Stuff I’m Playing With…

A couple of weeks ago I promised to post pictures of my gelatin printing results.  I hadn’t gotten around to photographing them, because I just wasn’t sure I was satisfied with the results.  I don’t know if my dissatisfaction is because the prints are round (I used the cheesecake pan), or what it is.  For me, the texture freak, I usually go for backgrounds with texture and color.  I’m not necessarily about making a “picture” when I monoprint, so maybe that’s why I wasn’t so terribly thrilled with the process, but here are a few pictures of what I did that day.

I used paint rolled on with a brayer and then swirled my fingers through it to make the design.

This is two prints, one on top of the other (need more colors!).  I laid grasses and leaves on the paint to make both prints.  I think this one is pretty cool.

This is a closeup of one with grass laid on it.  I took a large piece of cloth and printed several of these together and overlapping…thought I might use it for a background.

This looks like two prints too, one on top of the other.  I really love what I get when I print on a piece of plexiglass, but I like the moistness of the jello, maybe that helps to keep the paint from drying out so fast.  I will have to try some printing with a square plate.  I also like the flexibility of the gelatin plate, meaning the “squishiness”, the give in it.  That part is pretty cool.

The Last Few Days…

…I know I’ve been pretty quiet here. That’s because…last week I was contemplating expanding my selling options by opening an Etsy shop. On Thursday I signed up and on Friday I listed a few items. I will be using the shop to sell hand made textiles, silk scarves, and small pieces of fiber art. People started to visit the shop on Friday. By Friday evening I had two people who “hearted” me. Etsy people will know what that means! That was exciting. So I have been busy with that. See the shop here.

On Saturday, I taught two short classes in Evansvile. The first class was this little bag made by Jill. She was thrilled with it. I also managed to get two of them made at the same time!

The patterns for the other class didn’t make it to the shop…and then I discovered I had forgotten mine! Have you ever “winged it” when teaching a pattern class? Fortunately for me, it was a tote bag and I had just made my class sample in May, but still…I had to think. I teach so many different projects, that I just can’t be expected to know on a whim what is what. I threatened to take the sample apart, but it all came back to me, step by step. Whew! This was a pretty cool bag and the way it was made was pretty cool. It was the Whimsy Bag by Lazy Girl.

I have so many things I am working on and need to work on, I feel like I am running in circles. I have one quilt show in Kentucky lined up for the fall and I am making up a few samples that feature my hand dyes so that I can sell kits. I’ll give you a sneak preview of one sample, but it is not complete as I am still deciding on what the borders will be. This pattern is called Rosa and Friends and it was designed by Betty Blais of Embellishment Village. I think she did a great job.

Have a great week!

Textural Studies….

I love texture.  I love it so much that I hunt around my house for things to slap onto a canvas and paint over.  Crumpled paper (brown and tissue), joint tape, onion and potato mesh bags, cheesecloth, heated tyvek, little micro beads…nothing is safe from me.  I like contrasting textures.

I love the textural markings I get in my hand dyed fabrics.  There is movement and pattern.  Some people like the flat colored hand dyes.  Not me…give me excitement and zing and movement! Here are a couple of collages on canvas that I have been working on.  These use all those things mentioned above.



It’s A Small World After All…

…to coin the words to a song…On Saturday I set up a small table at the farmer’s market in New Harmony.  There was an antique show in town, so a crowd was expected.  This market was the beginning of it all for me, so I try to make it a few times every summer.  When it gets too hot, you won’t find me there.  But I do like to be there on the opening day and we had glorious weather for it.  The National Guard was in town as they had been sandbagging on the river all week. The rivers are rising and rising around here.

A couple was talking to the lady at the booth beside me.  I wasn’t paying a lot of attention.  I had noticed the women from a side view.  Then I heard a voice that I recognized…she was my roommate from our first year of x-ray school so long ago.  She and her husband were out for the day.  I don’t see her often, rarely, as a matter of fact.  We lead very different, busy lives, even though they just live 20 miles away.  Now, her husband is a busy guy.  He has a grain farming operation and he does something else very interesting.  He goes around reclaiming and cleaning up the stacks from mines that are no longer mining.  These stacks are used for storing grain.  The mine stacks in their town are next to the railroad tracks.  See where I’m going with that?  Easy transporting for grain.

Anyway, he took the day off to spend with her because it was a special day….their wedding anniversary.  And I got to say that I was at that wedding 34 years ago! Thirty-four years ago on June 13, she and I (and others) graduated from x-ray school….and the next day on June 14, she married her sweetheart, whom we had all come to know and love. Another friend and I hosted their small reception at our place.  Isn’t life strange…to coin the words of another song, that I would serenedipitously get to see them on their special day, the day that I was so much a part of so long ago.  Their names are Virginia (she went by the name Bobbin) and Kenny Lasater.  Happy Anniversary, you two!

New Books…

I’ve been reading! A few weeks ago I ordered some new art books. Art Against the Odds, From Slave Quilts to Prison Paintings by Susan Goldman Rubin is an interesting short study (actually I think it’s a children’s book) of the work of artists in concentrations camps and the Japanese internment camps in WWII, quilts made by slaves, and art made by patients battling mental illness. It is very interesting. I also purchased Betty Edwards’ Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, so far quite stimulating. In her book, she mentions another book called The Right Way to Draw by Kimon Nicolaides, which I also happened to order at the same time. I haven’t read it yet. Yesterday I was at the dentist’s office with Betty’s book while I was waiting. I was reading her description of what happens when the right brain is dominant and the left brain is turned off…wow, that’s exactly what it’s like in what I call “the zone”! I know you all know what that is!

How I’m Working These Days…

Today I would like to share a little bit about how I have been working in the last 8 or so months. I can put colors together, but since I have no formal art education, I like to purchase any aids I feel will help me. One of the tools that helps me with color is Joen Wolfrom’s 3-in-1 Color Tool. This portable tool has color swatches of tints, pure colors, shades and tones of colors. It also shows all the color schemes for each color…monochromatic, complementary, analogous, split-complementary, and triadic. I find the triadic color schemes to be the most interesting, using both warm and cool colors. This tool has helped put sparkle in my color schemes, so much so, I get compliments on them.

One of the intimidating things for me about starting a piece is choosing a color scheme. It also can put me off from starting a piece; it takes time. I work fairly intuitively, so thinking of focal point, color, etc. ends up being a lot of thinking for me! So I have come up with a way to do some of that work ahead of time. I spent some time this past year choosing triadic schemes (using my favorite colors) and then matching up piles of fabric to that scheme. And because it was interesting to see and learn about the different triadic schemes, it was also fun! The fabric piles also include painted dryer sheets, dyed scrim, dyed cheesecloth, and any other item that matches that scheme. Then, when I am ready to start a piece, I simply choose a color scheme and the fabrics I need are already sorted and bagged together, ready for me to start. I can add to these bags anytime I want. I was reminded of how easy this made it when I went to work on the postcard for Susan Lenz a couple of days ago. All I had to do was pull a bag out and get right to work.

So here are some of my “piles” of coordinated fabrics ready to work whenever I am. Notice that most, (ok, all)  of the fabrics are hand dyed, hand painted, etc. I rarely use commercial fabrics anymore. I keep my stamps and paints on hand, ready to transform any piece of cloth I need to fit the theme I am working with.

orange yellow, aqua green, purple

golden yellow, aqua blue, fuchsia

chartreuse, blue-red, cerulean blue

orange, violet, green

yellow green, blue, red

I Always Learn Something…

…so I went to work yesterday making a postcard to trade with Susan Lenz.  Have you ever created something…and then, afterwards, you turned it a different way….and you like it better!?  That’s what happened here.  I created the postcard like this…

…but I like it much better like this…!

Since I am now a retailer of Fast2Fuse, I decided that I should try it out.  What great stuff…fusible on both sides…nice and stiff…great for postcards.

And one other thing…I like to use sheers for layering in my work.  I love using painted fusible web to add a bit of color with some transparency.  The other thing great about this is I put some loose threads on top of the postcard and the threads stick to the fusible web when heated.