Monday, June 28, 2010

I spent last Thursday and Friday at the Shipshewana Quilt Festival in Shipshewana, Indiana. Thursday was six wild hours of schoolhouse presentations and Friday was filled with a wonderful Altered Photo Artistry workshop, based on the two books C&T has published on the technique.

Participants send a photo to us a week or so before the workshop. We alter the photo, enlarge it, and print it on fabric so it’s ready for participants to work on in class.

This is Sharon from South Bend. Her photo was taken on a tropical vacation. She said she had to touch the blossom to confirm it was real. (I suspect it is a bromeliad, but can't identify the type.)

This close-up shows the texture she is adding with the stitching.

Ruth's photo is lost in the ethernet somewhere, but she was a great sport and agreed to work on one of my photos. She and friend Linda Davidge came all the way from Florida!

Ruth's outlining really adds definition to the rose's petals.

Mary had quite a challenge with this hydrangea. I didn't realize she had chosen it, or I would have suggested a blossom with fewer elements to outline. The fun really begins when you start to add the colors!

Mary outlined the hydrangea head and began adding yummy texture with a plum-colored thread in the shadow areas. If she changes her mind, she can outline the units any time before finishing the piece.

Linda Elder had made only two quilts before this workshop, but her extensive experience in dyeing and painting fabric certainly was an asset!

The way she stitched the stairs and plaster walls really created a contrast in the design elements. Linda is considering adding some beads on the floral bush on the left side of the stairs. That would really add another dimension to the composition.

Linda Davidge's photo was on my hard drive, but through a mix-up wasn't printed and ready for her to stitch on in class. (We did print it out and it's ready for her to use when she gets home. Can't wait to see what you do with the barn photo, Linda!!)

The purple glads were from the farmer's market last year.

Kathy Branigan's photo of an hibiscus presented two additional challenges. The edges of the petals, stamen, and pistils have areas that are not easy to see. She had to make educated decisions about the outlining in those areas.

This close-up shows she did a good job of adding definition where there was little or none. Who knew college botony class would come in handy all these years later?

Jean Perrenod chose a photo of a lovely tulip, in her favorite color. She got a late start on this piece because the printer (not the printer operator, of course) printed three of one quadrant and one of another, which made a rather abstract composition. Actually, that might be fun some time. I'll have to try it!

You can see, Jean has just begun to stitch texture in the bottom right quadrant of the tulip. This will be striking when the stitching is complete!

Holly McMurtrey chose one of my favorite flowers, the iris. It was pretty peachy in the original photo, but we convinced it to be pink. She chose to outline some of the leaves, as well as the blossom, to add to the depth of the image.

Can you see the different stitching patterns she chose to separate the background, leaves, and petals of the iris?

Good job ladies!! Thank you so much for allowing Lori and I to share this fun technique!

Monday, June 21, 2010

It all began so innocently. I needed a how-to for an upcoming book project about recycling and up-cycling. I've been making these tea cup "candle-iers" for several years and love making them, but it wasn't my original concept.

The one above is a birthday gift for my "Sipster" Lori. It's made from teacups that belonged to my mom. Lori and my mom had a special bond and I knew she would enjoy this memento.

It all snowballed from there!

A trip to local thrift stores netted several partial sets of beautiful old tableware, much too pretty to never be used again! So, I started combining berry bowls with old sherbets, fruit cups, and candle holders to create soap dishes, such as the one above.

If you don't know me, my design motto seems to be "nothing succeeds like excess." Within minutes, the concept grew to include cupcake servers, such as the one above.

A beautiful clear-glass plate and an old sundae dish turned into this!

A rectangular decorative dish and another candle holder turned into this adorable potpourri holder.

Isn't this beautiful? It's now a footed cake plate with a base that was an old light fixture globe.

Another cake plate with an iridescent sherbet as a base.

These are Noritake from 1940! Carefully selected bases placed these serving bowls at different heights.

Ditto on these butter plates.

And these translucent teacups that now function as candle holders.

Depression glass! Who can leave out depression glass?

Where will it all end? I now have approximately 50 pieces of these beautiful pieces. I'm now have to open an online shop. There is no more room in my china cabinet!!

Can you recommend a good online e-commerce site?

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Photos of my 12 newest pieces, hanging in the Johnsons of Madrid Gallery in Madrid, New Mexico.

Thank you so much to Meg Lamley and her DH Leonard Nuttall of Albequerque, NM. They visited the gallery and Leonard took these wonderful photos so we could all see them hanging in the gallery.

If you've never been to Madrid, it's quite an experience!! It's along the Turquoise Trail in New Mexico and is/was a mining town. Johnsons of Madrid is located at the southern edge of town (only one road through town and no stop lights), across from the entrance to the mine.

Diane Johnson and her husband moved to Madrid in the 1970s, when it was essentially a group of deserted houses. Now, it's a wonderfully quirky town with restaurants, shops, and galleries.

It's the only place I've ever been where their Halloween parade included children, parents, and pets—including a baby yak! (No kidding!)

The gallery has beautiful paintings, photography, sculpture, art wear, and an occasional art quilt. If you're in the area, make a side trip. It's really a lot of fun!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Last weekend, I experimented with applying dry powdered tannin on fabric before the rust has formed. Very interesting! It will be added to my repertoire of rust-dyeing techniques.

Notice the dark gray in the piece above. Below, you can see what it looks like without any tannin at all.

The hearts are more obvious here than they were in the piece with the tannin. That will guide my decision about when to apply the powdered tannin.

This piece was rusted with fine steel wool and sprinkled with tannin powder. I love the crystal effect in the tannin!

This one has iron filings and powdered tannin. I really like the depth of dark color. That depth had eluded me with the tannin-bath technique.

Four 1-yard pieces were treated with different rust sources and then sprinkled with powdered tannin. They "marinated" for 24 hours, were air dried, washed with Synthrapol, and then with textile softener.

The element of serendipity is still high, which I like very much.

This last piece is a result of handling a fabric packet with tannin dust on my rubber gloves. Guess I should have washed the gloves before handling the packet, but I rather like the results!

Friday, June 4, 2010

May was a busy month! In addition to the 12 new digital collage pieces for Whispers On The Wind exhibition, I also made 12 new Threadography® pieces for Johnsons of Madrid (in Madrid New Mexico)!

Free-range Spiderwort (above) is one of them. DH and I came across these growing along a highway outside of Denver, Colorado. We were following a trail of dinosaur tracks and found several lovely wildflowers along the path.

The highlights and shadows made it fun to stitch.

Warm Heart (above and detail below) was taken in a public park in my hometown, Fort Wayne, Indiana.

The digital manipulation of the photograph really brings out the texture, doesn't it?

Tulip Tranquility (above and below) began as a photo of a white tulip. Its petals were limp, allowing a good view of the anatomy.

Working on flower images makes me remember the question I answered incorrectly on the final exam of Taxonomy of Flowering Plants (botany) in college. The question was about the two classifications of flowering plants. We had studied this all tri-mester, but my mind went blank. All these years later I thunk myself on the head and say "Monocots and dicots, you ding-dong!"

Trop-i-Canna (above and detail below) was also photographed in a park in Fort Wayne—in the rose garden, but don't let the name fool you. The gardeners have an ever-changing array of botanical specimens throughout the growing season.

Orange is one of my favorite colors and I love adding detail in the highlights and shadows!
Sunbright (above and detail below) was taken on a farm located near Auburn, Indiana. The owner has bees and planted more than an acre of sunflowers to supply nectar for his bees that year.
DH and I bought big bunches of sunflowers from them at the farmer's market AND snagged an invitation to photo the field. I was a little nervous, since I'm allergic to bee stings, but we got some great shots without incident.
Shades of Hibiscus (above and detail below) was especially fun to stitch because the petals are easy to outline, and the shadows and pistil/stamen of the blossom provided plenty of interesting stitching challenges.

The low-contrast variegated red cotton thread provided lovely depth within the petals.Another of my favorite Amish poppies (above and detail below). The poppies the Amish lady dug for my garden didn't survive the winter, but her poppy bed was beautiful again this spring.

Every time I stitch the center of a poppy flower I learn something more about the structure!

Peppermint Climbers (above and detail below) was also photographed in Lakeside Rose Garden. All the pillars in the huge pergolas are surrounded by these climbing beauties!

Each blossom is unique, with different arrangements of the red/pink/and white colorations.

Iris spotlight was photographed in my own garden. I really know very little about iris varieties, other than to stick them in the ground with a little of the root above the dirt level—and water. The beds were beautiful this year and I look forward to adding more yellow to the color mixture.

Gerbera Destiny (above and below) was also photographed in my garden. It must have been early in the season, before the heat and humidity had a chance to fry the plants.

This year I paid attention to the location of shade from the tree and planted the Gerberas so they'd receive only partial sun. Hopefully, that will keep them from baking in July and August.

Definitely Daffodils (actually, they might be jonquils; I don't remember how to tell them apart) is another photo taken in one of Fort Wayne's beautiful gardens. Foster Park is one of the oldest parks in town, and is located in an historic residential area.

This park is a favorite place for golfing, tennis, jogging, walking—and tiptoeing through the tulips!

All Is At Peace (above and detail below). The peace rose has to be my favorite. The way the colors mesh and separate remind me of a dance—and the way the colors change from the bud stage to fading beauty just fascinates me.

Well, this concludes what I actually finished in May. There are others in various stages on my work table, of course.

Tomorrow is the first of my studio workshops. We'll be doing rust dyeing—and there's a space left in class, if you'd like to join us!! Just let me know. :-)