Saturday, December 10, 2011

Earth Laughs in Flowers

Inspired by a few things, I decided to make a few art quilts that were very similar.  First, I wanted to finally use some of my hand dyed fabrics from the summer experiments.  Second, I just recently purchased a whimsical piece of assemblage art from Jeanie Eberhardt (find her on etsy).  Third, a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Earth laughs in flowers."  So here are a few pieces strikingly similar but each a bit different.
This was the first in the series of experiments.  Mostly hand dyed fabrics with a few batiks sprinkled in there.    Total dimensions 11" by 14".

Second in the series was actually made from the leftover fabric from the first piece.  I really like how the black and white play with the colors.  Total dimensions are about 7" X 12".
Third in the series was mounted on a canvas that I had spread with light modeling paste, painted red and overpainted with burgundy and scrubbed.  The canvas is 11" X 14" and the art quilt is 9" X 12".
I used Staz-On and some rubber stamps to add some text to the bottom.

Last in the series is mounted on a 4" X 12" canvas I bought a while back.  I also stamped this piece with Emerson's quote and finished the canvas with red and burgundy over modeling paste.  

I happy to have used some of my hand dyes.  And I like the whimsical feel to the art quilts themselves and now I am off to make some Christmas presents for friends and family.  Except one of these will be a gift for a friend.  Thanks for looking and hope your holidays are happy and healthy.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

More Circles - Aren't Circles so Addicting?

With one of Jane LaFazio's recycled circles projects behind me, I decided to make another one so that I would have some hand work to do while watch (actually listening to) TV.  Rather than frame this one, I mounted it on a studio canvas that I had purchased a while ago.  When in doubt, rummage through the studio and something always turns up.

Dimensions 12" X 12" mounted on Studio Canvas

I chose purple and yellow/gold as my color scheme and used a lot of little things I found around the studio as embellishments.  I like the piece, even though it might be considered (by my husband) to have an unusual color scheme.

Close up of the center which has a vintage shank button, (shank removed) as a focal point.

I gessoed and painted the canvas to match the background of the piece to help add a little more interest and unity to the piece.  It's ready to hang with a sawtooth hanger on the back.  

Thanks for looking and feel free to leave a comment.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Fabric and Paint - Little Experiments

As a science teacher, I just love a good experiment.  And the two quilts in this post are just that.  I wanted to use mixed media but, wanted to keep it contained - rather than spend my time searching my brain and studio for more and more embellishments or surface design materials.  So, I made a couple of abstract quilts that are a fabric base with acrylic and Pebeo setacolor paints.  I also used some stamps that I made using some recycled foam core board from a former student's left behind project and some sticky backed fun foam sheets.  Any comments on my experiment are welcomed.

This piece uses some hand dyed fabrics that I made over the summer and some old book pages and left over fabric bits from my mermaid project.

The focal point is painted over the old book pages and then over painted and scrubbed with a blend of acrylics.

This is a close up of the many small pieces of fabric that I fused down to make the turquoise section.  They were all left over from when I made my mermaid and I just couldn't throw them away.

This second painted quilt uses mostly my own hand dyed fabrics, along with red and yellow batiks and old book pages.  I used gesso on the book pages and for the white stamp.  
I added touches of red to keep the eye moving around the quilt.  

The Pebeo setacolor transparent paint gives a real depth to the color of the hand dyes.  I ripped the fabric so create some texture.

The leaves are a real focal point because their color is across the wheel from the blues and greens.  I kept the stitching simple and again, overpainted with transparent setacolor paints.  

Thanks for checking out my experiment.  I'm off to my studio for another project - back to brain and studio searching for embellishments.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

CREATE Retreat Project Completed!

Well, the CREATE Retreat was my first art retreat ever and it was a truly fantastic experience.  Today I framed my recycled circle project that I had started in Jane LaFazio's class.  Although the pictures are behind glass, the piece really looks fantastic up close.

12" X 12" 

I framed the square in a shadow frame I bought at Michael's.  It has three spacers so you can choose the depth of the space you need for a piece.  It was perfect for this project.

Along with machine stitching, I did some hand stitching and added buttons and beads.


The circle really comes together and all the different elements blend to make a very nice effect.  I am very happy with the final outcome.  I plan to make another one - perhaps chartreuse and purple?  

Thank you Jane for such a great project idea!

Friday, September 30, 2011

More Gifts from the Sea

I liked making my last piece so much that I decided to expand it a bit and make a larger collage with the same color scheme.  I again painted a canvas with beige, silver and gold then over painted it with black and used a comb to scrape some lines to reveal the layers of paint below.  It also gives the piece movement.
The entire canvas is 10" X 20" and I bought it at a yard sale.  The collage pieces are 6" X 6", 4" X 6" and 4" X6" respectively.

I collaged shells, buttons, trims, fabric and beads using glue, stitch and paint.  I like the feel of the overall piece.  I think it would nice in a beach house or woman's office.  

This close up shows the quilting, hand stitching and smaller details of the 4 X 6 pieces.

I collected so many black scallop shells that I was able to find five of them that I could stack to make a cool layered effect.  The cheesecloth is from my recent hand dyeing experiments.

For those of you out there who are beach combers, I hope you decide to do something with all those shells you find.  I am very happy that I picked out these few and have them out in view each day.  AS the fall chill starts in they remind me of summer days on the beach.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Back to the Beach

I completed two very different art quilts recently both with some shells that I collected at two very different beaches.  The first one features sand dollars that I collected years ago on a family vacation on Turks and Caicos.
13 1/2" X 32"

The quilt is similar to the stick and stones piece in that there are three separate layers of quilted fabric that are then attached.  I once again used the earthy brown silk as the focal fabric and did some hand stitching.

Here is a close up of the sand dollars, silk and hand stitching.

The three fabrics had a very cohesive feel to them.

The second art quilt is mounted on a canvas that has several layers of paint that were over painted with black and then scraped with a comb.  It is a collage of mixed media.  Although both use elements collected from the beach, they are very different in both composition and design.
8" X 8" canvas         5 1/2" X 5 1/2" mixed media fiber art

This piece has a base of dupioni silk that I quilted with rayon thread.  It has several shells collected from the New Jersey shore where I vacationed right after Hurricane Irene left town.  I also have some drift wood, beads, ribbon, fabric bead, mother of pearl buttons and hand dyed cheese cloth mixed in there.  

Here is a close up of the upper half.

I love the way the texture of the silk, fabric and shells comes together.  This piece has hints of gold in the fabric and a certain luster that cannot be accurately shown with my photography skills.  As with all our work, it looks better in person.

Thank you for looking at my work and further indulging my desire for beach combing.  I am forever in the hunt for that perfect shell, pretty stone or tumbled beach glass.  For me, all of those things make a walk on the beach perfect.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Mixed Media Mermaid

As promised, now that the county fair is over I am posting pictures of my mixed media mermaid, Marina Pearl.  She was made from a mannequin that was headed for a dumpster, fabric, matte medium, metallic paint, Shiva paintsticks, punchinella stencils, fibers, beads, a silver starfish and repurposed lightning rod wire that I got from a friend.   I'm sure I left off a few materials but,  you get the idea.

 To photograph her I tied a rope at the top and hung her from the basketball hoop in the driveway.  

The top was just plain wood so I covered it with modeling paste and several different layers of paint until it blended with the body.
Her necklace was a variety of fibers from an Oliver Twist pack and pearl beads and shells.  I love the silver starfish focal bead.
From the back she has the classic mermaid V-back that goes into her flowing skirt.
Here is a close up of her body.  The fabric was ripped into squares on the top and cut with a scallop blade rotary cutter on the bottom.  It was all attached with matte medium, overwashed with metallic aquamarine paint, stenciled with pearl white and purple metallic paints and given a protective coating.  It really gives her a nice texture.
Her skirt is a collection of fabrics from the sale table (post Prom season) at Joann's.  I stenciled and painted some the fabrics but some were used as is.  They were ripped into strips and attached to her skirt.

Surrounding her is a wave made of lightning rod wire.  It is essentially steel wire that is copper coated.  So, it behaves like steel and has the patina of oxidized copper, a winning combination.

Feel free to leave a comment and thanks for visiting Marina Pearl.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

CREATE Chicago 2011

I'm back from an amazing trip to Chicago for my first ever art retreat.  It was a great week and I learned a lot.  Luckily I brought my camera along so I can remind myself of all the new techniques and materials that worked with.  And even better than that, I got to meet and learn from a lot of artists that I have admired from Quilting Arts and Cloth Paper Scissors DVDs and workshops.  Among them were Jane LaFazio...
She is great because she refused to use fancy terms for anything and really makes you feel like your intuition is your best artists tool.

That evening, I had a class with her roommate, Helen Shafer Garcia whom I forgot to photograph but, as luck would have it, when I sat down at my table my table mate was none other than Kelli Perkins.

Apparently there was a memo about dyeing your hair a cool color that I did not receive, but no one held it against me. 

The next day I had a class with my favorite mixed media artist, Beryl Taylor.  Her work is so stunning and detailed that it just draws me in.   She had several of her projects on the table and I took the opportunity to look at each one very thoughtfully and listen to each technique she described with eager attention.  

This is me grinning almost unable to contain myself at being in Beryl's company.

The following day I took a class with Rebekah Meier, who's book about 40+ ways to add surface design to various media is a wonderful publication.  I have pored over it many a time.  She was extremely prepared and helpful.  She shared her techniques, supplies and insight and we all came away with several pieces of very unique cloth.


Rebekah is a Chicago native so I can only imaging how jammed her car was with all of the goodies she brought to class.

After dinner there was an Artists' Faire where the instructors and other mixed media vendors sold their work and various supplies.  I was lucky enough to meet Pokey Bolton, someone I admire for her vision of creating not one but two outstanding magazines that have opened up a world of possibilities to me.  She was extremely nice and as you can imagine, full of energy.  Her presence really amped up the atmosphere.



Well, while I was enjoying the fabulous Chicago weather (you don't hear that very often), my home state of New Jersey was bracing for the force of Hurricane Irene.  And she arrived with a vengeance.  In fact, I tried to leave Chicago early and go home to avoid being stuck in Chicago until the middle of next week.  Alas, all flights were cancelled well in advance of the storm and I was stranded.  But, as luck would have it so was Beryl Taylor.  So, we made a plan to go into Chicago together and visit a museum and do some other stuff.  It was a wonderful day and I got to spend part of it in the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art with Beryl.  Truly inspirational, there are no adequate words.  We also took an Architecture Cruise of the city and walked part of the Magnificent Mile.  We had a stop at the Marilyn Monroe Statue before we headed back to the hotel.  And decided that in our stranded state, we NEEDED to have Ghiradelli ice cream for dinner, there was no debate.

Here I am with Marilyn and if you look closely, you can see the Hurricane Irene news ticker going on above my head.  Beryl took this shot before we hopped in our cab and headed to the train station.

Just as I thought the Chicago trip was close to an end, our plane flights were again in jeopardy.  Beryl and I really wanted to get home so we decided to take a Greyhound bus from Chicago to Newark, New Jersey.  Through a series of events too numerous to mention, we ended up on a bus trip that would last 19 hours and made us feel like true travel warriors.  Or at least like we had been in a battle.  (Which we nearly were)

Sometimes strange things happen that are actually ways of making your wishes come true.  If there was ever an artist that I wanted to spend more time with, it would be Beryl Taylor.  And there I was, never mind the grubby bus terminals and uncomfortable sleeping situation.  I got to spend time with an artist who's work is truly inspiring and who's personality was easy going and full of humor.  If I had it to do over again, I certainly would.  And even if your trip to an art retreat doesn't end with a magical mystery tour, I highly recommend it as an inspirational boost.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Stick and Stones

This piece was inspired by a piece of fabric that I picked up at a Quilter's Estate Sale at a local quilt shop.  It is some type of silk, the exact name I cannot recall.  I added some grey batik cottons and created this very organic piece.  I like it because it is very quiet and incorporates nature.

Dimensions 9 3/4 " X 21"
I used every bit of a fat quarter for the back fabric.

I like the variety of textures in the batiks and added hand stitches to add texture to the brown silk.

In keeping with the nature theme, I had this piece of drift wood that I picked up years ago.

Here is a closer view of the stones and hand stitching.  The stones are mounted and stitch on pieces of painted and heated Tyvek repurposed from the mail.

I wanted to be sure the backing wouldn't pucker or warp so I free-motion quilted it evenly with a pebble stick pattern.

I am off to use more of the silk in another triple layer piece.  Stay tuned for another nature theme.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Small Projects in the Midst of Larger Ones

After I complete a large and complicated project, I like to do a couple of quick little things to help me get my creativity geared up for another big idea.  Recently, I made a mixed media piece that is hanging at our State Fair right now.  It took a long time and a lot of pondering, but I love how it turned out.  Here is a very far away shot of it that doesn't really do it justice, but can give you an idea of how Marina Pearl the Sea Nymph looks.  Detail shots will follow after the fair.

Marina Pearl was made from a generously gifted mannequin, fabric, paint, beads and repurposed wire from a friend who retired from the power company and saved this from a dumpster.  The swirls of wire are intended to make her look like she is in a wave.

So that was the long project, here are two short ones.  First, I had a small piece, 8 1/2" by 8 1/2" that was okay but needed a little something.  So I got a 12 X 12 canvas and mounted it.  It took 4 different paints to get the color and effect that I wanted but, I like how it turned out.  I think the canvas definitely adds to the original needle felted piece.

 I used two shades of purple, blue gray and a wash of metallic violet gold to get this final color.

Finally, a small fun piece that I made using the edges of cut silk that I purchases as a long sewn together ribbon at a quilt show.  I ironed the silks, fused them to timtex and cut them out to make a square vase.  The vase is lined with vertical strips of silk and I put a glass with glass blob in the bottom so I can add water and flowers to it.  Easy, quick and just what I needed to get myself geared up for the project I am now working on.

4" X 9"

The lined inside makes is pretty from all angles.

Thanks for visiting.  Hope you are having an artful summer.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Sea Shells from the Seashore

Walking on the beach is one of my favorite things.  Along the way I am always on the lookout for seashells and other treasures from the sea.  One day last month, I collected a bunch of shells and stones and decided to make them my inspiration for a short series of small art quilt collages that I mounted on canvas.  Here they are, hope you like them, but more importantly, I hope you get to walk on the beach soon.

I started with a 5" X 5" canvas so I could try out different paint colors.  This is a layering of about 6 paints and washes.  

5" X 7"
I am not an "orange" person per se, so I decided to also try the background in shades of blue.  I used 4 different shades and washes on this and a blue metallic wash on top so it is a bit iridescent.  Nice, but I liked the orange better, so I carried on to the third and final piece.
12" X 12"
This final piece incorporates the white stones, soft orange shells, buttons, beads, silk, batik, tyvek, lace and on and on.  It is a busy piece, but the colors are soft and the iridescent frame with along with the soft shine of the shells makes a nice finished piece.  

Detail of the 12" X 12"collage.

One more look at the various mixed media.

Surf's Up!  Gotta go shell hunting :)