"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

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Collage Mania - Fiberart For a Cause

I am participating in Virginia Speigel's Collage Mania again this year. What a great experience! Her goal is to raise $20K for the American Cancer Society. This is my collage titled "Fleur". I hope to make at least one additional collage. This one was made with handmade and commercial papers, and I tried to choose things with a French flair. If you are an artist, please consider making a collage for Virginia's project! If you are not an artist, please consider a purchase ... you won't regret it. Follow the link above to check it all out!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Spring Cleaning Gone Mad

OK, didn't think this first pic would loom so large...guess you don't need to click on it to see the details, eh? So this is the latest trick up my sleeve, and no, sadly, I do not have a cleaner house to show for it... I used the soft scrub along with a foam stamp as a discharge agent on a previously dyed piece of fabric. Here's a look at the results:
The dots are from the end of a dowel dipped in the Soft Scrub. The thickness of the SS makes it stay put. I dipped the stamp in the SS (on a plate), but I think using a brayer would allow for an even more distinct image. The bleaching action was pretty immediate and the whole piece was rinsed and soaking in Antichlor (a must to stop the bleaching process) within about 10 minutes time. I thought it was interesting that the green bleached out really fast, but the purple took a bit longer. I love the results.

This is another piece of fabric that I played around with. It is for a round-robin. The dragonflies are not my doing...they are a glue resist done by the originator. I used the same flower stamp as above. Afterwards, I went back in with textile paints and painted the flowers...

I also added some Lumiere Super Sparkle (greatly thinned with water) to the dragonflies. I love how the yellow flowers pop out against the background. Here's a closeup...

So what do you do with YOUR cleaning products??

Friday, January 23, 2009

For the birds...

I made these ATCs for an exchange on Fiber Art Traders. I have never done much work in assemblage, so they were a challenge to me. I used all recycled/repurposed materials. Someone pointed out to me that they are pink flamingos. Yes, they are, though that was not in my head while I was creating them. Below is the whole flock. Here's what I used. For the body - I punched a flower shape from an aluminum soda can. The tail is a petal from a silk flower. I disassembled a broken necklace and used various parts for the legs and the wings. Other legs are the hang tags for ski lift tickets, and the other wings are can tabs. The heads were the most challenging ... scissor buttons and charms that I had hanging around.
I also got to practice hand buttonhole stitch, something I have wanted to figure out for a while. They are Rare Birds, indeed.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Snow Dyeing: The Results Show

Here are 5 of the pieces I dyed with snow. I actually did 7 pieces, but for some reason I can only upload five pics per post, so I left out a light green and another piece which I forgot to take a picture of anyway. About that piece...I did that piece like I do my ice dyeing...I put it in the sink, covered it with lots of snow, poured the dyes on top, and let it melt. It looked very similar to my ice dyes, which was good news, since ice is more available than snow!

Yesterday, I dyed some fat quarters, each in a single color, using some of the new dyes I got from Prochem. Here's how they came out...

Above is Watermelon #302. Interesting pattern and nice areas of light and dark, but no separation of colors.
This is Musk Melon #200 - same as above, no separation of colors, but a pretty sherbet-y orange.

This is Golden Pineapple #100. I did get some separation of colors - either that or some of the Musk Melon migrated, and that's not really a big white area in the upper right, it's just a pale spot.

Now we're getting to the good stuff. This is Lapis #4148. Mmmmm, I love this color. It looks like it will be a really nice cool purple, which is hard to come by. The colors separated nicely. I definitely want to try this with ice dyeing.

And this is Blue Violet #810, which I was hoping would be a nice cool purple, but it obviously has a lot of red in it. The colors migrated nicely and this is a very rich piece. Obviously red and blue travel at different speeds, so purples are good colors to use when doing this type of dyeing.
If you want to check out some gorgeous snow-dyed fabrics, visit Karen and Judi - they are the masters!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


It snowed in Dixie! We got close to 6" today. It came down furiously this morning, so we took Rosi for a good long walk. That dog absolutely adores the snow. She was so excited! So was I.

I love living someplace where, when it snows like this, schools and offices are closed and we can all just play and enjoy. It is supposed to be 60 on Friday, so it will soon be a memory. A bonus to today's snowfall was that the kids got to stay home from school and watch the Inauguration of Presidnet Obama. I'm glad they are old enough to remember it.
Here she is ... love the frosty whiskers. Hard to see, but terribly cute. And late in the day, she got to go visit some friends with a big fenced in back yard... look at the fun they were having!

I think she is going to sleep for days. As for me, I scooped up some snow, and I finally get to try snow dyeing. The snow is melting on my fabric right now. I'll post pics, and probably try more tomorrow and the snow should stick around at least that long.

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Dream

Today we celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. The great Civil Rights leader, well known for his "I have a dream" speech given back in 1963. Even though I have heard parts of the speech, and some phrases have even become common, I realized today that I had never actually read, or listened to, the speech in its entirety.

I was fortunate to have the radio on a station that played the speech and it was very moving. If you have never heard it, or read the text, or if it has been a while, please check it out. Here's one link, but there are many, just google it.


Sunday, January 18, 2009

The finished Quilt

I forgot to post that I finished this quilt back in December. I just love it. My machine quilting improved noticeably over the time I spent quilting it. I used up leftover solid fabrics for the back and the binding and just about used it all up. That makes me very happy! The quilt is in my family room on the couch and is a nice bright, warm touch.

The quilt is the product of a "row by row" exchange with my local Cyberbee group. I made a row (mine is the 4th from the left, the rows are vertical in this picture, if you can't tell) and set the parameters ... solids only, black background, each block different, each non-black piece within each block a different color, 1/4" border around the block in a different color still. It travelled through the hands of 5 other members who each completed their own row as I worked on rows for their quilts. When it got back to me, I had 6 rows to set as I chose. I just love how it turned out, like a bowl of bright colored candy. I probably should come up with a catchy name - something other that "the solid quilt"...
In order to take photos of anything bigger than a wall hanging, I have to put it on the floor in my entryway, then run up stairs and take the photo from the second floor landing. It was lots of fun to get a photo of the quilt, as you can see, a certain someone though I was straightening it out so she could dive bomb it. She's such a funny girl.

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!!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

A Big Blank Wall

Well, if I'm to believe the dashboard when I log on to my blog, this is my 200th post. However, I'm pretty sure if you add up the number of posts noted over there on the left, it clocks in at around number 188. Strange. But since I would like to host a giveaway, I'll go with 188 and start making plans! My 2 year blogiversary is in February, so I may just have to throw a party.
I'm not sure how a week of the new year has passed already. I haven't even blogged since New Year's Eve! I haven't set a lot of goals or made any resolutions this year. I know what I've gotta do, but we'll see how it goes. I do have one particular goal in mind, however. I have this large (maybe 7-8 feet wide) blank wall next to my kitchen table (above). It has been clammouring for some art work but I've really not been inspired. Until now. So I'm thinking that I want to make a rather large (for me) art quilt to hang here, and my inspiration for the piece is below:

I took this photo in Santa Fe in June. I love these poppies. So the idea is formulating in my mind and as soon as I get some other things out of the way, I want to start working on it. It's a bit daunting, but I just have to believe in myself.
Another kitchen project that has me befuddled. I really want to paint my cabinets. I really hate the color, it is an orangy-mid tone oak. The flat center piece of the door is particle board (as best I can tell). The trim is wood, and the drawers are wood, but that inside panel is el-cheapo builder grade yuck.

Now, I painted these same cabinets in our master bath and they look great! They are a dark chocolate brown. My problem with the kitchen is that I'm just not sure what color I want to paint them! I could paint them white (easy answer) or black (might look cool), or a lighter less-orange honey tone, ivory with a dark glaze, or just about any color under the sun! Eventually I want to replace my countertops (they are white-ish laminate now) and tile the backsplash. I would also like to tile my floor, maybe with terracotta tiles. I love the spanish influence. I do like my walls, which are a pale brownish green. Anybody have any suggestions???