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Thursday, December 31, 2015

Gelli Plate Printing - Clean-up

During a recent Gelli Plate session, instead of cleaning the paint off the surface, I sprayed it with a little water and then printed envelopes with the watery results.  I really like the creamy/dreamy effect.

Two of the envelope designs actually suggested landscape/scenery, which was a happy surprise.   A few watercolor pencil lines added a bit of definition.

Rocky seashore by moonlight?

Dendritic Monoprinting

When someone in the mail-art exchange group made several post cards with this technique, I just had to learn more about it.  I was referred to a Shannon Green you-tube, also one by Cat Hand.  It looks like I almost had the effect while using the Gelli Plate Printer and a circles stencil in this example:

 The pattern reminded me of blood vessels inside the human eyeball.

Here are some experiments with acrylic paints between a plate of glass and a rigid plastic top layer.  I can't help but think of coral or seaweed.
Starting with dots of paint... Several layers

Paints spread with a paint brush

Two layers of printing

Multiple layers of printing

Three and two layers of printing

A Little Economy Decor

Factory Direct Craft website has so many fun holiday accents, it's very easy to fill up the shopping cart. While walking by my dried-up flower garden this alternative idea came to mind:  pick and spray. The corner holiday arrangement below was made from coneflower (echinacea) seed heads and lamb's ear stalks.  Gold craft spray covered the brown quite well.

  (The large blue vase was made in Corning, NY.)

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Another Group of Wall Quilts

I'll admit to a continuing fascination with Batik fabrics.  Their saturated colors and beautiful designs call to me.  The pieced quarter-circle pattern has so many possibilities for various sub-patterns that I could never tire of it.  In fact, I have the top of a larger wall quilt waiting to be finished.
 After trimming the previous quilt, the leftover strips refused to be disposed of and so- they became the focal point in a companion quilt:  Batik Explosion.  Variegated thread sewn in a zig-zag added some excitement.
While I lived near the Black River, its rails to trails pathway and highway shoulders became my favorite places to walk and ride my bike.  Through the seasons its beauty changed.  This picture was taken on a misty autumn morning.  For my first online quilting class, Landscape Quilts, I decided to duplicate the river view using hand-dyed fabrics, netting (over the water fabric), and scribble stitching on the island's evergreen trees.  Clumps of leaves were easy to assemble over wash-away stabilizer.

One Batik fabric appeared to have a maze pattern.  On second look, I noticed crosses scattered throughout and stitch-outlined them as I made this longer wall quilt.

More Wall Quilts

Years before I discovered the wonderful world of paper arts, I attempted to express myself creatively with fabric.  This quilt incorporates one of my little poems into the design:  
"Flowers reaching toward the sun, there's light enough for every one."  There is a strange, long-stemmed blossom winding it's way into space.  Earth, Mars and Venus make an appearance as well.

 As you might guess, I was in the mood for a little tropical vacation.  This, as most of the others, is my original design.  I found some gorgeous hand-painted fabric on the Internet, two pieces of which served as sky and ocean.  Colored pencils and colored quilt stitching added some depth.  There are seagulls flying in the distance.

 These roses were paper-pieced in a log-cabin technique.  Yellow embroidery floss fills the centers. Small pearly beads simulate dewdrops. 

Some psychological message is embedded in this Sunset to Sunrise design.  It came to me either while I was sleeping or late at night, prompting me to get up and make the quilt during the wee hours. I like the way numerous parallel lines of quilt stitching created texture.  (It does remind one of a furniture moving blanket.)

 One year I decided to commemorate the change of season by making this cheery little quilt on the first day of Spring.  Besides tulips and grape hyacinths, butterflies, baby chicks and ladybugs may be found, as well as the start of one unwelcome weed:  dandelion (left bottom corner).

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Some Wall Quilts

The late 1990's (My, that sounds odd!) and the early 2000's were my quilting years, although I might return to sewing if my paper crafts diminish a bit.  Time will tell.

Here are some of the wall quilts/art quilts which I began making after so many bed quilts and baby quilts. Unfortunately the picture quality isn't that good... They don't enlarge clearly.
Folksy Heart
This quilt pattern was featured in a fabric catalog.  Rather than order the kit, I figured out the dimensions myself, altering the flower design.  I made one wall quilt for a quilting guild silent auction and a second to keep.  A quilting friend of mine bid on it and bought it.  I later donated the second one for a High School Class reunion auction to benefit programs that educate to prevent teen-age suicide.
Somber Circles
After putting this experiment in blue with brown together and entering it in an Adirondack quilt show, it was selected to be featured on the promotional postcards.  I was so pleased and surprised! The quilt stitching was the most fun part of construction.  The threads on the quilt back suggest ferris wheels.
Bridge Abutment
 The same quilting friend and I were returning from an out-of-town quilt show and noticed a free-
standing bridge abutment out in a field along the highway.  That prompted my making two of these friendship quilts, one for her, one for me.
"Friendship like a bridge supports us on the journey through life." 
Blue & Brown Bear Paws
 More brown and blue:  Bear Paws is an easy pattern to assemble and served well for a sample during my beginning quilting classes with Cornell Cooperative Extension.
Abstract Mini Quilt
This features wash-away stabilizer that you stitch over using netting,  Then the stabilizer dissolves in water.  I made up the odd flower pattern myself, using batik fabric.  The butterflies were thread appliques.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

First Large Quilt In Ages!!!

This is a lap quilt made for a friend who requested it two years ago.  It has been 10 - 15 years since I made a large quilt.  After piecing/assembling the top, I was so relieved to find a quilt shop that was willing to do the design stitching on a long-arm machine.

The quilt shop called me two days after I dropped off the quilt layers and I thought, 'Oh-oh, there's a problem.'  No, she was calling to say it was ready.  Wow!  I picked it up, took several days to pin and stitch the edges, and now it's finished.  I really like the overall stipple stitch with pink and purple variegated thread.  It blends well with the darker Batik fabrics and shows up nicely on the lighter pieces.  I was happy to be able to send it out just in time for a birthday present/early holiday gift.  My friend won't believe it when she sees it!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Holiday Stress Management

If you have a large or overwhelming project that is causing stress, here are some suggestions:

delegate/call for help
change/simplify plans
explore creative alternatives

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Artists/Creative People Think/Live Differently?

A mail art pal forwarded a link that brought up an article enumerating twenty characteristics of "Highly Creative" people, and I was both shocked and comforted to discover that most of the twenty apply to me.  So I guess I'm not the only one with some of these characteristics.  I'll paraphrase, and include the link (scroll down) so you can get it straight from the horse's mouth.

1.  They are always curious, analyzing options, considering different ways to do things.
2.  Their driving questions are "What if?" and "Why not?"
3.  They don't want to compromise who they are just to fit in or be popular.
4.  They are easily "distracted" by the excitement of new challenges and ideas.
5.  Their creativity fluctuates between almost manic activity, and then 'dry spells' or slumps.
6.  They need to recharge, regroup, refresh, even withdrawing for a time.
7.  (And a very obvious one,) They need their own, undisturbed, peaceful, dedicated space in which to create.
8.  They have a tendency to tune out the world while they focus on their projects.  This may prevent multi-tasking, and they can be thrown off by interruptions.
9.  They have the capacity to feel deeply and create out of that experience.
10. In their sensitivity they may shift  from positive, uplifted emotions to feeling "down" quite easily.
11. They 'tell a story' in their creating.
12. They struggle between the need, the push to grow and create, and the fear that they aren't 'good enough.'   And if/when that never goes away, the successful person has to learn to deal with that tension.
13. Their work is very personal, an expression of who they are.
14. They compare themselves to other artists and feel like they might not measure up, although other people see and appreciate their talent and potential.
15. They know how to go with the creative flow which can not be explained, just experienced and explored.
16. What seems like procrastination is actually a time of simmering, mentally preparing, planning.  Many artists work better under time-constraints as the challenge of pressure brings on a 'rush.'
17. Many experience an addictive reaction to the excitement of the creative process.
18. They are constantly lured by the excitement of starting new projects and often find it difficult to complete the "old" ones.
19.  They can see patterns before others do, and/or notice things others miss entirely.
20.  They retain a childlike outlook with their refreshing appreciation of the wonder all around them.


Here's the link:

Friday, November 20, 2015

Distractability Factor - What's Cooking?

Today the coffee staining process was again calling my name.  This time instead of just soaking the papers , I heated the oven to about 250' F.  Putting two sheets of crumpled/straightened stationery in rusty cookie sheets, I wet them with coffee water and left them to bake in the oven.

While I was in the craft room/art studio looking for envelopes, I promptly found a new quest: searching for some photographic nature greeting cards from a former business venture.  Perhaps I could offer them through Etsy.  Along the way I came across my syllabus for two quilt-making courses I taught some years ago through Cornell Cooperative Extension.  Why am I saving those? When I eventually walked back into the kitchen I remembered- the coffee papers.

As you can see, they are indeed darker when baked, especially for a half hour or more.  Yikes!

Does the term "Burnt to a crisp." come to mind?

The two photo's below show the backs of some of the pieces, not too bad, um, well?

Monday, November 16, 2015

Postal Art Theme- Spoiler Alert

Yesterday, a day before the deadline for mailing out any swap pieces, the ideas finally came.  I seem to work in sets, multiples, or series much of the time, so it was no surprise when eight, instead of four, cards resulted from today's three hours of effort.  Now, to decide which four to send in for the online mail art group exchange.  And to get these into the postal delivery system a.s.a.p.  Today!

Isn't there something iconic about the patina of rust?

Does anyone remember RFD:  Rural Free Delivery?

The rest of the world seems to have much more interesting mail drop boxes than we do!

I remember going with my grandfather to pick up the mail.  His post office box had a glass door with gold lettering.  I can still hear the clink of the key turning in the keyhole, the snap of the door shutting afterward.

I don't know how these polka-dots crept in here... Wanna' be's from the previous Dots and Stripes Swap?

Don't you just love a mail box stuffed with letters and art?

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Java-Soaked Note Papers

"Wake up and smell the... paper???"

Maybe it was the cooler weather last week, but I had this urge to do some Coffee-Staining.

I selected Caramel Pecan coffee beans offered by a New York State company.  After grinding the beans at the grocery store, it seemed a shame to simmer them in hot water.

The papers I started with were a gray premium smooth surface, heavy weight Legacy stationery by Strathmore, and a beige smooth finish 32 pound Professional Series paper by Neenah.

Laying papers in rusty cookie sheets, I spooned hot coffee water and a few grounds over them until they were covered.  After letting them sit a while,I pulled out and drained the wet papers on paper towels. Perhaps the color would have been darker had I baked the papers in the oven during the process.

The smooth papers took on almost a hardened skin feel.  The papers I crumpled strongly first, then opened out, took on more 'texture.'

Finally, I added rubber stamp images with black ink.  Cutting the papers into note-sized paper made them go further.  (Would they feed well through a computer printer?  I don't know if I'd try that!)

Note that the color intensity is not uniform from piece to piece.  Some pieces soaked longer than others.  And the finished results do not lie flat.  They might if ironed out.