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August 3, 2012

Making Stencils for Art on Paper and Fabric

My friend Melanie Testa is starting a series of online classes through her new website which is called Clever Guild.  If you know either of Melanie's books, you know what a talented artist she is - on paper and on fabric.  I love the way she uses stencils for background images in her art, and I couldn't wait to take her new online class called "Stencil Magic" so I could learn how to make my own stencils.  I am a total novice, making only one previous stencil using contac paper and Shiva paintsticks.

For my first stencil, I used a doodle from my "Doodle Sketchbook."  If you are a reader of this blog, you know that I rarely doodled, and for the past year I forced myself to be more creative when I was visiting my Mom and we were sitting having coffee and talking.   This is a page of doodles from last August. 

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I scanned, cropped, and resized my purple flower doodle to make my first stencil.  Melanie teaches students how to convert a drawing, or photo, into an image that can be used as a stencil.  "Bridges" need to be created on the pattern in order to create details in the image.  This is my stencil, photographed over the self sealing mat that I used during the cutting, so you can see the image.

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Today I decided to use the stencil on paper, even though I haven't reached that lesson yet.  It was not a nice crisp image using gouache, but I'm sure that Melanie will teach me the best way to do this in the next lesson.

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I used a reference book on Medieval Illuminated Manuscripts for inspiration for my next stencil and here is the second stencil that I cut. 

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Here is my first, not very crisp, image using gouache on paper.

 

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While cutting the stencil, the mylar is laid over a sheet of paper with the chosen image, and carefully cut out with an xacto knife.  In the process of cutting th stencil, the paper sections are also removed.  I saved them and here rearranged them for another variant of this image which could also be made into a stencil. 

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This is a terrific class for anyone wanting to create their own stencils for repetitive images on paper and/or fabric.  It is a rolling class, so you have access to all 4 classes as soon as you sign up.  And the video access is indefinite, so you can return to them over and over. 

It's time for me to go watch more videos in the next class!

June 14, 2012

Making Things

My grandaughter Sydney loves to make things.  I definitely recognize that need and try very hard to get her alone so we can play together creatively.  She is now 7 1/2 and for the last several years has slowly been learning how to use my sewing machine.  Long term readers of my blog may remember previous blog entries as we inched our way toward full competence. 

She finished 1st grade last Friday.  We came home from the beach on Monday.  And we had a "creative day" immediately scheduled for this week.  One day turned into two days, two overnights, and two sewing projects.  As soon as she walked in the door, she asked if she could sew.  I was anticipating this and decided I would have a project in mind.

I bought quilted placemats for my young children in 1981 in Ghirardelli Square, San Francisco, and then designed and made more using the same concept.  Our family used and washed those placemats almost daily for years.  I brought them with us to NYC in 1993, as patterns/prototypes to make more, but my grandchildren saw the originals and loved using them for all of their meals here with us.

Sydney selected patterns that I drew, but never made, and over the course of 2 days made two placemats!  I worked with her, teaching her how to use an iron, adhere fusibles, and applique using a satin stitch.  Here she is using the sewing machine!!  I now only have to stand behind her.  When I told her the eyes were going to be hard to stitch on, she said "I'm ready for it!" She even wanted to thread the machine and change bobbins by herself!  And did.

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Sydney with her two completed animal placemats:

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Here is the Rhino - each animal has a head, feet, and tail.  Wish I knew who made the handmade originals I bought 30+ years ago.  I expanded the concept into a full set of animals and designed more.

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And here is the bull:

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When one of her brothers came to pick her up this morning, she told him the rhino would be his to use, whenever they eat here, from now on.  Up until now Cal and his cousin Robbie (one of my sons' boys) share the dragon!

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Addendum: I finally found the blog entry I wanted to include in this blog post on why children need to taught to make things. 

http://annmariethomas.typepad.com/annmarie-thomas/2010/02/why-making-matters-from-ted2010.html

January 6, 2012

One Journal Complete, A New One Begun

Last year at this time I took the online class "Remains of the Day" by Mary Ann Moss.  I created a fabric art journal and this year filled it with sketches, photos, and ephemera from my art sketchcrawls and projects with one or more of my New York City friends.  Five of us gather together regularly (Journal Study Group) to share skills for art on paper and art on fabric, and those are the photos that are included.

This is my very fat, full journal - which represents many fun days between Jan and Dec.

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The pages in the journal are made from random printed papers, with lots of other attached decorations.  Then more stuff is added.  It is hard to explain the multilayered scrapbook quality in photos.  But here are a few of the finished pages. 

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I had so much fun making and keeping this journal, that I decided to make another one for 2012 and to again document my art adventures in New York City.  Yesterday I pulled out all of my hand dyed and painted fabrics and made selections for the new cover. 

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And I added my first pages, including my sketches of caricatures in the Infinite Jeste exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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December 27, 2011

Childhood Magic

Christmas weekend we took several of our New York City grandchildren to special programs.  Five year old Callum needs some separate time with us, i.e. without big sister Sydney and big brother Henry, so we planned a movie date to see The Muppets.  This was very nostalgic for us - since we watched the Muppet Show with our children every Sunday night and took them to see the first Muppet Movie.  I had tears in my eyes during the reprise of "Rainbow Connection."  Squirmy Callum sat at the edge of his seat with rapt attention.

This is a web image of our favorites - that I sketched to remember the day.

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The next day we took Sydney, Robbie, and Callum to see Cathy Rigby in Peter Pan.  I played the part of Peter in our 6th grade public school production and saw Mary Martin in the role at about the same time.  Syd watches my videotape of that Broadway Show (from when it was rebroadcast during the decades of VCR) at least once per month in my apartment and also knows all the songs.  Cathy Rigby was even better than Mary Martin and her gymnastic abilties at age 59, during the flying sequences, were not to be believed.

I sketched this from the program cover to create a sketchbook page for the day.

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We talked to our DC grand daughter multiple times over the weekend, and my son sent this photo of Princess Annabelle - dressed in the sparkly princess dress that I made her for Christmas.  She is also wearing the tiara I found for her at the NY Union Square Christmas Market, and the earrings that her other Grandma gave her to complete the outfit.  We also have photos of her putting Princess spells on various things with the wand that matches the tiara. 

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We are going to meet her new baby brother William this week.  My son also sent a photo of him in the blackwatch baby gown that he requested that I make for their family "blackwatch" Christmas Day morning celebration.  So glad that it fit!

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I would like to wish everyone a Happy and safe New Year's Eve celebration, and a joyous and artistically productive 2012.  We have our 5 NYC grandchildren here (without parents) for a New Year's Eve party and sleepover - the very best way that my husband and I can think of to welcome each new year.

December 12, 2011

Busy Weekend

We had 5 of our grandchildren here Saturday and then for an overnight visit - and we braved the crushing crowds at sunset to take them to see Rockefeller Center and the gorgeous Christmas tree.  Their parents were very afraid that we might lose one!  They were great - and very impressed.  Unfortunately the 2 year old fell asleep as soon as we unfolded his stroller and started to walk away from the subway.

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When they left Sunday, I resumed quilting a new baby quilt for our 7th grandchild - due next Saturday.  I put the last stitch in at 11:45 PM - logging in many hours yesterday watching Downton Abbey on PBS.  This quilt was machine pieced and hand quilted - a total of about 60-75 hours.

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I finished making the princess dress and newborn sleeper - and those are ready to go to Washington DC.  And 9 of the Christmas ornaments that I made for this year are done - 3 more to go.

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