play time

I honestly don't remember the last time I did any surface design. I don't consider Photoshop manipulation surface design, my hands don't get dirty and that's just a whole other world...

But the other day, lo and behold, I was actually inspired to do some surface design! And it's all Sue's fault. Sue Reno that is. And her Quilting Arts Workshop Video Surface Design Essentials for the Printed Quilt. She asked me to review and participate in the blog hop, and I thought - I'll be happy to, I'll just watch the video, write the review and post. Easy peasy! Nope. Not so easy peasy.... I watched the video and my hands started itching. Itching to do some surface design. I wanted to play with it all!
I wanted to play with the cyanotype process, the heliographic sun printing, the thermofax screens and the collagraph techinique. I wanted to do it all and I wanted to do it now.  The sunny days were not in my favor for the cyanotype or the heliographic.... and much too windy outside lately too. The collagraph was thoroughly intriguing, but the prep time issue was a factor, as I wanted instant gratification. And then I remembered that long ago, in a galaxy far away, a friend made me some thermofax screens during a playdate. Shamefully I have never used those screens. But they don't have an expiration date and here was my chance to try some instant surface design NOW!

So I rummaged around for a substrate in my recyclables box and came up with a bunch of color catcher sheets. A quick iron to smooth them out, flip over my portable ironing board to the hard side for an instant printing surface and I was ready to go! Here are pics of my instant gratification surface design session:
pinned down used color catcher sheets
first thermofax prints in gold (oh the torture of waiting for it to dry!)
second layer in silver
the finished product
now to find a way to use it in my artwork!
I highly recommend Sue's DVD, every technique is clearly explained, the samples are perfectly illustrating the process and her finished artworks are lovely and are great example of how to combine the techniques, the free-motion quilting and sharp design sense.

Tomorrow’s blogger is Lyric Kinard

Blog tour schedule
11/5/14: Sue Reno
11/6/14: Susan Brubaker Knapp
11/7/14: Allie Aller
11/8/14: Diane Doran
11/9/14: Vivien Zepf
11/10/14: Virginia Spiegel
11/11/14: Cynthia St. Charles
11/12/14: Natalya Aikens
11/13/14: Lyric Kinard

an art tour

I have been asked to participate in a blog tour that focuses on the artistic process. I think that this is always an interesting and fun subject, so here I am. Cathy Mendola is the blogger before me, so do take a moment to read her post and click back for other artists participating.
City Love Affair 3 (detail) © Natalya Aikens

~what am i working on?
Quite a few things are currently on my plate. 

First I am getting ready to teach in New Jersey at the Create Retreat. So I'm checking my supplies, packing samples and going over lesson plans.

I am working on my latest in the home portrait series. This is a fun project as I get to work with the homeowners ephemera and photographs and translate that into a fiber artwork.

I am also slowly plugging along on the next in my St. Pete Cathedrals series. This art is inspired by the many architectural wonders of St. Petersburg, Russia and is very intensely hand stitched.

And last, but not least, and actually the largest, is a big piece that will be part of the City Lines series which is inspired by NYC. I haven't shared anything about this yet as it is in it's very beginning stages of planning, drawing and tentative stitching. But there will be a few peeks coming up soon.

~how does my work differ from others of its genre?

hhhmmmmm........ is it my point of view? Of course. Also perhaps it's my architectural subject matter. And quite likely, it differs because of the materials I use. Almost exclusively I use vintage linens and recyclables such as plastic shopping bags. Very rarely will you find commercial or hand made fabric in my current art. I like to challenge myself with my materials.

~why do i write/create what i do?

Because I have to. I need that creative outlet for my energies and emotions. It's the best kind of meditation and/or therapy. Creating something with your own two hands is extremely gratifying. And putting it out there for the world to see, hopefully adding beauty to the world is the icing on the cake.

~how does your writing/creative process work?

That differs with each project. Usually I get an idea in my head and then I gather my inspirations and materials to create it. Other times a photograph or a piece of material will demand to be made into art. Whichever way I start a project it always includes a lot of listening to the muse in my head as I play with my materials. My art-making is intuitive to the core, it's in my nature to go with the flow.

Thanks for reading! For next Monday, do check out these friends of mine and see what they have to say about their artistic process.

Deborah Boschert creates collages with fabric and stitching. She uses all kinds of materials including vintage linens, commercial prints and original fabrics created with painted patterns. Her work explores themes of home, adventure, growth and identity using symbols like houses, stones, botanical elements and handwriting. She always includes bits of hand embroidery to add detail and texture. Her work is layered with translucent fabrics, frayed edges, splotches of paint and stitched patterns. She lives in a suburb of Dallas with her husband and two kids.

Vivien Zepf is an artist, writer, and photographer.  As a self taught photographer, Vivien's images focus primarily on the natural world and vary from macro to panoramic views.  Her textile art ranges from representational to abstract.  The art in both disciplines share common elements such as saturated colors, strong graphic elements, and relatively uncluttered compositions.  Vivien's writing is a natural progression from her years as a college English major and is supplemented by what's she's learned from making art, contemplating the art of others, and being a museum docent.


Now that I have reached the hand-stitching stage of the home portrait I have slowed down quite a bit. This the meditative, contemplative stage of the design.
After trimming away the excess tulle and dryer sheets, I pulled out my hand-stitching thread options and auditioned them. This is just the beginning of the thread choice process, I frequently change my mind as I get going and the artwork demands something different.
roof line
 By the end of the week this piece should look quite different!

stitched identities

I could not leave Wednesday wordless today.... Have you heard about Baang & Burne Contemporary? Don't you just love the name? Jane Zweibel
Self-Portrait Praying #3 2008 Oil on sewn and stuffed canvas 48 x 26 x 12”

This who they are in their own words: Baang & Burne Contemporary was created by artists and co-directors Kesha Bruce and Charlie Grosso, with the intent of providing an innovative way of bringing artists and art collectors together, especially newer collectors who are often deterred by the high intimidation factor at most contemporary art galleries. The gallery takes its name from a cold-war era espionage term used to describe covert demolition and sabotage operations, altering the spelling slightly in a tongue in cheek reference to Big-name art galleries that donne the names of their well-known directors.
Don't you just love the sound of that idea? I did. To me it's a very exciting concept.

Stitched Identities is their first event. Stitched Identities is the first in a series of Baang & Burne’s signature one-night-only art events where, unlike at a traditional art gallery opening, artists, art collectors, and members of the Baang & Burne mailing list are invited to attend a small intimate brunch or cocktail hour in a private home or a chic hotel suite. During the event every invited guest has the chance to not only personally meet and talk with the artist, but to slip on a pair of white cotton art handling gloves and actually hold, touch, and admire the works of art up close. Baang & Burne Contemporary has plans to host a
series of one-night-only private events in New York City, Chicago, and Los Angeles through 2012, aiming to provide a fresh alternative to a traditional art opening while working with artists who already have an established market and exhibition history, as well as partnering with lesser known emerging artists.

The first artist they are profiling is Jane Zweibel. I had the privilege of reading a very interesting interview with her and I wanted to share a couple of questions from that interview here on my blog. Jane Zweibel
Self-Portrait Praying #4 2008 Oil on sewn and stuffed canvas 34 x 34 x 12”

How important do you think it is for artists to kn
ow about art history, and why? I think it is extremely important for artists to know about art history. Art history is a continuum. As artists, we are all an integral part of that continuum. I think that being well versed in the history of art presents artists with a wealth of information to draw upon. I have learned so many invaluable lessons from artists who came before me, and this has profoundly enriched my own development as an artist. Artists don’t work in a vacuum; we all have influences, which are key to our finding our own artistic identities. For example, I wouldn’t be the same artist I am today without looking at, learning from, and being affected by, the self-portraits of Frida Kahlo. Although I consider my own self-portraits uniquely my own, I know and appreciate that Frida Kahlo’s indelible images have influenced my images.
Do you believe artistic creativity is an innate huma
n quality? What natural talent would you like to be gifted with?
I do believe that artistic creativity is an innate human quality. I think that all people are born with the potential for creative self-expression. However, unfortunately, because of the poor level of art education in most public schools, and the lack of support for art education in general by the government (at least in the United States), most people’s innate creative potential is neglected and un-nurtured. This is a profound shame. On the other hand, I don’t think that everyone is “born” with natural talent for art. But certainly, everyone has within them the capacity to express him or herself artistically and creatively. It is indeed a human quality. Besides visual art, I would like to be naturally gifted in one of the other art forms
, such as dance or music. Especially music: my mother was a gifted musician. I wish I could have inherited some of her talent...but maybe it is there, and just needs to be unlocked. Jane Zweibel
Self-Portrait Praying # 6 2008 Oil on sewn and stuffed canvas 40 x 16 x 12”
Thank you to Kesha Bruce for asking me to be on the Baang & Burne inaugural blog tour!