Wednesday, October 1, 2008

SpirARTuality: Fabric Beads

We began today's SpirARTuality by celebrating Jo's birthday with honey bran mango chocolate chip muffins. Then we were off to making fabric beads. Everyone has told me that making them is quite easy--and it's true. It is!

Supply list:
hollow coffee stirrers, straws etc
bits of fabric
irridecent paint, glitter glue, etc
string, yarn, fabric shreds etc

Here's a nice picture of the process. You can see the unused fabric scraps on the right, a bunch of rolled beads on the bottom left, and the clear plate has the paint and a sponge.

Jo uses a pattern, seen here, to help her tear her fabric into 2 inch by 1 inch bits.
I just approximate and even do some triangles and other shapes when the mood hits.

How To:
1) Cut the stirrers down to about 1" pieces
2) Cut or tear fabric into about 1" by 2" pieces
3) put a dab of glue on the end of a piece of fabric
4) place stirrer on glue and roll fabric up til only 1/4" is left
5) put a dab of glue on fabric just before the end to hold it together and roll the last 1/4 inch
6) daub on small bits of irridecent paint onto the fabric beads. This *really* makes a difference
7) wind and tie bits of string, yarn, or tiny fabric strips around the beads

And Ta-Da!

These are going right home and getting glued on some more Inchies to send off to Sacred Path Book and Arts.

The SpirARTuality reflection question for today is:
Imagine your life is a string of beads. Attach an event in your life to each bead, and list those events. What does your life-as-beads look like? Pearls? Diamonds? Fabric beads? Muliti-strand seed beads? A maccaroni necklace?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

A break from art: MDGs

September 25th is a national day of prayer, fasting, and advocacy for the Millennium Development Goals. Whatever day you happen to read this post, please take a moment to DO SOMETHING to support these.

There are about 1 BILLION people in the world living on less than $1 a day.
Every 3 seconds, a child dies of preventable, treatable causes (diarrhea, malaria, etc).
Some things you can do include:

Go to the Hunger Site. Click there and food will be donated by the sponsors just because you saw the advertising on their page. You can also sign up to get a daily e-mail reminder. I've been doing this for years. It takes about 10 seconds a day, and it gives someone food for the day.

Sign up to receive Action Alerts from EPPN or another group. When you receive one, it will take you about 1 minute to complete a form to send a statement to your legislators about issues around poverty and justice.

Loan $25 (or more) thru It is really fun to look through their lists of people approved for micro-loans and choose the actual person and business you'll support.

Donate money to the Heifer Project, ERD, Curamericas, or the charity of your choice that helps "the least of these."

Have you DONE something yet? If not, stop right now and do one of these things.

I thank you, and God thanks you.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

SpirARTuality: Marbling Fabric

September's SpirARTuality activity was marbling fabric using shaving cream.

Step 1: Spread a layer of shaving cream in a bin or on any sort of flat surface (even the gravel patio worked!)

Step 2: Blob on some paint, and swosh it around (this picture is actually taken after step 3...)

Step 3: Press a damp piece of fabric down into the color. "The Directions" say leave it there to dry. But what fun is that?! We Must Make More!!

Step 4: Lay flat or hang to dry (and don't be embarassed about your big rump in the side of the photo)

Jo came out with some beautiful marbling when she did this alone. As a group, we made some interestingly painted pieces...but I'm not sure they could actually be considered "marbled."

The question of the day came from someone being surprised at how little control they had of the process of getting the colors onto the fabric:
How much control do you believe God has in your life? Does God drop the colors and let them smoosh where they may, or is God more careful about getting things just so?

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Ad Astera Per Aspera

A wonderful artist friend let me come raid her stash, and I came home with a big sackful of wonderful new bits of material.
I couldn't resists so just started sewing and sewing and sewing them together, planning on doing the sew-cut-sew-cut-sew-cut until I got backgrounds like #2 in my Prayer Resurrected piece.
Instead, at some point several really simply sewed pieces jumped out at me and said they were done. So I used them as the background, added some wonderful raw silk on the edge, and pieces of debris I picked up after the Chapman Tornado.

I call them Ad Astera Per Aspera 1 and 2. Kansas' motto is Ad Astera Per Aspera--to the stars through difficulty. That is what this tornado recovery has seemed like to me.



Hands on Art, Door County WI

The BEST part of our vacation was finding a small green sign by the side of the road that said "Hands on Art." It is a magical, amazing place. (I told my husband I know now what Heaven is like!)

It's on a big old farm and they use several out buildings and have animals to pet and feed. They use their silo to put up tiles people had made. The kids loved looking at them (and standing and yelling inside the silo).

Each Wednesday Night is Family Night where families come do projects together. Here, our family is working on a spin-art painting that now hangs in our front guest bedroom:

And here are my boys painting ceramics. Charlie already has a plate he painted when he was 2, so he did a snake. Luke was very confident about the colors he wanted to use. We use the plate regularly, and the snake has taken up residency on Charlie's dresser.

Charlie also had time to work with fused glass. Well, he puts the glass together just the way he wants it, then they put it in the kiln and then it becomes fused. This is now hanging in our kitchen window:

We had such a wonderful time that my husband and I went back on Friday night for Adult Night. It was SO much fun! We worked with metal. More about that another time...

Monday, August 4, 2008

Prayer Resurrection Shared

I'm so excited!
I didn't get a photo of her like I should have, but I gave away the piece in the previous entry. (It's full title is "Prayer Resurrection--Chapman Resurrection." ) I've spent all week on a work trip in Chapman to help the schools recover from a tornado (I blog about it here). For 5 days, I was keeping open to finding "the right" person to share this with. And on Saturday, I found her! The Middle School music teacher was delighted with it, and said she'd have guard it from the interim art teacher who will be coming for a semester. (I told her I'd happily make the art teacher something, too.)

I had no idea how good it felt to give away your art to someone who loves it. ;)

Off to vacation. Door County, WI, here we are!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Prayer Resurrection

I'm calling this "Prayer Resurrection."

It's the follow-up to the unraveled prayer quilt. It's made from a stack of 10 Bull's Eye quilt squares. The first panel is the symetry of a quilt piece. The second panel is made from stripping and re-stripping the other 9 quilt squares. And the third panel is made from tiny tiny pieces of the scraps from those quilt squares.

I'm very pleased with how it turned out.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Unravelled Prayers

Remember the prayer quilts I was making for my friends who made it through the Chapman Tornado?
I decided I should wash them before sending, just to make sure they'll take actual use.
Here's the result:

Sometimes our prayers unravel.
So the rest of my squares are sitting in a pile. If anyone needs them for a purely decorative quilt, let me know!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

SpirARTuality: Poetry

This month's SpirARTuality was a stretch for the fiber artists in our group. I invited one of our members to help us write poetry. The rest of us didn't think we could do it, but were all delighted by the results.

Penny passed out 5 poems for us to look at as she read them. We were to mine them for words we might like to use. We circled a bunch of words, then made a list of the words and phrases that stuck out for us:

She then gave us a theme (childhood memories) and we were to write down some words that came to us when we thought of that. When we noticed a word that wanted more written about it, we did. I ended up with lots of rhyming words, although I was hoping to use illiteration instead of rhyme.

After we'd come to a stopping point on our lists and blurbs, we then were invited to make it into a writing. Maybe prose, maybe a list, maybe a poem:

Mine was a poem entitled, "Camp Wood"--the church camp I went to each summer for a week from the time I was in 7th grade through about 24 years old.

Camp Wood
ever stood
feels good
wish I would

Mystery Pod
Hutch Hall plod
not a fraud
close to God

Cross on the hill
grist for the mill
getting your fill
take a pill

Time flies
hug guys
teary eyes
deep sighs
hard goodbys...

And because writing on a page just doesn't excite me much, I had to write mine onto a strawberry box:

What a freeing exercise we all had--We were thrilled with ourselves! Who knew we had that in us?

Monday, June 23, 2008

QSDS 2008 Intro

I was really looking forward to Susan Shie's self-portrait class at QSDS this year. I wanted to take her 5-day class, but by the time I enrolled it was "closed." We found out when we gathered that it had been canceled for lack of enrollment rather than closed. So I'll try to enroll earlier next year.

Here's the bags of stuff I brought to class:

And here's my bag of finished (or almost finished) products:

I thought the scariest part of the class would be coming up with things to write on my quilt--but that turned out not to be very difficult at all after we did a quiet 10-minute writing exercise in our notebooks.

The next scariest part I thought would be my lack of drawing skills. But that turned out not to be very intimidating, either. I even developed my own style of drawing standing bodies that I like, and sitting bodies with frog legs, and I like both of them.

But the actual scariest part was this:

Susan was very strict about us using respirators, even though in the scheme of things our paints weren't all that toxic.
I had asthma as a kid and still have lingering panic issues when my breathing is at all inhibited. It was a big step that I kept this thing on even though it was extra-hard to breath in while wearing it.

But I had trusty Avogadro with me. I made him when I was in Junior High. I went through a phase of making weird stuffed animals (about 25 years before my time--it seems like everyone is doing that now days!). He's half mole (hence the name), half cockroach. He's always been just a stuffed animal, but I realized he'd make a great pincushion.

For more on the class, keep reading!

QSDS 2008 Day 1

In the 2-day class, Susan Shie taught us her technique using the theme of self-portraits. The steps are pretty simple: 1) Draw on Fabric with Rub a Dub, 2) Paint, 3) write words all over 4) self-bind using backing fabric and quilt with crazy grids.

My first piece was to be about my self-image vs. how others see me. I had a great idea in my head which did not make it into my project. It was fun anyway.
Here's my drawing, with the self-image me on the left and the other's view on the right. Susan had mentioned Chakras, so I ended up adding them to my piece as a unifying element:

And here is the (upside-down) painted how-others-see-me:

And the right-side up self-image (which is totally NOT how I see myself. I think at this point, this looks like it is done by someone with a whooollllee lot of issues!!):

And then here is the piece after it's dried and I've written on it.
I almost scrapped the piece after painting and seeing CrazyMe. But I'm glad I stuck it out. I kinda like it here:

And I like it even better as a 2 inch by 3 inch piece as seen here rather than the full size 2 ft by 3 ft!

Off to sandwich, self-bind, and quilt. Oh, I wish I had a walking foot!

QSDS 2008 Wrap-Up

When I thought the Chakra piece was looking pretty ick, I drew out another self-portrait that would be a motivational piece, encouraging me to do all the things I need to do to be healthy and strong. Top left is time for exercise. Top right is eat healthy. Bottom right is quiet/prayer time and Bottom left is creativity.
I drew myself standing on a pedestal, but after painting it green I thought it looked like an upside-down trash can. I was sad. Until I came up with the imagery that this piece is about not treating myself as "trash" so I'm standing on an upended trash can. ;)

My colors were still much more vibrant than I wished. I wanted to imitate Susan Shie's more gentle, subtle coloring. So I also drew a couple of pieces just to practice my painting.

The first one is a note I leave for my boys if I leave the house before they wake up. It doesn't happen often, but when it does, they are very sad. Since they can't write, it's a pictogram of Mommy Loves Charlie and Luke. I normally add a treat for each of them.

I'm really pleased with the way this one turned out, and will add glitzed-up clothes pins to it so I can attach the treats when needed:

Here is what I got done in our 2-day class. The bottom left is a "Back at (clock)" sign, which I made for our kitchen. Occasionally one of us will leave and not leave a note. I hoped this would help. Until someone walked up and mentioned it, I didn't even realize it's the same wording stores use! Maybe I'm not all that innovative after all... ;)

Once again, I was dubbed Most Prolific in the Class. It's not something I strive for, but because I have so little studio time at home, I really like to crank through as much as I can on those rare moments I've got focused time.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Prayer Quilt 1

Here's a very poor picture of my first Prayer Quilt for my friends who lost everything in the Chapman, Kansas tornado last week:

I'm a loosey-goosey kind of sewer. So I just folded the green material in half, then measured 4 inches from the fold and 8 inches from the edge and sewed 3 squares down each side.

Then I opened it up...
and realized I'd reversed it and actually measured 4 inches from the edge and 8 inches from the fold!! So I stuck in those 2 tilted quarters to make it look like that's what I intended all along. ;)
That's sort of the way my prayer life is anyway--I'll often think I'll be praying for one thing and suddenly realize something different is going on.

Now, I've just got to bind it up (I think I'll just pull the plush red backing around for a self-binding) and find an address to mail it off.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

A Purpose for the Bull's Eyes

We've now completed our swap for the Bull's Eye squares we were doing. And they were just sitting there in neat piles, not calling to me at all. But then Thursday morning, I found out my hometown was destoyed by a tornado.

I got right to work on sewing the quarters together to make squares. I'll use them to make small prayer blankets for some of the families that lost everything or were injured.

When I pulled a string off my sewing machine, I realized how beautiful they were and the boys and I just had to hang them like Tibetan Prayer Flags for a moment before we continued:

I knew I could have spent months looking at the colors of each quarter and trying to match them up with just the right other 3 quarters for the perfect look.
To break that habit, I simply went to the sewing machine with the piles, and randomly began sewing 2 together, then another 2, then another 2 until all the quarters became halves:

Then I cut each half from the string of halves, ironed it flat, and made a big stack of halves. I sat back down at the machine and randomly sewed halves together to make whole squares, then cut them apart and ironed them flat:

This morning I went to That Place on Market in Danville to get some $1/yard fabric for the background and back, and I'll keep working (*after* I work at my paying gig, spend some time with the hubby, and some time with the family...)

Monday, June 2, 2008

Altar Cloth in Progress

A few of us from the church are working on creating an altar cloth to be used on our summer altar. All summer long, we worship outside using an IKEA kitchen island for our altar.

As we were fusing the crosses onto the front of the altar cloth today, Jo told us the pincushion we were using (see bottom of the picture) was made by Janet Parr. Mrs. Parr just happened to make the only other hand-made altar cloth our church owns, and made it about 40 years ago. What a lovely connection.

Here's a better shot of what the front will look like. We plan to add a colored strip near the bottom edge, and then pipe around the crosses in green (for the liturgical season of Pentecost).

We're getting to the point where detail work and hand work is needed. That is NOT my forte. Luckily, some other women are very gifted in that area.

EfM Art

As our closing excercise, our EfM (Education for Ministry) group decided to make fabric art. I was delighted because the work of EfM is very heady, so this art would be a stretch.

Before the meeting, I made up a bunch of blanks using hand dyed fabric and double-fuse Pellon. I just fused a big orange piece onto one side of the Pellon and then a big blue piece to the other side of the Pellon and then cut the big piece into 10 smaller pieces and satin stitched around the edges.

I then printed off about 20 thumbnails of "journal quilt" or "art quilt" using goggle image which I passed around to give them ideas.
I then had a big pile of pre-fused fabrics, scissors, pastels, and sharpies on one table and an ironing stations set up on the other.

Everyone did fantastic! Here are the results:

Some reflected important scenes from their life:

Others drew together elements of who they are, what they've done, and the music that inspires them:

Another drew on a family symbol and had a lovely quote around the edge:

This project turned out so well, it makes me want to do this sort of thing with lots of other groups.

Monday, May 19, 2008

My Studio: True Confessions

This is my studio:

I was so hoping that for Cloth, Paper, Scissor's new Studio special issue, they would have a contest for a reader's studio makeover. But (sigh) instead, the editor got a studio makeover.

So I'm stuck with working on this studio myself. The magazine gave me lots of ideas, but it's the money and the time that I don't have.

And they didn't have any good suggestions for keeping kids out. That's one of my main problems. Both boys like to come into the area and pull things out. Luke actually empties the trash onto the floor every time he's there.
As you can see, I also try to put anything important above child-height, which creates big piles on my higher surfaces.


Bull's eye Swap

Over the last month or so, I've been busy with a frayed edge Bull's eye swap with Donna and two of her other blogfriends.

Here's how we did it:

1) Each of us cut 4 10x10 squares of red fabric. We kept one set of 10, and sent the other 3 sets to the other 3 people.

2) Each of us ended up with 40 different 10x10 squares. We then cut 40 8x8 squares and sewed them right on top with a 1/4 in seam.

3) Next, we turned the blocks over and cut out a 6 1/2 in square from the middle back. This is the fabric from the 10in square that is covered by our 8 in square. We then could trim it down to be a 6 in square.

4) We repeated steps 2 and 3 with 6x6 and 4x4 squares.

Here I am auditioning the 4in squares on our stone wall:

5) We then cut each of our quilt pieces into 4 smaller squares, and sent 40 smaller squares off to our 3 other friends.

6) I just couldn't send them without a little something, so I chopped up some of my scraps and used an old project as a backing and some net on top and made some little Tiny Art pieces to go along with my squares.

I really like my Tiny Art. (It's not as blurry in real life!)

I'm not sure what I'll do with the squares. Red is not my favorite color, and I'm not yet inspired to do something particular with them. Maybe I could put them into squares again and my mom could make them into lap blankets. Or maybe the frayed edges would worry mom so much that it wouldn't work. I'll have to keep thinking...

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Paper Bag Portfolio: Making Leather

Our SpirARTuality group meet yesterday to make "leather" portfolios from paper bags. Here are the supplies you'll need:
Paper bag--we used grocery bags
Brown (or black or maroon, etc) acrylic paint--we used Setacolor fabric paint
Pellon 72 (73?) double-sided stiffener (or your favorite stiffener and sticky stuff)
Fabric for the lining of portfolio
Envelope or folder to hold things in your portfolio
Glue--we used Tacky Glue
Sewing Machine (optional--for binding)
Fastener optional (elastic to go around binder, ribbon and button etc etc)

To Make "Leather"

Step 1: Open paper back to lie flat.

Step 2: On inside of paper bag, do a light wash of paint. We used about 1 part paint to 10 parts water, and got the whole bag wet, but somewhat splotchy.

Step 3: Let dry completely. The patient people can do this by waiting a day. Some of us are impatient and use a hair dryer to speed the process.

Step 4: Crinkle up the bag into a small a ball as you can get it. The flatten it out. Crinkle again. Repeat 3-4 times until it's nice and wrinkled. Spread flatish.

Step 5: Daub on full-strength paint onto the bag. The goal is to rub the paint over the top layers of wrinkles, but leave the gullies without paint in them. It looks good to have a little more paint here, a little less there. Try to keep the paint on the top--not down in the holes.

Step 6: When it's dryish, iron flat.

You've got yourself a piece of "leather." See the next post for making the portfolio.

Paper Bag Portfolio: Making the Portfolio

Once you've turned your paper bag into "leather," here's how to put the portfolio together:

Cut a piece of Pellon to the exact size you want for your portfolio. We used double-sized fusable Pellon, which made it easy as pie. You also could use many different stiffeners or stabilizers.
Iron the wrong side of your "leather" onto one side of the Pellon.

Trim your "leather" to the exact size of the Pellon.

Next, use your "leather"/Pellon as a pattern to cut your lining fabric. Leave 1/2 inch of fabric around all sides. (OR leave a full inch if you chose a fabric that frays. If so, then you'll fold the fabric over twice in the next step.)

Take the protective coating off the Pellon and iron the wrong side of the lining fabric to the Pellon. I used a thick fabric and had to hold the iron on for quite a while to make it stick.

Next, fold the liner fabric over the "leather" and sew to make a binding. I found this machine didn't like doing a fancy stitch through all these layers, but it would do a zig-zag just fine.

After you've sewn the binding on, next glue your pocket onto the lining fabric so that one side folds over to the top of your folder, and the other side folds over part way.
I used a plastic 5-pocket folder, and roughed it up with sandpaper before gluing. Jo used an old mailing envelope. Pat will make her own fabric pocket.

Happy Birthday to Me!
I'll probably just attach a circle of elastic to keep the binder together. Or maybe a ribbon and button if I find Just the Thing.

If you are going to use your portfolio alot, you should cover your "leather" with Mod Podge, Gel Medium, or some other thing to protect it (and to protect you since the paint may run if it gets wet.)

And here are the SpirARTuality questions for this project:

Portfolios are for keeping items we're proud of.
What is in your inner portfolio? Spend some time thinking of the moments in your life you are most proud of. What 5 events do you want to save in your Inner Portfolio?

Take a moment to give thanks for those moments, the people involved with them, and the gifts and skills you used.

Consider spending more time over the next year honing one of those gifts or skills.