New Work: Old but New Textile

Just recently I realized that:

1. I have not been blogging, and

2. Despite the name of my blog, I haven’t really written about or shown any of my textiles.

Good thing I finally finished two projects that I have been working on for quite some time.

Here is one of the two:

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This is a textile that I started when I was living in Bangladesh and really was kind of clueless when putting the base layer together. Each of the fabrics were hand dyed by me using some clamp and stitch resists. Most of the fabrics are over dyed to create more texture and richer colors. At the time of construction, my only quilting experience was with the log cabin quilt. Luckily I wanted to construct with squares and rectangles. The goal was to create a birdseye view of a neighborhood map. I really love the structure of city and neighborhood maps and thought I would attempt to create one here. Then I did some stitch in the ditch to quilt it. Then I moved to another country and the quilt fell asleep until I drug it out about a month ago.

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Here is a detail of what I added. I used silk organza that I hand dyed to create the people and the buildings and stitched them on with this great cream-colored button thread. At first I was going to continue layering rectangles with the organza, however that seemed to predictable and boring…so I thought I would continue with the idea of the map and use generic people to create a crowd that seemed to be marching to the city. I wanted the people and the buildings to be transparent, to give the idea that they were either emerging from the map, being sucked into the map, or perhaps hovering…my thoughts on that change regularly.

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Anyway, there are times when I look at it that I know exactly what it means, and then…no clue, which is OK by me. Too much explaining leads to very little original thought by the viewer. I am happy to have completed it. I am happy to be back sharing with you. I would love to hear your thoughts about this old but new piece. I’ll share the other one with you real soon!

Take care and thanks for reading.

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Just Pictures: Vermont

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted…I blame it on moving countries, houses, studios, oh and summer glorious summer.  More on my life transitions later, right now I want to share my trip to Vermont that I went on about a month ago.

Vermont is an beautiful place.  I had never been, but WOW, I fell in love instantly with its wildness and with the determination of Vermonters to keep it that way.  We spent time hanging out in swimming holes, in a community garden, on hiking trails, and with some wonderful people.

Check it out…

 

 


Take care and thanks for reading!

Just Pictures: the last 24 hours or the sky is falling….

June 6th…the movers came, packed up my stuff…

and then they and everything else, were gone…

June 7th, started with a trip to a very sterile doctor’s office…the packers packed my inhaler!

Then to school, here is the lake I walk by everyday and today I finally took a picture..

 

Off to an art show with friends…

Jet Stream chicks (although that was not the real name)

 

 

Walking to dinner with my pal Ali, it was like a Pissarro painting because, surprize…it was grey and rainy.

 

Then the sky started to fall

 

 

And then I realized it was time to head inside or get blown away…sleep time.

 

Take care and thanks for reading!

Ouch! My Fingers Hurt….New Work

I cringe as I type, two fingers on my right hand are sore, callused, and permanently molded to hold my X-Acto knife.

I am excited to say that I just finished my largest and most complicated papercut to date.  It’s filled patterns, swirls, and nature….all things I love.  It evolved quite a bit in the process, such as making the tree top bigger and adding more patterns in large open spaces. (see below):

I was inspired by many ideas for this piece, but mostly my future and moving forward to a new phase of life.  In a few short weeks I will be relocating back to Asheville, NC to focus more on the creative aspect of my life and to start to build a new community.  I am excited and anxious, but mostly I just cannot wait to get started.  I think the imagery in the piece can speak for itself, and if it’s not obvious, that’s OK, you can make up your own stories, that’s the beauty of art.

Here are some more pictures of the work as it progressed:

These are my tools…check out those teeny tiny scissors….I love them and they give my fingers a nice break.

Here is the final piece.  I have a few decisions yet to make on the work such as:

1. Do I want to keep it on white paper?

2. Do I want to give the paper a coffee wash?

3. Do I want a different color for each section of the work? i.e. light blue for the sky or green for the hills.

For now I will leave it on this off white paper.  In a couple of days it will get packed up with my other stuff and put on a boat headed for the US.  I’ll revisit the questions above in a couple of month when I see it again with fresh eyes.  In the meantime, feel free to give me your opinions.

Take care and thanks for reading!

New Work On Wood

I got excited the other day about my recent finds at my neighborhood thrift store…wood plaques.  You see I have been thinking about mounting some of my works on wood to solve the framing issues involved with works on paper and perhaps more appealing to those that want to purchase them.  So I was overjoyed to find something that I could reuse, that was solid, and came in varying sizes.

SO…………I started my first piece, which was pretty fun to make, although it was a bit on the smallish side for me……

Anyway, I learned a whole lot in this process such as:

1. Even though a pen says it is permanent, it is better to test it out…meh

2. Make sure the hole in the back of the plaque is correct with the orientation of the work…duh

3. If you are going to seal your work with varnish, don’t use water-color to paint with, use ink…damn

So I completed it just a bit ago.  It’s not my most favorite piece (I feel like it is a bit too cute…yes?  No??), but it did teach me the lessons above and a few more things.    Anyway, I am excited to try again, this time on a larger format.

Oh, I almost forgot, here’s the work:

Take care and thanks for reading!

 

Just Pictures: Prima Ballerina

This weekend I had the pleasure of traveling to the UK to visit some dear friends that I have not seen for a looooooooong time…7 years!  I was excited to spend some quality family time with them in the countryside and not in the busy city of London…I get enough city in Brussels.

Anyway, on the weekends my friend teaches ballet lessons to youngsters, one class of 4 year olds and one class of 7-10 year olds.  First off, let me say my pal has the patience of a saint to teach ballet to 4 year olds (which can be like herding cats), however; she was amazing with them!  They were cute and fun to watch.  The second class, with the older students, was also fun to observe.  One minute they were serious, straight-backed, straight-faced prima ballerinas and the next minute they were all giggles and smiles.  The studio was beautiful and the light was perfect.  I got carried away and took almost 150 pictures of the two classes trying to capture both their innocence and the adult-like seriousness that they maintained at times.  Below are pictures from the older class…don’t worry, not all 150 of them 🙂

Take care and thanks for reading!

New Work: Blobs and a Tutorial

The best part of a long weekend is when you wake up on Saturday and realize…IT”S SATURDAY!

It has been a lovely weekend, I have been productive art-wise.  Cutting out circle skirts in some funky new fabric.

I started a ginormous paper cut and did these funny blobby ink drawings that turned into little mixed media portraits.

The ink blob drawings are really fun, require little time, and are a great thing to do when you get stuck creatively.  They don’t require much at all…

1. Multiple  pieces of heavy weight water-color paper (after you make one, you’ll want to make more)

2. Eye dropper

3. India ink

4. Paper towel or toilet paper

5. Water colors, colored pencils, collage stuff…anything you might want to use to add to the blob drawing after it’s dry.

Step 1:  Get a piece of paper and load up your eye dropper with ink.

Step 2: Put the tip of the dropper on your paper and gently squeeze the bulb as you begin to draw what ever is in your imagination or from a reference.


*Work quickly and don’t try to capture everything…you should be drawing 1-2 minutes tops.

*I had to refill mine a couple of times because my dropper was a bit small…

Step 3:  Lie the paper towel or toilet paper flat over your drawing.  Watch the ink get soaked up (it looks a little scary but don’t worry) and quickly remove it.  Admire your work 🙂

  

Step 4: Go have an ice cream (it is a long weekend) and let your drawings dry.

My favorite 🙂

Step 5: Admire your work again and start adding the fun stuff.

I added torn paper, candy wrappers, water color, these rub off thingys….go for it!  They are really fun.  I can’t wait to do these with my students, my friends.  They would make great cards or a quick handmade gift.  They’re supposed to be quirky and goofy…not all art has to be beautiful, but it should be fun to make.

Here’s two of mine finished:

Bird

Portrait of Everyday-ness

If you make some of these beautiful blobby drawings, send me a picture, I would love to see them.

Now back to my paper cut, which I’ll show you real soon.

Take care and thanks for reading!!

Inside My Sketchbook

This morning I woke up to the realization that we have a loooong weekend…YEEEHAAA!

Which means lots of creative time and the opportunity to take  lots of walks….which I did this morning, back to the flea market.  I got inspired by all the people I saw and I bought some large format glass photo slides with some cool black and white images on them…I already have an idea for those beauties.

Today I drug out one of my sketchbooks and realized that I need to spend more time working in them.  If my students found out how little I work in my sketchbook…yowza, I would not hear the end of it.  Thank goodness they are way too cool to read their teacher’s blog…ha ha.

Anywho, Today I worked on people, trying to go for something between realism and, well, I guess not realism.  Here’s my peeps:

Right, so I wanna put these folks into my stories and with a bit more tweaking, some just might make it.

So that’s it, and now I gotta go have ice cream, because that’s one of the other things you do on a long weekend…YEEHAA!

Take care and thanks for reading

New Work: Mixed Media Canvases

This past week I have been working with my students on small experimental pieces that incorporate text into their work.  The idea is for them to build up a surface before they begin putting imagery on the canvas so they get some exposure to different materials.  There is no prescribed way of working, it’s all about looking to see what happens when certain materials are combined.  It’s really fun to watch them test ideas out and to try out new things.  We made up a motto for the week: “If you don’t like it, cover it.”  I like this motto because it teaches them to be resourceful and that really there are no mistakes when you’re creating art. Some students have 5 or 6 layers of all sorts of stuff on their canvases and they have become thick, rich, and interesting.

Here are the two that I made.  Next week when my students have finished I will post some of their works and attempt my first tutorial of how to build up a surface.

 

 

These canvases are 8×8 inches and layered with a bit of everything, paper, acrylic paint, book pages, thread, graphite, water colors…there’s a lot on there….I just love mixed media!

Happy Wednesday!  We have a long weekend…YAY…which means lots of art…double YAY!

Take care and thanks for reading.

 

 

Just Pictures: Wandering around Ghent

 

I am not sure what has taken me so long to get Ghent, (pronounced as if you’re clearing your throat), but I am glad I finally explored it this weekend.   It’s a beautiful old city located in the Flemish region of Belgium, actually it is the capital of East Flanders.    You can read more about it here.

Anyway, I was awoken early Saturday morning by this strange glowing orb coming through my window…yep, you guessed it!  THE SUN.  We haven’t really been seeing very much of that star here in Brussels, so it was a shock to the system to be woken up by that smiling sphere rather than the sound of the horse of a dog that lives above me.  I was so happy to see it as I have been chomping at the bit to get out of Brussels, and so I decided to seize the sun and go for it.

So I gathered my camera and my umbrella (can’t be too over confident) and hopped on the train.  In 25 minutes I was in Ghent.

WHAT A GEM!  It’s not as congested as Brussels, the buildings are not as high and have more of a Dutch influence. Ghent is a university town, it has a great lively feel to it.  It was clean!  No dog poo on the streets and people were sooooo friendly!  They smiled, they greeted you, I got to speak Dutch, it was a lovely day.

Here are some pictures from my adventure:

People rode bikes, almost impossible in Brussels because of the traffic.

I loved the canals in the city, it gives it such a romantic feel.

They have an open air flower market there everyday.

So I just walked and walked and walked, with out a map, until my feet just could not go on anymore.  I can’t wait to go back to Ghent and do some more exploring, perhaps this time with a guide book…or maybe not 🙂

Hope you all had a lovely weekend and the moms had a great mother’s day.

Take care and thanks for reading!