24 March 2008

Beryl Taylor Workshop, Week Three -- Part Two

As I mentioned in the other Beryl Taylor Workshop post, I thought I'd try to do an "embedding and sandwiching" via my sewing machine. You can't really see the stitching in this picture, but I used free-motion stitching and just roamed all over the painted Pellon. There are thread snippets and fabric snippets stitched under a piece or sheer fabric ... organza maybe?

20 March 2008

Beryl Taylor Workshop, Week Three

Over at The Artist's Circle, some of us are doing a workshop based on the work of Beryl Taylor and her book, Mixed Media Explorations: Blending Paper, Fabric, and Establishment to Create Inspired Designs. This week was Embedding and Sandwiching (page 29, if you are following along). These pieces are done with Wonder Under and painted Pellon. The top photo is the painted Pellon with thread, fabric snippets and lace snippets fused together with the Wonder Under. The bottom photo is the same piece with a sheer burgundy fabric -- organza, perhaps? -- fused on top of the Wonder Under.

This was so much fun! From painting the Pellon to fusing on the snippets with the Wonder Under -- it was just every minute enjoyable!

08 March 2008

Art Journal Tutorial, Step One

So, I spent most of my evening working through Julie’s art journal tutorial over at The Land of Lost Luggage. It was a fun tutorial. If you’re into art journaling at all, head on over there. I know this doesn’t look like much, but this is my page at the end of Step One, which was basically gluing down bits of paper until you get something that pleases you. It’s all probably going to be covered up with paints and layers, but it gives some interesting color and texture to start with. Mine are miscellaneous scrapbook papers that I like and an entry (Trance) from an old encyclopedia.

Art Journal Tutorial, Step Two

This is Step Two, where the real fun begins. Out comes the paint brush! Read Julie’s blog entry for the details. I used a wash of Golden Fluid Acrylic in Quinacridone/Nickel Azo Gold, and then sponged on Lumiere in Halo Pink Gold. After that was dry, I dry brushed white paint on it. My next layer was a light, sporadic coat of Adirondack Lights Acrylic Paint Dabbers in Shell Pink. I didn’t dab it on, but unscrewed the lid and used a paint brush. I liked this, but thought it needed something, so I dotted it with Lumiere in Metallic Russet and sponged the dots in. That was a lot of work for that layer! I was impatient, so I used my blow dryer to dry each layer before going on to the next. So far, so good.

Art Journal Tutorial, Step Three

Step Three was a lot of fun, but frustrating too. I probably learned the most on this layer. For one thing, walnut ink doesn’t seem to “take” very well on top of Lumiere paints. I sprayed it on and blotted it off three or four times, and could see almost no difference. In fact, I used more walnut ink tonight that I’ve ever used, altogether! I also learned that I need white spray paint. The Primer Grey was really just too dark, and the whole spread just got darker and darker as I tried to deal with it. I like it, it just isn’t what I had in mind.

I used: walnut ink, Krylon Primer Grey spray paint, and Tattered Angels Glimmer Mist in Oriental Poppy. On top of that, I sponged some Lumiere in Halo Pink Gold, and then some dotted on some Lumiere in Metallic Russet and blended it with a sponge. I then sprayed the Oriental Poppy Glimmer Mist on top of that.

Art Journal Tutorial, Step Four

Okay, those of you who know me probably already guessed that Step Four was my least favorite step. I hate doodling. I just don’t have any confidence about it, because I’m not a doodler. I don’t even doodle when I’m on the phone. Because I don’t doodle, the temptation was to copy what Julie was doing, but I didn’t. I wanted to try her aged paper technique, so I did decide to put strips of text on my layout. I used the first few lines of an e.e. cummings poem (i thank You God for most this amazing). I didn’t have any white cardstock, so I used index stock; it worked fine. I also couldn’t find my glue pen, so I used my glue stick anyway. It seemed to work okay since I was careful. I tried Julie’s rubberstamping technique. I think it would have worked great if my surface had been anything other than Lumiere paints, or maybe if I’d have waited until tomorrow to try stamping. Even with my StazOn ink, the stamps didn’t want to make an impression. I had to really ink them up and press really hard to get even a faint impression.

Art Journal Tutorial, Step Five

For the journaling in Step Five, I used my ZIG Memory System calligraphy pen in Chocolate. I didn’t have the suggested Sharpie pen. Actually, I had one in white, and it didn’t really want to write on my page! I suspect the Lumiere paints again. Maybe if I’d let the page dry overnight before I started journaling, the ink would have reacted better with the page. I don’t know. As it is, I can read it, and that’s the important thing.

All in all, I’m pleased with the final result.

07 March 2008

The Last of the Mail ...

Here's the last of the art that came in the mail today. Aren't I lucky?

The first piece that comes to me is from Jackie; it is part of the "Junk Mail" lottery that was held on the Altered_stART Yahoo Group. The next two pictures, scans of corsets, are from Jessica O. I am hostessing a Corset Swap on Altered_stART, and these are her offerings. Aren't they great? It's a four-for-four swap, but Jessica sent me five corsets. I'm not sure yet why. Maybe one's for me? The last two pieces are from the Altered_stART "Junk Mail" lottery. They are a 4x4 from Pat and an ATC from Nancy/Daisie.

More Art in the Mail!

Wait! There's more!

The first two photos are goodies from Nancy/Daisie of Altered_StART. The top is an ATC that she sent me when she sent the amazing corsets for an upcoming swap that I am hosting on the Yahoo Group. The next two photos are from the same swap. They are Brenda's great corsets and the extra goodies she sent to me for hostessing. In the upper left hand corner of Brenda's goodies is a tag that she made, in addition to the various papers.

Aren't I lucky?

What A Mail Day!!!

Today I hit the bonus box, mail wise. There were over ten pieces of mail addressed to me! Nine of them were art related! Here are just some of the art related goodies that I received today:

The first is an ATC that is part of Lottery, with the theme "Junk Mail", on the Yahoo Group Altered_stART. This ATC comes from Francine, the group's owner.

The second and third photo are from Andrea in the UK. I am hosting a Corset Swap on Altered_stART. The third photo are Andrea's corset's. Aren't they yummy? I asked that overseas players send goodies instead of trying to deal with postal coupons and return postage. The second photo is the goodies that Andrea sent me. Wasn't she generous?

The last three photos are a piece of mail that come to me from Julie of The Land of Lost Luggage. Isn't the envie gorgeous? A piece of art in itself. The pink tab on the first photo of the envelope is just a post-it note to cover her return address. From Julie, I got the large-hole punchinella and the other goodies. I'm so excited. I have an envie of goodies -- just a plain white business sized envelope, sorry! -- to send to her tomorrow. I've seen mail art in magazines, but this is the first piece that I've actually received myself. It's so cool!

05 March 2008

Mixed Media Explorations, Week One, Step Three

My experiments are done. The final step was to attach my grids to a backing. Not really a necessary step, but one I wanted to take. I may try this again, now that I have a feel for the process. After all, I have the machine for a week.

Mixed Media Explorations, Week One, Step Two

Okay, I'm feeling better about my Mixed Media Explorations! I've washed the Solvy off of them, and they worked as promised. The grid structure held up on both pieces. The free-motion stitching didn't fair so well, mostly because a cat got to it while it was drying. I tried to lay them flat to dry, but got impatient, so I dried all three pieces with an iron. For some reason, the colors look a little faded. Maybe because I ironed them dry?

04 March 2008

Mixed Media Explorations, Week One, Step One

One of my Yahoo Groups, The Artist's Circle, is doing a four week workshop based on Beryl Taylor's book, Mixed Media Explorations: Blending Paper, Fabric and Embellishment to Create Inspired Designs. Elizabeth is our workshop leader; check out her blog for a couple of examples of what this is supposed to look like! Yesterday began Week One, stitching on hot-water soluble fabric, but I didn't begin until today. Basically, we were supposed to sew fibers, cords and fabric pieces on top of Solvy, making sure that our stich lines intersected so that everything would remain attached when the Solvy was washed away. Then, when done with the stitching, we wash the Solvy away in warm water and let the piece dry. Could it be that simple for me?

To begin with, to couch the fibers in, you need a machine with a zig-zag stitch and, as some of you know, my 60-some-odd-year-old sewing machine doesn't have a zig-zag stitch. But I really wanted to be able to do this, and to participate fully in all of the exercises, so I rented a machine from Redlands Sewing Center. I got a Bernette 320, a very basic machine, but it does do a zig-zag. At least, it did when I picked it up. After practicing couching a few fibers, because I'd never done that before, the tension on the zig-zag stitch got all wonky, and I never could get it straightened out. Oddly enough, the more complicated three-step zig-zag stitch works just fine, as does one other decorative stitch that I don't know the name of. It's just the regular zig-zag stitch that doesn't work right. So, I'll use the three-step zig-zap stitch, right?

Wrong. The machine hates the combination of Solvy and the three-step zig-zag stitch. I can't remember how many times I had to take the needle plate off and dig threads out of the feed dogs and bobbin case. It just keep eating the Solvy and the thread. When I switched to a straight stitch and sewed very slowly -- I swear, I could have hand-stitched as quickly -- it all seemed to work for me. Also, using one layer of Solvy instead of two made a big difference. I wonder if I could do the three-step zig-zag on one layer of Solvy? I'm just too tired to find out tonight.

Here are my presentable samples from tonight's sewing. The top two are just snippets of fabric sewed down to Solvy with intersecting threads. In theory, when I wash the Solvy off, the grid pattern should hold up. The bottom sample is some free-motion stitching on Solvy. I should just have a lacy pattern of threads when the Solvy dissolves. I have to wait until John gets home from work before I wash the Solvy off of these, because he wants to watch the process. He's always curious about my art, and one of my biggest supporters.

Did anyone notice the irony of the fact that what I ended up doing, I could have done with my old reliable, wonderful sewing machine? It didn't escape me.

Next week is working with Model Magic by Crayola. It's got to be easier and more fun!

Lisa's Holiday Countdown

Lisa Vollrath is having a holiday countdown, too!

Another Countdown

There's a Saint Patrick's Day Countdown with some pretty interesting images. Go check it out.

01 March 2008

New ATCs

Just finished up some ATCs that I started several nights ago. It only took me a few minutes, so I don't know why it took me so long to get back to them. Maybe because I'm just not really in an art mood lately. I've been reading a lot of art books, and have even been doing some doodling and drawing each day, but that's still not enough to really get me motivated and excited about art. Monday, I start a four-week workshop based on Beryl Taylor's book Mixed Media Explorations: Blending Paper, Fabric and Embellishment to Create Inspired Designs. It's something altogether new for me and hopefully it will get me jump-started. I've also been reading Tracie Bautista's Collage Unleashed. You'd think if anything would get me excited, that would! But again, I'm just kind of feeling "blah" about the whole thing. I go through this all too often, so I'm not too worried (just annoyed). I'll snap out of it -- or rather, cycle through it.

One thing that does have me a little excited is Julie's tutorial on art journaling over at The Land of Lost Luggage. I have a busy day tomorrow, but I think this is what I'm doing on Monday. It's been awhile since I worked in my art journal. Maybe that's why I'm feeling blah. My art journal and I have a strange relationship. I've blogged about this before; art journaling is something that I need to be doing. So much so, that the very thought of it can bring tears to my eyes if I'm honest enough. The first time I read Journal Revolution, I sat in Barnes & Noble and cried buckets of silent tears. The first SuziBlu video I saw also had me bawling. Yet, art journaling is something I find myself reluctant to do, maybe because it does touch something so deep inside me. I want to do it well, whatever the hell that means. I want my pages to be perfect, to be praiseworthy. I haven't yet let go of the idea of making art for other people. Really, that doesn't just apply to my art journal, but to all of my art. I should be doing it all for me, not for anyone else. I thought keeping an art journal would help me through that, but so far, it hasn't. I think I feel a therapy session coming on!

About the new ATCs: All images are from Lisa's Altered Art. If you haven't been to her eBay Store, go visit. She's got great collage sheets at reasonable prices. The flourishes are embossed with Tim Holtz Distress Embossing Powder in Milled Lavender; script stamp is from Inkadinkado. For the embossing I used my new little pillow from Inkadinkado, and I loved it. It works great. If you have trouble with stray particles when you emboss, you've got to pick one of these up. I found mine at Michaels for less than $5.00, and it was worth every penny.