After watching Misti Mo showing her embroidery scrolls, I decided to make one myself. So FUN!
This combines my love of fabric and stitch in a new way and challenges my brain to decide the next iteration. I started out deciding to use canvas rather than muslin since I wanted to work on something more substantial. If you know me, you also know I only use 3 embroidery stitches in my work (straight, chain and French knots). So this project will encourage me to explore other stitches (like a fly stitch, back stitch, and who knows what comes next!)
What I love about working on this scroll is that I don't have to fuse anything to the surface before stitching. That give me a lot of freedom every day and eliminates a step in the process. And, because I love texture, I don't mind some fraying that happens around the edges.
I haven't measured the scroll but I think it might be 45 inches long and about 6 inches high. It's quite heavy so that is a challenge.
I'm working on all parts of the scroll at the same time so it won't be finished until it's finished. but here is a small part of the scroll. I still have to add some leaves to the stems with the orange flowers and add something to the ground besides the flowers. More to come!
Lately, I've been exploring paper making.
This week, I had the good fortune to spend some time with Shelly DeChantal, a friend I knew from my days as a fiber artist. Both of us have morphed into mixed media over the years and while I'm exploring collage right now, Shelly has been exploring paper making and generously offered to share her knowledge and techniques.
Making paper is a laborious and time-consuming endeavor. But in the end, you are making something that is totally unique to you and something no machine can replicate. It is valuable in and of itself. It also satisfies my reason for making art — it's all about the process and not about the outcome.
We worked with cotton fibers (something new to me since I've been working with mulberry papers) and here are the two sheets of paper I made with Shelly's help. She shared so much with me that I left her studio with my head exploding. I learned about the history of paper making, how to dye the fibers, and how to emboss the surface.
I encourage you to visit her website and see her art. I love her work!
Collage Book #2
The first layer on this page is a black Stabilo pencil. I love these pencils since they activate with water and make dense, black marks. I added a little splash of color to provide a focal point.
My substrate is some paper gifted to me by an artist. It is paper that is used in print-making so I have never used it before but I'm loving the thickness and it stands up well for mixed media work. However, it doesn't lie flat after applying media to the surface.
A friend suggested painting some gesso on the back to help flatten it but today, the pages were still wonky so I'm putting them under some bricks to see if that will help.
I don't really mind that they are not flat so whatever happens, happens.
Collage Book #1
I have decided to practice creating art using collage.
Over the last year, I have been making papers using a variety of media, substrates, and
techniques so I have a lot to choose from. I also have a of of pens, pencils, markers, and stencils to add layers and color.
The trick is how to combine all these things to make an interesting composition.
Over the next few months, I will be posting my experiments — some wonderful, some not so wonderful. But I am really enjoying the process!
Printing and Stitching with Leaves #4
I am loving working on this new series.
Unfortunately, just as I started incorporating real leaves into my work, it's fall. It's snowing. And there are no more leaves to work with.
Timing is everything.
But, I'm now applying for an artist residency at the Denver Botanic Gardens to continue to explore incorporating nature into my work. I heard last year they had 3,000 applications so I'm not getting my hopes up. But if I don't try, I will never be successful.
I might try printing leaves and flowers from artificial ones I can buy from a craft store in the mean time. There is always a way to get around issues when making art. I think problem solving is 80% of making good art. That, and having the skills of using all our tools and media ends up creating something meaningful and wonderful.
Artist Profile: Mary Williams
First things first. My friend Mary Williams is having a solo exhibit at Westward Gallery through the end of the month. She is an amazing artist, moving from 3-D sculptures in wood to painting on wood panels. Her work is exciting and wonderful so if you are in the Denver area, I encourage you to visit her exhibit.
Mary and I go back many years to the time she put together a group of 5 artists to exhibit their work in different mediums. Our group named itself "To Expand" and consisted of Mary, Victoria Eubanks (encaustic), Ken Elliott (oil and pastel), Janice Mcdonald (collage) and me (fiber). We didn't know each other at the beginning but from our first exhibit at the Madden Museum in Denver, we became good friends.
Today, we met for lunch for the first time in 2 years (thank you Covid) and walked across the street to see Mary's new exhibit.
Thanksgiving is next week and I will be being thankful of all the artist friends I have made over the past years. And especially thanks to Mary, who opened up so many possibilities for me.
I will be thankful for all my friends who support me and my art!
Printing & Stitching With Leaves #3
Still working on this series.
I printed five panels with real leaves and acrylic paint but now that winter is coming, all the leaves will dry up and disappear so if I want to continue this series, I will have to wait until next summer when the leaves are at their height.
By then, I will probably be onto something else.
I'll keep you posted! Meanwhile, enjoy the change of seasons.
Sammy Seung-min Lee
I am always amazed at the creativity of fiber artists.
I visited this exhibit at the Denver Botanic Gardens this week and loved Sammy's work. I've also been making some paper recently so this fit perfectly with my current interests.
Here's a description of her current exhibit "Taking Root" from the Botanic Garden's website.
A first-generation Korean immigrant, Sammy Seung-min Lee transforms Korean hanji paper into intimate artworks exploring how familiar traditions can become unfamiliar within the setting of a foreign culture.
Lee’s works use mealtime customs to tell personal stories about the ways in which the strangeness of a new culture can make even the mundane comforts of food and home seem incongruous. These works are also an opportunity to take a seat at someone else’s table—a glimpse into what it means to take root and make a new home.
To see a video of her, click here.
Last weekend, I took a two day workshop with Rhiannon Alpers that was sponsored by the Rocky Mountain Weavers Guild.
The workshop was held at Inner Ocean Studio in Denver. Inner Ocean Studio is the former studio of Ray Tomasso, a well-known artist who worked in hand-made paper sculptures and print-making. Ray and I were members of the Ice Cube Gallery so I knew him well but had never visited his studio. He died suddenly a couple of years ago and his wife decided to convert his large studio into an artist workshop space. It's a fabulous space so I hope you can visit and take a workshop there in the future.
I have made a lot of artist books but learned a lot about how to make a "professional" book — making and using bookcloth and as well as adding tapes and mull to secure the text block to the cover.
Who knew book-making could be so exacting and time-consuming! But the books I made are truly works of art.
I had a wonderful time, meeting other creatives, and seeing the future vision of what Inner Ocean Studio is becoming. We needed a creative place in Denver for making fine art and I'm happy that Rhiannon has taken on the job of being the Director of this space.
She is a wonderful instructor and is a perfect person to engage the artistic community in Colorado (and beyond!)
I will be back!
Here are the directions to make this arty necklace. Have fun!
11 regular size pipe cleaners
Various colors of Sari ribbon (or thin strips of silk/cotton/poly — whatever you have in your scrap bin)
Hairy yarn remnants (Eyelash yarn or any other textured yarn)
Various colors of thread (solid, variegated, cotton, poly, metallic, anything you have
Colorful elastic hair ties (adult or child size)
Light weight rubber/metal charms
16mm jump rings
Couching foot (optional but very handy!)
I know this sounds complicated, but really, its not. Once you get the hang of making the pipe cleaner circles and how to attach these together with jump rings, it goes pretty fast. Every time I wear this necklace, people notice it and love it. I’ve listed the materials I use but feel free to substitute your own. I tend to keep everything light-weight but I encourage you to experiment using the materials in your stash.
Carol Ann Waugh
I am a mixed media artist and love color and texture!