Thursday, August 15, 2019

52 Weeks of Play: Weeks 17-20

Week 17: Paper Stitching (with cutouts)

Inspired by the work of Ines Seidel, I wanted to try out her technique of stitching paper and removing pieces. Since I love to work in layers, I think I will find a way to incorporate this in my own style for future projects.

Week 18: Tag Art

I made these for my DIY column in the newspaper. It was really fun because you are limited with space and you can quickly complete a mini piece of art all on its own. There is something about the low risk factor of mini art that allows for play.

Week 19: Lace Knitting

On vacation I had lots of time to knit in a beautiful setting! While I have done some easy lace knitting before, this pattern was much more challenging. I feel really good that I was able to get through it!

Week 20: Reverse Applique

I created a textured "stone layer" in week 15 for a larger piece of art I am working on. This week I layered it under my quilt and cut away the top fabric to reveal the stone layer using a method called reverse applique. Cutting into the piece was a bit scary because I was afraid to ruin it but I like the way it turned out.

I had a lot of fun the last several weeks and have some ideas of new things I want to tackle in the next few weeks of play.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

52 Weeks of Play: Weeks 13-16

There has been a wide variety of Play happening these past four weeks, Some was work play (like the glue batik that I did for my monthly column), some was for a social activism project and then there was play for my own personal fun. Regardless of the reason, I enjoyed all of it!

Week 13: Glue Batik

I have always wanted to try this technique! I definitely would do a few things differently the next time I do it, like using wider lines of glue but I thought it was fun and I liked the results! 

Week 14: Craftivism

I have always loved using craft in creative ways to make a difference. In my own art, I believe that I am always driven to create art that expresses a social statement...sometimes that statement is a personal one and sometimes it is on a macro scale. Several months ago I heard about the Tiny Pricks Project and knew I needed to participate. It gave me a tactile way of dealing with things that are going on in our country in my own way. If you are curious about this project, you can find more information about it here.

Week 15: Painting Over a Quilted Surface

Linda and Laura Kemshall are two quilt artists who I have always admired. In their book, The Painted Quilt, they show how to add color and dimension to quilted fabric. I wanted to give it a try. First I quilted the fabric and then used a brayer to roll paint over the top. I was going for a cobblestone look and I am really pleased with the results!

Week 16: Mixed Media

More art journal play! This past Sunday I was able to spend three hours in an art journal workshop with Courtney Prahl. It was fun to share supplies and try out new ideas!

Thursday, June 20, 2019

52 Weeks of Play: Weeks 9-12

These last few weeks have been filled with play. After the project focused week 9, I got more into the flow of creation for the last three weeks. Allowing myself this time has been so good for my soul. More reminders that it is process over project that allow for the healing effects of art to come through.

Week 9: Garment Sewing

Okay, this week was more about the project. Even though it was not hard to make, it wasn't really play.  I have to admit though, I sure do like the outcome!

Week 10: Natural Dyeing

Margaret Hluch led an all day long Natural Dye workshop through The Muse. This whole day was amazing. I got lost in the process without attachment to the outcome. We played with clamping, shibori and painting. You can see more about the class on the Muse website, here.

Week 11: Applique

I really love applique. This was definitely something I wanted to play with during my 52 weeks. There is something so relaxing about using the needle to turn under the edges and find that sweet spot pocket to glide your needle through.....

Week 12: Gelatos on Fabric

Artist and friend, Colleen Attara introduced me to Faber Castell Gelatos in an art journal class that I took with her. I was hooked immediately and ordered a starter set that very night. Fast forward three years, I now have the large set and have found so many uses for them including painting them on fabric.

Besides my "play" projects, I have also spent more time knitting. I try to find at least a little time in almost every day to do some knitting. I crave the relaxing rhythm of the stitch and the click of the needles. I can feel it in myself that this creative time has been so restorative. Art is definitely my happy place.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

52 Weeks of Play: Weeks 5-8

Week 5: Continental Knitting

Knitting has become a major passion of mine in the last two years. My dear friend Laura taught me and I am obsessed! The problem is, I want to knit ALL of the things but my pace is not helping me with this goal. Obviously I have so many passions that it is hard to find enough time for all of them which is part of the problem but I'm also a slow knitter! On one hand, I don't mind being slow because I really do enjoy the rhythm of the stitch, however, I wanted to give continental knitting a try because it is supposed to be a faster way of knitting.

On a recent bus ride to NYC, I brought a practice project and some yarn and spent the entire ride practicing the continental style of knitting. I feel like I got a good handle on it however I know that my gauge was loose. I did enjoy the change and it was fun but I think for now I will keep with my slow but steady predictable pace of regular English style knitting.

Week 6: Encaustics

I spent a Sunday afternoon crafting with Margaret Hluch during an Encaustics workshop!

Week 7: Art Journal

Nothing gets you into a state of flow faster than art journaling. I turn off my brain, grab whatever strikes me and put it in my journal. Later I look at it and add to it with collage, stamping or words. I just keep going until I get something I love. Pure art therapy right there.

Week 8: Decoupage

I remember my mom crafting back in the very early 80s. Two things that really stick out in my memory are woodburned keyrings and napkin decoupage. Specifically, she used beautiful napkins to embellish candles and create decorative soaps. I remember being fascinated by how the airy top layer of the napkin just soaked into whatever it was adhered to. I tried the same technique on a glass vase.

If I am being totally honest in my reflection of the last four weeks, I feel like a lot of my "play" was project based. Its hard to turn off my never ending list of projects that I want to try to make. Even thinking ahead to various weeks, I feel like I am trying to incorporate this project into something on my project to-do list. Currently I am in week 9 and I am doing garment sewing. It does not feel as much like play to me. The art journal was pure was the most rewarding and the most therapeutic to my soul. Going forward I am going to try to do more of that and worry less about completing projects....even if that just means my result is a little sample. Its hard to fight our own nature! It's hard to resist the urge to multitask or check a box off the to-do list but that is exactly why I chose this challenge. I want to explore and play!

Thursday, May 9, 2019

52 Weeks of Play: Weeks 1-4

Week 1: Water Soluable Fabric

I have always been curious about water soluable fabric after seeing the work of Amanda McCavour. Amanda creates environments with her thread painted installations that are breathtaking and all encompassing. See her work here.  I have tried the technique in the past with no success but I decided to give it another try! By experimenting, I learned some tricks and was happy with the results! I think I will come back to this again in the future!

Week 2: Freestyle Embroidery

Since I was working on a piece for a collaboration project that had a deadline, I decided to incorporate my "play" into my piece. I used embroidery to free draw flowers into the piece. The flowers were not pre-drawn so  I just trusted my stitches.

Week 3: Abstract Painting

I am definitely not a painter but I love working with painted backgrounds.  I have been playing with abstract painting to create some interesting bases for collage and stitch. Some have turned out better than others, these are a few of my favorites so far...

Week 4: Gel Plate Image Transfers

I love playing with Gelli Plates to make monoprints but I had recently seen artists using their plate to create image transfers! I decided to try it out for myself. While I had some success with it, I think it will take more experimenting. There are a lot of factors which can affect the outcome such as the best image to use, the amount of paint on your plate, rubbing pressure and the surface you are transferring to. Since I like to work with fabric, I was trying various fabrics and all of the artists I had seen use this technique were working with paper.

It has been a fun first few weeks but I need to remind myself that the goal is play. The goal is not finished results. Since my last year long challenge was all about creating a finished piece each week, I need to remember that the focus this year is process. To try new things, to explore things more fully. My true reward from this year is hopefully adding new skills to my arsenal to pull from when a piece I am working on needs it.

Monday, April 1, 2019

52 Weeks of Play

It has been over a year since I completed my 52 Collage Project. After I finished up with the year-long challenge, I thought about starting another challenge for myself but I needed to take a break. Not very long into last year, I realized I missed it. I missed the self imposed discipline of a weekly challenge. I started to dream up new challenge ideas...

Coming up with new year-long challenges were not hard for me. My creative brain mixed with my regimented habit personality loved this kind of brainstorm! I had a whole list of ideas to choose from but the holidays came and I got tired. And my new challenge idea fell by the wayside. Anyone in retail can especially identify with the pure exhaustion that comes with the end of the year. Heck, anyone who isnt even in retail can identify!

Due to my "Upholder" personality, (a personality type coined by Gretchen Rubin's 4 Tendencies Personality Types of which I am 100% a perfect match for), I had a hard time starting a year long challenge when it was not January 1st. I'm such a creature of habit that I felt that I needed to wait until New Year's to start a year-long challenge. I've decided I am going to go against my nature and start one now. Last week's blog post on the importance on art without expectation reminded me of a challenge idea that had been brewing in my mind since my project brainstorming session.

52 weeks of play. A year of play. For the next 52 weeks, I will create art for the sake of PLAY.  Unlike my last project where I ended up with 52 completed compositions, this time I will not end up with finished pieces or projects.

This year I plan to:
- try out supplies that I have always been curious about
- delve deeper into a technique that I have not fully explored
- take classes to play with art
-doodle, paint, stitch, knit, yo yo, print and create my heart out in whatever direction it leads me!

My only criteria is that I spend a minimum of a few hours each week on a technique that is different from week to week.

Follow along or join in! I will be posting my journey on instagram @the_meditative_stitcher and  #52weeksofplay and will update my progress here on the blog. Remember to have fun- that's what it's all about!

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Art Without Expectations

The very reason that I love art journaling is the exact same reason that I had no interest in doing it in the first place. I thought, if you can't hang it or wear it, what was the point of it? With limited time to make art, I thought doing something so frivolous as creating art that no one would see was a waste of time. It's not that I never "played" in the art studio but usually in the back of my mind I knew that some day the piece I was playing with could be over-dyed, collaged, or used as a background for my "real" art. 

A few years ago, my perspective changed when I met Colleen Attara. I bought myself a birthday gift of an art retreat which turned out to be a life changing experience for me in many ways. I wrote a blog post on it here.  One of the most amazing experiences was taking Colleen's class. Through her stories of how this form of art transformed her life and how it helped her deal with difficult experiences, I could see how it could help my own life. As I spent the day playing with transfers, paints, inks, ephemera, typewriters and sewing machines I got lost in the process of play. I was completely free to make mistakes and create without fear which was exactly what i needed. 

Last month for my mom's birthday, I took her to Colleen's cottage art studio in Yardley PA. I wanted to share with her what had been so important for me. Spending the day with my mom and watching her learn new techniques along side of me was a gift. The day could not have been more perfect and one that I will always treasure. 

And now as I am in between projects, it is my art journal that I go to when I need to clear my head and work things out. I know my body needs to create to find peace and this kind of no-expectation art is exactly what I need.