Monday, November 11, 2019

52 Weeks of Play: Weeks 29-32

Week 29: Meditative Stitching

Last month I was able to get away for a few days with my husband to Chincoteague VA. I am fortunate to be able to do this a few times a year but I  especially love going there in the off-season. Nothing beats the quiet morning view. Meditative stitching is the perfect activity for when you are on a trip. With your daily demands at home, vacation allows you to focus on what is most important. Slow stitching keeps your intentions on what you are creating. I stitched my gratitude for the quiet mornings.

Week 30:  Paper Fabric

It has been a long time since I made paper fabric and I was anxious to take a week of play to try it again! Basically you create a thinned down glue and use it to adhere light weight papers such as tissue and napkin layers to fabric. You can basically create your own designed fabric!

Week 31: Reversible Knitting

Because I have to be the BEST aunt ever, when my 6 year old nephew asked me to knit him a scarf, I could not possibly say no! And could I just make a scarf? Of course not, I had to make a super cool reversible color worked dinosaur scarf! So I had to learn how to do reversible knitting. Stay tuned for the color work which will eventually be a future week of play!

Week 32: Shibori

One of my favorite weeks of play! I love Shibori so much and was excited to host Margaret Hluch's Shibori Workshop yesterday.  We spent six hours practicing the various techniques of this Japanese thread resist. I love the pieces I left with!

Thursday, October 17, 2019

52 Weeks of Play: Weeks 25-28

Week 25: Watercolors

This week I enjoyed taking a class with Martina Sestakova where we did watercolor collages. It inspired me and when I got home I played around a little more and even added some water soluable crayons and doodles to the watercolors.

Week 26: Mosaics

Mosaics are always so appealing. You can really add anything you want to a mosaic and it will just make it look even better! The flow of just picking and placing without much forethought to the outcome is very freeing.

Week 27: Doodles

Back to my art journal again! I used my time this week to take the most basic supply- a black sharpie marker to just doodle. I used the silkscreen print that was on a ribbon I had glued on the page as inspiration. I simply embellished the shapes with a gold sharpie marker. It just goes to show- you don't need anything special to have a quick art date with yourself and the happiness it brings you is immeasurable!

Week 28: Refashioning

The powerful documentary, The True Cost, shows the very dark side of the fashion industry and the true cost of fast fashion. Since seeing this film, I have been even more conscious of my part in all of this. I have made an effort to make more intentional purchases and buy less. I have been adding to my handmade wardrobe instead. In addition, I have looked hard at pieces that I own to see if there were ways to make them into pieces that I will wear more. I turned an extra denim jacket that was just hanging in my closet unworn into a more fun jacket that I am enjoying wearing.

I also finished this piece, Listen, over the past few weeks.

You might recognize some of the elements from past "play" weeks (reverse applique, embroidery and painted fabric) This is what I love about this challenge of experimentation- it just opens up a larger tool box to choose from!

Sunday, September 15, 2019

52 Weeks of Play: Weeks 21-24

Week 21: Charity Art

I participate in an annual charity art event every year at The Muse where I create for a good cause. This year the money raised will go to The Buddy Project, an organization that includes Autism advocacy and awareness.  I did a collage that included painting and some of my water soluable sewing.

Week 22: Papermaking

My good friend Courtney Prahl invited me into the studio to try papermaking! We made bookmarks for our charity event, Lend a Hand. It has always been something I wanted to try and it was fun to try it out with a friend.

Week 23: Magnets

Using scraps from some old paintings that I had done, I made magnets! I had a lot of old abstract paintings that I had done that I didn't like as a whole but liked parts of them. Turning them into magnets made them useful and mini art pieces.

Week 24: Rust Dyeing

Everytime I see a rusty object on the ground, I pick it up. I have been collecting rusty pieces to do rust dyeing for a long time. I finally gave it a try and really liked the results. Like with every new technique, I will know better for the next time how to get more of the effects that I am looking for. 

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.