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December 1, 2015

A Pathway From One Creative Idea to Another

Fabio Consoli, one of the faculty from the Sketchbook Skoolhouse Stretching online class, wanted us to explore "child's play," combining a child's drawing with ours.  My grandson Zach made the figure on the right and I completed the picture with figures from my own imagination.  Here is the original blog post about this homework assignment.

http://www.paperandthreads.com/2015/05/sketchbook_skool_homework_for.php 

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I was doing a 100 day challenge at the same time - drawing from my imagination - and eventually Axel (the figure on the left) was featured in many of my drawings, and he even acquired a girl friend.  I asked Zach to help me create a back story and he said that Axel and Alice were from the moon and their head shapes were determined by the phase of the moon at their birth.  They were playing in Axel's Mother's space ship and accidently started it.  They are very confused by Earth.

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I sketched Axel and Alice many times over the next months, eventually leading me to "draw" Axel on Fabric. 

During July I spent part of every day dying fabric and one of my projects was to create Axel and Alice on fabric by drawing and painting the fabric with Procion MX dyes. 

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I make many Christmas ornaments for family and friends, an annual project since my own 3 children were born more than 40 years ago.  Now I'm making Axel ornaments for our 8 grandchildren + one for our tree.

I scanned the dye painting of Axel and resized him (6 inches long) in Photoshop.  The JPEG was transferred to a piece of fabric on a plastic support (EQ Printed Treasure Premium Cotton Satin) and 9 copies were made using an Epson Artisan 50 Photo Ink Jet Printer.

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Each Axel was then sewn to a backing and lightly stuffed to hang on our family Christmas trees.  Here is a finished ornament. 

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And here are all 9 that I made - for 8 grandchildren + our tree. 

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November 3, 2015

International Quilt Festival - 2015

I just returned from my annual trip to the International Quilt Festival in Houston Texas.  In high school I became a seamstress, then in 1980, while living in Texas, I learned how to make quilts.  By 1990 I was starting to dye and design fabric and loved mixing dyes and painting them on silk.  Watercolor painting became a natural extension after I retired.  But I only acquire new interests and don't easily give up the old ones.  This was my 30th annual visit to Quilt Festival where I look at 100s of quilts, take classes, and replenish supplies.

The Houston Convention Center is huge - think multiple football fields, and is now undergoing more building and renovation.  All 3 floors are devoted to this event and the last attendance record I heard, which was several years ago, was 55,000 attendees.

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I painted once each full day I was there, and here are my sketchbook pages.  Jane Dunnewold's class was about working in a series, and we had many exercises to do during our 3 hours of discussion.  In one of the final exercises we had to quickly write down lists of words that we associated with colors.  Of greatest interest were the half of the class that hate purple and had lots of bad associations with it. 

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My next class required 3 hours of sewing and I didn't paint during the session.  But I did draw one of my favorite dolls from the Hoffman Challenge Doll Exhibit as I walked through the exhibit areas. 

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My third day and class was with Judy Coates Perez and we dyed and painted fabric using Acrylic Inks.  Wow!  the textures created were gorgeous, and were very different than those achieved with dyes.  But they also are not completely water resistant, making them better for art quilts that will never be washed. 

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August 11, 2015

July Was Surface Design Month

I spent the month of July playing with fabric and dyes.  I use the fabric as bookcloth for my watercolor sketchbooks and a variety of other projects.  It takes me awhile to get out all of the dyes, tools, containers, and PFD fabric (prepared for dying), so I love it when I can find blocks of time to concentrate on fabric dying.  Then I can leave everything out in my apartment, play creatively, and dye lots of fabric in a short time. I used procion MX dyes, low immersion dying, fabric folding, clamping, monoprinting, corn dextrin and soy wax resists.

This is a photo of my total output for the month - July 2 - 31, working 1-3 hours per day for 19 days during the month.  I made over 20 tree stamped pieces of fabric and a total of 4 thick dye drawings of Axel and Alice.  The two best ones were on this blog already (July 31st).  The small piles of fabric in the middle and left were samples on which I was working out designs.

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On the left above, and spread out below, are 32 pieces of fabric (12 X 22") that can be used for bookcloth, but I'm sure that I will use it for other sewing as the need arises.

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I wanted to try a technique I learned from Susie Monday at a Craftsy demonstration at Quilt Festival in 2013.  I did a color drawing on a silk screen with Neocolor II crayons, and then used Golden Silkscreen Medium and a squeegee to transfer the print to fabric.  This is the first print - darker than I expected - but I probably left the medium on a little too long before pulling the print. 

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This is the second print - with a Sakura Pigma Micron pen outline to restore some of the shape lines.  The third print was too pale.  I could have added more crayon, but didn't.

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My final project:  Figuring out how to use the tree wood stamp (which I'll probably use to make some Christmas ornaments), and my first dye painting of Axel.  The thick dye was not quite think enough, the drawing line spread, and I continued to use this piece as a test sample while painting another drawing of Axel and Alice. 

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I'm thrilled that I set aside many blocks of time for one month to play creatively.  Some days I dyed 4-6 pieces of fabric, and the next day just had to wash out the excess dye.  Then I thought about other experiments as I went around the City, ready to begin again the next day.  I have a totally different mind set when I have unlimited supplies and a spirit of experimentation and play.  I made a list of techniques that I know and then added some new things to try - realizing they could be awful and need further manipulation. 

April 8, 2015

Zach Makes a New Mouse

Rice Mice are very important in our family.  I started making them for my children decades ago and now I make them for and with my grandchildren.  There is an important story about their origin, and when I first posted it, I had many requests for the pattern and the book.  You can read the story here  

http://www.paperandthreads.com/2010/10/rice_mice_are_nice_mice.php 

 

My 5 year old Grandson Zach and I had a playdate during Spring Break , and he asked if he could make one with me on my sewing machine.  He chose the fabric and buttons, and sat on my lap at the sewing machine to control the foot pedal.  He added the rice and I stitched up the opening.

Zach and his New Rouse Mouse

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The Rouse Mouse 

 

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Zach and Charlie Compare Rice Mice:  

My oldest son's family has accumulated a whole family of Rice Mouse, and Charlie wanted to join the picture with his mouse. 

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Their Family of Rice Mice

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January 4, 2015

Art Goals for 2015

January 4th is the 9th anniversary of my blog and it is a good time for me to think about how I will spend the next year improving my skills and interacting with artists online art community and locally. 

Long Term Goals: Develop better drawing and painting skills on paper and with dye-painting and surface design on fabric.

Goals for 2015: To sketch and paint everyday, and to blog twice each week These activities give my retirement life some structure and provide enormous inspiration within an artist community. 

1. Take more classes online and in person to remain inspired:

I’m already enrolled in this year’s "Studying Under the Masters" course, but didn’t plan to start it until January.

I am registered for two Craftsy Classes one in Drawing and the other Watercolor.

I will take the Strathmore Class on Hand Lettering and Calligraphy, but have little interest in the other two this year.

I will register for Sketchbook Skool Semester 4 as soon as it is announced.

I will register for the Spring Semester at Fashion Institute of Technology, but won’t know which course I will take until registration day in January.

2. Continue to draw and paint locally: I meet regularly with the Central Park Drawing and Art Meet-up group, the NYC-Urban Sketchers Weekday Group, and my good friends Teri, Benedicte, and Pat. I would feel very isolated without them! There are multiple drop-in sites for Figure Drawing in NYC and I will attend one of them at least monthly.

3. Make watercolor sketchbooks, for daily drawing and painting and travel:

I will continue to make books - lots of books of different types.

I am registered for a Craftsy class on Dye Resists for making new bookcloth for my sketchbooks. I already have used many of the resists on a regular basis, but this class will restart my "dye lab" for 2015. I’m down to my last piece of dyed cloth!

I also need to make another batch of paste paper to use for covering bookboards and/or as endpapers.

All of these goals are really just a continuation of my goals for the last several years. I love the variety in my schedule and each of these activities brings me enormous pleasure. There will be other opportunities that I haven’t even imagined yet, and I will remain flexible and open to taking small risks! 

I'd love to read what others are planning.... 

 

 

 

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