My latest finished artwork started as an experiment with mixed media, symbolism, and language. The design of the piece evolved from playing with circle patterns and the yin-yang symbol. The shape and color reflect dualities in life through use of the yin-yang symbols, sun-moon symbols, and cool-hot colors.
The piece was created with a collage of sheer fabric bits, Glitterati fibers & film, metal shim & knit ribbon and wire on a dissolvable stabilizer. Machine stitching holds the collaged bits and wire together. About five sewing machine needles were broken in the attempt to sew over and around the thick wire. After the first needle broke, I realized I needed to wear safety glasses. Once the collage was sufficiently machine stitched, the dissolvable stabilizer was rinsed away. The piece was then hand-stitched with hand dyed ribbons to a metal craft ring.
The experiment with language came from remembering a fragment of “The Works of Saint Anselm” from participating in “The Great Conversation” course series (now renamed as “Enduring Questions” apparently) at Saint Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota. Saint Anselm’s language was quite circular, and I found it pretty entertaining:
“Hence, if that, than which nothing greater can be conceived, can be conceived not to exist, it is not that, than which nothing greater can be conceived.”
A few weeks ago we had a family gelatin printing party at Mom's (Ann's) house. Holly (my brother's wife) and Tyler joined us in the fun!
We got the recipe for gelatin plates from unflavored gelatin powder years ago from the QuiltArt email chat group. Basically it's like making really thick Jell-O without the color and flavoring (2 rounded tablespoons gelatin to 1 cup of water) and then pouring it into a tray to set (a tray not used for food, of course).
The QuiltArt member had posted the recipe from the book Making Monotypes Using a Gelatin Plate: Printmaking without a Press by Nancy Marculewicz. I just invested in a copy of the book which is out-of-print. It is fetching a generous price tag from about $40 to $90 for used copies. It's a fabulous book. I'm going to have to do more gelatin printing because the book has so many inspiring art prints in it and some printing techniques that I haven't tried.
The gelatin plates make a wonderful printing plate that captures the minute detail of whatever flat, textured items you put on them such as the leaves and lace we used at our printing party. I was a bit haphazard about how I went about printing on fabric. I felt out of practice and giddy to be printing on fabric again.
It was fun to see the variation in what we made. I experimented with printing using a crocheted table runner, some smoke bush flower branches, and other leaves. Mom mostly experimented with leaves on beautiful embroidered silk fabrics. Holly reinvigorated a crocheted doily by giving it some brighter colors. Tyler mostly had fun playing with the paint rather than actually making lots of prints.
We did discover that the plate will start to melt if it's too hot outside. Tyler turned his first plate into a mushy pile. Luckily for him I had made extra gelatin plates so it didn't stop our paint playtime before we were ready to stop.
Happy making stuff!
One of the requirements in house hunting in 2019 in Williamsburg, Virginia was to have a space for an art studio. The house we got has a great big room where I started to set up an art studio. Then COVID lock down started and the studio became the "stoffice," an art studio and home office combined.
I have been attempting to get it organized ever since. I made one attempt at putting up the IKEA shelves we had at the former Friends Fabric Art Lowell, Massachusetts locations. Unfortunately I learned how critical it is to find the studs in the wall before installing shelves. Must try again one of these days.
Last weekend I felt like I was starting to make progress getting organized. Well, this weekend Tyler took over (again). He decided to build a temple with a portal to another dimension in the middle of the floor complete with walled in courtyard and sliding door entrance. (He benefits greatly from my surplus of art supplies!)
So is the "stoffice" now a messy, obstacle course or a fascinating door to an unexplored mythical universe?
I should have made him clean it up before virtual work time tomorrow, but I can still get to my desk and no one can see the cyclone disaster/magical temple-portal from my video camera anyway.
When I decided to title this blog "Making Stuff," it certainly never occurred to me that I would be describing Tyler's wacky, magical creations here. What the heck - it works!
Sonja here. Recently I decided that I missed having the Friends Fabric Art website as a place to share artwork, write about making stuff, and connect with friends.
This February I started taking Jane Dunnewold's Creative Strength Training (CST) 10-month program. It has helped me to get making stuff regularly again. My son, Tyler (now 7 years old) sometimes joins in. One exercise from CST was on line. I played with lines in a circle and Tyler decided to add a drawing of Elmo with labels.
Another fun thing I've tried recently is neurographic art with pen and watercolor. Zenna Duke did a great video demonstrating it on Jane Dunnewold's uTube site: Drawing as an Embodied Practice: Neurographic Art
More to come making stuff!