09 April 2010

april 9 2010 - spring forward!

Ok.  I'm done worrying about the popularity of my work.  (not really, but I'm trying!)  My show is up at the Lodi Art Center.  I had a wonderful turn out for the First Friday Art Hop reception.  Lots of Art Hop regulars and artist friends.  I felt so unsure of the show: a combo of old and new work, featuring the use of color.  An interesting combination of techniques and projects:  felted hangings, paintings, metal embossed and collage mirrors, masks bursting with color, a collograph, jewelry...

So... on to the next thing.  I have been reading Embellish, Stitch, Felt:  Using the Embellisher Machine and Needle-Punch Techniques, by Sheila Smith.  Such an inspiring book!  I am particularly inspired by the layers of wool and fabric which are needle felted and then, wet felted or stitched.  She uses layer after layer to create a wonderfully unique cloth for use in 3D objects, journal covers, wall hangings, etc.  The embellisher is a needle felting machine, which allows the user to needle-felt large areas in a shorter time.

I am drawn to the use of multi-layering in collage, painting, and fabrics.  You can make a thin needle-felted and/or wet felted pre-felt, then use this as a layer in another piece.  You can add fabrics, stitching, embroidery.  Play with color, texture, pattern.  Felt is an excellent medium for layering techniques.

During my shift today at the Gallery, I begin work on needle-felting some pieces (without an embellisher), for use in multi-layered pieces with fabric and stitching, as well as felt.  

I have also decided to focus on developing a project I can work on, to help me in my journey towards strengthening my spiritual practice through my work.  Exploring my thoughts and emotions with my work in a more directed way.

26 March 2010

march 26 so many questions

You would think that by age 55 I would have a good sense of my direction in life.  I suppose that I have figured out a lot.  Yet in the area of my creative self, I have become lost.  It's not too huge.  This happens every so often.  I am a questioner and not necessarily a believer.  I have decided to recommit to my creative  artistic self.  I am hoping to head in a new direction.

If you think about a totally new direction, something not done before (by you), then you realize that it's an act of discovery , experimentation and risk.  Go out and be brave!   How can you know something when you don't know what it is...? 

While this may be frustrating, it is also very exciting:  a step in uncharted territory.

I am the featured artist at the Lodi Art Center for the month of April.  I have chosen the work to show for "It's All About the Color".  There will be lots of color- masks, felt work, jewelry and cards.  First Friday on April 1 is the reception- 6-8:30pm.

19 March 2010

friday and....

What's next? Worked in the studio yesterday ona simple collage project,
covering some composition books that I bought on sale. It was good. I was ferocious. Also cut up
2 felt pieces and framed them.

18 March 2010

march 18 frustration

at a low ebb.
experimenting with wet felting. some successes and some failures. it is very physically demanding work. i worked on a felted origami hat yesterday. creating blocks of color using a resist in center to create a 2-layer square. realized that i just do not have enough space or facilities to work larger in felting. i believe i will continue to work small for
the moment, experimenting with texture and color. frustrated, but not giving up.

renewing my efforts to understand myself and pushing forward creatively into the unknown. ah yes, the journey to the unknown!

ok. i have just
posted pics of what i have been working on and i have learned a lot. had some good lessons and results. i do appreciate the positives. i especially love the nuno felted purse. i like the fabric, colors, and materials. will try more along these lines.

04 March 2010

felted spheres

One of my first projects with felting is felted spheres. These spheres begin with a styrofoam orb which is then covered with strands of wool roving and various decorative yarns. The technique then is to stuff these delicately covered balls into a leg of a panty hose. I was not too successful with this technique, so I wrapped a square of a fine tulle around each wool-draped orb, and holding tight, dunked it into a tub of soapy water. Then began the felting rolling in my hands, with the tulle acting as a wool containment and provider of extra friction to accomplish the felting a bit sooner. I was happy with this process. I just walked around my garden in the sun, and talked on the phone, rolling, rolling, rolling. How quick and exciting the results were.

I decided to also try the washing machine method: wrapping then the hosiery legs, knotting between balls, and then throwing them in the washing machine on hot for a short cycle. I then, (probably not a good idea), tossed them in the dryer. These felted spheres were not as tightly shrunken around the styrofoam core as were the ones I did by hand. And so into the dryer they went! They turned out well-felted, but in all the tossing and turning, some ended up with flat sides, and uneven felt layers. The unevenness adds to the delight of this project, However, I prefer the hand method over which I have more control.

The wonderful felted spheres are now displayed in a
tall cylindrical vase. I am thinking of leaving some as simply felted spheres and perhaps embellishing others to create a simple hanging.

I still have some styrofoam balls left... perhaps I'll play a bit later.

The whole world, as we experience it visually, comes to us through the mystic realm of color.
Hans Hofmann - abstract artist

19 February 2010

the next 13 weeks...FELTING

Finally, after 3 months I was able to attend to the cleaning up of my studio. It was a mess, so it was easy to tidy. The papers everywhere situation has been delaying my clean-up; I have wanted to sort images and pattern and types of paper. But I have been reluctant to begin this big reorganization. I finally realized that perhaps I am not yet ready to do so: not sure how to organize. So, I just tucked papers away in drawers and VOILA! they are off the work table! I still have several projects around the table: Wooden bases for mirrors - a metal embossing project of which I have completed one fabulous mirror! Misc. chaff all over.

Anyway, the cleaning up has begun enough to start my newest infatuation: wet felting. I have 2 new books: UNIQUELY FELT, by Christine White and EMBELLISH, STITCH, FELT by Sheila Smith. Both books have inspired me AND given me the tools I need to explore the medium of felting more intensely. I have begun at the beginning of Christine White's book with experimentation and simple projects: cording, nuno felting, felted balls. Wet felting is hard on my back, even tho I am trying to be correct in my posture.
But, I am so thrilled with the materials and the results, I can't wait to try the next "thing"!

To add to the studio clean-up, I have managed to, finally, clean out some cabinets downstairs that began as my first storage space for my artistic endeavors with my children and myself. I was cleaning up to ready for my youngest daughter's visit, when I just decided to JUST DO IT. 3 hours later, the garbage and recycling bins were filled up and a new pile of materials were added to my studio. Of course, these are still in boxes, bags, etc., on the studio floor. But, I am so happy to have accomplished the big clean out.

This does seem to be the year of cleaning out old stuff...what do i really need to save? After over 20 years in a house, all the small objects and piles that are saved and hidden in drawers need to be cleared out to make way for the new!

11 January 2010

new year monday morning

I have been mulling and mulling, which is what i often do and i have decided on a course of action. My 52 weeks project, which only went for 14 weeks, or a quarter of a year, a season, is on hold for perhaps another 14 weeks.

I am working on my felting. mira encouraged me to enter felt pieces for a book by Lark Books, 500 Felt Objects. So, i am currently working on a triptych: small felt circles on felt squares on larger squares. It's all about colors and shapes. The colors of my wool roving are so wonderful. I just love playing around with putting these colors together. One section is greens, another purples, and the third, is blues. The backgrounds are oranges and reds. After some experimentation with how to attach shapes to the background- red tape & needle felting- i decided on sewing with embroidery thread with quilt-like ties. I had wanted to leave the circles/squares unmarked by stitches; just wanting them to hang miraculously alone. However, when this didn't work out, i decided to stitch them with small tight ties, on the corners and in the middle. The first one looks good.

I had hoped to make them all the same size and perfectly spaced, but of course that is not how i work. I work by feel and eyeballing, and i love the imperfections in the end. A sense of ordering the chaos. Each individual piece is slightly different from the next, but there is a sense of commonality: colors and shapes are related to one another.

I am unsure whether to embellish these more... or to leave them minimal which is my first instinct. First instincts are good, but I am on a path to go beyond what I know. So, the question is
" Should I embellish or keep it minimal?"

I want to peel away layers and go with simplicity of form. Yet I am so attracted to small lovely embellishments which are layer upon layer. I am torn. I am fearful of ruining the simplicity of a piece and over-working it. Losing the original intent. But, I want to take risks and not be afraid to move into unknown territory and embellish.

I think I just talked myself into keeping it simple. Perhaps I will frame them with some sort of embellishments....Not yet sure.
What do you think? I have posted the first "completed" section. Minimal is good, or not enough....???

(Note: the colors are not as vivid as in person. This is another challenge: photographing the work.)