"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

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Rhythm of the Samba (and some new earrings)

This month I got to create an 8x8 "room" for my good friend Gabriela (follow the link to her blog ~ rumor has it she's having a giveaway!). Her theme for her dream home was her family home in Brasil. So naturally, having never been to Brasil, when I think of that country, I think of Carnaval ... and that means SAMBA! So here is Gabriela's dance hall...

I love the passion and the joy of the Latin culture and tried to capture that feeling in this piece. The walls were actually cut from a piece of fabric that Gabriela gave me. The floor was a black and white piece, which I painted with thinned textile paints to reflect the colors of the walls and give the illusion of all those colored lights radiating around the room. I've wanted to try a silhouette for a while now, and finally I have. I don't expect it will be the last time.

These are some soda can earrings that I made today. I've been wanting to come up with some ways to use the cool graphics on the cans. I hope to explore this medium further, so stay tuned!

This is a closeup of the "Fresca" pair, which have already been claimed by my daughter. I think if a pre-teen snaps up a piece of your jewelry, that is a very good sign!
I want to take a minute to thank those of you who follow my blog, those who leave comments, and those who don't. Know that I appreciate you being here and sharing my art with me.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Fish Bones and Tentacles

I couldn't resist participating in a pennant trade of Fiber Art Traders. Well, I might have been able to resist, except the theme was "seaside" and well, I couldn't resist. We could make up to two sets of three pennants or "buntings" as they are called by Heather, our Scottish trade hostess. So here are my pieces, and I actually made an extra of each one to keep, so I can add them to the swag once I trade these out. The fish have a glass bead eye and the jellyfish are made from sheers. The "body" is a really cool green sheer with attached crystal-like bits on it. I sewed a circle, gathered up the edges, stuffed it with some blue organza, and stitched the edges together. I was pleased with the results. I think they really look like jellyfish!

I'll be sure to share the finished piece!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Check! and Check!

I crossed two things off my list and managed to do it while only adding one thing on! The ATCs are done... My favorite part is where there is open space to see through. Especially the cheesecloth. Here's a closeup of the texture...
And I finished the t-shirt quilt. That's a HUGE load off my mind! There are over 30 shirts in this quilt. It's backed with flannel and free motion stitched in a big loop pattern. It came out good, I think. I hope she likes it.

Now I just need to make two pillowcases from the leftover flannel. That won't take long. Then I can get on to the other things I need to finish this month! It does feel good to cross a few things off the list. ~Michelle

Friday, August 14, 2009

The "Mess" Progresses...

I thought I'd share the progress of the mess of strings and fiber from my previous post. I am doing this purely to explore technique and see what happens. It is going to end up as ATCs. Nothing terribly exciting, just a good learning experience. So...the step you saw in my last post was a smattering of selveges and threads and the skinny little pieces of fabric you get when you square a piece up. I layed them down on top of some cheesecloth and sandwhiched it all between Sulky Solvy (water-soluable film) and machine quilted (free motion) the whole thing as much as I could stand it. I used up odd color bobbins and ends of old thread spools. Used up quite a bit, which was nice. Then I rinsed the solvy out and let it dry, and pressed it flat - that is the piece you already saw. Above is the same piece with a coat of gesso.
Once the gesso dried, I used some leftover emulsion house paint (a small sample that I've had for a while) and coated the whole thing as best I could. That's the reddish color. While I like the color, it was very thick and dried rather plastic-y so I think I would opt for textile paint next time. Still, it was good to start using up some stuff! After that dried I added a wash of a gold Golden Acrylic (will have to get the color name and edit the post later...). Then a very watered down wash of gesso to tone it all down a bit, and finally I dabbed some watered down Lumiere (Halo Blue Gold) around the piece. I loved this effect. The blue tended to wander into the crevices and the gold tended to stay on top, but it still blended. I was going for a rusty effect. Not sure I exactly accomplished that, but it's still interesting.
I was surprised that the most interesting parts were the areas that were thin, with just the cheesecloth and maybe a yarn or two exposed, so that you could see through it. I may do this again with the goal of achieving that effect.
It's been a fun process and a good opportunity to use up some stuff that would normally go in the trash. I'll post the ATCs when they're done.
Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Blissful Avoidance

Well, the t-shirt quilt is coming along. The top is together, I just have to piece the back and quilt it. I know it's going to be a heavy monster, so I am trying to avoid it right now. I'm doing a pretty good job, too!

I put this mess together the other day:
So, I have plans for it ... plans that I don't know will work or not, but I'll let you know the outcome!

I've had a bit of a run with paper beads ... made some bracelets. Actually made quite a few but here are three, not tied off yet (well, actually they are, but not in the photo), but I really like how they came out. The turquoise one is my favorite, and I was surprised how much I liked the one that used just black and white text. Now there's something else I need to keep!!!

Since blogger decided to load all my photos in reverse, here are some of the beads I made. They are 1/2", which is a good width for bracelets.

And here are the magazine pages. It's so interesting to see what they look like all rolled up. In general, the more colors across the page, the more interesting the beads are (ads seem to work well), but I do think the sailboat photo turned out nice (upper left in the above photo) and of course I love the turquoise.

Fun times!