Sunday, June 29, 2014

Stitching Some Smalls….


A box full of batik scraps, a drawer full of fibers and beads, and a yen to sew something small yielded several new book covers. The pattern pieces are simple- just freezer paper cut along two gentle curves, pressed onto fabric, cut out with a slim seam allowance, and put back together on a batting base. Then comes the fun part, quilting and embellishing. I plan to keep one, and donate the others to an organization for a fundraiser.


One challenge I find in embellishing the seamlines with yarn is how to attach it in order to keep the fuzzy fibers loose. I wanted to couch it down by machine, but no matter how I adjust the stitch, the yarn just winds up looking restrained like it's been placed in a straight jacket. So I decided to just couch the yarns by hand. The seams are not so long that it's tedious, and I much prefer the free-flowing look of those loose fibers.


This may be the book cover I’ll keep. I like the rusty tones and discovered some great beads in my collection to enhance it. I also used bobbin stitching to quilt the metallic thread in the lower section. By the way, I photographed these on some “under paper”. That’s the newsprint placed under painting projects to blot, roll off a brayer, or off-print a stamp. I learned about it in mixed-media classes with Roben-Marie Smith, and I’ve gotten so I’m as happy with the under paper as I am with some of the projects! More about that in an upcoming post.


This little sunflower piece was a sample made in an applique class some years ago. What do you do with those sample bits? They’re too pretty to throw away, and yet too small to do much with. So this one found a home in a book cover. At least it’s out of the storage drawer!


This weekend I had a chance to visit the local Appleton Museum to see an exhibit of woven tapestries (astonishing colors, detail, and expressiveness in some very large pieces). One well-know weaver had a quote which said “Tapestry- the dream we hang on our walls.” I was not able to take photos of any of the hangings, but if you look for Appleton Museum on Facebook, their photo gallery shows most of the pieces. Another exhibit is also on display until next weekend. It’s called “Industrial Nature: Work by Michelle Stitzein”. I took these pictures from the promotional postcard and brochure to give you just an idea of the display pieces. The butterflies are created from found objects like sink strainers, piano keys, computer mice, gas caps, pipe fittings, license plates, you name it! And the second photo is a very large piece fashioned from hoses and cables. I just cannot imagine the storage issues she faces to have her materials at the ready! And I think my workroom is bad. But the pieces were just fascinating. Take a look here for some better images of her amazing work, if you like recycling in art.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Paper Prodigiousness…


I’ve been on a paper tear for a couple of weeks now. That means little sewing and lots of messy paints, stamps, glue, and inks. It’s great fun. First I put a toe in the water of an online art journal project called The Documented Life. Each week participants create a spread in a book that's part daily minder and part art journal. Spreads are based on prompts provided by the organizers. One of them was to include an image of my front door which is where I began. The group is on week 22, I’m on week one. But we all start somewhere, right? It’s exciting to give this a whirl. We’ll see where it goes.


And I can hardly watch a YouTube video on paper projects without grabbing some paper and giving the technique a try. That’s how I wound up with these two fancy-fied pocket envelopes. They began with a 12” square of two-sided scrapbook paper. They’re embellished with tiny flowers, jewels, press-ons, and ribbons.


Next I dove into making various collage-style envelopes and portfolios. Some have machine stitching on them, so they count as a sewing project in my book.


And finally, I made a Lollapalooza Journal in an online class with artist Martha Lever. I decided to use it for notes from another online class with Bible teacher Beth Moore. Martha’s project really made a dent in my ribbon and fiber collection as the spiral binding got finished off with all manner of ties. I must say I’ve never met a journal I didn’t like, so am amassing quite a nice collection of handmade ones. I tend not to write in them much however. Need to work on that. Paper projects create as many, if not more, scraps as quilting does, so I’m knee deep in scraps. Happily so, though!