Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Meanwhile in Other News...

Our local art museum- The Appleton Museum- held a journal making class recently. It was titled "Up-cycled Junk Journal," and we began by choosing a discarded art book to alter into a journal. All of the materials were supplied for us, though I used my ample stash of trims and  embellishments to finish the journal at home. The map canvas-fabric I chose for the cover base was a popular selection among the students. It's quite unique.

Rolls of this sticky-back pattern paper were perfect for the inside covers. It was almost like Contact Paper, but not as gummy and unmanageable. 

I think every journal deserves its own jewelry, so I made this charm which I'll add to the spine eventually. I tried to echo the colors from the map fabric in it.

Here's my work station at the museum's classroom. We used PVA glue spread with a craft stick to adhere the fabric to the discarded book.

My neighbor at the work table also chose the map fabric. But look at the photo frame she painted to add to the cover. It will create a shadow box in which she can create a 3-D focal piece. Clever idea!

Our instructor had the space well organized and supplied for everything we needed for journal making. You can see a few sample journals she shared on the front table.

What will happen inside the journal remains to be seen. But we were given some beautiful art auction magazines to harvest for images. I'm enjoying just looking through them for now. The fashion one has some wonderful women's "society portraits". I'm sure these will be very lovely and useful in upcoming journals.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Can You Find the Bow Ties?

There are traditional quilt blocks, and then there is tradition launched in a wonderful new direction. This is the final of three posts about the Dunedin Fine Art Center exhibit that I wanted to share with you. It's kind of a game to find the Bow Tie blocks in these quilts made for the "New Quilts From an Old Favorite" from The National Quilt Museum. Leslie Johnson's "Puttin' on the Ritz" is a case in point. You may find yourself humming that tune and tapping your toe as you study this colorful quilt to find the Bow Ties. Hint: there are more than just the one the ballroom dancer is wearing. You may have to lean in to find them. Give up? They are there in the undulating rows of colors. The artist states that she changed the intersections of the colors and offset the rows to create the background. The focal point dancers are appliqued, and other techniques include hand piecing, embroidery and beading. 

Quiltmaker Sandi Snow created some challenges for herself in "Abstract on Black Tie". There are mutitple facings which allow the quilt to have interesting irregular edges, along with Sashiko-style stitching and Big Stitch hand quilting. Not visible in the photo, there is matchstick quilting in the shape of Bow Ties in the black background. 

Look! It's Mary Poppins, "The Perfect Nanny" made by Cathy Geier. She included the London skyline, soaring birds, and chimney sweeps in her piece commemorating Mary Poppins' departure. The Bow Tie blocks contain lyrics from her favorite songs related to the story. Such a joyful quilt!

Quilt artist Susan Morgan used her own hand-drawn patterns to piece and paper-piece "Black Tie Optional". Bow Tie blocks of all sizes overlap and intersect throughout. She quilted this on her domestic machine. Quite a mesmerizing piece!

Now admit it- these Bow Ties are pretty hard to find, right? I had to study "Black Ties and Tails" made by Karen Grover for a bit before I realized these are Bow Tie kitties! The cats were assembled and machine appliqued in place after the whole background was quilted. So whimsical!

I think you can easily spot the Bow Ties in "Negotiating the Price of an Apple", a masterful quilt by Tere D'Amato. The detail in this quilt caused me to stop and study it for a time. I hope you've enjoyed this tour of the 2019 Quilts & textiles @ DFAC and I appreciated all of your comments about this wonderful quilt display.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Where the Art Is- A Second Look...

There's lots more to see from the "Quilts & Textiles @ DFAC" exhibit at Dunedin Fine Art Center. One of the displays was a wide array of works from members of Tampa Bay Surface Design Guild. The exhibit is up for three more days if you can get to the Center to see it in person. But if not, enjoy another sampling of the work. This Tattered Garment Jacket by Sandra Black is made from dyed silk and satin.

Joanne Baxter made this soft sculpture "Fish Bowl" with hand-dyed fabric and couched yarns.

This unique felted piece is Trish Sande's "Tree Podillian". I had to look up "podillian" but did not find a meaning. So.... ? But it is earthy and pod-like, so I'll settle for that.

"Through the Veil" by Aida Sheets and Sarah Butz is made from stitched and manipulated paper, some of it handmade tree bark paper. The neutral colors and random stitched and painted marks really appealed to me.

More paper, this time handmade silk paper, is combined with fabric, yarn and driftwood in Kathleen Fulmer's "Serenity with Bling" mixed media piece.

Lorraine Turner creates magnificent collage quilts to tell the stories of animals. She is a textile artist who works intuitively to assemble all sorts of materials in her expressive quilts. Look closely at each of her pieces- there is much to see and learn! "The Heart of the Camargue" combines cheesecloth, eyelash silk, and free-motion stitched feathers that break the borders of this quilt.

"Calico Wild Horses"- a beautiful blend of color, texture and imagery.

"Welcome Rain" depicts a Black Panther in its native rain forest habitat.

Dyed cheesecloth, felting, lace and doilies are just a few of the materials used in "From the Bottom of Our Hearts" that depicts a family of Emperor Penguins of Antarctica. I have one more set of photos from this show to share with you. As you can see, it's a wonderful exhibit just full of inspiration.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Where the Art Is- A First Look...

The Dunedin Fine Art Center in Dunedin, Florida, has some wonderful textile exhibits. This year's is especially exciting because it's six quilt shows in one exhibit- Quilts & Textiles @ DFAC. The exhibit is on for another week if you get time to visit in person. But if not, come along and enjoy a small sampling of the astonishing quilts on display. So inspiring!

Works by Sheila Frampton-Cooper are bold, graphic and feature her innovative curved piecing. This is "Jungle Love".  The solid-color fabric pieces really show off the variety of quilting designs.

Those intense, rich colors result from Sheila's use of thickened dyes to paint fabrics like those used in "Yellow Brick Road."

A lot of piecing went into "Life in the City", her first art quilt.

The shades of green and ocher are so appealing in "Ruins of Roussillon". It was inspired by a village in France where ocher was mined. The quilts in the exhibit are displayed so well with lots of space around each one so it's easy to stand back and appreciate each one.

A second quilt show is titled Tribute to Rainbow's End. This local quilt shop has been in business for more than 30 years and is large enough to be a destination shop, pulling quilters from many Florida communities. One of the owners made this "Where the Rainbow Ends" quilt. And there were many quilts displayed to honor the shop's long history.

One of my favorite quilt artist's is Jane Sassaman. One small room was dedicated to a display of her quilts, the third show-within-a-show. This one is her unique take on an album quilt titled "Illinois Album." 

Wild blooms and foliage with butterflies combine in this beautiful piece. Can you see the spider? Regretfully,  I did not write down the name of this piece.

The artful curvy lines and colors make "Coral Bean Pods" one of my favorites in Jane's exhibit. Dunedin is a pretty long drive from our home in Central Florida, but it was well worth the time. I'll share more of this wonderful exhibit in upcoming posts. Don't these quilts just make you want to sew?

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Tag Book Fun...

What to do with bits and pieces of images and project leftovers? My solution is to combine them into a tag book. I keep a box with all sorts of these items in it, and when the spirit moves me, I dig in and look to see which things will play well together. And this is the result. I cut my own tags from black card stock, then arrange and glue away until I'm happy with each tag. Next, I sew the pieces down, leaving the edges until I'm ready to join the tags to make the accordion-style book. So therapeutic!

The ice-dyed silk ribbon from earlier this summer seemed just the right fit to grace the top of each tag. And the blue leaf and feather sun prints on several tags are from Somerset Studio magazine artist papers which are included in the issues. All those images, and hardly a dent in the box contents! I'm sure there's at least one more tag book in there, perhaps more.

I might have used even more images and decorated the back of each tag, but I actually like how the stitching looks from the back. Of course, every book needs a bit of jewelry, so I fashioned three charms to hang from the elastic hair band used to hold the book closed when needed. Book making is so creatively satisfying to me, and there are so many more books and styles of binding I want to try. But in the meantime, the bits and pieces proliferate!

Since I've spent a good part of this summer out of the loop, so to speak, recovering from some health challenges, I was happy to get out for lunch with our daughter Joanna. We went to Bahama Breeze restaurant. Have you visited one of these restaurants? This was our first visit, but won't be our last. The entry is a colorful and inviting porch, and you just have to sit down for a bit.

The decor is inviting, too. High up are these pretty fans. I forgot to include photos of our entrees, but we both enjoyed them- Key West Fish Tacos for Joanna, and Grilled Salmon on Mixed Greens for me.

Does anyone else fall prey to the need to photograph appealing carpets or wall decor in restaurants, hotels and public places? I was very taken with the design on the wall in the ladies room- it looks like layers upon layers. I wish I could achieve that look with paints. A fun time.

Friday, July 19, 2019

Ice-Dyeing: The Main Event...

Well, I needn't have worried about the Palomino Gold dye color being too orange to work with the blues- it's actually quite pretty. Though it looks different in nearly every area it appears, ranging in color from apricot to yellow-gold. This is a tee-shirt back that  received all of the dye colors.

And this is a piece of the PFD cotton fabric folded to form a mandala style radiating design.

A long rectangle of cotton shows the bands of color that were applied over the ice.

I did lots of odds and ends of fabrics in this ice-dye batch, and included a couple of squares of cotton I received in a fabric exchange. They were printed and hand-stamped with paint. This one now has an added layer of color from the ice-dyeing.

Here's the second square of hand-stamped fabric from the exchange. This one began as a white-on-white fabric print. The floral print acted as a resist to the dye, so the white flowers became more evident once the fabric was dyed. I'm happy with how these turned out.

One other item that's been waiting in the sewing room to get used somehow is this once-white silk ribbon. It took the dyes very nicely. I've already used it as an embellishment, and I'll show you this project in another post. It's not quite finished.

The shirt front took a lot of the Palomino Gold color, including those two blooming "things" seen at the bottom. I think I'll look better walking away as the back is the prettier side.

Just for reference, I'll include this photo of the dye application "before". It's so interesting how different the colors look once the dyeing is complete. If you're interested in knowing more about ice dyeing, Lynda Heines has a very good online class called Icy Delights. She offers so much authoritative information on amounts of dye to use, effective color combinations, tools and supplies, and lots more. Plus she has a dedicated Facebook page for added inspiration from her work and that of her students.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Ice-Dyeing: The Prelude....

It looks good enough to eat, right? Sort of like clunky Shave Ice. But no, it's my latest round of ice-dyeing. After dyeing with my friend on my recent visit to Pennsylvania, I decided there were some odds and ends of fabrics in the sewing room that also needed to meet up with more color.

After soaking the fabrics in soda ash solution to make them receptive to the dyes, I squeezed out the excess solution, and scrunched and folded the fabrics. Some had resists like rubber bands and clothes pins added. Then I placed them on plastic mesh stretched and clamped over top of a storage tote. A plastic garbage bag is poised to slide up and over the ice and fabric.

The dyes were mixed (safety note: I was wearing a mask and gloves while handling them) and poured into squeeze bottles ready to apply over the ice. The fun thing about ice-dyeing is how unpredictable it can be. I've got three colors- Mermaid Dream, Palomino Gold, and Kingfisher Blue. The dye powder is concentrated and looks very dark, so it's impossible to tell what they will look like on the fabric, or how they'll blend together. Some dyes even fragment into their component colors, so there can be traces of colors you'd never expect to see.

I bought a 10-pound bag of ice, and used almost all of it to cover the fabric pieces. Now that fabric pieces are under the ice, it's even more of a surprise as to where the dye colors will wind up. As you can see in the first photo, I applied the liquid dye solution in bands across the ice. Now the whole shebang is covered with the plastic bag to "batch" for 24 hours- no peeking. I will say that when rinsing out the dye bottles, the Palomino Gold looked way more rusty-orange than I anticipated. So I'm a little concerned that using it with blue may be a regrettable choice. I was expecting it to be more yellow. I'll show you the results anyway. If they're not good, we'll all learn something! So we wait. 

Meantime, I can share some of the results from our Pennsylvania dyeing day. It amazes me how differently the pieces turn out based on how they are folded, where they were positioned when the dye was applied, and how much of a resist was used. All of these examples are PFD (prepared for dyeing) cotton done with the same three colors. In this case, the colors are Forest Green, Celadon, and Kingfisher Blue (all from Dharma Trading). 

Same dye colors, but look at the difference in intensity.

And this one- did I mention gray? No. That's because we didn't use any. And yet one of the dyes must have had gray as a component because here it is.

And this- Forest Green apparently has some yellow as a component. Some dyes are sold as pure colors and will not fragment into other colors. We didn't use any of them. The oohing and ahhing as each piece is revealed is part of the fun of ice-dyeing. I hope we'll be oohing and ahhing over my current batch. That Palomino Gold has me worried. Stay tuned!