Sunday, January 24, 2010

Virginia Spiegel has done it again! She has come up with another way to raise funds for the American Cancer Society. (My online buddy Jeanelle McCall designed the logo above!!)

I was heartbroken when she announced 2009 was the last year for FiberArt for a Cause. I loved being part of such a wonderful effort that benefited so many.

Not to worry! This year Virginia is coordinating ToteTuesday, another fun and creative way to get us all involved.

So many have been touched by cancer, it's a privilege to be able to do something constructive to aid the search for effective diagnostic and therapeutic tools.

ToteTuesday begins February 2 with five totes going up for auction. The totes are filled with books, supplies, fabric, tools, artwork and more. There are some preview photos of some tote goodies on Virginia's blog now, but each Tuesday the official tote themes and content will be announced. Here's a link to her blog for a preview

I'm working on a tote with a copy of my book, some rust-dyed fabric, and one of our popular new padfolios featuring thread painted photo montage on rust-dyed fabric. Previously, the padfolios have included note pads, but I've ordered small sketch pads and watercolor pads. Hopefully, they will arrive by February 2 and the new padfolio will have the new media pad in it!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The 12" x 12" square art quilt Whispers on the Wind (above) was made for Rust Tex's exhibition. If juried into the show, it will travel to England for their quilt festival. (Not that I'm hinting, Lois!)

The background began as a digital collage of photographs and vintage artwork printed on rust-dyed fabric. I added a wash of green for the forest floor, white for a shaft of light, and blue for the sky using Earth Safe Finishes Colorant + Fabric Magic + lots of water.

Free-motion stitching in a variegated black/brown thread was worked on the main tree, while monofilament was stitched free-form to represent sunlight through the forest canopy and wind through the tree branches.

Glass and stone beads were stitched on the surface by hand and the edges were finished with satin stitches.

The composition recalls a trip to the woods in early spring with my mother and grandmother to see the wild flowers. I was disappointed when my grandmother gently informed me the flowers had to stay in the forest; they would be unhappy in the garden at home. To entertain myself, I pretended the wind through the tree branches was the voice of many fairies whispering to me.

It's remarkable to me that this image, the colors, sounds, smells, and emotions are so vivid to me after 50 years or so—and a pleasant way to remember a day with two women so influential in my life!

Monday, January 11, 2010

This is a photo of a little clay book I made. It's only 2" tall and about 1-3/4" wide. Isn't it sweet?

The photo doesn't show it very well, but the cabochon on the front has dichroic glass in it. The covers are made from slabs of oven-fired clay (not polymer) that are whitewashed after drying and baking.

The signatures inside are made from joss papers, pages from an old dictionary, and other recycled papers. This was the first time I used the coptic binding and I'm not sure I got the wraparound stitch correct. The You Tube video was very helpful, but it assumed a certain level of experience with book binding I simply did not possess.

This probably won't be the only clay-covered book I make, but I'm certainly not going into production! It took more than a year for me to work up the courage to try the binding and only about 15 minutes to bind all five signatures in place. Why do I put these things off?

Thursday, January 7, 2010

If you were a member of the product test back in June, you should begin to receive the thank-you mail art today. The deal was, if you were a participating member of the product test, I'd send a small fiber piece as a thank you.

The test was a flop, but the mail art is completed (finally) and about half have been shipped. The pieces above are needle-felted alpaca roving and scads of thread clippings with a little hand beading, mounted on a cardstock backing.

These postcards are needle-felted roving and specialty fibers on a base of pre-washed wool-blend felt. They began as a class sample of a purse from a pattern the shop owner wanted to promote. I'm not very good at following someone else's pattern and after 8 hours of needling, the purse base was only half ready to begin construction and I was SICK of stitching straight lines!! That's how they came to be repurposed (or in my opinion up-cycled) to mail art. :-)

Here are 16 of the 24 (4" x 6") postcards that were upcycled from the purse base. The base was felted with roving, specialty fibers, and FireStar (a nylon shred that looks like fine Angelina) and then hand beaded and mounted on cardstock.

If you're part of the test team. Thank you so much for being willing to work on this project with me. I'm really sorry the test results did not support the original hypothesis—but we know one more thing that doesn't work!

Initial tests indicated Fabric Magic from Earth Safe Finishes might act as a mordant for inkjet inks on fabrics. We tried various dilutions with water, but they all washed out. It was disappointing, but that's part of product development.

So, here's wishing you a fabulous new year, full of creative challenges!