Sunday, January 31, 2010

New Work

I finished two pieces this week. I started them in December, but with the holidays, illness and other time commitments, it's taken me awhile to get back to them. I started by dyeing, then discharging, applying soy wax, overdying and discharging again. Here is how one of them looked on December 25th.

After many more layers of printing, here is the final.

The photos of the second piece did not turn out, so I'll post photos of it later. Here are a couple detail shots.

These pieces were some of my "play" pieces. I didn't have a plan, I just started and took them one step at at time. I wanted to play with complementary colors and layering soy wax, discharge and overdyeing.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

On Exhibit in Ingram, TX

Four of my pieces are currently on exhibit at the Hill Country Arts Foundation in Ingram, TX. The Arts Foundation is located on the Guadalupe River and features a performing arts center, a visual art gallery and classrooms for art workshops. I love how they've placed my piece One with Nature next to a window overlooking some trees.

My work is on exhibit because I will be teaching two workshops there this year. I've enjoyed working with the people there and am looking forward to spending more time at the facilities.

The main exhibit in the gallery is "God and Texas" featuring photographs of Hans Bauer. That exhibit opened yesterday and continues through February 27. Also on display is “Art from Within,” an exhibition featuring artwork by the inmates of the Dominguez State Jail and the work of Debra Richardson.

Friday, January 29, 2010

...and more repetition

Yesterday I took the motif that I created for the previous day's design exercise and continued my repetition studies. This time I changed the orientation on the repeat pattern.

Then I played around with isolating smaller components of the pattern.

I find this pretty interesting - especially isolating segments of the repeat pattern. I can see the potential this process has for creating new imagery.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Hmmm, this theme keeps coming up. Repetition was the focus of a surface design symposium this weekend at the Southwest School of Art & Craft. Ilze Aviks, an artist from Colorado, spoke on the topic. There was also a panel discussion with Mary Ruth Smith and Liz Axford moderated by Jane Dunnewold. How serendipitous that my design exercise for today was on repetition.

The assignment was to create a repeat pattern using a simple design. At a loss for an image to use, I scanned my studio for ideas. This stylized leaf was my inspiration:

So I abstracted it a bit and came up with this design:

The first part of the assignment was to create a repeat pattern with the design.

Then, I was to reverse the image so positive becomes negative.

The next step was to create the same pattern, but use color. I chose to use four colors and to make each "block" a different combination of those four colors.

Finally, I decided to repeat the pattern with colors, but make each block the same combination of colors.

As a repeat, it loses it's resemblance to a leaf. And the last version in color reminds me of watermelon! If I had switched the purple and green, it would look even more like a watermelon with a green rind and purple seeds. I'm intrigued by this exercise. I'm thinking of repeating it with the same design, but altering the orientation for each block.

Monday, January 25, 2010

A Week in Class

I spent last week in a workshop at ArtCloth Studios with 9 other artists. It was an independent projects class, so each of us worked individually on our own projects. Jane Dunnewold has been running these workshops in January for a number of years and I have attended for the past 5 years. It is a great way to jump start the year. At the beginning of the week, we each create a plan of what we want to accomplish during the week. I find that having a whole week of dedicated studio time at the beginning of the year helps get me back on track after the holidays.
And, it's a great time to reconnect with friends from around the country. Many of the people have been coming for a number of years and we have formed a bond. This year was a nice mix of people who have come before and a few who hadn't.

A number of people in the class were experimenting with paper lamination. It's a process of adhering paper or metal leaf to sheer fabric. The results are fascinating.

The rest of us focused on dyeing, painting, discharge and just plain having fun!

I was able to accomplish a lot over the course of the week. I moved forward three pieces from a series I'm working on and have two other pieces that are one step from completion. It's a great feeling to get all that done, but now I'm playing catch up with email and all the other stuff that stacked up over the week!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A New Opportunity

On Saturday I found out that I've been accepted into the New Braunfels Art League Gallery. New Braunfels is a small city about 20 miles north of San Antonio. The Art League has a beautiful gallery downtown and has an annual process to jury artists into the gallery. It seems to be predominantly painting, drawing and photography, although there are some ceramics, sculpture and jewelry as well. Most of the paintings were representational work. Working in fiber and non-representational imagery, I wasn't sure how the jury would receive my work. I guess they liked it! There are currently two other fiber artists with work in the gallery, Leila Reynolds and Sandra Edsall Taylor. Three out of a hundred - at least it's a start!

I dropped off some of my smaller pieces for the jurying:

Stepping Stones, 10" x 10"

It is Written, 10" x 10"

Monday, January 18, 2010


Last summer I bought some 4" x 4" mini canvases and I finally started working with them just before Christmas. I used them to create miniature fiber collages. I felt challenged when I started creating 10 x 10 and 12 x 12 collages last summer. These miniatures are even more challenging. It is a very small space to work with! They are fun, though. And it's a great way to warm up and get the creative juices flowing.

I typically start with fabric that has several layers of screenprinting. Then I add more printing, and metal leaf. In some cases, I wrap the fabric around and staple it to the back of the canvas. Others are adhered directly to the painted canvas.

If you decide you'd like a miniature of your own, they are available for purchase in my online store.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

ArtCloth Opportunity

Before, Katherine Sylvan, ArtCloth Network member

The ArtCloth Network, a group of artists dedicated to promoting the medium of cloth as an artform, is currently having a call for membership. I'm a relative newcomer to the group,having joined in 2008, however I feel it is a great opportunity for those who wish to be part of a community of other artists working in this new medium. Members of the network meet annually to share what they are working on, and to discuss professional concerns and opportunities. In addition, the group produces an artcloth exhibition annually.

I have enjoyed the opportunity to talk with others about techniques and processes, about art-related concerns and frustrations and about approaches to creating. The annual exhibition pushed me to create work outside my comfort zone. I have also had a couple of teaching opportunities come my way because of my involvement with the group.

If you create artcloth and are interested in joining the group, you can read more about it in the membership application and requirements.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Up From the Ashes

Continuing on with my new year's theme of burning the old and bringing on the new, but this time it's only figurative. I was feeling brave and tore off a section from a piece I was unsatisfied with. I had previously tried to salvage it, but nothing was working. So, I decided to use part of it as a starting point for a new piece I'm working on for an exhibit at the Copper Shade Tree in Round Top, TX.

The main piece was from a series I completed last summer, 10,000 flowers. I wasn't pleased with the color of the flowers and felt there were too many of them. The piece just didn't have a focal point and any ideas I had to create one just weren't working. So, I tore off the bottom portion. (Funny - when I look at the photo above, it doesn't look as bad as it does in my mind. Is there a lesson here? Maybe I can salvage the remains of that piece after all!)

I'm creating a piece that's about 10" x 20", Texas Wildflowers. I plan to layer it with some organza that has been dyed and printed.

I'm close to being finished, just need to assemble it and get it ready for hanging. I'll post photos once the show opens on Februay 5th.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Second Saturday Gallery Night

On the second Saturday of the month, a number of galleries in Boerne, TX stay open late. Many have new exhibits or other special events. This past Saturday, many of the instructors at the Majestic Ranch Arts Foundation were on hand to demonstrate their techniques. It was an opportunity for people to meet the instructors and see art in action!

Here I am explaining and demonstrating the thermofax process.

Stevie Kesner Ricks, Executive Coordinator and Acrylic Painting Instructor

Rachman Ulmer (center), Executive Director and Stone Sculpting Instructor

Vicki Stephens, Printmaking

Susan Conners, Fused Glass

Michael Saul, Ceramics

Friday, January 8, 2010

New Year's Tradition Part II

There is another New Year's ritual that has become an important part of my life. At the beginning of each year, my husband and I have a burning bowl ceremony. For those unfamiliar with a burning bowl ceremony, it is a release of sorts. You think about what you wish to release from your life. It could be a way of thinking, a bad habit, an addiction, a fear. Then you write that down on a piece of paper and burn it. I find it very powerful. Burning is the ultimate way of releasing something. The fire completely destroys it, allowing something new to come up from the ashes to replace it. The second part of the ritual is to identify what you want to bring into your life and then write that down.

This makes me think of a line from a Jewel song, "No longer lend your strength to that which you wish to be free from." (from Life Uncommon on the Spirit CD) We often spend so much energy thinking about or worrying about what we don't want in our lives. We give it strength with our thoughts. The burning bowl ceremony is a great way to focus our energy on a more positive plane.

We are a little late in doing our ritual this year, because I've been sick since Christmas and wasn't really in the right frame of mind. We participated in a burning bowl ceremony on New Year's Eve, but we haven't yet done the second part of the ritual. Usually, on New Year's Day, we write our intentions and put them into our elephant jar (pictured above.) A year later, after we've written our intentions for the new year, we burn the papers from the previous year. So, tonight is the night. A whole new year, a wealth of possibilities. I seem to be better at manifesting material things than changes to my personal characteristics. Old habits die hard, I guess. But, I'm putting one of last year's intentions on my list again this year. Little by little, I'll get there.

What do you wish to release from your life? What do you wish to bring into your life?

Friday, January 1, 2010

New Year's Tradition

Many years ago I started a tradition on New Year's Day. I empty everything from my clothes closet and assess whether I really want to keep it. I'm sure you've heard the advice to get rid of anything that doesn't fit or that hasn't been worn in the past year. It's actually pretty good advice. My daily wardrobe tends to consist of the same 5-6 favorite outfits worn in endless repetition. The others either don't fit properly, or I don't like the way I look in them. But for some reason, I hang on to them.

It used to be an all day affair. I had so many clothes, and so much difficulty parting with anything. I thought "maybe some day I'll wear it/ fit into it..." etc. Or I had an attachment to things because someone I cared for gave it to me or I got it on a vacation with pleasant memories.

I've gotten much better at letting go. Each piece that goes into the discard bag slightly eases the load on my shoulders. One less piece of baggage and clutter. Plus, as I've simplified my life, my wardrobe has also simplified. When I was working in the corporate world, I had a closet full of suits, with matching blouses, shoes and accessories. At one time, I had 25 suits! I remember thinking how I could go for a full month without wearing the same suit twice. Ten years later, the suits are all gone. My studio wardrobe consists of an old pair of jeans or shorts and a t-shirt. This morning, it only took me about 30 minutes to go through everything.

This year I finally gave up on a beautiful, slinky deep green velvet dress. I wore it once on New Year's Eve about 10 years ago. And, I must admit, I looked pretty good in it. But, even if I could fit into it, I probably wouldn't wear that style out in public anymore!

The discards are all boxed up and ready to take to the shelter. I feel lighter, clearer and ready to start the new year.

Wishing you a Happy New Year, full of joy, love, laughter and creativity!

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