Sunday, September 28, 2008

Batik and Monoprinting

I mentioned in the last post that I spent Saturday up at a friend's studio. She lives in Heber, which is a lovely, not-too-long trip through Provo Canyon. I had to stop and take a couple pictures of the fantastic fall colors, as seen by Bridal Veil Falls.

I do love this time of year. The cooler temperatures feel great after 90 and 100 degree summers. The colors on the mountains are lovely. The only drag for me is knowing that winter is on its way, and I will be living in a sea of beige and gray for the next six or more months. Unless it snows a lot, in which case I will be fighting slick roads and all the hassles that go with it. Not my favorite season by any stretch.

I took a lot of fabric, both already dyed and plain PFD. I never got to the PFD, and didn't even finish all the dyed fabric I took. I did both soy batik, and monoprinting. I wanted to make more fabric in similar colors to some I did in the batik workshop this summer. Blues and turquoises--

I have three or four in these colors.

Then I wanted to try monoprinting. Here I used construction fencing, red dye on yellow fabric. I got two pieces from this, here's the first--

And the second--

The bits of turquoise were not intentional. I had these batching with the turquoise peices in plastic, and they bled. Ah well, I'm going to cut them up anyway.

This is my favorite. I just smeared print paste on my plate, and then squirted turqoise and ecru dye on the paste. The colors were running before I ever got the fabric on the plate. I think I started with a light yellow base, you'd never know it now! Then after getting the fabric on the plate, I remembered that I hadn't soaked it in soda ash. So I just dripped a soda solution on the fabric with a brush. It seems to have worked!

I did other pieces, but the patterning is so subtle that it didn't show up well in photos.

One more note from Reno, sort of- my brother and I are both book addicts, and I always have to check out his bookcase to see what treasures he might have. I found this, which has been on my Amazon wish list for awhile-

This is the best book on the creative process I have found yet. Paul let me borrow it (his is a signed copy, the author spoke at Cal State Fullerton when Paul was an srt student there), but I will be buying my own copy. It just speaks to me in a way that other books on creativity have not. I highly recommend it.

More from Reno

Lots more pictures from Reno- on Saturday, we went for a long drive up Carson Pass in the Sierras. I was hoping for fall color, but there wasn't much to see.

But first, we went to breakfast with a couple of friends that I hadn't seen in a very long time. We spent two hours talking over our food, and lots of coffee when the food was gone. Bill and Dawn have wicked senses of humor, and we had lots of laughs talking about our respective children. I made sure Paul got a picture of us before we parted ways--

Then we headed up into the mountains. Just over the pass we found a lake that was being totally drained so they could repair some damage to the dam. It was fascinating walking around a lake bed. Here's an overview, with some fishermen in the distance.

I was surprised at how little trash we could see on the lake floor. We found hollow tree stumps,

and cool rusty stuff.

I got lots of pictures of these mud cracks, I hope to turn some into thermofax screens.

Sunday afternoon, I flew home and decided to try taking pictures out my window. Even in dry and arid Nevada, I saw some interesting stuff. These hills have all kinds of interesting color--

My brother in law tells me that Nevada actually has good soil, but it's impossible to farm without irrigation. It's clear where they are farming from the sky, just look for the crop circles!

A quilt with imagery from aerial photography has been percolating in my mind, so some of these may be used in a future project.

I had a very busy week at work, then spent yesterday at a friend's studio in Heber, waxing and dyeing. But more about that later!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Hiking in Reno

Friday afternoon my brother and I took off hiking in the BLM land above our sister's property. I had been asking them about finding rusty stuff, and they remembered two old abandoned cars up there.

The first part was somewhat strenuous, but the views were worth it.

There have been fires on these hills in the past several years. The vegetation has begun to recover, but you can see the signs of the fire if you look closely.

I also happened to love the sinuous lines of this pinon stump. I took lots of pictures of sinuous sage and burnt pinon.

After hiking up quite a ways, you stumble on this--

It looks like a model from the 1950's, and it has been totally denuded of anything that could be taken.

I knew there was another car up there, so I kept on going. This one really looks out of place!

My brother in law says there was a road here at one point,but I sure couldn't find any evidence of it on this part of the hike.

I wasn't ready to turn back, so we decided to hike to the top of the next hill. It's always further than it looks! But we did make it up to the top, where there is a dry lake. It normally has water only in the spring, until about June. That red dirt on the left center is the lake bed.

That's where we turned around. Here's Paul- and there is evidence of a road up here! Not always easy hiking in that sand!

These hills are home to a couple of wild horse herds. Evidence of their presence was everywhere along the hike- I had to keep an eye on where I was stepping!

Well, blogger is starting to get fussy, so I'll save the rest of my photos for future posts.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

On the Road

I've been in Reno since Thursday morning- one day of business, and two full days of playing with my brother, sister, and  brother in law.  I've made the mandatory run to Trader Joe's, found a cool brand new jacket at Saver's (a thrift store), and will trek home with a quart of gesso from Michael's.  Yes, we have Michael's in Utah, but I had a half off coupon that expired before I get home.  Can't let that go to waste.  I also connected over breakfast Saturday with friends I haven't seen in a very long time.  So it has been a lovely weekend.

Yesterday Paul, Kevin, and I drove and did some hiking in the mountains south of Tahoe.  I'll have loads of pictures to post once I get home and get them off my camera.  Until then, this little note will have to suffice.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Surprise!! (And, 200 posts--)

I had a lovely surprise when I went to the mailbox today- a box from Nellie Durand. Inside was this--

Isn't she great!! Nellie posted about making these birds earlier this summer. This one happens to be made from some of my hand-dyed fabric that I sent to Nellie along with threadies and other fiber stuff that I used to throw out. I just love her!! I'm already trying to decide where to display her to best effect.

I've also been stitching, on one of the sunflower batik panels. I want to have it at least partially done before the Surface Design meeting in Salt Lake next Wednesday. I'm well on the way, all I have left is the background.

It took awhile, but I heavily quilted the center area. I love the texture this stitching gives it.

Later, I'll add beads. I'm also debating adding some paint, like the Kemshall's do. A nice sparkly metallic, to give it some pop.

This is my 200th post since I started this blog in March of 2006. I didn't know if it would last, since I was never one to maintain a diary or journal. But for some reason, this works for me- I love doing it, and love the connections I've made around the world through blogging. To all those who visit, read about my art and life, and maybe even leave a comment- thank you!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Sketchbooking with WAQ

We met at Sydney's home today, and she was all set up for us to experiment with sketchbooking as described by Linda and Laura Kemshall, both in their book and on one of their segments on Quilting Arts TV.

We'd watched a DVD at Kathleen's earlier this year with Beaney and Littlejohn, where one of them described making sketchbooks from large atlases or other books you can get cheap at second hand stores, then gluing 3-4 pages together and gessoing them. The effect was neat. Sydney had already found a cool atlas, and started gluing pages together- not a quick process, from her experience. She'd also found some smaller board books for toddlers. We sanded them and gessoed the pages- speeding the process up with a hair dryer. No need to glue pages together with a board book!

Laura Kemshall showed how to do monoprints in a sketchbook using transparencies and acrylic paint. I tried it, and loved the effect. The gesso gives wonderful texture.

After monoprinting with red paint, I stamped it with the black. Then I used the transparency with the black paint on it to monoprint the page on the left.

Up close, you can see the delicious texture from the gesso.

There were other ideas, some using printed pictures. I think I am going to try printing out a photo I've taken using my laser printer,then adding color with paints, crayons, or Shiva paintstiks. And, I had an 'aha' moment. I have put off buying acrylic paints due to the expense. I just couldn't justify it when I knew I would only use them for sketchbooks, I will never be a painter like Ms. Mel. And I don't want to use my fabric paint on paper. Sydney, however, had acrylic craft paint that I used- stuff that is inexpensive, and available at Michael's. A solution I can live with! So the only thing I will have to get in the ART store is the gesso!

I have a goal this weekend- to get one of my sunflower batik panels quilted and beaded. Our big surface design group meets next week, and I'd like to have one ready to show the group. We'll see if I'm successful, I'm beginning to learn that I spend more time worrying about the quilting than it actually takes me.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Going Green in Utah

We headed up the hill to the Kite Fest this morning, and found out that it was much more than a celebration of kite flying. There was a large vendor area nicely set up in the camping spots, with all kinds of information about things green- everything from recycling to solar power to transportation. The company that set up the wind farm that is just up the road from our home was also there, touting their contribution to helping move the country towards energy independence. I figure that in today's political climate, even Utah- which is usually several years behind the coasts in anything- can't lag. I was happy to see it all, and even signed up for curbside recycling, which is just becoming available here.

Shannon tried a Segway, a personal transportation vehicle that I've seen law enforcement use.

I tried a recumbent bike- apparently I got out there quicker than Shannon could take a picture. I'm one of the far pair, on the right. The thing was fun to ride, and sure gave your legs a workout!

They had a kite group from Florida, that buzzed around the small reservoir with cool kites behind.

There was a kite flying area. This one was awesome, her feet moved like she was swimming.

And there was the Bali kite garden, with kites strung from the trees. Loved these!

Kids got to make their own small kites, and then try to fly them. Here's Lance and Jaden working on his.

Once done, both Jaden and Bentlee went out to try to get some air under their kites.

All in all, a fun and worthwhile morning!

Friday, September 05, 2008

I've Been Baaaad!!

No, I haven't done anything evil or illegal. I have just been very, very late in finishing my daughter-in-law's birthday present. But, here it is, noon on Friday, and I can finally say it is DONE!! (And I've even cleaned the bathroom, started the laundry, and vacuumed already this morning too!)

Marly loves butterflies, so I made her another piece to frame to go with the one I did last year. Along with a bird of paradise, she will now have a tryptich of tropical flora and fauna. I hope they help her remember home in Colombia.

This is my rendering of a glasswing butterfly. I thought about stitching on the butterfly, but decided that would ruin the delicate wings I was trying to achieve. And the legs aren't as good as I'd like, but they were hard. I printed the wings on Extravorganza, and enhanced the colors with Tsukineko inks. The background is a piece I painted and used bleeding tissue paper on, done last summer. It's mounted on foamcore, ready to frame. I hope she likes it.

I'm also going to try deconstructed screen printing again. I soda soaked that same fabric I used last time, and let it dry. I found out that two rubbing plate fit perfectly under the screen, so I chose two leaf motifs. This time I put the rubbing plates directly under the screen, not under the newspaper- and found out that leaves a lot more dye on the screen. Here's what it looks like, drying--

It's so dry here, I expect to be able to print by tonight.

We're going to a kite festival tonight here in Spanish, up by the reservoir and with a good view of the wind farm. I hope to get some good pictures, maybe some inspiration. We're supposed to have weather in the 80's all week- hope that lasts awhile. I am NOT ready for winter, not by a long shot!!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Weekend Finale

We did do something fun to end the summer. Three Dog Night played in concert at an outdoor venue close to home, the Scera Shell. It's an art organization that has been around since the Depression.

The concert itself was fun. We were all bundled up, since the weather took a cold turn. Lots of baby boomers, some that looked like the boomer's parents. And, like us, boomers bringing their own kids to hear the music. I firmly believe that we messed up a lot of things, but we did make the best music the world has seen, before and since. Just hearing it can take me back years.

The band definitely looks their age, but it didn't stop them from rocking the house. They did two versions of 'Mama Told Me Don't Come'- the original from 1972, and a 'rap' version which had the audience howling. All in all, it was a great show.

I did get one more piece worked on. A small butterfly quilt for Marly, that will be framed. Then she'll have a triptych for their office, two butterflies and a bird of paradise. Hopefully it will be completely done and on its way early next week.

Monday, September 01, 2008

A Mixed Bag

I finished all my pieces yesterday. The batik was a smashing success, I got crackle and better control of my lines. After waxing the entire surface of the sunflower pieces, I scrunched them (trying to avoid the leaves) and applied some chocolate brown dye. After ironing out the excess wax (quite the process), I steamed them for close to an hour. After drying, here's what I got:

I think with some quilting and beading, these are rather respectable practice pieces. Next, I want to try a more abstract look without thickening the dyes. That will take planning, not my strong suit.

The red kitchen utensil batik also looked great after I knocked down the in-your-face red a bit.

I think I like the movement those straight lines add to the piece.

The deconstructed screenprints are another story. I obviously did something wrong, because the dye washed out almost completely. Here's the turquoise piece after steaming. Up close, I can see bits of the green- but that's about it. Compare this photo to the one in the previous post and you'll see what I mean.

On the white pfd, the green became a very pale, ghostly gray; on the multi-colored hand-dye, it pretty much disappeared. I'm not sure if I didn't get enough soda ash in the print paste, or what. Next time I will use dried, soda soaked fabric. Despite this disappointment, the process is too much fun to give up.

An additional note- Ive been thinking about what I did with the deconstructed screen prints, and think I have figured out why they washed out. I re-read the instructions for making soda print paste, and realized I just stirred the dry soda ash into the paste- I neglected to dissolve it in water. Dumb, dumb, dumb. There is a fine line between working quickly and intuitively, and being just plain impatient, and I crossed it yesterday. Hopefully the soda ash will have dissolved by now, but if I still see granules I'll add some urea water. AND use soda soaked fabric until I use up that print paste!!

We have gone from 90's on Friday and Saturday, to 60's today, with rain. Funny how a temperature that feels balmy in the spring can feel downright cold at the end of summer. We have tickets to see Three Dog Night tonight- in an outdoor venue. Here's hoping the rain goes away so the concert can happen. I love taking my kids to see the bands from my youth in the 60's!!!