Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Ta Daaaaa!

Well, here is the last project I worked on in my "Memory Cloth" class with Peg Gignoux. During the six weeks, we had played with different techniques including stamping on fabric, sewing pieces together, then cutting those and reassembling in a different way, embellishing...and a bunch of other stuff.

The last class, we made a book (our final technique to play with). I was ambivalent. But, of course, after mine was finished, I loved making a book. I want to do more! So many fun things to do, so little time....

On some of the inside pages I sewed other pieces of paper to the plain paper pages. It made a neat treatment for both sides.

Most all of the paper that I added (that has color, etc), was from something I had done years ago and still had. I chopped it to pieces and loved adding it to the book. And so, here is my very own memory of the class and the wonderful women that were a part of it. Beam :)!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Fun with Fabric...and Paint...and the same time!

I finally took some more pics of things that I made in my "Memory Cloth" class with Peg Gignoux. I had such a great time in that class. Here is one of the pieces of cloth that I made. Several years ago, my mother gave me a large, wooden stamp (I think used for wall embellishments) . I mixed up a thin solution of white acrylic paint and stamped a pattern on this linen fabric I had. The paint is faint in the photo, but it has a nice effect.

I was practicing doing some french seams and decided to add some paper. I grabbed an old pattern that I knew I wouldn't use again and started ripping away by hand - long, thin strips. Then I sewed these onto the fabric, whirling it around and around to make these frilly pattern posies. I love the effect. I know stamping and french seams and sewing with paper isn't new. But it's the first time I really played with it. What a great way to learn - by playing!
More pics soon of my last creation....

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Coaster Confections

These little confections are the beginnings of my getting back to my felting. I just needed to do a little project to steer my attention back to my very favorite of creative endeavors. So with a cloud of natural white corriedale wool and a few twists of red and burgundy merino, the felting began!
And after a while....

Friday, October 23, 2009

I Found My Thrill!

Click to enlarge photos
I've had two of six classes so far in Peg Gignoux's "Memory Cloth" class. Unfortunately this cloth doesn't provide better memory (ohh, how I wish). Creating a piece of cloth that is in memory of someone or that is a memory or celebration of a particular event (wedding, anniversary, etc) is really the idea here. I didn't pay very close attention to the theme of the class when I signed up. It was the skills that caught my attention. And I am LOVING it so far!

Peg is an artist who has created wonderful (and I do mean wonderful) pieces and she is such a talented teacher as well. For this class, she asked us to stick with neutrals and to bring in fabric, laces, and any odds and ends that could be used to create a bit of cloth. She brought in fabrics and laces, too. And we were invited to share hers as well as use our own.
The piece above was done in about 45 minutes and was one of the most freeing projects I've done. I'm usually too concerned with what the other person is doing or what they think of what I'm doing. I end up getting creativity-paralysis and do something very uncreative. But this was so much fun to just experiment with putting different materials together and not worry about what it was going to be (yet), or whether I could sell it, or whether the teacher would approve (I am stuck in my teenage years wayyyy too often). I used Peg's toffee colored dupioni silk, her pretty geometric lace, and my cheapy muslin and cotton and came up this.
I had so much fun and got so many ideas .... The second class was printmaking which opened up even more ideas. Did I mention I love this class?

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Getting organized...not that anybody needs that :)

As most of you know, I design and make purse organizers...
to keep all those little (and big) things in your purse not only organized, but at your pen-seeking, cell-seeking, key-seeking fingertips. Well, I was doing a little market research the other day and came across a great blog on getting organized - anywhere. Jeri Dansky actually has several sites that are devoted to tips on getting organized, the products that help you get and keep organized, as well as addressing the 'why', or should I say "why aren't you", of being organized.
If you need to clean up your act...or you are a helpless neat freak, check out her sites.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Welcome to my studio :)

I love seeing where people work, play and live. And here is where I do all three - at least part of the time. My studio is upstairs in our house. There's nothing else up here - just my studio. It doesn't take up the whole top floor, but it is huge compared to what I was used to. As I come up the stairs, this is what I first see. I have different things throughout the studio that make me smile, inspire me or call to me. I'm sure if some scientist hooked up a bunch of electrodes to my head, they would see my brain do flip-flops everytime I come up here. Jake, our Border Collie mix, comes up here to help me. Unfortunately, that includes getting into my wool roving. Maybe the smell of sheep is still deep within and he can't help himself :). That crazy thing to the left of my bookself is just that. A crazy thing. I made it years ago of chicken wire, lattice backing, and a whole lot of ribbon and plastic what-nots. Over the years, it's become somewhat of a bulletin board to tuck memorabilia into.
And here is the nook where my sewing table is. With windows that look out onto our woods and everything at my fingertips, it makes "coming to work" a pleasure. Well, actually, my whole studio does. I love it.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

More Botanical Garden fun

This is a follow-on post to my previous post on the sculpture show at the North Carolina Botanical Garden. There are so many great sculptures on display, it is like an Easter egg hunt trying to find them all. (click on the photos to enlarge) Happy metal man greets all who come through the main entrance. The gates are some of my favorites.

"Silent Wings" was so fun to watch move in the breeze. Very peaceful. It was inspired by an owl who flew past the artist one day and never made a sound.

"Happy Gardeners" is a permanent fixture at the Garden. I can't help but smile when I go by.
And last, for this post anyway, is this cute puppy. There were several puppies, but I chose him. Wag :).
Art: "Going Around in Circles" by John E. Michael is the happy metal man. Unfortunately, I neglected to get the other names. Anyone out there know the ones I missed?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Come Out and Play! and look, and eat, and enjoy!!

For the last eight years, my neighbors and friends, Debbie Meyer and Eric Brantley, have held an art show starting the last Saturday in August and then every Saturday through the end of September (that's right, there is only one Saturday left!).
They, and their daughter Beckett (about the cutest 4 year old in the world),open up part of their 17-acre farm for "Come Out and Play" and very generously provide food and drinks to any and all who come (all for free!).

The Sweetbriar Studio tent is filled with my fabric and felt creations and my husband, Chuck's, wood works. My (84 years not-so-old) mother even joined in with her paintings recently. Here is a photo of Chuck's "Sunbursts" displayed on Debbie and Eric's home.
Their front yard is sprinkled with sculptures and art that goes all the way around their pond and into their back yard.
Everyone, really EVERY one, has a great time looking at art, socializing, eating, looking at more art, and maybe buying (:)).
What started as a sculpture show to honor the victims of 9/11 has grown into a rather large event that now includes other types of arts and crafts.

This is such a gift that Debbie and Eric (and Debbie's parents Ginger and Jim) graciously offer to the artists as well as all who attend. So, to them, Thank You (times infinity!). (If anyone wants more information, just contact me.)

Art: glass and metal sculpture/Teddy Devereux and Ken Maynor ,red sculpture/Ed White, mosaic planter legs/Pam Isner, Typewriter Totem/Brian Mergenthaler

Wednesday, September 16, 2009, studio, inspiration...Just Blog!

So many creative things to do, sooooo little time! And just when inspiration is the last thing I need, we went to the North Carolina Botanical Garden in Chapel Hill. It's such a great place to go. For two months in the fall, they feature sculptures from sculptors worldwide. Just to prove it, here is one of my very favorites called "Water, Wind and Fire" by Margarita Leon from Maracaibo, Venezuela. The 'elements' are prettily arranged in a pond full of lilies, frogs and tadpoles.
My husband and I had both cameras clicking while my mother kept saying, "oh, take one from this direction. Take this through the reeds...."

I'm a sucker for color and I love the creativeness of the cutouts and the add-ons.

More from the Garden later....

Friday, August 14, 2009

Kinder, gentler...and faster!

After designing and making purse patterns and all those purses for about eight years, I finally hit on something that made life just a titch easier: fabric pattern pieces. Now, this is probably a yawner to some of you (especially if you don't sew :)), but it fairly well changed me into a kinder, gentler pattern cutter-outer. All I did was to find some material that I had gobs of and no immediate use for (natural denim from an attempt at slipcovering - eesh) and cut out all the pieces of one of my patterns. If I needed to "Cut 2" from a particular piece, I did so in the denim. I labeled them just in case I had amnesia someday and voila! Now I can lay out my pattern, no pins required, and ...
easily cut the pieces of fabric out. The fabric pattern sort of grips the other fabric so it stays in place while I'm cutting.
The other advantage is that the fabric pattern pieces might last longer than their paper sisters. This works great for purse patterns or a pattern you tend to use many times over. And, of course, you don't need denim for your pattern pieces. Just find the oldest scrap in your stash that isn't slippery, and that's probably a good candidate.
Now to find some trick for making me a kinder, gentler wife :)...!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Some wool, some water, and a whole lotta shakin' goin' on!

Although there's been a bit of a gap since my last blog post, I think I'm back in the blog saddle again :). Happily, one of the things that has been keeping me away is a felting project. It all started with a blank slate, or in this case, a blank rubber mat... (click any photo to enlarge)
and some inspiration - a photo out of National Geographic Magazine.The photo is of a jellyfish relative called a blue button. So I'm naming this, Jelly-belly button :). I am mostly enamored with it's tentacles, but the overall design is pretty neat, too. I also was inspired by the technique Linda Brooks Hirschman used on her "Floating Poppies" in Carol Huber Cypher's book "how we felt".

So, on my blank slate, I started adding wisps of colorful merino fiber. It's like laying out cotton candy, but not that sticky...or tasty.
This is just the first layer. The second goes in the perpindicular direction.

After laying out the basic design, I took it down to our kitchen and soaked it carefully with water, laid some bubble wrap on top, and started shakin' it, well, rubbing it with my fingers back and forth. About mid-way through, I added some yarn highlights to the design. I kept adding hot, soapy water and enlisted the help of a hand-sander with a washboard attachment to help me with the agitation. I think I was getting more shakin' than the fiber! The water, soap and agitation all help the fibers to interlock. A long time later (did I emphasize long? :)), it was felt! I rinsed and squeezed the water out and inverted Jelly-belly over a bowl to shape it while it was drying. It doesn't look so great at this point....
But then, the part I love the best - flipping it over to reveal how it looks once dry. Yea! It's so fun to see the colors come out and see how the added yarns worked.

There's more to come on this. But I'm excited so far. Stay tuned....

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Heeeeere's Kate!

That's Kate on the right. She is one of the first creative friends I made after moving near Chapel Hill. At the time, she was dying silk using a shibori technique. Wow, what beautiful silks she created! And, with those beautiful silks, she created beautiful scarves and garments. Then hand, wrist and arm injuries put the ol' kabosh on that artistic work. Below is just one example of a detail of her pieced scarves. She still has a few left at
I think it was while she was trying to give her hands a rest that she started beading. And she's jumped into that with both feet (well, actually, hands :)). Thank goodness this artistic endeavor doesn't seem to hurt her hands (or her feet!). Below are some of her more recent creations. A simple, but beautiful, necklace...
Or, a not so simple, and gorgeous necklace...
I love the charms on these earrings...
A bracelet sure to attract attention, this is loaded with color and interesting beads and so prettily done. Although I wish Kate never suffered the injuries she did, there is a silver lining in it for us all :). And if you ever want to help Kate at one of her shows, she lets you wear one of her creations. As she would say, "Sweet"! Check out her blog, for more of her creations including those in her kitchen!