New Website, Blog and Artwork

NEW WEBSITE

About a year ago I lost track of keeping up with my website. I also fell into a slump with my artwork. A serious personal problem interfered with my life resulting in a complete stall. Many months passed and I became more and more distressed about my situation.

Needless to say, I did not utilize my website and blog at all.

Recently I attempted to post on my blog www.studioquilts.com and since it had been so long since I was last on it, there were MANY changes that developed with the theme, the plugins, the whole package needed updating. Well, I attempted to do that and after many hours of attempting to sort it out, the site became virtually inaccessible. I had to face the grim reality that I would have to start fresh. The site was old and outdated anyway. The art that was shown was not anything like what I create now. So, this was a good thing, but could I pull it off?

Well, here I am a few days later writing the first blog post on my new site: www.deborahbabin.com. It is barely defined but I like what I see and I am learning as I go. Thus, this first post is lengthy, bringing things up to date.

NEW ART WORK

Last winter, I decided to take an online course with Lisa Call titled Working In A Series. This was such an amazingly thorough presentation which did help unlock my creative mind and begin to think about making art again. I enjoyed taking the course and being able to work at my own pace in my own studio. I really liked some of the pieces I made. Although, I did not choose a topic for a series that got me motivated on my own. Lisa offered another course soon after titled Abstraction. This appealed to me as well. Again, a very comprehensive course with enough links to last a lifetime. Lisa doesn’t leave one rock unturned. Again, I liked some of the work but I did not come away with a break through as I had hoped. I did sort out and rule out a lot so this was helpful.

In January I received an invitation to exhibit for the month of August at a local gallery Bainbridge Arts and Crafts, located on Bainbridge Island. Theme : inspired by water. What a great theme! I was honored to be invited and this was exactly the motivation I needed to get productive again.

In the Working In A Series course, Lisa stressed how important it is to refine your series down the the basic elements. To focus on those until you have exhausted the subject.For example, I chose leaves because I seem to always include them in my work in one way or another. So, to refine this I narrowed the series down to A. a single leaf B.size: 15×15″

During the courses, I learned the value of sketching and writing (journaling). I sketched for weeks and wrote about water defining  how water inspired me.  The main components I came away with were A. movements of water (currents) B. colors of water, a color palette, with the colors of the Caribbean waters, which are my favorite.  Next I spent weeks searching online for particular fabrics that reflected the palette.

Unfortunately, the more I sketched and wrote, I gradually became reluctant to start sewing. I was not used to turning sketches into actual art.  Lisa also says you just have to make a lot of art. Some will be good and some will not. So, eventually with this in mind, I dove in and started sewing. The first attempt utilized one of my sketches. However, the more I worked on it, I knew it was overworked. I had too much riding on one piece. It was hard to put it aside and admit that I needed to move on, but I did.

Next, I decided to pull out all of the fabrics that inspired me the most and concentrate on the palette alone and “experience” the fabrics. I wanted to let them talk to me and I was ready to listen. I began to do some simple piecing. Before long I had  composition that pleased me. This composition inspired me to do some hand embroidery. I liked the interaction of the fabrics and wanted to now enhance the surface with hand embroidery; furthering the water theme with stitches that contrasted in value and texture keeping with the water theme.

Blue Lagoon (detail)

While I was searching for fabrics I came across one that really caught my attention. It was a screen printed fabric from the 1960’s. It had the perfect colors and movements. It was a barkcloth fabric which had nice texture.

Screen Printed Barkcloth, 1960

The finished piece came together quickly and restored my spirits. I was truly inspired by my concept of water and pursued utilizing my refined components: color palette and water currents.

 

 This piece broke ground and now I have completed several others and have cohesive body of work that I am very proud of.

Thank You Lisa!

And, the personal problem is gradually resolving.

 

 

Living In Washington

My husband and I moved to Washington 2 years ago. What a HUGE job that was Our house has lots of great features but my favorite one is my studio. It is located on the 3rd floor and has windows on all 4 sides. I can see Seattle most of the time from my sewing table. The light is fantastic, even on a cloudy day (which there are a lot).

This photo was taken while the new marmoleum floor was being installed. The design is a simple quilt block. This is a great floor to have in a work area.

Today it is filled with three large tables and storage bins.  Including a sitting area with a couch and comfy chair that is by a window. This is my favorite spot to do hand work.

Creative Landscaping

The first four months in our new house were devoted to landscaping. This turned out to be much more than I envisioned and was very creatively satisfying. The house sat for sale for two years, consequently the yard was a mess.

Front View Before Landscaping

The back during landscaping

The front yard in progress

The bare ground above is now filled with flower beds in a diamond grid design to reflect my love of quilting (below).

The back ready for planting and water feature. The rope designates the future boardwalk over the water feature.

The rocks that will create the water feature.

Boardwalk and Water feature today.

We are very pleased with the outcome.

An Original Design Developed Into a Creative Sewing Course

Soon after we moved in I met many nice neighbors. Some who sew. The word got out that I was a quilt artist and people asked me if I taught courses. I had, but only online. Title: Textile Art with Pizzazz. They were very interested so I conducted the course for six delightful ladies. The main project is a design titled Flora Rosa.  The inspiration for the course evolved as I worked on the first piece.

While I was working on it I was auditioning fabrics for a background as well as some for the flower and leaves. I ended up with lots of extra pieces cut out that didn’t work out so I laid them aside. Some of the pieces ended up on a rejected background fabric and when I glanced around I saw potential with the rejected pieces. This made me think, maybe I should make a second one with completely different fabrics. So, I did just that. I had two going simultaneously. This was really exciting!

Flora Rosa Azur 14×22

This approach intrigued me so much I decided to continue and see how many versions I could come up with. I ended up with six.

Flora Rosa Key Lime

Woodlands Flora Rosa

Flora Rosa Santa Fe

Flora Magenta (detail)

Flora Rosa Crimson

The class progressed nicely for all six lessons. They worked hard and were able to develop some very nice pieces. Teaching this course in person was very different than teaching online. The part that I had trouble with was what to do with myself while they were working.

I wanted to be available, but not make them self conscious. It all worked out just fine in the end. I think I would do it again.

A Fabulous View

Our house is located on a very narrow and short peninsula called a spit. There is water on both sides so we have views of the Bay and Puget Sound.

The beach has very fluctuating tides and the sand is mixed with rocks.

Our house has three floors. The ground floor has the entrance and two guest rooms and laundry room. The second floor is the main living area. And, of course the third floor is my studio.

This is the view from our covered porch on the second floor. This view changes constantly. This was a really foggy morning.

On a clear day Mr. Rainier is visible from the balcony looking another direction

You always hear about how rainy it is in the Seattle area. Well, yes it does rain more than I am used to but the rain is gentle and intermittent. Summer starts on July 5th. Yes, it really does.

I am ready for summer!

Lost Art

I have lost one of my favorite pieces. I have searched high and low. It was accepted to several shows. I can only guess the box it came back in got pitched. Perish the thought!

Passion Tree, 10×10″

Can I make another one? No. Each piece I make are totally original. I’ll have to enjoy the photos of it instead.

 

Opening Night

Twelve of my pieces will be revealed at the opening tonight in a group invitational exhibit.

Location: Bainbridge Arts and Crafts, Winslow Way, Bainbridge Island. 6-8p.m. The exhibit will be up for the month of August.

Blue Lagoon (detail)

Dawns Early Light Upon the Sea

Nautilus I

Art displayed on design wall

This photo was taken when the art work was about 3/4ths complete. The finishing touches took much longer than I expected. All of the pieces were mounted to painted stretched canvas except the piece top left shaped like a kimono. That piece is titled REIN (rain in Japanese) and hangs loose from a dowel. I added beads cascading down the side panels to represent rain.

I will post photos of the show right away.

I am so pleased to have this opportunity. I know I have delivered a completely cohesive body of work. I think the work will look dynamic hanging together. The gallery always does amazing things the way they hang and stage the art work. I can’t wait to see it.

 

 

 

On Sight Demonstration

August 4th my granddaughter Madeleine and I will give a demonstration for one hour at 12:30 p.m. at Bainbridge Arts and Crafts gallery. We will show how to add beads and decorative stitches by hand.

Madeleine will be working on her landscape and I will work on a collage.

Please stop by and visit us.

 

 

 

 

Bainbridge Arts and Crafts Gallery August Exhibition

I was honored to be invited to show my art work for the month of August at the Bainbridge Arts and Crafts gallery on Bainbridge Island. The theme was “textile artists thinking about water”.  The exhibit was cohesive with beautiful sculptural wood by one artist that added a dynamic contrast.

This video is a tour of the wall that my work filled. Unfortunately the color is not accurate. The main color in the palette is aqua.

Four pieces sold. One was purchased by a woman who is decorating a little house in Ireland.  The other three pieces are proudly hanging in my neighbor Cheryl Lannoye’s home.

The gallery staff did a fine job and made the collection look fantastic;  I was totally pleased. Opening night attracted quite a lot of people. The energy in the room was electric.

The follow day, Saturday, I was invited to give a demo of my hand work. My granddaughter Madeleine joined me.

Madeleine prepared for this event. She visited me two weeks prior to learn embroidery. She picked it up right away. She brought a drawing of a landscape that she wanted to sew. She wanted a unique background so I took out various fabrics and cut some small squares allowing her to pick and place the colors where she wanted. I stitched them together to make a 7×9″ piece. She knew exactly where she wanted certain colors and values.

Madeleine’s landscape background

She started with the tree and included a shadow. She couched on nubby yarn to create the tree trunk and tree foliage. The sun is in the right top corner thus the angle of the shadow. We had a discussion about what color shadows are. She got it right, a darker value of the same color. (Some people think all shadows are gray.)  She used a seed stitch to depict the texture of the grass in the area of the shadow.

My daughter Michelle was with us at the demo.

A perfect event.

 

San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles

Three of my pieces have been accepted to High Fiber and the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles.

High Fiber

Opening: October 20th, 6-8 p.m.

Exhibit dates: October 20 through November 4th

In Balance

Balancing Act

Raja

Seattle Center Exhibit

Currently I have two pieces accepted to the Seattle Center exhibit. The theme of the exhibit is The Next Fifty.

Next 50 Home

Imagine
size 28×48″

Imagine All The People
Size: 15×20″

On October 21st the festivities will conclude the six month focus on this theme.

Here is the schedule:

10am – 5pm   Celebrating Century 21 exhibits: international fountain pavilion photography, quilts and historical memorabilia

11am – 7pm   World Vision Experience – Step Into Africa exhibit next 50 pavilion

12 noon   Women Acting Out: playhouse / intimate  Laurie Anderson and Local Artists Explore the Role of Art in Civic Action

12 noon – 6pm   Food Trucks and Carts * seattle center campus
Jemil’s Big Easy • Fresh Plate • Kaosamai • Veraci Pizza • Lumpia World • Curry Now • Charlie’s Buns N’ Stuff • Chopstix Mobile • And More!

1:30pm – 2pm   Closing Ceremony fisher pavilion

 2pm – 3pm   Seattle Symphony Concert fisher pavilion Ludovic Morlot, conductor  International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) Seattle Symphony

• George Gershwin • John Cage  • Ludwig Van Beethoven • Claude Debussy  • Hector Berlioz

Cuban Overture  Variations III   International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) Leonore Overture No. 3, Op. 72b
Fêtes (“Festivals”) from Nocturnes   Roman Carnival Overture

3:30pm   Land of Pines, courtesy of Fin Records fisher pavilion

 4pm   Extraordinary Futures Student Breakdancing Showcase fisher pavilion

 4:15pm  SEACATS, courtesy of Fin Records fisher pavilion

4:30pm   Pat Graney – Modern Dance Performance international fountain area The Chair Spectacle 

 

ETSY shop opened

I finally decided to open an ETSY shop. I had no idea how much work it would be. Between all of the photographs, editing, uploading, describing and more I have spent countless hours attempting to complete the tasks necessary.

ETSY DeborahBabin

Please visit my ETSY shop and see what you think. I appreciate feedback.

I sold a four pieces at the gallery show, I received my check.  The profits are split 50/50. I had art displayed for two years on going and sold none. Now I have boxes of beautiful framed art. It seemed logical to market it where I would get the full price. Mose of the pieces are small scale. Pricing is challenging because people equate size with value. The time invested is indeterminable.  I have a formula for calculating the price and yet I still feel like I am giving my work away. I know what it costs to custom frame art as well. The buyer does not factor that cost in. At any rate, I am giving ETSY a try. I know others who have had success on ETSY and I respect the format.

 

 

New Series

I have some ideas that are strong enough to consider as a series. I am motivated by the book: Quilting Line and Color by Yoshiko Jinzenji

Quilting Line and Color: Techniques and Designs for Abstract Quilts

What I like about her work is how there is a lot of solid (white) area with visual bridges connecting areas together. I realized that I have been doing this off and on for years. Now that I have taken Lisa Call’s course Working In A Series I think more about how things relate. I know the value of working in a series. How to explore, think and work with one concept until it is exhausted. Until you feel it is complete.

The first step is to think of a subject. This could be anything. Next you must refine the subject down to the essence.

For this series I plan to:

1.Explore bridges and connectors. These are shapes, various widths with high contrast.

2.Use a minimal color palette with one dominate color in either very light or very dark value.

3. Find/Search for unique fabrics that have a certain design that will provide.

4. Paint white or light fabric with thickened dye to create designs with bridges.

What are bridges?

This is a term I use to describe marks, lines,solid shapes that stand out.  Usually they will be on a very light or very dark background.

This last example is a fabric I painted with thickened dye.

To begin with I plan to work with a grid. As I progress I will consider other combinations. I like the grid because I can focus on the interaction of the fabrics, turning the pieces until the design is united.

This is the first composition for this new series. For now I am going to call the series BRIDGES. This might change as I work with the various fabrics.

Quilt National 2013

I felt compelled (strongly I might add) to create a piece for Quilt National 2013.  I did not get accepted but I am very happy I completed this piece. I have good feelings about it. This piece made me ponder and think on a level that I have never done before. This piece is personal. It speaks. The message is a good one.

The theme compelled me: The Breadth of Diversity

All Of Us

Last winter I took an online course from Lisa Call. She encouraged journaling, sketching and goal setting. She has been accepted to Quilt National 6 times. She said she wrote this goal down somewhere and then set out to make it happen. If you don’t actualize things how will they materialize? So that is what motivated me. (She entered this year too and did not get accepted.)

I started with a sketch.

I have been frustrated with converting my sketches into fabric; piecing the pieces together by machine. It finally dawned on me to make a pattern. Now this is not rocket science but I am not used to working with a pattern (other than garments). The design had gentle curves and having a pattern would make sewing the curved sections easy.

I usually like to have a sketch as a starting point and then allow the work to evolve naturally. I love what I discover along the way. But, this time I wanted to actually depict the sketch. I thought it was a good composition and could portray the theme. This time the discovery happened in the planning stages. There were more stages to resolve as the piece evolved which brought more discovery.

New revelations about the theme occurred gradually.

The first thought was that the two large shapes looked held together by the horizontal band. I envisioned the large shapes as groups of people or people of a certain origin, communities or countries; places where people commune and exist.

And, so I began to make the pattern. I used pattern making material. It is a thin non woven product with red dots on it. I used the method I learned in art school: draw a grid on the design and then draw a grid (on the pattern material) with the same scale enlarged to the desired finished size. Use the original drawing referencing to the grid. Draw the design matching the placements of the lines on the pattern. I could then cut each section in order. I cut out a piece from the pattern and laid it on the fabric. The pattern material is transparent which is a big plus. I began with the two large shapes as these were the catalyst for the theme. I added 1/4 inch seam allowance all around each piece.

I like to use the fabric I have on hand and I was able to find and decide upon the fabrics right away. I wanted to use fabrics that had an ethnic quality and colors of the earth.  I kept the color palette warm. I also wanted texture. All of the fabrics have something special about them. Either hand dyed, hand dyed damask, hand dyed silk organza and vintage fabric. They are united by their ethnic qualities.

Once I had the pattern made and the fabrics selected the sewing went smoothly and quickly.

The design matched the drawing exactly and I was amazed how the fabrics made it come to life. After I viewed it on the design wall for the first time, I could see some extra bands of fabric were needed around the perimeter to frame the shapes.

After I gazed at it for a few days it occurred to me that the size would make quilting a challenge. I usually work fairly small. But, the theme continued to beacon me.

The next decision was: how would I quilt it? What kind of quilting would further define the theme? I went back to the sketch book and began to draw motifs and thinking more about the theme. I thought about this for a few days. Thinking about diversity truly opened my eyes. I began to realize how I felt about the differences of people; the world as a whole. The ideas started to flow.

I decided to begin in the light shape in the upper center and left. The logical way I could express my thoughts was to write them out. I am pretty good at freehand writing with free motion. I wrote down all of the words and began in the middle and worked out. The first word was:

ACCEPTANCE

The more I wrote the more I began realize about myself; it opened my eyes. I had never thought about this topic in depth. My thoughts enriched the applications. I really enjoyed creating this piece from start to finish.

The brick color strip across the top is quilted with tall buildings to look like apartment houses with windows.  The brick color strip in the center has a few words and sayings.  The yellow band at the bottom has people holding hands of all sizes, combinations and colors. The strip along the right has key holes and keys.

These symbolize: Neighborhoods, People, Opportunities, Answers.

The colorful band represents unity. The ties that hold us together.

I am really proud of this piece. I have full confidence that it will be accepted at some point.

Worn Through » High Fiber, High Art

I am proud to have three pieces in this juried fiber art show.

Worn Through » High Fiber, High Art.

An overview of the FiberShots gallery at High Fiber on October 20, 2012, $100 each, San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles

Non-profits struggle in the best of times. It is hardly news any more that they are struggling even more in the current economy, and that many of them are failing. But somehow the announcement that the San Francisco Museum of Craft and Folk Art will be permanently closing its doors on December 1 of this year was still a shock. Unlike the campaign to save the American Folk Art Museum in New York City last year, there were no editorials, no online efforts, and no real warning that the museum was in such danger. Its closure will leave the San Jose Quilts and Textile Museum as the sole folk art and craft museum in all of Northern California.

The closure of the SF Craft and Folk Art Museum, and the near loss of the American Folk Art Museum last fall not only highlight how little attention and understanding these types of museums receive, but also how important it is for patrons to support their museums financially if they can. Deborah Corsini, Curator at the San Jose Quilt and Textile Museum (SJQTM), acknowledges that in the current economy competition among non-profits is especially fierce, since there is less money for everyone. This puts pressure on the institutions to become more creative in their fund raising. The SJQTM’s current show demonstrates that, occasionally, this pressure can actually result in incredible shows, and inspire incredible art.

On October 20, SJQTM held the VIP reception for their annual fund raising event, High Fiber under 5: an exhibit of textile and fiber art donated to the museum to be sold for under $500, with most of the pieces ranging between $100 and $350. High Fiber has, for the past four years, been the museum’s main benefit art sale, featuring the textile work of both well-known and emerging fiber and textile artists. It benefits not only the museum, but the artists directly, with both parties sharing a percentage of the sale. The museum received over 300 entries (submitted by photograph), and selected 262 pieces for exhibit and sale. The museum’s Executive Director, Christine Jeffers tells me that they made $15,000 in the first weekend. Both she and Deborah were extremely pleased with this year’s show and turn out. More than 100 people attended the VIP benefit this year, an exponential increase on the 30 to 40 attendees of the year before. However, Christine tells me they are still growing an audience that not only appreciates, but collects textile art in the San Jose community.

One of the ways they achieved this this year was to reach out to knitters, weavers, quilters, and other textile arts practitioners in the community who have always made objects, but never considered themselves as “artists”. Answering the museum’s call-out, many in the local arts and crafts community donated pieces, all sized 15″ x 15″, for a secondary exhibit, Fiber Shots to be sold for $100 each. This fits into Christine’s ongoing plan to make the museum more participatory. She believes that the community and their patrons will gain a deeper appreciation of textile and fiber arts if they have experience working in the medium themselves.

One goal of this year’s High Fiber preparation was to include as much work as possible. The submissions were juried by Curator Deborah Corsini, textile artist and SJQTM board member,Yvonne Porcella, and Lynne Koolish, a quilt artist and dyer and the Vice President of the SJQTM board. Their selections have made this show the largest and most diverse in High Fiber’s — indeed, the museum’s — history. Deborah says this makes it possible for the show to display the wealth and variety of what contemporary fiber artists are doing, and it is excellent for a museum that continuously challenges people’s perceptions of the textile arts. There are quilts, sculptures, tapestries, embellished or collaged pieces, weavings, mixed-media pieces, and knitted jewellery of both yarn and wire. Deborah described her position as the curator as “selecting and designing”, and while the richness of the show is extremely advantageous in a sale show, once the pieces had been selected, designing and installing a show of 262 pieces of different sizes and mediums was a challenge.

Since it is a sales show, she was already having to consider it from a different perspective, showing each piece to its best advantage. Her biggest challenge was to arrange the work in a way that would keep people interested without overwhelming them as they viewed so many pieces. She told me that in previous shows she had tried to keep multiple pieces by a single artist grouped together, but that this year, in order to keep flow and balance, she often would separate the works, scattering them through out the gallery. This actually helped sales, since people might come across an artist again later which would make them revisit the previous work they had seen, giving it a second consideration. Deborah is also proud that not only are there many famous textile artists, such as Sheila O’Hara, Dominie Nash, and Ann Wilson, but new and emerging artists, some of whom had never worked with textiles as a medium before.

Another new aspect for High Fiber this year is the online gallery, which not only showcases all of the work, but offers the opportunity to purchase (by phone) the pieces to anyone, even those who cannot make it to San Jose.

The San Jose Quilt and Textile Museum is luckier than most in that it owns its own space. Their 35th Anniversary exhibit opens November 14th, Deborah and Christine would like the museum to stay open another thirty-five years, if not more. As a way to make the museum more participatory — and to grow the audience of those who not only appreciate but collect textile art — Christine has instigated a number of classes and lectures at the museum for patrons. On January 5, 2013, Shelly Zegart, who produced and hosted the PBS program “Why Quilts Matter: History, Art, and Politics”, will be presenting a program entitled “What Is Art?” to discuss the value of textile and fiber arts. In addition, classes on how to quilt and work with textiles are being planned. All of this augments existing programs that reach out to local schools, and to women’s shelters.

Christine is a South Bay native and a long-time lover of the arts who feels strongly that textile arts should be considered contemporary art. This is a sentiment echoed by Deborah. She feels the museum offers both history and inspiration to the community, especially as interest in DIY and crafts is rising, seemingly in response to the digital age. People want to do things with their hands, she says, and the museum can open young and old alike to the rich past of the textile arts they are just discovering.

But I keep thinking of San Francisco, and wondering what pressure this is going to place on SJQTM. These museums only exist through our support. Hopefully, through continued excellence in their exhibits, and more events such as High Fiber, museums can increase their patronage, and more importantly, membership and support. And perhaps through greater awareness of what is possible, people will take fiber arts and crafts out of the classification of country fairs and grandma’s attic, and put them in the contemporary art space where they belong.

Fabric Bridges and Blending

UFO’s (unfinished objects) wait patiently to be finished. Some of mine are being very patient. Some UFO’s present challenges that I am not up for or do not have solutions for. Some are reminders of courses I took that didn’t pan out the way I hoped. Some have good ideas but need to be finished with new ideas and techniques that I have not come across or thought of yet. What I love the most about UFO’s is the potential;  the opportunity to create something totally unexpected. Having the space of time from initiation to the final (new) steps is valuable. I rarely throw out a project as I am hopeful for good things to come. The benefits are worth the wait as I found in my most recent attempts.

Image3

In November I decided to revisit a quilt design that I started over three years ago, done with a traditional snow ball block design. But, what I like most about it is the fabrics and the way they blend and build bridges. I used some of Kaffe Fassett’s fabrics which have fabulous colors and batiks that complimented.

This quilt was intended for my daughter Michelle. I was shooting for a lap quilt but somehow the finished size grew beyond that, 60″ square. After I had the quilt top about 1/3 done, I showed her a book of Kaffe Fassett’s work and asked her if she liked it and she turned her nose up. That dashed my spirits and I lost all interest. It has been in a box ever since.

Since I started my new series titled Bridges, I now notice fabrics that are good candidates for building a bridge. A bridge is an element in a design that travels across from one point to another in a bold or dynamic fashion; that unite and blend as well.

I think Kaffe’s fabric has marvelous blending qualities.However, I included some batiks to compliment them. I like the combinations.

My daughters old lap quilt that I made her about 14 years ago has completely disintegrated. It was made of flannel and not a good quality either. I made it as one of my very first projects. I had no idea of the various qualities of fabric at the time. This quilt has gone everywhere even to the labor/delivery room 3 times. She has been needing a new one for quite some time. I thought about starting a new one, letting her pick out the fabrics. Instead, I decided to take out the one I started and rethink things. When I took it out, I realized how much it fit into my current series theme of blending and bridges. Was I ahead of myself when I started it? Did I need to wait for experience? I think so. I do love the fabrics and the design.

My daughter likes pineapples and butterflies. I put a large pineapple as the center piece and found a fabric that had butterflies (border).

center

I drew the design of the pineapple and created it on a interfacing foundation, hand appliqued and then attached as one unit. This is a favorite applique technique of mine.

center 2 I rather like working in a square format it sets up different observations.

This one is too large for me to quilt so now I am searching for a long arm quilter that does creative work. I hope I find a good one.

I was able to finish the top before Christmas and could present it to my daughter. I was delighted to see the WOW! expression on her face. She LOVED it. Success. Not only did I need to wait to finish it, but she needed time to appreciate new things.

Image3

 Another UFO complete.

 

Modern Design

I am really enjoying seeing the new modern designs that are popular now. These inspire me. The simplicity and lots of negative space relates to my current series:

Bridges

The negative space is where the bridges will extend.

Recently, I decided to make a modern design as a baby gift.

full view resized

The fabric on the lower right inspired the quilting motif.

I never mark my work prior to quilting. I prefer to work free hand. The frames around the outside are more traditional than modern, but I think they set of the center rather well.

I have never attempted so many free hand circles before, but they came out good.

center washed resized

The baby’s name is BROOKE. I added this detail to the center.

What I like the most is that the design is not limited to BABY. This design can span time.

right side resized

The baby’s first and last name starts with a B.

The fabric (lower right) has the shape of the letter B. So, I used this shape and repeated it in various patterns. This worked really well.

A modern heirloom that turned out great.

 

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Journal Paintings

I have been inspired by the working methods of Jane LaFazio.

One of her posts about journal paintings motivated me to take out my painting supplies and sketchbook with watercolor paper.

My first attempt is okay. Not great, but at least I did it.

Camilia

Camellia

Camellias are in bloom in my garden. I used them as subject matter.

I used a paint brush she recommends that holds water. This works great. No need for a water bowl and rinsing.

She recommends to paint for a few minutes every morning. This will take discipline. I’m geared up to sew most of the time. Painting took a lot of concentration, more than I realized. But, it was a good exercise and made me use parts of my mind that get very little use.

I highly recommend this exercise.

My next subject will come from photos I took on a recent trip to San Diego. I went to an event held every Saturday morning in Little Italy.

Little Italy San Diego, CA

Little Italy San Diego, CA

Several streets are blocked off and vendors set up tents and sell their wares. Fabulous prepared foods, fresh veggies, pastries, fish and jewelry to name a few. Fresh flowers were abundant as well as potted orchids.

Potted Orchids

Potted Orchids

Cut Gerber Daisies

Cut Gerber Daisies

Fresh Kale

Fresh Kale

The red veins caught my eye.

I took pictures with journal paintings in mind. It is an excellent way to document the events and experiences in your daily life.

 

 

Up-Cycle-Just Do It

Nancy Crow is currently in my little town conducting a two week workshop. I attended one two years ago. This experience taught me many good things. One was, how much I dislike strip piecing. Nancy’s assignments are complex and the amount of time for each one is limited. The pressure to produce is intense. The first assignment was to strip piece several units of black and white fabric using precise measurements ranging from very narrow to wider. This took me until about 1 p.m. Then we were to create a composition and stitch it. It was due first thing the next morning.

Pieced units

I tried several layouts.

Layout #1

This was very challenging. Most every layout I did looked the same: busy. I finally decided on this one and sewed it together. This was challenging too as some of the seams were very thin. There were a lot of bumpy seams to sew over.

Stitched composition

Honestly, I thought all the compositions looked alike. Way too many black and white bands, boxes and lines.

We continued to make compositions all week. The last assignment was to make a 4’x8′ composition using the units made with various colors of fabric. This next photo shows my final composition along with the black and white composition and several experiments on the design wall.

crow_b_w_others

I did not like the large composition. When I got home I took it completely apart. I was full of emotions from the workshop. It was nothing like I expected. But, I am glad I took it. It made me do a lot of thinking. So that was two years ago. I have not looked at the work I did since. This week a friend of mine took the current workshop and stayed at my home. I told her I had not looked or worked with my pieces that I sewed in the workshop. That I didn’t know what to do with them. She convinced me there was something worthwhile in the stack. She commented that one person made a grocery bag from the black and white composition. Wow! I loved that idea.

UP-CYCLE

While she was attending the workshop, I proceeded to make a bag from the black and white composition. I was very motivated. I first studied it and concluded it needed something.  I layered it with batting and backing and proceeded to quilt it vertically one inch apart using variegated grey and white thread.  Afterwards, I decided the black and white is so stark that paint would tone it down and unite the pieces. So I decided to stamp it with paint.

I pondered the spaces and saw that the white spaces would be perfect for a specific shape, but what? Then it came to me…CROWS; to commemorate my workshop experience.  I loved this idea! I made two stamps, one of a crow and one of an abstract set of bars. I didn’t have black paint so I used India ink. This worked well as it soaked in and created a nice medium grey. I then applied white paint with the bars. The combination of the greys united the surface and muted the harsh black and white spaces. The white paint dried transparent so in some spots I stamped again changing the position. I loved the results.

b_W_paintedThe bars remind me of telephone poles which crows sit on.

b_W_painted_full viewI was very happy with the results. This piece was looking great. Next came more quilting; this took about four hours. I stitched horizontally with black thread going around the crows. Then I stitched vertically again with the variegated thread.

I love to add text by quilting free hand. I decided to add one of Nancy’s comments in red thread:

JUST DO IT

b_w_quilting

Detailed view

The quilting and the paint made this composition come to life.

Now I had to decide what kind of bag to make. The fabric looked sophisticated now so no grocery bag was in mind. Instead I studied bags online and researched in some of my books. I had to make the size of the bag fit the area I had to work with and I wanted the JUST DO IT on the front. I decided upon a 10×19″ finished bag. Most of the crows that were fully stamped wound up on the back.

I worked the next day for about eight hours and finished the bag all except the handle. The lining is a white and tan linen stripe. The next day I decided to add two pockets on the inside in red fabric. I stamped a crow on each one. The perfect final detail.

bag_completed

I am very proud of this bag. It is functional and beautiful.

This project was satisfying and helped me to think of the positives in the workshop. I am grateful for the advice my friend gave me (thanks Barb!).

I took pictures of the construction process and plan to make a tutorial for this bag. I will put a notice when it is available.

 

 

 

 

New Updated Menu

I have uploaded all of my artwork. There are now 42 images. This collection is from 2010 to now. In addition, I have updated the menu on the home page. Instead of having one gallery I have created two galleries. The main menu tab is titled:  GALLERIES with two drop down menus below.

 Textile Paintings

and

Mixed Media

The textile paintings are made with various fabrics. The mixed media pieces are made with various materials. Such as: fabric, assorted papers, wire, buttons, beads. In addition various methods are combined. Such as: Painted fabric, painted paper, paper combined with fabric as “paper cloth”, collage, hand stitching, hand embroidery, to name a few.

Each gallery shows eleven thumbnail images on each page in one column. This makes it easier to see each one separately. Click on an image to see the full image.

I think this is a big improvement. I hope you enjoy seeing all of my artwork. Let me know what you think.

 

New Art

I have completed five new pieces.

This collection can be seen at Bainbridge Arts and Crafts, Bainbridge Island Washington

The original inspiration came from this piece:

Circle the Block V 14"h x 31"w

Circle the Block V
14″h x 31″w

(Yes this is the source for my header above.)

The onset of this application began with a pieced composition that was good but the color was not. I would have liked the colors to be more vibrant. How can I accomplish that? Is there any solution for this composition? I thought that if I could enhance the color of each section that might work so I spontaneously began to cut small rectangles out of colors that would contrast and relate to the base color but also enhance it. I realized that putting one layer of pieces over the base color improved it but not quite enough. I began to place a second layer strategically and this worked. However, because I was working spontaneously, I didn’t think the process through and I begin to panic. How will I attach these without messing up the placement? They were too small to pin and too many. My only choice was to carefully carry it to the machine and begin to sew….while holding my breath. This was next to impossible but somehow I managed to sew each one in place.

I was so happy with the results I wanted to do another, but with a better method. I left it out where I could see it hoping I would think of a solution. A year passed and one day I decided to make another attempt. This time I would attach the pieces with adhesive.

I began with new gusto feeling confident that I could focus on the creative process rather than the method.

Fusing is done with a product called fusible web. This is an adhesive that is acid free and is a thin layer on a backing paper. The fusible web is applied to the back of a piece of fabric with an iron. The backing paper remains on the back until you are ready to fuse the fabric to a surface.

I sketched several compositions with a concept: While thinking about hand stitches and how they are rhythmic running in rows. I also set up sections similar to the original piece.

The stitches (as shapes) were enlarged within the sections. Using this concept I decided to make the first piece 12″ x 12″ with rectangle shapes about 1/2″ wide by 1 1/4″ long. circle the block I_detail

Using cotton fabric with various solid colors and batiks many shapes are cut out to have an assortment to work with. The shapes are layered with smaller rectangles in multiple contrasting colors. The colors interplay and create a vibrant texture and effect.

 

Circle the Block I in progress

Circle the Block I in progress

The process:

Each composition is divided into several sections. The base layer (background) was cut from several hand dyed cotton fabrics for each section. Specific colors are used to provide a vibrant background for the shapes. Strips of contrasting fabric cover the raw edges of the sections. Each section was developed separately with shapes in color collections.  Each section of the composition stands out but also integrates the composition.

The design, batting and a backing fabric are layered together and machine stitched with various colors of thread to add texture and further secure the shapes.

The process was tedious. As each section was developed more ideas for color combinations were realized. In addition to rectangular shapes, squares and circles found there way into the combination.

As the art developed inspiration from the enlarged stitch shapes evolved. Once the composition was complete I studied it and decided the design resembled cars parked in a parking lot. This made me think about looking for a place to park and often times we must circle the block to find the best lot.

Thus the titles: Circle the Block

 

Circle the Block I 12" x 12"

Circle the Block I
12″ x 12″

Circle the Block II

Circle the Block II
12″ x 12″

 

Circle The Block III 12" x 12"

Circle The Block III
12″ x 12″

Circle the Block IV

Circle the Block IV
10″h x 20″w

All of the pieces are mounted to painted canvas. They look really sharp hanging on the wall.

circle the block I_hangingA

Circle the Block II_hanging 2

Circle the Block III_hangingCircle the Block V_hanging

Summer of Watercolor

I revisited my love of watercolor painting this spring and summer. Watercolor was once my favorite medium. However, even though I did many paintings I did not experience the magical elusive success I desired.

Watercolor challenges and you. You cannot control it, you must go with it.

My primary love is drawing from life which I miss.

I took three consecutive courses on-line with Lisa Call over the winter and spring. These courses were outstanding. Lisa delivers an incredible package. She compels you to dig deep and stretch your self. The courses focus on piecing and creating compositions from various points of view. I am very glad I took the courses. However, after the last lesson, I needed a break from sewing.

Winter-2013

I took three consecutive courses on-line with Lisa Call over the winter and spring. These courses were outstanding. Lisa delivers an incredible package. She compels you to dig deep and stretch your self.  The courses focus on piecing and creating compositions from various points of view. I am very glad I took the courses. However, after the last lesson, I needed a break from sewing.

The watercolor courses provided just the switch up I needed.

The instructor Jane LaFazio offers a fun and light-hearted course focused on painting from life and not getting too serious. This is the most important element, to not try to hard. To enjoy the medium and the world around you. You can check out her courses here.

The first course was Sketching and Watercolor Journal Style.

This was conducted in the spring. There were plenty of wonderful subjects all around me. It was delightful to do each lesson. Observing nature and drawing what you see is very satisfying and joyful.

Here are some of the results of the assignments:

(click on an image to enlarge it)

citrus_quilt corrected_wash added

leaves 3 flowers 1 flowers-2

 

 

 

 

 

Watercolor Journaling/Mixed Media Course

In my previous post, I described the first watercolor course that Jane LaFazio offered this summer.  Jane is also a quilt artist. She incorporates various mediums to create her work. I love her versatility and enjoy seeing what creative hat she has on from day to day. Following her blog is highly informative and inspirational.

The second course she offered this summer continued the journaling techniques. This course added mixed media. This was very appealing to me. I enjoyed it immensely.

Watercolor is challenging, you can’t control it and you shouldn’t try.

That is my theory. It takes a lot of restraint to NOT try to take control. The medium must flow and create nuances that are unpredictable. This is always a gamble.

Jane offers a relaxed casual approach to painting with watercolor. First, the act of journaling is meant to be quick and not labored. Do a quick sketch, refine it, add some watercolor, add some text, add various elements to bring it together like stamps.

Jane’s use of watercolor borders on illustration and graphic art. She defines the drawings with permanent black ink before painting. This was something new for me. It took some getting used to. Jane also believes in setting up a pane or field around the composition. This is a defined area outlined in ink that links the elements and adds a nice quality.

In the mixed media course she includes a method using tissue paper. Drawings are traced onto the paper and then adhered over an area of the watercolor paper. She introduced new art tools like the TomBow pen. This pen is felt tipped and water soluble.

lesson 2 resized

In this composition I broke the 9×12″ page into sections by drawing several different size and shape frames. The center tray with stones is overlapped by the candle stick and the tray overlaps one of the frames. This creates depth. The pen was fun to use.

 tombo pen_section

This close up shows the stippling I did. The candle stick was aged and had a crunchy texture on the finish. The stippling described this texture well. Then I used the stippling again for the shadow on the tray. The pens come in various colors. I used gray and black.

 One of the lesson’s was to draw one subject nine ways. Varying the scale, the tool, the method.

 

lesson 4 part 1 2nd page resizedlesson 5 page 2 resized

 

 

 

 

 

 

The image on the left shows the first sections. I numbered each one in text. 1. The top left section has a succulent plant defined with ink and no watercolor. 2. The Bottom left section has a hydrangea blossom drawn in pencil, no ink outline and painted with watercolor. 3.The large flower in the center is several branches and blossoms of the hydrangea plant.

In the right image the page is developed further. 4. Top center is an ink drawing of a small cone flower, watercolor background. 5. Top right has another larger cone flower drawn with water soluble pencil. 6. Is mid-left, Tombow pen drawing of a succulent, watercolor background. 7. Top right corner has another hydrangea blossom drawn with ink and painted with watercolor with a book page as background that is also painted with watercolor. 8. Is another succulent plant drawn with ink with faded text from a book page tinted with pale turquoise watercolor. 9. is a very small cone flower located between 2 and 4. which was first traced onto tissue paper and then applied to the watercolor paper with gel medium, then painted with watercolor.

Jane offers art walk tours in Europe. This summer she conducted one in Italy. Next summer she is conducting one in France on the Riviera. As it turns out, my husband and I had planned to be in that region at the same time for our 40th wedding anniversary. So, we will be joining Jane in Nice for a week. She has things planned for husbands too.

I encourage you to check out what she is up to.

http://janelafazio.com

 

 

 

Dyeing Fabric-Summer Project

My dying session turned out to last three weeks! This was unplanned….but, when you have it all set up..

AND, you are seeing great results…AND,  you are learning a lot….AND, the weather is perfect..

yes, you keep going. At least I did. What a crazy time. I was completely drained by the end. I had worn old stained clothes too many days. My feet were unsightly…getting a pedicure was embarrassing…the poor woman must have thought I had trudged through swamps!

The first week my friend Barb joined me for 2 days. She dyed 40 yards of fabric in solid colors. She was much more productive than me.

163

I discovered I have the perfect set up. I have a side porch on the ground floor that opens to the laundry room. Which also has a fold down ironing board. The porch is covered and on a shady side of the house. The breezes were fantastic. It was perfect.

We could set the fabrics in the sun to cure. Both of us were trying to get mostly a solid color. The colors came out great.

image

Barb laid her fabric on the grass to dry. What a picture!

We used a method that is detailed by Lisa Call.  She has figured out how to dye 60-80 yards of fabric in one day. Yes! And, how to dye 4 yards with 1 cup of dye. We did this, it works! The fabric is soaked in clear water only. The first yard is placed in the bin, wrung out and damp. The dye is added and pressed into the fabric. Next, the soda ash solution is poured on and pressed in minimally. Next, the 2nd yard is placed on top of the first yard, and pressed to distribute the dye, followed by soda ash solution. Each yard is done this way. The yard on the bottom will be the darkest most saturated and the subsequent yards will be slightly lighter; creating a gradation.  Read the details and amounts on her blog.

There are several associated posts about her dying methods. They are very easy to understand.image

She also sells PFD  pimatex cotton. This is what we used and I really like it.

The main ingredient she uses that produces bright colors is SALT.

I mixed the chemical water with UREA and SALT.

 

 

This is my batch. The turquoise and marigold produced 5 yards from 1 cup of dye.

image

 

 

My cats loved the fabric too!

image

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The following week, I spent with my granddaughter Madeleine. She is now 11. We dyed together. She thought that it was so funny every time I said “I was dying.”

We went to some second-hand shops and found some t-shirts and old linens to dye.

We had lots of fun together.image

She is modeling an old linen scarf that had beautiful embroidery. It would have made a great skirt.

The last week I spent dyeing clothing with a neighbor. We had even more fun! We dyed dresses, slips, linens, place mats, table cloths and more.

In addition, I used good paper to catch the drips. What great papers! I have enough dyed things and ideas to last a lifetime.

Finally, I had to stop. I was completely exhausted.

 

 

 

Collage-New Work

The wateimagercolor journaling courses revived my interest in working on and with paper. I consider paper as fabric, it is fiber after all.  I have made art that you would not know wasn’t fabric but is actually paper. I love working with paper. The results are mysterious…people are intrigued, which I like. I began to work on the collages in September. I was thinking about Autumn and decided to use leaves as a motif. imageI use primarily tissue paper and old book pages. First I apply paint on the tissue papers. They are too thin to keep tidy…thus this is how I work:image I use craft tissue which is slightly thicker and a better quality than gift tissue. I spread out several layers of tissue and spray with Ranger Ink Color Wash….I love this stuff! No matter how many colors you spray and mingle…they do not make mud. Great for beginners. The colors I like to use are: Denim, Butterscotch and Eggplant. The papers stick together when wet. I dry the papers with a heat gun and as they dry they  separate easily. The paper is stronger once it is dried. I used a 5″ x 7″ piece of watercolor paper for the base of the collage. Some of the base paper was left white and some I added a wash of watercolor in a 4″ x 5″ defined area. The layering process evolves. The papers have beautiful unique qualities that when combined and overlapped create amazing results.  It is impossible to detail what happens during this time as I go with it…I don’t think much, rather I enjoy the process. Some progress faster, some fizzle out, but most become truly amazing.imageimage After the papers are layered and adhered with acid free glue or adhesive, I place them under weights to dry. The next step is the stitching. The stitching is spontaneous. I stop sewing when I run out of ideas and proceed to sew a different one. Many times I realize what else can be added after sewing othimageimageers.

This image shows a collage prior to stitching. This particular collage did not have a  leaf motif so, I used stamps and gold ink instead. One stamp has fine detail that I purchased and one is larger that I made.

The collage truly came to life after stitching. This image shows the threads still hanging. At some point I started to like the thread hanging revealed on the front. I purposely pulled the bobbin thread to the front, tied a knot and trimmed each thread to a good length. image The leaf motif was added to this collage with a piece of paper that was the negative shape of a leaf.

image

When I finished with 18 pieces. The next step was to show them. The rep at Bainbridge Arts and Crafts where I exhibit my work, was very delighted to see them. He asked me to prepare them right away for December. Cutting mats and mounting takes time, but I completed the work in time and they are now at the gallery. 10″ x 12″ $165 I am very proud of this work. I enjoyed the process immensely so much so that I was motivated to write an outline. I consider collage as playing….allowing the elements to talk and evolve. The materials are simple and the methods are easy. I hope others find this intriguing enough to ask about it and invite me to teach.

Forever Blue Jeans

L_side2_RI recently discovered how much I like to sew denim, primarily old blue jeans. The older the better. Stains, holes, faded…I love it all!

I have asked my friends to save their blue jeans for me. I’ve got a good start on a collection already. A project I decided to do for Christmas was to make denim bags for my three grandchildren. A sturdy bag that they could use for carrying things, like books from the library. This didn’t come to me until the first week in December. I didn’t think it would take much time to make them. So I began on the bag for the little guy, Liam, 5 years old. This went fast and I was encouraged. This is the front which was primarily a denim dress I got at a 2nd hand store. The denim was stretchy and soft, thus the bag is sort of floppy.

The capital L is made of soft leather and stands for Liam.L_side_R   The patch on the front top was too thick, thus a curve developed there which I liked. That patch is actually left of center. The Right side has a pocket and is trimmed in the same leather. The inside was left unlined, instead I put a wide facing and hand stitched it down. Hind sight: I would sew a complete lining, put right sides together and turn down the top edges and top stitch.  All of the seams were overcast and top stitched in various ways. I used authentic jeans thread which is very thick.

The second bag is larger. I made it basic to look masculine. This one has red ultra suede trim.

A_front_RI combined several types of denim.

The upper right patch is more of the dress.

A_back_RI came up with a logo that is an outline of a red heart with a G in the center. G for Grammie.

 

I wrote inside of each bag. Including names, dates and sentiments.

T0tal time: 16 hours.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Website Redesign in Progress-Denim Bags

I finally gave in and decided to have this website redesigned. Anyone who uses WordPress for their website knows how often the updates are issued. This eventually becomes problematic. I have hired Holly Knott to do this work. She is very talented and also makes art quilts. I am very excited about this change. I estimate the new site to be up by mid-March.

In the meantime, I have continued my focus on sewing with old denim. I love the feel. I love the comfort of it. I made a bag for all three of my grandchildren for Christmas. The first two are conservative and practical, for the boys. The third, for my granddaughter, took a completely different direction.. What fun this was! This bag took a lot longer and I almost didn’t finish it by Christmas day. I was still hand sewing the edges as we drove to their home. All three kids love their bags. I wrote sentiments on the inside and the date.

I am optimistic that these bags will connect me with specific people who will embrace them for art as well as a functional bag.

Major concern:

To be copied or added to Pinterest. I admit, I truly don’t think anyone could actually copy me, but, rather take the concept. Thus, I will only show sections of the bag here

The denim used for this bag was prepared by a process to remove some of the indigo dye. I used shibori techniques and loved the results. Each type of denim produced a unique coloration. This truly amazed me and prompted me to think about a completely different look.

.M_bag_section1

I used original stamps and cut stencils to apply various colors of paint. Her favorite color is purple so that is the main color. The body of the bag is constructed with sections of jeans mixed together. Any pockets are left open and usable. This is challenging. Some motifs are outlined with hand stitching.

M_bag_section3M_bag_section2

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yo-Yo’s, lace and buttons as embellishments.

More to come about denim bags in my next post.

 

 

Denim Story

The next bag I made from old denim has a story.

I put out the word out to people I know to save their old jeans for me. One day a neighbor that I know casually brought me several pairs. One was made from black denim, from Germany.  I explained to her what I was doing with the denim and this lead to a nice chat. She intimated that she was in a very distressing situation with her adult son. He was in rehab. He was about to be released and she was very worried that he was not ready for the real world. She was right at the doorway of reality. She knew this was the defining moment…she could not cave….she must stay strong; but it was plain to see, she was terrified. She had to believe that what ever happened it was up to HIM, not her.

I could relate as I went through a similar situation not to long ago. This was the first person I had met that I could offer sound advice and encouragement from experience. I was surprised at how confident I sounded…that I could immediately cut through what she was saying and translate; her words and thinking revealed how unsteady her thinking was. My responses were immediate…I knew exactly what to say….the same things others had said to me….that I couldn’t wrap my brain around. Now I could see this clearly and be supportive in a kind way that enabled her see the reality from a new source.

During my struggle last year…I sought counseling.  I went weekly. It was a constant acknowledgement of my pain and deeply troubling. I knew I had to face the truth…that I could not fix it. I was fixated upon impending doom. My counselor stood by me and relentlessly repeated what I had to do. Eventually, it came to a point where she made me aware that I had come far enough, that I knew what I had to do. My counselors parting words were:

If you don’t get out of his way…..he doesn’t stand a CHANCE.

Wow! That hit me smack in the gut. That became my mantra. I am so grateful for the wisdom of my counselor Erin Brower.

Thus, the chat with my neighbor was highly beneficial for both of us; we bonded through crisis.

I proceeded to use the denim jeans she gave me; her black jeans and her husbands well worn blue jeans. I used bleach to remove color using both liquid and a bleach pen. I enjoyed using the bleach pen but it didn’t go far. I wrote words and swirls. The black denim changed dramatically. The end result was a pinkish beige and black areas. How interesting! Now I a multitude of ideas about black denim.

I love it when I see something totally unexpected. This immediately jump starts creative thoughts.

I decided to make a bag for my neighbor with her black jeans.

As I thought about the style of a bag and how it could relate to her….I continued to think about her STORY.  My STORY and hers had connected.

The black denim had wonderful character and I liked the overall effect thus, I decided to use whole chunks rather than cutting up the fabric which reduced the construction time a lot. The black denim was gorgeous but an accent color was needed. The blue denim was the perfect accent. The picture shows pieces of the bleached blue jeans. This doesn’t look like much to work with does it? This is how it starts.

BB_blue_denim

The bag was developed with a front and back side. The front would have a functional pocket and details. The back would be subtle and personal.

I wanted to tell the STORY on the back without it being obvious. This way she could share the  STORY to certain people when it was appropriate. The purpose of the STORY was to define life’s reality and option. The story is brief and to the point.

Your Chance-Your Choice

She could selectively reveal the STORY. It HIS CHANCE for a new start…as well as HERS  and both had a CHOICE.

The construction of the bag went smoothly and as I sewed I continued to think about her, her son and my story. The design is called a knife edge, referring to the seaming of the front and back. This image shows the bag wrong side out with front and back joined and the darts on the corners.

knife_edge

I included a monogram, of the letter B; like Chanel (two C’s). This was free motion stitched. First I stitched a rectangle and then positioned the two B’s back to back. monogram

 

 

 

 

I also made a large initial B out of blue denim.

large_BThe swirls were the perfect spot to write text. I made a stencil from freezer paper for the word CHANCE. I painted this in yellow to stand out. I used a small alphabet stamp set to write the other words.

I spent 30 hours creating the design and constructing the bag plus one week dyeing and planning.

I called her and told her I had something for her. I walked to her house and we chatted and she gave me an update.  In the elapsed time her frame of mind was completely improved. She had managed to stand firm. Her son did leave rehab, he moved into a half way house and had a job. At 45 years old, he now had for the first time in his life a new start….a CHANCE. She beamed with happiness (as well as relief).

Then I knew it was the perfect time to present the bag to her.

She gasped!

She was completely blown away!

She cried and cried…she repeated: I love it…thank you…thank you….thank you.  More tears and more thanks…it was truly the perfect gift. I then explained the process, my reasons and how she could share the story if she wanted to. She immediately said “I do want to share the story”.

We, who have been through something like this, know this is how we heal…through support and encouragement.

Her husband was in complete amazement….he said, “no one has ever done anything for her like this”.

A perfect ending to a perfect story.

bag_finished

P.S. I am proud my son has taken control of his life. He has come along way. I commend my daughter for taking a stand and initiating the recovery for are family. We are grateful this is behind us now. Thank You Erin.

If you would like a bag personally made for you or someone else…please contact me. I love making these bags.

**I ask that you respect my original design. Please do not copy or put any of my images on Pinterest. Thank You.** 

 

 

 

 

Mixed Media

I have gravitated to mixed media. I love experimenting. Mixed media is all about the adventure. Most of my mixed media has stitching of some sort. I enjoy working on various kinds of paper.

I learned about a technique called STACKED JOURNALING. I discovered this on Judi Hurwitt’s website.

I have on a program on my Ipad (app $6) called Procreate. The program lets you paint or draw with your finger or a stylus pen; I use my finger.  It is fabulous! If I had had something like this as a kid you would have never seen me. I draw all sorts of things. I really like to use it on a long plane ride.

Judi uses it to actually write sentences. I decided to use one or two words and repeat them over and over. I use primarily use the ink pens that have 8 types from technical pen (very fine) to Gesinski Ink (very wide). What I discovered with the words is that each word has a rhythm. I have used the words: Drift Away, Rock and Roll, Relax, Frustration, Physics, Rhythm, Awesome and more.

Here are some examples of my style of stacked journaling.

                       MANIFEST

2014-03-30 09.42.13

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nesting

One looks more like a painting. I used an image of a collage I made and used it as the base layer and drew over it.

 

 

 

 

I also drew my logo. Then I made a stamp with it.003

 

 

 

 

 

 

I love to draw with an eraser.

Eraser_drawing_1_resized

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Purse

I also play around with elements to sort out a potential composition. If I am out and sitting somewhere and I see something interesting I sketch it. Like purses. Now that I have been making denim bags, I notice the styles of purses

Check out PROCREATE!

slideshow 1 – Circle the Block V

Circle the Block V

slideshow 2 – Honesty VII

slideshow-2

slideshow 3 – Spiral Bound

slideshow-1

slideshow 4 – Imagine

Imagine

Circle the Block I

Circle the Block I-SOLD

Size of art: 12 x 12″

Size with canvas frame:  12 x 12″

cotton fabric, hand dyed, embellished with cut shapes of fabric, machine quilted.

The title, Circle the Block, came from the movement of the shapes that appear to be cars driving around looking for a place to park.

Image of the artwork hanging on a wall:

Circle the Block I

Circle the Block III

Circle the Block III

Size of art: 12 x 12″

Size with canvas frame:  12 x 12″

cotton fabric, hand dyed, embellished with cut shapes of fabric, machine quilted.

The title, Circle the Block, came from the movement of the shapes that appear to be cars driving around looking for a place to park.

Image of the artwork hanging on a wall:

Circle the Block III

Circle the Block V

Circle the Block V

Size of art: 6 x 14″

Size with canvas frame:  8 x 16″

cotton fabric, hand dyed, embellished with cut shapes of fabric, machine quilted.

The title, Circle the Block, came from the movement of the shapes that appear to be cars driving around looking for a place to park.

Image of the artwork hanging on a wall:

Circle the Block V

 

Essence of Light I

Essence of Light I

Size of art: 3.5 x 4.5″ h

Size with frame: 8.5 x 10″ h

Metal Frame, Acid Free mat

cotton fabric, machine pieced and quilted, hand embroidery, beads, hammered wire

Festival Triptych

Festival Triptych

Size of art: 3.5 x 3.5″

Size with frame: 17 x 8″ h

Metal Frame, Acid Free mat

cotton fabric, machine pieced and quilted, beads, hammered wire

Detail images:

Festival Triptych, left side Festival Triptych, middle Festival Triptych, right side

Leaves 1

Leaves 1

Leaves are a favorite subject of mine. This collage is made with layers of painted papers and embellished with machine stitching.

Leaves 2

Leaves 2

Leaves are a favorite subject of mine. This collage is made with layers of painted papers and embellished with machine stitching.

Leaves 3

Leaves 3

Leaves are a favorite subject of mine. This collage is made with layers of painted papers and embellished with machine stitching.

Leaves 4

Leaves 4

Leaves are a favorite subject of mine. This collage is made with layers of painted papers and embellished with machine stitching.

Sea Shells

Sea Shells

This collage is made with layers of painted papers and metallic gold applications. Machine stitching accents the design.

Slideshow – 5

slideshow-5

Manifest

Manifest

Method: Layered word journaling.

Manifest is one of my very favorite words. Favorite words are continuously written and then rotated. In this composition the word was written on the top and bottom, creating a box. Each word develops a unique rhythm.

Peace and Healing

Peace and  Healing

Method: Layered word journaling.

Certain words communicate my state of mind; in this case, Peace and Healing was on my mind.

Singing

Singing

Method: Layered word journaling.

This word expresses a desire and joy. I cannot sing… I love singing and I wish I could sing to express myself.  

Stacked Rocks

Stacked Rocks

Stacking rocks goes back to ancient times.  This art form is amazing. The simplicity is prime. This drawing represents this simplicity.

Sunglasses

Sunglasses

This drawing is a design that developed spontaneously. It makes me think of sunglasses.

Painting Watercolors on Location in Nice, France

Recently I traveled to Nice, France to join a group of ladies for a week of painting watercolors on location. My experience with watercolor ended about 2o years ago. I painted for a few years and never really achieved the level of expertise I desired. I stopped painting when I discovered textile art and I have not painted since. When I heard about this opportunity it appealed to me for a number of reasons. I love Nice, I wanted to meet new people and I thought it would be fun to try painting again especially on location and what a fabulous location it was!

Instead of painting a complete scene we narrowed the focus down to small vignettes on 5×7: paper. This enabled editing and minimizing which took less time (and helped me to not overwork it).

I had a great time. Each day we went to a different town and setting.

The first day we painted at an outdoor antique market, which is held on Mondays. The other days the market has flowers and vegetables. FM_1

Walking around and in between the tables to find interesting items to paint was challenging as some of the vendors were not pleased to have someone blocking the flow; I had to work quick. Several vendors told me to move on. I was surprised that I was able to paint at all. It was very tempting to stop and shop…but there wasn’t enough time. I spotted some beautiful linens that I would have bought for sure and I manage to return the following Monday to shop on my own. There were fabulous things displayed unlike what you would see here in the US. I spotted a collection of antique perfume bottles which stayed in my mind. When I got home…I did a search and found some to buy on line. I plan to paint these in the future. They are charming and I think they will make excellent subjects.

The ceramic bird was the first item I spotted and quickly started to sketch and paint it.

There were two of them and I quickly bought them and moved on; now I can paint them over and over.

The second item was the vase. It was porcelain delicately detailed with flowers and very intricate metal work for the stand. The third item was the perfume bottle. The seller came over to see what I was doing. She smiled and seemed pleased so I could stay longer at that spot. I wrote the name Caline on it, as this is the name of one I have and bought in Nice many years ago ( I still have the bottle). The fourth item was the  porcelain basket. The handle was made of fragile rope like strands that wove together. The edges had delicate ridges. I really should have bought that one, but it was very fragile. I added a bit of wrought iron that was visible. The name of the market was Cours Saley. antique_market_painting

 

 

The next day we took a train to Ville Franche and walked to the Rothschild estate.

Rothschild_estate

What an amazing place! Everywhere I looked was beautiful. The estate and the grounds were fabulous. I painted from 10:30 till 5 p.m. I spent the first 2 hours painting random flowers.

After a fabulous lunch there, I spent the remaining time painting a collection of features. A rose, a small landscape and a beautiful stone pot. The design on it was very intricate. I simplified it but it still looks intricate. I plan to add something more on the top open space.

rothschild_paintingThe next day was spent at Menton. This was my favorite day. The town is know for citrus and I love anything lemon. I became interested in the shutters which were on every window. They were a similar shades of aqua green. I started to take lots of pictures of shuttered windows.  My painting began with the one window and shutter as I ate lunch at the Le Balico . The building was on a corner and was rounded. The window was on one side of the curve and the shutter opened onto the opposite curved side. This proved to be a challenging perspective. The shadow helped to explain the curve. Next I became fascinated with a stone statue nearby. Menton_statue2

I tried to decide what color stone would be? What colors should I mix to get the effect of stone? This was intriguing. The sun was shining just perfectly from behind and over the shoulders to highlight the details. Later that day I added the all important lemon.

Menton_paintingThe next day was spent on an island off the coast of Canne, Ile Saint Honorat. This island is small and has only a Monastery and vineyards.  A stop at the farmers market in Canne prior provided an opportunity to buy fruit. I decided to paint the fruit; fresh ripe figs and apricots that was the brightest yellow orange ever. The inside of the figs were rich shades of coral red. The view was beautiful. On the walk back to the ferry, I took some fabulous photos of the vineyards and the coast. Both had a wonderful fence with very old and narrow pickets. I knew these scenes would make great subjects to paint. saint-honorant_fruit_painting

The remainder of my stay was spent on the beach. I painted there too. I used photos which was totally different than painting on location. I definitely liked painting on location the best. The elements that come into play add to the experience and make it real.

The main benefit I realized was that painting on location required lots of editing. This is good for me as I tend to over work when working with watercolors….and this is not a good thing.

My stay in Europe spanned 24 days. My travels took me on to Majorca where I found additional subjects to paint. I was inspired and motivated.

Now that I am home, my vision is expanded; I see plenty to paint right here in my yard and nearby. The Seattle area is full of glorious scenery. The component that compelled me to go on this trip was the allure of Nice, which is definitely worth experiencing; however, travel is expensive and has its challenges. My eyes are open now and I see my surroundings in a completely new way. This awakening is great as most of my time is spent in the studio.

I still struggle with the tendency to overwork the painting though. My goal is to overcome this; only time will tell.

I have ideas about painting on location here. It would be fantastic to bring some like minded people together and join me. If you are interested, let me know.

Paper Shibori-Indigo with a Twist

516rB5fLE7L__AA160_

Memory On Cloth by Yoshika Wada

 

I took a workshop with Joan Morris in August. She is an expert on natural dying and various resist methods. She developed the fabrics for all of the costumes in the Broadway production Lion King. Miles and miles of gorgeous fabrics! This accomplishment is covered in a book titled: Memory on Cloth-Shibori Now by: Yoshiko Wada. It is a beautiful book to have in your library.

Photos along with a presentation of how the costumes evolved for specific characters of Lion King are included. Joan conducts a very efficient course. She is specific and intent on the execution. She has very high standards for herself as an instructor as well as artist. She delivers more than one could possibly absorb. I truly respect that. You can see her amazing work on her website.

I chose to focus on the resist methods in the workshop; how to arrange fabric to create unique and beautiful patterning from the planned resists. Resist dying is when sections of the fabric are constricted so those areas will not absorb dye. This can be done with any dye. Methods for resist dying are ancient and were developed in multiple areas of the world. I learned a lot in this course; however, I did not come away with successfully completed examples. The natural dyes that we used call for certain steps some of which I didn’t get right thus, the results I have are too pale. Resist methods can only show up with high contrast.

I’m glad I took the course and I did learn what NOT to do when it comes to natural dyes.  I doubt I will ever use them except maybe indigo, someday. I prefer procion mx dyes and I am not up for another learning curve.

I enjoy working with paper  as much as cloth. After the course I decided to try some of the resist methods with paint and paper. The paint I like to use often is actually a dye paint: Adirondack Color Wash/Denim. This product is in a spray bottle and is concentrated. The color: Denim is very close to indigo.  I tried several kinds of paper: Lotka, Rice and Mulberry. These papers are hand made from very strong fibers. I am quite pleased with the results.

The steps I used:

1. The paper was scrunched up into a wad and then opened several times. This breaks the fibers and makes the paper soft almost like fabric.

2. The paper was dampened slightly and then wrapped, folded or clamped. Stencils and wood shapes (blocking) were used on some pieces.

3. Color Wash: Denim was sprayed on mainly to the edges on the surface.

I applied the paint sparingly to observe the absorbency of each type of paper; more color was applied as needed.

The papers were left to dry with a fan circulating the air; they dry fairly quickly. It is always a surprise when a bundle is opened…and I love this part.

ARASHI SHIBORI

Wrapping around a pole-The paper is wrapped and tightly scrunched on the pole to set up creases that act as channels. Minimal paint will seep into the creases thereby creating a resist. Depending on how the paper is wrapped the design will differ; no two are alike. Often the fabric and in this case paper, continue to hold the creases.

Arashi Shibori

Step 1-The paper is damp and will be rolled onto the PVC pole on the diagonal.

 

Arashi Shibori

Step 2-The paper has been scrunched up tight. Twine is wrapped around to hold it in place.

Arashi Shibori

Step 3-A minimal amount of paint is sprayed on at first.

Arashi Shibori

Step 4-The paper is completely covered with paint.

 

If the result is not satisfactory (not enough paint, not enough design) the same process is repeated.

Arashi Shibori

Arashi Shibori

 

KUMO SHIBORI-SPIDER WEB

A spot on the paper is selected, pinched and shaped to make a point. Starting at the point, thread is wrapped tightly around and down (as far as you choose) and then back up to the point; secure with a knot.. The longer the length of the wrapped point the larger the design (spider web). The dampened paper was pliable similar to fabric. I decided to make various sized webs on this piece.

KUMO

Step 1-The thread has been wrapped securely around the point and knotted.

KUMO

Step 2-Five points of various lengths are secured.

KUMO

Step 3-The first application of paint is light.

KUMO

Step 4-More paint is applied both on the front and the back.

The results are good.

The results are good.

Collectively, the various methods proved to work well on the papers.

Shibori

Five successful results.

Top left: Itajime-Clamping, Top right: Itajime and wood template, Center: Folded Accordion style, Bottom left: Kumo, Bottom right: Arashi  (two applications).

Adirondack Color Wash Denim

Stencil Designs with Denim color wash.

Alternatively, stencils are effective with color wash paint. I used two stencils here. The top design with a circle is once. First the paint is sprayed over the stencil, second, the stencil is flipped to utilize the paint on the surface of the stencil. The design on the bottom was done the same way.

 

A Movement: Textile Art vs. Fiber Art

What is the difference between TEXTILE ART  and FIBER ART? Is there any difference at all? These terms are debatable. Today I decided to change my title from TEXTILE ARTIST to FIBER ARTIST.  Why is this important to me?

Festival Triptych

Fiber Art by Deborah Babin
Title: Festival

I do not relate to the term Quilt Art. I rarely if ever, say the word quilt. I do however, include the act of quilting in my work. I am not making a quilt or a blanket. I am making art. What I make is actually rooted in the history of quilts. This I acknowledge to myself. I have decided to not include this term when discussing and describing my work. Why is that? The main reason is to distinguish between those that make art with cloth and sometimes quilt it.  I explain what I do with respect to the traditional quilt world and qualify that I make contemporary art. When describe what Fiber Art is the terminology has to be specific; however, many times I am looking at an expression of confusion. The progression from traditional quilts (blankets) to current day contemporary (fiber) art is at a snails pace.

I researched this topic and found a detailed report on the difference of these two terms: TEXTILE ART and FIBER ART

What I was not aware of until I read it was the regional definitions. In the UK artists that make art with fabric or cloth refer to this as: art textiles

In an article titled Defining a Movement by textile writer Jessica Hemmings 

Fiber art is seen as an American term; art textiles a British one. Are these terms useful? Dated? This snapshot reveals some of the deeper issues surrounding perceptions and directions within the field.

When Fiberarts asked me to investigate the use of fiber art and art textiles I was, at first glance, tempted to assume that fiber art is simply the American equivalent for what the British, and some Australians, call art textiles. But as I found when I began to question various individuals whose disciplines help define the terms—art historians, curators, educators, and makers—things are in fact far more complicated than a quibble between British and American language preferences.

Continue reading the complete article here

I agree with Jessica, Fiber Art is a movement.

Further research led me to a rather in-depth twenty page report titled: The Descriptive Challenges of Fiber Art by Lois F. Lunin

Excerpt:

Fiber art is both a new and an old art form. “The use of fibrous

materials as a medium for art works is not new; woven, knitted,

printed, and otherwise treated materials have long appeared in the

history of mankind” (Henning, 1977). Traditionally, however, they

appeared as functional objects. The term fiber art, sometimes called

art fabric, was introduced after World War I1 to characterize new

art developments in textiles. This article deals only with the fiber

art developments since World War I1 and the challenges presented

in describing that art for inclusion in text and image databases.

A movement…..I like knowing this. Next time I am asked what it is that I do, what kind of art I make, what kind of an artist I am I will include and emphasize that I am a part of a movement, one that is on the move and moving forward.

Are you part of this movement? Do you relate to this?

 

 

 

 

 

Painting with Adirondack Color Wash

I LOVE Adirondack Color Wash by Ranger Ink. I have used it for years. The qualities are amazing. Not only are the colors rich and beautiful but they also blend without making “mud”. They come in a 2 oz. spray bottle (originally a 4 oz. size). I have been using them full strength but recently I saw a you tube video that showed how they can be diluted. That is a great idea as they are very potent.

There is another advantage I discovered over the years and that is the mystery of the medium.  Color wash is considered a craft product. None the less the qualities are high; it is acid free; however,  unfortunately it is a disburse dye; it can be reactivated with water or any medium with moisture. This is a detriment for sure. One I had to find a solution for  to continue using them. I found a product that seals  the wash making it permanent and  a huge bonus! After the sealant is applied the colors POP! The mystery is the results of the art I  have  made with it.  The  medium(s) are undetectable as well as the methods.

My favorite application is to spray color wash on to several layers of papers capitalizing on the intensity. There are many options for application. I usually follow these basic steps:

  1. Dampen the paper first and then apply color wash. This enables the wash to spread nicely.
  2. Spray the color wash on first and then spray lightly with water. It is amazing to watch the color move and blend to make unpredictable colors.
  3. Dry with a heat tool or air dry.

I never tire of the experimentation with color washes.

I use color wash to make various components to make (serious) fine art, fine crafts and casual things like notecards. They also work on fabric somewhat. The best results I have had is with lace, seam binding, silk ribbon; heat setting is a must.

Fine Art

Art Components-Paper Cloth, fabric and embellishments

Mixed Media-Title: Leaf CollageThe process has several steps.

Step 1 Paint Papers

Step 2 Backgrounds added

Step 3 Collage-Layers of painted papers

Final Details-Accent “line” with machine stitching with black thread

painted_tissue_paper_300 Collage_multiple_1_300 Sea Shells

An assortment of painted papers to work with. Collages in progress. Finished collage 5×7.

Tin_Heart1_300 Tin_heart_detail-300

Title: Tin Heart 15×20″

Multi layer-Composite

Focal Point: Heart-Impression from antique ceiling tile; sapphire blue ink defines the design of the tile. Surrounds-Layers of painted papers with color wash.Two side panels with areas cut away to expose fabric behind. Embellished with small hearts, bits of painted lace, pieces of piano player paper. Fringe top and bottom edge.

Fine Craft

Glass Luminaries-Glass is wrapped

with thin painted paper. When the

luminary is lit the light shows the

beauty of the translucent papers.

Luminaries

Three examples of Luminaries made by students.

Luminary

Luminary Example 2

Paper Cloth_full sheet_600

A large sheet of paper cloth.

Paper Cloth-A layered composite made of muslin, bits of paper, white glue, tissue paper and color wash. I have used paper-cloth in various applications.

Paper Cloth painted with Adirondack color wash

Take out Box made with paper cloth.

Take out Box made with paper cloth. Simply open the box out flat to use as a pattern. Make a piece of paper cloth large enough for the pattern.

You have the perfect opportunity to learn more about using Adirondack color wash ink in my new online course through Academy of Quilting.

Title: Mixing Up Media

Open for sign up NOW here.  Start date March 6th- 5 weeks $50

Stay up to date….Subscribe to this blog.

Goal: Make BIG Serious Art in 2015

My goal for 2015 is to make BIG serious art. I have decided that if I want to make (serious) progress I must establish a starting point; and, so I have. What is serious art? For me it means: defining my focus. To do this I must first take an assessment: Where does my art (career) stand professionally?  Define what main components need to be activated, engaged and clarified. This scrutiny had been done throughout 2014. I have been considering various directions. Now it is time to sort out my ideas and chose which ones have the loudest voice. I keep several journals. I write down my thoughts to actualize them. This is necessary otherwise the same thoughts circle around and I get frustrated and confused. Once written, I can relax and clear my mind.  This includes sketches of designs.

Now I can read my notes to extract the essence. To make a preparations to accomplish my goal: To make BIG  serious) art. Art that is fulfilling for me. So what did I realize  from my writing? Graphic elements catch my eye. I am drawn to art (designs) that have a black and white or a minimal palette. Thus, I decided to stretch myself artistically and go with this direction; to specifically focus on a black and white palette. In addition, one of my on going desires is to make BIG art. One of the main aspects I defined that  I admire  is scale: LARGE scale  art is compelling, dynamic and daring.  Confidence is a must.

Many times when I finish a piece I think

“I like it; however, too bad it isn’t LARGER”

 I was completely confident that was an excellent choice and one I anticipated to be enjoyable. I began the first week in January. I have several versions going; however, none of them are what I expected nor am I happy with. Working in black and white has proven to be much more challenging than I anticipated. This tells me that this is a good challenge; I need to push through this.

My design wall usually has various pieces on it. I mostly use it for pieces that are in various stages of development; and some had been hanging on it way too long. I decided to take everything down and start fresh; no distractions.

The background is white. I cut a number of  black fabric strips in various widths. I also cut strips from my printed on Spoonflower. The colors did not print as I had hoped. I like the design but the color is not true black or white. I have since learned that this is my fault not Spoonflower’s. The colors are a strange charcoal tone and dull white; an overall drab look. But, I decided that these tones would be perfect to mix with very black and very white. These strips are hanging on the freshly cleared design wall.

The design wall is clear and ready to begin.

The design wall is clear and ready to begin.

Surprisingly, I immediately knew I was in uncharted territory and this perplexed me; I didn’t expect to be challenged this much. I proceeded but there were a lot of stops and starts. I have no idea if I like what I have or not. The first piece is just there. I continued to work and add more pieces all day however; the more I tried the harder it got and I knew I was getting “fussy”.

Finally I had to stop; I wasn’t in the right mode. The piece is still hanging there today. I look at it each day but so far, no excitement. I have not given up though. I made some smaller pieces using the same fabrics and added some prints that (I thought I liked).

B-W_fabric 1

Again, I had the same experience. Adding prints didn’t work…the total effect is not original (enough). I began to fuss again; this is a red flag, so I stopped. Now I have two more on the wall and none of them excite me. Oh well, that is okay because often times this is part of the development, the challenge, the search. These may not go any further but they are (part of) the catalyst. I’m still motivated and that is what matters.

Conclusion: I need to explore black and white as value and be patient until a direction presents. I decided to switch mediums and paint values. I used a gelli plate and good quality smooth white paper. This was fun and spontaneous and the enthusiasm returned.  I like some aspects that emerged. I see potential. Again, I looked at the papers for several days. It was as if my brain was trying to translate a foreign language; more pondering to do.

Gradually, I began to cut and combine pieces and still only a few pieces came together. I continued to work with the pieces for days on end.

B-W_paper_canvas 2 B-W_paper_canvas 1

Why is this so hard?

Next I decided to paint on canvas. I primed it with gesso and then applied black and white acrylic paint quite spontaneously. I love the results. I tore the linen into several pieces; I like the small compositions, but that’s the problem…they are small!

My original goal was to make serious LARGE scale art. I hope I will find the direction back to that goal.

B-W_linen_canvas 1

I like the painted linen a lot. I have tried the pieces on various backgrounds; none have said “yes” yet. Here I used black linen (that needs to be ironed).

Next I painted some handmade khadi paper. It has a wonderful texture. It almost feels like fabric.

B-W_paper 1

I used acrylic paint and India ink. I like the effects very much. This has promise.

The plan is established, now I will continue. To be continued.

Double click on the smaller images to enlarge.

Mixing Up Media-Course Online

Mixing Up Media-My new course online at the Academy of Quilting

Start date: March 6th, 2015

Five Lessons $50

Sign Up now

MM_mini_finishedI am very happy to have this course ready to go. Many hours go into composing, making art, photographing, editing and more to put a course together.  Visit my profile page too.

You are invited: Go behind the scenes to experience some of my favorite methods and materials I use to create authentic art. Mixed Media: the fascinating realm of endless possibilities. Learn to: Transform various materials and unleash your creativity; observe amazing results from the get go.

 

Mixed Media-Take a Look and Make your LOOK

What is mixed media?
Basically, it is a playground filled with various types of art materials. All you have to do is take a look and then give yourself the freedom to play and have fun. It is impossible to go wrong, you will see.

For example, what if I told you that it is possible to make a painted surface look unpainted? No problem, I will show you just how to this and more. Working with mixed media offers unlimited options and endless possibilities. Once you experience this fascinating world you will soon realize this. Now, the best way to begin is with a focus otherwise the options are overwhelming.

The focus of this workshop is: To experience selected products and materials that produce amazing results. I invite you to realize the vast range of possibilities and gradually unleash your creativity. In addition, you will get to peak at my methods that I have used successfully for many years. I will share my journey with mixed media. I love stories, do you?

Create a LOOK-Three looks set the stage for exploration:

HL_fv_200

1. Historic Look-inspired by authentic botanical illustrations

CL_fv_200
2. Current Look-Updated style inspired by the Historic look

AB_fv_200
3. Abstract Look-Pushed onward and into the future

Layouts are provided with various options that will guide you through practice and application. The design is based on a botanical illustration; a single flower is the featured specimen and focal point. You have options: work within your style whether you prefer to work loosely or refined with precise detail.

Either way, the objective is to create authentic art while at the same time experiencing some of my favorite and unique mixed media methods and (unconventional) materials including: interfacing, tissue paper, silk organza as well as cloth. These materials will be saturated with luscious colors and developed into dynamic textured surfaces using color wash dye paints; spritz, spray and drip dye paint. No need for prior painting experience…this is super easy, fast and super fun.

Techniques

The information I will provide comes straight from my coveted collection of tried and true methods and tools. For example, you will learn how to make and utilize a highly effective tool that I developed and use exclusively for appliqué.
Embellishment tags

CL_emb_200Make it yours-Refine your look with handmade accents-Descriptive text that is found on botanical illustrations will engage the viewer. Attach these with flare using hand and/or machine stitching, free style or uniform; unique beads, buttons or any personal findings; various sewing methods are suggested and demonstrated including quilting considerations.

Have more fun making your very own stamps and stencils to mix together and play around with; use them on tags as well as the surfaces.Stencil_200

MM_L5_hl_binding_strip_3Complete your look with my favorite (and easy peasy) binding method with silk organza along with a sleeve to hang your prize piece and show it off.

The Academy of Quilting-Opportunities Abound

The Academy of Quilting is a wonderful resource for learning about all sorts of topics related to quilting, fiber arts, textile art and more.

My new course MIXING UP MEDIA is now open. Start date: March 6th.

Check out the supply list. Realize that when working with mixed media….you need to have quite an assortment of tools, materials and mediums. Please do not be put off by the list. I think it is important to be thorough to provide each student with detailed information.

The main medium is: Ranger Ink Color Wash and Dylusions.  These inks come in 2 ounce spray bottles. They are highly concentrated. A little goes a long way. I have used Color Wash for over nine years. I love the versatility of it. Dylusions is a newer product. I have just begun to include it. The difference is in the color qualities. Color Wash has an “earthy” base; sort of brownish in tone. They are rich and glorious. Dylusions are clear and bright; very rainbow like. Both have the same properties.

The main reason I like this product is the effects I get are amazing. I have not achieved such w0nderful (surprise) textures, color combinations and elusive qualities with any other product.

I do not have an affiliation with the company; although, I think they would be thrilled to know about my praises and the course.

Here are some examples of superior effects on tissue paper:

TP_Example 2 TP_EXAMPLE 1 tutorial_painted_paper_3

Effects on silk organza:

organza_detail_drying_on_plastic_resized paint_acra_gold_RUST_effects_resized painted_silk_organza_resized

Applications: Collage

There are numerous applications I have done with ColorWash and Dylusions

I prefer to paint quite a few sheets of paper and choose the ones I like to use for a particular look or application. The image on the left is a good example of a typical selection I would work with. The collage have been made with the papers along with some other types of painted papers.

 painted_tissue_paper_200 Leaf_Collage_5_200 Leaf_Collage 15_200

Luminaries

 luminaries_3 lum_2 lum X

Fabric Paper

Paper Cloth_full sheet_200

Fabric Paper made with layers of: muslin, ephemera, glue, tissue paper, color wash

book_200

Fabric Paper Book cover

 

 

 

Painting with Ink

TP_Example 2Painting with ink creates remarkable effects. The ink that I prefer is made by Ranger Ink: Adirondack Color Wash and Dylusions. The ink comes in a spray bottle with a fine mister. It is consentrated and can be diluted with water; mini misters are the best for this.. Color Wash has a muted palette. The colors have an earth quality. Dylusions on the other hand, are vibrant colors. They can be used together quite well. Smaple colors: Color WAsh: Eggplant, Espresso, Butterscotch. Dylusions: Vibrant Turquoise, Pure Sunshine, Polished Jade. The names alone suggest the tones.colorwash

Product description:

Dylusions Ink Spray

Dylusions Ink Spray dyes are a high quality, acid-free, non-toxic concentrated colorant for porous surfaces. The Dylusions Ink Sprays’ bright and vibrant palette will colorize paper, Sticky Back Canvas, wood, paper, clay and more. Use to create backgrounds on cards, scrapbook and journal pages, and in mixed media art projects.

■Concentrated colorant for porous surfaces
■Acid free and non-toxic
■Fine mist sprayer
2 oz bottle

Adirondack Color Wash
The Adirondack Color Wash featuring Tim Holtz is an acid-free, non-toxic, water-based dye developed for use on paper, fibers, fabric and more. These earthy and bright spray dyes will colorize paper, fibers, fabric, wood, paper clay and other absorbent surfaces. Ideal for paper crafters, mixed media and fabric artists alike. 2 oz. bottle.

Spraying vs. Painting

Spraying color onto a surface such as paper results totally different than painting. Painting with a brush (most of the time) reveals the marks made; looking obviously “painted”. Now, of course this is certainly highly desirable and exprected by many artists such as oil painters. I have reallized that mystery develops when it is not obvious HOW art is made.  I like that.

The other quality feature of (spray) painting with ink is the immediate results. Just a few pumps applies quite a bit of ink with rich and vibrant colors. You have many options. Create textures or go for smooth. Fold, pleate, twist, crumple the paper; anything goes; vary the papers and vary the methods.

LEARN TO USE THESE INKS IN MY NEW ONLINE COURSE: MIXING UP MEDIA

THE ACADEMY OF QUILTING 

Detailed instructions are given to create a LOOK. You may follow the designs provided or better yet….venture off to create your own LOOK.

click images to enlarge

CL_fv_200

Current Look-Dylusions color palette

HL_fv_200

Historic Look-Color Wash color palette

AB_fv_200

Abstract Look-Dylusions color palette

Sign ups are now open!

These fabulous  inks are the primary medium for this course. You will learn a lot about how to use them and a lot more. I am very pleased with this new course. I encourage you to check it out HERE.

 

 

Academy of Quilting Blog Post

The Academy of Quilting has a very nice blog. The courses offered there are quite diverse; from traditional piecing to courses like mine: Mixed Media. Do yourself a favor and check out what is offered Here

Yesterday my post was published on the Academy of Quilting blog:

HL_fv_200Opportunities-Are brief moments in time; timing is everything…I say that a lot. We have many opportunities that come our way; often times we are distracted; or, maybe we aren’t ready. When it is the right time, we are receptive, we are ready, that is when and the chances for growth are optimal; which, in turn set up for opportunities.
◦I have the opportunity here on the Academy of Quilting to meet you and share my knowledge about how I make art.
◦You have the opportunity to participate, learn new things and meet new people.
◦We have the opportunity to meet each other, discuss, and make a solid connection; one that presents a bountiful opportunity.

Making connections is vital for us. People with common interests become our support system. The ability to meet people online all over the world is still amazing to me. What an opportunity for sure.

Mixing Up Media-Now open for sign ups

Compiling and composing this course was quite challenging. Making art is my passion; however, explaining how I make art requires countless hours of writing, photographing, making samples, making art and more. I am proud of the results and delighted to present this compilation here.

Big Reveal: I have been working with certain mediums for the last ten years and I developed methods. These have been extracted, simplified and fine tuned to present to you in a manner that will be enlightening. My goal is to ignite a fire in your creative spirit and guide you along the way, to stretch and grow, discover your style no matter of your level.

Win-Win-We make a new connection and the best part: You will take away more than you started with.

Mixed Media-Translates to: The freedom to play and experiment. Mixed Media is a vague term; the sky is the limit. Thus, I have chosen to focus on a few particular materials and mediums; some that are unique and uncommon and my favorites.

Materials such as: Interfacing, Tissue Paper and Silk Organza.

Mediums such as: spray inks (Adirondack Color Wash and Dylusions)

Join me-let’s make something wonderful together.  Enter my virtual studio and observe the action. In my younger years if I had had an opportunity (like this) I would have jumped on it, and now you can.

 

Affirmation-Two Acceptances

 

I entered two calls for entry recently. Two shows-two pieces accepted. I am delighted.

Carnegie Center for Art and History-Form Not Function 2015

Circle the Block 1

I sketch basic designs periodically. Several of them spoke to me and evolved into a series of five. Each piece was made with zillions of little pieces of fabric. First the sections were defined and then filled with rectangles, circles and squares with a circle cut out. Some pieces have two layers of color. Each piece has been stitched. Yes, this was tedious; yet addictive. The more I worked the more the colors mingled, contrasted and appeared to be moving. This motion reminded me of cars as if they were circling around (looking for a place to park). The circles and blocks and the act of “circling the block” produced the title.

Circle the Block 1-12x12"

Circle the Block 1-12×12″

circle the block 1_hanging 300

Circle the Block 1 side view

Circle The Block 1 in progress

Circle the Block 1-in progress

Circle the Block 1 detail of in progress

Circle the Block 1-detail in progress

Yeiser Art Center-Fantastic Fibers 2015

Imagine

Imagine 28 x 55"

Imagine 28 x 55″

Imagine Detail 1

Imagine Detail 1

Imagine Detail 2

Imagine Detail 2

Medium: Linen, dye, organza, rayon thread

One of my favorite songs is IMAGINE by John Lennon. I love the word and I love to create and use my imagination.

The fabric is one piece of linen fabric. The design was created by Deconstruction Screen Printing.

Thickened dye was used with the silk screen to create the design. I used the word IMAGINE and wrote this word many times in various places on the screen. The thickened dye design is left to dry. The fabric is spread out and the screen with the design is placed on the fabric. More dye is added inside the screen well and then pushed through the screen with a squeegee. The dried dye blocks the wet dye from going through and creates a resist which shows the design produce by the dried dye. This process is continued over and over again; overlapping and repositioning with each pull of the squeegee. Various colors of dye are used for the design and more colors are used on the silk screen. As the process continues the dried dye begins to soften and break apart (deconstruction). This deconstruction creates a multitude of effects including partial designs. Some of the words are more visible and clearly defined and some are barely recognizable. The process is done with quite a bit of pressure to aid in the deconstruction of the dried dye. This takes several hours to complete a piece this size. And when done there is no dried dye left on the screen.

IMAGINE is outlined with free motion stitching in rayon thread.

Hand cut squares of organza are scattered over the surface.

Make Big Serious Art-part 2

At the beginning of 2015, I stated my goal was to make big serious art. I have been working on this off and on ever since. I hesitated to write about it until I came to a good point with a worthwhile report. I hoped to present art, truly well done art and (hopefully) BIG. But, alas this has not developed; not for lack of effort though. The other component of my goal was to work in black and white. This proved to be unfruitful. The first piece I (attempted) did not go as I planned. First the mistake I made was using black fabric that was not cotton…I later discovered it was gabardine. No wonder it was so rich and black. The method I used was to cut strips of black fabric and arrange them onto a solid piece of white fabric. I like the composition, sort of. Once I began to sew it I soon realized the black fabric was problematic. Fraying made all of the edges look awful. I could not find a remedy. Thus, this was a failed attempt. Sometimes I think of solutions much later…if I do I will continue. The painted papers I did with black and white are unfinished. Those too, are waiting for me to find a method I want to use. I really like them and they will surely work into something in some manner.

I am now regrouping. I plan to re visit my drawings I did on Procreate which is an I pad app I pad that I love. Check it out. It is very sophisticated but easy to use.

I like to print them onto white fabric using my EPSON printer; either on cotton or silk. They will not be BIG, but they could end up in a group design. I like to draw freely and then put the image in my photo program to change it up. I like to crop sections and “find” compositions.

 

pro_b-w 4

Design 1

pro_B-W 1 crop A

Design 1 Crop A

 

Design 1 has very thin lines. I like to have negative and positive spaces that are varied in size. This selection was the only cropped section I liked.

Design 2 is my favorite.

pro_b-w 2

Design 2

I like to look at the image from all angles. I found several compositions.

PRO_b-w_2_crop A

Crop A

Crop B

Crop B

 

Crop B rotated once

Crop B rotated once

Crop B rotated three times

Crop B rotated three times

 

Crop B rotated four times

Crop B rotated four times

Ultimately I selected a different crop selection to actually print and quilt.

PRO b-w 2 Art_full view

Full View 6″ x 11.75″

PRO_b-w 2 art_detail 1

Detail 1

PRO b-w 2 Art_detail 2

Detail 2

The main draw back of printing  is the challenge to get a good dark black. The actual shade on this print is slightly brown.

It is fun to work with designs.

Form Not Function

Form Not Function-Quilt Art at the Carnegie the Center for Art and History

Opens May 8 through July 11, 2015

201 East Spring Street New Albany, Indiana

The Historic Carnegie Library Building

Reception: Friday, May 8th/6-8 p.m.

Music by” the Jamey Aebersold Jazz Quartet

I am honored to announce that my piece Circle the Block I is in this juried exhibition.

Circle the Block 1

Circle the Block 1

 

The Carnegie Center for Art & History is seeking applications for their juried exhibition “Form, Not Function: Quilt Art at the Carnegie.” This popular annual exhibition never fails to provide a stirring and extensive profile of the world of contemporary U.S. quilting. 

12th Annual Form, Not Function: Quilt Art at the Carnegie, May 8-July 11, 2015
This annual, juried exhibit draws works of art by artists across the United States and celebrates innovation and creative thought in the increasingly popular medium of art quilts. For a work of art to be considered for the exhibit, it must incorporate two or more layers held together with stitches, leaving room for the artists to fully exercise their creativity through a variety of techniques and mediums. Over the past twelve years, “Form, Not Function” has gained recognition for this evolving art form, and the Carnegie Center is proud to continue serving as a known venue for the exhibition of contemporary art quilts. This year, 27 quilts were selected out of the 532 submitted for consideration from 111 individual artists.

Takeout Box

New Course offered: Takeout Box

Dates:May 25th thru June 8th, 2015

Three Lessons $30

Sign Up here

Find the Supply List here

You will find Information on all of my courses here.

Description

The Takeout Box has a very clever design which amazes me with the simplicity and ingenuity. When it is opened and laid flat It is an “X”. The ends fold up and hold the box together at two points; and the top interlocks. I will provide the pattern and instructions and you provide the originality. You will create your very own one of a kind Take out Box.

Three Lessons
1-Make a sheet of paper/fabric
2-Make the Take out Box
3-Make embellishments and the handle

We will create sheets of paper/fabric to make the box with. You will learn how to make paper/fabric using simple process that combines and bonds cotton fabric and certain types of paper together. The end result is a sturdy, unique surface that is very diverse. Making the Takeout Box with the paper/fabric is only one way I utilize it. I will share more about this in the last lesson. The inside of the box is lined with cotton fabric.

The Takeout Box I made is embellished with a fish motif. A pattern for the fish will be provided; however, you may use any motif you like. The fish are made with a process I call “tulle-ing”. A variety of things (scraps) are combined and sandwiched between painted interfacing and tulle.

The top view of the Takeout Box

The top view of the Takeout Box

Finishing Touches
The box will be finished with a custom made wire handle with beads, old costume jewelry and/or buttons.

All stitching is done by machine except for the embellishments, which are attached by hand sewing.

Experience
You should be confident with free motion stitching and have a sewing machine that zigzag capable and have feed dogs that drop down.

Optional Contents

It is fun to make contents for the box.

Fortune Cookie
I will provide instructions on how to make a fortune cookie out of felt.

More ideas:
In prior classes some people made other kinds of contents such as: Add a wax candle, catnip to connect to the fish motif.

Feel free to customize your Takeout Box.

TOB-mice TOB-lantern_150h

 

Sign Up Here

 

 

Make Big Art-Black and White Compositions Update

In January of this year I announced that I would be making big serious art with the focus on black and white. My attempts were feeble to say the least; however, I learned a lot. The first composition did not progress to a point that pleased me. Eventually, I gravitated to a place where I am comfortable and yet still challenged.

What I learned is that working in (stark/solid) black and white is not for me. I realized my eyes respond best to subtleties in values and additional subtle color; having nuances is pleasing to me. The color I like the most is turquoise and I consider this to be a neutral color. This is the results: Four new compositions. As for making big art…that hasn’t happened yet either. I hope this goal will eventually work for me. I have made more art besides these four which I will cover in another post.

Sway with Me

Sway with Me

Sway with Me, 11 x 17″

This piece is made with canvas painted with two methods and mediums.

Method 1-Black ink and turquoise ink was poured and left to dry.

Method 2-Black and white acrylic paint. Black paint was applied with a paint brush first in random areas. When dry, white paint was added randomly. The paint was scratched into while still wet using the end of the paint brush to reveal black underneath leaving calligraphic marks and then left to dry.

Both pieces of painted canvas were torn into smaller pieces. It took many attempts of arranging the pieces to come up with a composition. Finally, I settled on this one. The hand stitching defined the character along with the addition of beads. Gradually I saw a woman’s figure dancing with her arms raised overhead. I am very pleased with the results. Click on any image to see an enlarged image.

sway detail 3 sway detail 2 300 Sway with Me detail 2 1024

Purple Haze

Purple haze_full 1024

Purple Haze, 8×10″

 

I like to draw on a program called Procreate. Often times I use this program to pass the time while flying long distances. This design is a cropped section of one of the drawings in black and white.

I printed the drawing onto silk habotai using my Epson printer with archival Durabright ink. Prior to printing I tweak the image in a photo program. I enjoy trying out various effects and this time subtle areas of purple developed. The only draw back is the size limitations.

 

Future plans: Divide and print a composition on multiple pieces of 8.5 x 11″ to enlarge the scale. Check the link to read about it using MS Paint.

I love the way silk responds to ink. Hand stitching brought this piece to life. The small (chicken scratch) stitches in purple represent a field in the background behind the large dark shape. I had some large purple bugle beads (mat finish) that connected perfectly by repeating the effect in the foreground (bottom left).

Seashore

Sea Shore, 5 x 8"

Sea Shore, 5 x 8″

 

This piece is not quite finished yet. I am thinking about adding a few more embellishments.

It is made with pieces of the painted canvas. I decided to add some warmth with shades of brown/pink thread (machine stitching).

Three pieces of painted lace looks sort of like beach fence; tiny real sea shells fit in perfectly. (Lace painted with Adriondack color wash: Butterscotch and Raisin)

I begin by moving and  arranging pieces of the painted fabric until I see a pleasing  composition. Sometimes this takes hours. Often I walk away,  wait a day or two and resume. Occasionally, I put it away and work on something else. The composition was positioned on batting and machine stitched in place; additional hand stitching enhances specific spots.

Silver Strands

Silver Strands, 6.5" x10.5"

Silver Strands, 6.5″ x10.5″

Silk habotai printed with my Epson printer; black and white with organic effects.

 

This piece is hand stitched with black and white thread; both running stitch and chicken scratch. Beads are attached to emphasize areas; blue and white. Some blue beads are crystals some are mat. In addition, I added four silver wire shapes to the center. I like adding wire. The wire has been pounded and shaped. The ends are pounded flat like a paddle. The wire is attached with hand stitching. Several stitches repeated in one spot to secure it and then repeated in several spots along the wire. The thread matches the color of the background at the point of stitching.

Silver Strands detail 300

Silver Strands detail

Both Seashore and Silver Strands will be trimmed and the edges finished.  You can see the stitching along the edge to secure the layers until this is done.

All four of pieces have similar qualities but are uniquely different. They will be mounted the same to create cohesiveness; 1.5″ deep painted canvas; black paint swiped on rather sloppy to look similar to the paint effects on the fabric.

I would like to read your comments. Write to me and tell me what you think. I welcome feedback.

 

 

 

 

Denim Clutch Bag

denim_clutch_side b_300

Clutch bag folded size 7.5″

I love clutch bags. A clutch bag is a simple shape which can be any size and any fabric.

I made one this week with black denim that I discharged. The results of the discharge are very interesting. The denim is from an old pair of jeans. The qualities of old denim in particular, appeal to me. The denim is very soft and yet the character is unique. The feel is warm and fun to hold, almost like a security blanket.

A finished folded clutch bag is basically a rectangle. I like to make them with a zipper and without. This one does not have a zipper.

Free Motion Denim-Demo

denim_clutch_side a_300

Clutch bag opened flat, size 13.5″

I made another clutch bag with a zipper. The zipper is on the opening. The bag can fold over to either side. Each side has a different look.

denim_bag_zipper_full view 3_200

Clutch bag with a zipper, view 1

Clutch bag with a zipper, view 2

Clutch bag with a zipper, view 2

I also like to make pouches with a zipper. These are very useful. I use them for jewelry, cosmetics and more.

Denim pouch, view 1

Denim pouch view 1

denim_pouch_view 2_200

Denim pouch view 2

Big Board-New Cover

I have an ironing board called the BIG BOARD. It is just that, a big piece of 1/2″ ply wood size: 22″ x 60″. I have had it for about 10 years. The original cover was in desperate need of replacement. I had one with a grid marks which did come in handy. But, I could not find a new one to fit it. Instead I searched for and bought cotton duck on Amazon. What nice fabric! And, great price: $4.46 yard. It is woven so fine that it is like satin (almost). It would be excellent for stretched canvas to paint on.

Find it here:

60″ 10 oz Cotton Duck Unprimed

I think I will buy some more. It would be perfect to paint interesting effects on and make bags with.

big board base_275My big board ironing board sits upon a little wooden cart that I bought at IKEA. It is handy too. It has two drawers and two wheels and two shelves. I can move it around as needed.

I decided to leave the old cover on which had foam padding.

 

 

 

 

big board canvas attached_275The board is placed upside down on the canvas. You can see that there are some boards underneath fitted to the size of the table top that hold it in place.  I used 3/8″ staples to attach the canvas. The best way to do this is to start in the middle of each side. Staple 3 times at the center of one long side and then the opposite side. Repeat on the short sides. Continue to work out to the ends equally.

 

 

 

big board done 2_275The top is finished and ready to use.

 

 

 

 

 

 

big board done 1_275Big board with a nice new cover.

 

The Fiber Art Connection

 

The Fiber Art Connection
The Place to Explore Fiber Art and Connect with the BEST!

Read more information about the FIBER ART CONNECTION on their website here

Announcement:

I am delighted to announce that I will be one of the artists offering a week of online study for the next session.
Fiber Art Connection is a new venue. Check this out!
  • Are you ready for a truly unique online learning experience?
  • Are you craving that connection with other like-minded creative fiber artists from all over the world?
  • Are you passionate about your Art and does it feed your soul?

The Fiber Art Connection provides a creative meeting and learning environment for artists at all skill levels who want to connect and learn from some of the top Fiber Artists in our industry. We are all so excited you are here!    This will be a true interactive adventure!! 

The registration opens Feb. 15th. The actual session begins March 15. My week is scheduled for May 3rd.
I will be offering lessons on how to use unique mixed media techniques to create a composition similar to this one:
Zen_wreath 600 WM This is a simple design of a wreath with a bird in the center sitting on a branch. There are 4 flowers and 4 buds on the wreath as well.  The base is natural tone linen which is covered with a layer of painted silk organza.
There will be a pattern offered; however, I always encourage originality. Thus, the techniques may be used to make any composition you desire.
Techniques include:
  1. Fabric/Paper-How to make it
  2. Paint Tissue Paper and Silk Organza-How to paint it and utilize it.
  3. Basic embroidery stitches-as embellishments
  4. Running stitch-As quilting for the surface
wreath detail 400 WM

 

Registration is starting on February 15th!

In The Fiber Art Connection, gives you full access to 8 top fiber artists  (classes valued at over$1,000) and webinars(valued at $100 each) not to mention the live calls– this is the perfect way for you to connect with different artists each session. Learn different techniques, become an important part of our Online Fiber Art Community as you take your Art to the next level.

VISIT FIBER ART CONNECTION

…And Then We Set It On Fire

I am now an author on this fantastic blog! I will be posting for the month of Feb. Check out today’s post.

Title: Originality-Make Original Art

This week’s Focus: Make original stamps

  • How to make them
  • How to find inspiration for stamp designs
  • How to use them
  • Some of my results

Source: …And Then We Set It On Fire

 

Textile Artist (dot) org After Three years: Ten Most Popular Guides of All Time

TextileArtist.org

I discovered this fantastic blog right in the beginning. I have subscribed to it ever since. The wealth of knowledge is outstanding!logo1_shadow

TextileArtist.org is a place for textile artists and art enthusiasts to be inspired, learn from the best, promote their work and communicate with like-minded creatives.

We are now in our fourth year and, as always, we aim to be a hub of information and inspiration for you everyday. During 2016 our goal is to grow and develop our range of articles; we can achieve this by listening to you and responding to your needs. Your thoughts, comments and fears inspire us to write articles that hopefully enable you to combat the challenges of being an artist.

This is the third in our Best of TextileArtist.org series, in which we take a retrospective look at some of our most successful and inspirational content over the past three years.

Every week we receive hundreds of e-mails from you, our fast growing international community of textile artists, expressing your ideas, challenges, beliefs and concerns.  Getting you started on new adventures is very close to our hearts, so here we take a look back at the ten most popular guides of all time.

I encourage you to check it out.

Fiber Art Connection-Sign Up February 15th

Guess what???  You are invited to a new fiber art adventure; a completely new learning community.

I’m really excited to share this news with you! AND I am delighted to reveal that I will be one of the eight artists offering a full week of instruction in May. This is an exclusive, private online art community that you can participate in right from your home.

Who We Are

The Fiber Art Connection
A learning community for the underground fiber artist ready to bring their art into the light

 

 

Here is the roster of teachers for the first session:

  • Desiree Habicht
  • Roxane Lessa
  • Candy Glendening
  • Liz Kettle
  • Rayna Gillman
  • Cecile Whatman
  • Deborah Babin
  • Ruth Chandler

Wow!  I’m so excited to be included in this fabulous group of artists/teachers!   A different teacher every week. We are also going to have a blog hop with prizes in the very near future too, so you clan learn more about these ladies.

Read the schedule of topics here

Each teacher will offer one week of instruction. I am scheduled for Week 8, May 3rd.

The content will remain accessible to you indefinitely. This is a huge plus! This way you may access the courses any time in the future.

Just some of the skills you will learn:

  • How to apply mixed media to different surfaces
  • Applique techniques
  • Painting on fabric
  • Thread painting and sketching
  • Acrylic ink on fabric
  • Collages
  • Lettering
  • and more. 

 Zen_wreath 600 WM

 Week 8– Join Fiber artist, Deborah Babin as she leads you into the layered world of painted fabrics in her class, Zen Wreath-Mixed Media. Learn how to paint interfacings, silk organza and even tissue paper to create mysterious layers that produce spectacular results. Color washes and Deborah’s layering techniques will help you bring a new depth and dimension into your own art quilts. You will be creating this beautiful little floral wreath quilt that you can add to and make your own!       

Please click here to find out more and to register:
The first session begins March 15th…reserve your spot!

 


 

 

Originality-Make Original Art

Originality-Make original art

In this day and age access to the internet offers unlimited resources for our inspiration; however, this can unfortunately increase our temptation to copy. Pinterest is an excellent resource and some people think what they see there is fair game. Copying is a violation that goes unnoticed by many. I too like to search for inspiration on Pinterest and I stress the word INSPIRATION (only) for I only aim to make original art. In fact, you can follow me on PINTEREST.

I have several blog posts planned for the next two weeks that are all about making your art original. I will offer some simple ways to elevate and/or sustain the art you make to original status with simple and economical methods.

Topics: Making your own stamps and stencils

Always ask yourself: How Can I Strive to Make Original Art?

It is fine to use inspirational references fairly literally to begin with; this is acceptable for learning and experimenting. During this phase (hopefully) you will begin to see that it is actually impossible to truly copy another persons work. Which is a good thing! I encourage you to see as this (as it is gradually) revealed to you AND to embrace what you see. Notice, what is happening that you can embrace rather than reject and move into a new direction. This is where we have two choices…1. become discouraged because the realization makes us feel inadequate or 2. become motivated to pursue and discover our underlying abilities.

Can you relate to this experience?

I love discoveries! AND, I love a challenge. That is where I learn the most and find the most satisfaction.

STAMPS

The next few posts will be about STAMPS-AND-STENCILES; how to make and use them to acheive originality.

Yes, there isn’t much excitement about stamps in general. There are zillions of stamps manufactured…and, they are expensive! Let’s refer to them as: artful impressions instead. I like to make my own stamps, save money and us them to develop original qualities for my art.

MM_L2_sketchbook_pageI like to draw all sorts of things. Often times I draw freely without intention.
I enjoy drawing continuous line drawings because I relate to these readily as they can translate into quilting motifs. And, drawing continuously allows my thoughts to flow.

Do you like to draw or doodle?

Here is an example of my doodling. The vertical lines with linked circles were my favorite so I decided to make a stamp as well as a stencil from it.

 

This stamp was carved from a product called: Easy Carve available from Speed Ball. It is like an eraser that comes in various sizes and carves like hot knife in butter; use the Speed Ball carving set to carve this product.

easy carve_key hole

Key hole design-Carving in progress using the carving tool.

EASY CARVE TOOLS

Speed Ball Easy Carve Material and carving tools

2015-01-30 10.23.51

Top: My linked circles stamp carved with the Speed Ball easy carve product and tools. Bottom: The stamp impression with black ink pad.

By the way….this stamp is available ALREADY MADE in my ETSY shop for $22 plus shipping.

While in the shop….take a look at my art for sale.

Note: The stamp is a custom order. Allow 2 weeks + shipping time.

Who doesn’t mind saving money?? Once you start thinking about “things” you have and see around the house and yard and elsewhere…you start to realize there are numerous common things that can make an interesting MARK.

Making marks is what it is all about.

Make YOUR mark! Now that is original.

Economical Alternatives:

I get great satisfaction from resourcing found objects. Here are a few examples:

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The small stamps on the top produce fine lines from the edges. These have been cut off the sides of the Styrofoam tray where the edge curves at bit with two to three layers glued together. The bottom stamp is one layer with dots that were made by melting the Styrofoam with a stencil cutter.

 

Note: Always work safely…wear a mask when melting Styrofoam or work out doors.

 

caut out foam stampSticky back foam sheets-These are found in craft stores in the kid stuff. They are thin foam sheets with a sticky back that is covered with paper. Simply draw a design with a ball point pen, cut it out, peel off the backing paper and stick it onto a support; in this case I used Styrofoam. I cut it out with an X-acto knife. You will end up with two stamps: Positive and Negative

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_0241

Handmade Stamps: Key hole design From the Left: 1. Stamp impression from Easy Carve 2. Easy Carve Stamp 3. Stamp Impression from Foam Sheet 4. Foam sheet stamp

My next post: Stamps continued

The posts about stamps and stencils are extracted from my online course: MIXING UP MEDIA on the ACADEMY OF QUILTING. Read the details and consider signing up soon as this course is scheduled to start April 1st.

Please take a moment and sign up for my newsletter too! See the form on the left side panel.

Also, leave a comment! Have you made your own stamps? What kinds of found things did you use?

I love to hear from people. Thank You.

 

 

 

FIBER ART CONNECTION-BLOG HOP-You can win a fantastic prize!

Zen Wreath-Mini

Zen Wreath-Mini

I am delighted to be one of the eight artists teaching during the first session of FIBER ART CONNECTION. I am teaching the week of May 3rd.  Title: ZEN WREATH

I do hope you sign up…this will be a spectacular unique event! Where else can you meet a learn with eight fiber artists? AND…you will have access to this FOREVER!! yes, it is true. You can always access the content.

In the meantime…you can learn about all eight artists by visiting their blogs. Join in our blog hop…

We all donated art supplies and now have a wonderful basket full of goodies for some lucky person to win!! All you have to do is visit the blogs on the dates below (or after) up to March 15th.

Here is how it works: Enter to win by doing any of these things:

  1. Register for the class
  2. Leave a comment on this blog post answering this question “What attracts you to fiber art/artists?” 
  3. Share a link to this blog post on social media and then leave another comment here telling me you did so
  4. Sign up for the Fiber Art Connection mailing list, you can do that here
Art supplies donated by all 8 artists...lot's of good stuff!

Art supplies donated by all 8 artists…lot’s of good stuff!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The basket includes 6 spools of variegated thread from 6 different thread companies, a piece of hand dyed fabric in a tonal rainbow color palette, pre-quilted 9″ block for coloring, 6 Inktense colored pencils, 2 quilt magazines, quilters flat tape measure, bag of six Valdani hand-dyed threads, gold eye chenille needles, hand dyed fabrics trim and lace, 10 fat quarters of assorted fabrics,  4 sheets of Tyvek, 2 coloured light weight Lutradur and 75 grams of Tussah Silk Top or Roving, artists transfer paper, 5 pieces of different colors of organza, 9 pieces of acid free tissue paper, silk organza, linen, embroidery thread, a package of beads and a spool of perks cotton thread.

Meet Deborah Babin

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1) What draws you to the fiber arts? Why do you work the way you do?

I have always loved sewing and working with my hands. It feels natural to me. I majored in fine arts and was a painter for many years. I had a chance meeting with some people who were well on their way making fiber art in the 90’s. This changed my course of direction and I have been making fiber art ever since. I work the way I do because…I consider myself to be a “purist”. I believe in preservation; that the art I make is important enough to last for many years. That it is made with integrity; that I can be proud of and hope it is cherished by others and kept safe. I believe in making original art.

2) Tell us about your studio! Where in the world is it? Is it clean or messy? Is it hidden away or out in the open?

Video-Take a tour of my studio

Welcome! This is where I hang out most of the time. The tables are from IKEA. The storage bins are ELFA.

 

I am very fortunate! I live in a beautiful area of Washington State, across the Puget Sound from Seattle. Our home has three floors. The main living area is on the second floor and my studio is the entire third floor; 1000 sq. feet; with windows on all sides. I work somewhat messy…meaning, what I am using at the time is all out and left out until I am done. I do clean up in between projects. I work clean though; I don’t like to have dirty hands. I tend to clean up haphazardly though…then I have trouble finding stuff.

3) What’s your favorite color and why?

Turquoise/Aqua-I LOVE the color of the tropics! Turquoise is nature and never will be a trendy color.

4) What’s your least favorite thing to do when you’re working a piece?

One, to have to stop! I get annoyed when I am interrupted because I usually lose my train of thought. Two, I don’t like to stop and spend time tying knots. I do this when I am machine quilting. Again, this means I have to stop; but tying knots is important. And, honestly, it is good to stop and take breaks as this refreshes my eyes.

5) If you could fly where would you go?

I would fly to a place where turquoise water is seen to infinity! The tropical breezes would feel fantastic so I think I would fly right into the water and swim.

 

6) Tell us about the class you’re teaching in The Fiber Art Connection. What do you hope your students will learn from this?

ZW-flower_fr knots

I will present a new way to think about using unique products and found objects to make art with. The history behind this procurement is: I once lived in a rural area. There were few basic stores and the closest larger town was 1 hour away. Internet access was on dial up, ugh! Thus, often I found myself looking at what supplies I had on hand and experimented with those. This lead to excellent discoveries. One such item is interfacing. I use it as a painting surface and more. I will share my discoveries in this course. I also hope to inspire people to love the beauty of simplicity. For example, the beauty of hand sewing, hand quilting and taking the time to sit down and embrace ZEN.

7) Where else can we find you on the internet?

My second blog www.zencloth.com

This blog reflects my love of hand stitching. I consider it a pleasure and gift to myself to sit down…be still….and hand stitch. To get lost in the experience. To become “one” with the cloth. To be totally tranquil. This is quality time that I cherish.

Face Book

Face Book Page-Deborah Babin

Face Book Profile-Debbie Babin Send me a friend request!

Logo on website jpegTAFA Textile And Fiber Art List-Deborah Babin

Now, answer the question:

What attracts you to fiber art/artists?

Add your answer in a comment below. I hope you win!!

 

FIBER ART CONNECTION-Blog Hop-You Can Be a Winner!

FIBER ART CONNECTION


 

Here’s how… Go to Desiree Habicht’s blog TODAY she is the first blog on the blog hop. Then proceed to the next blog tomorrow and so on until you have visited all eight blogs. Yes…EIGHT

There are EIGHT artists presenting a week long course during a three month session. Each artist is unique and worth a visit. You will learn a lot just doing this!

Pay attention to the rules so you will have the most chances to win! The lucky person will be chosen on March 15th.

Be sure to do the blog hop, write your comments to be eligible to win BEFORE March 15th!!

Read about the FIBER ART CONNECTION presentation. A fantastic three month session that is about to start March 15th.

fac blog hop 600Enter: Win the BIG basket of goodies by doing these steps:
1. Leaving a comment on the blogs
2. Sign up for the session
3. Comment on a Face Book post about this event.
4. Re post on facebook
Read all of the details on the blogs.
You can sign up for the first session NOW.

Visit each blog post on the specific date as listed below.

If you miss one…not to worry! Just visit them all ON or AFTER the date given. Be sure to leave a comment on the blog.

Blog Hop List and Blog Post Date

3/1     Desiree Habicht

3/2    Candy Glendening

3/3     Liz Kettle

3/4     Roxane Lessa

3/7     Ruth Chandler

3/8     Cecile Whatman

3/9     Deborah Babin

3/10   Rayna Gillman

Mixing UP Media-On line course Set for April 1, 2016

CL_emb_200My online course: Mixing Up Media is scheduled on the Academy of Quilting for April 1st.

This is your opportunity to learn about various mediums that I like to use.

 

 

 

 

What are they?

  • Interfacing
  • Tissue Paper
  • Silk Organza

I will present a new way to think about using unique products and found objects to make art with. The history behind this procurement is: I once lived in a rural area. There were few basic stores and the closest larger town was 1 hour away. Internet access was on dial up, ugh! Thus, often I found myself looking at what supplies I had on hand and experimented with those. This lead to excellent discoveries. One such item is interfacing. I use it as a painting surface and more. I will share my discoveries in this course. I also hope to inspire people to love the beauty of simplicity. For example, the beauty of hand sewing, hand quilting and taking the time to sit down and embrace ZEN.

This was quite a few years ago and yet….I still like to resource, recycle and challenge myself.

I know that many fiber artists “collect” fabric…the infamous “stash”. I for one, do not want a stash.

I on the contrary….want to have a color palette to use that is from various sources. This is pertinent for making ORIGINAL art.

Example: Painted tissue paper

Example: Painted tissue paper

In my course I will share my favorite techniques. You can use these endlessly. You will learn a lot!

I hope you do take a moment and read about the course HERE

The supply list is available in advance on the Academy of Quilting ahead of time.

If you have a question about the supplies, please contact me.

 

FIBER ART CONNECTION-On line course Zen Wreath

Zen Wreath-Mini

Zen Wreath-Mini

ZEN WREATH is the title of my online course that will be presented May 3rd.

I am giving advance notice because it is presented in a three month SESSION on FIBER ART CONNECTION.

The session opens March 15th.

You can sign up now

This is quite a unique opportunity. The session is conducted by eight fiber artists over a three month period.

Zen Wreath-Mini

Zen Wreath-Mini

I will present how to use unique materials like: interfacing, tissue paper and silk organza. All combined and layered to develop a beautiful effect.

Have you ever thought about painting on interfacing? It is quite nice.

 

Tissue Paper: It is fragile right? Well, I will show you how to paint on it, and strength it so it can be used quite viably. Actually, think of it as a “skin”. Yes, the thinness of it becomes the “strength”. Tissue paper is the carrier…it holds the paint. And, now after strengthening…it is viable.

Amazing for sure!

Example: Painted tissue paper

Example: Painted tissue paper

 

 

This is only ONE example of the beauty of painted tissue paper.

 

 

I love experimenting. My experiments will direct you to the end result…excellent results with proven techniques. You have everything to gain by signing up for my online course.

I hope you take the time to check it out HERE.

Academy of Quilting-Mixing Up Media opens April 1st, 2016

Join me on the Academy of Quilting for my online course: MIXING UP MEDIA

begins April 1, 2016

It is so much fun to meet new people on line! We who share the love of fiber arts especially love to connect with one another.

WE can learn so much from each other.

When we study online…sometimes we are hesitant to participate in the conversation. This is unfortunate because this is where the serious learning takes place. Imagine…if you can…as the instructor, that the communication is minimal. What can you do? The answer is: encourage.

With encouragement…sometimes this works and sometimes it doesn’t. We who instruct online HOPE we are reaching you…that we are helping you to grow and learn. IF we do not have communication…we cannot know that we have reached our goal.

Keep this in mind if you study online.

I always get excited when my course is about to present. I hope to present a pleasant learning experience. This course MIXING UP MEDIA is one that I am very proud of. It is quite comprehensive. You will learn a lot! Be prepared to read, try new things and witness results like you have never done before.

CL_emb_200

I pack quite a punch!

 

 

 

 

Painting tissue paper is so much fun! I will show you how to make it a viable art surface. Think of it as a “skin”.

painted papers 1

Example: Painted tissue paper

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The possibilities are endless.

MM_mini_finished

Mini composition

The light center section is made with painted tissue paper. You would never know it. In person, it feels like leather.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Full composition

The complete composition is offered as inspiration.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Complete with stenciling, stamping…making your composition ORIGINAL.

I hope you consider joining me on the Academy of Quilting.

 

Motifs-Find Inspiration From Fabric Designs

Motifs

Inspiration from Fabric Designs

I find inspirations everywhere. Keeping a record of them is very helpful like photos, sketching and clippings. I have gravitated away from using fabrics with prints and yet I still include bits and savor some of them as inspirations.

One of my favorite methods is to work spontaneously….with a plan. That is the key…spontaneity is fun (for me) but I have learned to prepare my approach and have a loose plan and/or goal in mind.

motif_stencil_results 1

Composition 1

I like to stitch scraps together as in this case:

This time my plan was to work with contrast such as: warm/cool, glowing/dull, light/dark.

This proved to be a lot to keep in mind, but I did my best.

I came up with several compositions that I liked. Some ended up with open spaces that were begging for details such as composition 1. I did include a print that has a large block style design (right side). I decided to extract a portion of the design as a stencil motif to fill the spaces and repeat the motif; repetition unifies.

First I drew the design onto freezer paper and cut out the openings.motif_stencil 1

Next, I pressed it to the chosen spot. The slick side of the freezer paper sticks slightly when heated with an iron.

motif_stencil_attach

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The paint is applied with a stencil brush which has stiff bristles cut flat and blunt. The paint is actually tapped into the openings.

Watch this video demonstration:

Freezer Paper Stencil Paint Application from Deborah Babin on Vimeo.

motif_stencil_paint_application

 

motif_stencil_results 1

 

 

 

 

 

The stencil design has helped to balance the composition and now I will continue with free motion stitching. I like leaving open spaces for these opportunities and allow the composition to evolve. There are more spaces to ponder….this one is not complete; none the less I am pleased with it so far.

Making and painting stencils is fun and easy to do. You can learn more about developing your art with original methods in my online course:

MIXING UP MEDIA on the ACADEMY OF QUILTING.

The next session begins April 1st. You can sign up now!

Check it out here

 

 

 

In The Bag-My Stuff

I Love Making Bags!

M_bag_side 2A_300

Rising to the occasion…there is nothing like an occasion (form of deadline) to get me going!

MMy grand daughter Madeleine is turning 14 soon, wow that is hard to believe! What a sweetie she is. One of her birthday gift requests is a cosmetics bag. Okay! That is an excellent motivator for me.

The first thing that came to mind is to make one that is functional, practical, washable, cute and a good size and shape. My “go to” fabric: bleached denim was the best to use.

I always stumble when it comes to selecting the “perfect” lining; not only which colors, also prints vs. solids. I have collected various fabrics that I consider to be good lining; none the less, I spend way to much time pondering which ones to use; this time was no different. Finally I just picked one and decided to start and see how things develope. This lining is hand dyed silk that has a a texture. I pieced together two pieces and I liked the way the various colors looked when stitched. I used bamboo batting to give the bag stability…not too stiff and not to soft.

After the quilting was done I then had to select the binding fabric. This is also challenging for me. I selected a batik with multi-rainbow colors (reluctantly) because the background was “dirty”; however, in the end this combo was perfect. The “dirty” tone made the rainbow colors connect to the “tan” underlying tones of the bleached denim.

I used this tutorial and followed the directions.  This particular method has a hand stitched zipper. She gives a link for another tutorial that is similar with a machine stitched zipper which is not in English; however, I used a translation. I stitched the zipper by machine because I think (know) this bag will gets lots of use and I want it to hold up.

I think this is an excellent bag design. I have been looking for various methods for lining in a zipper bag. This one is good because the lining is not separate and the seams are finished.

This is a good tutorial; however, as with any tutorial….it can appear easy…until you actually try to follow it. I think the directions are well written and the pictures are clear; however, I did struggle with getting the zipper aligned around the outside properly. Even though I measured and marked the space on the sides the zipper did not end up aligned evenly. But, I did finagle it somehow; that is the only way I can describe it. You just have to have it in your hands and holding the zipper to realize what the pictures are trying to explain.

In addition, the zipper I used has heavy teeth which are wider than standard zipper teeth and require 1/4″ width space. This space came into play and I had figure out how to allow for it.

The pattern can be made as a small change purse and up. I drew two 10″ circles to make the pattern thinking this size would be good for a young girl to hold small size goodies . Now that I have made it, I think the bag is versatile. It would be excellent to make a larger one to use for various purposes such as: Jewelry and other things you might want to keep together. When I travel, I put my jewelry into little individual bags and then in a larger zipper bag that can fit into a safe.

I have referenced to “bleached” denim in several of my blog posts; also referred to as “discharging”.  I plan to explain this process in a future post. It is a simple process using household bleach to remove color from fabric. The fabric is also treated afterwards to remove all of the bleach and halt the action. 

I selected several pieces of bleached black denim to use. The light areas beacon for special features. I started the free motion quilting to see what would develop. I wanted too make the lining fabric “visually connect” to the denim and I hoped the quilting would do this. I chose thread (40 wt) with rainbow colors for the top and solid color (fuchsia) for the bobbin. At first the colors jumped out more than I wanted but I proceeded.

As I was quilting I was thinking about my grand daughter…she is a sweet heart, so I added a heart. I thought about what she might put inside the bag. I stitched flowers to keep it simple and then followed some of the lines that developed from the bleaching process. In one open area I stitched “MY STUFF”. And below that: MMM, her initials. Since I had not made this bag before I did not think about where these details would end up…and, unfortunately the initials ended up on the bottom, and one of the M’s doesn’t show.

M_bag_lining

Lining, in progress.

M_bag_exterior_300

Exterior, in progress.

The most fun…..

Painting the Denim

This is where the painting came in. I decided to fill in the open areas of the quilting motifs with acrylic paint. This was fun and, this made the bag come to life!

Exterior, side 1, before paint

Exterior, side 1, before paint

Exterior, side 1, after paint application

Exterior, side 1, after paint application

Exterior, side 2, after paint application

Exterior, side 2, after paint application

Interior, Lining, after construction

Interior, Lining, after construction

I am very happy with the end result!

The finished size is: 5.5″ high x 9.5″ wide; the bag sits flat the bottom is 4″ wide. The bamboo batting made the bag just firm enough.

I do plan to make some more bags like this and perfect my installation of the zipper.

Future plans include: Instead of fabric..why not up-cycle “failed” quilted projects? Making this bag prompted me to remember a box full of “failed” quilted projects which garnered several good candidates for painting. These will become bags! The quilting is already done. Extra bonus: Paint the lining!

Yes!!

Stay tuned for more bags.  😆

 

 

 

Denim Phone Bag

I don’t know if others have the same problem that I do but….my phone is never where I am! I am always on the move in my tri-level house; invariably, my phone is on another floor. So, I decided to design a phone bag. It is just the right size for my phone and glasses.

denim phone bag 1 denim phone bag 2 denim phone bag 3

I am still in love with discharged/altered denim. This bag is made with old and new black denim. It has a nice firmness…just right which enables it to stand up. I used medium weight non fusible interfacing, my favorite for various applications.

This one came out particularly nice; I’m pleased. Now onto making some more!

Could you use one of these? I’m thinking about putting them in my ETSY shop.

Let me know!!

Painting a Public Sign and Gate

I am seriously behind with posting on this blog; however, that does not mean I haven’t been making art! On the contrary, I have been very productive.

I plan to write about some of my art today and more in the near future.

My life revolves around making art and travel.

Traveling means there are many opportunities to meet new people, draw and paint, commune and play; I am truly fortunate.

I always take basic drawing and painting supplies with me when I travel. I now have several sketch books with wonderful memories etched into my mind. This way I remember the sights MUCH more vividly.

drawing 7

Caribbean Island Cruise, 2015.


Now for an update on two recent public art experiences:

Project 1-Neighborhood Sign

My neighborhood is small. A quaint seaside location in the Northwest…just across the Puget Sound from Seattle. It is quiet, tranquil and charming; like a miniature Cape Cod setting. Most of the neighbors have lived here for quite some time and are native to this area; we, on the other hand, are newcomers. On any given day, no matter what the weather is…people walk. It is flat and scenic; perfect for a nice walk.  Part of the scenery is the lovely yards and gardens. A very thoughtful neighbor came up with the idea to acknowledge fellow neighbors for efforts put into creating such beauty for all of us to enjoy. Her idea was to present a sign to neighbors to thank them. This sign would be displayed in front of their property for two weeks. This neighbor would in-turn, pass it to another neighbor to continue the gratitude.

She asked me if I would be willing to paint the sign. I agreed, but I have to admit I was a bit hesitant as I have never painted a sign before; however, like most new adventures I was willing to “give it a go”.

It takes a village

We collaborated on the message content. Her husband painted the sandwich board sign (donated by another neighbor, Dave) a glorious shade of PURPLE; this color set the tone. I selected colors that would complement and stand out for all to notice.

I wanted the sign it to be special and yet not overdone…it is a sign…not fine art; none the less…I wanted to present a sign that was beautiful. It was a good challenge for me; one that I am delighted I took on.

I used acrylic paint. I learned that thinning it with (only) water is not the best for longevity. My research revealed that the best product to use is airbrush medium. It is very thin opposed to other acrylic mediums and it worked like a charm.

Watch this you tube VIDEO  to learn more about this.

Some of my paints are a bit old. It was difficult to thin them enough to paint fluidly. Once I learned how to properly thin the paint my efforts rapidly improved.

Progression:

First I drew several designs on paper. I chose the one I like best and drew it loosely on the wood sign with chalk pencil.

 

Side 2-Preparation

Side 2-Preparation

The design was filled in with a base coat of white and white mixed with yellow.

Side 1 Complete

Side 1 Complete

I added shadows under the petals and foliage which made them pop.

Side 2-Complete

Side 2-Complete

A few bumble bees and lady bugs are tucked within the grasses and foliage.

To top it off, another neighbor (Cheryl) drew a very nice Zen Tangle style card that is given to each recipient to commemorate the award.

What a nice idea, thanks to (Sandy) the neighbor who came up with the concept.

Positive affirmation at its best!


Project 2-Garden Gate

We have lived in our present home for 6 years now. This home is the first one that we decided to have landscaped; quite a switch for us as we usually DIY most projects. I designed the plan and my (diligent and talented) husband has painstakingly kept it up. We are very happy with it. Here in the North West the climate is perfect for growing many types of plants; no wonder it is called the Ever Green State.

The garden is partially fenced and has a hedge in front and back. It is for the most part, private. We left an opening in the hedge in the back to exit for easy access to the beach across the street. I’ve been thinking about adding a (decorative) gate at that open spot for quite some time.

Finally, after painting the sign I decided it was time for a nice gate. We ordered a manufactured gate (Amazon) which is highly weatherproof. My husband painted it the shade of “white” to match our house. The pristine surface was like a white canvas begging to be painted.

It was fun to paint and I am quite pleased with the results.

Gate-Street Side

Gate-Street Side

I decided to decorate the gate different for each side. On the street side I drew basic (zen tangle like) black lines to highlight the design of the gate.

Gate-Street side close up

Gate-Street side close up

On the inside (garden view) I decided to paint (fantasy) flowers.

Gate-Inside view

Gate-Inside view

Gate-Inside/Close up

Gate-Inside/Close up

Again, I used acrylic paint.

One plant in the hedge had to be removed; the gap will gradually fill around the posts. It is not for security! Rather, for fun…

PS. We are the current recipients of the neighborhood sign! How perfect.

I love to receive comments! Tell me what you think about these projects.

PPS. I highly recommend the video on painting with acrylic paints. There is no point to put effort into painting and eventually observe it is not sound. In this case I wanted the paint to hold up to the outdoor elements. The video will open your eyes to the vital importance of properly thinning the paint and preserve the quality of (the paint and) works of art.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Artists-The Path To Success

Subscribing to art blogs of artists that you respect is highly recommended. One of my favorites is Nicholas Wilton. It doesn’t matter what medium(s) you prefer….most artists have the same hopes and goals. His recent article: The Path to Success is extremely relevant.

Subscribe to his blog and I think you will learn a lot.

My artistic PATH has been life long. 

Deborah Babin, 2008. Houston International Quilt Show.

Deborah Babin, 2008. Houston International Quilt Show.

Here I am in 2008 posing in front of my art quilt: Swan Party of Ten.

I had two quilts accepted into that show; I was very proud! I thought I truly “arrived”. That quilt went on to be juried into multiple National and International exhibitions; it has been retired for quite some time. Validation? Yes. Validation is important; however, I gradually discovered that this was merely a stepping stone. Eventually, this type of venue did not fulfill my dreams. I have redirected my energy to fine art and mixed media; It is all part of the journey.

The journey is the destiny.

Have you changed your course? Are you ready to reexamine your path? Let me know if you can relate to this. I love to receive comments.


Face Book

Deb in Santorini, 9-2016

Deb in Santorini, Greece 9-2016 Face Book Image

I have a love/hate relationship with Face Book. On the one hand I love to watch the videos of animals! I also love to see what artists are up to. I do not LOVE the political rhetoric. Believe me….I DO have political opinions….but, I desperately avoid commenting and posting about political topics. Once in a while…IF it is “safe” I will….

What I do LOVE the most are poems, sayings, quotes or messages that are inline with my beliefs; such as this one I read today:

Your art is NOT about how many people like your work

your art is about

if your heart likes your work

if your soul likes your work

It’s about how honest you are with yourself

and you must NEVER trade honesty for relate-ability.

This statement is PURE and SIMPLE; one that I aspire to FOR SURE. Once we get this into our minds (head), we will be free to create like we are designed to; how we are wired to. Once we align ourselves with this freedom we will achieve levels of creativity like never before.

LIKE me on Face Book!

FOLLOW ME on Face Book!

 


Now on another level….I am quite feisty! The following sums me up as well…

CREATIVE PEOPLE ARE

  1. easily bored
  2. risk takers
  3. color outside the lines
  4. think with their hearts
  5. make lots of mistakes
  6. hate rules
  7. work independently
  8. change their mind a lot
  9. have a reputation for eccentricity
  10. dream BIG!

Do you dream BIG?

Let me know if you relate to any of this….leave your comments below; I’d love to hear from you.

 

Pen and Ink-Black and White

I love to draw! Typically though I focus on drawing while on travel. I always take my “kit”. Paper, pencils, pens and watercolors. If I have a subject that is straight forward with high contrast I prefer to use pen/ink. If the subject requires more pondering, shading and sensitivity I use pencil. Depending on the results of the pen drawings, sometimes I add a bit of watercolor.

Straight forward>>

 

Shaded>>

Dick Blick contest

monkey_240x300

 

 

 

Painting with Acrylics on Canvas

I have taken on a new adventure…painting acrylics on canvas! I did paint with oils many years ago in art school. I truly had blocked it out of my memory…almost. I honestly don’t know why. And, I don’t know why I haven’t painted before now. Only that I truly love working with textiles.

deb-amsterdam-9-2016-600Recently I traveled with my husband to Amsterdam and sailed on a river cruise to Vienna. Wow, I had so much fun! And, the scenery is AMAZING!

The weather was good, mild and dry.

This photo of me is taken in front of the oldest art supply store in Europe…I was told.

The paper that the Constitution of the United States was made by this shop! I could have stayed inside for hours.

 

We visited a number of art galleries and museums. The Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam was the best one. I was so absorbed in the art I saw and listening to the stories and evolution of art movements that…I came home totally compelled to paint!

 

Kristina

Carmel, 11 x 14″

And, to my surprise I have painted five canvases so far and I like most of what I have done. I love feed back so please take a moment and leave a comment. I appreciate open “frank” comments too.

My style is slightly whimsical. I like to draw faces and so I am staying with that subject for now. I like big eyes with unique colors. I hope to improve in a number of ways. Mainly with expressions.

The first painting: Carmel

 

 

Kristina, 9 x 12"

Kristina, 9 x 12″

 

The second painting: Kristina

I have 3 more in progress.

Fresh with enthusiasm…I decided to enter these finished two into a competition. Low and behold…Kristina was accepted!

The show is at the Las Laguna Gallery in Laguna Beach Ca.

 

 

The exhibit is : Small Works-BIG TALENT

Opens December 1-30th 2016

I am so happy about this acceptance!

My goal is to paint on larger the canvases. I love the dynamic power of a large painting.

 

 

Silk Prints with Textile Paints

Printed Silk #1

Printed Silk #1

I had a play day recently. A very good friend of mine paid me a visit. We have very similar interests in textile art. She had taken a five day workshop and learned how to apply interesting designs with procion dyes and various tools and applications. She invited me to take out some fabrics and play! I used textile paints instead of dye. The results were fast, fun and turned out fabulous!

 

The application is very basic:

  1. Spread the paint onto a smooth surface; I used a sheet of plexiglass.
  2. Use tools to scratch and draw designs into the paint. I used soft plastic texture tools.
  3. Place the fabric face down onto the surface.
  4. Gently press the fabric with a sponge roller.

Tips:

The consistency of the paint is important. The paint will soak through the fabric and show through to the back. The weight of the fabric is relevant. If it is thin the paint will soak up fast and the opposite if it is heavier. This is an experimental activity. I did spray some water on the back of one of the pieces of cotton as the fabric was lying on the plexiglass to encourage the paint to attach. This made a blurry effect, which I like too. I was able to get two prints with thin Habotai silk.

 

White cotton fabric

White cotton fabric

I decided to stick with black paint.

I used plain white cotton to begin with. This example is actually 3 pieces of printed fabric that I have pinned together. About 24″ x 12″.

 

 

 

Eco dyed silk

Eco dyed silk

I switched to eco dyed silk. I had several beautiful eco dyed pieces that I loved but I knew they needed to develop further. Wow! This fabric performed the best of all. It is very old Japanese silk that I eco dyed last year. This picture is of 3 printed pieces that are pinned together for consideration.

I think the best way to go forward with this one is to machine quilt it with black thread so that the lines are not noticeable. I think it will be stunning!

Eco dyed silk #2

Eco dyed silk #2

This combination is two pieces of eco dyed silk. The top piece has been printed and is lying on top of another (un-printed) eco dyed piece. The top fabric has some beautiful subtle greens.

 

 

Eco dyed silk #3 is the flip side of the previous eco dyed silk #2.  It is lying on the same solid eco dyed piece for constrast, comparison and consideration.

Eco dyed silk #3

Eco dyed silk #3

So now I am staring at this wonderful new fabric from my paint easel as I am still painting on canvases. Read my previous blog post for details about that new adventure.

So, what do you think? Would you try this? It’s so easy! Let me know if you do. I would like to see pictures too.

Small Works-BIG Talent

Kristina, 9 x 12"

Kristina, 9 x 12″

My piece titled: Kristina has been accepted into an exhibit at Las Laguna Gallery in Laguna Beach, CA.

SMALL WORKS-BIG TALENT

Artist Reception Thursday December 1

6:30-9:30 pm

Exhibition runs December 1 through December 30, 2016

577 S. Coast Highway A-1

Laguna Beach, CA

http://www.laslagunagallery.com

I must exclaim how exciting this acceptance is! I returned from a month of travel to Europe in September and October of this year; primarily, Amsterdam and Vienna and small towns in between. The art that I saw definitely inspired me. When I returned I immediately began to paint.

Read my blog post about that trip here

If you live within the vicinity of Laguna Beach….take time to visit this gallery. I understand that the openings are quite a fun with live music included.

My Progress-Painting with Acrylics on Canvas

I am making good progress with painting with acrylics on canvas. What a new adventure this is! So far I have finished 2, 2 in progress and 1 almost done…that challenged me a bit.

The first two finished paintings are:

Carmel

Carmel” 11″ x 14″

Kristina

Kristina 9″ x 12″

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The two paintings that are in progress are not ready to be revealed yet; one is a landscape and one is of a little girl in a white hat and dress with red shoes.

The reason for holding off on these is because I want to explore my (developing) style and techniques. Painting is totally different from fiber art; I am blown away with this in a good way. Even though I give a good bit of thought to the subject and the effect I hope to achieve….the results are like nothing that I can predict. The experience is as if the paint is talking to me instead of my being in charge. Its a bit difficult to explain but that is how I feel now. Maybe this will evolve as well.

I am in a reactionary mode, I am learning. As I apply the paint I observe the results and act accordingly; responding to the effects.

The fifth canvas was the most challenging so far.

Nicole and Papillon 18 x 24", in progress

Nicole and Papillon
18 x 24″

The photo I used for inspiration lacked good contrast. I struggled with the hand the most because in the photo the woman was holding a cigarette that I didn’t want to include.  Thus, the position of the hand became problematic.

I am trained (strongly) to draw from life. Conceptualizing is not my forte; however, I want to explore that as well.

Some areas need more refinement primarily the jacket, center and down to the bottom right.

I used a palette knife to lay in the background. The remaining areas are brushed in. I like the contrast of the smooth areas and the rough (palette knife). I like to make the two inter-play; as if the background is enveloping the foreground– “ground play”.

I am not as enthusiastic about this painting and have decided to take a break from it. I think it will only need one more painting session to be finished.

For a switch I decided to paint a conceptualized subject: a “simple” teapot.

Sunny Teapot 12" x 12"

Sunny Teapot
12″ x 12″

Emphasis  on “simple”! That is a joke…I am prone to make things complex and yet…I love simplicity. So, I kept my restraint and I think it paid off.

Learning to listen to the painting, learning to realize that not all the areas must be refined in fact having a combination of refinement and less refined is much more interesting to me.

This teapot is bathed in bright sunlight. The left side has pale colors while the right side (in shadow) has richer colors and a deep cast shadow.

I am using deep (1.5″) wrapped canvases and the sides are painted as well. This eliminates the need for a frame.

This painting is available!

$250

to purchase this colorful and cheerful painting!

 

2016 About Face

Greetings and Happy New Year! 2017 is here and I am very happy and optimistic about this year.

January of 2016 I decided to offer drawing lessons. This went very well. I revisited my main love: drawing from life. Consequently, I didn’t get much textile art made in 2016.

In November 2016, after returning from a wonderful trip to Europe; visiting Amsterdam and Vienna….I was inspired to paint! I have been slowly gearing up for this for quite some time. This time I made a decision that was huge. I decided to step back from my textile and mixed media art practices and redefine my goals to set a new and clear focus.

The initial decision was quick; however, the process of realization was gradual.

First I cleared a space to paint in my studio away from everything else. My studio is fairly large. While I was sitting in the far off corner working away, I noticed all the remaining room lined with filled storage bins of various art things; mostly fabric. Even though I have trimmed down my stash over the years quite a lot, I still have plenty. Now I realize I will gradually become aware of what to keep and what to pass along.

Now, this is not to say I have stopped sewing! That just isn’t possible…is it?

Hopefully my new adventures with painting will appeal to my readers. The adventures are happening now and I am happy to be learning new things.

Carmel, 11 x 14"

Actually, I am learning a lot more about what was happening in my artist life schedule because now I have another reference point.

I now realize that while I was making art…textile art and mixed media, I was extremely distracted. I called it being spontaneous, inspired, diverse, curious, multidimensional. Yes, I was in all of those modes and that results in one thing: NOT HAVING A FOCUS.

Teaching was a huge distraction, especially writing for online teaching! The amount of thought, energy, planning that I put into it was tremendous! I loved it and I did receive validation; however, I was distracted from the main point of: MAKING MY ART.

Once I began to paint, I could realize all of these distractions.

For me, painting is completely different from making textile art and mixed media; it is instant. My brain embraces and processes the results immediately; I am gratified and challenged quickly. Sewing is not fast; it is tedious, labor intensive and time can spread out endlessly.

It may sound as if I am criticizing sewing…the making of textile art. On the contrary, I love sewing, I love working with fabric the tactile satisfaction, the handling of the fabric, the beauty as it develops.

When I am sewing my brain is on task but also I am thinking of a zillion other things I could make …once I finished the current project or stopped.

Conversations with fellow painters enlightened me. They revealed that they would never consider working with textiles….why? Because they did not have the patience. Hmmm….patience was not something I had considered. I had to think more about that.

Making textile art does require an investment of time. But, I did not think of it as having patience. I merely KNEW the pace and accepted it. In contrast, a painting is just as complex yet I have been able to execute much faster. But, is speed the primary element and desire? No! Rather, satisfaction.

The elements I use to paint are the same. It is the process that is faster. Pure and simple: I am enjoying the freedom and the faster pace of painting. It is refreshing and fits my brain (mind).

One observation I received about a painting of mine was how I captured “texture”. Really? That is interesting and makes sense. I guess my experience with fabric and textiles will reveal in new ways.

The main point of this is to have a FOCUS.

My focus has freed me. My thoughts are simplified as well as my routine. It goes like this:

Set up:

  1. A big drafting table with painting supplies on it.
  2. An easel and chair is next to the table.
  3. I have several sets of painting clothes to wear.
  4. I have references from magazines, and other sources for inspiration.

Daily

  1. Paint in the morning for about 2 hours
  2. Lunch
  3. Paint for a few more hours.
  4. Exercise
  5. Shower
  6. Dinner
  7. Rest
  8. Reflect for the next day

Now, some days I have appointments and other things like housekeeping. And, then there is travel.

TRAVEL

Yes, travel now has become such a pleasure. Now that my life is simplified I can calmly prepare and look forward to traveling. I can actually pack ahead of time. In the past invariably I would have tremendous pressure with art to finish, prepare another lesson, finish a binding, write a new chapter in a course. I have been sewing down to the wire on (too) many occasions. I wasn’t able to predict how much time to allow, how much time to add on to “get it right”.

I love all the art I made though!

I am much happier with my new life style. Simplifying isn’t SIMPLE! You must STOP and assess.

I was ready. I am glad I finally found my FOCUS.

Here are two of my recent paintings

Kristina, 9 x 12" Isabella, 12 x 12"

As you can see, I like women’s faces.

I would love to hear your feedback on this topic: Having a Focus

Can you relate? Please leave comments.

 

 

 

News: Moving On With New Inspiration

Relocation-

I now live in Arizona…which compared to Washington, is like another planet!

Wow! There is so much to learn about Arizona. I have met the most delightful people everywhere I go. And…the people LOVE and respect the arts and artists here! There are numerous festivals, galleries and art events year round.

My new home is amazing!A true Spanish/Mediterranean hacienda complete with a a studio space…of course! That was a requirement. Yes, life is good!

New Inspiration

Prior to the move I was actively making art with new inspiration and enthusiasm.

I went on a fabulous trip to Amsterdam last Autumn. Among the numerous experiences the MOST  outstanding was my visit to the Van Gogh museum. I returned home exhilarated! I promptly ordered painting supplies and proceeded to paint.  It had been over 30 years since I had painted (a proper painting). How fun it was to get my hands messy and explore…just to see what might develop. To my surprise I saw a style presenting and I quite liked it.

Subject: Women with an exaggerated format.

Carmel
10″ x 12″ Acrylic

Not every attempt was successful but each canvas presented a new learning experience.

 

Dream Girl 12″ x 12″ Acrylic

 

Kristina 10 ” x 12″ Acrylic

I am currently setting up a new gallery page for my paintings. I will be offering them for sale as canvas prints. The best part about a print is the ability to select the size.

Often after I finish a piece I think “Wow! wouldn’t this look great if it were LARGE!”  That is exactly what I did with Carmel. I ordered a print size 30″ x 30″ and Wow!

 

Here she is size 30″ x 30″ in the foyer of my previous house in Washington…a show stopper! Everyone stopped to stare at her when they entered the house. And now, she has established her presence in my current house.

The canvas is deep which looks very nice and doesn’t require a frame. The sides of this painting are painted a soft olive green.

 

Price for a canvas print this size is $260 + $15 shipping within the US. Allow 3 weeks for delivery.

Contact me to order.

Let me know what you think about these paintings.

 

Simonne

 

 

Carmel

 

 

Visions Art Museum-Interpretations/Conversations

IN CROWD

has been accepted to:

VISIONS ART MUSEUM, SAN DIEGO, CA.
Exhibit: Interpretations-Conversations

Oct 25, 2017-Jan 2018

What an honor it is to be in this exhibit!

 

IN CROWD tells a personal story.

What a treat it was to be able to drive to San Diego to attend the opening of this exhibit. Not only did we enjoy the exhibit but also a bit of the town. I grew up in San Diego, got married in Coronado and then was redirected to the EAST Coast for most of my adult life, thanks to the Navy. So, when I do get a chance to visit San Diego, I become very nostalgic. It is still a fabulous town…sans traffic.


IN CROWD tells a personal story:

This story developed over my lifetime. I had no idea all of this was in my head or that this content needed to be extracted and brought to life.

I began the piece with one goal: to see if I could free hand stitch (no preliminary drawing on the fabric) the faces. This endeavor lead to a magnificent unfolding of dynamics between the “faces”. One in which I could not have predicted or halted; the energy that developed was unstoppable.

Telling a story made my work come to life.

DIVERSITY, 2013

Telling a Story wasn’t my focus until I made a piece titled: Diversity in 2013.  Diversity was a theme I came across and mentally connected with. The concept unfolded and was very successful; the piece sold before the gallery opening. However, the theme was NOT my personal story. The story was literally spelled out on the art quilt. It captured people and pulled them in. They were intrigued and this was my first realization of how art can be compelling. I realized that many people cannot relate to art for “art sake” as say purely as a composition. They want to (I think) but they often times are perplexed, confused or just lost. IF they can read text (don’t we all read text these days?) and have a way to connect, then they stop, linger, read and ponder and best of all –“get it”.

Prior to this time, I made art that had pure ART forms: A good composition, color, values, design. I was not comfortable to reveal personal things YET. I kept my life experiences to myself.

What I realized about IN CROWD was that MY story is EVERYONE’S story.

I now realize (even more) that this reveal was me being VULNERABLE. Wow!

This suddenly became obvious to me at the exhibit. When the microphone was handed to me to speak about my piece…I froze! (Thank you to the person who whispered…”take a deep breath”!)

I had no idea that I had stripped myself in public! And, it was all OK! Many people related and congratulated me. I had emotions I didn’t realize were brewing. So what does this mean for my future work?

Well now I have new found confidence and I intend to make another version of DIVERSITY. Only this version will have a personal story. I have more stories to tell! Once I crossed over the caution line…I can now be free and open.

If you want to listen to THEE best TED talk on Vulnerablity by Brene Brown, follow this link.


The faces of the people “came through me”.

While traveling, I always bring drawing materials, watercolor pencils and a water brush. I hope to capture my observations and record the views personally (rather than relying on a camera). Occasionally, there is little to see or nothing catches my attention. If this is the case, I challenge myself to conceptualize. Usually I default to random designs like a logo, a sign, a motif on a stair rail, etc.

I LOVE FACES

Travel-Drawing Preparation

I began to collect photos in magazines of faces. I keep a packet of these in my drawing tools bag. My tendency is to draw very exact and detailed, requiring a lot of time and attention; using a pencil, defining with fine shading lines.

To switch it up and relax I decided to challenge myself to conceptualize faces. I used black pen and white paper; which lead to a completely different result. Once I began one face lead to another until I had several pages filled with multiple faces with various scales.

 

 

The faces that emerged were intriguing…they had a unique gaze; avoiding eye contact. They multiplied; gather They marched right  onto my paper, direct from my imagination; I was fascinated. I did not know the m and they seemed to be lost and searching, yearning; I had to make sense of this presence.

BLACK PEN/WHITE PAPER
CONTINUOUS LINES

 What were they thinking? Where were they headed? Are they aware of the each other? Are  they trying to communicate? If so, to whom? If so, what was the message?
I love black pen on white paper- pure and clean LINES.

I love the immediacy of pen/ink….no erasing. What if a line or mark is not so good? Well, after a brief hesitation… it must be made to work. This leads to unplanned new lines, evolving, meandering. This is similar to free motion stitching.


LINES

Drawing is about seeing. How we see and what we see and how we interpret our world. A drawing is developed with a series of LINES. The graphite is deposited on the paper according to the application:

  • How dark or light
  • How close or far apart
  • How delicate or heavy
This can be attributed to stitching as well.
  • The spacing in between the rows of stitches-How close or far apart?
  • The weight of the thread-How heavy or fine?
  • The stitch length-How short or long?

Pencil Drawing- Graphite is spread onto the paper from the point of the pencil. The amount of graphite that is deposited is relative to the amount of pressure applied.

  1. How sharp or dull the point is.
  2. How hard or soft the lead is
  3. How the pencil is held-Straight up or on the side

Line techniques

 

Pen Drawing-The amount of ink that is applied is limited by the size of the pen point. Shading is accomplished by clustering lines closer and overlapping lines. Building up an area with more ink to create a darker value.

STITCHING AS LINES

I have been sewing and quilting my art for many years. This is done with continuous lines of stitching; a starting point and ending point uninterrupted. I prefer to have the stitching uninterrupted and continuous for as long as possible. This helps with strengthening the work and having less loose ends to deal with. I always hand tie every loose end;  thus, the fewer the better.

Consequently, this (habit) tendency spills over into my drawing. I tend to draw with ink with a continuous line. It is also relaxing, flowing and leads to unexpected lines which I like; I enjoy the discovery.


Back to the initial personal challenge I had: To see if I could stitch the faces free hand.

First attempt to stitch faces free hand. Black thread/white fabric

Success!

IN CROWD: A bit of color was added to define certain spaces.

detail

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


THE STORY

Who is the (self appointed arrogant) one who dictates and selects WHO is IN and WHO is out?

Why are we concerned with this? Why do we feel left out? Why do we gloat when we think we are IN?

Why are we bothered by those that feel left out? Why do we NEED to be accepted?

Those questions are the basis for my story.

My conclusion

TRUTH- There IS no such status, group, association! This is conjured up in our minds. This is based on How we value ourselves.

LESSON: IF you are presently in a group that makes you feel special, accepted and like you have arrived….I have NEWS! You are missing out! You are NOT aware of the wall preventing you from growing, learning and exploring on your own. TEAR DOWN THAT WALL! Some of us build the wall to protect ourselves; I have done that too.

REVEAL and COME to the best place of all…JUST BE YOUR NATURAL SELF AND DROP THE CONCERNS.

It is so simple when you strip it down to the essence.

If you can relate…leave a comment. And, leave one no matter what your position is. I would love to hear your take on this topic.

 

 

Artistic Talent-Debatable

Deborah Babin

I had a profound conversation recently with someone who expressed a deep life long yearning to BE an ARTIST. This person was convinced she would never attain a level of artistic confidence because she had defined herself as having NO artistic talent or skills.

Without hesitation,my immediate response was: Being an Artist is NOT about

This bold statement flew out of my mouth and hung in the stillness.

This prompted a search on this topic today. I found this article which I am totally aligned with.

Please leave a comment about this debatable topic. What is your take?


PERSONAL REFLECTION

When I ask myself: Do I have artistic talent?

Answer: What I have is: Visual awareness

I learn through visual experiences.

It feels natural to express myself visually, thus art forms are my language. Consequently, utilizing my language builds my skills and enriches the quality of my art and production. When I make art I am proud of, it all makes sense. When I make art that is not up to PAR I have learned that this art experience is just as important, if not more so. As, I will learn and realize the depth of the challenge and strengthen my determination OR I may choose take a side step and evolve.

CLICK ON AN IMAGE TO SEE A DETAIL VIEW

Drawing 1 Ink drawing, watercolor, below PAR

Drawing 2 Ink drawing, watercolor, on PAR

These two examples are rated below PAR an above PAR by myself. The assessment is based on the effectiveness of the shading with fine ink marks.

Pen is unforgiving. No erasing!

Drawing 1

I consider this drawing as under PAR because: 1. The eyes are not positioned properly. The left eye is too close to the nose. 2. The shading under the nose is too dense and sort of looks like a mustache.

Is this a failure? No. I enjoyed drawing it. I remember where I was and how good the travel experience was. What will become of this drawing? It is now an example here and I can always paint over it.

Drawing 2

I consider this drawing (as compared to the previous drawing) to be on PAR. The results are overall pleasingly balanced. The shading has various tones, which effectively describe the contours of the face. The details of the hat and blouse add nice contrast.


I have been told that my verbal descriptions are vivid; I like knowing that. Being able to describe aspects of (art) various things is another way to connect and paint a verbal picture.

Talent is a vague concept. We all have strengths. It depends on the opportunities we have in our lifetime or make happen that give us the time and access to sources where we can develop those strengths. And, the SOURCES…well, the quality of the sources is vital. In addition, timing. WHEN we have this opportunity and with whom. We may encounter a prime opportunity but not at the optimal time in our life.

The timing within our journey is not within our control; unscheduled stops and starts.

Control: Only we can set the goals and then, set out to achieve them. Many times, life gets in the way. But, that is the nature of the uncharted path….it meanders.

Can you relate to this?


The people we meet along our journey are components. Whether they are validating, enriching and positive for our growth. They may be (and many times are) detractors. Depending on where we are on our journey this encounter can be devastating and derailing.

My favorite line:

The JOURNEY IS THE DESTINY

We are destined to seek. Some of us pursue consistently, others, off and on, and some give up too soon. Some people get side tracked. And, unfortunately, some succumb to the pressure of competition…and end up questioning (doubt) their abilities (talent). They might set the bar too high, with unrealistic expectations; self defeating.

I say: There is ALWAYS time to make an attempt to follow your dream. If your dream is to be an artist….THEN BEGIN. So the question is WHEN?

If you are serious and make a sincere effort all will work out. Remember the movie THE FIELD OF DREAMS? Build it and they will come.

What is the worst that can happen?


Are you willing to take a step forward now? Make a plan to BEGIN.

Make a commitment to yourself:

Suggestions:

Commit to 1 hour 1 day per week

Commit to any day, any number of days.

Find a spot that is serene and special pleasantly tucked away from distractions without a clock.

Use:

  • A clip board or firm surface that is easy to hold on your lap or table
  • A piece of plain white paper any size (several pieces is best) or a tablet
  • A regular lead pencil
  • Make marks
  • Observe…

Write the date on each page, maybe include the location. Make notes that about what you are thinking, seeing, feeling, realizing.

Don’t expect anything….just observe.

MARKS-Are ANY type of stoke, line, scribble, etc. that leaves a deposit of lead on the paper.

Approach: fill an entire sheet of paper with one mark making tool

  1. Make a random grid and fill the spaces, no ruler.
  2. Randomly fill the page without concern of the space.
  3. Start in various spots not just the center.
  4. Extend the marks out and over the outer edges of the paper.
  5. Experiment with various mark making tools.

MAKE MARKS UNTIL YOU FEEL LIKE STOPPING AND SIT BACK AND OBSERVE. YO

You are communicating in YOUR (language) of marks.

EXAMPLES OF VARIOUS TYPES OF MARKS

Options:

Switch mediums:

  • a color pencil
  • a watercolor pencil
  • charcoal
  • pen/ink

Fill page after page. Enjoy this PRIVATE EXPLORATION. Your personal diary of marks.

NOTE: THIS IS AN EXCELLENT METHOD TO DO WHILE PASSING TIME LIKE IN A WAITING ROOM, ON A FERRY or BUS RIDE, ANY TIME WHERE YOU WOULD HAVE TIME TO YOURSELF. YOU MAY GET INTERRUPTED; STOP AND RESUME AT ANOTHER OPPORTUNITY.  REALIZE THAT YOU MAY LIKE CERTAIN PARTS OF THE PAGE MORE THAN OTHERS. THIS IS OK. I LIKE TO TEAR THE PAGE INTO SECTIONS. AVOID ERASING! TRY TO GO WITH THE MARKS. SEE WHERE THEY TAKE YOU. 

Keep your tools, paper and drawing surface in a bag, carrying it with you where ever you go.

Art Supply Store Nice, France

When I travel I prepare a bag with various tools. I clip pictures of subjects from magazines for inspiration. I might buy a new tablet or better yet, I love to find an art store (say in Europe) to explore new tools that I aren’t available at home. I have a small back pack that is perfect for this purpose.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inspirational Design, Rothschild Museum, VilleFranche, France

 

 

My established INTENT: to be prepared to record my experiences with drawing is in my conscious mind. My visual “feelers” are on alert. I am more likely to see more than I would otherwise.

Photos as inspiration reference:

This photo was taken at the Rothschild Museum in the lobby of the mansion. The vaulted ceiling was decorated with meticulously hand drawn lines.

 

 

Stones, Antibes, Frances, inspiration

This photo was taken on the grounds of the Picasso Museum in Antibes, France. I consider this inspiration.

 


REVEAL

Optional!!

Reveal (share) your experience with someone ONLY if you are compelled. Listen to the reactions, comments. Realize how others SEE and respond to your MARKS. Take away what you want, dispose of the remaining. Some of the reactions may surprise (delight) you and some may not.

More about marks: As you make mark after mark (accumulation) you MAY notice a cluster (pattern) that resembles something realistic or interesting. How you interpret, respond to your marks is particularly notable. Don’t ignore this observation…instead…go with it!

Our Marks may communicate something completely different to another person. This is natural and to be embraced.

If you want to share your pages here PLEASE feel free to do so! If you want input….let me know.


 

MAKING ART IS ULTIMATE DISPLAY OF VULNERABILITY

When we present our art (mark making), we open ourselves to the world (universe); we are at our most vulnerable.

Vulnerability is when we are the MOST OPEN possible; no guard walls for protection, boundary or conditions.  We are bold enough (confident) to take the stand to be viewed (judged) to the core of our NAKED being.

Did I know this when I began to make art? NO!

Being an artist is WHO I am; I am hard wired to make art. Making art makes me happy. It feels natural and healthy.

I do not think about being judged. It is only natural to “hope” to measure up. But, who is doing the measuring? And, in any given situation (juried competition) who are you being compared to?

Listen to Brene Brown, TED talk topic: Vulnerability

The bottom line:

JUST MAKE YOUR ART AND OBSERVE

 

 

 

 

Simonne

Acrylic Painting, 20 x 20

Carmel

Acrylic Painting, 10 x 12

Dream Girl

Acrylic, 12 x 12

Expressions of Life

Acrylic, 10 x 15

Sunshine Teapot

Acrylic, 12 x 12