"If you hear a voice within you say, 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced." --Vincent van Gogh

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Experiments and Challenges

I've thought a lot over the last few months about why I join swaps. I decided that as long as I am judicious in my swap selections, that they challenge me to experiement and grow as an artist. I will almost always try something new or work within a theme that I wouldn't have thought to choose on my own.

Probably my biggest commitment for this year is the house front swap on Textile Challenges. I'll make 6 houses over the course of the year - the pattern was provided by list owner Carol T. - in the theme of the recipient's choice. My first one goes to Kate in the UK. Here theme is "The House of the Rising Sun".
I had to do a google search on her theme, because the only knowledge I had of it was the folk song. Well, it turns out that's all there is to it. It's about the sordid life in New Orleans from the perspective of a child of a gambler. So I researched New Orleans architecture and my first "house" is above.

I don't know why I always feel compelled to explain my art. Probably because so much thought goes into it that I want others to know about. So on this piece, I first started with a piece of Ice Dyed fabric which had shades of red, orange, and turquoise. I cut three arch shaped doorways from it and backed them with a piece of nubby green silk. I had to add the playing cards! What a lucky gambler. I added some walnut ink, french words (this IS New Orleans after all) and a rust colored sheer, which I burned away in spots. I kept thinking "smoke and mirrors". Anyway. I tried to suggest spanish tile for the roof and of course an iron balcony. The exterior is adorned with sultry southern flowers. The ones along the bottom are punched from paint chips and the ones along the balcony are punched from an aluminum can that I painted with alcohol inks. I had a lot of fun with this. Now I just need to get the song out of my head!

These are some ATCs that I made for an exchange on Surface Design. The challenge was to show a technique - so I chose UTEE (Ultra Thick Embossing Enamel) on fabric. It was a really good learning experience, and a technique I might use again, although it was not quite as easy to execute as I thought it would be.

I am getting more and more excited about the poppy project - lots of ideas swarming in my brain!!


Carol said...

What a kick off! An amazing start to the swap year, thank Michelle, that is how to get the ball rolling!!!!! I love that you have explained yourslef and the time and care you have put into finding out about the song is so thoughtful. Thanks for sharing.

Karen said...

Awesome job on the house and the cards Michelle. The details on the house would drive me crazy.

I agree with Carol I enjoyed your explanation of your work. I'm not one of those people to whom something is obvious so I appreciate the effort.

needlewings said...

Wow, those are great! I am always amazed with what you come up with since they are materials that I don't normally work with.

Clevelandgirlie said...

I saw these first hand - and they are gorgeous. Happy Birthday to YOU, Happy Birthday to YOU, Happy Birthday Michelle, Happy Birthday to YOU YOU YOU!

Jeanne Turner McBrayer said...

Love The House of the Rising Sun. Hmmm, showing my age here, but that was my first make-out song long, long ago! Your quilt recipient will be thrilled with this wonderful little house.

Anonymous said...

The "House of the Rising Sun". First song I could play and sing on the guitar. Hard to get it out of your head but it beats the "free credit.com" song.


Margarita Korioth said...

One of those ATCs is mine, I'm happy..gracias

Elizabeth said...

Michelle!! Happy New Year!!
I love what you have done with this house !! And I think that explaining the thought process and the art process is what makes your blog terrific- don't quit!!
Your ATC's are a delight as well- beautiful colors of course!!
Are yA Ready for Tuesday????
Big hugs1

Anonymous said...

Beutifull work on the ATC's, I found your blog thru the Surface Design group. I have just started to play with the UTEE and using it with the rubber stampes. I am wondering how you got all the wonderfull colors. I have only used the gold UTEE. Thanks Iris.

Michelle said...

Thanks, Iris! I'm sorry I can't reply to you directly, so I hope you check back. The colors were made by either finishing with a layer of "regular" embossing powder, or by painting the piece with acrylic paint. I hope this helps!!

lynn said...

wow - michelle!! your 'house of the rising sun' interpretation is fabulous! i'm so glad you decided to join in the hammie house swap and i hope we get to be partners! hugs - gretch.

Jeanne Rhea said...

I like that you explain your thought process for your art! I tend to do the same thing. I have a friend who started a blog with another friend where they only post photos. http://www.hiidet.com
I'll read more of your blog.

MargaretR said...

I can tell you all that this card is wonderful and even better when you hold it in your hand. Thanks Michelle. I have some UTEE and you have inspired me to have a go using your method.