I just returned from teaching Stupendous Stitching at the Scotts Bluff Valley Fiber Arts Fair and what a fun time! All the students made wonderful pieces and I had the added advantage of attending the Fair today and going on a tour of the largest American maker of wool yarn — the Brown Sheep Company.
This 3 generation, family-owned company is in the middle of farm country and I learned a lot about how wool from sheered animals ends up as wonderful yarns used by knitters and weavers. Made me want to take up knitting again! Instead, I bought a skein for my wonderful sister-in-law who loves to knit and I will be sending it her way next week.
But the most fun part of today was seeing all the animals that contribute their hair to making this yarn! Being from NYC, I don’t usually get up close and personal to animals but this guy took over my heart! He was so friendly and cute!
Why can’t I have curly hair like him?
This month, I am taking some time out of my fiber art life to learn how to use watercolor. Everyone says this is the hardest medium to paint and also, has no respect in the fine art world! Cool! Just like fiber art gets no respect!
I’m still in the very beginning stages of learning how to mix color and how to apply that color to paper without everything turning into mud. I can’t call this “art” any more than what a 6 year old can do but I AM having fun! I have filled two booklets with watercolor backgrounds and now I have to figure out what to draw on top. (Yes, I’m also taking a drawing class from my friend Judith Cassel-Mamet). I’ve enrolled in two classes on Craftsy and those have been helpful as well.
Mixed Media with Matt Rota
Botanical Illustration with Adele Rossetti
I think I will try to re-create this image with watercolor as my next project. I love the blur of the edges and the abstract nature of the image. Wish me luck!
Here is an artist after my own heart. All about color and texture. I saw his work for the first time at the Masters II exhibit, sponsored by SAQA, at the AQS show in Michigan. Unfortunately, his website design doesn’t allow for close up viewing and doesn’t represent his work very well but I was fortunate to take a photo and a close-up so you can actually see his work.
This piece is called Autumn Canopy — aptly named as you can imagine standing under a tree and looking up at the sky where the leaves turn orange and red. Tim calls his technique reverse applique but I would characterize it more as a layer and fold technique. I didn’t see any stitching on this piece but it could be he hid the thread from view. Obviously, there was no touching allowed but from my close inspection, it also looked like the surface might have had some kind of coating on it. Tim works in a grid format with silk fabric, giving his pieces a luminosity that cotton cannot match. I also recommend reading his artist statement. It is one of the best I’ve ever read.
I just returned from a teaching at AQS QuiltWeek in Grand Rapids, MI and I have to say, this was the best teaching experience I’ve ever had. AQS put us up at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel, adjoining the DeVos Convention center where the classrooms and exhibit were housed. The classrooms were very large so every student had space to sew as well as work on a table. Irons and cutting mats were provided in generous quantities so even in classes of 24 students, no one had to wait long to use them. And, high-quality Elna sewing machines were furnished along with a person from Janome who was there to explain how the machines worked and solve any problems during my classes.
I taught all three of my classes — Stupendous Stitching, Stitch & Slash and Self Portraits and I think all the students had a fun time. At least, that’s what they told me over and over. I LOVE teaching and truly, the most rewarding part is when someone discovers their artistic side in the classroom and make a truly wonderful piece of art. Many students did just that but here is one portrait I thought I would share with you. It’s a wonderful, creative work of art. I’m sorry I didn’t write down the student’s name so I can’t share that with you.
This has been an “art filled” week and very satisfying! I started it with a “simple sketching” class with my friend Judith Cassel Mamet. This class was all about using a variety of media to draw and paint fabric and flowers. A day later, Judith and I attended a color mixing class with the British painter and author Michael Wilcox. His theory about the color wheel was quite interesting since he didn’t ever use the three pure primary colors of red, yellow and blue! I will be reading his book and doing some color mixing when I get back from my teaching at AQS in Michigan next week.
But the most interesting thing I learned all week was how to loosen up and take photographs of nature without even focusing or worrying about the composition. Judith and I met at the Denver Botanical Gardens where the seminar was held and spent the first hour randomly sticking our cameras into the foliage and flowers and just snapping away. Many photos were garbage but several were just amazing! Here’s just one of the ones I really love and will begin thinking about how to incorporate this technique into my new series of fiber art.
I’m really excited about the possibilities.