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May 23, 2014

Art on Silk

Our final project for my Fashion Institute of Technology class was a dye painting on a silk scarf.  The design was our choice - and we could use any of the many techniques we learned to execute it.  We needed to create our possible design as homework and bring several thumbnail sketches to class for discussion.  We then completed the scarf over the last few weeks of the semester.

I discovered and fell in love with a very large wall clock when my daughter and her family were living in London.  It was high in a stairwell at Michael Hoppen Gallery on Jubilee Place, off King's Road, in Chelsea.  This is the clock on a wall full of posters and photographs.

 

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I painted the clock in watercolors for my London sketchbooks in 2007.

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And then created several thumbnail sketches in which the image was cropped.

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We prepared a 36 x 36" cartoon of our designs, transferred them to the silk scarf, and painted them with Sennelier dyes - mixing all of our colors from the 3 primary colors plus black.  I used several different techniques to dye paint the image and here is my finished scarf - hanging on white paper on our classroom wall in our final class. 

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My original experience dye painting silk was in 1991-2 - and I made each of my 3 children a 6 foot square, quilted, dye painted, silk wedding canopy (chuppah) - in 1999, 2004, and 2005. 

Here are pictures of the 3 chuppahs: 

http://www.paperandthreads.com/2006/10/quilted_silk_wedding_chuppahs.php 

I LOVED spending 4 hours per week, in a well equipped surface design classroom this semester and learned new techniques from a professor who worked as a textile designer in the industry.  Now what??

 

 

May 16, 2014

Making Watercolor Sketchbooks

I started making my own watercolor sketchbooks when I couldn't find commercial sketchbooks that I liked.  First I taught myself how to recycle old orphan books ($1-2), and then learned how to make case-bound books with black commercial book cloth. 

But soon I developed a way to make my own bookcloth, fusing dyed fabrics to mulberry paper. 

It gives me enormous pleasure to use these 48 page sketchbooks that are made with Fabriano Artistica 140 lb soft press watercolor paper. 

I just took a picture of this group of sketchbooks - all now full of watercolor paintings and/or graphite drawings. 

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Last week I made two New Watercolor Sketchbooks:  The first book cover was made by overdying a monoprint.

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And this one was made using Tsukineko inks mixed with aloe vera gel as a thickener.  I transferred a drawing to dyed fabric and painted it using small paintbrushes.  I learned this technique from Judy Coates Perez and made a Coptic stitched watercolor sketchbook using the image I painted in her Quilt Festival workshop.

 

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Book made from bug painting I did on cloth at Quilt Festival Workshop.

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Recycling Books:  I also still recycle books to use as travel sketchbooks and summer beach sketchbooks.  I just finished recycling a square book that I bought for $2 at the Strand Book Store in New York City and will use it on vacations this summer. 

It was a book of photographs entitled Seeing:Details. 

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I was able to use two of the folios as endpapers in my new book. 

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I tore my folios from 2 pieces of Fabriano Artistico soft press 140 lb paper (grain short) and some of the folios are folded asymmetrically and others are shorter - making the pages an interesting mixture and minimizing waste. 

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In 2012 I recycled a book called Italian Dreams before we went to Venice.  I made a multipart tutorial as I was making the sketchbook and here is the link to those blog posts if you would like to make one.   

http://www.paperandthreads.com/2012/02/watercolor_sketchbook_tutorial.php 

I'm interested in learning how many readers would like to continue to see blog entries or more tutorials about making watercolor sketchbooks - please leave a comment.  I would be happy to share what I've learned. 

March 28, 2014

More Sewing With Sydney and Zach

Sydney (age 9) has a few more days of Spring Vacation and asked if she could come to sew with me.  She specifically wanted to make another fusible applique placement - with lots of satin stitching on the machine. 

When our children were very young I bought them hand crafted animal placemats in a store in Ghiardelli Square, San Francisco.  Each animal was represented with a head, feet, and tail.  I've designed many more since then.  Yesterday we had to create a drawing of monkey, and dragged out my previous paintings to copy them. 

Here is a painting that I did in Feb 2006 of Sydney's "Lovie" - the one in the center. 

http://www.paperandthreads.com/2006/02/edm_challenge_54_someone_i_lov_1.php 

She was 13 months old then and Monkey still sleeps with her and is a bit of a world traveler.   The other two "Lovies" belong to her big brother Henry and her cousin Robbie.

Syd picked out the fabric and thread colors for her newest placemat - and here she is sewing and then with her finished placemat!

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I promised my son's child Zachary - age 4 - that we could make him a new Zebra placement!  So I had to design a zebra head, legs, and tail placemat for him and today he worked with me to trace the pattern, and learned about fusible.  And then he sat on my lap and did an amazing job working the foot pedal as we stitched his zebra.  

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March 21, 2014

Odds and Ends

I decided to end my Studying Under the Masters Class after 8 weeks.  It was WONDERFUL and I learned so much more about using my watercolors and my palette - much more because I learned it on my own through trial and error.  The 9th apprentice and artist didn't interest me at all, so now I'm back to other projects.

I needed another new watercolor sketchbook and finally had time to make it.  I overdyed a monoprint I didn't like and then added a screen print of one of my figure drawings that I made into a thermofax screen.  This is a drawing of a pregnant model that I used before for other projects.  This is a 48 page, 140 lb cased-in watercolor sketchbook, made using my standard method.

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I haven't talked much about my Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) spring semester class.  I am taking silk dye painting and we are learning many techniques on one 36 X 36 inch piece of silk.  In our second class we mixed a full range of dye colors from our 3 primaries plus black and now we refer to it as a general guide for all of our subsequent painting.  Here is the grid created with gutta and then "painted" with the dye colors we mixed. 

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The second vertical row has our 3 primary and 3 secondary dye hues.  Row one has tints of those (diluent added to lighten).  Rows 3 and 4 are classic complementaries of the primaries and secondaries and their tints, and Rows 5 and 6 are their shades (black added to darken) and their tints. 

We've used many types of resists to make butterflies and flowers (gutta, wax and water soluble),  and played with salt and alcohol effects.  They are all on the left side of the silk.

We are now working on "grounds" of wax or gutta/turpenoid and painting leaves.  These are above and below the color grid - and this picture was taken before class this week before I finished my leaves.  At the bottom is a textile design I made using Tjantings, stamps, and several layers of wax and dyes.

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The right side of the silk now has a self-portrait I "painted" on the top and will have a stamped textile design using thickened dyes on the bottom section to finish this piece next week.  Then the dyes will be steamed and the wax removed.   In two weeks we will start another project for the second half of the semester. 

Although I have experience with many of these techniques, I am still learning so much - and love being in a surface design studio for 4 hours each week! 

 

February 28, 2014

Catching Up

There is a break this week in our lessons in the Studying Under the Masters course, so I decided to post information about my other Winter activities.

1.  Our grandchildren:  We took 8 year old Robbie and 4 year old Zach to the Museum of Modern Art last week to listen to the Children's audioguide.  The museum has short, interesting commentaries for about 15 of their major art works in the permanent collection.  Here they are listening to the commentary about Matisse's painting The Piano Lesson.  All of our grandchildren love to do this.

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2.  Surface Design:  This semester I'm taking a surface design class at Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) - fifteen 4 hour lab sessions using dye to paint on silk.  I have some experience with these techniques, but thought it would be fun to study with an artist from FIT. 

Here is a watercolor painting of one of 6 butterflies that I "drew" with gutta and water soluble resists on silk and painted with Sennelier dyes.   I also painted it as a watercolor so I would have an entry in my daily art journal. 

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3.  Family Research:   I signed up for Family History Writing Month in February and decided to write a story  (at least 250 words per day) about my Great-great-great-great grandmother Christina Wampler.  She was kidnapped by the Delaware Indians in Lancaster Co. PA in 1757, during the French-Indian War, and was returned with 206 captives to Carlisle PA in 1764.  The British took 1500 soldiers to the Ohio Valley to force the Delaware, Shawnee, and Mingo Indians to sign a peace treaty and return their captives.  Her kidnapping and return were both reported in the PA Gazette (Benjamin Franklin, editor) and here is part of the handwritten captive list that I obtained from the Clements Rare Manuscript Library at the University of Michigan.

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She is #40 on this scanned portion of the list and was returned with one shirt, 1 legging, 1 shoe pack and 1 blanket.  I don't know her age when she was kidnapped, but the fact that she was able to tell soldiers her full name after living with the Indians for 7 years and speaking their language, makes me assume that she was probably older than 4-5 years.  Notice a captive named Flat Nose right below her - this is obviously a name given by the Indians.  There are also captives listed with only their first names.  She married Peter Graybeal, had a large family, lived in Ashe Co, NC and died in Jackson Co. Ohio.

I'm hoping that someone with more information about her may find this entry in a Google Search.  I exchange information with other Graybeal descendants, but there is so much more to learn. 

 

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