An Artist's Quest

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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.

A Stitch’n Week

Quilter, friend and blog follower doing some hand work - A long shot of the Pavilion with machines and fabric everywhere!

Quilter, friend and blog follower doing some hand work – A long shot of the Pavilion with machines and fabric everywhere!

I spent the last 5 days stitching till I dropped. The Bishop’s Ranch hosted it’s 4th annual Quilt Retreat and the place was packed with sewing machines, fabric, thread, creativity and inspiration. The retreat is designed so folks come and work on any project they want there aren’t any instructors or product pitches each person does their own thing if you want input there are lots of skilled women to give their two cents worth but if you just want to stitch and do your thing no one tells you you’re doing it wrong. For the 3rd year in a row my mom came to sew, she worked on a quilt top of beautiful batiks I of course brought a huge stack of things to work on. Those of you who have followed my blog for a while may have seen some of these images. In the last year I have had the chance to fly an number of times and started taking photos out the window at take off then I spend the flight drawing the aerial view using the Brushes app on my iPad. These I had printed on lovely cotton Sateen at Spoonflower.com, then I stitched and stitched and stitched……they are about 30×40 inches and I think they look great. I need to block them, all that stitching made them a little warped an wonkie (if any one has some tips on blocking please, please share!) When I have them flattened out I’ll trim and bind and make them ready to hang. I have about 4 more aerial images I plan to have printed up large….maybe even bigger I’d love to show them somewhere so if any of you have ideas on that too let me know. I’ll post some pics when I have them all done. I’m so glad I gathered with all these wonderful women for the week and got a surge of stitch’n energy!

Aerial View of Alexander Valley - Close-up of stitching

Aerial View of Alexander Valley – Close-up of stitching

Aerial View of Willamette Valley - Close-up of stitching

Aerial View of Willamette Valley – Close-up of stitching

Aerial View of Salt Flats in SF Bay - Close-up of stitching

Aerial View of Salt Flats in SF Bay – Close-up of stitching

Seizing a Golden Moment!

Driving across the Golden Gate Bridge yesterday I snapped this golden pics!

Driving across the Golden Gate Bridge yesterday I snapped this golden pics!

Yesterday afternoon I was lucky to be in the passenger seat crossing the Golden Gate Bridge, the sky was blue the bridge was orange and my phone was in my hand. I turned the camera on as we pulled out of the tunnel on the north end and started snapping. I wasn’t sure why – but once again I was trying to put myself in the way of beauty, in this case, to acknowledge the moment and capture it too! Today I opened the photos up and played with them in several photo manipulation apps (If you’re interested I ran the photos through Photoshop for iPad, Photo Toaster and Snap Seed). I love the power to capture and then manipulate a moment all right there in the palm of my hand! I already uploaded this montage to Spoonflower fabric printing service and my fabric will be in my hands in a few weeks…..I promise to post after I sew a fabulous dress or bag or whatever this fabric becomes!

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