Hello again

November 10, 2012

Now, that I have semi conquered my smart phone/android, the past 3 months  have been spent not in felting but going with the new technology of tablets. The android platform is similar on phones and tablets but just different enough to add frustrations as the directory structure is vastly different from that of a pc. On the very bright side I have learned to transfer my digital library to my tablet and quickly realized the portability  as i can take the tablet to bed and have to my delight , read multiple novels, it is so easy to take to night shift work, waiting for others in the car and answering emails however creating on the tablet other than emails, Facebook postings is a new horizon.  I have made several promises to resurrect  postings on WordPress that have quickly ended  to a null point. Nonetheless  looking at my blog does stir my creative juices to become a producer once more. I have several lattice vessels that are screaming to be photographed and posted but I have deaf ear  and am pressing on and refusing to get distracted in the details.
It is rumored that Winston Churchill said, “if you are going through hell just keep walking”, so I have my jogging shoes on and warming up my muscles.  The studio has massively been disturbed by a new resident plus I have given a few painting lessons.  Mt eight yr old neice has shown tremendous interest in felting……so may put a kit together dfor her like Nicola does, or just have her into the stidio for a day of fun.In
seven or 8 hours will tell if I can keep the momentum to felt tomorrow. Good night for now.
🙂

Art Spaces

May 31, 2012

I  cleaned my studio spotlessly and meticulously, making it a usable food consumption kitchen once again.  My new tenant, AKA boomerang son, has taken up residency in the apartment on the lower level of my home where partially my studio resides; it is split into rooms, with doors and a dedicated lavatory but a large section serves as my studio because it has a functioning kitchen and refrigerator, used for felting and dying.  The son and I are in process of arrangements so I can have access to my print table.  What is a print table you ask?  Just as the name suggest but  homemade: I used a four feet by eight feet sheet of wood, covered with ½ inch of carpet wool padding (no longer manufactured)  which is tightly snuggled into place with a unbleached canvas secured underneath with a gazillion stables and it rest on portable legs.  I constructed this table when I was in school, so I could work on screening/printing wall blankets at home without taking my son from precious sleep. He had a locker at the school studio crowded with roller skates, various toys, sleeping bags, pillows stuffed animals and his favorite yummy snacks however did not have a quite space to sleep during my late night creative hours.  I constructed a section where I could stretch fabric and anchor it to a taunt surface.  It is similar to stretching a canvas onto a stretcher frame except instead staples I used stainless steel t-pins so the applied wet paint or dye would not shrink the canvas when air dried.  The table has been the single most useful tool I have ever created, seen the most work activity and it has served me well, since I religiously covered the base with a tightly woven canvas drop cloth.  The table is virtually pristine with exception to a few dyeing jobs that meandered or bled though to the base layer.  Yes, 24 years of various art projects interlaced with tutoring sessions and a sprinkling art instruction classes have all used this print table in diverse avenues.  I covered this cloth table with plastic when I make felt projects.  Though I would love to have stainless steel, I use the print table for dyeing and sewing projects.  Therefore, to loose access is creatively crippling and I have yet to resolve it.

Felted Postcards

February 9, 2012

I adore postcards,  and have collected them for over 40 years, even though the internet can take us to exotic lands, postcards are a signal that some one thinks of you even while they are gone.  Over the years, I  have been in several multimedia post card exhibits and it is great fun.   I would like to see  a twist on the travel postcard event by  creating felting post-cards about HOME.

This challenge is called “Postcards from Home” and features small (4 inch by 6 inch) pictorials of scenes from you home environment: landscapes, perhaps a historical  point of interest.  Some suggestions to get you thinking about a pictorial postcard:  the natural environment, such as mountains, deserts or coastal scenery; native flora and fauna; images of agriculture such as farms, ranches and dairies; man-made scenes, such as towns and cities, bridges, monuments, museums, and theme parks; historical images from home past; and recreational settings.

Deadline:  August 15, 2012
Open to all
Size:  4 inches by 6 inches (traditional postcard size
Writing may be included
Make a label for the back of your postcard containing the following information:

Postcard from Home Challenge 2012
Your Name and Address
Title of Postcard
Location of scene

On a separate piece of paper, please include a short paragraph explaining the scene you felted and any additional information that you wish to share.  This information may be used in promotional materials and articles concerning this challenge.

Bring the finished postcards, or mail* the finished postcard to me.  I will document and photograph each postcard. I would like to take a display of these postcards to various exhibits. We have a Final Friday exhibit here in my hometown of Lawrence, KS. There is First Friday in Kansas City, MO. There is a large possibility of several national venues for a traveling exhibit but locations are undisclosed at this time.

 

Leave a response if you might be interested.  The pieces will be auctioned off for a charity fund raiser TBA later. So this is a mere feeler for a response.  I may extend it to fiberart postcards, since  my circle of acquaintances extend way into the fiber world: weaving, surface design, beading,  hand made papers,  fabric design, dying, indigo, baskets etc. i have yet to decide.  What a great way to get your work SEEN by a groups of people.

New project

February 4, 2012

I have been working on this for 2 months but my day job has so rudely interrupted my process.  It involves, merino wool with silk wrapped in a spiral around the cylinder of wool  that was created with a resist and loose locks left unfelted. Then,  direct application  of acid dye  was applied after  a 4 inch PVC pipe was inserted into the felted cylinder and scrunched  using a Japanese method.   I found it interesting that the silk dyed a different shade of blue even though both the wool and silk were white.

This is a detailed of the piece that is 9 inch circumference with a height of currently 17 inches but with the copper tubing  it will extend it to 24 inches. The copper tubing and  the base is still in design stages but as soon as the piece is completed decent pics of piece will be posted.  I am very excited about this piece but currently I am still mending from a rotator cuff injury, which is adversely affecting my ability to felt.

Sad hats

January 3, 2012

Hi   from Midwest USA and I am sending you the best for the New Year.  It is good be back online after the dreadful holidays. I bolted out the felting gate , determined to not be defeated by a bit of wool .  This was my fifth attempt at a beret and once again, it has become a vessel.  I tried it on my head for shape even while still wet and it was so humongous it fell to my shoulders.  (Heavy sign)  I fulled it  bit more when I gave in to crushing defeat by  I admitting  I am not “meant” to make hats, I shall leave it for Dawn and Nicola.  Here is a side story to prove my non-wearable challenge.  When I was in high school my aunt was teaching me to knit, I made a beautiful mitten that fit with the utmost precision. The second one was so large (my stitches became looser) that I could put BOTH hands into ONE mitten. I pitched the craft until  my son was born, when I tried again but this was a sweater for a toddler.  Remembering the loose mitten fiasco of several previous decades, I tighten my approach to the knitting. I suppose most people would just take a class and struggle through teaching ones self.  Anyway, the stitches were so tight, it made the sweater weight nearly 10 pounds and he  only being 25 pounds fell down because the sweater was so heavy.  It was more like a rug than a cuddly warm sweater. OKOK slight exaggeration but it would break your toe if you dropped it. Therefore, I am not a knitter except for a few straight knitting  no purling winter scarves.

 

Back to my newly created vessel,   I inserted a beach ball, filled the ball with air and it fit nicely, so all evening I mentally thought of ways to finish the vessel with hand applied thicken dye finished with machine stitching.  This is really my first object of my winter felting session as my headband idea died. I thoughtlessly put wool on both sides of the silk so it totally covered it.  I must have had some good distracting music on too loud and lost my way in the endeavor.  Since I am taking a trip to New York where the winters are wicked windy and cold; I bought a lovely wool hat similar to this style   which  upon my return from NY, I will wear  on bad hair days or just when I need to run out for quick errand. Therefore, hats are officially off my felting list.  It seems necessary for success to stick with what I know: making wall art instead of wearable art.

Works in Progress

November 26, 2011

Taken with Rebel T3

Work in Progress

Work still in progress. The re-bar needs to be straighten and waxed.  I am still working on the idea  and what I am actually conveying in this piece. I am using a new camera, which I am uncertain it does the work justice so the camera back get returned.  I have fifteen days for a final decision.

Work in Progress

This piece was a direct result of  my local fiber group by demonstrating how to achieve locks. This piece was made of raw fleece, un-scoured, uncombed or carded  with wee bits of previously dyed fleece.

he teal, aqua, blue piece was totally an experiment with un-carded, non-scoured fleece and white silk  gauze. Once the piece was felted then fulled, it  soaked in white vinegar then while still wet, it was bound with  cotton twine and scrunched together. Three shades of blue of acid dyes were mixed and dripped onto the wet wool. The silk readily absorbed the dye the most.  Once the dying was completed, wrapped into cellophane shrink wrap and nuked for 2.5 minutes on high power.  It was reste4d then additional 2 minutes in microwave. Not shown are the intact locks at the top, which adsorbed the deep midnight blue dye that match the silk portions. It was left to dry in the scrunched position.  The vessels is in progress as I am making a copper tubing to hold it.  Once completed the piece will be displayed in its entirety.

Untitled as work is in progress

Dyeing a wool vessel

March 12, 2011

This unexpected vessel design was an exercise in creating color on a pure white vessel using acid dyes from Pro Chemical.  Once I felted and fulled the vessel, and it was completely dried, I folded vessel like a paper fan on one side.  I held the folds in place using metal pinch binder clips (the giant size). I wanted a random application opposed to a regular pattern, as the vessel was much too petite, so I added a few additional clips and even wood clothespins.   I mixed the acid dye with a tiny bit of water to create a paste then it was mixed with a pint of water with a pinch of non-iodized salt and tumbled into one of my stainless steel bowls and placed  on top of the electric burner. When the dye became 140F, I submerged the bound vessel into the dye.   Once I was satisfied with the saturation point judged by personal preference, I put the bound vessel into a plastic bag to slowly cool, this allowed plenty of time for the dye to penetrate and since protein, fibers require heat to open the cell structure and allow the dye to penetrate the cell membranes. .  I let it sit overnight in the bag, though this step is not necessary.   The following morning I rinsed the vessel but the dye had correctly exhausted or absorbed by the protein wool fiber.  When I rinsed it, no excess dye bled into the drain. It was a gratifying lesson, as I have never approached wool dyeing in this manner. The high contrast of the white and turquoise gives a vivid graphic design, which is definitely out of my comfort zone, and I enjoy more subtle designs but this one is promised to an adoring fan.

Flying Geese Vessel

February 23, 2011

This piece is available for sale at the Women Made Gallery  It is made of Mohair, Alpaca and Icelandic Lamb Fleece approximately 33 inches in circumference.  The abstract aubergine flying geese has been stamped on using a thickened dye. Once it was dry it was steamed in a commercial Chinese Steamer (similar to home bamboo stove-top steamers) with  three inches of white distilled vinegar  in the bottom portion covered and boiling over a hot plate.  To keep the condensation from dripping back onto the vessel, clean unprinted newsprint paper was put under the lid while it steamed twenty minutes.

Reshaped Vessel

February 16, 2011

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

This vessel has undergone a re-shaping since I saw the original with my glasses on.  The vessel is the same in all three photos, even though the shape differs slightly. I am unsure if this is my camera, the distance from the camera in each shot or merely the surface design that tricks the eye into seeing the shape differently in the various views.

Felt Sphere

February 15, 2011

Directly applied Dye

This Drying felt sphere is 34.5 inches. The dye had been directly applied with a sponge and the grape color was mixed with a thickener and stamped on while a beach ball (inserted inside) held it taunt. I am unsure of the final object whether to leave as is, add glass beads, or cut the surface.

Piercing the Vessel Walls

February 9, 2011

I have packed one of my studio walls bookcases with last years felting projects including many vessels.  Naturally, to me they are not just empty containers but marks of time and last winter experiments.   Yesterday I began a timid deconstruction of one such Vessel that I called “Five A”.  If my recall is correct, I had just acquired some luscious white mohair,(from the local Yarn Barn) which reminded me of a fine Pink Mohair sweater I owned as a child. I loved the texture of that sweater and the slight sheen it reflected in the bright school florescent lights. Instead of listening to the teacher’s explanation of algebra or the revolutionary war, I would gaze into the curly swirling mohair fibers, which were much more interesting than what the teacher had to say. Anyway I digress, and if one looks carefully the wisps of mohair is easily seen on the surface of Five A” much like it did in the pink sweater.

Continuing my experiments with direct application dyeing, I thickened the Pro Chemical Acid dye with sodium alginate thickener so I could stamp dye on to “Vessel Five A”. I soaked the vessel in solutions of warm water and white distilled vinegar.  A couple of decades ago I was mesmerized by found and scrap objects.  My studio used to be located close to a wood shop and I was intrigued by the various discarded cutouts left at the feet of a ban saw covered with sawdust.  Many of the interesting shapes found a home after I first covered a side with a glue adhesive and a commercial wool felt, these made handsome, durable stamps.  If one were to survey my work over the past 30 years, one could easily see the evidence of these stamps that I dipped into paint, dye, and textile Createx, which were foundational visual textures in much of my work. Anyway,  the teal dye was added to the thickener and stamped on using the stamp in the photo.  The eggplant dye was stamped on using the bottom of a wooden spoon and the dye was thinner thus one can see how it bleed into surrounding areas and did not hold its shape. The Vessel was wrapped into cellophane and nuked in microwave for 3 minutes on high, allowed to cool then nuked  and additional two minutes. I proceeded to full the shape tighter and tighter.  I reshaped it so it no longer resembles the original “Five A” vessel.  Oh this is a moot point but I attempted discharge dying that failed miserably.  I could not get the thiox thick enough and even strong enough to maintain a shape this I scraped the idea for now.

Today I pierced the walls of “FiveA” with my new dressmaking Gingher shears slicing bits and pieces from the vessel that created a repetitive design in the teal colored wool.  I found this snipping away most satisfying in a peek a boo fashion. In the past, I used slashing and cutting the surface of items in a metaphoric approach to communicate or provoke thoughts of universal emotions. We, as humans, have all experienced betrayals, rejections, or humiliations from those we trusted and that slash in out heart rarely heals without a scar.  It seems there is much room to push this envelop further and see how far one can distress the vessel and maintain the  integrity of the wool  So on to more cuttings.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Malka Dubrawsky

December 19, 2010

A Link on this page was broken so I merely redirected it.

Since I rarely make it to my studio anymore, I spend Sunday mornings in bed reading a variety of things from news, to blogs  but today I read  a hard copy of “American Craft” January publication and  an article called, “Dyeing to Sewing”.  The article was about a woman who loves textiles, color, dyeing and sewing as I do, maybe more because she has been faithful to work in the craft. Anyway, upon crawling through the web in exploration of this Malka Dubrawsky person, I find she is but a mere 8 or 900 miles from me, in a nearby state — Austin Texas.  Austin, the capital of Texas is very similar to my vibrant art town of Lawrence, KS.  Both are chocked full of musicians, artist and a bent towards the creative side of life. Anyway, I digress and want to comment on the inspiration Malka Dubraswsky’s work is stirring within me and beckoning me to my creative zone. I spent a bit of time reading about other textile artist this morning and I moved by their energy as well as Malka’s.  Her philosophy seems to speak spontaneity and I easily relate. I never enjoyed weaving much as it required meticulous planning when dressing the loom while surface design of textiles is more like expressionist painting.  One reason I have never been strongly drawn to quilts is the planning and even with crazy quilts, there is a certain lack of expressive quality.  Malka has opened new doors not to just commercial fabrics, as I, too, have discharged, dyed commercial fabrics, and even used the backside of a fabric.  Thank you for the inspiration American Craft Council by revealing Austin’s secret: Malka Dubrawsky.