February 19, 2012

Painting, Painting, and MORE Painting

This was an experiment. I managed to change the look of the fabric, but I don't think it was necessarily an improvement.
It started with a piece of dyed fabric that had some type of Chinese characters stamped on it. I didn't create the fabric and I didn't care for it. I wanted to improve it with some layers of paint.
I pinned the fabric to my print board, and wrapped ribbon around the pins to create a grid of sorts. I screen-printed the large circles using a Photo EZ screen, and stamped the smaller circles. The ugly background fabric continued to show through.
Once the paint was dry, I removed the ribbon to see if the ribbon resist created much of an impact. It's noticeable, but not too impressive. Oh well! Sometimes, the best lessons are learned when the experiment doesn't go as planned. Some things can't/shouldn't be saved.
Fortunately, the next painting project is an improvement. As you can see, progress was made on the patio covers. Looks nice and neat, doesn't it? Unfortunately, it didn't last very long.
This is what it looks like today. A mess! These 2" x 2" pieces of wood need a layer of primer, then 2 layers of red paint. There are 4 tables full of these wood pieces, that's over 120 pieces that need 3 coats of paint! Sheesh, we spent all weekend painting and still need to spend one more day to finish the painting. By the time we finish, we'll have two nice shady areas on the patio. We definitely need somewhere to escape from the CA sun.

January 31, 2012

Current Distractions

Here we go again . . . more backyard fun, and work. I'm not sure what to call this pile of wood. Pagoda sounds much too elaborate. I'm not sure if we can call it a trellis because it won't be supporting vines. And a patio cover sounds pretty boring. Whatever you want to call it, we're building two of them. It'll be great to have some shade in the back yard. I'll be able to set up tables and paint for hours, instead of minutes.
It seems like I find great line and texture everywhere I look. I couldn't resist capturing the cross grain of this stack of wood. Here's a peak at some pieces I recently added to my design wall. I bought an Epson printer, and am having fun manipulating photos, and printing my own fabric. Not quite sure where it's going yet, but it's evolving. Stay tuned.

January 24, 2012

Hormones Revisited

Looking back through my blog posts, I realized that I never showed you the finished "Inside Out: Hormones" quilt. I wanted to wait until the special exhibit at PIQF opened. Unfortunately, many deadlines hit at the same time that required many hours of work. I made all the deadlines, but stopped blogging for a while. So now I'm going to backtrack and show you some of the work I finished during the time I was MIA.
Here they are, hormones in their hot flash mode! A fair amount of tulle was used throughout to force color changes. The whole section through the middle has a layer of tulle, and the circles are also cut from tulle. Some of the tulle is blue, some maroon. Some areas have very dense stitching and that created an uneven surface. It was a challenge to get it to lie flat, but I did it with careful stitching in strategic areas, and lots of steam! LOLHere's a detail shot where you can see the cheesecloth that I used to create the diagonal lines. I love the texture of cheesecloth, and it's so easy to mold into any shape you want. You should give it a try it next time you need a special texture.
I've made a lot of colorful work over the years, but this hormone piece may be the most intense colors I've ever used. I guess it was time for a change, time to work in calmer, cooler colors.
This piece is called Afterglow. The leaves and small circles are made from hand-painted silk. The large circle and the second leaf from the left is made entirely from salvaged thread clippings. I'm always pleased when I find some cool way to use materials that are generally thrown away.
The inspiration for this piece came from an aerial photo of Salt Lake City in the winter. The photo was very graphic, very black (roads) and white (snow). After 15 minutes of using the photo as a reference, I put it away and abstracted the design even more, then I added color. There was no plan, I let it evolve, and this is what happened.
These last two pieces (plus 60 others) are currently on exhibit at the Cabrillo Pavilion Arts Center in Santa Barbara through the end of January. It's a great facility that is used for many weddings and conventions.
With a view like this, it's easy to see why this facility is so popular. Stop by if you get a chance, you won't be disappointed.

January 17, 2012

Dryer Sheets and Tangled Threads

Everything is starting to get back to normal after the holidays. We've almost recovered from the nasty cold going around. All the kids have gone back to their respective homes across the country. The house has been cleaned, and my studio is calling my name.
I'm been having some fun combining tangled threads, bits of fabric, and dryer sheets. This piece was photographed before it was stitched and I forgot to take a photo afterwards. I turned it into a pencil bag that contained Inktense pencils and ATC canvas paper. It was a gift for my boss, the woman that owns almost everything. Every year, I come up with something handmade for her. She likes to draw and loved the pencils, so we'll see if she gets hooked on making ATC's.
Here's a postcard made with dryer sheets, and tangled threads. These are so much fun to make. I'm warning you though, they are addictive!
This is a postcard sized piece made entirely from tangled threads.
This piece has tangled threads, dryer sheets, and bits of fabric. Before it's stitched, it is really thick and difficult to get under the presser foot, but once you stitch it into submission, it is much thinner, probably the thickness of Timtex, and just as stiff.
Check out this fun Boa Scarf that I'm knitting. Isn't it a riot? Very organic, sort of like seaweed or octopus tentacles.

January 6, 2012

WACOM Tablet

If you haven't tried drawing with one of these tablets before, you should. It's a lot of fun! I've been drawing with a mouse using Illustrator for many years, so it wasn't a stretch for me to switch over. I actually found it much less intimidating to draw on the pad than trying to figure out Illustrator.
For my first attempt, I used a paintbrush in Photoshop and got fairly good results. The thickness of the line depends on the angle of the pen. I don't really like the way the line almost disappeared in some places. Because Photoshop is a pixel based program, it's not the ideal way to draw, but in a pinch, it works just fine.
My next drawing was created in Illustrator using a pencil tool. The pencil makes for a more precise drawing, but it looses the whimsical sketch feeling. The good thing about a vector based drawing program is that I can enlarge or shrink the drawing to any size I want, and not lose any quality at all. If you are interested in designing quilt patterns or creating fabric designs, this is the program to use (IMHO).
I can see myself playing with this a lot more in the future. There are so many possibilities.
If you use a tablet, I would love to hear what you are doing with it. Drop me a note.