I was invited by my friend, Barb Stainman, to come to her studio for a few hours and make some felted soap. Felted Soap? How does the bar of soap get into that felted fabric? Intrigued, I jumped on the chance to learn something new.
I have felted before (both by machine and by hand) and found the process to be long, strenuous and hard on my hands and shoulders but felting soap turned out to be fun and easy. The felting process combines wool roving, soap and hot water, plus a lot of manipulation to make the wool fibers stick together so felting soap is a perfect combination. The nice thing about using felted soap is that it acts like a wash cloth in that it exfoliates the skin while washing. Ingenious! And, you can color coordinate your soap with the color scheme of your bathroom. Very cool.
Here are the two bars I made in about 45 minutes. I'll be gifting these to my daughter-in-law and teaching my granddaughter and grandson how to make these as Christmas gifts for their teachers. I always bring some sort of art project for the kids when we visit them. It gets them away from their tablets and phones — which is a good thing!
Barb will be selling some of her work at the Holiday Show at the Art Gym in Denver (November 29 - December 20th). I have my eye on a Nuno scarf she made (gorgeous!) so I know there will be lots of goodies there to give as gifts this season. We always need to support local artists and this is a good time of year to do so!
Ever since I owned an art gallery, I've been passionate about supporting artists in all media. Recently, I was able to visit FLUX, a new gallery/workshop space devoted to glass. The owners, Courtney and Nate, are wonderful, friendly people with a mission for bringing the art of glass-making to Denver. They have built a wonderful place for people to learn how to make glass objects, for professional glass artists to take advantage of their space and equipment, and for people who like to buy unique, one-of-a-kind glass objects to display in their home or give for gifts.
I participated in their fund-raising event and received a beautiful whisky glass in exchange. Its now my husband's favorite drinking glass so today, I visited them again and bought a few more to give as Christmas gifts to family and friends.
There is nothing like giving someone you love a unique, made-by-hand gift. I hope you can visit and support them too!
My next "Junk Journal" will be full of color so in order for that to happen, I needed to make some colored papers. I bought some Kool-Aid packages (non-toxic!) and searched the Internet to find out how other paper artists were using this product.
Here's the recipe I used: 2 packets Cool-Aid, 1 cup water, 1 cup vinegar.
The papers turned out to be more pink than purple so next time, I will add one more packet of grape Kool-Aid to the mix to see if that gives me a deeper color. But I liked the results on both copy paper as well as card stock.
I made the circles in the card stock by simply dripping the dye onto the papers from my gloved hand after the papers had a chance to dry a bit.
I got the crinkled paper by dipping the copy paper into the dye and then scrunching it up into a ball. Then I laid it out flat onto some newspapers to dry.
This was fun, economical, quick and easy, non-toxic, and made my studio smell like Kool-Aid! A good change from coffee and tea dyeing.
Toni, one of my online Craftsy students, came to Denver to take my Mixed Media Adventures workshop this September and she gave me a very special gift: A tin box celebrating the anniversary of the invention of TravelersJournals.
I opened the box and made a tiny reproduction of a Travelers Journal and I started researching this company and its products. I loved the idea of having a permanent cover where a person could switch out various journals because they were bound by an elastic band rather than sewn.
Most of the Travelers Journal covers are made of leather, but I wanted to make mine from fabric. I have been collecting lots of lace for my Junk Journals so I decided to use this to add some interest to my cover. Several years ago, another student sent me some buttons that she crocheted and I have been saving them for just the right project. And, I picked up some hand-dyed silk ribbon at the Quilt exhibit in Houston. The fabric I used came from an old Sari I bought online and some silk scraps I had in my stash.
I guess my message for this cover is never throw anything away, treasure the gifts given to you from students, and find way to combine it all into something gorgeous!
Thanks to all my students who continually inspire me! And yes, I will be offering a free pattern for this cover soon. I will offer it in my monthly newsletter when it's ready.
So excited to be interviewed by Andrea Hungerford and have my studio photographed by Karen Dewitz today. If you aren't a subscriber to "By Hand Lookbooks"
you are missing out on a wonderful inside look into the maker communities across America.
These magazines are beautiful. Well written, exquisitely photographed, and beautifully designed, printed on heavy paper, every issue makes you want to pick up the phone and make reservations to spend a week exploring these artists and the environments they work in.
I will be part of the January 2019 issue where the Lookbook will focus on the Front Range of Colorado.
Please subscribe (we need to support woman-owned businesses and especially print-based magazines!) and I hope you enjoy the peek into my studio and my artistic life!
While I love making prints on paper with my Gelli Arts® plates and making books, I also love creating blocks from dried acrylic paints either left over or painted specifically for removing with tape. Sounds confusing? Yes, but really simple.
Here's how I do it.
I pour a few dots of different color acrylic paint onto a Gelli Arts 12" x 14" plate, brayer it so the paint covers the entire plate, add some surface texture (bubble wrap, etc) and let it completely dry. Sometimes, that only takes an hour or so, depending on the paint, and sometimes, I leave it overnight.
The solid wooden blocks I prefer measure 1-1/2" since that is also the size of my packing tape although I have also made 1" blocks and 3" blocks.
First, I paint all sides of the blocks with white gesso. But if you prefer a more rustic/organic look, you could leave them natural brown.
Once dry, I paint one side of the block with white glue (I use Elmers). I lay the packing tape down on the Gelli plate and pick up the dried paint. I put the tape onto the glue and press down. I trim off the excess tape with a utility knife and continue adding tape to each side of the cube.
Here are some closes up of a couple more cubes.
I hope you try this and have as much fun with this technique as I do!
What IS it about these small Inspirational Tab books that fascinate me?
Brown has never been my most inspiring color but now I don't want to work with anything else. It's funny how things can change so quickly.
There is something about creating contemporary art that uses old ideas. And brown seems to tie this all together.
I'm going to make more of these and will sell them in my store in case anyone else has my passion and wants to own one or give one as aa gift to a special friend.
But it might take me a couple of weeks since I will be teaching at Mixed Media Adventures this week!
I'm still in love with creating art using shipping tags.
My latest idea is to create a set of Inspirational Art Prompts that can be used to get us out of our artistic slump or times when we have no new ideas or our brains are paralyzed.
There are many websites that generate art prompts but I thought I would share with you, the prompts I actually use in my creative life so I've stitched up these fabric tags and added some text.
Part of what inspires me is fabric! (Surprise!!!) My sister bought me several FQ's from her trip to Australia last year and I decided to use these for the basis of my Inspirational Tags. I have always loved the Aboriginal art form so just looking and feeling this fabric started my creative juices flowing (love those dots!)
I'm still working through this process and when I'm satisfied, I will offer them in my store. But I wanted to give you a preview into what I'm working on now!
I love working with Gelli® printing. I have lots of gel-printed papers and decided to make these forms from left-over cardboard tubes that many of my decorative yarns come wound on. (I guess I should confess -- I never throw anything away!) I painted the inside and outside of the cardboard tube with black acrylic paint, cut the papers to size, and then glued them to the outside using gel medium. I also covered the outside surface with gel medium to protect the paper from wear and tear.
Loved how they turned out and just wish my hand was smaller so I could wear these as bracelets!
Carol Ann Waugh
I am a fiber artist and love color and texture!