Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Olive Hyde Textile Exhibition acceptance

I am happy to report back that this piece entitled "She Spilled Her Guts" was accepted into the Olive Hyde Textile Exhibit that will be held in Fremont California March 21- April 19.
Here is a larger picture of it and my description follows with the next shot-

This is a detail of the piece which includes broken glass and plastic beads as well as over 27 yards of hand dyed silk.
“She Spilled Her Guts”, 12/07, 41”x 41”-silk “tail” adds 42”, Woodland, CA, Silk, cotton, metallic fabric paint, plastic, glass.
Here is my statement about the piece:
“She Spilled Her Guts” is made from about 27 yards of braided hand dyed silks with broken glass balls and plastic beads on painted raw silk. I had recently gone through my piles of excess fabric and found a wealth of teal silk that had been either returned by the customer or I had dyed too much for various reasons. When I began making this piece I realized how much I miss making art. The process of making art is at the core of who I am and to not make art hurts me…well…in the guts. It’s a beautiful thing and it is a gut wrenching thing all rolled into whatever piece I make. So be it.
Do a happy dance with me and also do some smirking since this was the very first piece (of many) I made to launch the next phase of my career which includes a return to more art making.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Chat about the dyes in the paint

Thank you for the nice comments about this piece, everyone.
About the dyes added to the paint- I have found that adding Procion MX powdered dyes to fabric paint (and also to latex house paint and even to poster paint) makes for some interesting effects. I don't add any salt or soda ash; I just add the powder and it tints the paint. The best part (which could also be the worst part in some cases) is that when the paint is applied and another layer of any other color is put on top of that, the dyes bleed through. On this shell piece, that's what I wanted to have happen. It looks like dirty marks on the beige but it was really beautiful and even though I ened up having to cover up the beige as it wasn't working for me, it took quite a few coats of the gray to stop the dye from bleeding through. It's hard to see the sand added to the paint as the grains are very fine but it adds some interest.
This piece is growing on me. I was disappointed with it at first but am liking it more and more as I study it from about 6' back.
The purple door to my dye studio that you see at the top of the page was originally green so I got some beige latex house paint that I tinted with fuchsia and sky blue dye powder until it was the perfect color. I'm not one to leave things alone. I always think I can make it better by adding this or taking that away. Hard to stop the wheels from turning, if you know what I mean. One thing about my art making- if I don't have what I need I make it. Rarely do I buy supplies. A friend just introduced me to a spot out in the country that has bamboo growing by a soggy creek bank that are a good 20' high. He cut some poles down for the silk flags I made for him to take to Burning Man. Perfect for the rods I will need for some larger wall hangings and the price is right! More on that later.
Happy dyeing. Happy painting!

Painted Piece Finished

Next step was to work more on the detailing and start the background. I started with a beige background and added table salt to the paint for some texture. Adding a touch of Procion MX powdered dye to the paint is something I do now and then when I KNOW I am going to put on multiple layers of color and KNOW that I want the color to bleed through to the layer on top.
After fussing with the back ground a LOT I decided beige wasn't doing it for me. I wanted it to be more dramatic and for the shell to stand out more so I started mixing some white and black paint ON the fabric. That looked better but it was very close to being over worked. Danger! Walk away! Which is what I did so I could let that dry and think about what was to come next.
The next day I came back ready to work out my problem. The best part of this piece is the translucent section of the shell so I won't touch that. Machine stitching will help.

I started machine stitching the detail portions of the shell in a dark gray and dark grayish brown thread. Better! It is time to let this one be. I sewed on the backing and am done. In reality the background gray is a lot smoother but the salt still stands out as texture. Hard to photograph but it's there.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Fabric painting start to finish-

I have an idea of two paintings I want to do using fabric paints and salt with some fabric dye. I will chart my progress for you to see how they develop. This may be of interest to students currently taking my Fabric Painting class at Quilt University.
The first picture is the enlarged drawing on the fabric I will use. Taking a picture and expanding it 10x is not hard for me to do. Some people need to use a projector which is fine. Some people take the picture to a printing company that can make the "cartoon" enlarged and ready for a light table. If you can draw it out yourself so be it.
Here is the fabric on the stretcher bars and held in place with silk clips. I love these things! Poking holes in fabric gives me the creeps; like nails on a chalkboard, especially when pinning down silk. These clips leave no mark and I like using them so much that I bought 5 bags of them. Dharma has them if you want to place your order. Good investment. I prop up my corners using upside down yogurt containers to make the whole thing higher. Even though it is on my high, slanted drafting table I still like my work closer to my face so I don't get a pain in my back or need to wear my glasses.
In this picture I am applying the first coat of fabric paint. Because I apply so many layers, I like to start with fairly bold, deep color and then lay down thinner layers of color as I go along.
About 10 minutes later this is how it looks....

...and about 1 hour into the first day of painting, I am going to stop and let this part dry. I want to think about the next pass and what I will be doing with the background so letting it "brew" for awhile is the way to go.
I'll show you more tomorrow. Happy painting everyone!

Friday, February 15, 2008

The painted chair

Here is the chair before I began to over haul it by painting with Jacquard fabric paints. It's a good solid piece of furniture and cost $40.00 at the thrift store. It is replacing another thrift store couch that the dog ate (see posting below). Bad dog.
Here it is finished. I'm not so sure about the seat and may go for something a bit more conservative later. Have to live with it for awhile. You need to see the other furniture it sits with to get the full idea.
The other smaller chairs have curved backs as well and there is a lot of green in the house. I like funky stuff so maybe it will grow on me as time goes by, you think?
Looking from the front windows and couch into the living room. I need to sit in it and ponder if it will be staying green.

Details- it took 4 coats of paint that had to be heat set with an iron at the end. The chair that I considered buying instead of this one cost $176.00 and wasn't as comfortable. I think I am liking this one better and better the more I think about it.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Painting a stuffed chair

Here she is before she ate the chair.

Yesterday I began to paint a stuffed chair I bought at the thrift store to replace the other chair I bought at the same thrift store that our dog ate. Bad dog. Here is a picture of the Bad Dog. That's Steve weeding. Aren't those the best pictures ever???

I will post a "before" picture of the hideous chair with such potential when the scanner comes back to life.

Monday, February 11, 2008


Ready to be sent to the place where all the squares will be assembled. When I have an address where you can see it put together and covering the gas station, I will let you know.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Gas Station piece

Here is the next picture. Tomorrow I flip it over and iron the paints to make them permanent and then I begin the final comment which involves some sculpting and sewing. It's coming out great. When the whole thing is assembled I will post a picture but it is going to be awhile before all the pieces are in and quilted. Glad I don't have to do that part of it. So what do you think so far? I've had some fun with this. Although I am very careful not to criticize our govenrment or our president the statement I will be making is true for almost everything. Very safe. You'll see...

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Gas station cover

You never know what will happen from one day to the next. This used to cause a lot of anxiety for me but now (with the help of some excellent therapy- thank you Nancy H) I have learned to just go with it! So to illustrate my point, I get this random email from a graduate student in the mid west who is making a cover for an abandoned gas station for her master's in textiles thesis. That caught my attention. I replied and said, "I'm in, what do you want me to do?" She replies- "make a square 36" x36" on the theme Big Oil and our dependence on it." Uh oh...political. So I think about it and instantly have the idea but I'll need to go to Joann's. I go to Joann's and know that I know that I know that the fabric I am picturing in my mind is there and it is...in the "novelty" section where I never go. Of course the sales person wants to know what I'm making. I knew she was going to ask me that. I told her flat out it was for a gas station cover. "Oh that's nice." REALLY???? I waited. Oh come on! Have there been 12 other people in here today doing the same thing? She finally had mulled it enough to ask, "What's a gas station cover?" So I told her and then she got into it and asked me to bring back a picture when it was completed. I thought that while she was cutting it for me I would dodge the issue by pretending I was interested in scissors. She obviously doesn't mind shouting at customers across the room...
So here we have the first pass. I used Jacquard fabric paints and applied them very fast and very thick so it will take awhile to dry. Can you tell it is the USA? Doesn't it look oily? Notice that I didn't include Canada? I thought about it- red and white with a maple leaf but then decided the full force of the statement would land on our shoulders (as usual) and the "wild elephant to the south" would take the hit. ( I actually read that quote in a Canadian newspaper when visiting Lime Green Myrna two summers ago. Imagine that.) So tomorrow I will do the next part and take a picture because it lasts longer. haha.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

California Fiber Artists

Good morning. Just sent off the next 20 yards of this blue and white cotton to my quilt artist customer who orders 40 yards at a time of this discharged sky fabric. She uses it for the background of her humorous and whimsy art quilts that she shows and sells all over the country. Today I will start the next batch. It's fairly labor intensive as I dye all 20 yards at one time and then do the discharging the next day. Poops me out but it pays well.
I heard from the California Fiber Artists and they accepted me into the group! I am very honored to be associating with this circle of women who are actively showing their work not only state wide but nationally as well. All of the fiber art that I submitted is pictured on this blog. I started with "She Spilled Her Guts" and moved right into the spray painted shirt and pants called "Joel" to the gutta resist piece and then on to Hiroshima. I'll let you know when there is something on their web site to see.
Do a happy dance with me!

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Going Big

Here is a picture of a silk painting I did for a bank of windows facing Main Street in Woodland, CA. It is habotai silk- 18 feet long and 5 feet high. I said I would have it finished in 6 weeks. 12 weeks later I was half way through the process.

Why do I love making big art? Why are some people terrified of making big art? Why do some artists make little tiny pieces and keep it all under control and others like to let it fly and have a hard time "bringing it in"? These questions have been rolling around in my head for a week or so.

I used to make "itty bitty art". In college one of the professors who had the most influence on my work came up behind me as I was at the eisel painting and he said, "The government should hire you to design postage stamps." Little did I know then how much money an artist gets when one of their designs IS selected for a stamp...I should have asked him, "Show me where I sign up for that!!!" Anyway...he then took the brush out of my hand and began slashing at my painting with great globs of paint, forcing me to rethink and redo and rehash and remodel everything I had held as correct up to that point in time. It was fairly traumatic however it was critical timing. Where was I to go next? Here were my options: 1) never make any more art, 2) paint over his mess and return to my way of doing art, 3) purpose myself to try his way and see if it held any merit/validity and if it could make me a better or happier artist.

I don't know how to make this tiny picture (which is funny since we are talking about big work) larger. Anyway, this piece is a batik on cotton that is about 4' x 9'. I made it for a person who had a long, narrow, white wall over their baby grand piano. Perfect. It was made before I had my long work tables so I made it a section at a time according to how wide and long my stretcher bars were at the time which wasn't very big. I didn't see the entire thing until it was almost finished which was sporty and a REALLY neat way to work if you are up to the challenge. You should try it some time. Keeps you in a constant state of unease. Then when it's done and it works, you get a real rush.

So...my questions for you today are: do you like to work big? If not why not? If you do, why? What would it take to get you to try something really big?

Back to my story from college. Which option do you think I chose?

About Me

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Woodland, California, United States
I am a fiber artist. I am a teacher. I am a Reverend. I teach, I create, I counsel, I listen.

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