Monday, April 19, 2010

March 2010 BJP AMD - Part 1

Are you ever tempted to work outside your personal comfort zone? A couple of years ago I spotted a series of ochre & grape paintings by a local Ontario artist. Entranced by the mood of these pieces,I attempted to recreate that feeling in cloth. Needless to say,the experiment failed miserably. Well, guess what? I took the crayons back out of the box and applied them to my March BJP.

March BJP AMD - Part 2

I decided to use the arch shape for the fibre element & then waited patiently until the fabric spoke to me. The landscape was gently persuaded to appear with a combination of hand & free motion machine embroidery.

Trips to two different bead stores were necessary before I could start beading. Expensive, but very satisfying!

March BJP AMD - Part 3

With fresh beads in hand, I started rooting around the family button jar to see what I could recycle. Much to my surprise, I found a carved brooch with a broken pin. I have no idea where it came from, who originally owned it or what it's made of. I only know that it was a perfect for the piece. Small white buttons and silver wire spirals were added to the pile. The spirals were a product of my early jewelry making days. What treasures! Proof that there is a plus side to all that hoarding!

March 2010 BJP AMD - Part 4

I realized that there was a danger there wouldn't be enough of a "me" or recycled element in this piece. Still pondering this fact, I stopped off at the grocery store. While walking back to the car, I spotted the glint of metal. To my surprise, it was a pair of glasses that had been flattened by a car. Wasn't that just perfect? The glasses were not quite the right colour (dark blue and silver), but I could fix that with a few dabs of alcohol ink. Recycling at it's finest, but more importantly they also hinted at the "me" element. A little known fact is that I've been wearing glasses since I was six years old. I don't wear contacts, just the glasses and they're actually one of my earliest memories. I remember that my first pair of glasses was a blue plaid with a matching key chain (the key chain was a little pair of glasses in the same plaid). I thought it was soooo cool!!

March 2010 BJP AMD - The Reveal

The final piece! I'm thinking of calling it "Grape Expectations"! This piece is actually a lot brighter, but I SEE it was a little difficult to photograph! This was despite the fact that the photo was taken outside on a sunny day and that I had already tried to lighten it up by adding white, cream and lavender touches. Beads, buttons, wire spirals, a flattened glasses frame, an old brooch and even a safety pin play a part in the construction. Bead stitches include peyote, stacked, flower, fringe, back stitch and bocce/boucle. Perhaps the darkness of the piece was reflecting back my mood during the month of March. That's when an evil virus took hold of my computer and my hard drive had to be reformatted. Oh well!!! Live and learn and don't forget to backup your files. April is sure to be much brighter!

What the heck are Inchies?

Are you sure you're not interested in making Inchies? These little jewels are from a May, 2009 swap over at the Cloth Paper Studio, Yahoo group. The two with the fuzzy, heat distressed edges are mine, the rest are from my talented swap buddies. For those not in the know, Inchies are 1" X 1" pieces of embellished art. I'm familiar with fabric &/or paper ones, but other materials could be used as well. Mine were layered on a piece of Peltex, painted and free motion stitched. I prepared one larger piece and then cut them down to 1" X 1" before embellishing. If you're collaging paper, then you could use some type of cardstock to back the piece. Don't you think this would be a good use for all of those annoying cards that fall out of your magazines? Recycling at it's prettiest!

So you say, what do you use them for? Well, I haven't done anything with mine yet, but they can be used as pins, charms, ornaments, pendants, fridge magnets, decoupaged to the top of a box or made into a larger art piece. You're only limited by your imagination!

I'd be interested in swapping new ones, if anyone's interested. Did you hear that Rachel?

Friday, April 16, 2010

Don't you just love a good deal?

Every once in a while, I get in the mood to visit the local thrift store. This time, I quickly spotted an amazing orange necklace and had to wait patiently while the clerk served another customer. My turn came and I finally had the chance to fondle my treasure. It simply had to be mine! Yes, it was a little more expensive than the others (if $7.99 is expensive), but I needed it! The beads appear to be made out of resin and are absolutely luminous! I plan to deconstruct and then resurrect it into something even more delicious. Imagine, if you will, all of that luminosity, draped gently against a crisp, black linen shirt. Yummm!!!!

The two other necklaces are lovely as well. One is made of stained wood beads in dark blues/purples and the other a navy blue mystery material (but probably glass). Both, welcome additions to my ever growing bead embroidery stash. My final purchase was a crisp, white cotton sheet for painting and monoprinting.

All in all a very successful hunt!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Sew what do you save?

I just cannot throw out rayon thread ends!!! My colourful stash is decorative, yet still useful. I store it large glass jar on a shelf in my studio. What do you hoard? How do you store it? Are you in danger of being crushed by the weight of it all? Inquiring minds want to know!

I once saw an art piece that was completely painted in loose thread (sorry, I don't know the name of the artist). My creative mind imagines that she lays down a piece of watersoluble stabilizer and then covers her design with the thread. Another piece of WS stabilizer is placed gently on top and then it's pinned and stitched. I wish that I had taken a photograph. Sigh! I did try this once with less than successful results. Oh, there was nothing wrong with the piece, it was just a little bland. Perhaps it's because she uses thread straight off the spool and I was using my leftovers. Do you think it makes a difference?

Try using your threads for collage, fabric paper, inchies, twinchies, postcards, bookmarks or artist trading cards (ATC's). You could also decoupage them to something, embed them in acrylic or encaustic, or even make a threadlace scarf. I just love my stash and trash!!

If all fails and you're determined to throw out your threads, please remember the birds. They love to redecorate in the spring!!!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Bead reflection

Brick and peyote stitch started my journey on the beaded path. First you learn the rules and then you learn to break them. That's my philosophy and I'm sticking to it!

Another rainy day in Toronto, but they say it's supposed to clear up for the weekend. One can only hope!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

A little colour to brighten a rainy day

Retro pieces from my collection:

1. "Georgia On My Mind" This one is a combination of strata piecing, wool roving and silk on watersoluble stabilizer, painted and heat distressed tyvek, steel wire, beading, free motion machine embroidery and quilting, hand embroidery. The large flower has been raised from the surface in selected areas.

2. "Fusion" - One of my first exhibition pieces and one of my favourites. A combination of wet felting, free motion machine embroidery and quilting, hand embroidery, machine wrapped braid, beading and copper wire. The background is a rich hand crushed velvet from a thrift store find. The velvet is much brighter than it shows. It just doesn't photograph all that well.

Both pieces were photographed by Marianne Reitsma.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter Sunday outing

More signs of spring, but this time at the Royal Botanical Garden in Hamilton, Ontario. Deb was kind enough to drive, so I was kind enough to take her picture when she wasn't looking. Or should I say, when she was searching for some poor unsuspecting bird to photograph. LOL! A perfect day with the sun shining and the flora and fauna cooperating. The much needed exercise was a bonus! Too bad there wasn't any chocolate available. Sigh!
I painted my March BJP fabric yesterday and have fused it to the focal shape. With a little luck, I'll get a chance to do my machine stitching early in the week and start the beading next weekend. At least, that's today's plan! - Enjoy your week!

Early signs of spring

Would you believe this park is less than 10 minutes away from my home? It's set right in the middle of a busy residential area. Winter is finally over! Of course, it's unseasonably warm right now and the last frost date in Toronto is normally predicted for late May, but hope springs eternal..........

Saturday, April 3, 2010

February 2010 BJP AMD - The Reveal

My original plan was to include a narrow strip of peyote on the right hand side. As you can see, that didn't happen! I started with the landscape and then moved on to the cabochon (see earlier post for details). Everything else followed! You'll see many of the same stitches I use in all of my pieces. This one includes back stitch, peyote stitch, stacked stitch, fringe, Robin's wildflower stitch and boche/boucle stitch. As for other techniques, I included an acrylic painted monoprint; Angelina fibres; free motion machine embroidery; and hand embroidery. I played with some needlelace (free motion machine stitching on watersoluble stabilizer), but decided that it just didn't fit. Don't worry! Into the treasure box it will go, to be reborn at some later time.
This BJP apparently wants to be a wild, unruly garden. It's February for heaven's sake!!! I know that gardens are still blooming in the southern hempisphere and possibly on the west coast, but not in Ontario.

February 2010 BJP AMD - Part 3

A friend gave me a very tangled mess of beads and embellishments that was once strung together as a necklace. After cutting the pieces apart, I discovered that one of the fancy metal disks would be perfect for this piece. I stitched it down with Nymo and let the green background show through the cutout. The crooked bugle bead path seems to have wound it's way through both of my 2010 BJP's. What do you suppose that is all about? I'll let you know, when I figure it out. Also, did you notice the luscious size 3 seeds (olive) that I purchased at That Bead Lady. Have you ever seen seed beads this large? Bowing to tradition, I've also included a few hearts for the month of February. I'm not normally nostalgic, but am using these as a reminder of all of the types of love in our lives. Love of self, love of family, love of friends, love of memories, love of art, love of beads, love of techniques, love of fibre, love of challenges, love of recycling and love of anything else that strikes your fancy.

Uh, oh!!!

Sigh! When I decided to post Part 1, 2, 3 and then a reveal, I should have started with the fourth post and then worked backwards. Otherwise the reveal shows before the 1st post....mumble, mumble....bad words! That will teach me to try to get fancy on my second day of blogging. LOL! Next time I will write in order, but save them as drafts. Then I'll be able to post in the order I would like you to view.

February 2010 BJP AMD - Part 2

I didn't have enough raspberry beads, so decided to drive to That Bead Lady in Newmarket, to pick up a few pretties. Excited with my finds and $51 poorer, I rushed home to start work (well, I DID need a few more green ones). To celebrate my purchases, I took a short walk to free the muse. Looking down, I spotted a rusty bottlecap. Well......I thought.....there is a little bit of red in the landscape.....the cap is perfectly flat......I'll coat it with acrylic medium (front & back) and bezel it with peyote! Yes! It's perfect!!! Hmmm, can you can see the tone this piece is taking? More recycling with found objects and stash items. Did you spot the zipper bordering the sides of the landscape? Another gifted item from my artistic friend Cheryl. Thanks again, I think!

Okay! I admit it! I'm a trash and stash slut and proud of it!!!

February 2010 BJP AMD - Part 1

After auditioning tubes of paint, I settled on a raspberry, red and green colour pallette for this little Serendipity Landscape. Starting with an acrylic paint monoprint on recycled tablecloth fabric (a Value Village find), I free motion embroidered weeds, added hand embroidery stitches and machine stitched a little more. I really do torture my old sewing machine, but it never fails to deliver the goods.

January 2010 BJP AMD - Revisited

For those of you looking for more photos - Lights, camera, action......well, perhaps not action......

Friday, April 2, 2010

Bare Naked Postcards

I thought that you might like to see a collage of the Bare Naked Postcards that I swapped with some members of the Fiber Art Mixed Media, Ning group. The object was to make arty postcards (4" X 6" format) and mail them out "Bare Naked" (without an envelope) to their next destinations. Two of these were swapped in Ontario and the rest to the U.S. A fun swap, but I'm still still waiting for four to return to me. I love receiving exciting mail! As soon as all 7 arrive (8 including mine), I will post another collage.

One of my new favourite techniques is a serendipity type of acrylic monoprint that I used on these PC's. They include angelina fibres, painted stitch witchery, free motion machine embroidery and hand embroidery. A colourful series of landscapes!

Enjoy your Easter weekend!!

January 2010 BJP AMD

My 2010 bead journals will be in an ambitious 6" X 6" mixed media format. Gulp! My intent is to once again push the envelope and incorporate a variety of techniques & found objects into these pieces. My creative cues for January were taken from the Toronto Bead Society "Bag of Beads Challenge" & a "Bare Naked Postcard" swap, I participated in on the Fiber Art Mixed Media, Ning Group. Techniques and materials included are as follows: - intuitive landscape made from an acrylic paint monoprint; angelina fibres; hand embroidery; free motion machine embroidery; handmade, heat distressed fabric/paper bead; back stitch; stacked stitch; boucle/bocce stich; brick stitch (some diamonds I made years ago, originally intended for a bracelet); Robin's wildflower stitch; and a simple fringe. The central motif was bezeled with Robin's stacked stitch method. Some of the more unusual elements include the friend gifted zipper pull & a copper coloured paper faster (thanks to Cheryl & Deb), buttons from the family button jar, a Canadian penny, a marble, metal beads from a thrift shop find & the copper pipe cap from the BOB challenge. This last item was drizzled with alcohol ink & smashed with a hammer! Very therapeutic! My starting theme is reuse, recycle & reconnect with the environment. I'm not sure that I'll stick to it all year, but it's an enjoyable start to my journey.

First Post

I've been active in the artistic blogging world for a couple of years, but this is my first real attempt at a personal blog. I know, I know.....I admit to avoiding it, but I felt that it would take more time than I was prepared to give. In 2010, I cut back on my personal commitments, so feel confident that I will be able to devote time to the art of blogging. I intend this to be a creative and welcoming place for family, friends and followers to visit. My art is an exercise in complicated simplicity and I'm always on the lookout for new and interesting techniques. I'm a fledgling explorer in the mixed media world. Who knows what trouble I will get into next? I started my artful life in fibre, but am now leaning heavily towards mixed media. I love to work with fibre, paper, lace, beads, metal, paint, photography and recycling found objects. Come join me as I explore the depths of the blogging world. I promise you a colourful experience!