Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Creative Process: hunting and gathering ideas

The kids are back in school. My mom flew home after an absolutely wonderful week. I'm on my own again for the first time in months. Miracle of miracles - I have only one deadline coming up and it's not until mid-October. I think. I'd probably better double check on that.
So for the first time in years I've been thinking about sewing clothes. Just for fun. I have a collection of vintage sari's that I ordered from India off of Ebay. I kind of really love Ebay.  These came smelling like woodsmoke. It brought me up short for a minute - bringing home the fact that in many parts of the world life isn't nearly as convenient as it is for us with our easy electricity. Take a second to think how easy our lives are because of everything that happens around one of those little electrical outlets. Whew.
The Sari's are fine after a little trip through the wash. I always wash all my cloth before sewing with it - even wool and silk.  Then after the thing is made I might hand wash and lay it to dry but if it can handle a regular wash before it is made then it will be fine afterwards. 
There are a couple of spots where a little bit of the stitching came out of the hand embroidered piece (isn't it gorgeous) but I can repair or work around those as I wish.
As is my usual mode of operation, I think for a long time before I begin. It's my favorite part of the creative process. This time I've pulled out a bunch of patterns - they are all just a beginning. I almost never sew clothes without messing around with the design and the pattern.
I also went up to the attic and rummaged through all of my bins, pulling out all the neutrals. Cooking up some fun ideas for these as well. I keep thinking it would be wonderful to play around this year and actually USE UP some of the stuff that's been sitting up there forever.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Show Review - Quartet: Celebrating All Things in Fours

While I have taken quite a break from entering national shows I have kept work in circulation in local art shows and thought you might like a peek at this delightful exhibition.

Currently Showing
At the Cary Art Center
101 Dry Avenue, Cary, NC (919) 469-4069 
Monday Thursday: 9 a.m.–10 p.m.
Friday & Saturday: 9 a.m. - 11 p.m.
Sunday: 1 p.m. - 6 p.m. 

The exhibit is in celebration of and in conjunction with a small music festival that is happening at the art center. I was able to attend the Lipkind Quartet's performance and truly enjoyed hearing those talented musicians. There is something so beautiful about losing yourself in the sound of a live performance. It's nothing like recordings - even with an amazing sound system. And I love classical music. 

Take Four (acrylic)
by Jillian goldberg

They have also had several events where artists have been invited to come and draw during live rehearsals of the Brussels Chamber Orchestra. Unfortunately my kids schedule got in the way. It sounds wonderful. One my favorite exercises from Art + Quilt is to doodle to music either with pen and paper or with free motion quilting.

String Quartet (fiber)
by Ana Sumner

String Quartet (detail-fiber)
by Ana Sumner

It's one small wall with a lot of work but hung so beautifully that it works. Having a little experience with hanging shows I truly admire the work it took to get this show to hang together. It's very interesting to see such a wide variety of media that works together. There is fiber, oil, photography, acrylic and mixed media.

Brass Foreplay (acrylic)
by Margot Holloman

Four Seasons (acrylic, mixed media)

Expectation (watercolor)
by Virginia Runge

I love this small piece. The jewelry is beautiful in and of itself but I didn't even realize that that is what it was on first glance. The frame, the textiles in the background - all form a cohesive and pleasingly beautiful composition.
Stone Age Pendant and Earrings (sterling silver, jade, jasper, onyx and howlite stones, fiber)
by J'Nai Willingham

I failed to get the name and title for this piece but I LOVE it! This is a detail - four canvases wrapped in different stockings to create a lovely pattern. Scroll back up to the first picture and take a look - it's partly behind the door.

And yes, my work is in the show as well - part of the Signature series that I've titled
Four/Four time (acrylic)

(Notice my lovely and oh-so-fashionable footwear. I've been wearing a boot for the last month to try and help with achilles tendonosis. Yuck. It's working though so I'm putting up with it.)

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Tutorial: Wrapping a Gallery Wrapped Canvas

As promised - here is part 2 of my process in creating a series of works for 
Art Box work by Lyric Montgomery Kinard

(part 1 on the process for these works can be found here)
Position your unstitched top on your canvas and trim it down - leaving enough cloth to wrap to the back of your gallery wrapped canvas. In this instance I'm using and 8"x8" canvas, 1.5" deep.

Adhere fusible web (regular weight Wonder-Under is my favorite for this technique) to the back side of your finished top.

Trim the cloth and remove the release paper.

I've placed batting on the canvas with just enough to cover the edges and cut out the corners.

Carefully position the cloth on the canvas 

I use the release paper on each side to protect both the iron and the board as I make sure the fusible web is well adhered to the cloth and the batting. 

Quilt or stitch and embellish your cloth with the batting but no backing. (yes - it's a different top in the series from here on out - the pictures were better on this one.)

Here is the stitching from the back - yup - no backing cloth - just the batting.

Pull each of the four corners up and fuse them over the back to the wood. I trimmed the corners where they overlapped into the middle as per the next picture.

Cut the cloth along each side, almost to each corner. Leave just a bit connected.

Tuck in the cloth on the corner, carefully creating a little pleat, pulling the edge of the fold cleanly to the corner edge of the frame.

Iron the side of the canvas, making sure the iron  only touches the side, not the back of the canvas. You need to hold the pleat in place - but be very careful not to burn your fingers.

Cut and trim out any excess cloth, making sure to leave enough cloth with exposed fusible to be able to tack it down. Sometimes I'll pull a little of the batting away and trim it as well.

Pull each flap in to the wood and iron it down, making sure the corners are cleanly folded. There should be enough exposed fusible web to seal the fabric to itself on the corners and the wood around the edges.

Press all the flaps of fabric to the wood. Sometimes I leave the cloth long enough to press into the inside of the wood frame to give it a really clean look.

 One last press of each edge.

Lovely clean corners.

The finished artworks in this series are available for purchase for a VERY reasonable price at

The Art Box CSA

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Faces - a morning well spent

So. If you happen to get a speeding ticket .... spending a day in traffic court can be time well spent. 
Sigh. We took the waaaaay back country roads on a way from a vacation and even though I was actually trying to stay within the speed limit (52 in a 55mph zone) I somehow missed the sign in front of the one mile stretch that was 35mph. 
So I had my sketchbook with me and while waiting my turn I pulled out my pencil.
I sat in front so all I had to draw was the lawyers and the officers.
Of course - one's hand is always there to draw. I was trying to be circumspect but one of the officers (I think it might even have been the one who pulled me over) saw me and leaned over when he walked by and told me he wanted to see it when I was done.
We weren't allowed phones so I couldn't take a picture which is too bad - the two pictures I tore out and gave to the officer and the bailiff were much better than these. I had plenty of time to work on those two and they held still the longest. The officer knew I was drawing him so I think he held still on purpose. After I gave him the drawing he told me he had told the judge to be nice to me. (He was.)

Friday, August 17, 2012

For Your Inspiration: clouds in Ohio

Living, as I do, in the land of "if you don't mow or pave there's a tree" I treasure long views.
It's beautiful to see a vista full of blue and gold, of clouds and light.

It was thrilling to drive between two storms - watching them over the course of almost an hour.

We didn't quite miss the rain, but it afforded a beautiful view.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Work in Progress: changing my mind - again

This was the last iteration.
I didn't like the bead color so I took them off.
Another road trip and I grabbed the  project again... tried a different bead color.
These are going to come off too... (I just remembered that I left this in the glove box of the car we drove - I'd better go get it before I forget it again). I think it's the beads themselves I'm not liking - there are such beautiful markings on these stones that the beaded bezel is competing with them. 

We'll see what happens next. No hurries no worries with this project.... which right now is something I need. I've been pressing deadlines without a break for soooo long (it feels like several years) that during this lull over the next month or so I'm feeling completely rebellious. I've spent the past week reading books. Refusing to go in my studio and not even blogging. (sorry.) They aren't even great books - just re-reading a sci-fi series I read years ago. No thinking involved. Maybe in another week I'll feel like getting back into things. It's good to take a break sometimes.

Friday, August 10, 2012

New Work: The Art Box - process part 1

I thought you might enjoy seeing the creation process for the series of works I did for
Art Box work by Lyric Montgomery Kinard

dye and discharge cloth with a katazome inspired thermofax screen

mix colorless extender with textile paint to increase its transparency

use photoshop and make several images for a thermofax screen - variations on a theme

put it up and take a look - say oooooh, aaaaah!

test images for placement, keeping in mind the size of the canvas

use a strong enough color that it will contrast and become a focal point

a second screen will be used to apply foil adhesive to a selected area

a card (I always end up with a hotel room key) is perfect for this size of screen

lay the foil color side up on top of the DRY adhesive and use the edge of the iron and quite a bit of pressure to apply the foil

let the foil cool before peeling it off

check placement with canvas again before proceeding to the next step - adding batting and stitching

Keep your eye out here for a tutorial on how to mount the finished work on a gallery wrapped canvas.

The finished artwork in this series is available for purchase at

What is an Art Box?
An Art Box is a new and exciting way to purchase a collection of art from several different artists at once.  Artists create a limited number of new original artworks for inclusion in the box in a predetermined size making it easy for the collector to display them together if they desire. Purchasing an Art Box is a cost effective way to begin or add to a growing art collection from today’s most popular mixed media and textile artists.