Sunday, November 25, 2007

Family, Creativity, and Gratitude

It has been a lovely Thanksgiving weekend, ripe with all those feelings that accompany the start of the holiday season. We spent Thanksgiving afternoon with son Lance's in-laws in Provo. The food was great, company good, and I frankly loved not having to deal with cooking the entire meal. I contributed Brussels Sprouts, done in a way that even sprout-haters usually like, and two apple pies. One was a sour cream struesel, and the other a normal two crust apple, but with my own tweaks to the spices. Instead of all the usual cinnamon, nutmeg, and so on, I've found I like apple pie best spiced with lemon juice and freshly grated rind, and fresh ginger, finely grated. I love the clean, tart taste this gives the apples. I also use less sugar than many recipes, and stick to tart apples, with Granny Smith being my favorite. I've also learned a cool trick to prevent the big gap between the top crust and the filling as the apples reduce- cook the apples ahead of time, sauteed in a little butter, then put in the crust and bake. Makes all the difference.

Friday and Saturday I was able to get into the studio and play. I wanted to try out my Thermofax screens, so I pulled out a 2 yard length of raw silk I'd dyed a couple of time, and a half yard piece of cotton. Here's the silk being printed--

I am not used to working on pieces of cloth this large, but given that I had to move it more than once to get to all of it, it came out well. I also learned lots about using the Thermofax screens, which by the way are AWESOME!!

- Less is more when it comes to the amount of thickened dye or paint. My best images were with a lot less than I would have thought I needed.

-Don't skimp on the screen material, leave yourself a large enough well, or place to lay down your dye or paint, when you make the screens.

-If you want a sharp image with lots of detail, use soda soaked fabric that has been allowed to dry.

-I'll need to figure out a way to pad my entire table- but I think that one will be easily resolved with a trip to DI (Goodwill to most of the world).

I used cobalt blue, done in a dark value on the silk. The images are both ones I took and photoshopped. One is the windows in an old sort of factory building close to the freeway in Spanish Fork, the other is a rock wall. I think I will add one more image to this fabric in a lighter color paint, and then use it to make a simple jacket. Lime green for spring, sounds good to me!

On the cotton, I wanted to do my images first, then I will dye and overdye the fabric. The text is a page from my great-grandmother's high school graduation essay that I scanned and manipulated to increase the contrast. I love her handwriting! The other images are the same- a dry thistle, which I then manipulated to get this image, then did screens in three different sizes. I lightened the value of the thistle images.

I have a lot to learn about this process, but that will come with practice and doing more pieces. Subtlety is not yet in my vocabulary, that will definitely take more work. But I am thrilled to be able to add another skill to my toolbox, one that allows me to include images not possible any other way.

Bentlee spent the night with us, and Saturday I helped her make fabric cards to give for Christmas. We stared out with a piece of red velveteen fused to Peltex, then cut out shapes from all kinds of sheer fabrics I had in my stash. Once she had the shapes down to her satisfaction, I fused them to the velventeen with Misty Fuse.

Then I ran some stitching all over it with heavy gold thread in my bobbin. I gave her a cardboard "frame" to look through and mark the cards she wanted to cut, then stitched around her marks and cut them out. Then Bentlee learned all about the joys of beading! Here she is stitching beads onto a card--

She did a great job embellishing her cards! Once the beading was done, we fused a backing to the cards, then I couched four strands of eyelash yarn around the edges. She ended up with seven cards, each different and all very Christmas-sy!!

We had a grand time, and I think I now have some ideas for a Christmas present for her.

I hope your Thanksgiving was equally blessed and joyful!


Karoda said...

Bentlee's card is great and I love love the idea of using your grandmother's handwriting as a screen!!! That is so exciting. I have a letter written by my great great grandmother to my great grandmother and I just might see if I can borrow your idea!

Nellie's Needles said...

Wow! about your apple pies, silk screening, and Bentlee's cards.

I've got your hand-dyed cheeseclothe auditioning in a project with one of my young friends on the design board. That is such a beautiful piece of fabric. Again, thank you.

Linda Teddlie Minton said...

Beverly, you and Bentlee made some wonderful art! I love your screen printing. Merry Christmas!