I've been preparing for my upcoming workshop at Hudson River Valley Art Workshops. And as I was going down my check list, I decided to take a peek at my page on their website. One of the images that is being used to promote the workshop is right below and is one of my favorite old pieces.
St. Pete Lace 1 © Natalya Aikens
It struck me though, that my ways of using Photoshop for my art has changed dramatically in last couple of years. And come to think of it so has my way of using vintage linens and recycled ephemera. So I took a little tour of my portfolio, and then my research and work in progress files, and pulled out a few things to share here.

Some of you might remember this piece below. It's my pride and joy, especially since it made it into QN'13. I used Photoshop to help create it. Doesn't look anything like the image above, does it?
The City © Natalya Aikens
Yet I used vintage linens, paper and dryer sheets, just like in St. Pete Lace 1. Of course I also added plastic and oil paint sticks to the materials list here. In my archives I found the Photoshopped image of the very beginnings of this piece.
photoshopped collage
I used this image as my guide for constructing the final piece. It'll be one of the things I'll be discussing in the workshop. Collage is such an integral part of what I do and Photoshop is my number one tool in the tool box.

Recently I participated as one the invited artists in The 100 fundraiser organized by Virginia Spiegel. The artwork I created for this event relied heavily on Photoshop too.
Fire Escape Abstraction © Natalya Aikens
No vintage linens here, but just paper and two dryer sheets. No machine stitching either. Yes on the hand stitching though! This one relied on Photoshop in a completely different way than The City. While Photoshop helped me create the guide for The City, in Fire Escape Abstraction, Photoshop helped me create color and line. Of course the printer was important here too. Below is how this piece started.
a plain old NYC fire escape
I am so looking forward to sharing how I use Photoshop in my art. There is just so much to it! And all of it is very intuitive despite looking scary sometimes. 
some vintage linens from my stash
I'm also looking forward to collaging the Photoshopped images with the fabrics, vintage or not, that the workshop participants will bring. Maybe even recycled ephemera too! The best part of teaching a workshop for me, is seeing what my students come up with. I love when they learn how to use a new tool to create their artwork. And how that new tool helps them create in new ways. 

And because this workshop is five full days, we'll get to spend time machine stitching and hand stitching! I've never before had an opportunity to have the time to delve in so deeply into a workshop like this. Can you tell I'm excited? ;)

To sign up for the workshop go here. To read my interview on the InnSane blog go here.

Come play with me!!

100 ready for action!

My artwork for the FFAC The 100 Fundraiser to benefit the American Cancer Society is ready for sharing!

But first a few how and why's from Virginia Spiegel:

1 Day - 100 Artists - 100 Patrons - $10,000
Wednesday, February 4, 2015
Opens 10 a.m. Central

How The Fundraiser Works
1. On February 4, the first 100 people to contact me (Virginia(at) beginning at 10 a.m. Central will be given a link to donate $100 by credit card directly to the American Cancer Society through Fiberart For A Cause.
To be fair to all, no e-mails time dated before 10 a.m. Central will be opened. I am not responsible for the vagaries of the e-mail system.
Please note your donation to the ACS will be credited through the Forest Lake Area Relay For Life. Why?
2. Each donor will receive an artwork from one of the 100 generous and talented artists. Assignments of artwork will be made using a random number generator by someone other than me. Artwork will not be shared here in advance, but may appear on artists' websites or other social media before the event. See our Pinterest board for previews of many artworks. Thanks to Deborah Boschert for maintaining the board.
3. The artwork may be any size as long as the minimum retail value is $100. Artwork smaller than 8x10" will be mounted to 8x10" or 9x9." The artwork will contain fiber and may or may not be stitched. The artwork may or may not be made specifically for this event.

3. Each artist will receive her/his patron's e-mail address to arrange shipping. Artwork will be shipped directly from the artist. Please note this is an international roster of artists. Please thank the artist for not only donating the artwork, but also shipping it to you.
4. Each artist would love to receive a low res photo of the artwork in situ from the new owner. This is not required, but the best photos may be shared here after the event.
Questions? Contact me at Virginia(at)
or here is a series of Q&A about the event.
If you would like to be sure your Request to Donate does not go in my spam folder on February 4, send a trial message today.
Special Note: Our goal of $10,000 will make Fiberart For A Cause's donations to the American Cancer Society a nice even one-quarter of a million dollars and FFAC will be happily retired.

Thank you in advance for your support!
Spread the word about "The 100"

And now for the artwork that I will be donating:

Fire Escape Abstraction © Natalya Aikens 2015
Image manipulated in Photoshop, printed on geesoed dryer sheets, layered with repurposed florist wrap and lightly hand-stitched. Measures 8"x10". Adhered to Ampersand hardboard, edges painted with acrylic paint.
Please help support this worthy cause! Thank you!

100 beginnings

This is a beginning of a new artwork. It begins with a plain photo of a plain NYC fire escape.
This is step one. It consists of playing with the color to make the fire escape not so plain.
This is step two. Play with several filters is what happened here. Less plain.
Stay tuned for further not so plain transformations....

And a PS, a very important PS: THIS ARTWORK IS FOR THE 100 FFAC FUNDRAISER ON FEBRUARY 4th, 2015. Click the link for all the important details! I am very honored to be one of the 100 participating artists. Thank you.

Foto/Fiber 2012

February 15th and 16th!
A Fiberart For a Cause fundraiser for the American Cancer Society.
Our Goal: Raise $7000 to add to the over $215,000 we have already donated!
 90 Fotos/90 Fiber BONUSES from an all star team of artists! 
Moi and:  
Frances Holliday Alford, 
Pamela Allen,  
Liz Berg,  
Sue Bleiweiss,  
Nancy G. Cook,  
Jane Davila,  
Vivika DeNegre,  
Diane Rusin Doran,  
Jane Dunnewold,  
Jamie Fingal,  
Leonie Hartley Hoover,  
Leslie Tucker Jenison,  
Lyric Kinard,  
Susan Brubaker Knapp,  
Lynn Krawzcyk,  
Jane LaFazio
Susan Lenz,  
Jeanelle McCall,  
Linda Teddlie Minton,  
Karen Musgrave,  
Gail Myrhorodsky,  
Karen Stiehl Osborn,  
BJ Parady,  
Cate Coulacos Prato,  
Yvonne Porcella,  
Wen Redmond,  
Sue Reno,  
Lesley Riley,  
Cynthia St. Charles,  
Susan Schrott,  
Suzanne Silk,  
Lura Schwarz Smith (with Kerby C. Smith),  
Sarah Ann Smith,  
Terri Stegmiller
Mary Ann Van Soest.
So please join us and help make a difference! 
And these are all sneak peeks at my bonuses you're seeing through out this post...


Virginia Spiegel is at it again! Raising money for the American Cancer Society. The link to Foto/Fiber fundraiser is on my side bar, and here's the link to Virginia's blog where she is profiling the studios of participating artists, including me today. Here are two sneak peeks at my fiber bonuses, the third is on Virginia's blog as well as pictures of my studio.


We're getting close! Virginia's fabulous fundraiser ONE is almost here! Pop on over there to read through all the artist interviews and tomorrow don't miss the preview of all the collages. I can't wait to make my shopping list!
Above is one of my collages that will be available Wednesday, St.Pete Lace/Piterskoie Kruzhevo 11.

ONE tease

I thought I would share one more collage that I created for Virginia Spiegel's fundraiser ONE. This is Piterskoie Kruzhevo/St. Pete Lace 9. You can read about how I made it here and here.


My collages for the ONE fundraiser are done. Here's is where I was up to previously, and now onto what happened since then. (finished detail above)I wanted to incorporate one of my favorite window images that I have used in many an artwork before. I also remembered how I liked the tiny shreds of paper left behind when one tears away a stitched paper. So I printed my images onto regular paper, layered them over my fabric collages and free-hand stitched with rayon thread on my machine. Then I tore away the paper to reveal this ghostly image. Cool huh? I liked it. Certain people with tiny fingers insisted on helping in the studio that day, and who am I to say no? I think they just wanted to be in on the mess.... So they peeled paper and I stitched paper, the production was going well until they got bored, oh say in about twenty minutes? Here are the five collages with ghost windows. Trimmed and laid out on watercolor paper, ready for the final step. TAP! Fences printed on TAP laid out while figuring out placement. Finished detail. And one of the final products. Piterskoie Kruzhevo/St. Pete Lace 8. I'll save the others to share later....


Virginia Spiegel is up to it again! Fundraising for the American Cancer Society. And I'm helping out. Here is the scoop:

One Cause, One Wednesday, One Hundred Collages

One Cause – The Fight Against Cancer.

One Wednesday – February 16, 2011.

One Hundred Collages – Created for this event by an all-star team of artists: Natalya Aikens, Pamela Allen, Laura Ann Beehler, Liz Berg, Pokey Bolton, Laura Cater-Woods, Jette Clover, Jane Davila, Jamie Fingal, Gloria Hansen, Leslie Tucker Jenison, Lyric Kinard, Jeanelle McCall, Linda Teddlie Minton, Karen Stiehl Osbo
rn, BJ Parady, Judy Perez, Cynthia St. Charles, Virginia A. Spiegel

The goal – Raise $8,000 for the American Cancer Society in just one day. More details and a preview of artwork click here.

Fiberart For A Cause has already donated over $205,000 to the American Cancer Society through the generosity of fiber artists and their patrons.

This weekend I started on my collages. Selected my materials.... Laid out the netting and the words... and started playing...

Tote Tuesday!

Tis time! as Virginia says: warm up your credit cards! The second Tote Tuesday is here, and this time my tote is up for grabs. Well, technically no tote, Virginia is providing the tote, I'm providing the contents. She's got all the info right here. And I'm just going to tease you with a few close ups of the luscious goodies that I have gathered to go into this tote. We've got dryer sheets ready to be painted, dyed or printed upon by you, and painted by me. We've got colorful plastics from my personal stash. We've got papers, tickets stubs and candy wrappers from last summer's trip to Russia. We've got color catcher sheets, naturally dyed. And of course we've got my DVD and a small art quilt made specifically for the DVD workshop and featured on the cover.
So, hop on over to Virginia's website and see all the totes she's got there and do your part to contribute to a worthy cause!

Tote Tuesday!

Opens today!! Virginia Spiegel's generous spirit prevails once again! Hop on over to her blog today and check out the SIX(!) totes available today at 11AM.
Are you ready to help us meet our goal of raising $5000 for the American Cancer Society?
Here's a preview and all the info on how it works.

Tote Tuesday!

Virginia Spiegel has done it again! Yes she did say she was retiring from fund-raising, heh! Not so fast.. she is at it again and of course for a worthy cause - the American Cancer Society. Here's the scoop ~>

ToteTuesday, a Fiberart For A Cause fundraiser for the American Cancer Society, will open Tuesday, February 2 and continue through March.

ToteTuesday will feature themed totes filled with unique, beautiful, and inspiring items from the worlds of art quilting, fiber arts, knitting, beading, mixed media and surface design.

You can expect totes offering original artwork, autographed books, hand-dyed fabrics, gorgeous yarns, beads, handmade journals, fun and useful materials/tools for mixed-media and surface design, online classes, DVDs, and much, much more.

A list of the more than 20 themed totes now in progress is here.

100% of the proceeds will be donated directly to the American Cancer Society through Fiberart For A Cause. Fiberart For A Cause has already donated over $190,000 to the ACS.

Please mark your calendar for Tuesday, February 2 and be prepared to be amazed!

And I am participating too! My tote will have in it my new Cloth Paper Scissors Workshop DVD and a selection of goodies from my own personal recyclables stash! Some dryer sheets, painted and not, plastic bags, fun netting, colorful scraps and a few surprises. Just the right amount of stuff to get your creative juices flowing on a new work of art!

Meanwhile check out this fun interview Virginia just did with Pokey Bolton for Quilting Arts.
PS: the Tote Tuesday logo is by Jeanelle McCall.

may I brag a little?

I am happy to report that all three of my collages for Collage Mania were acquired yesterday and today. And Collage Mania is hopping! Virginia and Karen have been very very busy and still have one more day to go. Over $16,000 has been raised towards the $20,000 goal. So if you are in the mood for some affordable art and helping an excellent cause - check it out, still plenty available.Have you seen the latest issue of Cloth Paper Scissors? That is something else I can brag about - take a look at my first article for this magazine "Mindful Recycling".

this is it! collage mania!!

Collage Mania, a Fiberart For A Cause fundraiser for the American Cancer Society, opens today (Tuesday, May 5) at 10 a.m. CDT. There is an official clock on the first page of collages.

Choose from 383 fiberart collages (many of them small art quilts) donated by
161 artists (including me!) from around the world. Each artwork is finished or mounted to 8x10".

Today's minimum donation to the American Cancer Society is $80; the
minimum donation drops to $40 on May 6 and 7. All the details on how to acquire collages are here. Our goal is to raise at least $20,000 for the ACS in just three days. Thank you for your support! My collages are on page one, check them out!

collage mania!

Collage Mania preview opens today! All 384 fiber collages donated by 161 generous artists are now available for your viewing here.

Collage Mania, a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society, opens May 5
with a minimum donation of $80 for each artwork and continues May 6 and 7 when the donation minimum drops to $40. Please read over the directions on how to participate in Collage Mania. Once Collage Mania starts it will be wild and crazy as all artwork is available on a first-come/first-serve basis.

All donations for artwork are made directly to the ACS through Fiberart For
A Cause. Patrons receive an immediate electronic receipt from the ACS.

Our goal for this final Fiberart For A Cause fundraiser is at least $20,000.
We have already donated over $170,000. Enjoy the artwork! This one my collages... Please help out with this worthy cause! I already have a list of the collages I want!

April Fool! and Collage Mania...

I met my husband on April Fools day fourteen years ago.... which one of us is a fool still has not been answered...

But on a more serious note - today is the deadline for Collage Mania, the final one! No April Fools here! Today is the deadline for submitting your Collage Mania 2009 jpegs to:

Karen at

Do read over th
e guidelines carefully before submitting. Collage Mania is May 5 - 7 with a preview of ALL the collages beginning April 29.

Collages will be available May 5 for a minimum donation of $80 to the American Cancer Society and on May 6+7 for a minimum donation of $40. Of course, we encourage patrons to donate a bit more if they are able.

Our goal is $20,000 (or is it $27,000 to reach $200,000 total??) in three
days. This is the very last big FFAC event and I hope we can go out in a blaze of success!
Here is one of my collages: Питерское Окно/Piterskoie Okno/St. Pete Window 9. Have you sent in your collage yet?

a personal note from Virginia...

The Invitational Reverse Auction to benefit the American Cancer Society continues today, March 25, with minimum donations dropping by one-third at 10 a.m. CST:

There are still artworks available from:
Natalya Aikens
Gerrie Congdon
Marjorie DeQuincy
Rayna Gillman
Carol Larson
Susie Monday
Leandra Spangler
Roxane Stoner

Linda Teddlie Minton's artwork raised $1800 and Judy Coates Perez's artwork raised $450 for the fight against cancer. That's a great start to this fundraiser!

Tomorrow is the last day of the Reverse Auction and the minimum donation will drop by another one-half. Will the artwork you desire still be there???

Donations are made directly to the American Cancer Society with an immediate electronic receipt sent to donors.

Thank you for your support of Fiberart For A Cause, fundraising for the American Cancer Society.

Warm regards,
Virginia A. Spiegel
Fiberart For A Cause, fundraising for the American Cancer Society.

now is the time... really do some good!

The Fifth and Final Reverse Auction featuring my artwork Okno V Dom/Window Into the Home 2 opens today at 10 a.m. CST.

100% of the proceeds is donated directly to the American Cancer Society through Fiberart For A Cause. The minimum donation drops each day; wait too long and my artwork might be gone!
Please do your best to support this worthy cause, thank you!