Sunday, September 26, 2010

Artist Spotlight: Alma Stoller

Time to intruduce you all to another fabulous artist! I have to tell you that I really enjoy this process. Getting to know another artist and hearing their story is fascinating and inspiring to me. I hope it is to you as well. 
Alma Stoller creates some lovley and ethereal portraits and mixed media textile art and I think you might like her work as much as I do.

Lyric - It's so nice to "meet" you here Alma. I love your work and am wondering, did you always know you wanted to be an artist?

Alma - yes. I knew that very early on.

L - I love it when that happens. What are some of the interesting turns you took on the path to where you are now as an artist?

A -I always knew that I wanted to focus in the arts. For me, that took the form of Theater in High School and Music in College. I loved becoming Joan of Arc so much, that I cut my hair and dyed it black in order to 'feel' the part. I started writing poetry and songs when I was in my early teen and spent a good deal of time recording it and trying to get into the biz, but I realized that what I liked about music and theater was the writing, coming up with an interesting chord progression, the development of stories, characters and the creative part of it. 

I have always been interested in the healing arts.... how art, whether it's dance or doll making, theater or cabinet making can transform you. It has the ability to change your empower you and make everyday experiences sweeter. In my own way, these days, I focus more on that angle of it than anything else. I've always dabbled with drawing and doodling on paper.....but it wasn't until my daughter was born that I shifted from music to art. I finished my BA in Music, (with one class short of a minor in art) and immediately started taking Graduate courses in Music Education. Doing what I thought was the practical thing to do rather than what I wanted to do. 
When my daughter was born....that was actually the best time. While caring for her, I was also able to care for myself. I actually had the time to think about what I wanted. I started writing and drawing again. I started sewing new things out of the little dresses she outgrew. It was a really sweet and quiet time for me.

L - Why do you choose your medium?

A - I work in a little bit of everything. 

I truly enjoy working in all fields of art, from painting, collage, to crochet and textile art.

L - What are your favorite art supplies - the ones you can't do without?

A - That changes depending on what I am into at the moment.....
Right now, my favorite supplies are Golden Extra Heavy Gel Matte, pearl cotton embroidery thread, gesso, and the current issue of Vogue.

L - Why do you teach and what do you get out of it?

A - I love teaching and I love sharing my ideas. Teaching others allows me to see my work from the outside rather than from inside my head and through my eyes. 
It forces me to be a little more mindful of my own creative process....something I am not quite aware of when I am in 'the zone".

L - Do you have any upcoming classes you would like to promote?

A - I am teaching a class called Fabric Beads, Oddities and is a hoot.
Soooooooo much fun.

So there you have it. Alma is a lovely person and a whimsical artist. I love that she doesn't limit herself with one medium but simply applies whatever suits her fancy. How about you? Why do you use the medium you do? Did you choose it for any particular reason? If you had to work in another medium what would it be? 

Friday, September 17, 2010

Congratulations to the Winner!

Jamie, who has a sweet blog called Remnants, is the winner of Diana Trout's book.

I really want to thank all of you for commenting and telling us what it is you think you are needlessly afraid of. Diana has enjoyed reading the comments as well and I know from experience how wonderful the interaction between author and readers can be. 

Diana is doing something special and wonderful on her blog - in her own words:

Creative Revolution 
I'm not completely sure what kind of path this will take yet. For the moment, once a month, on or about the 15th, I will set out an idea. It could be anything: a simple journal entry, a recipe prompt, a nudge to be more creative when you get dressed in the morning. These nudges will be simple, 5-minute (or more, if you'd like). They will be something that can very easily be incorporated into your day.

I LOVE what she is doing. We are on the same crusade, Diana and I! Nothing makes us happier than watching people recognize and nurture their creativity. I think I'll join her and invite you to do the same. Head over there right now and see what the current prompt is. It's one I highly recommend.

New Shoe

Only one done so far.
I think I got a little carried away. My daughter called them psychedelic.
I love them anyway.

Click the tutorials link at the top of the page to read how to do them yourself.
Hopefully I'll get the other one done in time to wear it next week.
Can't wait to teach for the Burke Quilters Unlimited group in DC.
We'll be at the Artistic Artifacts Annex.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Artist Spotlight part 3: Diana Trout book review

In her book
North Light Books


"I wrote, "Admit that I am scared and do it anyway." "It" was something that I began to look at more carefully and ask myself what would happen if I did "it" and failed? As it turned out, failure didn't seem to be earth-shattering. So attempting "it" became exiting. I began to truly understand the truth behind courage - being scared and doing it anyway.

If you've read my writings you will understand why I'm drawn to Diana's work and to this book. My soapbox is all about overcoming your fears and just doing the work. I love that she says it right there in black and white. What is so earth shattering about failure? Not much. Most of the time it is just one step that you need to make on the road to success.

In working through this book you will take a journey through the world of the soul, the space where your wishes and dreams are freed from shadows and let out into the light of day. Diana gives prompts, asks questions, and gently guides you along the path of creative self exploration. My favorite part? She keeps it real. Nothing too schmarmy - just real life experiences and down to earth words that tell it like it is.

Along the way you will learn many different techniques - most of which I hadn't tried before as they are all about the paper arts. Suminagashi is the one I'm most attracted to. It's a japanese form of marbling and she makes it look effortless. Diana also covers using resists of all kinds, different ways to use different paints, a few bookbinding techniques, and several image transfer methods. This is a book that I wish I had time to very slowly, step by step, work my way through.

So. Anyone care to come along for the ride? 
Leave a comment and tell me what "IT" might be for you. 

What are you afraid of? What keeps you from trying? Is there really anything earth shattering that might happen if you fail? One lucky commenter will with a copy of Diana's book. I'll compile the comments from this post as well as  this one and this one. Check back here Friday to see if you are the lucky one!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Dyeing - the lazy way

OK. I did mention that I don't deal well with deadlines. Instead of looking forward to studio play time I dread it. For no good reason. No good reason at all. What is wrong with me!?!? 
A beautifully hung show at the Craft Center on campus at NC State University.

Then again - I never seem to get anything actually finished without a deadline to push me to completion. I have numerous works that are very close to completion but I seem to lose interest. I need to find me some discipline!

So I need to dye this fabric for a couple of wearable art pieces I've agreed to make for an exhibition. I've known I needed to get them done. I know it won't take more than a couple of hours of dye time. While I love the results of dyeing cloth, the process, to me, is simply work. Ah - there is one reason for my reluctance. I'm lazy.

So - because I know that I can be entirely flexible with my results I decided to dye this cloth the lazy way. Maybe the lazy way will be fun.

Dyeing cloth the lazy way:
1-Throw the cloth onto hangars. I'm going to experiment with drip/dip dyeing. Dump everything in the sink to soak in hot water. Decide I'd really better change out of my nice clothes. I like this shirt. Except for the really boring color that I usually only wear in winter. Hmmm. Take it off and dump the shirt in the water too.

2 - Get out the buckets. My hubby asked last night if I still use my stack of buckets in the garage. OF COURSE I DO! Just once every year or so. (Note to dear, darling, almost nearly perfect hubby: Please stop trying to throw away everything in my one corner of the garage. Pretty please?)

3 - Don the gloves and mask and dump some urea in one bucket, some soda ash in another and fill them with hot water. Nope. No measuring for me today.

4 - Mix two containers of dye. I got out all the blues I have and one named raspberry that might make a nice purple. Dump dye powders into containers and mix with urea water. Again, no measuring. My dyes are really old. Who knows if they have any ooomph left? I think about that and just dump in a little more dye powder. (NOT lazy on wearing gloves and respirator! No taking chances with health my friends!)

5 - Hang the cloth up on the garage door brackets, buckets underneath. Toss the shirt into one of the buckets. Mix a little tiny bit of dye water with a container of soda ash water and pour it from the top of the cloth. Hmmmm. Interesting.

5.5 - Swat mosquitoes. Go get my "Afterbite." Love that stuff. If you are a yummy, sweet blooded, mosquito magnet like me - go get some!

6 - Every once in a while mix up a little more dye concentrate into some more soda-ash water and pour it on the fabric. Hmm. Not as pretty - kind of splotchy. I should have mixed it into the bucket and dipped it.

7 - Mix more dye into the bucket and dip the fabric. It's heavy. It's hot. The blue is looking OK and the purple - not so much. Grayish dusty sort of purple instead of a clear pastel.  

7.5 -Give up on trying to dip dye (weight a hundred pounds and gets dye all over me when I try to lift if back up) and dump the cloth into the bucket. It's hot and sticky humid. Of course it is. I live in the South.

8 - Sigh. Rinsing is going to have to happen at some point. I don't look forward to the rinsing. Our washing machine is upstairs. Good for laundry - bad for dyeing. Especially because you can only get to it by traversing stairs and rooms covered with white carpet. Put off rinsing until tomorrow. (Note to self. Stop Whining.)

9 - Dump out dye water into outdoor drain. Be careful not to get it on the grass this time. Keep the hose running to dilute it. Wash out big deep buckets and put wet dyed cloth in the bottom. Carefully wash off entire bucket, dry it too. Very, very carefully carry it upstairs to the wash. Soak in cold water - run the washer. Soak in hot water - run the washer. soak in hot water with synthropol - run the washer. Again. Go to bed.

10 - Dry cloth. It looks better than it did. I still the the purple is  - dusty. I can work with it. Now I have to clean off the drafting table so I can do some printing. Maybe I'll use the dining room table instead.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Artist Spotlight part 2: Diana Trout - upcoming teaching events

When I introduce you to an artist who is also a great teacher I love to get out the word about where she is teaching next. Diana Trout, who I introduced recently, teaches some wonderfully fun classes that I want to jump right in and take.

I asked Diana the big question - WHY she teaches.

Diana: I started teaching kids in my studio when my kids were young. My neighbors and friends were after me to set it up so I did and discovered that I love it. A lot of what I was doing with the kids was to foster creative problem solving along with good foundations in art and confidence in art making. After a bit, it seemed to me that adults would benefit from my teaching style. 
Teaching feels like a mission. I had no guidance as a child or adult and had to find the path to art without any encouragement. It feels like a privilege to be able to help guide and encourage adults and children and foster their love of art making.
Anything coming up you'd like me to promote?

My DVD, Playful Paper Backgrounds, from Cloth Paper Scissors is now available. It is loaded with techniques on watercolors, paste paper, inks and a section on designing and carving your own rubber stamps (emphasis on design). 

I’ll be teaching at 

October 7-12, 2010. This is a relatively new art retreat that I’m very excited about. I’ll be teaching 
Rescue Book Journal, ColorWheel Journal Quilt, 
Acrylic Glazes & Collage, Journal Spilling Watercolor, 
Journal Spilling Layers 
and Port Townsend, here I come! 
JournalFest, Port Townsend, WA
October 27-31, 2010
Journal Spilling Watercolor, Rescue Book Journal, ColorWheel Paper Quilt
There are still spaces available at both of these retreats. If you are in the area go check them out! And..... I'll be giving away a copy of Diana Trout's book, "Journal Spilling" to one lucky reader next week right after I review it for you. Leave comments on this post, on the upcoming review, or on the first spotlight I did of her.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Getting Ready to DYE

Kids on the bus. √
Get preschooler into car. √
Go back inside to find preschooler's shoes. √
Medical form dropped off to doctors office. √
Put preschooler's shoes back on. √
Find classroom and meet new preschool teacher. √
Gather up purple glitter play dough preschooler has scattered all over floor. √
Put shoes back on preschooler. √
Bring home a couple extra kids to keep preschooler busy for the next two hours. √
Open the 100 yd bolt of sand-washed Tencel twill. √
Drool a bit. √
Listen to preschoolers tattle on each other. √
Ignore preschoolers tattling on each other. √
Rip about ten yards of yummy fabric. √

Lunch - getting there.
Naps - can't come too soon!
Almost time to DYE!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Photo-Transfer Fun on Bonnie McCaffery's Vidcast with Lyric!

Last year in Houston Bonnie McCaffery, who is one of my favorite people, took a little time out to film a few moments of fun and photo-transfer. You can see the results this month on her website here:

Bonnie is also a wonderful teacher and a very creative artist. One of my favorite things is to see her teach a roomful of fearful women how to paint an absolutely gorgeous, and realistic looking face. Faces can be the hardest thing ever to paint. But she makes it easy. AND - she has a book and DVD that can show you how to do it yourself! 

So pop over and laugh with me through the vidcast. We'll take a peek at my book, "Art + Quilt" and play a little bit with some fun imagery. Say hi to Bonnie for me while you are there.