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December 23, 2014

Happy Holidays!

About 25 years ago, while we were still living in San Antonio, Tx, my Quilting Friends and I made many Christmas ornaments for each other.  We made one for each member of our group, and then my dearest friend's husband made us all these Swedish Wooden Christmas Trees.  We put it up in our dining room in New York City each year, and I love all the special memories associated with those friends.  My grand daughter Sydney puts all the ornaments on each year and someday it will move to her home at Christmas.

I hope you have wonderful holidays and a very happy and creative 2015.  As I finish preparations for our family gathering, I'm already reflecting on what creative things I did in 2014 and what I'd like to do in 2015. 


December 16, 2014

Christmas Ornaments - 2014

Each year I make Christmas ornaments for family and friends.  After doing this since 1975, we have a full tree, as do our children. 

This year my daughter-in-law asked me to make more angels, and ordered fabric from the San Antonio Spurs NBA basketball team to make Good-Luck angels for another Championship year.  We raised our children in San Antonio where my husband and I were on the University of Texas Medical School Faculty and created genuine fans.




I also made many Thermofax screen evergreen trees while in a class at Quilt Festival in Houston and made them into ornaments with lots of sewing with green and gold metallic threads.  These are some of the color combinations.



I played with different color paints on the screens and liked the effects. 



Here are more as I hung them in the studio as I made them. 



I love my teensy studio - and it is fun for me to have a reminder of how much stuff can fit in one room that is 6 by 9 feet!




November 4, 2014

International Quilt Festival - Houston

I started quilting in 1980 - fulfilling a long term creative wish.  The hand piecing, applique, and hand quilting were wonderful ways to be creative and make things for my husband and growing children, in the process keeping me mentally balanced between a very demanding career and a family.  This past week was my 30th annual Quilt Festival and these are my sketchbook pages.

The George Brown Convention Center from our hotel window - looking lots like the Pompidou Museum in Paris:



A gecko painting from the Thermofax screen I used in Sharon Wagner's Class.  The image was too big to make a silk screen print on a sketchbook page, so I sketched and painted it.



A quick sketch of Lesley Riley who was moving in front of our class as we started the process of learning how to use Transfer Artist Paper:



A Field Mouse and Rider made as part of the "Celebration of the Doll" exhibit:



A "reportage" drawing in about 5 minutes - capturing 3 quilters waiting to be allowed on the down escalator when the doors to the Exhibit/Vendors opened on Saturday morning.  This was part of my Sketchbook Skool homework from Veronica Lawlor - week 5 of Storytelling.  



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.




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



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


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. 


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: 

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. 


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



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.




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



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. 



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


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. 



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. 

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. 

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