Friday, May 21, 2010

Started AND Finished this week!

I am very happy to say that I started a piece and totally finished it (ready to hang) all in one week. This is amazing because lately I have been starting so many things and if it can't get done in one sitting it may not get done at all. I accept that there are always going to be pieces that will never get done. I think that is part of being an artist. There are too many ideas to explore, and often the new ideas want out so badly that you can not ignore them. I especially have a hard time staying with a piece of felt while I am rolling it. While my body works the felt my mind is free to wander and dream up the next piece and I want to start it right then. Yes, I know I have very little patience. I think I find it even harder now that I forget so many things. I think I want to start the next piece before I forget my 'great' ideas. I have tried keeping an art journal and writing notes...but these things need memory too.
1. You have to remember to use them.
2. You have to remember where you put them when not in use.
3. You have to remember why you thought that was a good idea.

The fact that I could stick with this piece is really amazing because it gave me a lot of trouble. It all started with this piece of silk.

I saw a forest of trees in fall colors in this silk. This was a bit odd because I don't usually use warm earthy colors, although the natural dyeing has gotten me looking at them with a new eye. The other strange thing for me was to work on a fall piece in the spring. My work is usually directly linked to the natural world around me. (Maybe I just wanted to use some of the gold and brown silks we just I can justify dyeing more!)  Well, the layout of the silk on the wool looked great but the wool did not go through the silk. It is possible that I was overzealous in the beginning and felted the wool too much. I decided to leave the piece for the night and see how things went when I was refreshed in the morning. And I actually did go back and work on it in the morning...but only made slightly more progress. It was felted, but some of the pieces of silk were barely attached. I decided to do some machine embroidery to keep them anchored. This proved to be another test of my ability to stay with a project because my machine and I do not get along well. I do not have the patience for needles breaking, bobbins running out, thread jams, etc. but each time I walked away from it I HAD to go back. I guess this piece wanted to be done. I sometimes feel that I am just a facilitator for the art, as though the pieces have their own need to be created.  I love that feeling. And I think this is one of my best  pieces.


 It was made on a resist to be a pillow but when I stuffed it it was too hard to see the design. I guess it wanted to be a wall hanging. Here is the FINISHED! piece. (The true colors are closer to the first photo)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Sunny day!

Finally today we had nice sun and only a little wind. I have been wanting to try the setacolor sun printing paints that I got last summer just before we got three weeks of rain. Last week I had started pressing some leaves to use for the printing. In a strange alignment of elements I had time, materials, motivation, and warm drying sun. I just did two small pieces of silk that I can use for nuno felt. Since the silk is so thin I folded it so I got two prints on each piece.

The half that was on the bottom has more of a faded look.
Here is the second piece.

I took the faded half of the first one and made a nuno felt picture with it.

I used some of the silk that I dyed on Monday for the roses and the leaves. Here is a scan of the piece. Neither the scan nor the photo has quite the right color.

It felt good to complete a piece in one day, although I may decide to stitch and bead this one too. I am thinking some small french knots like sprays of baby's breath.
Yesterday I worked on felting a scarf that I had painted last year. I didn't like the painting so I thought I might as well try something different. Unfortunately I still don't like it but I may go ahead and use it for the front of a good size pillow. Sweet Dreams.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Lots of Dyeing

I have been busy! Last week I spent a lot of time working on a felted present for a friend. I can't show it yet (just in case my friend reads this) so that will have to wait until I can give it to her. Then this weekend my friend Joei came to visit:) and we spent the weekend dyeing...and doing a little bit of felting. But I going to give her first chance to blog about that, so we don't post the same stuff. Her blog is Art That's Felt here on blogger.
What I can show is what I have been doing since Joei left on Sunday. We had made some discoveries that I wanted to explore further and since the dyes were still out I decided to do a bit more dyeing. I steamed them last night and opened my little packages this morning (Tuesday). After I finished with the rinsing I decided to try out the discharge paste that I bought a while ago. It was fun. I practiced on a scarf that I was not loving and really like some of the effects. But just like all new techniques I think it is going to take a bit of practice.
 Here is the scarf.

I also tried some of the discharge paste on a piece of green silk that I plan on using for leaves and backgrounds for my nuno pictures.
I spent a lot of time on Monday doing
 a painting on silk that I am planing on using as a background for felting, stitching, beading and anything else it seems to want.

I also dyed some other colored pieces to use for making nuno pictures.

Although most of these things were dyed or over dyed with synthetic dyes, the bright yellow silk is dyed with horsetails (Equisetum) which grow in the back yard. The yellow is almost is very bright with a greenish undertone.
I also over-dyed a piece of silk that I had dyed with eucalyptus when Joei was here. I took some of the eucalyptus leaves that she left with me (thank you Joei) and some onion skins and laid them on the silk.
I then wrapped it all up and put it in the steamer with all the other silk pieces that I had ready. It is my favorite natural dye piece yet...I love onion skins!

In between all this dyeing I did get some sheets washed and hung...with the silk...

and enjoyed seeing the chickens taking a dust bath in the sun, during its brief appearance.