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