Saturday, July 24, 2010

Some block printing....

So, over the past couple of weeks, I have begun block-printing. This is a craft which I have never tried before, but due to my love of fabrics, I felt that it would be appropriate for me to have some hands-on design experience. I began by reading up on block-printing and the various techniques and ways of doing it, including the type of inks that work best for textiles, the best block for carving, and the best way to heat-set fabric to keep the inks from washing out. Once I felt confident, I put together some sketches, ordered some supplies (from Blick), and got down to it! I sketched my design onto a rubber block, carved it out, and then I used a yard of basic cotton, teal-colored fabric and a Versatex brand ink in the color "Rubine" which is a very pretty reddish-pink. The results were a lot better than I expected, especially for my first time, and I have to say that I really enjoy the process of block-printing. There is a lot of preparation involved, such as washing, drying, and ironing all fabrics, then sketching and carving the blocks, applying the ink, letting it "cure", heat-setting, and washing, drying and ironing all over again. Although it is a long road to get to your final result, I find a strange comfort in the process itself and of course it is always great to see a finished product that you know you have put a lot of time into. Here are some pictures of my first block printing experience....more to come soon!!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Oh my goodness!!

I have not posted in forever, but while it's true to say that I have been busy with work, it is also true to say that I have scrounged up enough time to churn out a project or two over the past few weeks. Although I enjoy dabbling in the world of mixed-media and sculpture....something inside of me becomes much more fulfilled when I create pieces that are functional. Now, I'm not going to sit here and dive into another one of my Art vs. Craft rants/streams of consciousness, but I will say that I feel much more at peace with my work when it is something that can be used or worn. Perhaps it is the lack of need to explain or justify? Or perhaps I feel like my work has the ability to appeal to a broader audience? I am not sure...but I won't over-analyze this for once, I will just enjoy the feelings of accomplishment and creative release. Over the past week I have been working on a blouse, which I created using he Simplicity Pattern #3507 from their "Project Runway" line of patterns. Overall, I have enjoyed using this pattern, the "Project Runway" patterns give you quite a few options as far as sleeves, lengths, bodices, and other smaller details. I chose to shorten the fabric of the "skirt" thus creating a blouse as opposed to a dress. This is what I came up with....

The trickiest part of creating this was definitly the bodice. I have found that I always give myself way more room than I need to, which makes my garments a little bit too big on me. The fit doesn't bother me too much though, as I am always up for wearing comfortable and loose-fitting clothes. The pockets were made of a tapestry-fabric swatch that I picked up a couple of years ago, and had no idea what to do with it until now. I think I will re-do the pockets though, because they did not come out as sharply as I would have liked. Actually, looking at the top from this perspective makes me wonder if I even need the pockets at all? They are a good idea in theory, but now I am not so sure....I guess no project is ever quite finished, is it?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Snow Day

I have been thinking a lot lately about these beautiful, glass bottles that are scattered around my house. My mom often collects them for decoration, or more functionally as tiny vases to hold a flower or two. I have always been fascinated with container-like objects, beautiful jewelry boxes, old cigar boxes, tea-cups, pretty bowls, colored-glass bottles, perfume bottles, poison rings, lockets, cigarette cases, etc. There's something romantic about an object that contain precious and secret things. Opening a box of any kind, and finding an object; a scrap of old jewelry, a letter, a peice of paper with some arbitrary scribble, is like finding a hidden treasure and being "in" on something. I think that at some point in the future (hopefully sooner, rather than later) I would like to create an installation around beautiful containers of all sizes, and the pretty, dirty, ugly things that they can contain. Whether these "things" will be abstracted forms or real, purposeful objects, I am not sure, but either way I am excited to see where this goes and what shape it will take......

Below are two images of a piece I began working on last night called "Straight and Narrow", it's not finished yet, but as always I am continuing to enjoy the experiemtation of canvas fabric and white paint. Am I sick of it yet after nearly a year? No, I don't think so. Mostly because I keep thinking about it and what other possibilities will come out of my limited choice in materials. As for the title, I'm not quite sure where that came from. I suppose it just "seemed to fit". More pics when it's done, enjoy and be safe in this wintry weather!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Warm and Cozy

So, as some of you many know, I am not a fan of the Winter season. I have never been interested in skiing, snowboarding, throwing snowballs, and generally frolicking around in cold, wet stuff. I don't find the white, powdery precipitation to be particularly "beautiful", and I certainly don't enjoy scraping crusted snow and ice off of my windshield, or driving my car through barely plowed/salted roads. One thing I can agree on though, is that the Winter does provide me with plenty of opportunities to break out my favorite knitted and crocheted projects from years past, and it also gives me plenty of inspiration (and the need!) to create new and even better, cozy things.

This is a crocheted neck-warmer that I made a couple of weeks ago. I used a chunky cashmere-wool blend yarn and created it using a repeat of puff-stitches. I had begun the project with the intentions of making a full-size scarf, but I only had enough yarn to make a neck-warmer, so after finishing it off, I added two large, plastic black buttons to fasten the ends together. Overall I love the look of this, and the buttons seem to add that little "something extra".

This is my newest project. I have knitted a few things in the past here and there, but I never got a good grasp on it until recently when I took a few lessons and began to experiment with some stitches. I have always loved the way that knitted things come out, I find that there are a lot more options for creating lacey and intricate details when knitting, as opposed to crocheting. This is a scarf that I started and I am hoping to have it done within the next week or so, so I can give it to my Dad for his birthday. It is a basic basket-weave stitch and so far it seems to be turning out alright, but I have to admit that the repetetive nature of this stitch has started to become rather boring. I suppose it is great for practice though!

Wel, I hope you are all keeping warm in this frosty weather, check back for more updates soon!


Sunday, February 14, 2010

Talking Fog

This is my newest work, "Talking Fog". It is made of pre-stretched canvas, canvas fabric, white and black acrylic paint, yarn, and wax. When I started this piece, I created a bunch of little folded squares of canvas, and they were made to represent conversations, thoughts, and ideas...the story behind this is that thoughts, ideas, conversations, comments, etc. all leave some kind of impression on us. It may be good. bad, or indifferent, but an impression will be there, regardless. When I began to put everything together, I realized that there are many times when I have been in the company of people who are so busy talking and arguing and talking some more, that they can never seem to find it within themselves to just be quiet for a second and "listen". The act of constantly speaking and talking over others means that often times, you are missing out on the valid opinions and thoughts around you, as well as creating this convuluted "talking fog" that only leads to the mixing and jumbling of your intended words. I am not by any means saying that people should quiet themselves when they have something important, interesting, or responsive to add, but conversation is somewhat of an art. The speaking on your behalf, and the listening to the return of another person takes patience, and a good ear, and sometimes words aren't even always necessary.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Four-Corner Storm

That is the name....and these are some new pics of the piece that I finally finished. I have been working on this one for a few weeks now...well perhaps I can not really use the term "working", rather the fabric has been sitting around for a few weeks now, and after a trip to Blick on Thursday and a new supply of white paint, I decided to get out of my little rut and put everything together. So far, this mixed-media work contains canvas, white and black acrylic paint, and thick, cotton string. I really must say that I am pleased with the way it came out, because unlike other things that I have tried to complete in the past, this was completely free of any prior plans or sketches. I have learned over the years, that sketches are kind of pointless when it comes to most of my endeavors. For some reason I am the kind of person who feels the need to evaluate almost every option, and work towards some sort of unknown, eventual goal. Maybe that's why I have yet to develop any really solid career plans...hmmm. I am hoping now that I have stocked up on some supplies, that I will continue to create as much as possible within the next 2 months. I don't know why "2 months" seems like an appropriate amount of time, but hey, "it is what it is". Well, keep warm and be creative.


Friday, January 15, 2010


Well, it is safe to say that I have been very absent from my little blog here, and I have few other excuses than the usual "wow, the holidays really crept up on me!" or "I have been sooo busy with work/class/art, etc." But anyway, yes here I am again with something a little different than last time, but still similar in material. I have been creating these sort of "mini" pieces of fiber art out of the same canvas-like fabric that I purchased a while ago to use on my "Pocketful" series. I have been thinking a lot lately about memories and the way they affect us, even though they may have taken place long ago. The past year has given me many opportunties to think about who I am, what I want, and what past events have shaped me into the person I feel that I am right now. My range of emotions this year has included sadness, relief, confusion, joy, jealousy, and everything in between, good and bad. All of these things are what led me to believe that memories and emotions, specific times and places, should be treated as little keepsakes that we can carry around in order to remind us of how far we have come and how much more we still have to learn. These miniature pieces of work that I have been creating have come to be the tactile and visual representations of such memories and feelings. They are not created in order to be "released into the world" and "moved past" by me, but rather to be kept, held onto, and perhaps even appreciated by someone else someday, if I am lucky.