Art Pillows and View From the Loft

Art pillows have become my new go to project for fun and relaxing creative play. Some of the pillows are one or two of a kind, while others are made from digitally printing my fabric designs onto cotton sateen. I started digitally printing so my customers would have the option of purchasing several identical pillows. Plus, I end up having many more options to fool around with as I am not using the original hand painted fat quarter. And I get to print images from my art journal onto fabric!

Sometimes I do a little hand embroidery on them. Whichever way I get to the finished product the process has cleared my brain and given me some respite from the more difficult work of creating wall hung, fine fiber art.

This is my latest art pillow.  The original image was created using Jacquard Dye-na-flow and Textile Color textile paints and my hand carved stamp. For the pillow I digitally printed on Jacquard cotton sateen fabric that has been pre-treated to run through an inkjet printer. The fabric comes on a roll and is called Fabri-Sign. It has a paper backing to help it feed through the printed. Once the fabric is dry you can remove the paper. The fabric is water resistant but not washable. However I then spray it with a coat of Scotch Guard making it hand washable in warm/cool water.

Remember that these are art pillows. They are not pillows that are meant to be tossed around the floor or given to you pet! :)

I have an Epson Stylus Pro 3880 printer that prints up to 17" wide. My art pillows use a 16" wide pillow insert.













This is the hand carved stamp I used. A very simple yet effective image. I'll be teaching a 2-day workshop on hand carving stamps along with techniques for printing them on fabric here in my studio. Click on the subscribe button if you'd like to have my blog posts come directly to your email so you don't miss my workshop announcements.




 All pillows are for sale from my Etsy Shop. Click here for a direct link to the art pillow section.


AND HERE IS A VIEW FROM THE LOFT!


All the electrical wires and the plumbing are now in. The building inspector came today. The next thing up is the roof. We had such great results with the metal roof on our house that we decided to put it on the studio as well. Winters here in New England can be unpredictably harsh with lots of heavy snow that can stick to your roof. With a metal roof it all just slides right off. No more roof raking for us! Been there, done that. Plus we are simply too old! :)

Finished Student Work From My Batik with Soy Wax and Textile Paints Workshop

These last photos are really great examples of how well my students at the Fletcher Farm School for Arts and Crafts grasped the concepts of batik work as well as the use of the tools and paint.

We used a variety of resist tools found in my kitchen and garage as well as those found in hardware stores and my beloved dollar store such as potato mashers, metal napkin rings, bolts, metal spatulas and more!

We used brushes and the traditional tjanting tool for drawing and writing with the hot soy wax.

For color we brushed and sprayed Jacquard Dye-na-Flow textile paint. To learn more about the techniques and products we used simply scroll down for the last 2 postings or click here for day 1 and here for day 2.

By Hallee

By Adele

By Linda

By Adele

By Marilyn

By Maddy

By Sookie

By Marilyn

By Cynthia

By Maddy

By Jeanne

By Jeanne

Jeanne's full name is Jeanne Marklin. She is an exhibiting fiber artist who traditionally dyes her own fabrics. She often works with commercially printed black on white fabric like her second piece above and uses circles as a common element. I just love the effect of the black and white fabric painted and batiked! To see more of her work click here. It was great fun to have her in my class and see how she incorporated her artistic voice into a new medium!

Don't forget to click on the images for a larger view.

Have a great day - Cher

Batik with Soy Wax and Dye-na-Flow Textile Paint - Day 2

Here are some pictures from the second day of my batik with soy wax and textile paints workshop. I was up at the Fletcher Farm School for Arts and Crafts in Ludlow, VT.

We were using soy wax flakes for batik and Jacquard Dye-na-Flow textile paints. If you want to read about how this technique is executed click here to read about the first day. Or simply scroll down.


This is a great example of how the layering effect is achieved. This is Dana's piece. In the above photo you can see her first layer on the right hand side. Using the Dye-na-Flow in spray bottles she sprayed pale yellow and a bit of coral on the white fabric. she them laid down her first layer of wax. On the left hand side she is beginning to paint the second layer of paint. The wax will resist this layer of paint preserving the original colors of the fabric. When the paint dries she filled in all the areas she wanted to stay that second color with wax and so forth. Below is the finished piece.

Everyone thought it looked very Indian.





Here is someone beginning to remove the wax by placing her piece between layers of plain newsprint and then using a dry iron over the piece. She'll keep replacing the paper and keep ironing until almost all the wax has been removed. The last little bit will be washed out in the washing machine set on hot.


Drying the paint but being careful not to let the sun remelt the wax!!!


Above is one of Hallee's pieces. She works on small pieces of fabric to use as pockets on her tot bags.
If you click on the image to enlarge it you'll see that some of the wax has a milky color to it. that means that for a variety of reasons the wax did not fully penetrate the fabric. This will allow the paint to lightly seep under the wax. Generally thought of as a mistake it actually works to Hallee's advantage here.
With the wax ironed out you can readily see the areas where the wax resist fully penetrated the fabric and where it didn't. 



This is another one of Hallee's. The image above shows some of the early stages of the wax and paint applications. In the image below, the piece is second in from the left. You can see how with each application the piece gets darker and darker as she very successfully worked from light to dark.




Sookie worked with silk scarf blanks.


Really beautiful this scarf is loaded with texture and depth.


This is Maddy with her silk scarf. She just tore off a piece of silk from her stash and plans to hem it later.


Created by Marilyn the above image shows a great use of color and the traditional batik "crackle".


Linda also worked with a variation of tones and tints of the same 2 colors. She free hand "drew" the flowers using a tjanting tool. The three shapes on the bottom with a leaf motif was made with a metal cooking spatula dipped in hot wax then stamped onto the fabric.


This is one of Jeanne's pieces. She created a beautiful color palette and a wonderful overall sense of movement in the piece. You might recognize the main circular image. It was created by loading a metal potato masher with hot wax and then stamping it onto the fabric.

I think that is enough for today. I'll share the last of the images with you tomorrow!
Have a great day everyone and don't forget to click on the images for a larger view.

Batiking in VT and Studio Progress

The first day of my Batik with Soy Wax and Textile Paints workshop at the Fletcher Farm School for Arts and Crafts was great. I had a wonderful group of students, all eager to learn a new technique.

In some respects batik is relatively easy. We used hot soy wax (formulated for batik) as a resist and in this case we used Jacquard Dye-na-flow textile paints instead of dyes. Soy wax is a great replacement for the traditional paraffin wax as it's melting point is much lower then paraffin, thus reducing the risk of fire. Also, it is non-toxic and once you iron out most of the wax the rest will easily come out in the washing machine set on hot.

Jacquard's Dye-na-flow is the consistency of dye with beautiful, deep penetrating colors. But in contrast to dye it is non-toxic and washes up with soap and water. What's not to love?! So in other words this technique with these materials is what I like to call "kitchen friendly"!

The difficulties lie not in the use of the materials but in the technique itself. For one thing you have to work consistently from light to dark. Once you have used a dark color paint you cannot go back into it with a light color or tone. Also, you fill in the images with wax where you don't want paint to go. So it feels like you have to think backwards when you are working. You keep adding layers of paint and wax until the fabric is completely covered.

My students were so awesome that everybody got the knack of it by the end of the first day.




The supply table.



The small spray bottles you see have been filled with Dye-na-flow.  I might mention here (just in case you go out to buy some) that Jacquard has changed the bottles Dye-na-flow is packaged in now. I have transferred the new paint to the old bottles because that's what fits in my boxes. :)


The electric frying pans is what I use for melting pots.





This image shows a person applying the wax to a stretched piece of fabric with a tjanting tool. This tool allows one to draw with the hot wax.


Here is a piece of fabric completely covered with layers of wax and paint.


This is another piece completely covered with wax.

Okay. More on that tomorrow!!

Here are the progress pictures of my new studio.



This picture was taken from my front deck. What looks like a second floor is really a loft on the inside. The overall dimensions are 28 feet by 40 feet. The greenery to the left and in the foreground is my flower garden. Once the construction is over I can get back to gardening!


This picture is taken from the north side looking south. You can see my house through the doorway.
You can also see the loft. The space under the loft is the painting/dyeing area. The loft itself will be for storage of finished work, a shipping area and my computer/office stuff.


This is looking north from the painting area just under the loft. The big triangle space above the doors and windows will have 3 stationary windows to let in all that wonderful neutral, northern light.


This is the west wall. There are very few windows because I wanted a really big design wall. When it is all finished the design wall will be 18 feet wide!
I am planning on making big pieces but it also gives me lots of room for student work too.


I was standing in the north west corner to take this picture. You can see the loft and part of the east wall. The windows arrive on Monday!

Have you ever worked in Batik? If so I'd love to hear about your experiences.
If you haven't but always wanted to, I'll be offering this 2 1/2-day workshop this fall here in my new studio. So stay tuned for the details!



Batiking in VT and Studio Progress

The first day of my Batik with Soy Wax and Textile Paints workshop at the Fletcher Farm School for Arts and Crafts was great. I had a wonderful group of students, all eager to learn a new technique.

In some respects batik is relatively easy. We used hot soy wax (formulated for batik) as a resist and in this case we used Jacquard Dye-na-flow textile paints instead of dyes. Soy wax is a great replacement for the traditional paraffin wax as it's melting point is much lower then paraffin, thus reducing the risk of fire. Also, it is non-toxic and once you iron out most of the wax the rest will easily come out in the washing machine set on hot.

Jacquard's Dye-na-flow is the consistency of dye with beautiful, deep penetrating colors. But in contrast to dye it is non-toxic and washes up with soap and water. What's not to love?! So in other words this technique with these materials is what I like to call "kitchen friendly"!

The difficulties lie not in the use of the materials but in the technique itself. For one thing you have to work consistently from light to dark. Once you have used a dark color paint you cannot go back into it with a light color or tone. Also, you fill in the images with wax where you don't want paint to go. So it feels like you have to think backwards when you are working. You keep adding layers of paint and wax until the fabric is completely covered.

My students were so awesome that everybody got the knack of it by the end of the first day.




The supply table.



The small spray bottles you see have been filled with Dye-na-flow.  I might mention here (just in case you go out to buy some) that Jacquard has changed the bottles Dye-na-flow is packaged in now. I have transferred the new paint to the old bottles because that's what fits in my boxes. :)


The electric frying pans is what I use for melting pots.





This image shows a person applying the wax to a stretched piece of fabric with a tjanting tool. This tool allows one to draw with the hot wax.


Here is a piece of fabric completely covered with layers of wax and paint.


This is another piece completely covered with wax.

Okay. More on that tomorrow!!

Here are the progress pictures of my new studio.



This picture was taken from my front deck. What looks like a second floor is really a loft on the inside. The overall dimensions are 28 feet by 40 feet. The greenery to the left and in the foreground is my flower garden. Once the construction is over I can get back to gardening!


This picture is taken from the north side looking south. You can see my house through the doorway.
You can also see the loft. The space under the loft is the painting/dyeing area. The loft itself will be for storage of finished work, a shipping area and my computer/office stuff.


This is looking north from the painting area just under the loft. The big triangle space above the doors and windows will have 3 stationary windows to let in all that wonderful neutral, northern light.


This is the west wall. There are very few windows because I wanted a really big design wall. When it is all finished the design wall will be 18 feet wide!
I am planning on making big pieces but it also gives me lots of room for student work too.


I was standing in the north west corner to take this picture. You can see the loft and part of the east wall. The windows arrive on Monday!

Have you ever worked in Batik? If so I'd love to hear about your experiences.
If you haven't but always wanted to, I'll be offering this 2 1/2-day workshop this fall here in my new studio. So stay tuned for the details!



Batik in VT





I am all set up to teach a 3 day workshop  at the Fletcher Farm School for Arts and Crafts in Ludlow, VT.

I have a great big room in an old barn with 10 students. Should be lots of fun.

                                       

Construction!!

Construction has begun! The goal is for me to be in the studio, up and running for the beginning of the fall. Keep you fingers crossed for me!

In the meantime I am going to be organizing and purging what I can, so I don't waist time moving stuff I am only going to be eliminating anyway.


West wall - only one window as this will be my design wall.

 
All hands needed.

View from inside the studio looking south to my house.

View from my front deck.

Those are my boys

Working on the floor of the loft space.

Posing for Mom.
A crane was needed to hoist the ridge beam in place.

Ridge beam up!

Starting on the roof.
That's it for now. Next week the contractor is on vacation and my boys are busy with some other summer plans they had.

Moving right along!!

Okay. So I haven't been really good about staying on top of things - like posting photos as the project moves along. "So what's new about that?" you might ask. Clearly nothing is new about that and moi!! LOL
But here we go on the new studio progress report. 
Drum roll please!



Here they are laying down the 2" thick, pink insulation foam on top of the ground. You can see that the water pipes are already installed. I will have a very teeny, tiny bathroom and a washer/dryer hook-up for dyeing fabric.


I wanted a few electrical outlets in the floor. And since I will have a poured concrete floor, the outlets have to go in first. They measure out per my drawing for the center of the outlets, then they extend a plastic tube to the wall.


Radiant heat in the floor! 
After being in my cold, walk out basement for a few years now I am going to love being toasty warm in the winter! 
Hot water will run through the tubes under the concrete floor.
I am going to heat the hot water with propane.


All ready for the concrete!

 

For some reason this was so very exciting for me. 
Seeing that giant cement mixer come up my little dirt path.



They have to work kind of quickly here to spread the concrete out before it starts to set.


After just a few hours they can smooth out the top with the machine you see there.
It has 4 long paddles that spin around. The other guy sprays a bit of water on the surface so the machine spins smoothly.

That's it for today. Tomorrow I'll post about the construction! Have a great day.

Excavating!!

It seems that there is always a surprise when starting any project, no matter how small or large.

This is true for the building of my new studio. We didn't have any surprises when we took down some large pine trees to clear the area. But when excavating began the surprise unfolded with each pass of the excavator. It appears that the far back end of where the studio will be is a whopping 4 feet higher then our front yard which is only yards away.

The excavators have this handy device that throws a lazer beam from one part of the device to another part in a different location. So it can accurately measure the ground height in 2 separate locations.We all stood around and read the results and still none of us could believe it!!! Our eyes just couldn't see it. Amazing really.

Because of this revelation a concrete retaining wall had to be poured for the front end of the studio. Dirt and gravel needed to be trucked in to fill in the difference. We also had to consider how the guys would level off the ground from the retaining wall. If they simply tapered it off the dirt would run half way through my front yard which also happens to be my garden. It would also direct running water from rain straight into our basement. Yikes. That would just not do.

Jay, one of the excavators and the main guy operating the back hoe had some vision. Between the two of us we decided that he would creatively fashion a stone wall using the rocks I have collected over the years for mapping out my garden beds. I didn't want a polished or expertly executed stone wall. After all, this is in the middle of the woods. I wanted a more wild, unkept look.


Measuring out the parameters of the studio 

Getting started

Rock collection for stone wall 
View from my front deck

Compacting it nice and flat
 Then they had to dig a trench for the septic line to attach to our existing line from the house to our septic tank.

Measuring the depth to make sure it is below the frost line.
Ready for the pipes
Insulation as an added precaution.
The finishing touches.



Interludes #2

This is the second piece in a series that is currently handing at the Salmon Falls Gallery in Shelburne Falls, MA.



A large component of all the pieces in the series was taken from a montage I made from the results of a days work of monotype prints using a gelli plate and leaves. The prints were made on muslin so the cream color-way came from that. I also digitally printed on cotton sateen and silk organza the images below. The first is a simple sketch and the second is from a page in my art journal.





Below are the details shots. 




The techniques I used were image transfer, monotype printing, direct painting, drawing, machine free motion stitching, hand embroidery and stenciling.

The materials I used were textile paints, Golden fluid acrylics, pan pastels and acrylic markers. I also used pearl cotton embroidery floss and hand over dyed wool fat quarters from Weeks Dye Works.

Don't forget to click on the images for a larger view.

I am linking this up with http://ninamariesayre.blogspot.com/

Ladies Lunch at My Mother's

Today I have come to my mother's condo to help her prepare for an elegant Ladies' Lunch. My mother has exquisite taste and wonderful neighbors. It is always a joy to look at all her lovely dishes and her vast library of cook books!




















Opening Reception / New Work / New Studio!

The opening reception for my one person show was great fun. Of course all my family and supportive friends were there as well as some new people from the gallery. Because I am the picture taker in my family, and because I forgot to ask someone else (ie. my son) to take photos of the event there are none to share! So funny and I am totally fine with it.

One thing that was really special for me is how many people felt that the overall feeling of the exhibit was calm and peaceful. As many of you already know the show was a tribute to my father and my time of grief over this past year since his death. If you want to read more about that click here

There are six pieces in the show. I'll start sharing them in this post, but will use subsequent posts to share them all. Except for one triptych they are all called "Interludes."

Here is "Interludes #1" along with some detail shots. Remember to click on the image for a larger view.


40.5"w x 12"h







The materials I used were commercially dyed raw silk, hand over dyed wool from Weeks Dye Works, Pearl cotton embroidery floss also from Weeks Dye Works, Golden Fluid Acrylics, Montana Acrylic Markers and Jacquard Textile Colors fabric paint. I also digitally printed one of my drawings/paper collages onto Fabrisign cotton sateen and silk organza. The center panel is needle felted along with hand stitching and machine free motion stitching throughout. Many of the images were mono printed leaves on muslin using a home made gelli plate.

Add caption

The image above is how it all began. This is a collection of leaf images that were either mono printed and/or digitally printed then layered and fused to a piece of muslin. The overall dimensions were about 45" square. Here you see it stretched on my hand quilting frame. I did most of the hand stitching first, then cut the piece apart to form the 5 pieces in the show.


Another great bit of news is that we have started building my new studio!! It will measure 28" x 40" and will include high ceilings, a painting/dyeing area, a dry area for sewing and a storage/office loft space. Over the last hand full of years my work has been progressively getting larger. Since I have totally out grown my current space in our walk-out basement, I am so looking forward to a big open space. Just the thing my work needs to propel it forward!

I will also be teaching very small group classes and workshops in the new space. This year will more then likely be the last year I teach in other locations.

To get started we had to bring down four massive pine trees. My husband loves pine trees. So we have allowed many of them to grow very tall right next to our house. Bringing them down was an amazing thing to watch. However, truth be told I didn't watch for much of it. But the guys from Jim's Tree Service were nothing short of amazing!

To get into the property they had to drive their trucks around the back of the house next door and down a path through the woods.








YIKES!!

Linked to "Off the Wall Friday"

INTERLUDES


In the late spring of 2015 I helped to care for my dear father as he made his final journey from life here on earth to the unknown world beyond. The loss was a great one for me.

“Interludes” is a collection of works that speak to the moments of understanding and peace that came to me in between the crushing and painful bouts of grief. Over time and with patience I have come to see the dark, hollow of grief pale in comparison to the vision of all he gave me.

My Dad and I shared a great love for the complex beauty of the New England landscape. The imagery in these works was taken from the time I spent over the past 12 months wandering the woods near my home in search of the meaning of life and love.

OPENING RECEPTION
Saturday, May 7
4 pm - 6pm

If you are in the area please join me!

Click here for the gallery website
and here for directions

And just to tease you here are a few detail shots of some of the pieces:










Recent Art Journal Entry

This is a copy/paste from my art journal blog. I thought I would post it here too.

My last entry in my art journal was February 21 of this year. On February 24th my dear father was diagnosed with primary liver cancer. Since then much has happened in my life. I've been teaching, visiting colleges with my youngest son, welcoming my middle son back from a semester in India, visiting my father in Boulder, CO, attending the commencement ceremony at University of Maine that presented him with an honorary doctorate degree for his work establishing Hospice care in the United States. I gave the keynote speech at the Michigan Hand-weavers Association's conference at Hope College. And alongside my step mother I helped my father step over to the other side. Since June 16th I have been grieving. They tell me it will take a long time before I can even begin to not miss his weekly phone calls, his stories of the past and predictions for the future, his advise, his care and his love.

But I can start to step away from the darkness by making an art journal entry and posting it here to share with you.

This spread started when I decided to try using one of my detailed stencils with pan pastels. It worked so much better then I had thought but of course it changed and morphed in such a way that those initial images are now completely cover.

This is the stencil I used. For materials I used pan pastels, Golden fluid acrylics, pages from an old telephone book and a Montana acrylic paint marker. The paint marker is new to me. I only bought one to try it out. So hence the blue lines. I loved using it and love the results.

Stencil

Full page spread










Don't forget to click on the images for a larger view and thanks for looking. I am thinking that because each individual page I make goes through so many changes before being completed that I will try at some point soon to start video taping the process.

Fletcher Farm School of Arts and Crafts

I am in Ludlow, VT teaching at the Fletcher Farm School of Arts and Crafts. This is my first teaching gig since my Dad passed and although it was hard to be away from my family it has been good. In all honesty though, I did manage to sneak away in the late afternoon to be home this evening.Today I finished a sweet 2-day monotype printing workshop. I had only 2 students! Here are some photos of their great work.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tomorrow will be the first day of another 2 day workshop. This one will be Hand Painting Fat Quarters Students will learn about painting watercolor backgrounds and carving, cutting and using their own stencils and stamps. We'll also discuss composition and designing their own fabric collections.

Stay tuned!

 

 

The Winner Is??????



All your names

Folded in half and randomly placed in the bucket

This is my friend Bruce Kahn. He stopped by the studio at just the right time!
 Drum Roll PLease!!!


 And the Winner is??????





Tesuque!


Thank you everyone for making this fun! If you didn't win the DVD I hope you consider buying Lyric Kinard's great new DVD on making and using Thermofax Screens. Click here to make that purchase.

Thermofax 101 by Lyric Kinard


Lyric Kinard - an established surface design artist, teacher and lecturer has just released a great new DVD about making and using screens that are produced with a Thermofax machine.




In this DVD Lyric does a great job explaining what a thermofax machine actually is, how it burns images into a screen and how to use those screens to create exciting art pieces on cloth and paper.

For those of you that are hearing the term thermofax for the first time or if you have heard the term before but have wondered what the heck it actually is, you should know that using thermofax screens is exactly like using silk screens except that the machine creates the actual screens.

A sheet of mesh that has been coated on one side with a heat and carbon sensitive emulsion is layered with a piece of paper that has your image on it. The image is created with anything that has carbon in it like a pencil, a carbon based marker or a print made from a toner based copy machine, otherwise known as a laser printer. 

The emulsion sheet along with the paper that has the image on it are feed through the machine, one on top of the other.  Once inside the machine, a special bulb melts the emulsion where the lines of the image are. It literally takes only a matter of seconds! 

Lyric herself is fun, easy to listen to and quite frankly - too adorable for words! In a friendly, easy to follow step-by-step pace she takes you on a journey that is fun, playful and one in which you are destined to create lovely works of art cloth.

Learn about squeegees and textile paint, base extender and foil, work surfaces and cloth. Along the way you'll encounter Cascade Dishwashing Detergent and Golden Modeling Paste as you learn about design principles and the surprise of spontaneity. 

And if you can't afford or simply don't want to invest in a machine of your own, Lyric includes a list of people who provide ready made screens and custom services to burn your own images. It just couldn't be easier! 

Here is a little clip of Lyric:



To purchase the DVD click here.

If you would like to win a copy of this DVD, just leave me a comment of why you'd like to have it. I'll be announcing the lucky winner on friday May 1st right here on my blog. 

For more information click on the links below to see what some other bloggers are saying about Lyric Kinard's new Thermofax 101 DVD!

April 25  Leslie Tucker Jenison  http://leslietuckerjenison.blogspot.com  
April 28  Sue Bleiweiss  http://www.suebleiweiss.com/blog/
May 1  Susan Price and Elizabeth Gibson  http://pgfiber2art.blogspot.com/
May 2  Judy Coates Perez  http://www.judycoatesperez.com
May 4  Linda Stokes  www.lindastokes-textileartist.com
May 6  Jane Davila  http://janedavila.blogspot.com
May 6 Melanie Testa http://melanietesta.com/blog/
May 8  Carol Sloan  http://carolbsloan.blogspot.com
May 11  Susan Brubaker Knapp  http://wwwbluemoonriver.blogspot.com
May 12  Desiree Habicht  http://myclothesline.blogspot.com
May 13  Jamie Fingal  http://JamieFingalDesigns.blogspot.com/
May 14  Deborah Boschert  http://deborahsjournal.blogspot.com
May 15  Sarah Ann Smith  sarahannsmith.com/weblog

Colorado





Visiting my parents in beautiful Boulder, CO. The day couldn't be more glorious!



They live right at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.

I brought a little knitting along with me.  But I also brought all these beautiful hand dyed pearl cotton embroidery threads from Weeks Dye Works. I am happy to have the time for this tedious job of winding the thread onto workable bobbins. Plus it gives me the bonus of learning their names and color nuances.

Each one is more beautiful the next. Weeks Dye Works is a small company here in the states. They also hand over dye wool fat quarters and linen that is just exquisite.

Hard to take a photo in the late afternoon sun. I'll show more tomorrow.

Sadness and Tapestry Weaving

A family illness has kept me close to home and heart and away from the world of the internet. It hasn't kept me out of the studio and doesn't mean that my brain and hands aren't still creating, it is just that my introverted tendencies take over and I pull inward.

My age hails from an era when it was unthinkable to put yourself out into the world unless you were perfectly put together and composed - and that you shared only the persona you had very deliberately chosen as the one you wanted the world to identify you as. Times have indeed changed. Perhaps not in the world of politics but certainly in the creative worlds that matter to me most.

The truth is that I greatly admire those that can share it all - be personable and vulnerable to the world without feeling compromised and exposed. This is a time of great sadness for me - a time of loss and uncertainty. The anchors in my life have given way - the solid rock foundation I once took for granted is unsteady and crumbling. I have no doubt I will survive, but I know not yet what the new definition of survival is for me.

I have worked hard over the last handful of years to be here for all of you - to share my creative life and hopefully help you along in yours. I don't want to hide away until the new me emerges. I am who I am right now. My exciting and rich creative life intersecting with my personal journeys and struggles that bring both the joy and sadnesses. This is what I  have to offer.

So here I am. Forgive me if my appearances are unpredictable and perhaps quite shabby at times. Forgive me my indulgence of sadness and tears - know that it is not depression but rather the challenges of loss and love that we must all face. Thank you for continuing to return to my blog, my workshops, my newsletters and lectures. Thank you for sharing with me your own creative and personal journeys as well, for we are the definition of the new family of the modern age of the internet.

On a lighter side:

Last week, at the encouragement of my Mother I went off with her and some friends of hers to view an exhibit of tapestry weavings at the Von Auersperg Art Gallery located at Deerfield Academy in historic Deerfield, Massachusetts. The show was curated by Micala Sidore of the Hawley Street Tapestry Studio in Northampton, Massachusetts and is titled "The Art is the Cloth: A Series of Reflections."

Here is just a taste of what I saw:

"La Dona" by Christine Laffer

Pieces were hung salon style so it was very hard to see up close or get a decent picture.

"It's raining, said the lady with the alligator purse." by Sarah Sweet

"Pease Bypass" by Suzanne Pretty


"Wild Turkey" by Sharon Crary

"Crescendo with Mixed Threads" by Silvia Heyden

Top middle piece is "Paper Towel" by Shelly Socolofsky


"Grace" by Kathy Spoering

Me and my Mom!


"Nessa, Nessa - Winter Moon" by Susan Martin Maffei

New Jacket

I finished this custom jacket a couple of weeks ago. The fabric is rayon. It was dyed and over dyed a couple of times using Procion MX Fiber Reactive Dyes. Then I added all the tree imagery using textile paints.

I used Jacquard Dye-na-flow (which is the consistency of dyes) from small spray bottles as well as Jacquard Textile paint and Profab textile paint from Pro Chemical and Dye Co.

The imagery was created by using my own stencils, masks and a hand carved stamp. They are shown below.

I love how this came out so much that I do believe I am going to have to make one for myself as well. It may be just the jacket I should be wearing when I give the Key Note speech at the Michigan League of Handweavers Fiber Conference in June. What do you think?


Front
Back- detail
Back
Back detail of stamped image


Don't forget to click on the images for a larger view.

These are the stencils I used. You can purchase them on my Etsy shop by clicking on the link below each stencil image.











A PDF download of the stamp pattern will be available on my Etsy shop soon. If this is something you are interested in purchasing now just leave me a comment below.


This is a list (including links) of all the tools and supplies I used to create the imagery on the jacket.

Stencil material - Grafix Clear .005 Dura-Lar Film, 9-Inch by 12-Inch, 25 Sheets
Spray adhesive for positioning stencils - Sulky KK2000 Temporary Spray Adhesive
Carving block for stamp - Speedball Speedy Cut Printing Blocks 6 3/4 in. x 11 in.
Lino cutter for carving the stamp - Speedball Linoleum Cutter Assortment 1
Dye-like textile paint for spray bottle - Jacquard Dye-Na-Flow Specialty Paint Set, 2-1/4 Ounce Jar, 
Spray bottle for Dye-Na-Flow - Holbein Watercolor Atomizer Bottle - Atomizer Bottle
Fuller bodied textile paint for stamping and stenciling - Jacquard Textile Color 12 Assorted Pigments 
Stencil brush - Plaid 34106 10-Piece Spouncer Set
These are the dyes I used - Jacquard Procion MX Fiber Reactive Cold Water Dye - Starter Set, 2/3 oz

For detail information about the techniques I used see my book:

Fabric Surface Design: Painting, Stamping, Rubbing, Stenciling, Silk Screening, Resists, Image Transfer, Marbling, Crayons & Colored Pencils, Batik, Nature Prints, Monotype Printing