Saturday, February 26, 2011

Project Runway 2026 Contestant?

This is my seven year old granddaughter, Sydney. We are visiting her family in Southern California this week. Sydney has been out on a school holiday so she has been home all week. One day she disappeared into her room for quite a while. When she came out her rabbit, Edward Tulan was sporting a new dress, scarf that could be used as a belt, and a new yellow hat.

Notice the details along the bottom of the skirt. When I saw the outfit I thought that she had been working with her mother. I found out later that she had come up with the idea and done it all by herself. Quit a successful project for a seven year old.

Perhaps some day we will see Sydney on Project Runway with and innovative design. Who know?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Huntington Botanical Gardens in San Marino, CA

We are visiting our son, Michael's family in Southern CA. On Monday we visited the Huntington Botanical Gardens. It was a wonderful way to spend a beautiful day. The cactus gardens are among the most beautiful in the world. Rather than type words that can't express the beauty I am just going to down load photos. Hope you enjoy.

Michael, Allison, Sydney and Connor

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Importance of Backgrounds

As I stated in my last post I am talking today about the importance of choosing the right background fabric. I chose Jinny's daffodil for this demo because her's was the most complete flower in the class.

This photo shows two pieces behind the daffodil. We only had small pieces of both these fabrics to work with and I wanted to see both colors behind the flower.

The dark purple on the right is my favorite of all the colors we used. Often the opposite of a color on the wheel makes a great choice.

This green is certainly not a bad choice. If you really wanted the flower to look as if its in a natural setting then this would be your choice.

In my opinion this one actually gags me. I don't think it does anything for the impact.

This particular piece of blue was not right but I wanted Jinny and the class the see it against blue. I like it but Jinny is not a blue person so that won't be her choice.

I try not to press my likes and dislikes on my students. I know from experience that if I don't like something I may never finish it or show it to anyone.

This was a teal colored batik that works OK but doesn't really go WOW!
This brick/red may have been the favorite of the class. I believe Jinny favored this one. It would be my second choice as I feel the dark purple had the real WOW factor. However, this would make a lovely wall hanging and think Jinny should be proud to hang it anywhere.

It is my opinion that the background of a graphic piece such as a flower, insect or animal is the most important fabric you can choose for you wall hanging. I try to get my students to see that it's really important to wait until after the image is created before making the decision on what fabric to use.

I often suggest that they try opposites on the color wheel because that usually works best, not always but often. I like to show the students in my class options, as we have above of Jinny's piece, so they can see the big difference that background color makes.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Student's Work From GA Class

This week I spent Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday in Carrollton, GA. My class "Fabricating Nature" was sponsored by the new Southeastern Quilting and Textile Museum. The museum is in the planning stages and they are busy raising money to make it a reality.

Because their building has not been remodeled as of yet the class was held at the local Ag Center. I can not tell you how impressed I was with the people who work there, the volunteers, the cleaners, who are inmates at the prison across the highway, the facility and most of all how many things that go on during the day and night at the center.

I was approached several months ago, by Beverly and Diane who had been students of mine at J C Campbell Folk School, asking if I would be interested in holding a class in Carrollton. I love to teach and share my knowledge with students I get revitalized, energized and always learn something from them.

I am going to share with you some of the work that came out of the three day class.

This piece was done by Ginny who was my wonderful hostess for my time there. I always encourage my students to work large and Ginny took me for my word. This piece was at least 45/50" in length. It is striking. I had a piece of hand dyed fabric that Ginny used to make the daffodil, there could not have been a better fabric. Ginny carefully laid out her pattern on the lights, darks, and streaks of color that were in the fabric to represent where the light was coming from as well as the shadows.

Ginny's home has daffodils planted every where in her yard. She had made a beautiful drawing of a single daffodil that she used as her pattern. My next post is going to be with her flower on different backgrounds. The selection of the right background is a part of the design process that, to me, either makes or breaks a successful piece.

Sarah's photogrph is below

This piece was made by Sarah. Sarah sent me quite a few photographs that I felt would work for this process. But the one showing a view of the Tetons through a stain glass window really caught my attention. I felt it was very dynamic framing for a photograph and would be equally dynamic as a piece of fiber art.

Sarah did a great job putting this piece together. Her fabric choices worked and it was obvious to me that she had some art background. She was able to get the painting done on her piece, we use paint to create depth, but I didn't get a photo of the finished piece. Hopefully I will get one soon.

Sheleigh sent me two photographs, both of cotton bolls she had taken from a local cotton field. She combined portions of both photos to get the design she used for her art piece. Sheleigh wanted to incorporate the cotton that she picked in the piece. She used cheese cloth to wrap around the cotton in the large 3-D cotton boll. I showed her a technique, I had recently learned, to make the 3-D husk that had enclosed the cotton before opening. She still has some things to add but this photo will give you an idea of what she accomplished during the class.

Beverly chose a scene from her backyard to portray in her landscape. Beverly is one of those students who works away and tries something first before asking the instructor. If she gets in trouble or is stumped by something she will then ask for help. I think this relates to confidence. Beverly had taken my class before so she already knew many of the techniques that I use. She should be proud of this piece.

Gail is new to art quilting but didn't she do a great job? This piece is stunning. It is always a difficult job to explain to students what they need for fabrics when they've never done this type of quilting. Gail brought many different beautiful pieces of fabric that was almost right but not quite there. Fortunately I had some fabrics that would work for her in my stash and had brought some hand dyes by my friend Bonnie Ouellette. Isn't that sky fabric beautiful? Gail is a lovely job.

Norma chose a hollyhock as her subject. Her choice of fabrics was perfect. She didn't have time to do the painting to get the depth and separation for her petals but when she does this will be a stunning piece.

Norma will be shopping for the perfect background and I can't wait to see how it pops when she finds it.

Frances had a really complicated piece to do. She first had to create the canvas, or background, then a stained glass window of Jesus with an aura around Him. Then two little girls standing in front of the window. She worked diligently on the window but had problems finding just the right fabrics. She went shopping and thought she had just the right yellow but it proved to be to bright. Finally she find just the right one and was able to progress. I know that Frances will get it right and I can't wait to see it finished.

Edmae chose a close-up of a white lacecap hydrangea with a butterfly perched on one of the flowers. There were lots of pieces for Edmae to deal with so she didn't progress as far as some of the other students. Her butterfly was cut out but it had the pattern pieces still on the fabric. She wanted to leave the paper since she had cut a stencil of freezer paper to paint the spots on the wings. We just placed pieces of black fabric on the flowers to show where the butterfly will be placed. Edmae is know for her beautiful quilts and I know this piece will end up being another one.

Marilyn did a beautiful job on this scene that was photographed in Alaska. She is not happy with the sky fabric and has decided to look for some that she likes better. She also felt that some of the foreground might need to be cut off or perhaps lightened a little. On the sample that I have students make for experimenting with paint, Marilyn was able to get the nooks and crannies that make mountains look rugged. When she gets to the painting part I think she will be quite happy with the finished piece.

This is the photograph that Diane chose for her project. She got sick on the last day and was not able to come to class. As you can see this piece has hundreds of pieces. I've had Diane as a student before so I know she can finish this on her own. When she sends me the photograph I will post it for you to see.

This was a wonderful class everyone was eager and willing to learn. I don't think a teacher can ask for more. My next post will be showing Ginny's daffodil on various colors for background. This is one of the most important decisions that I think the artist makes to have a WOW piece. Stay tuned.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Off to Georgia

Last month I had my car all pack with the many things I take with me when I teach, only to unpack because we got eight inches of snow. I was very disappointed.

When I teach a class like Fabricating Nature I have each student send a photo of their proposed project. We discuss the pros and cons and talk about fabric choices etc. I get really psyched up about each project and have ideas floating in my head about how to help each student. Therefore when I wasn't able to go I was quite disappointed however we rescheduled the class.

Yesterday I started the process over again and started bringing all that stuff upstairs to be packed in the car. I'm getting psyched again and really looking forward to going to Carrollton, GA tomorrow.

The class is being sponsored by The Southeastern Quilt and Textile Museum in Carrollton, GA. I'm looking for some great pieces to come out of this class. Stay tuned for photos and comments.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Fast Friday Fabric Challenge #53

Field of Flowers

Trompe L'oeil

The art technique of trompe l'oeil involves creation of art that gives the visual illusion that an item is three dimensional. Its literal meaning is to 'deceive the eye'. A full history of this technique can be found on wikipedia.

This was the challenge for the FFFC this month. I've been way out of my comfort zone for the last two challenges, both abstract. I sure was happy to see something that was a little more up my alley.

I used a photograph my husband took in upstate NY of cone flowers. I often use photos for my inspiration. I chose a piece of commercial fabric printed with grass for the background. The cone flowers are made from hand dyed fabric.

To achieve the dept in the flower pedal I painted them with ink mixed with aloe jel. I have found that the jel makes the inks easier to control. The piece was finished with free motion quilting.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Nancy McKay Silk Painting Artist

Nancy McKay was my instructor last week for my class in Surface Design at Campbell. I posted several days showing the work that students in the class produced and wanted to show you some of Nancy's beautiful work.

Nancy was a very knowledgeable instructor and shared much of her knowledge with us.
This was my favorite piece. The inspiration for this started as a photograph which she altered then printed on fabric in black and white or tinted form. She then printed this on silk and painted with French dyes.

Nancy had a very stressful week in several ways. She brought her 13" printer for us to use for this class. The first time she printed it was producing major banding on the photo. She cleaned, etc. and it still wouldn't print right. A teachers nightmare. Fortunately she had brought a second printer with her. She handled this stress like a true professional. She also found out that her Mother was in the hospital in Florida and, of course, that was a major worry. I am posting Nancy's Web Site so that you can have a better look at her work.

I really liked this piece but we didn't get around to seeing how this was done. I would have loved to see a demo for this one. Since this was the first time that Nancy had taught this class we ran into a few snags but in the long run she handled it like a pro. As always at J. C. Campbell Folk School I had a wonderful learning week.