Thursday, July 21, 2016

Jane Dunnewold Workshop

     Just returned from taking a class from Jane Dunnewold, Had a fabulous time, learned a lot,  and met some great women in Santa Barbara and Santa Ynez for Jane's lecture and workshop. I want to thank the lovely women of Fibervision for contacting Jane and making this lecture and workshop possible. As I said in my last post, I've been wanting to take a class from her for years, ever since I bought her book, Complex Cloth, published in 2009,  and she did not disappoint.  She was inspirational, knowledgable and caring. The class was held in one of the participant's wonderfully, well lit and equipped studio.

    Jane has out a new book, Creative Strength Training.The book is full of strategies to encourage you to take your art and yourself as an artist, to the next level. There are exercises to help you figure out what you want to do as well as strategies to help you better focus on getting the work done by tuning out the distractions. She's telling us to, "Go to your studio and get to work." Just as athletes have personal trainers to help them get stronger, this book will help you strengthen your creative art muscles. You can find out more about Jane and her new book on  her website.

In the workshop we created challenging color studies on paper and cloth, using only primaries, secondaries, white and black, as you can see below. Learning how to use your materials and tools as well as the elements of art and principles of design can only help to make those art muscles stronger so you can add them to your repertoire. If you get a chance to take a class from Ms. Dunnewold, I encourage you to do so. 

Below is a quick color study I did last night playing more with complementary colors in watercolor with rubbing alcohol drops and spatters to create texture.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Photos for Quilts

I organized and cropped more photos from my trip to Wisconsin.

I could see one or both of these turning into paintings or quilts.   The top one is of some beautiful coleus plants we saw on the south side of Milwaukee. Love those colors and patterns.

The photo below is of Mirror Lake in the Wisconsin Dells. My sister and brother-in-law took me out to dinner to Ishnala Supper Club, which is on the shores of this lake. Great food and beautiful scenery. After dinner we almost fell into the lake while standing on a wobbly pier.

Speaking of paintings, I'm very excited about going to Santa Barbara this week to attend a lecture and workshop by Jane Dunnewold.  I have wanted to take a class from her for years. Looking forward to learning more about color from her and hopefully will have something
 interesting to post from her workshop next week.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Back Home Again

Sorry it's been about a month since I last posted. I was in the midwest for a couple of weeks visiting family and friends, which was overdue and lots of fun. It's been 6 years since my last visit.  Besides that I've been taking care of cleaning up messes, both paperwork wise and house wise that were also overdue.  Still have more of that to do this week before I get a chance to play with my fabrics and dyes.

Picture of the Milwaukee skyline

Milwaukee Art Center (White building)

A Dale Chihuly Glass Sculpture,  "Isola di San Giacomo in Palude Chandelelier II", 
graces the front entrance of the museum. 

Sunday, June 12, 2016

California Drought and Our old Oak Tree

We woke up one morning this last week to discover a large part of one of our majestic old oak trees had split off  and was strewn over our property. We are in our 4th year of a terrible drought in California.  We took a closer look at some of our other trees, noticing cracks here and there as well. Time to call the Tree Guys. We're looking at $2400 worth of work to take down more major branches before they fall down and trim everything up.  Here's some photos.

You can see the rust colored part of the tree to the right and above the basketball hoop where the branch broke off. I'd say a quarter of the tree came down.

Other than dealing with that, school is out for the students
 and one last professional day for me Monday.  Yeah!!

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Hand Quilting and Symmetrical Design

Last weekend I started hand quilting my latest itajime quilt and am liking it a lot. It took awhile for me to figure out what to do.  To plan where to stitch, I lay clear plastic over the quilt and use a water-soluble marker to try out different designs until something clicks with me.

My students are creating some wonderful symmetrical pieces of art using a very cool multi-step process. It's a crayon etching technique but with a twist to it. You take a piece of paper and fold it in half. On the inside right side you use multiple light colors of pastel in a random design to fill the paper, making sure to rub in the powder. Next you put a random design of crayon over the top in dark colors really laying in a heavy, waxy coat of it.  Then you place a paper inside the folded piece so you can protect the crayon from transferring while you draw half of the design on the outside front from the fold out. When you are done with your half design, remove the protector paper from inside and take a pen pressing hard on all your positive lines and shapes.  The pressure will lift the crayon off the pastel, which acts like a release agent and the crayon will be deposited on the left half of the inside. On the right half will be the leftover crayon against a light pastel background.

Here are a couple of them.

Outside front half of design

Inside on the right is the  pastel with the leftover crayon. On the left is the crayon that transferred due to the pressure of the ink ballpoint pen used on the outside cover. Pretty cool, huh? Below is another great one by a different  student.

Outside Front


Sunday, May 29, 2016

Auditioning Thread for Latest Quilt

Yeah!! A three day weekend. Yesterday I went to Art in the Park in Morro Bay. Saw some wonderful art in a variety of media. Splurged on some  great fused glass earrings.

I recently went on a thread buying spree using up two Beverly gift cards given to me by my sons for Mother's Day and then some. So, I was spending some time 'auditioning' the new threads on my quilt. I'm especially liking the 12 weight Sulky Blends, which are pretty thick and I'm pretty sure I'll have to hand quilt it. The King Tut cotton thread Blends are really nice too. In some places I want the thread to show more than others, so having different weights will help.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Wearable Art

This is a dress I finished  Thursday at quilt circle.  I had about 1/2 yard or so of three beautiful Parisian collage type fabrics purchase some time ago that were calling to me to make something of them. Actually I could hardly close the drawer that held the fabric, so needed to use some of it up.  I wasn't interested in making a quilt, so I cut them up and sewed them together to create enough yardage from which to cut  out a pattern for a simple shift dress. I really like it.

Front is above and Back below

Some months ago I received an email from a company called VIDA, saying they had seen some my hand dyed fabrics and thought they would be appropriate for apparel.  All I would have to do is submit high resolution digital images and they would print them fabric, which would be sewn into scarves, blouses, dresses, etc.  Every quarter I would receive 10% what was sold.  They sell a variety of apparel ranging from $40 scarves to $95 dresses. They advertise themselves as a collaboration between designers and makers around the world. It sounded like someone's great start up business. They provide literacy programs to the people who make the garments in Karachi. Clothes are made to order rather than making 100's of items that may or may not sell. Sounded good to me.  So I sent them some images.  At least 3 times a week I was receiving emails from them about how I could buy my items at discount and then sell to my friends and family.  That is not at all what I wanted to do, nor would be comfortable doing.  Finally I did buy one of my designed tops at a decent price just to see what they were like. See below.

I liked it a lot but it took about 6 weeks to get.  I just couldn't imagine people wanting to wait that long for an item.  They apologized for the wait and gave me a $40 credit to use in their ready-made collection.  So I ordered a very cool scarf, only having to pay a minimal amount for shipping.  That arrived in a week.  After receiving that, I asked them to remove my info from their site.  I was really hoping they would do the promoting, the selling part but it didn't turn out that way. I enjoy making the art, but I hate the self-promotion, business part of selling. Which of course makes it impossible to sell much and make my art self-sustaining.  This is something I will need to, or maybe not, come to terms with if I want my creations to pay for themselves.