An Artist's Quest

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Flower to Fabric to Family Heirloom

On the left are the poppies in my yard and the fabric they inspired. On the left is the chair I reupholstered.

On the left are the poppies in my yard and the fabric they inspired. On the right is the chair I reupholstered.

In late spring the red poppies in my yard were in full bloom. Every couple of days I would take a picture of a bloom or two on my iPhone. When I scrolled through my phone photo file later, it seemed to me these photos would make a great fabric print. I cropped and manipulated about twenty close-up poppy photos and created a grid of poppies. Then using the PS touch and Waterlogue apps in my iPad I got this great, brilliant watercolor bleed effect. I up-loaded my image and had the pattern printed at Spoonflower on canvas weight fabric. Just recently I recovered this old craftsman chair that sat in my grandparents house when I was a kid. It’s lovely to have a bit of family history and my own fabric flare all rolled up in one living room chair. I’ve got to say I love how the digital age has expanded all the ways to manifest creativity – and can’t wait to see what’s next, what new ways to combine technology, creativity and craft!

You can buy this fabric and all my designs by the yard at http://www.spoonflower.com/profiles/lisathorpe. Spoonflower has a wonderful array of fabric they print on from delicate Silk Crepe de Chine to hearty Eco Canvas and everything in between. Check it out!

Life’s Layers

Communing I made this last weekend during my Encaustic collage workshop- Sandwiching papers, silk organza and spray paint between layers of encaustic wax.

I made this last weekend during my Encaustic collage workshop. Sandwiching papers, silk organza and spray paint between layers of encaustic wax.

Life is a complicated thing – when some things are revealed others are hidden.  We are never in a place where we can see, feel, know, understand it all.  I am no exception, the future is unclear, the past is up for interpretation, and NOW, well now can seem like so much fog – tangible and real but not meant to be held or contained.  In an effort to be more in the now I’ve taken on a few personal challenges.  These are tidbits of advice gleaned from a facebook posts here and podcast there – no guru formula – just my own way of sorting my priorities – my own daily check list of things to make my life more grounded in today, to keep my body, mind and soul healthy.  Last fall my husband and I started an early morning exercise regime that I have been mostly faithful to along with some diet changes.  Those have been good for my body and now I’m ready to take my daily commitment to the next layer- mind and soul.  I’m trying to make a meditation practice happen, a friend was visiting recently and asked if I walked that labyrinth here at the Ranch regularly- the answer was no but then I thought why not?  So last week after exercising I walked over and took my shoes off and slowly walked to the center and out again- aware of the path on my bare feet, the breeze, the birds it was lovely, a simple passage to NOW.  My other new daily resolution is to commit a random act of kindness at least once a day.  These are simple things, holding a door, offering to take someones shopping cart to the holding pen in the parking lot, holding a women’s bike while she wrestles her child into the baby seat …. what ever it might be it forces me to be aware of the moment to be enough in the now to respond to what is around me and to offer the simple kindness of noticing, helping.

Here is my little list that I am trying to do most days:

  • Exercise
  • Eat right (you know what I mean)
  • Get enough sleep
  • Meditate
  • Commit at least one random act of kindness a day

That’s it- seems simple enough right?  Let me know what’s working for you!

Detail of layers

Detail of layers

Teaching & Learning

FEATHER- Encaustic Collage- paper, spray paint, silk organza, and encaustic medium

FEATHER- Encaustic Collage- paper, spray paint, silk organza, and encaustic medium

I taught and encaustic collage workshop this weekend and because it was a small group I was able to set up a work station and do some creating also!  And because it was a small group I decided to share with them an encaustic technique that I’ve been exploring that combines paper collage and the encaustic wax with the spray paint techniques I’ve been using with fabric. It was a lot of techniques for them to wade through but they had the time and space of the whole weekend and the lovely, supportive hospitality of the Ranch to allow them to create and explore.  One of my students has worked extensively with encaustic but not so much with collage and she shared some techniques and tools she has picked up along the way, including using silk in her pieces.  I was inspired by what she had done and got out some silk organza I had stenciled a few weeks ago. It acts a bit like tissue paper would be gives a different texture that is lovely.

SEEK- Encaustic Collage- paper, spray paint, silk organza, and encaustic medium

SEEK- Encaustic Collage- paper, spray paint, silk organza, and encaustic medium

Combining the collage techniques with the stencils spray paint on the encaustic creates an amazing effect. Each thin application of wax is a distinct layer.  In these examples I have both spray painted and glued papers to the base wood, then applied a layer of encaustic wax – stenciled pattern with spray paint on that then add tissue paper or silk organza that had stenciled patterns and images.  All these thin layers of pattern and color creates a piece full of depth and intrigue.

I hope to play around with all these mediums more this summer, combining and sharing what I know and gathering new ideas from others willing to share.

MEANING- Encaustic Collage- paper, spray paint, silk organza, and encaustic medium

MEANING- Encaustic Collage- paper, spray paint, silk organza, and encaustic medium

I will share more from the workshop later in the week – I have put these little beauties up for sale on my Etsy shop for under $50- hope you’ll check them out! NEW WORK

Inspirational Mini Quilts to Mail: When words are hard to find

Here are a few of the cards I made

Here are a few of the cards I made

About a month ago I shared a series of peace quilts I’d made. With the scraps from the fabric that I had created I made some 5×7 mini quilts that I stitched to card stock and made into mini quilt cards. I stashed the cards away in a box ready to send. I found myself reaching into that box numerous times this month, two dear friends had close family or friends pass away this month, another friend is going through chemo treatment. Sometimes it’s hard to find the right words to send to a friend in need and what is most important is to just let them know they are in your thoughts. I found these cards hit the right note. They are a little piece of me- my art and my heart.

I recently created more fabric using my new favorite medium, Tint It spray with stencils.  I sprayed on linen, organza and tulle(left). Then cut it up into 5x7 inch blocks to create the cards.

I recently created more fabric using my new favorite medium, Tint It spray with stencils. I sprayed on linen, organza and tulle(left). Then cut it up into 5×7 inch blocks to create the cards (right).

I used so many that I made a whole stack this week to have at the ready to express my affection and concern and hopefully give a little bit of inspiration to someone I love.

What Price ART? My eternal struggle with what is the value of my art….

Art Quilt from the Peace Series (for sale now at my Etsy shop)

Art Quilt from the Peace Series (for sale now at my Etsy shop)

I have always had trouble assigning a price to my art. I believe strongly that art should be a part of everyone’s life that why long ago I framed the following “the why cheap art manifesto” that my sister gave me decades ago:

213.what price art

I’m sharing this because I have always struggled with what price to charge for my art. On the one hand I want the art to be accessible to lots of people and on the other hand I want to feel like my time and skill are being duly valued. Some people have said I don’t charge enough for my art but I want people to have it- If I make it and it just sits in a box under my bed then what’s the point!? So I have come up with a formula that feels ok to me. I loosely keep track of my time per piece then price the art the same way I would price a free lance graphic design or art teaching seminar, by the hour this seems fair to me, it values my time and it the price reasonable (I hope). So now I would like to introduce my Etsy Shop where I have my art quilts from the most recent “Peace” series to others I think you will recognize from the blog. I hope you will check it out! Thanks for your support and pass this link on to others you think might like my work.

Detail for

Detail for “Peace Be With You” art quilt

Peace Be With You…. continued

Peace Be Upon Us All- mixed media quilt-

Peace Be Upon Us All- mixed media quilt-

In my last post I shared with you some of the pieces I did inspired by the phrase “peace be with you”. As the week went on that became something of a mantra. I kept cutting and stitching and reflecting the idea in different ways, until a series emerged. Some time while I was working the Sheryl Crow song, “Peace Be Upon Us” kept tunneling through my brain not so much an ear worm as is sometimes the case when songs won’t leave you alone, no this song wove itself into my Peace series lifting and lilting like a hawk on an up draft. I found myself humming at my sewing machine making my efforts into something of a meditation on peace as well as a creative endeavor. I want you to get a sense of my mental space so click this link to get this lovely addiction wandering in your brain too! PEACE BE UPON US ALL – Sheryl Crow listen to the whole song I think you might me humming this through your week – and if your going to have a song stuck in your head well, I think one about peace is a good way to go.

detail of quilt- The concentric circle stitch was inspired by watching the baby ducklings swim in the pond here at The Bishop's Ranch!

detail of quilt- The concentric circle stitch was inspired by watching the baby ducklings swim in the pond here at The Bishop’s Ranch!

I’ve got a few more pieces to show you from this series- I want to spread the peace around a little bit!

PEACE BE WITH YOU

Peace Be With You mixed media quilt

Peace Be With You
mixed media quilt

PEACE be with you….peace BE with you….BE peace….peace be with YOU….this phrase with all it’s possible inflections has been rolling around my head since last Sunday when I went to our regular episcopal church service here at The Bishop’s Ranch. As is the custom of this service there were several readings and then the congregation can share thier reflections. There are a lot of wise and wonderful people who come regularly to the service so I almost always get a little gem to take home with me to reflect on. Last weeks readings talked about Jesus coming to the disciples walking with them, eating with them and talking with them. These are the same guys who just a few weeks before had betrayed and abandon Jesus in his darkest hour. Pat Moore, the Ranch chaplain, reflected on the fact that in each encounter with these scardy-cat disciples Jesus says “Peace be with you”. No anger or accusation, no demand for repenting or apology just “Peace be with you”.   And if you really think about that simple phase there is a lot packed in. It seems to me to be a universal message, no matter ones religious affiliation or lack there of. If we can find peace in our mind, our life, our relationships and if we can truly greet one another with an expression of peace in our hearts, well I think the world would be a better place. So as I left church with that refrain reframed in my mind I went down to my studio and got busy. I spread out some muslin and organza and tulle outside on some tables. I pulled out some stencils and stamps; spray paint and inks and began creating with peace in my heart and nothing but experimenting in my mind. Later that afternoon I had the opportunity to join a quilting group that was here for the week and although my to-do list told me you can’t – my peace filled heart said follow this thread. So I cut up my fabric into panels and with great abandon began quilting these small wall hangings. It was so wonderful to work with no plan, no agenda just tugging on the thread of peace that I had be given to see where it took me.   It took me quite far – today here are two of the pieces I made this week. I’ll share more of what I did in future posts. PEACE BE – BE PEACE

Peace Be mixed media quilt

Peace Be
mixed media quilt

Peace Be With You detail- muslin and organza spay painted with Tint-It paint through stencils, stamped and stichted

Peace Be With You
detail- muslin and organza spay painted with Tint-It paint through stencils, stamped and stitched

Peace Be detail- muslin and organza spay painted with Tint-It paint through stencils, stamped and sticted

Peace Be
detail- muslin and organza spay painted with Tint-It paint through stencils, stamped and stitched

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