Monday, December 28, 2015

Eco-dying Class with Bette

The Fall season introduced me to Eco-dying which is also known as eco-printing.  The process uses natural materials to create images onto papers and fabrics.  While the results are serendipitous, they images and subtle colors created are usually beautiful as well as unexpected.

After sharing the results with a small art circle, the members wanted to know more.  Going back to my source, a good friend who shared her knowledge, Bette, I presented the idea of teaching a beginning class to the group. A date was chosen, materials gathered, and invitations extended.

Organics materials
Steaming fabric bundles

Results on silk organza

Results on Silk Noil

The process produced a variety of results, depending upon the materials and the dye bath methods  used.

Silk into Iron Dye Bath #1
Silk into Iron Dye Bath #2
Paper into Iron Dye Bath #1

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Hand Made Holiday Cards for 2015

Well the season of holidays and good cheer has come.  I try to stay true to the roots of craft and make some of our holiday cards by hand.  While the process is timely, the results are rewarding.  I usually try a technique that is new to me so the outcome is two fold; artful holiday cards are created while I explore techniques and improve my skills.  Oh, happy days!  Plus, I am able to share the joy of the results with family and friends.

Here is one sample of this year's card.  The card is hand stitched on paper which has been eco-dyed.  The process of eco-dying uses only natural materials and creates organic images on either paper or fabric.  Once dyed and dried, I stitch to emphasis the resulting images.

The next set of cards were created using commercial fabric, wine bottle tins of various colors, felt backing, and machine stitching.  The process is fairly easy.  The tin from the wine bottles can be cut or torn to the desired size.  Once torn, I arrange the tin to recreate the image of a tree and then secure each piece with a dot of glue, just to hold in place until the design can be stitched.  Lastly, the shape of the tree is outlined using 12 weight threads.  I sometimes use metallic thread.  Deciding what thread to use just depends upon the look you want to achieve.

Sewing tin to fabric
Finished Holiday Card

Wishing you a joyous Holiday Season ... and may the spirit of the holidays greet you everyday of the New Year!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Honoring the Quilters of Gee's Bend

Several summers ago while visiting Sisters, Oregon during quilt week, I had the honor of spending an hour in a mini workshop with some of the current Gee's Bend quilters.  Their styles of quilting and their ways of being were quite liberating.  Below is a poem that seems to speak to the uniqueness of these artists.

The Quilters of Gee's Bend

Seems like that old river tied
itself in a knot just to keep
black folks there at Gee's
Bend while time and fortune
swept on by.

And Master Pettway gave
those folks his name, but stripped
everything else he could. Left
just scraps, but they were used to that.

So those hands that hardly
needed something else to do
unraveled their worn-out
world. Pieced together
remnants of Africa
and raggedy dreams
to make something new.

Let dress tails dance
with britches—heat from
the cotton fields pressed
deep in their seams.
So tired of plowed furrows,
they let their stitches bend
now and then just like
that river. Nothing perfect,
yet God was in the details.
And the quilters called that
making do and visiting
and keeping warm and pulling
up memories each night,
till one day they were told—
we call that art.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

CSN Juried Student Exhibiton ~ 2015

The Community College of Southern Nevada Juried Student Exhibition opened with a reception last night at the Cheyenne Campus. This annual exhibition selected art from more than 150 drawings, prints, ceramics, metals, sculpture, digital images, and design works. The artwork that was submitted is representative of more than 30 different classes from 15 faculty members.

I am honored to have an art piece selected into the exhibition.  The piece, "Needle and Thread" is a sculpture which was made in the Three Dimension class taught by Wayne Littlejohn, Spring 2015.  The larger than life spool was constructed out of styrofoam, auto body compound, and resin. The yellow measuring tape was made out of canvas which was painted then sewn.  I tested several paint types to get a pliable result before creating the final version.  The needle is a wooden dowel shaped using a band sander.  The silver coating applied to the dowel after shaping is a material called soft wax.  The color and shinny texture were perfect for the needle's finish.  Finally, the thread is a standard grey rope purchased at a local hardware store.  I was happy with the final piece as all the components visually worked well together.

Needle And Thread - Mixed Media Sculpture - 2015