Wednesday, March 3, 2010

SpirARTuality: Collaborative Fiber Art

This month's SpirARTuality was Collaborative Art.
Each of us began with a background and worked for 10-15 minutes. Then, we gave the piece to the next person. We worked on that piece for 15-20 minutes. Then we traded again and completed the piece in 1/2 hour.

Here's Jo working on one of the pieces:

I was the middle person in the piece below. When I got it, it had a monster on the right hand side, and I added a tree and some other elements. And then it became this wonderful thing!

Here's the piece we all agreed was done when it was very simple. But after a while, I announced that it needed a face, so Jo added this lovely lady:

I was the last worker on the piece below. It seems just about right when I got it. Then I added all the yarn, just for fun:

Here's what we produced in about 90 minutes:

Not too shabby!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

SpirARTuality: Acrylic Paints

November's SpirARTuality event was taking an acrylics painting class at the fantastic Root Art Center.

I have very little training in art, so the very first thing out of our instructor's mouth was fascinating to me. She set out two reds, two yellows, and two blues and told us that there are both warm and cool colors of each primary color!
So she prefers to work with 6 primary colors (3 warm and 3 cool) plus black and white when she paints. So that's what we did.

She had our canvas paper all prepared. It was taped to a piece of cardboard both to give it pretty finished edges, and to keep it from warping when it got wet.

Our first task was to put down a wash over the whole paper.
I had fun testing out mixing paint and water, but made quite a mess (and obviously I was much more interested in the activity than in taking good photos!):

We then chose an artist to copy. Since we were simply working on techniques today, we didn't need to waste time on figuring out what to paint.
We chose Van Gogh. Analyzing the picture I chose, we saw that it was in the cool range, so I worked with the cool blue, red, and yellow as I mixed and painted. Susan's painting, too was in the cool range (even though it had lots of yellow). We painted for about an hour, then stopped and the instructor led us in a little critique.

Susan's sky and grass were just fantastic. But the light blob wasn't just right, so she went back to work on that. I didn't have enough defintion between the sky and the water. I liked the sky, but wasn't too happy with the water. So when I took it back, I tried using warm colors for the water to see if they would make an interesting contrast from the cool sky.

Here we are, working on our revisions.
I was surprisingly pleased with the result of my first acrylic painting. It's by no means a masterpiece, but it's not too shabby, either. And I love the contrast in the sky and water now. How interesting!

Our reflection questions for today's project is:
When in your life are you imitating someone? Who is the person your are imitating? Are you glad to be imitating them?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Fabulous Necklace

I recently attended CREDO II a fabulous retreat/conference offer to Episcopal clergy through our pension fund. One of the participants had a necklace that I really liked:

So I thought, I could make that! And I made the most Fabulous Necklace in the World.

Three years ago, I had a Blessing Way before the birth of my younger son. Many of my friends couldn't attend, but wanted to participate. So each of them were invited to send a bead which would be made into a birthing necklace which I could use as a focal point in labor. They were on some ribbon, but I never quite knew what to do with them afterwards. Now, I've figured it out.

I took my Blessing Way beads and some of my favorite other beads into my local bead shop and showed the owner the picture and my beads. She set me up to work, and I added a few more beads from her collection and some seed beads, and voila!

I love this necklace. It's chock full of love and reminders of friends; it's hand-made; it's made by ME;'s got a magnetic clasp in the back! I've never heard of magnetic clasps, but they rock!

Have an artful day.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

SpirARTuality ideas

Our SpirARTuality group got together for lunch and brainstorming ideas for next year. Our ideas include:

Creating our own painting class at Root Art Center
Weaving rolled paper

Making clay beads
Doing our own Art Hop
Going to Whatever Works in Granville
Visiting a glass blowing studio

Creating african-type painted fabrics
Creative writing
Beading at our local bead store
Retreat day (or several days!)

What are your arty thoughts for the coming year?

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Monoprinting with Kids

I helped lead the Children's Program for the Ohio Episcopal Celebration at Kenyon (OEC@K). As we were begin planning our activities for the weekend, I remembered I had extra Versatex screen printing ink from the previously blogged about Fish Printing. So this time, we tried monprinting.

In order to get a smooth, elevated working surface for the children (ages 2-11), we used a food storage bag wrapped tightly around a book, with the excess neatly folded and taped. The kids had to be very careful not to rip the thin plastic, but none of them did.

As I was demonstrating the process to the children and I pulled up my piece, I suddenly realized that these could be prayer flags. So suddenly this became an Prayer Flag activity.

(We also stuck with the original plan, which was about decision-making. Children trying out different designs on the paint was like thinking about what decision to make. But then putting down the fabric was like making a decision--it can't be un-made.)

Here I am, mellowly talking about prayer flags as if it was our intention the whole time:

Children then took a plastic-covered book, a flat work surface (showerboard cut to 2ft squares), and a piece of cotton or muslin and then chose a color to work with. I spread the color on the plastic, then they took off with a teen-aged helper and got to work.

After playing in the paint and deciding on a design, the children would carefully put down their fabric piece and use a brayer to make sure the full design was transfered. Here's Grant braying a neat design:

It was a great gift that the teen program chose this particular session to sit in with the children's program. There were just enough teens and kids that they paired up very nicely, and they loved working together:

Truth be told, I think the teens liked this project as much as the kids did. They were very patient helping the kids, but the moment their "job" was done, they came asking to do their own prints:

Oh! And we had enough left-over shirts from the Fish Prints that each of the children could monoprint a t-shirt, too.

Here are our prayer flags in full glory:

This is quite an easy activity that can be done with any age and be successful, even with confirmed "non-artists." Just don't forget to heat set the images afterwards (press with a hot but not steamy iron for 5 minutes).

Monday, June 22, 2009

Paper Friendship Quilt

On our recent trip back to Kansas, we did an art project with the Reeces. Cydney suggested a friendship quilt, and I loved the idea. I, of course, wanted to do it in fabric. She wanted to do it in paper and had all the supplies. So paper it was!

Step 1: Choose the paper.
First, Cyd and I each chose a group of scrapbooking papers that we liked. (Suggestion: have the whole family choose the papers, not just one person.)
There were 3 piles: Reeces, S-Bs, and shared.

Step 2: Choose the quilt pattern.
You can make any shapes you want to on the quilt, but since we wanted to make it easy enough for a 2-year old to do it, we just cut triangles. Each quilt square was to be 5 inches, so each of the scrap book papers was cut first into 2 1/2 inch squares and then cut on the diagonal to make triangles.
Each pile is kept separate (Reece, S-B, Shared).

Step 3: Everyone makes 2 quilt squares, one for each home.
Here, you can see me, Matthew, and Cydney working on our squares. Each of us used triangles from the "S-B" and "shared" pile for my quilt, and from the "Reece" and "shared" for the Reece quilt.
We used glue stick to stick the squares to a backing of stiffer paper (whatever we had on hand, posterboard, perhaps).
Each person got to choose both the triangles they use and what pattern they wanted to place them in.

Luke's one for us is directly below him. I didn't mind the white showing, but we straightened up the one he made for the other quilt because the wonkyness would have driven them crazy. ;)

Here, you can see the 3 piles we were drawing from, the Reeces are more green/muted, the share is ecclectic, and ours are more pinks and oranges:

And here are our finished quilt squares.
They are now divided by family, and waiting to be mounted and framed using this matte board.
Cyd and I are both pleased with the results:

Birthday (The Big 4-0)

My birthday this year fell on a Wednesday, which made it easy to make it an arty day. SpirARTuality meets on the 1st Wednesday of each month, so we celebrated by making these cute little animals out of pre-plastered gauze. We chose these animals to go along with my birthday theme. My goal was to have all of my friends donate to the Heifer Project so that we could buy 40 animals for folks around the world for my 40th birthday. (We surpassed my goal!). These animals graced the table at my party that evening. Jo's lama is so well-dressed. Susan's lamb is cute as a bug. And my lama is ready to go!

In the evening, it was the last in our church's series, "In the Image of the Creator God." Each week, a different artist came to share a little of their art, how God/spirituality influences their art, and then leads us in an art project (HOW COOL IS THAT?!?). It was a great series. This last week, a woman who paints eggs using wax lead us in painting eggs. It was ridiculously fun, addicticting, and everyone was successful at it from my 2-year old son to my 87-year old mom, and the most creative to the most...reserved. Charlie shows off his favorite two eggs:

My niece Sara surprised me by driving 3 hours for the party (and having to leave again very early the next morning). She and Luke worked on some eggs together:

And here I am watching hubby and a bunch of other folks work on eggs. What a great birthday!