Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Tomorrow is the deadline for donations to Virginia Spiegel's Collage Mania to benefit the American Cancer Society. This is one of my eight submissions.

I'm so grateful to Virginia for making it possible for quilters, collage artists, and mixed-media artists to participate in the fight against cancer. So many times we want to help, but feel helpless and don't know where to begin. Virginia's commitment and dedication have made it possible for hundreds of fiber artists to contribute and to make a difference.

Here is the link to the call for entries page http://www.virginiaspiegel.com/CollageManiaCall08.html (one of my pieces is on the call for entries page!)

Each piece is only 8" x 10" so you have time to whip one up today and e-mail the jpeg to Karen Stiehl Osborn.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

This is the next experiment with the Environmentally Safe Finishes (Generation Green) products. A new batch arrived Friday and I've only had a few minutes to work with it. Isn't this yummy? Even in a low-resolution photo you can see the way the colors blended!

This is an embossed wallpaper border with five different colors of Shimmering Gels applied with a stipple brush. The base is magenta, followed by bronze, copper, peach, and white, although I'm not sure the white added a lot. The cumulative effect is really pleasing!

This will be a background in an album to hold e-mail greetings to Clotilde from friends around the globe—maybe even part of the cover.

After church I'll work with the ESF colorants on rust-dyed fabric. Hopefully, the right ratio of water to Fabric Magic will be easy to pin down. Actually, Nancy at Environmentally Safe Finishes says the colorants may be used alone, but won't be as light fast as they are when used with Fabric Magic. I may try just the colorant and then do a light-fastness test (which takes several weeks of sunshine to complete).

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Are you a Clotilde fan?

Did you have the opportunity to get to know Clotilde before she retired? She has been part of the lives of so many quilters and sewing enthusiasts over the past 35 years—through her catalogs, at sewing shows, on TV, video (before the days of DVDs)!

She has retired from business life and is now living in a retirement home. This is a big change for her and I thought it would be fun to shower her with cheery greetings to help her during this transition time and let her know how much her work meant to so many.

If you are interested in sending a card, fabric postcard, or some other small greeting, I am collecting them until May 1. At that time Clotilde's long-time assistant LeeAnn will deliver the greetings to her personally.

Clotilde will probably not be able to respond to the cards (because there will be so many!) but LeeAnn should be able to tell us how she responds.

Let me know and I'll send an e-mail to you with my snail-mail address.

Friday, March 27, 2009

The first Extreme Needle Felting class goes live today. It is packed with information, exercises, tips, and ideas. The first class is so packed, I had to break it into three parts so the pdf could be easily downloaded. LOL!

There is so much potential for abstract fine art, as well as folk art, and more traditional designs. I can’t wait to see what directions class participants take the exercises!

The sample above uses a non-traditional technique that would probably make purists turn pale! It begins with variegated soy-silk roving in shades of yellow to peachy orange and creates a really interesting texture. This uses a synthetic fiber mix-in and will receive final embellishment in Week #4 of the lesson.

Follow this URL, if you'd like to join me: http://www.quilterskeeplearning.com/needlefelting.html

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

I am attempting to upload a pdf preview of my new 4-week Extreme Needle Felting class that begins Friday on Quilters Keep Learning: http://www.quilterskeeplearning.com.

It doesn't want to be uploaded into the body of this posting, so I'll put it in the column to the left of this posting. Well, it isn't elegant, but it gets the job done!

This little preview covers tools and materials used in class, photos of some projects, and general description of some of the techniques.

Hope you'll join me!

Monday, March 23, 2009

I'm so excited! All my attempts to rust on fabric in color have been dismal—although I now know many things that don’t work. The goal is/was to find a way to add color to rust-dyed fabric using little or no nasty chemicals, requiring little or no measuring, no boiling, mordant dips, etc.

After many months of frustrating disappointments, Barbara Matthiessen a longtime crafting buddy introduced me to Generation Green from Earth Safe Finishes. They have a complete line of artist’s quality paint and finishes, all made in the USA—and all using formulas with little or no volatile organic compounds in them. The packaging is made of recycled materials and is biodegradable and recyclable—and they donate 1% of their profits to Global Green USA.

The colorants, fabric medium, and gel media caught my attention immediately, because they work on fabrics. The example above is the blue colorant on a piece of rust-dyed cotton and the example below is on bleached muslin.

No measuring! No boiling! No nasty chemicals—or little dead creatures involved! No waiting! I mixed one part fabric medium to four parts water, mixed in a drop or two of the colorant and that’s it! Isn’t the texture yummy? I placed the wet fabric on a plastic drop cloth and it dried with the crystal-looking texture. KEWL!

I’ll post more photos as they are available, but this has such exciting possibilities for fiber artists, kids’ crafts—and is environmentally responsible.

No affiliation with the company; I just really like the product, the company, and their social responsibility!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

It’s been busy here in the Muttonhead studio the past week, even though there hasn’t been much posted on the blog.

Easter Seals/Arc here in town is sponsoring a fund-raising project by pairing business sponsors and local artists to create an artistic version of a huge cast Easter Egg. The project is call Eggstravaganza and is the brain child of Easter Seals' special events coordinator Valerie Magana.

29 eggs were matched with sponsors and artists to decorate oversize eggs (32 pounds each!) made from a casting medium called Merlin's Magic. The medium comes from the dental industry. They fashion replacement parts for chipped and/or broken teeth, so it's dense and very tough.

I was paired with the publisher of a local business magazine to create From a Distance, an abstract version of our planet. What a challenge—it was way out of my comfort zone! It's finished. It's beautiful. And I'm really glad to be back in my own world of fabric, thread, buttons, and beads!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Isn’t this sweet? It’s the first needle-felted landscape for my new needle-felting class that will launch on http://www.quilterskeeplearning.com on March 27.

This will be needle-felting by machine, meaning embellishing machine, or needle tool and mat. The class plan is pretty ambitious and packed with information and exercises. This landscape is from Week #3 when we start felting in deliberate patterns. I love the depth the poppies add as they recede into the distance.

It also illustrates two ways of blending colors of roving.

There is so much potential in needle felting and the roving colors are so yummy! A quick visit to Ebay reveals scads of hand-painted roving in wool, bamboo, rayon, angora, mohair, tencel, silk, soy silk, and more. I want to try it all!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

I’m always jealous when someone comments about what their “art group” did in the last meeting. There are no art groups in my area and I really want to be part of one! So, a handful of artistic buddies created one ourselves!

We are a diverse mix. Dixie is a photographer and painter, Gail is an altered-book artist, Susan is a graphic artist, Christine, Carol, and I are quilters, Lori jumps right into any of it, and Amy has her own kiln (although she teaches painting and works in many media)!

We take turns hostessing the group and planning the project. There is usually a lot of giggling and occasionally a serious discussion of art matters, such as the state budget cuts for art education and grants.

Amy introduced us to clay. What a step out of the comfort zone it was for some of us (meaning me). I think in fabric, and clay has a totally different philosophy.

Amy made it all work and we all felt like the project was do-able. The clay was already rolled to the proper thickness and we used a pattern to each cut out a kimono. There were all sorts of texture tools used to press or gouge a pattern into the damp clay.

We meet about once a month, so December we formed the kimonos and added texture. In January we applied glazes and this past Sunday we saw the finished pieces.

Each kimono was a delight. Every one was different, and we rejoiced in the differences.

Mine has a ruffled collar and buttons (of course). Not knowing how the glazes would act made the whole exercise serendipitous, but I wanted something organic looking. I’m definitely pleased. Clay will not become my medium of choice, but it was fun and challenging.

Isn’t that what art groups are all about? Experimenting in new techniques, encouraging one another, and enjoying the community of like-minded souls.

Don’t despair if there aren’t any art groups in your area. There are many online groups for fun, swaps, and serious discussion. Check out Yahoo groups. There is sure to be one that will tickle your imagination.

If you’re interested in rust dyeing or thread-base art, consider joining. There are links to the Joy of Rust Dyeing and The Thread Society along the left column. Or contact me and I’ll be glad to send an invitation to you!

Enjoy the adventure!