chromorama-bahamamama?

collages pre-stitching
After a very busy July, I took a stab at organizing the havoc in my studio. Instead, I discovered a stash of vintage 1980's Chromorama papers. They are still as luscious as ever! And despite several online searches, it seems that they don't exist anymore.... insert sad face here.

collages post-stitching
I took out my plastic scraps and worked up a bunch of collages with smaller paper segments. I experimented with some simple stitching and was thoroughly pleased with the results. I'm hoping the recipients of my August subscriber birthday cards will be pleased as well.

Now I have the larger sized papers laid out on my work table among the plastic scraps. I am looking forward to how these collages will turn out and the much more intricate stitching that will go on them. I am planning to debut these at The Armonk Outdoor Art Show at the end of September.
fresh batch of vintage paper to stitch on!
In other news, I'd like to extend an invitation to join me at the opening reception for the Creative Climate Awards on Monday, September 17th at 6PM. My piece called Sunrise has been accepted into the exhibit.

I'll be sharing photos of all happenings on Instagram and Facebook. Hope to see you at one event or another! 

a conversation

As I prepare to share some of my art with you, please enjoy this interview recently recorded with Nathalie Kalbach. It's really more of a conversation than an interview, Nat is lovely to talk to! And you'll love her new book Artful Adventures in Mixed Media! So grab your favorite beverage and settle in...

click for the interview!

approaching

I love when deadlines are approaching. Sometimes deadlines are looming... that feels daunting and dreaded. But when they are approaching it's a bit more light hearted and exciting. Yes still lots of work ahead, but it feels happy. My favorite kind of deadline.

That's how things are now in the studio. I am getting ready for CraftMorristown in Morristown, NJ on March 17th, 18th and 19th. I finished my Street Signs pieces and stretching them on canvas now. And yesterday I finished the Brooklyn Bridge! Yes I now have a bridge to sell you. Well right after I stretch it on canvas and frame it.

Here are a few pictures of the bridge in progress...
choosing colors

putting in the starting stitches through my mock up (photo by Vivien Zepf)

filling in the details

the back view is fun to see and will never be seen again!

lot's more details to go here

approaching the image in my head

almost there

just a few more
Hopefully in the next blog post I will share the finished piece in a lovely frame. The picture I snapped of it with my iPhone is not up to par.

Meanwhile as part of my preparation for the show, I've set up my booth in my living room. It barely fit, there was no room for anyone else, but I needed to see how it looked. I will have to do it again and try it out with my art in it. Oh boy.... the dog did not appreciate it at all!
eek! It's bigger in person!

artsy shot of envelopes with invitations
If you're in the Northern New Jersey area and would like to come see the show, email me for your personalized invitation! I have just a few left.

Ok now back to framing and other details. Hmmm.... can I stitch one more in two weeks??!!

a progress report

It has been a while since I've posted about the mini-series that I am planning to debut at the Armonk Outdoor Art Show. I posted about planning it here and my work on it here. Although my stitching time has been interrupted by the end of the school year festivities and packing for camp madness, I still have managed to get quite a bit done.

Two of the water tower pieces are complete, except for the trimming and the edging. Here are some in progress photos of what I am temporarily calling "water tower 1".
outline stitching
outline stitching
big directional stitches
tiny x's stitching
lot's of x's

The second water tower asked to be even bolder in color. Here are more detail pictures.
I am using a large hoop for these smaller pieces, seems to make the work easier.
outline stitching
outline stitching
big X's
straight lines in all directions
different type of x's
many straight lines of course
This week I hope to spend lots of time in the studio happily stitching "water tower 3".

Happy July to all!

a "what I have been up to" blog post...

yes... What have I been up to? Well.... aside from shuttling my kids to and from sleepovers, playdates, pools, beaches and other summer pastimes, I have prepared for and spent the day showing my art at the Chappaqua farmers market Art Under the Bridge with Northern Westchester Artists Guild. That was a fun if hot day, I met tons of new people and even sold some art!

I have been doing a bit of hand stitching on an artwork that has really been lounging around unfinished for way to long. And will probably lounge around a bit longer.

I've been organizing my studio and office. That's hard to really get into as first I need to make a bigger mess and that's a bit of a problem with guests in and out of the house.

And I have been working on a rather large artwork. It's going in fits and starts, but it's going.
I started with a sketch, let's call it Crosswalk for now
I added sky. These are strips of various plastic shopping bags from the blue color family.
Then I started making buildings in pinks and oranges.
And this is where it has been for a week now, waiting me to start on the church and the sign.
Maybe next week I'll have an update where all the blanks will be filled in. A girl can dream...

in progress...

I have been hard at work in my studio. In June my art will be a part of a five person exhibit, I'll have more info to share soon. Meanwhile here are a few pictures to show my progress on the piece for that exhibit. The inspiration for this piece is nighttime in St. Petersburg, Russia....looks like I am heading back to my heritage for inspiration once again!
My base is a square piece of vintage linen, perhaps a small tablecloth in it's former life
I layered brightly colored plastic bags on and basted with small stitches in yellow thread
This is what it looked like after I finished basting
Then I thread-sketched buildings on clear plastic. I was trying to be really sketchy!
Here they are on top of the bright plastic, I did use a bit of gray for the pavement
A close up
Then I started layering navy lace scraps over the plastic. These will suggest night time clouds
Here's my night sky in progress, some navy silk chiffon was involved
Now I'll be basting the lace pieces and adding some hand stitching
My goal is to have this piece ready to share in it's full glory in my May newsletter which will be out mid month. Stay tuned!

magic monday

I haven't been in my studio since I finished Spruce Street. Life got in the way. But I haven't stopped thinking about what I want to do once I got to the studio.... Here are a few things that caught my eye during the thinking stage.
beautiful bouquet
sunset lighting up newly minted leaves
a fabulous chandelier
And today I did get into the studio. For just a little bit....
a start of something new.....
Now full steam ahead! There is much to be accomplished....

instafun

I know that some of my blog readers don't belong to social media sites, so I thought I'd share somethings I've been posting on Instagram here. Instagram is an app and a social media platform on the smart phone that lets you apply filters to photographs and post them for your followers to see.

I think of it as rather fun and post not only my artwork related photos, but also nature stuff and general life stuff that comes my way. Here's just a few of photos I posted in last two weeks.
I made a flower out of fallen leaves and propped it up on a log.
A weekend later I was impressed that it was still on the log and dried beautifully.
Fun with mirrors and filters while watching a ballet class.
Sheep in a meadow and a watercolor app? How can I resist?
I've been stitching tiny pieces while in a waiting room and shared.
And this is the view on the worktable in my studio this morning as seen on Instagram and Facebook.
Hope you enjoyed my little social media tour. Instafun!

friday in the studio

Yesterday I did a bit of organizing in the old studio, and if you follow my artist page on Facebook, you might have seen this shocking post: Somehow I have seven (7!!!) artworks in different stages of completion... usually it's not more than 2 or 3. Guess I'd better get to work!

OK, so the "shocking" part is tongue firmly planted in cheek. But I am a bit overwhelmed by the seven. The problem is that I like all of them enough to continue working on them. How do I prioritize??? Aaack!

Thought I'd share a few peeks here:
1. This piece called Electric Spring debuted at my solo exhibit, but I deemed it unfinished this summer and have been adding tiny stitches ever since...
2. This is Early Spring and and the story is the same as above... adding sparkly French knots...
3. I started this Cathedrals piece back in May, progressed a bit and stopped due to general life craziness.
4. This is the beginnings to the companion piece to the above. Ahem. Subject is chosen and materials are gathered. That's it.
5. This is the fourth in the City Love Affair series. Shockingly I last reported about it in December! I have done quite a bit and probably shared more photos on Instagram, but haven't worked on it since spring. Sad I know.
6. This is a companion piece to one I finished a few weeks ago, but was too busy to share, but I promise I will soon! Both pieces are the next reincarnation of this piece.
You might have noticed only six photos. That's because I'm saving the seventh for next week.... That's right - a cliffhanger!!

a studio tour

It feels like it's been a while since I've shared pictures of my studio on the blog. Last week a good friend came by to take a few photos from his point of view. The plan is to use these on my website to update the pictures that are there now. But I can't decide which ones to use yet, so I thought I'd share a few here first.
here I am working on my design wall
ironing in front of my wall of thread
that's a peek at my inspiration wall
I use an old typeset tray to display the little treasures that I collect and a cork board (and the wall...) for photos and magazine pages of images that speak to me.
a mannequin from 1938 wears a necklace of my numerous embroidery hoops
my hands in action
more treasures a top of the bookcase
old glass electrical insulators that I use for weights rest on the windowsill
my pincushions...
It's a small, cozy, well lit and efficient place... and by the way, if you're in the neighborhood and would like a personal tour, do email me... Thanks!

onward!!

I think my month long diversion into beaded fruit and eggs has been beneficial to me and my art. While doing all that bead-work (and Thanksgiving cooking, cleaning and hosting) my brain was working things out. And I'm afraid (in a good way) that it has worked out quite a bit!

My head is bursting with new ideas, old ideas refined and everything in between. I've written and sketched everything down in my sketchbook and various legal pads, sorted in order that I would like to get going on it and even have gotten down to business.

First on my list are two artworks which have been languishing due to lack of enthusiasm and/or time for a while now. One (smallish) I thought was done two years ago, then I decided it needed more, and that "more" turned out to be an enormous amount of hand stitching with thick metallic thread. I have been working on it in tiny pieces of time here and there, but now I see the light at the end of the tunnel, so I am encouraged to persevere!
asphalt in progress
The other is a much larger piece that is part of my City Love Affair series. It got stopped in its tracks when I got tired of the tedious basting that turned out to be part of the process and distracted by other more immediate and faster paced art. I am excited about it once again, as I see a newish way I want work on it (after the basting) which will lead me to the next piece in the series which is in my head entirely at the moment.
basting very carefully so I won't have to rip out too much later
The third on my list to get done before starting anything new in earnest is the current occupant of my design wall. It is the other bridge in my City Lines series. The whole "cloth" base is done and now I am dying to get collaging with plastics on it. I have shared a bit of it a few weeks ago, but it hasn't budged since then... now that my house guests are off for a while and my studio (aka passage way) is allowed to get messy again, it will get very very messy!
the sketch is under a clear plastic for guidance
So. I hope to share updates on these three throughout the months of December and January. And if I get started on any of the other ideas my brain has come up with, I will share those too! And somewhere in there I have to squeeze in three costumes for my kids Russian school play... (I am taking a break this year from making costumes for the whole production). Onward with December!!

planning

Making plans here, trying new things, working out the kinks. Figuring out what to tackle next...
early stages
I started work on another bridge piece. Trying a slightly different approach, perfecting my technique. Will have something to share once I start adding color, right now it's kind of boring if you don't know what's going on inside my head.. and to be honest, I'm not sure that I can put into words what's in there!
working on some small pieces
Meanwhile I am also working on some small pieces, figuring out a new workshop or two. So these might be samples in the future.
lots of machine stitching
Speaking of new workshops - what would you like to learn from me? My current offerings are here. I will be spicing some of them up, updating and all that jazz. And I am creating some new ones which will be sharing my current techniques and some more crafty things that I do. So I thought that maybe some of you, who haven't spoken up yet, may want to learn something specific that I haven't thought of sharing yet. I welcome all ideas! Please share here in the comments or email me directly at natalya(at)artbynatalya.com. Thanks so much!!

a little diversion

A fun little diversion actually! Long ago I had decided that dyeing fabric was not really my MO and I enjoy many different other ways of putting color into my art. But every now and then I get the urge to dye something and that's exactly what happened the other day. I had loved looking at photos of other peoples snow-dyeing experiments and always wanted to try too. I didn't have time during the February snowstorms and had feared that I missed my chance this winter. Lucky me! We just had a March snow storm and this time I was ready!

The dyes I had from a few years back and hoped they were still good and fabrics too. I even found two pieces of white clothing that were just screaming for color. And had myself a little adventure:
silk chiffon, cotton T, tiny silk crepe scarf, PFD cotton
pine yarn, tiny silk scarf, cotton tank, silk satin pillow case
dyes sprinkled on (the blue, fuchsia, yellow experiment)

dyes sprinkled on (the greens experiment - forest, avocado and emerald)
Then the snow started melting and the dyes started blending and it looked like Italian ices, and then the reveal began! Yum!

The top row is after first rinse, the second row is after the machine rinse.
I have a really cute long sleeve T for St. Paddy's day next weekend and a fun tank for the summer.
I think the two tiny little scarves will work well together.
The silk chiffon is way too yellow for my taste, but with some lovely turquoise touches. I'll find a use for it someday.
The satin pillow case is just fab! I'd like to make a skirt out if it I think...
The pine yarn? Well it's lovely, but while drying it fell out of its mesh bag and became a horrible tangled mess... I might tackle it or just leave it.....sigh....

It was a fun, fun experiment! and now back to our regularly scheduled programming....

struggling

to get going.... It always happens...after a big project is done, there is a bit of downtime needed to gather my thoughts, clean up, organize before I start on the next big thing. It's been a week. The studio is mostly cleaned up. The pictures looked at, posts written about the project. Previous, unfinished, neglected projects are unearthed. Household routine is begun anew....  and yet.... I cannot get started on the creative to do list. I have purposefully kept it fairly short and sweet, thinking it would make it easier to get back in... but so far no go.

What to do? What to do?

I have decided to concentrate on refilling my so called creativity tank. I am perusing the gazillion or so art magazines I have put aside for when I would have time to read them; reading my favorite artists blogs; trying out new slow cooker recipes; scrolling through online emags; trolling Pinterest and Instagram; updating my bio/resume/workshop descriptions AND reevaluating my self imposed artistic goals. Perhaps a few days of this navel gazing will push me over the edge and into actual creating. 

For now.... a deep breath.....ooommmmmm...... 

and just so I don't leave you without any of visual stimulation...
a bit of rainy windshield iPhone photography

studio inspiration board

Sometimes I think I picked it up from reading a myriad of creative inspiration blogs, but really I believe that in my case it's a leftover from my fashion coordinating days. Back in the day I designed inspiration boards of the color trend that the company I worked for would start their next collection from. Thinking about this I went digging through my old portfolios. I found a bunch of photos of these color boards, they were fun to look at and I thought I'd share a few of my favorites. 
Baroque and New Frontiers
I vividly remember piles and piles of magazines all over the floor of my tiny office, my fingers hurting from the exacto knife blades and sticky with glue. I am sure that these boards have found their way into the dumpster a long time ago.... Glad I have these pictures.
Sundrenched Spices and Blues
Now I have an inspiration board in the studio. No glue, no foamcore. Just a large cork board and lots of pins or old sewing needles. I also don't have as many fashion magazines any more either. I do occasionally splurge on one, but more often they are art magazines, postcards, bits of fabric. I am not looking for any trends either any more, I just take the photos that speak to me in some way. Maybe it's the color or the texture in the photograph, but more often it is just a feeling that it evokes. A feeling that speaks to my esthetic, the esthetic that I want to project with my work.


I enjoy cutting out the photo and finding a way to fit it in with the existing images. I rarely remove old images, eventually they just get covered up with the new. Someday perhaps I will "excavate" and see what's been hiding, but for now I'll keep layering. It's slow process, far removed from the fast paced fashion world, but I enjoy it just as much.


These are just a few detail shots from my inspiration board. Unfortunately I cannot get a good full image as the paper is just too shiny. But I think you get the idea.

scenes from the studio

Things are humming along on the studio lately. These are just teaser photos, can't quite share anything yet. 
Working on large piece for an invitational exhibit, and that's taking up most of my time. I am almost done with all the machine stitching, and soon there will be a needle in my fingers and a hand stitching marathon will commence. 
There is a bit of costume design happening for our Russian Folk Dance group. And some frivolous doodling for an iPhone cover (that one is Kristin's fault...)
sketchy stitching
gathering bits and pieces for layers
doodling...
designing!

foto/fiber

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.


cleaning studio...

Some of you might ask: where have I been? A few 'wordless wednesdays' posts does not a blog make. The tale of woes is long... but suffice it to say that technical problems abounded, deadlines and commitments loomed and family life interfered. Now the technical problems are seemingly solved (although with a loss of some photos), deadlines and commitments have been mostly met and family life is more or less back on schedule with the start of school. I am looking forward to being back here more often once again.

I had the most fabulous time teaching at the Create Retreat in August. I did not take a single picture, much too overwhelmed by all the activities, but Pokey has some fab pix on her Facebook page here. It was my first ever teaching experience of such length, I taught two six hour workshops...gasp.....and was really really amazed by how much I enjoyed teaching. I had not given teaching much thought previously, despite several articles and a DVD. So hopefully I will be able to have a few more teaching opportunities in the future.

Meanwhile I am trying to get back to creating! Not to say that I have not been creating, just not as much as I would like. I've been doing little things here and there, journaling, doodling, some stitching and pulling an all nighter on a major piece for a deadline. Now I am looking forward to a more regularly scheduled time in my studio, especially since school has started for my girls. I have a long list of art that I want to create and I'm itching to get started! But first I MUST clean my studio! I have a habit of cleaning up after each project s completed even if I have several projects going at a time, but time has gotten away from me...

So see you here soon and happy creating to all!
~N
PS I have to confess that I must catch up on monthly journals to....