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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.... 

 

 

 

December 30, 2014

Progress Toward My Art Goals in 2014

REFLECTIONS ON 2014 -  My main goal is: To develop better drawing/painting skills on paper and with dye painting/surface design on fabric.

My specific goals for 2014 and my reflections on my progress:

Sketch everyday and blog twice each week: Although I didn’t sketch every day, I probably averaged one drawing per day based on some long drawing sessions. I attend many art exhibits with my friends here in New York City and always draw from the Masters. My blog is really important to me, and my group of online friends helps me remain inspired. I think I only missed my blog goal once in 2014!

Take More Classes

1. Senior Scholar Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT):  Spring 2014 - Dye Painting on Silk 3 hrs weekly for 15 weeks

2. One day Paste-Paper class at Center for Book Arts in NYC; an Artist Transfer Paper Class by Lesley Riley and a Thermofax Screen Printing class at Quilt Festival-Houston.

3. Online classes - as a means to remain inspired and continue to learn on my own schedule, I took 5 online art classes, 1 online surface design class, and 2 online university classes on "Creativity" last year and learned something from everyone of them.

Studying Under the Masters with Jeanne Oliver. Each week I copied a Master Artist painting, usually converting their oil technique to watercolor, and then developed a second painting "inspired by" the specific artist we were studying. There is a category which includes each week of the 8 week course on my blog. I LOVED the challenge of this class!

Sketchbook Skool - Danny Gregory and Koosje Koene - Semesters 2 and 3: I chose these semesters of Sketchbook Skool because of the 6 artists that were included and was both inspired and educated by each one of them. I look forward to news about Semester 4!

Strathmore Workshop with Gaye Kraeger - My initial sketchbook drawings and paintings were inspired by Gaye in 2005 and led to my awareness of and participation in the Everyday Matters Group several months later. I’d love to spend a week painting with her!

Beautiful Watercolor Bouquet - a Craftsy class by Mary Murphy. I did this online class with my painting friend Sara when we were at the beach during the summer. We did lots of Wet-into-Wet painting which I love.

The Art of Dying - a Craftsy class by Jane Dunnewold. My first surface design classes were at Southwest Craft Center when Jane was the Chair of the Surface Design section. And I still learn something from her every time I meet up with her - in person or online.

My two classes on Creativity were offered free by Coursera, with faculty from Penn State for one and University of MN for the other. I remain interested in this broad topic and learned some skills to increase creativity and innovation from each of them.

Learn More Bookbinding Techniques - As a self-taught bookbinder I was thrilled to take a Basic Bookbinding class at FIT during Fall Semester (3 hours/week for 15 weeks), and made 9 different book structures and 2 books that I also wrote or sketched all of the content. This was an amazing experience and can be seen in blog posts within the category "bookbinding" on my blog.

Maintain a Community of Artist Friends: Lastly, I look forward to many more art "playdays" with my friends Teri, Pat, and Benedicte and will continue to attend the Central Park and Art Meet-up Group, the weekday New York City chapter of Urban Sketchers, and at least monthly figure drawing sessions at one of several locations. My friends make all of this even more fun.

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