Friday, August 22, 2014

Anniversary Gifts

Jeff and I celebrated our 22nd anniversary earlier this month. He's really tough to buy for and we generally prefer to spend money on nice dinners, or travel or special things for our home... but I wanted to make something for him.

So this is what I came up with...

Fun, right? It's "folded book art." I ordered the patterns from FoldedBookArt. Actually, the heart is a 99 cent try-out pattern from the same company on Etsy. It gives you an idea of the craft. Once I made the heart, I thought I'd give the buddha a try. 

The pattern is specially populated with page numbers depending on the length of the book you have, so that the design falls in the center of the spread of pages. Here I'm following the pattern from my iPad, measuring and marking each page for the folds. (A bit tedious.)

Here you can see the buddha is mostly finished. There is a section of unfolded pages on the left.

Since this was an anniversary gift, I wanted to books to relate to marriage in some way. Here's what I found at the Goodwill.

Jeff has a small collection of buddhas lined up on the ledge of the shower in our bathroom.

Is it a little tough to identify?

The pattern was probably loosely based on a silhouette like this one. Can you see it now? Kinda?

After a bit of research, I learned this is the Calling the Earth to Witness pose and is most commonly found in Thai temples. Maybe for our 25th anniversary we should go visit them!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

This and That

Just a few snapshots...

Our neighborhood backs up to a ranch that has cows, horses, llamas and lots of geese. I was driving past one day and spotted one of the llamas in the pond! Can you see him? It's hot in Texas! I don't blame him.

Another interesting animal spotted right in our back yard!

And this precious little creature. We had our annual art swap at Dallas Area Fiber Artists last month and I received this beautiful needle felted teddy bear!

If you follow me on Facebook, you know that Claire and Benjamin recently earned their black belts in taekwondo. One of the things they regularly work on is breaking boards. We went to Home Depot recently to restock their supplies. Claire breaks 11 inch boards and Benjamin breaks 9 inch boards.

Maybe next time I show you a picture of the big stack of broken boards we have in the garage. What to do with them?!

Check out the community garden plots in our neighborhood. I love walking through this beautiful little oasis just down the street from our house.

One of Claire's teachers's is building a "little free library" for their high school. I donated a bunch of books.
These are all from the Goodwill where paperbacks are only 69 cents! I chose only books that I've read and really enjoyed and I thought highschoolers might enjoy. What a bargain!

I've been to two nice restaurants lately where the sinks in the restrooms were filled with ice. Odd, right?

Hello from Lincoln!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Creating Fabric Collages with Lynn Krawczyk's Stencils

I know you heard about Lynn Krawczyk's beautiful new set of stencils called "marked" from artistcellar! There was a fabulous blog hop including many wonderful artists who used the stencils in lots of creative ways! 

I'm excited to share how I used them too! Plus a give-away! Just scroll down and leave a comment to win the set of four stencils.
I decided to play exclusively with sheer fabrics. So, I pulled out tulle, cheesecloth, organza and chiffon in a variety of colors. (By the way, I love Lynn's signature on the packaging of the stencils.)

Here are two of the stencils laying on two different fabrics and the Adirondack color wash ink...

that I sprayed over them.

The chiffon bled a bit, but created an interesting look. I love the speckle you get with a spray.

Next I used acrylic paint and my beloved spouncer tool.

Check this out! So ethereal and subtle! This is very light blue paint stenciled onto navy blue tulle.

This is a reverse print. First I dabbed paint through the stencil, then I flipped it over and pressed it onto the purple organza.

After an hour or so of painting, spraying, dabbing and printing, I had this collection of printed sheer fabric.

Now the fun part... actually this is just more fun! I began cutting and arranging pieces to create a small fabric collage. I added some solid fabrics as the base.

Eventually, I ended up with these two designs. I machine stitched curvy arched lines over the top and trimmed them.

Another fun part: hand stitching!
Can you see the stenciled pattern on the blue organza. I really love these shapes!

Here is a bit of the cross shaped stencil with machine and hand stitching.

I call this stencil macaroni, but its official name is "commas." This is that reverse print you saw earlier.

Here is a bit that was created with the spray ink. The best part of creating a collage with layers is seeing how those blue shapes look different as they sit over the lavender and then transition to sitting over the blue base fabrics.

Finished pieces...
Concordance, 6x6 inches

Alliance, 6x6 inches

I mounted both pieces on stretched canvas and painted the edges. Here they are hanging. Isn't it fun to see them in a real setting!?

Stencils are a great addition to my studio. I love the ability to create original fabrics in unique ways with stencils, then pair them with other printed and solid fabrics to create collages that have depth, detail and interest.

Let me know how you would use the stencils in a comment and I'll pick one random comment to receive Lynn's set of stencils. You have one week to comment. I announce the winner on Wednesday, August 20. But if you must have them now now now... check out the amazing collection at artistcellar. Lynn's are there, plus lots of other stencils by other fabulous designers.

Friday, August 01, 2014

Indigo Garden

I am thrilled to share images of my quilt Indigo Garden! It's 40x15" and is a part of the fabulous art quilt exhibit Living Colour which premiered at Australia Quilt Convention in April. 

You can see some photos of the premier on the Living Colour blog.

Here's a long shot of the exhibit. It's along that back wall and you can get a sense of the beautiful flow of colors across the spectrum.

My friend Brenda Smith (and fellow Twelve) organized and curated this exhibit. She's created a stunning website with images of all the quilts and lots of info about the artists and the exhibit schedule. There's also a catalog.

I started this quilt with just two bits of inspiration... this striped fabric and the idea of botanical shapes.

Here are some sweet little embroidered leaf pods and a bit of the free motion quilted leaves.

I created a freezer paper stencil to paint the large willowy branch. The green pattern at the bottom is stamped with a wooden hand carved tjap.

 More tiny stitched botanical bits.

Another shot from the exhibit showing the progression from the blues into the multicolored works. My quilt is second from the left.

I am thrilled that the Living Colour exhibit will visit the US on the American Quilters Society tour of shows in Grand Rapids, Chattanooga and Des Moines. Dates and details here

Monday, July 28, 2014

Art Tour Blog Hop

Last month my friend Natalya Aikens asked me to write a post as part of a wonderful art blog tour. It's a collection of questions answered by all kinds of artist bloggers. Really fun and inspiring stuff. You can read Natalya's post here and link back through her post to lots of other artists.

You can read Natalya's post, then click back through the blog hop to read about lots of other inspiring artists. I'm thrilled to join this long train of arty bloggers.

What am I working on?
I'm working on two projects. One is something entirely different. Actually, it's not *entirely* different. I'm using colors, techniques and motifs that I use regularly in my work, but the construction and format will be very different. I'm not feeling particularly confident about it at the moment, but it's a good experiment. It started with 50 3x3 inch squares of white felt.

I am also working on a companion piece for my recent art quilt titled Waning Crescent Meditation.

I cut out the silhouette shapes from the teal and the blue fabrics you can see here. So, I'm using those reverse shapes to create a second quilt. I'm only just beginning to gather fabrics and think about what motifs or symbols I may use.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I use many familiar symbols, shapes, colors, and stitched motifs in my work. Over the past few years, I've developed a recognizable style. So, it's not so much that my work is different from others. I use fabric and stitching the same way many other do in the art quilt world. It's just that my work is mine.

Why do I create what I do?
It's fun. I love fabric. I love combining fabric with stitching. I don't ever get tired of experimenting with layers and exploring how images and shapes can tell a story.

How does your creative process work?
I begin with a concept, often driven by a particular call for entry or opportunity to exhibit my work. Then I gather fabric and compose the design. Sometimes this comes easily, sometimes it's arduous. Then I fuse all the pieces together and begin to add details with stitching by hand and by machine. Quite often there are roadblocks along the way. It seems that every art quilt I've ever made has gone through an ugly stage. It may seem like the creative process gets derailed, but that's not the case at all. Those bumps are actually an important part of the process.

Thanks for reading!

Rayna Gilman posted her answers and lots of images of her beautiful work. Terry Grant will be posting next, so check her out next week.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Dallas Art District Outing

We had a super fun time Friday night! Benjamin was off at taekwondo camp, so Jeff, Claire and I ventured out to a restaurant in the Arts District that I've been wanting to try. Tei-An is always on the "best of Dallas" lists. It was great! The ramen is the house specialty, but I think I'd order more of the other small plates next time. Especially the white seaweed salad. (!!!) There is a classy rooftop patio that Claire and I explored after the meal.

Then we ventured to the Dallas Museum of Art for their Late Nights event that happens every third Friday. The Museum was full of activities and people! It's so exciting to see all kinds of people of all different ages and backgrounds, in groups, in pairs, in families crawling all over our beautiful museum.

There are tons of activities through the night, including this project in the Center for Creative Connections.

An image of a painting from the museum was printed out, cut into squares and then the squares were distributed to be recreated by museum guests. Then the painted squares were reassembled on the big bulletin board in the studio. Above: the state of the project when we came into the studio.

Here's Claire working on her square.

Here's my finished square and the small image I had to copy.

Here's the painting almost finished when we left.

 And here is the original hanging in the gallery. Such a super cool project!

Then we went on to the main event of the evening... a murder mystery game. Here's the outline of the body found in the China Gallery.

This huge event included actors placed all through the museum, dressed as various works of art, acting as suspects in the murder. We (and hundreds of other museum goers) explored the museum, met and interrogated the suspects and examined potential murder weapons, which were actual museum artifacts in cases in galleries throughout the whole museum. We were able to determine the location of the murder and the proper suspect, but we couldn't quite identify the proper weapon. But, it was so fun!

What a great way to get people deeply engaged in exploring the museum.

It was a beautiful night.