Recently, I stopped to pick a couple of wildflowers, because from a distance they are beautiful; then up close, they are unbelievable! There must be a thousand or more little tiny perfect flowers with four petals within this one massive flower with a single stem and no leaves. I brought them home and could not stop looking at them, then I thought, I've got to take pictures, because these aren't going to last forever--in come obsession...I must have photographed these flowers for an hour almost, shooting from every angle you can imagine! I couldn't help myself, and I kept thinking, "how can some people believe there is no God, when I'm holding in my hand living proof that there is...no one else could create something of beauty with this magnitude!" I love His handiwork, and I stop to admire it often! Simple things, like wildflowers, remind me of how precious I am to Him and how well I am taken care of! Of course, as I'm photographing and playing with them in Picasa 3 (not a bad little photo editor for free, I must say) floods of ideas and inspiration for art quilts streamed in....no telling where this may end up. Enjoy some of the photos I enjoyed if you'd like, and please, let me know what this is, if you know...
Then, I started playing with the Picasa elements to see what fun could be had with these little beauties...
I think these are pretty sophisticated for free software, looks very close to my Photoshop renderings. If you want to pick a wild flower and try this, get your free Picasa download HERE. This was tons of fun, send me your shots, I'd love to see what you do with it!
For a long time, I have thought that it would be wonderful to combine my work in counseling and my artistic work together to help people. Thanks to Elizabeth Furr, Art Director at the Old Rock School in Valdese, now I will be able to do that. I proposed the idea of a workshop using an exercise that I created to help people process grief, while they were creating an art quilt; graciously she has scheduled for me to lead this workshop on November 9th and 10th of this year. I've very excited to share this new concept, and feel that it will be beneficial for people who have experienced loss of any kind. A few years ago, I thought of the fact that the stages of grief could be compared in a symbolic way to the seasons of the year. A few months ago, as part of my own therapeutic work, I developed an art quilt and this concept entitled, "Seasons of Healing," to delve further into this idea and explore its usefulness in my work. Now, it's coming to fruition! I can't believe it, and I am so excited about it! I hope the participants of the workshop will find it helpful to work on this activity as well.
I'll share more info about my process and the workshop plans closer to November. Wish me luck...
I received word last night from the Valdese Heritage Arts Center Chairperson, Ms. Blaka Abee, that I have been juried into the co-op! Yayyyy!!!!! Now, I will need to start planning and getting things ready to set up my section of the gallery. I've also been asked to be part of a team to help plan and create a new website for the Center, and I'm excited to be a part of that as well. I feel honored to be accepted into this very esteemed group of accomplished artists! Thank you Valdese Heritage Arts Center!
Hope you'll check out my new "Shop" page on my website, just created this afternoon. I'm trying to make things easy for folks who would like to order something. Also added some buttons throughout the site to make contact and ordering custom work a breeze, and finally added a Facebook "Like" button, if you wouldn't mind stopping by any page to "Like" me.
I have been invited to present my artwork to the Valdese Heritage Arts Center in Valdese, NC, in order for the committee to decide whether or not to jury me in. So, I've been deciding what pieces to turn in, and making a couple of new pieces to make sure I have a variety of items to offer in the gallery. I was advised to turn in samples of "anything you think you might want to display here," so I am turning in some pieces using different mediums as well. Here are pictures of some of the newer pieces I created, and an old, sentimental and special little handbag that I created after my youngest son was born, still makes my eyes fill up when I look at it...
"Seed Pods and Shell" 8" x 10" I start this piece out by creating one digital image which incorporates two different images into one with Photoshop. I print one copy of the artistically manipulated photos onto cotton poplin (in the background) and another copy on silk organza (in the foreground) and mount them both to a stretcher frame, giving the two photos a holographic effect that you really can't appreciate in these pictures. Then I covered the wooden frame with a piece of upholstery fabric that I had screen printed metallic fabric paint through a thermofax screen with a crackle design.
Switching to another medium that I love--jewelry, I decided to finish this piece, which I started probably 5 months ago. I crocheted sterling silver 28 gauge wire, and included various shapes, sizes and colors of beads throughout the three strands. This is addictive! It's a simple chain stitch, if you can do that, you can do this. Added the clasp and the fun silver pendant at the end. It is so light to wear, you don't even know it's there, and it will go with anything.
I bought this adorable watch face at Michaels or AC Moore probably a year ago, and kept waiting to feel inspired to make a band to go with it. After I made the necklace, I knew I wanted a watch using the same technique, so here it is. The watch face had four holes drilled on each side, so I made each strand individually, then put them together and added the heart shaped toggle clasp to match. Very light and comfy to wear! I love the metallic beads, they're my favorites.
I was invited by the lovely Robin Bias, Art Educator and Art Department Chair at Patton High School this week to present a Shibori Workshop for her 16 students. I had an absolutely wonderful time! Ms. Bias and the students all made me feel right at home and very welcome! I think the students enjoyed their silk scarves and cotton bandanas very much. I have to say, I am most impressed with their goodies! If you want to learn more about Shibori, visit this page in my site. Here are the pictures from our workshop:
Even as I was entering this blog post, my husband brought in a "Thank You" note from the students and Ms. Bias, thanking me for visiting their classroom and sharing my knowledge with them. I have to say, the THANK YOU is all mine! I so much appreciated the opportunity to come and visit and share your time with you! It was a blessing for me! Thank you all so very much!! :)
I had a really comfy white shirt that I liked to wear a lot! One day, I looked down and saw an ugly stain of unknown origin. I immediately thought, "I think this shirt is 100% cotton and I could dye it," (light bulb over my head). Then I thought, I could do a neat Shibori technique, stitching and gathering, on it and turn it into a one of a kind piece of wearable art. So, here is how I did it...
First, I sketched some random leaf shapes with long, wavy stems with a light pencil. Then I hand stitched each part of the shape separately, this is important. Notice my stitches are uneven, that's okay, it really doesn't matter. I stitched the front and back of the shirt at the same time, so I have a design on the front and back of the shirt, you may choose to just do the front if you'd prefer.
It's important to use a strong, heavy weight of thread, because if the thread breaks, you'll have to restitch it. I've used double strands of a hand quilting thread, which works great. Another important tip is to begin and end your stitches on the same side of the shirt. In other words, if you come up from the bottom/back of the shirt for your first stitch, then go back down to the bottom/back with your last stitch, you thread must begin and end on the same side of the shirt. Also, leave a little tail long enough to make a knot hanging down on each section.
See my ugly stain! It's best to start on one side, right or left, and work your way to the other. Less @#*!!**& that way. Remember, stitch the leaf shape and the wavy stem separately, otherwise the design will not be distinct. Once you've stitched each section, pull the threads and bunch the fabric up as tight as you can. Holding the fabric tightly, tie your ends together with double knots, then trim your excess thread away.
Once you have stitched and tied all of your loose ends, you will think, "this looks awful, I know I've messed this up." If you think that, you will probably be very pleased with the outcome. If you've stitched the elements separately, pulled the fabric tightly together and double tied the ends, then you've done it correctly, and now you're ready to dye it. The areas where you have stitched and gathered will remain somewhat white or at least lighter.
I love the color of eggplant, so I wanted my new-old shirt to be that color in its new life. I put about three teaspoons of urea in warm water, added about 1/3 cup of non-iodized salt and shook it up in a sealed sauce jar until it was all dissolved, I then added about one table spoon, plus a little more of fiber reactive dye (all the eggplant dye I had left, probably would have used twice that if I'd had it), and shook that equally well in the jar and added it to about four cups of hot water in the bottom of my bucket. After stirring for a while, I added my stitched and gathered shirt. Now, I didn't care if I had even color or not, so I stirred the bath only a few times during the hour and a half that it was in there. If you want more even color, stir it every five minutes or so for that amount of time. After about 20 minutes in the bath, I was ready to add the fixative to make sure the dye bonded with the shirt properly. In the same sauce jar, I mixed three teaspoons of soda ash, I use the kind from the swimming pool section of Lowe's--click on the photo for a link to that supply--it's cheaper than from dye suppliers, into a half a jar of hot water, and shook it up until dissolved. I moved the shirt to one side of the bucket and carefully added the soda ash mixture slowly into the bath. You don't want to pour this in on top of your shirt, as it will cause splotching, and not in a good way. Once it is all added in, stir the bath and your shirt well. The shirt stays in the bath for a total of at least one hour to one hour and a half. You can go more, but you don't need to.
Here's the finished piece after I rinsed it well and washed it with Synthrapol textile detergent in the washing machine. Notice that the stitching around the collar and across the bodice of the top did not dye the purple color, that is because this shirt was not stitched in cotton by the manufacturer. I like this look, but if you don't you'll need to consider this when you give your old shirt new life like this. Notice the leaf shape to the far left is a little less distinct than the others, that one did not get tied as tightly as the others, so more dye seeped into the gathered places. Now I can wear my favorite old tee again, but now she has a fresh new look. I'm pleased with the outcome, and would definitely recommend trying this.
Here's a close up of the stitched and gathered effect. Send me your pictures of your stitched and gathered shibori shirts/wearables/fabrics--whatever. Remember, if it's cotton or silk or rayon or viscose or linen, or any other natural fiber, it will dye with fiber reactive dyes. I'd love to see your projects!
Forty something artistic soul finding her way through life discovering new insights almost every day through the gift of "making."
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