An Artist's Quest

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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

A Bright Idea for a Big Day!

Solar powered garden light I made for my Mom's Birthday

Solar powered garden light I made for my Mom’s Birthday

My mom turned 80 last week (I don’t think she’ll mind me telling you) and I wanted to make something special. Over the years I’ve made her all kinds of things for her birthday, paintings, drawings, clothing, quilts, ceramics you name it I’ve made it for my mom in fact some of my very first artistic endeavors where probably gifts to my mom. So when you are a maker and your mom is turning 80 the pressure is on to come up with something good! I saw some solar cells that where attached to mason jar lids and I thought this could be a great gift.

These are some smaller jelly jars I experimented on before making the gift ones

These are some smaller jelly jars I experimented on before making the gift ones

So I gathered up the materials I needed; the solar jar lids (found on etsy), jars, tape, paint pens and I tried both etching cream and frosted spray. After a bit of experimenting I decided to use the frosted spray instead of the etching cream, it gives good coverage and is easy to use as well as being less expensive. I made a simple mask with blue tape and sprayed the frosting on. When it dried I added color with paint pens. I made a hanging bale for it with wire and my blacksmithing husband made tall hooks to push into garden pots to hang these lovely little beauties.

I’m looking forward to seeming them scattered among the flowerpots on my parents deck and patio giving a bit of sun-powered cheer in the dark night.

My Mom on her birthday - she's always been a bright light for me!

My Mom on her birthday – she’s always been a bright light for me!

A Quick Show & Tell

Me wearing the dress I made from my Golden Gate fabric - with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background, too cool!

Me wearing the dress I made from my Golden Gate fabric – with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background, too cool!

When I shared this golden gate fabric with you in my 2/6/15 post I promised I would show you what I made so here’s me keeping my promise! I love my deliciously soft and comfortable cotton knit dress made from my GG bridge fabric I had printed at spoonflower.com. Wearing it on the hills of Marin Headlands overlooking the bridge itself just made me smile.

After my February post the editor of Quilting Arts contacted me about making something with this fabric for an upcoming magazine – I promise to share that article with you when the magazine comes out but I’ll let Quilting Arts do the big reveal on what I made for them!

Until next time be happy – put yourself in the path of something that makes you smile.

Waning and Waxing

"Seek Meaning" – experiments with new materials

“Seek Meaning” – experiments charcoal, alcohol ink

Today I had a rare day to go to my studio and just experiment. I’ve taught quite a few encaustic collage classes over the past couple of years but I have just played with the medium for a while. Today I pulled out some materials I haven’t used with encaustic before; alcohol ink, tint spray, stamp ink, charcoal, and tissue paper. On the first one I played with 4 panels using charcoal to make some marks then dripped and brushed alcohol ink and layered the encaustic wax with tissue paper and topped with a word transfer. The second piece I tried out a new spray paint called Tint It. It’s says it’s a dye spray good for wood, fabric, paper I thought I’d try it with encaustic wax. I laid down some stencil spray patterns the put a layer of encaustic wax. Then I painted on some alcohol inks, wax then more spray, I stamped letters with solvent inks and a final layer of wax.

"Sing" – experiment with tint it spray, alcohol ink and stamp ink

“Sing” – experiment with Tint It spray, alcohol ink and stamp ink

I really love how these turned out and it has inspired me to include these techniques and materials in my next Encaustic Exploration Weekend this June. It’s always good to shake things up a bit and break out of the tried and true. Maybe you can join me – June 20-21 follow this link to find out more – registration and information

Our Dyeing Day….we’ve got the blues

I spent the afternoon dyeing, yup nothing really artsy about this day just about making a change, taking something old and making it new.  Awhile ago my friend Sonia told me she wanted to dye her wedding dress blue, her 3oth wedding anniversary is coming around the bend and she really wants to wear that dress but she was having dreams of indigo.  I had a few things I  with stains that I still love so I thought indigo would be good for me too.  So for about 2 hours we talked and mixed and talked and stirred and talked some more.  A lovely way to wile away an afternoon and just shows that having the blues can sometimes be a good thing!

Sonia with her wedding dress is about to get the blues - indigo blue that is!

Sonia with her wedding dress is about to get the blues – indigo blue that is!

Sonia and the dress take the plunge.

Sonia and the dress take the plunge.

2 hours later we've got the blues and we are all smiles!

2 hours later we’ve got the blues and we are all smiles!

Plein Aire drawing with Twenty-six 1st graders!

1st graders on Plein Aire drawing field trip to historic Felta School House outside of Healdsburg, CA

1st graders on Plein Aire drawing field trip to historic Felta School House outside of Healdsburg, CA

I couldn’t pass up a quick post about my morning plein aire drawing with twenty-six first graders today. We walked down to the historic one room school house just down the lane from their school and with clip boards, pencils, pens and crayons. I did a little demo pointing out all the shapes they know and then set them loose (after taking away my demo of course). Here are some pics of them working and then a few examples of their work.

Siena 1st grade

Siena 1st grade

Eddie 1st grade

Eddie 1st grade

Alitha 1st grade

Alitha 1st grade

People, Pages, and Pantoums

A montage of some of this weekends partipants.

A montage of some of this weekends partipants.

I lead a great workshop this weekend here at The Bishop’s Ranch. It was a wonderful weaving of words and images, to create both visual and verbal poetry. I worked with writer and poet Laurie Glover, and we took turns guiding the group. I had laid out bins of papers, books, photos, cards all kinds of visuals I have gathered over the years. I had everyone choose between 15-20 pieces, I encouraged them not to judge or plan just pick up what ever they were drawn to and not question it. Then they edited those down to 10 things. Laurie then led them through the first stages of writing the poem using the images as the starting point. She had everyone write a list of ten simple lines jumping from the images such as “I am a cloud”, or “I am the grass” then the list was rewritten with a verb and again with an adjective and then a prepositional phase. We wrote our list of lines right on the white paper covering the table to keep it from being too precious. We circled favorite lines then Laurie led us in arranging them in the pantoum form. A pantoum is a form that originated in fifteenth century Malaysia and prescribes a certain order and repetition of lines. Intermingled in writing of the poem I guided people through making the collage pages using some of the images gathered, adding, pockets, and curtains and embellishments to make a rich visual to go with the rich writing. Each person emerged with a 4-8 page accordion book of collage pages with an accompanying pantoum poem. It turned out to be a wonderful almost magical process. It was lovely to see each person’s poem book emerge. Above are some of the fourteen people gathered in a creative flurry this weekend, below are some of the books and pages that emerged. I wish you could see them in person. We plan to offer it again so maybe you can come next time!

Just a small collection of the wonder works that emerged this weekend.

Just a small collection of the wonderful works that emerged this weekend.

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