illustrator before we settled on this patio shape. I think the curves are more interesting than straight lines, and it just felt right. Once I had a shape that I liked on paper, I tested the shape in real life. I drew it onto the ground with flour. Once I had it perfect. I marked the line with flags, and the contractor placed the bender board on the marked line.The concrete will be poured this coming Saturday. The base color will be sandstone and there will be flagstone shapes drawn into it. They will sprinkle 3 different colors on top. When it's dry, the cracks will get grouted and the whole thing will be sealed.

June 12, 2011

Art Exchange

Lucky me! I'm the proud owner of this wonderful felted masterpiece that Sandy made.
I fell in love with it when I saw it on her blog, and as it turns out she was willing to trade work with me. She didn't want to chose something, she wanted to be surprised. Well, the biggest surprise turned out to be that the package didn't want to be delivered. The first time I mailed it, I left one number out of the address, and it took a week to come back to me. I mailed it again using Priority Mail, which was supposed to take 2-3 days, but 1-1/2 weeks passed and neither of us received it. Just when I thought I would have to replace it, the mailman delivered it to Sandy. Yeah!!!
Here's the adventurous piece that survived the journey . . .twice.
And this is what it's made from, tangled threads that come off washed fabric ends. I added 4 or 5 saturated strips of fabric for some extra zing, and a backing fabric, other than that it's tangled threads.

June 5, 2011

Rain in June?

I can't quite figure out what is happening with the weather . . . it's been raining here for two days! I know that sounds normal to some of you, but, I've never seen it rain in June in the 30+ years I've lived here. Generally, it pours between December-March, and that's it for the year. This time of the year, we have June Gloom . . . heavy fog that burns off by noon. There seems to be a lot of strange things happening worldwide . . . it really makes you stop and think, doesn't it?
Our back yard is still a work in progress but we're getting very close. After 15 drawings in Illustrator, we've finally decided on a design for the patio. It will be a free-form, L-shaped patio with and a couple of cutouts against the house for plants. It will be colored and stamped concrete, that will look like flagstone. Once dry, we'll grout the low areas so it looks even more like stone. We chose a contractor and now we just have to get the irrigation done.
We've been trying to recycle/reuse as many plants and materials as possible. These large patio pavers have a new home under my potting bench and under the trash cans. Each one weighs about 400 pounds and was very difficult to move.
The old concrete path has been removed and is ready for the new patio and path. A cutout in the patio will be made for the angel trumpet tree on the right.
I'm still exercising quite a bit, and have lost 14 pounds. At first, I was exhausted from all the exercise, and didn't have much energy left for other interests, but it's getting easier now, and I'm back in the studio making art. Yeah!
This will give you an idea of what I'm working on. These are made from the knotted ends of washed fabric. They will look different once they are stitched together and mounted onto the painted canvas.
I'll share a couple other pieces made with the same materials in next post. I'm just about ready to applique my hormones onto the background.
Progress in several areas is underway!